File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/marxism-international.9710, message 315


Date: Wed, 15 Oct 1997 10:47:34 +0200
Subject: Re: M-I: Re: Get back in the kitchen and rattle them pots & pans!


Jim B writes:

>Lenin replaced one of the tenets of classical Marxism which came out of
>19th century thought: that European capitalist society naturally flows,
>*diffuses*, outward to the rest of the world, bringing modernization and
>civilization to the colonials in return for their wealth and labor power.
>Remember Marx's comment that, after socialism has taken charge in Europe,
>the victorious armies of the workers would march outward and, upon reaching
>Peking, would find the slogans of the French Revolution blazoned on its
>gates. Classiccal diffusionism. Remeber also the comment that each country
>sees its future in the already-industrialized countries of Europe. This is
>the placid, that is, inexorable and steady (though hardly non-violent)
>spread of capitalism, modernity, and civilization, outward across the
>world.
>
>Lenin showed (contra the "Imperialist-Economists" -- Bukharin, Rosa,
>Hilferding, et al. and their modern reincarnations), that in the period of
>imperialism the peripheral societies fight back, two world sectors are
>created, and the workers of the colonies have a direct interest in fighting
>imperialism, not only to bring bourgeois nationalism but to get toward
>socialism. If you want to keep this debate going, read my article in the
>new Science & Society.

This again is vulgar and superficial distortion of Marx's positions.  And
we've been over it before here.

The Euro-centrism is an early feature of Marx's ideas that fades quite
fast. By the 1860s and 1870s he was following developments in Russia with
such interest that he learnt the language to do it. In many letters (check
them out in the correspondence, I gave the references in earlier posts, but
I haven't got time to dig them out again right now) Marx points out the
likelihood of the  next big explosion taking place in Russia.

What Lenin did was sharpen aspects of Marx that were already there. I'm
surprised Jim B hasn't taken Lenin's references to Marx in The State and
Revolution seriously. The whole thing is based on Marx.

What Stalin did was to pervert Marx's theories of the ripeness of
capitalism for revolution and its catastrophic instability into a sugary
fairy-tale about the unproblematic heyday of free competition capitalism,
something Marx never even dreamed of.  Stalin and the others who swallow
this line just ignore the proofs of capitalism's historical inadequacy in
the Communist Manifesto of 1848 and its call to revolution, and pretend
that the only revolutionary window ever to open was in Russia in 1917.

Jim's doing the same thing.

If he wants to continue this debate, maybe he'd better read some of Marx's
books.

Cheers,

Hugh




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