A Quote on US imperialism by Karl Marx--any comments?
spectres at innotts.co.uk
Sat Sep 21 13:56:33 MDT 1996
Wei En Lin writes:
"Concerning the question of US imperialism in 1849 , Karl Marx
asked the question,
Will opponents of socialism
accuse the Americans of a "war of conquest," . . .even though
it was raised in the interests of civilization? Or is it
perhaps unfortunate that splendid California has been taken
away from the lazy Mexicans, who could not do anything with
it? That the energetic Yankees by rapid exploitation of gold
mines will increase the means of circulation, in a few years
will concentrate a dense population and extensive trade at the
most suitable places on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, create
large cities, open up communications by steamship, construct a
railway from New York to San Francisco, for the first time
really open the Pacific Ocean to civilisation, and for the
third time in history give world trade a new direction? The
"independence" of a few Spanish Californians and Texans may
suffer because of it, in some places "justice" and other moral
principles may be violated, but what does that matter compared
to such facts of world-historic significance?
(Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 223, Feb. 16, 1849
Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977).
This passage raises a number of troubling questions:.
1) Does the phrase "lazy Mexicans" indicate racist tendencies
on Marx's part?"
RP: Only by today's criteria where this has become a stereotype.
2) Is a "war of conquest", according to Marx, always justified,
when it brings civilization to more backward regions.
RP: Marx describes such action as like a 'pagan god'. It simultaneously =
destroys and exalts those who worship it.
3) Is every question of individual justice to be examined in
terms of the larger issues "of world-historic significance".
RP: No- this is a recipe for barbarism- all atrocities become justified =
by an abstract principle.
It leads to Kronstadt, to the Gulag, to Lenin's cry "Kill more hostages!"=
4) Are all Leninist variants of socialism non-Marxian, as they
tend to stall capitalist development, which is necessary prior to
the advance of socialism?
RP: Only if you uphold a rigid (ie non Marxist), notion of historical cha=
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