By a curious coincidence, 2017 marks a pair of anniversaries: that of the publication of the first volume of Karl Marx’s Capital 150 years ago, and that of the October Revolution which in 1917 ushered in the USSR.
Isaac Deutscher once told the following story about reading Capital I was relieved to hear that Ignacy Daszynski,1 our famous member of parliament, a pioneer of socialism, … admitted that he too found hard a nut. “I have not read it,” he almost boasted, “but Karl Kautsky has read it.
I am sitting at Gate 4 at the airport on the island of Samos in Greece, waiting to fly back to Germany. My flight is three hours late, the sun reflected on the floor is dazzling my eyes—the last rays of sunlight for a long time.
Identity is a complicated thing. It is not, to paraphrase Wittgenstein, like simply hanging a label onto a person, though the contemporary discussion addressing identity—and identity politics, specifically—often imagines this to be the case.