Marxism, 1844-1990: Origins, Betrayal, Rebirth
Roger S. Gottlieb
Psychology Press, 1992 - Political Science - 248 pages
Is Marxism really dead, or can it play a positive role in creating a just and fulfilling society? This study responds to these questions with a penetrating assessment of Marxism from its origins to the present day. Roger Gottlieb provides an incisive overview of the content, strengths and weaknesses of Marx's own work, and demonstrates how the socialist and communist movements between 1880 and 1935 betrayed the original vision of Marxism.
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I read a couple of sentences from the chapter entitled "Flaws": "[Marx's] long-term expectations about economic crises and political revolution have been disappointed. Advanced capitalism has become more, not less, stable. At present there is no international socialist movement of any kind, and working-class struggles have generally aimed at immediately beneficial reforms rather than revolutionary change."
Whatever basis there may have been for making these assertions twenty years ago, the economic, social, and political upheavals around the world since the international crisis of capitalism over the past five years have completely invalidated that point of view. I doubt whether there is a single commentator anywhere, no matter how fervent an advocate of capitalism and the "free market", who would claim that capitalism is becoming more stable. In fact, some of the more lucid mainstream pundits have begun to grudgingly admit that old Marx may have been onto something: "All that is solid melts into air".
Revolutionary sentiment has sprung up in parts of Europe, north Africa, and Latin America. It has been betrayed by trade unions and local bourgeoisies, and been hammered by a resurgence of U.S. and west European imperialism and the diktats of the IMF and the European Union.
"Radical" political consciousness movements based on identity politics, ecological issues, or racial notions have largely been co-opted into the mainstream and channeled behind the Democrats. The Greens started out as opponents of the militarization of Europe. Where they have come to power (e.g., Joschka Fischer in Germany), they have evolved into supporters of the many wars unleashed by the U.S.
Since liberalism and social Democracy have failed the masses of people, fascist movements are making a strong resurgence throughout Europe. The U.S. is itself filled with a widespread, seething discontent. Since 9/11 and the Boston bombings, traditional democratic norms and values are being dismantled. A framework for a police state is being erected; a massive police presence on city streets will become the new normal state of affairs. With Obama's announced "pivot to Asia", the U.S. is preparing for a war against China. European imperialist nations -- France, Britain, Germany -- are committing aggression in Africa, Afghanistan, and the middle East.
More and more, the choice for humanity appears to be: world war, or world revolution.
I will not be reading any more of this book.
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No preview available - 1995