Edited by Heinz D. Kurz, Tamotsu Nishizawa and Keith Tribe
Chapter 12: Was Sozialforschung an Aesopian Term? Marxism as a Link between Japan and the West
Kiichiro Yagi 12.1 FELIX WEIL’S FRANKFURT LECTURE, MAY 1973 On 14 May 1973, Felix Weil, the founder of the Frankfurter Institut für Sozialforschung, delivered a lecture at Frankfurt University which I was fortunate enough to attend. It had been originally announced as a colloquium, but because the institute’s seminar room could not accommodate the large audience, the lecture was held in a classroom on the university’s main campus. Weil, old and gray-haired, spoke about a series of fascinating episodes regarding the foundation of the institute and his involvement in it, from its conception right up to his departure from Frankfurt in 1929. He revealed that the original aim of the institute was to provide an institutional guarantee for continuing research in Marxism and that its members had been not alien to politics. According to Weil, the institute was primarily aimed at advancing Marxism on an academic level. Although Weil himself was not a Communist Party member, several members of the institute were Communist activists, and Weil closely collaborated with them in research and publication. It was in the basement of the Institute that a photocopy of Marx’s manuscript in the possession of the Social Democratic Party was made for the editorial work of the Collected Works of Marx and Engels (MEGA) which was published in Moscow in 1927–35. Thus the pre-war institute was different in nature from that of its post-war successor, which distanced itself from orthodox Marxism and actual leftist politics. What particularly caught my attention was...
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