Alfred Sohn-Rethel (1899–1990), who in his major work Intellectual and Manual Labour, completed in 1951 but published two decades later, argued that the ‘real abstraction’ of exchange is the true origin of abstract (mathematical) thinking and, through that, of scientific thought more generally.
Looking at him you’d scarcely guess that this suave figure inspired a whole generation of Iranian youth to turn to radical Left politics which included the kind of insurrectionary politics associated then with the Mojahedin-e Khalq, an armed struggle group that sought to reconcile a modernist version of Islam with left-wing ideas of social justice and anti-ca
Erich Fromm (1900–1980), German-American social psychologist and philosopher, and a fine exemplar of the Weimar psychoanalytic Left.
Evald Ilyenkov (1924–1979), the brilliant Russian philosopher whose suicide in March 1979 was directly linked to his growing isolation and ostracism in more orthodox academic circles in Russia. One source refers to a ‘witch hunt’ against him.
In 1865 Marx had a passing fit of pedological materialism. The French naturalist Pierre Trémaux published a treatise explaining human variety in terms of soil characteristics.
Jacek Kuroń (left; 1934–2004) and Karol Modzelewski whose arrest, trial and imprisonment in Poland in 1965 contributed to the radicalisation of a whole generation of Polish students in the sixties and to the student strikes of 1968.
Marc Bloch (1886–1944) - with the glasses - who was professor of history at the universities of Strasbourg (1931–1936), the Sorbonne (1936–1939) and Montpellier, and among the most fascinating historians of the twentieth century.
Maxime Rodinson (1915–2004), the great French Orientalist, Marxist sociologist, author (most famously) of Muhammad (1961) and Islam and Capitalism (1966). Born in Paris to radical Jewish working-class parents, Ashkenazi Jews, who were among the earliest members of the French Communist Party in 1920.
Paul Mattick Sr. (1904–1981), who left Germany for the US when he was 22, shown here with Chomsky’s mentor, the linguist Zellig Harris (to his right).
Sadiq Jalal al-Azm (1934–2016), the Syrian Marxist who was professor of Modern European Philosophy at the University of Damascus from 1977 to 1999, and who died in December 2016.