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Maximilien Rubel

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Maximilien Rubel (10. October 1905 in Chernivtsi - 28. February 1996 in Paris) was a famous Marxist historian and council communist. He was educated in law and philosophy in Vienna and Chernivtsi before moving to France to take German studies at the Sorbonne, from which he received his Licence-dès-lettres in 1934. He became a French citizen in 1937, and shortly after began publishing the literary magazine Verbe-Cahiers humains, before being drafted into the French Army. Due to his Jewish origins, Rubel lived semi-secretly in Paris under the German occupation of France.

In his encounters with Marxist members of the resistance movement in this milieu Rubel was reputedly astonished by the incoherence and confusion that surrounded Karl Marx and so-called "scientific" socialism. In difficult circumstances Rubel then set to work to gain a thorough understanding of Marx's life and work. It was Rubel who originally coined the term "marxologie" to refer to a systematic scholarly approach to the understanding of Marx and Marxism, which he saw as quite distinct.

After the war, Rubel continued with his research, first publishing on Marx in 1946, and receiving a Doctorat-ès-lettres from the Sorbonne in 1954. He joined the Centre d'études sociologiques in the Centre national de la recherche scientifique in 1947, and retired as Maître de recherche honoraire in 1970. Rubel published widely on Marx - more than 80 titles - and had a very active academic career which cannot be detailed here. He combined controversial readings of Marx with rigorous scholarship, and was frequently polemical in his criticisms of the ideologies of "Marxism", which he often contrasted with a view of working class liberation that emphasised the "self-movement" of the working class above all else.

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