From: Tony Tinker (Tony_Tinker@BARUCH.CUNY.EDU)
Date: Sun Dec 02 2007 - 10:14:47 EST
From: GERALD LEVY <gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM>
Sent by: OPE-L <OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU>
Date: 12/02/2007 08:25AM
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] GPM, "Critica al neomarxista Samir Amin"
I don't think that "Neo-Marxism" has any precise meaning: rather
it is basically a term of abuse. There are certainly examples
aplenty for its mis-use in Marxist polemics: e.g. (to cite something
you're familiar with) Ernest Mandel was accused [and indeed, it was
an accusation rather than merely a neutral descriptor] of
being a "Neo-Marxist". Isn't Samir simply getting a [foul] taste of
what Mandel received in the 1970's?
If it is so bad and heretical, supposedly, to put forward a "neo-"
perspective (recall the abuse that Mandel got for the expression
"neo-capitalism"? - later ammened to "late capitalism"), is
there anything at all in favor of revolutionaries saying that they
are "orthodox", "classical" or "fundamentalist" anything?
In solidarity, Jerry
> As far as I know, "Neo-Marxism" is a loose term to refer to various
> intellectual approaches (mostly post-WW2) which amend, modify or extend
> (orthodox or classical) Marxist theory, usually by including insights from
> other intellectual traditions. Examples would be the theories of the
> Frankfurt school, the "surplus approach" pioneered by Paul Baran, EO
> Wright's Marxist sociology or Althusser's structuralist Marxism.
> The presumption of the "neo-" stance is, that some aspects of Marxist
> orthodoxy are either inadequate or faulty, and therefore that some other
> theorems need to be added.
> The force of the "neo-" distinction therefore depends very much on how
> Marxist orthodoxy or classical Marxism is defined. For example, Lukacs
> defined Marxist orthodoxy exclusively in terms of adherence to Marx's own
> method, and not in terms of any particular Marxist doctrine or result. In
> that case, neo-Marxism would be defined as an approach which in some
> respects deviates from Marx's own method (if we can agree what it is).
> However, notions of "orthodox Marxism" and "classical Marxism" are
> themselves highly suspect (since Kautsky, Lenin, Trotsky, Luxemburg, Stalin,
> Gramsci and others also modified some of Marx's insights) and therefore what
> is "neo-" about neo-Marxism is a controversial matter. It presupposes that
> we can define the necessary and sufficient conditions that distinguish
> Marxism from all other approaches.
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