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Is Marxism eurocentric?

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Is Marxism eurocentric?

Yes
8
30%
No
16
59%
Other
3
11%
 
Total votes : 27
Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 19 Dec 2013, 15:10
I sometimes read about Marxism being too "eurocentric" ( mostly from "post-something leftists" ). What do you think about this? Does it even make sense to call something that originated in Europe, built upon the knowledge and achievements of European thought and matured as a movement, ideology and so on there "eurocentric" as if a proletarian revolution could have been ( back in Marx's time ) relevant to anything but Europe?
Marxism is in my opinion universal so i voted no. It has been proven time and time again ( starting with the narodniks in Russia to the 20th century progressive movements that swore on "non-capitalist development" ) that the laws of capitalism are clear and apply to everywhere.
That the most prominent Marxists in history were almost all "White, straight men" and of course dealt mostly with European ( W. European to be precise ) issues does not, in my opinion, serve as some sort of an argument against it.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
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Philosophized
Post 19 Dec 2013, 15:38
The origins of Marx's thought would certainly have been Eurocentric by necessity. The world was a much "larger" place in the 1840's than it is now. Marx would have had access to the same sources of knowledge concerning history, politics, and social issues as everyone else - i.e., the classical and medieval historians, the published works of 18th century economists, and contemporary newspapers. Even a work like Hegel's "Philosophy Of History" was only possible because of very recent imperialist developments in the East, particularly India. So, naturally, Marx's initial outlook on the world would have had a specifically Eurocentric slant.

However, Marx's greatest insight was that capitalism, regardless of where it began, was universal in scope, and international in character. Although capitalism has had to be newly adapted and revised in various locales since it left northern Europe, the final results have been remarkably uniform wherever it has taken hold. So, long answer short: No, Marxism is not Eurocentric.
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 04 Aug 2004, 20:49
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Embalmed
Post 19 Dec 2013, 15:42
Other: many of the theories from which it springs are decidedly Eurocentric. There's also a kind of assumption prevalent across Western societies, which isn't necessarily helpful, that all societies have to follow the same progression as their own society has - condemning "primitive" societies to the wrath of a long, painful phase of industrialisation and the further ennoblement of a few people. It's much like when Chomsky wrote his Syntax and wrote his major theses that language is hard-wired to follow a particular plan, many languages have since been found in the far-flung corners of the globe that simply don't fit such a neat system of taxonomical categorisation.
If Marxism is to be applied in a non-Eurocentric way; in that case, it should not assume a feudal society need necessarily be followed by a bourgeois society, but instead look at things like the national-cultural particulars of a society in an empirical manner and not take anything for granted, or assume an outcome without properly looking at how shit's going down. Its application is often Eurocentric, but that's not particularly the fault of Marx himself or Marxism, which should definitely follow a scientific rule and definitely not jump any guns without showing its working out.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
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Post 19 Dec 2013, 19:36
No. Obviously Marx wrote about western Europe because that is where capitalism originated and was driving global progress at the time. In the 19th century places like China, Russia and Japan (for part of it) did not live under a capitalist mode of production (or at best, a very early form). Yet today, capitalism is thoroughly entrenched in those countries. However, capitalism did not arise there according to the classic Marxian model a la Britain, France, America and Germany etc. Rather, it was imposed from above. This shows that while Marx's analysis of the genesis of capitalism remains grounded in the conditions of western Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, capitalism is nonetheless universal in application. Therefore communism is as well.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 04 Aug 2004, 20:49
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Embalmed
Post 19 Dec 2013, 21:54
There are many fools who would disagree with you gRed, some Red D'Holbach character. You fail, despite apparently globally sweeping gestures, to have voted for a "yes" or "other" as I did. I find this intriguing.
Show how capitalism has been the same in Mongolia as it has been in Djibouti. In other words I want you to back up your claims of the universality of capitalism.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Mar 2005, 20:08
Embalmed
Post 19 Dec 2013, 22:08
Yes, Marxism is eurocentric and quite limited when it comes to social analysis. Mechanistically relying on Lewis H. Morgan's work as a foundation of the historical development of humanity doesn't exactly get your the best results. It was not until Comrade Stalin's works on Marxism-Leninism that Marxist theory was split into political economy, scientific communism (political science) and philosophy. Only after that could Marxism actually be usable outside of Europe, as its theories could be more flexible and could adapt to every country in the world because it relies on science and not theoretical masturbation.
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"Bleh, i don't even know what i'm arguing for. What a stupid rant. Disregard what i wrote." - Loz
"Every time is gyros time" - Stalinista
Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 20 Dec 2013, 00:03
Quote:
Only after that could Marxism actually be usable outside of Europe, as its theories could be more flexible and could adapt to every country in the world because it relies on science and not theoretical masturbation.

Which is why the only non-European revolution led by a Comintern-affiliated party that actually managed to achieve some sort of victory ( the Chinese one ) achieved all that not thanks to, but despite what Stalin and the Comintern were saying.
Stalin wasn't much of a theoretician but that pales in comparison with the historical praxis of Stalinism, a horrible tragedy.
Likewise the post-Stalin "flexible Marxism" as defined by Moscow, Beijing and Belgrade and Bucharest and Brazzavile has been even more of a complete farce.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Mar 2005, 20:08
Embalmed
Post 20 Dec 2013, 00:24
Loz wrote:
Which is why the only non-European revolution led by a Comintern-affiliated party that actually managed to achieve some sort of victory ( the Chinese one ) achieved all that not thanks to, but despite what Stalin and the Comintern were saying.
Stalin wasn't much of a theoretician but that pales in comparison with the historical praxis of Stalinism, a horrible tragedy.
Likewise the post-Stalin "flexible Marxism" as defined by Moscow, Beijing and Belgrade and Bucharest and Brazzavile has been even more of a complete farce.


I guess you are not very familiar with the early works of Mao Zedong, which were essentially outlines of Stalin-era theoretical courses on Marxism-Leninism. Of course, his movement achieved victory after the Comintern was disbanded, so I don't know if it even counts by your very narrow criteria of revolutions. Stalin was indeed quite the theoretician, Molotov pointed out in his interviews to Chuev that the entire outline of Marxism-Leninism was created by Stalin as a counter to Trotskyism and left- and right-wing deviationism back in the mid-1920s. You also seem to be missing Tirana in your list of cities.
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"Bleh, i don't even know what i'm arguing for. What a stupid rant. Disregard what i wrote." - Loz
"Every time is gyros time" - Stalinista
Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 20 Dec 2013, 00:38
Quote:
I guess you are not very familiar with the early works of Mao Zedong, which were essentially outlines of Stalin-era theoretical courses on Marxism-Leninism.

I'm not nor am i especially interested in them. Outlines of "Stalin-era theoretical courses on Marxism-Leninism" were being made in Moscow hotels on a weekly basis.

Quote:
Of course, his movement achieved victory after the Comintern was disbanded, so I don't know if it even counts by your very narrow criteria of revolutions.

Yes, since Mao stopped listening to what Moscow was saying after the massacres of 1927.

Quote:
Stalin was indeed quite the theoretician, Molotov pointed out in his interviews to Chuev that the entire outline of Marxism-Leninism was created by Stalin as a counter to Trotskyism and left- and right-wing deviationism back in the mid-1920s.

Interesting, since Stalin was in the right wing of the party in several periods, from before Lenin returned to Russia in April 1917 to the pre-collectivization period.

Quote:
You also seem to be missing Tirana in your list of cities.

It doesn't start with "B".
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Mar 2005, 20:08
Embalmed
Post 20 Dec 2013, 00:56
I guess then you are in denial of Stalin's and Marxism-Leninism's influence on Mao, in denial of the fact that in 1927 the USSR's policy was not ideologically Marxist-Leninist, in denial of the fact that Stalin was not in the right wing of the party and, lastly, in denial of the fact that Moscow starts with an M and not a with a B.
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"Bleh, i don't even know what i'm arguing for. What a stupid rant. Disregard what i wrote." - Loz
"Every time is gyros time" - Stalinista
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 20 Dec 2013, 01:21
Quote:
There are many fools who would disagree with you gRed, some Red D'Holbach character. You fail, despite apparently globally sweeping gestures, to have voted for a "yes" or "other" as I did. I find this intriguing.
Show how capitalism has been the same in Mongolia as it has been in Djibouti. In other words I want you to back up your claims of the universality of capitalism.


Forgot to vote, felt my comment was more important. Just voted no.

What do you mean by capitalism in Mongolia being "the same" as in Djibouti? All countries are slightly different. I'm sure German capitalism isn't identical to Brazilian capitalism. Doesn't mean they don't both operate under a capitalist system. If you are looking for differences but can't see the similarities then you clearly don't understand what capitalism is.

So a question for you: do you think Japan, China and Russia are not capitalist today? If capitalism is not globally applicable then why is this the case?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 15 Nov 2012, 01:18
Komsomol
Post 24 Dec 2013, 15:02
Quote:
Interesting, since Stalin was in the right wing of the party in several periods, from before Lenin returned to Russia in April 1917 to the pre-collectivization period.

Indeed, pre-April the donkey theif from Gori was mumbling about how the provisional government is the pinnacle of revolution


His mutant M-L "theory" is pretty much in the same spirit - demagoguery veiled in Marxist terminology that can be used to justify just about any reactionary bulls**t.

OP: as a theory of history it is (thus its inability to deal with Asiatic despotism), but it's living components such as diamat are not.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Sep 2006, 22:05
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Philosophized
Post 24 Dec 2013, 20:58
Unlike many "thinkers" Stalin was able to accept that he was wrong and changed accordingly.
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Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 26 Dec 2013, 18:36
No. That was one of the his nastier characteristics: always blaming others and generally being absolutely dishonest.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Nov 2014, 02:42
Pioneer
Post 16 Nov 2014, 14:33
I voted yes, but I want to qualify that. Karl Marx was writing from within his experience with Germany, France, and England. Naturally, that is what he understood. HOWEVER, and this is the big word here, his basic ideas on Capitalism could be applied to any Capitalist society anywhere the world. But it would take other thinkers to be able to adapt Marx to their environments to do that. I think if Marx was alive he would have been humble enough to admit that.

Marx wasn't an idiot. He and Engels were both bright men. Neither of them were schmucks. And I think that had they lived to see Mao's extension of their work, they might have been interested.

At the same time, I am not sure that either man would have approved of "Marxism-Leninism". I think the whole "Vanguard Party" business might have really bothered them. I know that Marx had quite an issue with the cult of personality, and I think that he might have questioned the idea of the Vanguard Party possibly leading to that.

So, in reality, perhaps I should have voted "Other". Das Kapital was definitely written from a European perspective. But its truths apply pretty much anywhere.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 12 Jun 2011, 15:14
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 16 Nov 2014, 17:28
In my opinion, it is my impression that outside of Europe, at the time, the peoples were either in a state of primitive communism, in more highly structured hierarchical societies, feudalism, or else were subject to western imperialism. So Marxism's critique of capitalism might not be specifically applicable in such cases.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Nov 2014, 02:42
Pioneer
Post 16 Nov 2014, 17:53
Hi, Jason:

I'm not so sure. In many cases, you would of course, definitely be correct. But Japan, for example, was definitely an example of a Capitalist State, I think, from my observations of its history at the time that Marx lived. And the question of course is this: when we say "Eurocentric", what do we mean? To me it means "Western Europe", ie, Germany, France, the UK, and of course, the United States, and the White parts of the British Empire (Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, and to a limited degree India). What about countries like the Ottoman Empire, in its death throes even as Marx wrote? It was clearly Feudal, but it was dying primarily because it couldn't handle the onslaught of Capitalism that was approaching it. What about the Austro-Hungarian Empire? Austria was CLEARLY Capitalist, but the Eastern, Slavic side was in many ways still quite Feudalistic.

Looking at the last mentioned State, Hitler (God forbid that I should have to bring him up as an Observant Jew, but unfortunately, he is relevant to our discussion) wrote at length about Austria-Hungary in his Mein Kampf. As much of a jerk (I can think of much worse to call him, but I shall avoid the colourful metaphors that might offend the Comrade Censors) as he was, he wasn't entirely wrong about that State. In fact, much of his analysis of the problems facing Austria-Hungary was accurate to a "T". His suggestions for solving those problems were horrifying, but the basic problems that he identified were accurate. The man was a crazy son-of-a-bitch, but he wasn't a fool.

Austria-Hungary was a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and lastly (and Hitler did NOT include this), multi-economic system State. The first three made the State hard enough to govern. I mean, it was a total mess from jump. As a citizen of Austria, Hitler saw that. Like I said, he may have been many things I don't like, but dumb wasn't one of them.

But one of the things he missed was that the country was multi-economic system. In the West, in Austria, the country was quite Capitalist, quite advanced, very much like its northern neighbour Germany, with whom it shared a common culture and language and peoplehood. The Eastern side was in many ways still VERY Feudalistic. This made the country even harder to govern than it already was. Aside from trying to govern a nation full of Germans and Slavs (who have NEVER really understood each other), then you throw in two economic structures, and man, you've got a total cluster!

So, I think that Marx was Eurocentric in a more narrow sense than even the question was asked. I think he was Eurocentric in a Western European sense. Granted, he did see toward the end of his life that things were picking up in Russia. A revolutionary tide was beginning to take hold in that nation. As to what form it would take at the time, I'm not sure anyone could say, not Marx, and not anyone else. But certainly the attempt on the Tsar's life was an indicator that not all was well within the Empire.

I don't know if that clears anything up, or makes it clear as mud.
Anyway, I look forward to the next reply.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 12 Jun 2011, 15:14
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 17 Nov 2014, 07:35
Japan was certainly an interesting case. It would have been what I'd term "industrial feudalism". While it had modern industry, it's society also retained a number of feudal features. Such as the ruling samurai class, which wasn't officially abolished until the latter part of the 19th century, and the zaibatsu, which was not abolished until after World War II. And also uniquely, feudalism lasted even into the industrial age, until the Meiji era, which began in 1868 http://asianhistory.about.com/od/japan/a/Feudalism-In-Japan-And-Europe.htm. And if you'll remember, the Communist Manifesto was published in 1848. So at the time, Japan was still a feudalistic society.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Jul 2007, 06:59
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Forum Commissar
Post 22 Nov 2014, 08:59
No.

Marx is not Marxism. One can argue that certain Marxian conceptions can seep into eurocentrism, but Marxism is a method which has been continually been applied and critiqued by numerous thinkers, including many non-Europeans, who have obtained valid results to explain their economic-political realities.

In the end, class struggle, materialism, ideology and the labor theory of value, to name just a few concepts, are not eurocentric.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
Ideology: Other Leftist
Pioneer
Post 23 Nov 2014, 15:02
Well, Marx sometimes expouses ideas like racism. Hes just a man. What do you expect, perfection ?
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