AbstractMarxists are ambitious. We set out not only to understand the world but, more importantly, to
change it. We regard ideas as part of the world and seek to understand and change them too.
Marxism, as a set of ideas, has no privileged status in this regard. It, too, can be explained within
the framework of historical materialism. For Marxism is not only a theory of the working class's
struggle for its own emancipation. This theory is also the product of that struggle and the efforts of
real human beings committed to and involved in it. The history of Marxism can only be grasped in
the context of the working class's victories and defeats.
This article uses an historical materialist framework to explore Henryk Grossman's recovery of
Marxist economic theory, its preconditions in Grossman's own experience and its relationships with
the recoveries of Marxist politics and philosophy undertaken by Lenin and György Lukács. The
paragraphs below provide some background on the history of Marxism and especially of the
Marxist theory of economic crisis. The next section sketches Grossman's political life to 1933. It is
followed by an outline of his recovery and renewal of Marxist political economy. Instead of relying
on a few passages selected from his best known work, The law of accumulation and breakdown of
the capitalist system: being also a theory of crises, as most of his critics have, this discussion seeks
to understand Grossman's approach in the context of his work as a whole, including his published
and unpublished replies to critics. The final section discusses the effects of the rise of Stalinism and
fascism on Grossman and their implications for his legacy.