Re: [OPE-L] GPM, "Critica al neomarxista Samir Amin"

From: GERALD LEVY (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Sun Dec 02 2007 - 08:25:52 EST

Hi Jurriaan:
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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