Renzo Llorente (trans. and ed.)
The Marxism of Manuel Sacristan: From Communism to the New Social Movements, Brill, Leiden and Boston, 2014; 312 pp: 9789004223554, 119 [euro] (hbk)
The Portuguese writer and Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramago once famously said, 'writers make national literature, while translators make universal literature'--a statement that nicely captures what Renzo Llorente has accomplished for the international Marxist tradition with his book The Marxism of Manuel Sacristan: From Communism to the New Social Movements (TMMS hereon). Llorente, a professor of philosophy at the Madrid campus of Saint Louis University, has translated and compiled a list of twenty pieces, made up of articles and interviews by arguably the most important Spanish Marxist philosopher of the 20th century, Manuel Sacristan (1925-1985). Until this publication by the international publisher Brill, only a couple of pieces of Sacristan's oeuvre had been translated into English, and efforts to popularise his thought in the Anglo-Saxon world had been, unfortunately, significantly scarce. (1)
In TMMS, Llorente seeks to fill this void with a carefully selected list of materials, whose translation and edition is marked by exemplary and meticulous work, a characteristic that he seems to take from Sacristan's own substantial work, which brought to the Spanish-speaking world translations of various of the works of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Antonio Gramsci, Theodor Adorno, Georg Lukacs, Karl Korsch, Galvano Della Volpe, Ulrike Meinhof, W. V. Quine, and other significant figures within and outside the Marxian tradition.
The sixteen articles and four interviews contained in TMMS are preceded by a magnificent introduction by the editor in which we are given a taste of the intellectual and practical development of Sacristan's life, especially under the Franco dictatorship. Persecution, harassment and imprisonment were a constant in this experience, where Sacristan's theoretical-political practices flared up tensions, not only with the dictatorship, but also within the Communist Party of Spain, as well as the International Communist movement.
Llorente provides materials produced by Sacristan during the 1960s and all the way up to the final years of his life, when the Spanish philosopher was more than convinced that Marx's work had to be adapted to the new circumstances and social movements that expressed them. These materials are organised in three parts, with the...