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  • © 2019

Revisiting Marx’s Critique of Liberalism

Rethinking Justice, Legality and Rights

Palgrave Macmillan
  • Provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date treatment of Marx on justice, law and the discourse of rights in view of recent archival research

  • Goes against the grain of prevailing orthodoxy by offering an original interpretation of Marx as an immanent critic of liberalism and a qualified defender of justice, legality and rights

  • Among the few studies of its kind that puts Marx in conversation with contemporary political theorists, demonstrating his enduring relevance in light of the challenges faced by present-day liberal democracies

Part of the book series: Marx, Engels, and Marxisms (MAENMA)

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  • ISBN: 978-3-030-30195-8
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Table of contents (7 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xvii
  2. Introduction

    • Igor Shoikhedbrod
    Pages 1-18
  3. Rethinking Justice, Legality, and Rights

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 19-19
    2. Situating Marx with Respect to Justice and Right

      • Igor Shoikhedbrod
      Pages 21-53
    3. The Normative Argument for Communist Legality

      • Igor Shoikhedbrod
      Pages 97-134
  4. The Contemporary Context

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 135-135
    2. Conclusion

      • Igor Shoikhedbrod
      Pages 207-215
  5. Back Matter

    Pages 217-239

About this book

Revisiting Marx’s Critique of Liberalism offers a theoretical reconstruction of Karl Marx’s new materialist understanding of justice, legality, and rights through the vantage point of his widely invoked but generally misunderstood critique of liberalism. The book begins by reconstructing Marx’s conception of justice and rights through close textual interpretation and extrapolation. The central thesis of the book is, firstly, that Marx regards justice as an essential feature of any society, including the emancipated society of the future; and secondly, that standards of justice and right undergo transformation throughout history. The book then tracks the enduring legacy of Marx’s critique of liberal justice by examining how leading contemporary political theorists such as John Rawls, Jürgen Habermas, Axel Honneth, and Nancy Fraser have responded to Marx’s critique of liberalism in the face of global financial capitalism and the hollowing out of democratically-enacted law. The Marx that emerges from this book is therefore a thoroughly modern thinker whose insights shed valuable light on some of the most pressing challenges confronting liberal democracies today.


  • Marx
  • Marxism
  • Axel Honneth
  • Jürgen Habermas
  • John Rawls
  • Nancy Fraser
  • materialism
  • justice
  • legality
  • liberal capitalism
  • communism
  • emancipation
  • social theory
  • liberalism
  • post-capitalist
  • private property
  • class domination
  • revolution
  • juridical relations
  • European history


“Igor Shoikhedbrod’s Revisiting Marx’s Critique of Liberalism is an engaging and worthy effort to reconstruct a Marxist account of legal rights that goes beyond a critique of liberal formalism and lays the groundwork for a positive theory of communist legality. … There is much to recommend Shoikhedbrod’s book.” (William Clare Roberts, The Review of Politics, Vol. 84 (3), 2022)

“[Shoikhedbrod’s] rereading of Marx is intended to accomplish two tasks: first, to show that Marx believed liberalism and liberal rights were an impressive historical accomplishment; and second, to argue that overcoming the limits of liberalism in a classless society wouldn’t necessarily mean the end of legality and some transliberal conception of rights. … It is to Shoikhedbrod’s great credit that he manages to be highly convincing on both counts, writing an eminently readable book that gives us a better understanding of the relationship between Marxism and liberalism.” (Matt McManus, Jacobin Magazine,, October 14, 2020)

“Shoikhedbrod makes a persuasive case for including Marx in the canon of the great theorists of liberalism and democracy … . All in all, this is an excellent and timely book. Especially impressive is Shoikhedbrod’s attention to Marx’s biography and formation as a political actor in his own right.” (LSE Review of Books, May 18, 2020)

“Igor Shoikhedbrod’s book offers a masterful analysis of the role of rights in the thinking of Karl Marx and an original defense of Marx’s commitment to rights and the rule of law. To my knowledge, there is no comparable extended treatment of Marx’s conception of right in the existing literature, at least from a sympathetic point of view.” (Carol C. Gould, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, City University of New York, USA)

“This is important and timely work. It gives a detailed and wide ranging account of Marx’s ideas on justice and rights—the best that I know of—and engages critically with recent discussion of them in philosophy, politics and legal theory. It develops a Hegelian and Marxist theory of justice and challenges a number of widely held views. It is a pleasure to read. It makes a major original contribution in this area and will become central to the discussion of these topics.” (Sean Sayers, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, the University of Kent, UK)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ethics, Society & Law, Trinity College, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

    Igor Shoikhedbrod

About the author

Igor Shoikhedbrod received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto, Canada. He is currently adjunct professor in the Ethics, Society & Law Program at Trinity College in the University of Toronto.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Revisiting Marx’s Critique of Liberalism

  • Book Subtitle: Rethinking Justice, Legality and Rights

  • Authors: Igor Shoikhedbrod

  • Series Title: Marx, Engels, and Marxisms

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Religion and Philosophy, Philosophy and Religion (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-30194-1

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-30197-2

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-30195-8

  • Series ISSN: 2524-7123

  • Series E-ISSN: 2524-7131

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XVII, 239

  • Number of Illustrations: 1 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Political Philosophy, Political Theory, Political Sociology, European History

Buying options

eBook USD 79.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-30195-8
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 99.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 99.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)