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In the frame of Historical Materialism Conference, London, 8-9 November 2012:

Machiavelli, Marxism, and the Revolutionary Tradition

In a letter to Engels of 1857, Marx calls Machiavelli’s Florentine Histories a “masterpiece.” Praising his powerful historical sensibility, Marx explicitly recognises the importance of Machiavelli’s theories on social conflict, the political meaning of a citizen’s army, and the connection between the productive forces and social relations. Machiavelli has never ceased to be a reference for the Marxist and revolutionary tradition.

Explicitly, as a grounding stone of their thought, for philosophers such as Antonio Gramsci and Louis Althusser, more implicitly for political and intellectual authors such as Kamenev, Bakunin, Lenin, Horkheimer, Macek, Lefort, Merleau-Ponty, Arendt, and Weil.

In this panel, we will explore the connection between Machiavelli’s thought and the Marxist and revolutionary tradition. The proposed panel combines a historical perspective with a theoretical approach. It aims to examine the theoretical problems Machiavelli raised, problems critical not only for the early modern age but for all subsequent Western revolutionary political theory and philosophy. It aims also to analyse the influence of Machiavelli’s thought on individual Marxist and revolutionary thinkers.

Paper proposals (between 200 and 300 words), in English, French, or Italian are welcome in any of the following axes:

* Social conflict, class conflict, tumult, and revolution.

* The verità effettuale della cosa: Machiavelli’s ontological realism.

* Grounding on the void: the origin of politics and constituent power.

* Citizen’s army and popular order.

* History as a battlefield: historiography as a political theory.

* Materialism, Machiavellianism, and Marxism.

*Politics and economy in Machiavelli’s thought.

* Plebs, people, multitude, class, proletariat: a Machiavellian perspective on the revolutionary tradition.

* Theory and practice of dictatorship.

Paper proposals should be submitted by registering at: BEFORE 26 April 2012 and sent, together with a short CV, to the panel organizer, Filippo Del Lucchese (Brunel University – London) at the following email address:

The expected presenting time will be around 30-40 minutes per speaker, depending on the exact number of papers. The official language of the Historical Materialism Conference is English.

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