Academics are now rightfully confronting the bigotry and racism that pervades the history of philosophy. However, one philosopher is conspicuously absent from many of these accounts (including each one linked above): Karl Marx.
The comparative infrequency with which philosophers grapple with Marx’s bigotry is startling. (I’ll note in passing that the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s entry on Marx and “On the Jewish Question” makes no mention of the essay’s antisemitism). Not only is Marx’s racism glaring and pervasive, his work continues to exert a profound influence on academia. The Communist Manifesto is one of the three most assigned texts at American colleges. Nearly 18% of social scientists identify as Marxists. For all of these reasons, no serious reckoning with the racist history of philosophy can take place without confronting the case of Marx.
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