Anarchism / Marxism debates

Mon Aug 23 04:54:08 MDT 1999

>>> Louis Proyect <lnp3 at> 08/21 12:45 AM >>>

Marx was not a "stagist".


I wonder if any progress at all is possible in this debate.
I also wonder if anyone else out there finds your way of
thinking about this to be as ahistorical as I do. The world
has changed vastly since Marx's time. The Leninist theory of
imperialism is one response to such changes. According to
one version of this theory (the version that makes the most
sense to me), imperialism now reinforces the most backward,
pre-capitalist elements of peripheral societies as a means
of control over rural peoples, i.e. rule by tribal chiefs
and other similar types. In other words, in this epoch a
dynamic capitalism of the kind that emerged in Europe in the
eighteenth century will not suddenly emerge and
revolutionise third world countries. Give us some credit;
no-one with any brains at all believes that this kind of
capitalism can emerge anywhere ever again. That chapter is
closed. Period. Finito. What we have is a dependent
capitalism with no progressive aspects to it whatsoever, one
in which every backwardness and superstition of feudal,
semi-feudal and 'traditional' society is a repressive and
barbaric means of control over the rural masses. In what
sense does this give way to socialism? Marx never addressed
this. He didn't experience it and indeed it was a 'system'
that was only beginning to emerge in his lifetime. It has to
be destroyed as part of any anti-imperialist struggle today,
that is, as a precondition for socialism. (Just as an aside:
who is to say that Marx new better than Lenin about the
nature of Russian society?)


Louis Proyect

More information about the Marxism mailing list