The Violence of Abstraction

My 1987 book The Violence of Abstraction: The Analytic Foundations of Historical Materialism has long been out of print, and used copies are now listed on amazon at prices from £400 upward.

In the interests of open access, I have now made the entire text available (in three separate files) for free download at



  1. Just finished reading it, an absolutely excellent book. I am about to start reading your Marx’s Method.

    I wonder, after these several decades from the publication of the book, is there anything you would revise/rewrite in the book?

    Furthermore, is there any decent critique of your book that you would recommend? As well, maybe you would be so kind as to suggest some author who you think got the method of Marx right or came closest to it?

    1. Thanks! It has been many decades, so long ago that I’m so far from the subject-matter of the book that I won’t even attempt to answer your questions about revisions or rewriting. But as an interpretation of Marx, I stand by it (and think it more productive then most). As to other authors, Bertell Ollman and some of the Soviet Marxists of the twenties, later murdered by Stalin: Rubin, Pashukanis, etc.

      1. Thanks for your reply!

        I wonder if you would recall any specific texts by Rubin, Pashukanis or others that you could recommend on the subject? I am only familiar with Rubin’s essays on Marx’s theory of value, which I thought was brilliant as much as lucid.

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