Karl Marx's Workers' Inquiry: International History, Reception, and Responses
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In 1880, Karl Marx composed a 101-question survey that formed the groundwork for a revolutionary methodology: Workers’ Inquiry. Although valued for its conceptual design and practical potential, scholars have agreed that the questionnaire was, in Marx’s own time, an experimental failure: receiving no responses from workers and mostly forgotten.
Assessing substantial archival research, Clark McAllister’s Karl Marx’s Workers’ Inquiry: International History, Reception, and Responses sets out the case for a radical reappraisal of Workers’ Inquiry. This demonstrates its central role within Marx’s political project. Collected and published in English for the first time, this book contains translations and variations of the inquiry from around the world, as well as workers’ original responses to the questionnaire.
Contextualised against Marx’s longstanding push for inquiries through the First International Workingmen’s Association, the text reveals the key role Marx attributed to workers’ inquiry for informing the political strategies of the workers’ movement. For Marx, it was clear: there can be no politics without inquiry.