[Marxism] Samir Amin's "Beyond US Hegemony"
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Dec 29 11:33:49 MST 2006
Although world systems theorists are united in their opposition to
capitalism and their preference for socialism, somehow the question
of revolution tends to get lost in the shuffle. Furthermore, since
the unit of analysis is the entire planet viewed from the
geopolitical stratosphere rather than a specific country (why bother
with such petty details), there is a tendency to use the discourse of
hegemonic and subhegemonic nations/blocs rather than ruling class and
ruled. Finally, the emphasis is on redressing imbalances between
hegemons and subhegemons rather than figuring out ways to eliminate
these categories entirely. While nobody would deny the Third World a
larger slice of the pie, isn't the job of socialists to think past
such a schema?
Perhaps the most extreme form of this tendency was Andre Gunder
Frank's "Re-Orient", the last book that this great dependency
theorist wrote. It argued that finally after 300 years or so, China
would emerge as a new hegemon and take the place of the United
States, which leads me to wonder, as the old Peggy Lee song put it,
"Is that all there is?"
In some ways, this approach overlaps with what Hugo Chavez has dubbed
an "axis of good," referring quite rightly to the alliance between
Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia. For many, this might be extended to all
those countries in Latin America that have remained willing to
collaborate with the "axis of good", including Brazil, Argentina and
Chile. But why stop there? If the goal is to unite all those
countries or blocs that can potentially be recruited to a global
alliance that rejects the extreme violence and predation associated
with the bogus "war on terror," why not look toward India, Russia and
China, countries that while clearly committed to capitalist growth
appear less crazed?
That in essence is the argument found in Samir Amin's "Beyond U.S.
Hegemony: Assessing the Prospects for a Multiplural World." As
opposed to the hegemonic bloc constituted by the U.S. and Great
Britain, Amin explains in his introduction that "other hegemonic
blocs are possible", a formulation that obviously owes something to
"another world is possible" but dispensing with its ambitiousness.
According to Amin, "Such alternative blocs will not necessarily be
called upon to make a radical break with the requirements of
capitalism, but they may very well force capitalism to adapt to
certain demands that do not conform to its peculiar logic." Not quite
the stuff easily translated into a slogan, but certainly well-meaning.
More information about the Marxism