Marxism and psychology

Continuing a strand of debate, Canadian socialist Susan Rosenthal argues that we must look to social rather than individual solution to mental ill health.

Marx and Engels described capital as a relationship and capitalism as a system of relationships. Did they mean that every aspect of our relations with ourselves, others, and society is shaped by capitalism, so that a socialist revolution would transform all of these relationships? Or were they being too general? Are some aspects of human experience unaffected by society, so that we need something other than Marxism to understand them and something more than socialism to transform them? This is the core of the conflict between Marxism and psychology.

The Marxist method considers human experience in social-historical context. Psychology, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, medicine, genetics and most other disciplines consider the individual (or parts of the individual) separate from the social context. The assumption is that the individual (or the part) has enduring biological or psychological qualities that are governed by different rules than those that govern the larger society. Therefore, these qualities can be changed only at the level of the individual or the part…….

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