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14. What Marx also says in , Volume One is this:
Important as these changes in China have been, however, it is developments in the Soviet Union - the original "homeland of the world proletariat" - that have put the final nail in the coffin of the Marxist-Leninist alternative to liberal democracy. It should be clear that in terms of formal institutions, not much has changed in the four years since Gorbachev has come to power: free markets and the cooperative movement represent only a small part of the Soviet economy, which remains centrally planned; the political system is still dominated by the Communist party, which has only begun to democratize internally and to share power with other groups; the regime continues to assert that it is seeking only to modernize socialism and that its ideological basis remains Marxism-Leninism; and, finally, Gorbachev faces a potentially powerful conservative opposition that could undo many of the changes that have taken place to date. Moreover, it is hard to be too sanguine about the chances for success of Gorbachev's proposed reforms, either in the sphere of economics or politics. But my purpose here is not to analyze events in the short-term, or to make predictions for policy purposes, but to look at underlying trends in the sphere of ideology and consciousness. And in that respect, it is clear that an astounding transformation has occurred.
THE PASSING of Marxism-Leninism first from China and then from the Soviet Union will mean its death as a living ideology of world historical significance. For while there may be some isolated true believers left in places like Managua, Pyongyang, or Cambridge, Massachusetts, the fact that there is not a single large state in which it is a going concern undermines completely its pretensions to being in the vanguard of human history. And the death of this ideology means the growing "Common Marketization" of international relations, and the diminution of the likelihood of large-scale conflict between states.
A social unit living together defines what a family is.
90. While Kelley is clearly more partisan to multiracial unity than Robinson, both posit Marxism as economist, falsely universalist and set against various particulars. If Robinson valorizes one of the particulars--the black radical tradition--Kelley wants to see the universalizing moment in all of the particulars--fine at the level of experience, but a mistake at the level of explanation. And I would speculate that the contradiction over "interest" is related to the multiple causality model to which he implicitly gives assent, for it's easy enough to see how viewing race and gender as separate causes would lead one to posit separate, even conflicting, interests.
88. As an extension of these points, Kelley links the false universality of this kind of class analysis to an "economism that enables these critics to claim, without evidence, that declining wages are more important to most black people than police brutality or having to wait an hour for a seat at Denny's" (, 115). The point here, a good one, is that moral and political issues--issues of well being and dignity--cannot be separated off from the "hard issues" of economics (not to mention that economics is always about dignity and well being). This kind of point is central to the noneconomic determinist Marxism I have defended here.
Socialism existed before Karl Marx presented himself to the scene.
At this time, he was the General Secretary of the Italian Communist Party, and although unfortunately he was imprisoned for almost ten years, he wrote countless pages commenting on Marxist theory, called the Prison Notebooks.
There are many aspects of the socialisation process to cover both concerning functionalist and Marxist views, these include cultures (made up of many different branches), values (peoples beliefs), and norms (patterns of behaviour)....
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One of the most influential economic philosophies is Marxism.
91. In his foreword to , Kelley suggests that it is incorrect to label Robinson essentialist, as I have been doing in this essay. Kelley's argument is not very convincing, though. He notes that while critics are quick to charge Robinson with essentialism, they are uncritical about the essentialism of terms like "Western civilization." But of course my point has been that both terms are essentialist, and work together in Robinson's discourse. The other argument Kelley makes is that Robinson's notion of a common culture is historical through and through. But that a tradition is historicized does not render it immune to the essentialism charge. For the historiography itself seems in many ways to be "a nationalizing myth," a claim Kelley dismisses as simplistic.
Marx was familiar with the work of German philosopher Georg Hegel....
79. The irony, a point which crystallizes the difference between historical materialism and Robinson's black Marxism, is that the very person Robinson quotes in support of a nationalist historiography rooted in the twin reifications of Western civilization and the black radical tradition himself forged his "egalitarian and multiethnic conception of humanity not in isolation but rather through solidarity and connection within and among social movements and individuals." Volney's anti-racist arguments about Africa were part of an internationalist abolitionism: "he assailed the ruling logic of nationalism," Linebaugh and Rediker note. According to Thomas Jefferson, so Linebaugh and Rediker suggest, "Volney was the principal object of the Act Concerning Aliens of 1798, which was designed to promote 'purity of national character'" (Linebaugh and Rediker, p. 342).
A Short Essay on Marxism, Western History, and the …
76. Robinson notes that "the creation of the Negro, the fiction of a dumb beast of burden fit only for slavery, was closely associated with the economic, technical and financial requirements of Western Development from the sixteenth century on." If the subject of this process is here Western development, in a few paragraphs he gets more precise. For "only the accumulated interests and mercantile activities of the ruling classes and bourgeoisies of Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Britain could have accomplished such a massive scale of exploitation." And it is clearly this context of massive exploitation that is invoked as explaining "the Negro." The inventive component of the term is foregrounded in Robinson's comment that "this 'Negro' was a wholly distinct ideological construct from those images of Africans that had preceded it," differing "in function and ultimately in kind" (Robinson, pp. 81-2). Historical materialists would agree with this analysis. A more fleshed out account would do what Allen, Linebaugh and Rediker do--show how these racializing processes were shaped in the cauldron of class struggle.
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74. It is clear that these writers are responding to the perceived inadequacy of the structure/agency split they see inhabiting Marxist theory. It is also clear that they see some notion of the autonomy of culture, the irreducibility of culture to class, as warranted. And there seems to be something like a shared debt to E. P. Thompson, or if not exactly debt then reference point. It has been my point throughout this essay that the class/culture split, however interpreted, is a reification, and thus produces explanatory aporias that historical materialism can overcome.
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