neo-marxism?

ÁÎ×Ó¹â Henry C.K.Liu ¹ù¤l¥ú hliu at SPAMmindspring.com
Sun May 21 11:12:58 MDT 2000


I cannot offer an authoritative definition of neo-marxism.  I am not
even certain it is a commonly accepted term among marxists.

Yet Marx was born in 1818 and died in 1883, 117 years ago.  The
centennial of Marx's death occurred before the fall of the USSR.  We
have neo-liberalism, post Keynesianism, post-modernism, so it is not
surprising that neo-marxism is an entertainable idea.

By the time Marx was active intellectually, socialism was already in
full bloom.  Marx became editor of Rheinische Zietung in 1842 before its
demands for radical reform brought about its suppression a year later.
Marx then went to Paris where he began a life-long association with
Engels.  Marx studied the works of Adam Smith, Ricardo, Saint Simon,
Sismondi and others.  Marx wrote "Misere de la philosophie" in 1847
(Eng. transl. 1910) attacking  the individualistic radicalism of
Proudhon.  In it, Marx attempted to systematize his own thoughts.  He
co-authored with Engels an exposition on Dialectical Materialism
entitled "Die deutsche Ideologie", a reversal of Hegelian dialectical
idealism.  The significance of DM lies in its breaking away from
justifying social reform based on appeal to natural rights, and its
invocation of "inevitable" laws of history to predict the eventual
triumph of the working class.  Marx became leader of the Communist
League and wrote with Engels the epoch-making Communist Manifesto in
1848 and popularized the concept of class struggle.  The failure of the
revolutions of 1848 showed Marx the need to raise the class
consciousness and solidarity of workers through the founding of open
revolutionary political parties.  Exiled from Europe, Marx worked in the
library of British Museum in bitter poverty that caused the premature
death of several of his children.  In 1864, Marx helped found the
International Workingmen's Association.  It was through this First
International and through the work of Ferdinand Lassalle and others that
Marx's ideas began to gain primacy in European socialist and radical
thought.

The first volume of Das Kapital was published in 1867 (Eng. tr. 1887 and
1928); vols. II-III, edited by Engels, was published in 1885-94 (Eng.
tr. 1907-9).  The manuscript for the fourth volume was edited by Karl
Kautsky and published as  "Theorien uber den Mehrwert" (3 parts,
1905-10).  Eng. tr. of the 1st part: "A History of Economic Theories",
was published in 1952; selected translations from this work were
published as "Theories of Surplus Value" in 1951.  Das Kapital provided
a thorough exposition of Marxism and became the foundation of
international socialism.  The Gotha Program, published in 1891 (Eng. tr.
1922) is a critique of bourgeois embellishments of the German Social
Democrats in favor of hard-line policies.

Marxism is also known as scientific (as opposed to utopian) socialism.
Many elements of the Marxist system had been drawn from earlier economic
and social thought, such as Hegel, Saint Simon, Sismondi, Ricardo,
Fourier and Louis Blanc.  Yet Marx was unquestionably an original
thinker of first order.

The fundamental thesis of dialectical materialism is that the history of
society is the inexorable history of class struggle. The premise of
class struggle states that a specific class could rule only as long as
it best represented the economically productive forces of society.  When
the productive function of a class becomes outmoded, it would be
destroyed and replaced by unstoppable social forces.  From this
continuing dynamic process a classless society would eventually emerge.

In modern capitalist society, the bourgeois class had destroyed and
replaced the obsolete feudal aristocracy and had performed the
economically creative task of establishing the new industrial order.
The stage had been set for the struggle between the bourgeoisie, which
is reaching the end of its historic role, and the proletariat, composed
of industrial workers, who had become the true productive class.

The economic theories supporting Marx's historical premises are the
labor theory of value and the concept of surplus value.  Marxism
supposes that the value of a commodity is determined by the amount of
labor required for it production.  Surplus value between the value of
labor and the value of labor's products is surplus value, what
capitalism calls profit.  The bourgeoisie has profited in a
socio-political system which legitimizes profit, one whose internal
contradict will lead to  its inevitable downfall.

But this inevitability can be postponed, as Lenin observed, by the
advent of 19-20th century imperialism, as neo-liberal globalization is
now doing.

Operationally, marxism stands for efforts to accelerate the historical
process, through intellectual awareness raising and political action.
Despite structural internal contradictions, capitalism is not about to
lie down and die a natural death.  Capitalism continues to evolve
theoretically and politically, sapping the creative energy of
civilization through its control of profit.  Capitalism stole the
Marxist concept of the "withering away of the state" in a classless
society after the revolution, by attempts to render irrelevant the
sovereign state in the Westphalian context in a new globalized
capitalistic empire.  It distorts the concept of popular democracy with
the devious workings of representational democracy based on wealth,
class and race.  Capitalism promote bogus individual freedom to defuse
the masses' right to freedom from want and exploitation.  It promote
revisionism within marxist societies as scientific economic truth, by
camouflaging pervasive capitalist dominance as natural laws.  It
exploits technological development to transform industrial capitalism
into financial capitalism in which the conditions behind the labor
theory of value and the concept of surplus value are quite different
from conditions during Marx's time.  Surplus value now is measured in
capital gain rather than cash flow, for example. Capital is no longer
accumulated by gradual surplus value, but created by discriminatory
credit policies. The concept and definition of class are different in
today's world than in the 19th century.  Globally, the farming peasants
are the most populous exploited class and industrial workers are
shrinking in number by the introduction of automation.  White collar
workers are confused about their class allegiance.
In the age of information and communication, the majority interest will
prevail, with luck without violence, but most likely with violence.
Despite US fixations, majority interest does not necessarily spell
capitalism or representative democracy.
Post-war socialism collapsed in the 80's not because its fundamental
economic theories are inoperative, but because in defending the
environment to make socialist principles work, socialists governments
had to adopt garrison state mentality that overshadowed all other
potential benefits.  On the other hand, capitalist market fundamentalism
worked for as long as this mutation of socialism was posed as a false
alternative.
Now, as the sole remaining operative system, capitalist market
fundamentalism is faced with its own internal contradictions.

The sole function of government is to protect the weak, because the
strong is itself government and needs no other.  This truth gave birth
to monarchism: the king's function was to protect the peasants from
aristocratic abuse. So in modern terms, the government's function is to
maintain socialist and populists values in the context of capitalist
market fundamentalism.  As such, one of the tasks of neo-marxism is
retain existing control and gain new control of as many governments as
possible, while further developing maxist principle according to
objective understanding of current and evolving conditions, away from
revisionism.

Henry


soil_ride wrote:

>  I am not firm on new terms that i come across, so please bear with
> me. What is
> >missing is a neo-marxism to cambat neoliberalism. Wow.  I have only
> heard once of this term. neo-marxism.  I really dont know what to make
> of that i have never really seen it in context accept here...
> Neo-Marxism what exactly is that and is it an entirely NEW MARXISM?
> Maybe i should have a dictionary ready...but doesnt neo- mean new,
> reformed?  Or is it in this sentence, a new way of applying marxism
> against neoliberalism and hegemony? Is it a new movement by itself
> outside or within marxism or does it mean basically the same thing as
> marxism?






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