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Is Marxism eurocentric?

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Is Marxism eurocentric?

Total votes : 27
Post 23 Nov 2014, 19:44
Marxism is, decidedly, "a" - the highest- product of Western thinking. It is the highest product of a tradition started by Hellenistic philosophy, having gone through Catholic scholasticism and German idealism. From that point of view, of course it's "eurocentric". However its implications certainly have global significance, and you could make an argument that its later developers - Trotsky and Ted Grant - had to a large extent overcome any "eurocentric" limitations present in early Marxism.
Post 24 Nov 2014, 01:18
Karl Marx's writings were eurocentric and borderline racist when writing on Asia. Theres a reason why no Asian communist party ever talked about Marx's asiatic mode of production with nothing more then disdain. Of course, this doesn't mean that Marxism is eurocentric since Asian Marxists have been able to use Marxist speech to describe the situation in their countries. If the question was; are Karl Marx's writings eurocentric I would have voted yes, but to say that Marxism as a whole in Eurocentric is going a bit to far. But its important to note that most of the leading Marxist theoriticians are European; Marx, Engels, Lenin, Gramsci, Althusser etc.

On the question of Mao and Stalin's influence... Mao had never read any of the classical texts of Marxism until after he came to power since the works were not translated into Chinese until after the communists took power. Mao, as he himself admitted, was terrible language learner and therefore opted to learn about Marxist theory through the Comintern pamphlets (which were written by Soviet Marxist-Leninists in most cases). Therefore yes, its right, Stalin influenced Mao, but in general, the most radical features of Mao Zedong Thought are more similar to Leninism then Stalinism. For instance the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was similar in aim (but wider and more aggressive in scope) then the Soviet Cultural Revolution launched in the 1920s, and ended by Stalin.
Post 25 Nov 2014, 01:37
Mao had never read any of the classical texts of Marxism until after he came to power since the works were not translated into Chinese until after the communists took power.

I wonder who is "borderline racist" and eurocentric there.

"The translation of Marxist-Leninist literature was very popular in China from 1920 to 1950. As early as 1906, excerpts of the Communist Manifesto were translated into Chinese by Zhu Zhixin (1885-1920) and Min Ming. The Complete version of this Marxist classic was translated by Chen Wangdao (1890-1977) in 1920. Chen, with the support of Chen Duxiu (1880-1942), formed the first Marxist society in China. In 1912 and 1920 the first ranslation of Engel's Development of Socialism from Utopian to Scientific by Shi Renrong and Zheng Cichan was made, but it was not until 1938 that a full version of the work was translated by Wu Liping and Bo Gu. Marx's Critique of the Gothe Programme was translated by Xiong Deshan in 1925. Excerpts of Engels' Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State were introduced by Xiong Deshan in 1923 and later two complete Chinese versions were published, one by Yang XIanjiang in 1929 and the other by Zhang Zhongshi in 1939. During the four years from 1930 to 1934, the first volume of Marx's Capital was translated. It was in 1938 that a complete translation of the tree-volume Capital was done by Guo Dali (1905-1976) and Wang Ya'nan (1901-1969). By 1949, most of Marx's and Engel's works had been translated into Chinese. Leninism was also introduced into China in 1920. Over seventy translators took part in the translation of works by Lenin and Stalin. From 1921 to 1949, more than 500 Marxist-Leninist works were translated and published. In 1953, the Chinese Communist Party set up its Translation and Edition Bureau for the Works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin, which had a team of more than 200 translators. By 1984 the Bureau had translated and published fifty volumes of works by Marx and Engels, thirty-nine volumes by Lenin and thriteen volumes by Stalin." ... es&f=false
Post 26 Nov 2014, 01:05
Mao had never read any of the classical texts of Marxism until after he came to power since the works were not translated into Chinese until after the communists took power.

How is it racist that he didn't read it until it was translated into his native language? Das Kapital is a notoriously hard book to read (and to get anything from). I literally have problems reading certain Marxists text in my native tongue - whoever says Marxism is easy to get the hang off obviously doesn't understand Marxism.

I'll be honest, I don't know enough about this do discuss with you. What I do know is this, the scholar Alexander Pantsov in Mao: The Real Story says explicitely that Mao wasn't able to read classical Marxist text since they more often then not translated (the man could only speak Chinese), were difficult to obtain or he didn't have the time.. He began reading Soviet pamphlets during the 1930s (during the Jiangxi Soviet)... This makes sense since the Chinese authorities in general couldn't have been very supportive of the Marxists text in the first way, and probably try to stop their circulation. Of course, this doesn't mean Mao Zedong didn't know what Marxism was... Its a very good book I must add; he's able to let the facts speak for themselves, letting the reader intepret them.. THats what a good historian should do... AGain, I must add, I'm no specialist of Mao (and have only read the one book), but he did not read the classical texts... Several historians make this point, and it does explain some of the non-Marxists characteristics of his thought (for instance that individuals and not productive or even structural forces are the main driving force of historical change).
Post 26 Nov 2014, 03:41
"The only available writings of Marx were an abbreviated version of The Communist Manifesto published in the Weekly Review and The Critique of the Gotha Programe, openly polemical leftist brochures that called for the violent overthrow of bourgeois rule and the establishment of a dictatorship of the working class. Among Lenin's writings he had access only to "Political Parties in Russia and the Tasks of the Proletariat," written by the Bolshevik leader in early April 1917. There was also a translation of the "Manifesto of the Communist International to the Proletariat of the World", written by Trotsky for the First Congress of the Comintern, the world communist organization created by the Bolsheviks in March 1919. Mao also carefully several other works that explicated communist ideas, including Class Struggle by German Marxist Karl Kautsky and A History of Socialism by the British philosopher and Fabian socialist Thomas Kirkup."

Excerpt from your book.

That was in 1919. Mao sized power in 1949. So now open your book, start reading it, and stop slandering Uncle Mao.
Post 01 May 2015, 21:05
Sure, I think Marx was deeply shaped by his personal experience. It has taken a journey, but now, for me, communism is bigger than Marx, bigger even than com. Lenin! We often boast that the most basic, common-sense human notions cry out in support of communism. Why must such a simple thing, then, have been infallibly defined by historical theorists who made due with the best intellectual and experiential resources and precedents available to them for their historical context? Communism is the spirit of humanity! It is bigger even than the best and most admirable efforts of Marx, who really didn't do so abysmally as many economists today say, if I do say so myself! But yes, in the age of the development of the steam engine, Karl Marx analysed Europe to fault for his work to be mechanically applied everywhere, as he specifically gave instructions against!

Sorry for such a long post! One last thing, though. Having been brought up in homeschooling, born-again Christian family, I used to view, at least subconsciously or unthoughtfully, and think of Marx similarly to how I used to view the Bible; if I found one inconsistency with the Bible as we had it today and another historically accepted manuscript, I would ask "Why, God‽ Why would You let us be misled‽ Why didn't You preserve Your holy Word‽". (Actually, I more of found out about all the inconsistencies all at once, but I hope my point is clear!) Later, I realized theodicy and its invalidity, and then historical Scriptural mutability was no longer a problem for me, because there was no longer any premise of a holy God who wouldn't mess around with His holy Word! So sure, perhaps it was divinely inspired! Okay that has to be one of the worst analogies I have ever heard, but MY POINT WAS . . . ! It isn't a troubling challenge to me anymore is Marx's or Lenin's works turn out to be slightly wrong or invalid or less than superlative in one context or another, because in the first place, Marx wrote in the Manifest that some of the material was outdated to to changed conditions! Imagine what he would have to say about "Marxism" today! And in the second, if I can put it humorously — unlikely! — "Marxism-Leninism is bigger than either Marx or Lenin!".

Well, at least I'm producing website traffic!
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