Coming in April 2005

Marxism and the Call of the Future:
Conversations on Ethics, History, and Politics

by Bob Avakian and Bill Martin

ISBN 0-8126-9579-8 • $37.95 • 369 pages • paperback
Available now for $26.57 on the Open Court website at:
Available in bookstores in April 2005

From the Introduction by Bill Martin:

Marxism and the Call of the Future: Conversations on Ethics, History, and Politics is something of a My Dinner with André of Marxism. You may feel that you have walked in on the middle of a conversation; indeed, you have. Bob Avakian and I discuss a wide range of issues in and around Marxism, ranging from ethics, agriculture, and religion to sexuality, Kant, and the role of intellectuals and artists in social change. While I had never met Bob in person until we spent three days in the spring of 2002 taping these conversations, we share certain frames of reference that are undoubtedly more familiar to us than they will be to some readers. We certainly do not want to disinvite anyone from grappling with our own attempts to work through these difficult issues—on the contrary. Perhaps what ought to be most in the forefront is that we take up diverse topics from the perspective of believing that the basic problems of society are systemic, and that radical systemic change—a real revolution—is the way forward. Not only is it right and just to try to bring about a new society that is not based on exploitation, oppression, and domination, but such an effort and its success is indeed necessary if humanity is to have any kind of future at all.

From the Preface by Raymond Lotta:

This book invites the reader to partake of a remarkable exchange. Bill Martin is a radical intellectual and a professor of philosophy who in his work engages the question of the responsibility of philosophy to society and the struggle to change the world. Bob Avakian is a visionary leader of a Maoist vanguard party, the Revolutionary Communist Party, which has its sights on the revolutionary seizure of power and the radical transformation of society in the colossus that is late imperial America—all as part of a worldwide process of revolutionary struggle whose final aim is communism, a world without exploitative and oppressive relations and the corresponding political structures, institutions, ideas, and culture. The scope and relevance of Marxism, and the nature and reach of communist revolution, are at the heart of this rich and lively dialogue. And these core themes open into, and open up, a stimulating variety of questions and concerns.

Avakian and Martin probe a wide range of issues: the place of ethics in a transformative revolutionary politics; Kant, Rousseau, and Hegel; Marx and the question of colonialism and Eurocentrism; the Maoist experience in China; sustainable agricultural development in today's world and the task of overcoming the urban-rural divide under socialism; imperialism, lopsided development in the world, and the resulting effects on social structure and revolution; animal rights; secularism and religion; the post-911 agenda of the U.S. ruling class, the political-social- cultural landscape of the U.S., and the prospects for resistance and revolution; Marxism and the question of homosexuality; the challenges confronting radical and communist intellectuals and the possibilities for engaged, creative intellectual work today.

For both Avakian and Martin, these far-reaching issues and explorations are intimately connected with the need for, and potential of, the masses to remake the world.

The conversations that make up this book touch ground in diverse places and times, whether Rome and the rise of Christianity, or the sharecropping south of the United States, and take in such figures as Heidegger, Sartre, and Derrida, making contact along the way with Tecumseh, Bob Dylan, science fiction, and "The Simpsons."


"At this dark time in the history of our country and of the world, we need some new conversations about Marx and the socialist tradition—conversations that are free of dogmatism, open to ideas from all sides, but oriented in a progressive direction and eager to learn from thinking critically within the Marxist tradition. This book provides us with one model of what those kinds of conversations can be like."

Allen Wood, author of Karl Marx, and Kant's Ethical Thought

"This brilliant, lively, and scholarly attempt to define communism's present role in addressing the need to remake our world is especially timely in the face of the policies and actions of the Bush administration. Bob Avakian and Bill Martin are to be commended for their steadfast endeavors to bring about a new society. We owe them both our gratitude for this monumental effort to move our world toward justice and righteousness."

Reverend George W. Webber, President Emeritus, New York Theological Seminary

" . . . so important that it should stand on the shelf of everyone who cares about the destiny of the political Left. . . . marks the beginning of a new approach."

from the foreword by Slavoj Zizek, author of Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle and The Sublime Object of Ideology

"I can understand why Bob Avakian has drawn so many ardent supporters. He speaks to people's alienation from a warlike and capitalist society, and holds out the possibility for radical change."

Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States
(commenting on Bob Avakian's memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond)