Myopia of Western Marxism: Trying to reinvent socialism without its history

A perverse piece by John Quiggin in The Guardian the other day, called ‘Socialism with a Spine‘. I cannot quite figure out if Quiggin is hitching his economics to Marxism at a convenient moment or whether some deeper affinity lurks somewhere. And I leave aside his strange effort to call European social democracy of the 1950s and 1960s ‘socialism’. Instead, what is striking is that he completely ignores a century of actual and complex efforts to construct socialism around the world – apart from a throwaway line concerning the Soviet Union and Mao’s China. As Losurdo has argued in a recent book, Western Marxism is predicated on a profound myopia.

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10 thoughts on “Myopia of Western Marxism: Trying to reinvent socialism without its history

  1. What is your take on all the new age Socialists who argue that “Real Socialism” has never been tried, that all past attempts to construct a socialist/communist government were “not really socialist,” and that a “true” and “real” socialist government has yet to be tried?

    1. A characteristic of not a few western Marxists and those influenced by them. About 6 years ago I wrote a piece on this, which I would revise now, but it is here: http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2011/boer081011.html. There I call it a type of romanticism, Losurdo sees it as a myopia. And if they do refer to Marx’s writing, it is the third section of ‘The Civil War in France’ where Marx waxes forth about the commune. But they neglect his observations on the dictatorship of the proletariat.

  2. The Guardian article is nothing more than propaganda. John Quiggin is almost certainly an intelligence asset. It’s an attempt at co-optation and damage control. Socialism is becoming more popular in the West and so they have to attack it from the ultra “left” as well as from the right. The CIA, for instance, has a long history of encouraging and assisting center-left political parties and even ultra-left groups as a way to steer people away from Marxism-Leninism.

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