Marx in New Light

MARCELLO MUSTO, 39, teaches Sociological Theory at York University (Toronto). His books and articles have been published worldwide in 20 languages.Among his edited and co-authored volumes, reprinted in several editions, are Karl Marx’s ‘Grundrisse’: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy 150 Years Later (2008 – Chinese translation, CRUP, 2012); Marx for Today (Chinese translation, CRUP, forthcoming 2016); and The International after 150 Years: Labour Versus Capital, Then and Now (2015), all published by Routledge.

He has also edited the first anthology on the International Working Men’s Association ever realised in the English language, Workers Unite! The International 150 Years Later (Bloomsbury 2014). Among his forthcoming books are the monographs Another Marx: An Essay in Intellectual Biography (Bloomsbury 2017); The Formation of Marx’s ‘Capital’ (Pluto, 2017); and the edited volume, The Marx Revival: Major Concepts and New Critiques (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

As part of his broad academic tour in India, he visited Chennai recently to deliver two talks and answered some questions from S.V. Rajadurai, well-known Tamil writer and social activist.

You are known for your work on Marx’s reception in the world. Let’s start this interview with a topic not very known to Indian readers of Marx and Marxism. Could you tell us the most important steps in the history of the publication of Marx and Engels’ complete editions?

The natural executor of the realisation of this opera omnia could not have been anyone other than the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, holder of the Nachlaß and whose members had the greatest linguistic and theoretical competencies. Nevertheless, political conflicts within social democracy not only impeded the publication of the imposing mass of unpublished works by Marx but caused the dispersal of his manuscripts, compromising any suggestion of a systematic edition. Unbelievably, the German party did not curate any, treating their literary legacy with the maximum negligence imaginable. None of its theoreticians drew up a list of the intellectual estate of the two founders. Nor did they dedicate themselves to collecting the correspondence, extensive but extremely dispersed, despite the fact that it was clearly a very useful source of clarification, if not a continuation, of their writings.

The first publication of the complete works, Marx Engels Gesamtausgabe (MEGA), occurred only in the 1920s, at the initiative of David Borisoviè Ryazanov, director of the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow. This undertaking also ran aground, however, owing to the turbulent events of the international workers’ movement, which often established obstacles rather than favoured the publication of their works. The Stalinist purges in the Soviet Union, which also affected the scholars working on the project, and the rise of Nazism in Germany, led to the early interruption of the publication.

The early works were only published in MEGA as late as 1927 for Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, and 1932 for Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 and The German Ideology. As had already occurred with the second and third books of Capital, they were published in editions in which they appeared as completed works, a choice that would later demonstrate itself to be the source of numerous interpretative misunderstandings. Later still, some of the important preparatory works for Capital, in 1933 the draft chapter 6 of Capital on the “Results of the Direct Production Process”, and between 1939 and 1941 Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy, better known as the Grundrisse, were published in a print run that secured only a very limited circulation.

The first Russian edition of the collected works was also completed in the Soviet Union between 1928 and 1947: the Soèinenija (Complete Works). In spite of the name, it only included a partial number of writings, but with 28 volumes (in 33 books) it constituted the most complete collection in quantitative terms of the two authors at the time. The second Soèinenija, then, appeared between 1955 and 1966 in 39 volumes (42 books). From 1956 to 1968 in the German Democratic Republic, at the initiative of the central committee of the SED, 41 volumes in 43 books of Marx Engels Werke (MEW) were published. Such an edition, however, far from complete, was weighed down by introductions and notes which, following the model of the Soviet edition, guided the reader according to the ideology of Marxism-Leninism.

The project of a “second” MEGA, planned as the faithful reproduction with an extensive critical apparatus of all the writings of the two thinkers, was reborn during the 1960s. Nevertheless, these publications, begun in 1975, were also interrupted, this time following the events of 1989. In the 1990s, with the goal of continuing this edition, the Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis of Amsterdam and the Karl Marx Haus in Trier formed the Internationale Marx-Engels-Stiftung (IMES). After a difficult phase of reorganisation, in the course of which new editorial principles were approved, the publication of the so-called MEGA2 commenced in 1998.

You have benefited immensely from MEGA2 and have made significant contributions for understanding Karl Marx and his thought in a new light. Can you tell us about this project?

The reorganisation of the ongoing edition of Marx’s writings and the transfer of the MEGA² headquarters to the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften is one of the most significant examples of the renewed interest for Marx’s work in the academia today.

This project, in which scholars of various disciplinary competences from numerous countries participate, is articulated in four sections: the first includes all the works, articles, and drafts excluding Capital; the second includes Capital and its preliminary studies starting from 1857; the third is dedicated to the correspondence; while the fourth includes excerpts, annotations, and marginalia. Of the 114 planned volumes, more than 60 have already been published (more than 20 since recommencement in 1998), each of which consists of two books: the text plus the critical apparatus, which contains the indices and many additional notes.

The editorial acquisitions of MEGA² have produced important results in all the four sections. In the first, Werke, Artikel und Entwürfe, research was recommenced with the publication of many new volumes, in particular on Marx’s journalistic work. The research for the second section of MEGA², ‘Das Kapital’ und Vorarbeiten, has concentrated in recent years on the second and third book of Capital.

The third section of MEGA², Briefwechsel, contains the letters exchanged by Marx and Engels throughout their lives, as well as those between them and the numerous correspondents with whom they were in contact. The total number of the letters in this correspondence is enormous. More than 4,000 written by Marx and Engels (2,500 of which are between themselves) have been found, as well as 10,000 addressed to them by third parties, the large majority of which were unpublished before MEGA2. Furthermore, there is firm evidence of the existence of another 6,000 letters, though these have not been preserved. Several new volumes have been edited which now allow us to re-read important phases of Marx’s intellectual biography through the letters of those with whom he was in contact.

The novelties of the historical critical edition are also noticeable in the fourth section, Exzerpte, Notizen, Marginalien. This contains Marx’s numerous summaries and study notes, which constitute a significant testimony to his mammoth work. From his university years, he adopted the life-long habit of compiling notebooks of extracts from the books he read, often breaking them up with the reflections which they prompted him to make. The Nachlaß of Marx contains approximately 200 notebooks of summaries. These are essential for the knowledge and comprehension of the genesis of his theory and of the parts of it that he didn’t have the chance to develop as he wished. The conserved extracts, which cover the long arch of time from 1838 until 1882, are written in eight languages—German, Ancient Greek, Latin, French, English, Italian, Spanish and Russian—and treat the widest range of disciplines. They were taken from texts of philosophy, art, religion, politics, law, literature, history, political economy, international relations, technology, mathematics, physiology, geology, mineralogy, agronomy, ethnology, chemistry, and physics, as well as newspaper and journal articles, parliamentary reports, statistics, reports, and publications of government offices—as amongst these are the famous “Blue Books”, in particular Reports of the inspectors of factories, which contained investigations of great importance for his studies. This immense mine of knowledge, in large part still unpublished, was the building site of Marx’s critical theory. The fourth section of MEGA2, planned for 32 volumes, will provide access to it for the first time.


This is very interesting. Can you give us the example of one special volume you really find useful for the new research on Marx?

Well, I think I’d mention the volume IV/32. If Marx’s manuscripts, before being published, knew numerous ups and downs, the books owned by Marx and Engels suffered an even worse fate. After Engels’ death, the two libraries that contained their books with interesting marginalia and underlinings were ignored and in part dispersed and only subsequently reconstructed and catalogued with difficulty. The volume “Karl Marx-Friedrich Engels, Die Bibliotheken von Karl Marx und Friedrich Engels” (IV/32) is in fact the fruit of 75 years of research. It consists of an index of 1,450 books in 2,100 volumes—or two-thirds of those owned by Marx and Engels —which includes notes of all the pages of each volume on which there are annotations. It is a publication in advance which will be integrated when MEGA2 is completed by the index of books not available today (the total number of those that have been recovered is 2,100 books in 3,200 volumes), with indications of marginalia, present in 40,000 pages of 830 texts, and the publication of comments on readings taken in the margins of the volumes. As many who were in close contact with Marx have noted, he did not consider books as objects of luxury, but instruments of work. He treated them badly, folding the corners of pages, and underlining in them. “They are my slaves and have to obey my will,” he said of his books. On the other hand, he indulged in them with extreme devotion, to the point of defining himself as “a machine condemned to devour books in order to expel them, in a different form, on the dunghill of history”. To be able to know some of his readings—and one should nevertheless remember that his library gives only a partial cross-section of the tireless work that he conducted for decades in the British Museum in London—as well as his comments in relation to these, constitute a precious resource for the reconstruction of his research. It also helps to refute the false hagiographical Marxist-Leninist interpretation that has often represented his thought as the fruit of a sudden lightning strike and not, as it was in reality, as an elaboration full of theoretical elements derived from predecessors and contemporaries.

What in your opinion is the contribution of Engels for shaping and developing Marxism?

After Marx’s death in 1883, Friedrich Engels was the first to dedicate himself to the very difficult task —due to the dispersion of the material, obscurity of language and the illegibility of the handwriting—of editing his friend’s legacy. His work concentrated on reconstruction and selection from the original materials, on the publication of unedited or incomplete texts and, at the same time, on the republication and translation of writings already known.

Even if there were exceptions, such as the case of Theses on Feuerbach, edited in 1888 as an appendix to his Ludwig Feuerbach and End of classical German philosophy, and Critique of the Gotha Programme, which came out in 1891, Engels focussed almost exclusively on the editorial work for the completion of Capital, of which only the first volume was published before Marx’s death. This undertaking, lasting more than a decade, was pursued with the explicit intention of realising “a connected and as far as possible complete work” (Preface to Capital, vol. II).

Previously, however, Engels had already directly contributed to a process of theoretical systematisation with his own writings. Appearing in 1879, Anti-Dühring, defined by Engels as the “more or less connected exposition of the dialectical method and of the communist world outlook championed by Marx and myself”, became a crucial point of reference in the formation of “Marxism” as a system and its differentiation from the eclectic socialism widespread at the time. Evolution of Socialism from Utopia to Science had even more importance: it was a re-elaboration, for the purposes of popularisation, of three chapters of the previous work, published for the first time in 1880, and enjoyed a success comparable to that of Manifesto of the Communist Party.

Even if there was a clear difference between this type of popularisation, undertaken in open polemic with the simplistic short-cuts of the encyclopaedic syntheses, and that adopted by the next generation of the German Social Democracy (SPD), Engels’ recourse to the natural sciences sometimes opened the way to the evolutionistic conception of social Darwinism which, soon after, in particular with Kautsky, would also be affirmed in the workers’ movement.

Having in mind the forthcoming 150th anniversary of Marx’s “Capital”, what is the contribution of Engels for the publication of Marx’s masterpiece?

Many of the latest philological insights of the new historical-critical edition highlight a peculiar feature of Marx’s work: incompleteness. Marx left many more manuscripts than printed writings. This was also the case of Capital, whose entire publication, including all the preparatory works from 1857 onwards, has been brought to its accomplishment in the second section of MEGA2 only in 2013.

After Marx’s death, Engels was the first to tackle the challenging enterprise—given the dispersion of the materials, the oddity of Marx’s language and the illegibility of his handwriting—of publishing the fragmentary Nachlaß of his friend. This series of difficulties is especially apparent in the third book of Capital, the only one to which Marx was unable, even roughly, to provide a definitive form. The intense editing activity on which Engels focussed his efforts in the period between 1885 and 1894 resulted in a transition from a very rough text, mainly comprising thoughts recorded in statu nascendi and preliminary notes, to an organic text.

If we, for example, consider Capital vol. III, Engels had to make determinative editorial decisions. The most recent philological acquisitions estimate that Engels’ editorial interventions in this text amount to circa 5,000, a quantity much greater than that which had been assumed up until now. The modifications consist in additions and cancellations of passages in the text, modifications of its structure, insertion of titles of paragraphs, substitutions of concepts, re-elaborations of some formulations of Marx, or translations of words adopted from other languages. The text given to the printers only emerged at the end of this work.

Marx’s manuscripts of Capital recently published by MEGA2 depict, with unequivocal exactitude, the course traversed by them up to their published version and, throwing into sharp relief the number of interventions in the text—far greater than had till now been hypothesised; they allow us to understand the strengths and weaknesses of Engels in his role as editor.


But you have also blamed some Marxists for misinterpreting Marx. Is that correct?

Marx’s thought, indisputably critical and open, fell foul of the cultural climate in Europe at the end of the 19th century. As never before, it was a culture pervaded by the popularity of systematic conceptions—above all by Darwinism. In order to respond to it, the newly born Marxism, which had precociously become an orthodoxy in the pages of the review Die Neue Zeit under Kautsky’s editorship, rapidly conformed to this model.

A schematic doctrine took shape, an elementary evolutionistic interpretation soaked in economic determinism: the Marxism of the period of the Second International (1889–1914). Guided by a firm though naive conviction of the automatic forward progress of history, and therefore of the inevitable replacement of capitalism by socialism, it demonstrated itself to be incapable of comprehending actual developments, and, breaking the necessary link with revolutionary praxis, it produced a sort of fatalistic quietism that promoted stability for the existing order.

The theory of crisis [Zusammenbruchstheorie] or the thesis of the impending end of bourgeois-capitalist society, which found its most favourable expression in the economic crisis of the great depression unfolding during the 20 years after 1873, was proclaimed as the fundamental essence of scientific socialism. Marx’s affirmations, aiming at the delineation of the dynamic principles of capitalism and, more generally, at describing the tendencies of development within them, were transformed into universally valid historical laws from which it was possible to deduce the course of events, even particular details.

The idea of a contradictory agonised capitalism, autonomously destined to break down, was also present in the theoretical framework of the first entirely “Marxist” platform of a political party, The Erfurt Programme of 1891 and in Kautsky’s commentary, which announced how “inexorable economic development leads to the bankruptcy of the capitalist mode of production with the necessity of a law of nature. The creation of a new form of society in place of the current one is no longer something merely desirable but has become inevitable.” It was the clearest and most significant representation of the intrinsic limits of the conception of the time, as well as of its vast distance from the man who had been its inspiration.

Even Eduard Bernstein, who conceived of socialism as possibility and not as inevitability and hence signalled a discontinuity with the interpretations that were dominant in that period, read Marx in an equally artificial way, which didn’t differ at all from other readings of the time, and contributed to the diffusion of an image of him, by means of the wide resonance of the Bernstein-Debatte, that was equally false and instrumental.

In your writings, you have extended your critique also to Soviet Union and Russian Marxism. Is that true?

Russian Marxism, which in the course of the 20th century played a fundamental role in the popularisation of Marx’s thought, followed this trajectory of systematisation and vulgarisation with even greater rigidity.

Indeed, for its most important pioneer, Georgii Plekhanov, “Marxism is a complete conception of the world”, imbued with a simplistic monism on the base of which the superstructural transformations of society proceed simultaneously with economic modifications. Despite the harsh ideological conflicts of these years, many of the theoretical elements characteristic of the Second International were carried over into those that would mark the cultural matrix of the Third International. This continuity was clearly manifest in Theory of Historical Materialism published in 1921 by Nikolai Bukharin, according to which “in nature and society there is a definite regularity, a fixed natural law. The determination of this natural law is the first task of science.” The outcome of this social determinism, completely concentrated on the development of the productive forces, generated a doctrine according to which “the multiplicity of causes that make their action felt in society does not contradict in the least the existence of a single law of social evolution”.

With the construal of Marxism-Leninism, the process of corruption of Marx’s thought was given its most definitive manifestation. Deprived of its function as a guide to action, theory became its a posteriori justification. The point of no return was reached with ‘Diamat’ (Dialekticeskij materializm), “the world outlook of the Marxist-Leninist party”. J.V. Stalin’s booklet of 1938, On Dialectical Materialism and Historical Materialism, which had a wide distribution, fixed the essential elements of this doctrine: the phenomena of collective life are regulated by “necessary laws of social development”, “perfectly recognisable”, and “the history of society appears as a necessary development of society, and the study of the history of society becomes a science”. That “means that the science of the history of society, despite all the complexity of the phenomena of social life, can become a science just as exact as, for example, biology, capable of utilising the laws of development of society in order to make use of them in practice” and that, consequently, the task of the party of the proletariat is to base its activity on these laws. It is evident how the misunderstanding of the concepts of the “scientific” and “science” reached its apex. The scientificity of Marx’s method, based on scrupulous and coherent theoretical criteria, was replaced by methodologies of the natural sciences in which contradiction was not involved. Finally, the superstition of the objectivity of historical laws, according to which these operate like laws of nature independently of men’s will, was affirmed.

Next to this ideological catechism, the most rigid and stringent dogmatism was able to find ample space. Marxist-Leninist orthodoxy imposed an inflexible monism that also produced perverse effects on the writings of Marx. Unquestionably, with the Russian revolution Marxism enjoyed a significant moment of expansion and circulation in geographical zones and social classes from which it had, until then, been excluded.

`Nevertheless, the circulation of the texts involved far more manuals of the party, handbooks and ‘Marxist’ anthologies on various arguments, than texts by Marx himself. Furthermore, while the censorship of some texts increased, others were dismembered and manipulated: for example, by practices of extrapolation into purposeful pointed assemblages of citations. The recourse to these was a result of preordained ends, and they were treated in the same way that the bandit Procrustes reserved for his victims: if they were too long, they were amputated, if too short, lengthened.

What are your conclusions, then?

In conclusion, the relation between the promulgation and the non-schematisation of thought, between its popularisation and the need not to impoverish it theoretically, is without doubt very difficult to realise, even more so the critical and deliberately non-systematic thought of Marx. At any rate, nothing worse could have happened to him.

Distorted by different perspectives into being a function of contingent political necessities, he was assimilated to these and reviled in their name. From being critical, his theory was utilised as Bible-like verses and out of these exegeses was born the most unthinkable paradox. Far from heeding his warning against “writing receipts […] for the cook-shops of the future”, he was transformed, instead, into the father of a new social system.

A very rigorous critic and never complacent with his conclusions, he became instead the source of the most obstinate doctrinarianism. A firm believer in a materialist conception of history, he was removed from his historical context more than any other author. From being certain that “the emancipation of the working class has to be the work of the workers themselves”, he was entrapped, on the contrary, in an ideology that saw the primacy of political avant-gardes and the party prevail in their role as proponents of class-consciousness and leaders of the revolution. An advocate of the idea that the fundamental condition for the maturation of human capacities was the reduction of the working day, he was assimilated to the productivist creed of Stakhanovism. Convinced of the need for the abolition of the state, he found himself identified with it as its bulwark. Interested like few other thinkers in the free development of the individuality of men, arguing against bourgeois right which hides social disparity behind mere legal equality, that “right, instead of being equal, would have to be unequal”, he was accommodated into a conception that neutralised the richness of the collective dimension of social life into the indistinctness of homogenisation.

And what are your final thoughts about the usefulness of MEGA2 for a new generation of scholars of Marx?

Thanks to the important new publications of MEGA2, the Marx who emerges is in many respects different from the one presented by so many opponents and ostensible followers. It is not at all an “unknown Marx”, as some scholars argue exaggerating, but the stony-faced statue of Marx who pointed the way to the future with dogmatic certainty on the squares of Moscow and Beijing has given way to the image of a deeply self-critical thinker, who, feeling the need to devote energy to further study and checking of his own arguments, left a major part of his lifetime work unfinished.

Any future rigorous contribution to the research on Marx, in India as elsewhere in the world, will have to take into account the new textual acquisitions of MEGA2.

From them emerges the richness of a problematic and polymorphous thought and of a horizon whose distance Marx Forschung (the research on Marx) has still so many paths to travel.


Mempelajari Kembali Marxisme

Setelah Jakarta lumpuh oleh aksi demonstrasi sopir Bluebird ,Senin (22/3) lalu. Seorang budayawan membroadcast tulisan lewat grup Peduli Negara (3) Whatsapp (WA). Ia mengatakan:

“Anda boleh membenci Karl Marx sampai ke ubun-ubun, tapi sulit dibantah kalau ia juga berkata benar. Dalam kritiknya kepada kapitalisme, Marx mengatakan perubahan adalah satu keniscayaan. Dalam hal ini “perubahan kekuatan produksi akan mengubah hubungan produksi”. Teknologi adalah kekuatan produksi yang dalam perkembangannya akan merombak hubungan produksi. Teknologi mengubah hubungan sosial, politik, dan kebudayaan dibangun di atasnya.

Dalam kata lain, teknologi selalu bersifat disruptif bagi hubungan produksi. Demikianlah hubungan “buruh dan majikan” menjadi buram dalam dunia yang dianyam oleh Internet ini. Perusahaan taksi kedodoran menghadapi Uber, Grab, dan juga Gojek. Rantai keuntungan dipangkas, tempat buat akumulasi laba tanpa kerja menjadi kian sempit. Berkat teknologi, para pekerja berpeluang menjadi tuan bagi dirinya sendiri.

Dalam esainya yang monumental Why Socialism (1949) di Monthly Review, Albert Einstein, si jenius fisika itu mengatakan akar kejahatan ekonomi adalah kapitalisme, dan sosialisme adalah jalan keluar yang patut dipertimbangkan. “The achievement of socialism requires the solution of some extremely difficult socio-political problems: how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening? How can the rights of the individual be protected and therewith a democratic counterweight to the power of bureaucracy be assured?”.

Tapi tentu saja bagi Anda pembenci Marx, di musim aksi Anti-Komunis hari-hari ini, baik Marx dan Einstein punya dosa rangkap: mereka penganjur sosialisme dan Yahudi.

Kebetulan beberapa hari sebelumnya Profesor Marcello Musto dari Kanada mengirimkan artikel dibawah ini dengan judul asli :

Marx Is Back
Bertentangan dengan perkiraannya yang terlupakan dalam beberapa tahun terakhir,– Karl Marx hari ini telah kembali menjadi perhatian para ahli internasional. Kemampuannya terus menjelaskan dunia sekarang ini, menegaskan kembali keabsahan teorinya,– setelah para ahli di Eropa, Amerika Serikat, Jepang dan Asia menjadi lebih sering mengkaji tulisan-tulisan Marx.

Ilustrasi yang paling signifikan dari penemuan kembali ini adalah dimulainya kembali publikasi karya-karya Marx. Bahkan,– meskipun difusi besar pemikiran Marx pada abad kedua puluh , masih belum ada edisi lengkap dan ilmiah dari karya-karyanya sampai saat ini. Marx terbukti sebagai pemikir terbesar kemanusiaan.

Untuk memahami bagaimana hal itu mungkin, kita perlu mempertimbangkan perubahan-perubahan bervariasi dari gerakan kelas pekerja yang terlalu sering menghalangi, ketimbang memfasilitasi penerbitan tulisan-tulisan Marx. Setelah Marx dan Engels meninggal, konflik dalam Partai Sosial Demokrat Jerman menyebabkan kelalaian besar terhadap warisan tulisan Marx dan Engels. Usaha pertama untuk mempublikasikan karya-karya mereka lengkap, Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA), dibuat di Uni Soviet hanya pada tahun 1920 tetapi pada awal 1930-an terjadi pembersihan oleh Stalin, yang juga melanda para intelektual akademis utama yang terlibat dalam proyek itu. Kemunculan Nazisme di Jerman tiba-tiba tentu mengganggu karya-karya pada edisi ini.

Pada tahun 1975 ada usaha kembali untuk mereproduksi seluruh tulisan pemikir yang disebut MEGA, mulai tapi ditangguhkan juga, kali ini sebagai akibat dari jatuhnya Tembok Berlin. Pada tahun 1990, International Marx-Engels Foundation (Imes) diciptakan dengan tujuan menyelesaikan edisi ini, membawa bersama-sama pada inetlektual akademis dari tiga benua yang berbeda. Proyek ini sangat penting, terutama karena sejumlah besar manuskrip Marxist masih tetap belum dipublikasikan. Upaya ini akan digunakan sebagai dasar untuk semua terjemahan baru dari karya Marx dan Engels dalam semua bahasa.

MEGA ini terdiri dari empat bagian yaitu, semua karya-karya mereka; korespondensi mereka; modal dan beberapa draft-nya; dan lebih dari dua ratus notebook pada topik yang paling beragam dalam delapan bahasa, lokasi pengembangan Marxisme. Sampai saat ini 58 dari 114 volume yang direncanakan telah diterbitkan. Sebanyak 18 volume lainnya dilanjutkan pada tahun 1998. Setiap volume terdiri dari dua buku-buku tebal yang besar terdiri dari satu untuk teks dan yang lainnya untuk para kritikus. Informasi lebih lanjut bisa mengunjungi

Marx yang seperti apa yang muncul pada edisi baru dari sejarah dan kritik kali ini? Pastilah berbeda dari yang digambarkan oleh musuh dan para pengikutnya selama ini. Namun paradoks pasti akan tampak. Karl Marx sering ‘disalah mengertikan’ oleh banyak orang. Selama ini telah terjadi, epigon sistimatis yang berulang dari teori kritik Marx, pemiskinan teori yang disertai penyebarannya, manipulasi dan sensor dari tulisan-tulisannya dan pemanfaatannya untuk alasan instrumental untuk diktat politik,– telah ikut membuatnya sebagai korban dari salah pikiran yang mendalam dan berulang.

Penemuan kembali karyanya menunjukkan perbedaan antara Marx dan ‘Marxisme-Leninisme’, antara kekayaan kerangka masalah dan polimorf yang masih harus dieksplorasi, dan doktrin yang mengubah konsepsi aslinya sampai sebatas menjadi penolakan terhadap manifestonya. Patung-patung batu, yang berdiri di ruang publik di banyak negara liberal di Eropa Timur yang menggambarkan Marx sebagai nabi dengan kepastian dogmatis tentang masa depan,— sekarang akan diganti dengan gambar dari seorang penulis yang,–sampai kematiannya, meninggalkan sebagian besar dari tulisan-tulisannya yang belum selesai sehingga mendedikasikan dirinya untuk penelitian lebih lanjut agar diuji kebenaran dan kekuatan tesis-tesisnya.

Untuk itu ada dua contoh, satu adalah karakter fragmentaris pada The German Ideology di edisi terbaru, yang membuktikan ada pemalsuan interprestasi pada ‘Marxis-Leninis’ dengan mengubah naskah ini menjadi sebuah eksposisi lengkap tentang ‘materialisme historis’ tanpa Marxisme. Konsep Marx sendiri tentang sejarah perlu penulusan kembali dalam totalitas karyanya.

Contoh lainnya adalah penerbitan buku Das Capital kedua dan ketiga, yang memberikan terang pada lebih dari lima ribu editorial Engels yang menunjukkan bahwa, Capital masih jauh dari konklusi dan masih merupakan catatan sementara dalam masih perlu dikembangkan lagi. Penyelesaian segera dari publikasi semua karya asli yang diwariskan oleh Marx pada akhirnya akan memberikan penilaian tepat

Apa yang telah dipastikan adalah nilai dari upaya intelektual tanpa henti seorang Karl Marx. Walaupun belum selesai, tapi tetap merupakan upaya genius dan menyajikan kekayaan analisa untuk melihat dunia kontemporer. Dihadapkan dengan kontradiksi saat ini dan krisis masyarakat kapitalis, dalam edisi-edisi ini kita menyoroti kembali Marx yang sama, yang terlalu cepat kita singkirkan setelah 1989. Setelah membersihkan kesalahan pikir selamaini, diharapkan ini kali kita akan mendengar langsung dari manusia Marx sendiri.


Pengantar Redaksi


Reflections of the other America

A young guy is walking alone on the road linking the airport to the population centre. He’s wearing the typical sports vest – the kind that usually has the name of a basketball team or the star-spangled banner emblazoned on it. This one has a single five-letter word: Black.

I go up to exchange a few words and ask him where I am exactly. He tells me laconically that he’s lived here since he was born; he’s got used to it. The backdrop to our conversation is surreal: I’ve never seen anything like it. I keep looking around and realize how much everything I’ve read about this place corresponds to reality. Empty buildings stretch out endlessly. Old factories left unguarded for decades, with the appearance of huge wrecks corroded by time and the elements. Gutted edifices, pieces of broken glass, machinery covered with ice and snow. A wasteland inhabited only by stray dogs, drug addicts, homeless people and others on the margins of society. I’m in Detroit: the ghost city, one of the most striking examples of the other America, which never intrudes into the cocoon-like TV series set in Manhattan or the 3-D movies produced in Hollywood.

They called it Motor City

If industrial archaeology was a science, Detroit would undoubtedly be the first specimen to study. Yet its history has known development and splendour aplenty. Baptised Motor City – hence too Motown, the famous soul and rhythm-and-blues record company – it was for decades the world’s leading automobile centre. In 1902 the city greeted the birth of the Cadillac, and a year later Henry Ford unveiled the plants that in 1908 would turn out the Model T, the first-ever assembly line vehicle. General Motors was founded not far away in the same year, and Chrysler followed in 1925. In short, everything to do with the US auto industry began in the matrix of Detroit.

The city spread on the wings of progress. In the second decade of the twentieth century, the population more than doubled and Detroit became the fourth most populous centre in the country. A large proportion of the newcomers arrived from the States of the South – part of the mass of Afro-Americans (120,000 in Detroit alone) who headed what has become known as the ‘first great migration’.

The expansion did not affect only the four-wheeled world. America’s entry into the Second World War transformed the principal city of Michigan into the ‘great arsenal of democracy’, to quote Franklin Roosevelt’s slogan. Large numbers of workers, both male and female, moved there as Detroit burgeoned around the arms sector, contributing more than any other US city to the war effort. The growth continued after 1945, and by 1956 the population had reached its peak of 1,865,000. Renowned professors and respected journalists of the time hailed it as emblematic of the end of class struggle in America, pointing to the influx of workers into the ranks of the middle class and their enjoyment of its associated pleasures.

How much water has flowed under the bridges since then! The decline began in the 1960s and then speeded up after the oil crises of 1973 and 1979. Today Detroit has barely 700,000 inhabitants, the lowest number for a hundred years, and the downward spiral seems destined to continue. In the first decade of the twenty-first century, the city lost a quarter of its total population. Every twenty minutes another family gathers all its possessions, ships them off to a new destination and leaves Detroit behind for good.

A hundred thousand vacant lots

As I wander the streets, the spectral impression intensifies. There are more than a hundred thousand vacant lots and abandoned houses inside the city limits, most of the latter in ruins or so rickety as to be unsafe. Ten thousand should be demolished in the next four years, but the funds are lacking to do it. There is a feeling of real desolation, since often only one lived-in house remains in an entire block; Detroit is so empty that Boston or the whole of San Francisco could fit inside it. The city authority is trying to group the population together in selected areas and to convert others into commercial farms. However, the crisis has made the picture even bleaker than before. In an attempt to stave off the bankruptcy that has now engulfed it, the city recently cut its last public services, including the bus (the only means of transport for the less well-off) and nocturnal lighting in the outlying areas.

The social situation is no less grim than the external surroundings. In Detroit one person in three lives in poverty, as do more than a half of minors. The level of racial segregation is still very high: more than eighty per cent of the population are of Afro-American origin and live in the centre, while the ‘white’ workers, or rather the remainder who have not managed to leave altogether, have moved to protected suburbs or to areas near the big stores. It indicates that, although the times have changed, the racism that made Detroit a war zone in July 1967 – when Lyndon Johnson sent in armoured cars, leading to 43 deaths, 7,200 arrests and the destruction of more than 2,000 buildings – has not been completely eradicated. The crime rate is one of the highest in the country and, by an irony of fate, the cost of a motor insurance policy is nowhere greater than in this birthplace of the auto industry. Real unemployment has reached fifty per cent and money invested in the huge casino that now stands on the main street has produced only one change: a legion of desperate, embittered souls queue up each evening to feed their last dollars, and their last hopes of salvation, into the long line of fruit machines.

Scrap metal to China

In 2009, reeling from the crisis, General Motors and Chrysler filed petitions for bankruptcy, while Ford too was severely affected. The aid received by the Big Three at the end of the last decade, from both the Bush and Obama administrations, came to a total of 80 billion dollars. The parallel ‘restructuring’, involving layoffs, wage cuts and less secure contracts, extended the model represented by the companies, which were founded in 1994 to supply General Motors and Chrysler with lower-cost automobile parts.

After all, Detroit does not only speak of the twentieth century; it also testifies to changes taking place today and lying ahead in the future. It underlines the extent to which poverty and unemployment are the result of economic links that prevent technological advances from being placed in the service of the community. It shows that factories are empty not because work no longer exists, but because production has been moved elsewhere – to places where labour costs are lower and the struggle for social rights is still weak.

In fall it gets dark early in Detroit. Some people are begging near the exit from the freeway. In the distance, a fire can be seen in the heart of what used to be the industrial district. A group of young people lighted it in a tumbledown factory, hoping to break off some bits and pieces that are due to sent east by sea. These scraps of metal, which fetch two and a half dollars per pound, are the only useful things left to help make ends meet. They are one of the main US exports to China, and Detroit has more of them than any other city in the world. They serve to build elsewhere what once used to exist here, creating the infrastructure that will allow to make higher profits. But let there be no mistake: new conflicts and new hopes will emerge with the new factories.


The World’s Forgotten Treasurehouse

The wealth of Potosí in Bolivia first became known in 1545 when a group of Spanish conquistadores settled there to exploit the treasure preserved in its subsoil. Eighty years down the line, it was the biggest and richest in the Americas, with a population of 160,000, larger than that of Paris, Rome, London or Seville.

Its fame travelled the world. It had the largest silver mine in the world and it&’s been estimated that some 50,000 tons of silver have been extracted from its veins — enough to build a bridge all the way to Spain. For the gentlefolk of Potosí, everything was made of silver but the indigenous communities were reduced to slavery and inhumane conditions.

After two centuries of exploitation, the silver began to run out; those who could left Potosí and the entire area fell into oblivion. In 1987, the city was declared a Unesco heritage site, but all that remained were ghosts of the wealth of yore. From each street of Potosí, you now can always see the Cerro Rico, the 4,800-metre “man-eating” mountain, its imposing bulk reddish and pock-marked, strewn with tiny human shapes hurrying to pierce it again and with trucks making their way up and down to carry away its most valuable rocks.

Some 6,000 miners are camped out near the top of the mountain and live on the silver, as well as zinc, copper, lead and tin that it still provides. They work in the artisan mode, with crude instruments and a store of knowledge handed down the ages. Theirs is perhaps the world&’s most terrible occupation, not only tiring but deadly. It may kill at any moment, because there is no safety, but it also kills over time since in the jaws of the mountain determine that every breath is a step closer to silicosis. Accompanied by a guide and a group of miners, I visit a few of the holes opened over the centuries in the Cerro Rico, where, in spite of the great heat outside, the temperature falls below zero after a few hundred metres. Some stalactites make it difficult to pass, while the water is ankle-deep. As we progress, the relatively easy sections alternate with others where it is necessary to hobble almost on our knees, since the shafts, little more than a metre high, become ever smaller and narrower.

If you stop here, panic begins to get the upper hand. Apart from the faint glow of the helmet-lamp, everything around is pitch dark and you feel immersed in total silence. Now and again, the surrounds are suddenly broken by a cart weighing a ton or more, piled high with minerals, the wheels having been rendered almost unserviceable over the years, and four workers are needed to drag it along. You have to move carefully then, feeling for side passages or flattening your body against the wall, more than seems possible to make way for the cart.

We press on, and in a few minutes the temperature suddenly shoots up. It is above 400o Celsius — a sudden, excruciating change. The ground beneath us is no longer wet but parched. The air becomes oppressive for lack of oxygen. Dust is everywhere: it gets into your throat and lungs and eyes but you have to keep going a few dozen metres to the end, where loud sounds now clatter around you.

Here are the drillers, the men with the hardest job — they have to bore into the walls and rip them open with home-made dynamite. They are working almost naked, in the most appalling conditions. Some take the lift to the first circle of hell, descending 240 metres into tunnels barely wide enough for their bodies to head off in search of a vein of zinc, tin or lead, hoping to carry as much as possible to the surface in return for their weekly pay.

It is a long way back. The cold seeps into your bones and you notice it more than when you were going the other way. When a light finally glows in the distance, you think of the exit as a return to life. It has seemed an eternity, but the clock is there to remind you that only three hours have passed. The strong sun is imparting light and heat, while other miners are arriving to take their turn inside. Looking at their kind but toil-hardened faces, you cannot help wondering how it is possible to spend every day for 30 years in that inferno.

Although Bolivia is the world’s seventh largest producer of silver and lead, its economy is still marked by a lack of adequate means of subsistence. Some 90 per cent of the miners work in cooperatives without job protection or social security and yet perform only 20 per cent of the extraction work. The sector is dominated by foreign multinationals and only scraps of the multimillion-dollar earnings remain behind. The demands of the people necessitate an ecologically sustainable modernisation that should respect the choices of the indigenous communities living in the territory.

Potosí in Bolivia had the oldest mining complex in the world before the Spanish conquistadores almost pillaged it all.


Advance of the Far Right

The second round of the French regional elections in December 2015 ended with a defeat for the National Front.

Nevertheless, this party is now a concrete threat for France and Europe. Under Marine Le Pen&’s leadership, it shot up to 17.9 per cent in the 2012 presidential elections, became the largest French political party at the 2014 Euro-elections, carried away one-fourth of the vote at the departmental elections in March 2015 and has finally scored 27.7 per cent at these regional elections. It is a success that cannot be explained only in relation to the Paris attack in November; it concerns a deeper political change that is taking place all over Europe.

The uniformity of approach of social-democratic and conservative parties to political and economic questions and the growing hostility of public opinion to the Brussels technocracy have helped to produce a major transformation in the political context. In the last few years, a profound aversion has developed towards anything that can be described as ‘politics’. Some bipartisan systems have simply imploded, as in post-dictatorship Spain and Greece, where Socialist and centre-right forces regularly used to account for three-quarters of the electorate. Similar trends seem to have affected the political systems in France and Italy, where for decades the vote was divided between the centre-right and centre-left blocs.

The political-electoral landscape has been modified by abstentionism, the rise of new populist formations, the major advance of far-right forces, and in some cases the consolidation of a left alternative to neoliberal policiesa topic that deserves separate consideration. The first of these phenomena is mainly attributable to the growing detachment from political parties in general. The second has developed on the crest of the anti-EU wave.

New ‘post-ideological’ movements have arisen in recent years, guided by general denunciation of the corrupt existing system, by the myth of online democracy as a guarantee of rank-and-file participation in contrast to the usual practice of political parties, and by euro-scepticism. Some of the political forces recently established are the Pirate Party in Sweden, the Five Star Movement of the comedian Beppe Grillo in Italy, Alternative for Germany, The River in Greece, and the movement of the right-wing populist former singer, Pawel Kukiz in Poland,. During the same period, the already existing United Kingdom Independence Party has boosted its presence on the basis of similar political platforms.

In many European countries, xenophobic, nationalist or openly neo-fascist parties have made big advances as the effects of economic crisis have made themselves felt. In some cases, they have modified their political discourse, replacing the classical left-right division with a new polarization specific to contemporary society: what Marine Le Pen calls the conflict ‘between those at the top and those at the bottom’. In this, far-right candidates are supposed to represent the ‘people’ against the elites who favour an all-powerful free market.

The ideological profile of these political movements has also changed. The racist component is often shifted to the background and economic issues brought to the fore. The blind, restrictive opposition to EU immigration policies is taken a stage further by playing on the ‘war among the poor’, even more than discrimination based on skin colour or religious affiliation. In a context of high unemployment and grave social conflict, xenophobia is raised through propaganda asserting that migrants take jobs from local workers and that the latter should have priority in employment, social services and welfare entitlements.

This change of course has certainly played a role in the recent successes of the National Front in France. In Italy, meanwhile, the Northern League has also undergone a metamorphosis. It was born demanding independence for northern Italy but has recently turned itself into a national party, with a ‘no to the euro’, anti-immigrant platform. As a result, its electoral score has climbed dramatically. A coalition agreement between these two parties led to the formation, in June, of a Europe of Nations and Freedom group at the European Parliament. This also includes established political parties, which have for some time been demanding withdrawal from the Euro, a revision of the treaties on immigration and a return to national sovereignty. Among the most representative forces in this respect are the Austrian Freedom Party and the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, which both occupy third position in their national polities.

Far-right forces have made important advances in various parts of the continent. In Switzerland, the Swiss People&’s Party, which distinguished itself in the past by advocating a referendum (actually approved in 2009) for a ban on new minarets, pulled off its best-ever result and came first in the elections in October. In every Scandinavian country, too, they are already an established reality.

In the homeland par excellence of the ‘Nordic model’, the Swedish Democrats, which arose in 1988 through a fusion of neo-Nazi groups, emerged as the third largest political force in the last elections. In Denmark and Finland, the Danish People&’s Party and the True Finns have scored even more surprising results and joined the government majorities, becoming the second largest parties in their respective countries. Finally, in Norway, the Progress Party has entered government for the first time.

The Right has not made its breakthroughs only through classical reactionary instruments, such as campaigns against globalization, the arrival of new asylum-seekers and the spectre of the ‘Islamization’ of society. Above all, they have called for social policies traditionally associated with the Left, at a time when the Social Democrats were opting for public spending cuts. The rightist ‘welfare’ is of a different kind, however: no longer universal, inclusive and solidaristic but based on the principle that rights and services should be offered only to members of the already existing national community.

The radical Right has also managed to reorganize in a number of East European countries. In Poland, the populist Law and Justice party won the legislative elections in October, and obtained the first absolute majority of seats in parliament since the end of the Cold War. Unlike the usual appeals to nationalism and ultra-conservative religious values, its economic programme highlights promises to increase social spending, to improve wage levels and to lower the retirement age. It is a left platform, in a country where social democracy is confined to a small residual space, after its pursuit of policies that hit the weakest layers of society. The most alarming case in this part of Europe, however, is Hungary. After the Socialist Party government had imposed severe austerity measures at the behest of the Troika, causing a lurch into deflation, the Hungarian Civic Union/Fidesz took over the reins of office and, in 2012, introduced a new Constitution with authoritarian overtones that took the country a perilously long way from the rule of law.

As if that were not enough, the Movement for a Better Hungary has grown dramatically since 2010. Unlike most of the radical Right in Western Europe and Scandinavia, it is a classical examplenow dominant in the Eastof a far-right formation that uses hatred of minorities (especially Roma), anti-Semitism and anti-communism as major instruments of propaganda and action.

This survey is not complete without the neo-Nazi organizations that have spread in some parts of Europe. The biggest of them is Golden Dawn, which has become the third political force in Greece. In recent years, therefore, the parties of the populist, nationalist or neo-fascist Right have considerably broadened their support in almost every part of Europe. In many cases, they have proved capable of hegemonizing political debate and sometimes entered government in a coalition with the more moderate Right. It is a disturbing epidemic, to which it is certainly impossible to respond without fighting the virus that caused it in the first place the Troika’s neoliberal mantra still so fashionable in Brussels.


أهمية ماركس في الزمن الراهن-حديث مع إريك هوبسباوم, Chawder

أهمية ماركس في الزمن الراهن-حديث مع إريك هوبسباوم

 150 عاماً بعد صدور كتاب “أسس نقد الإقتصاد السياسي”
حديث مع إريك هوبسباوم أجراه مارشيلو موست
ترجمة: مازن الحسيني – براغ

[ يعتبر إريك هوبسباوم واحد من أعظم المؤرخين الأحياء، وهو يشغل في الوقت الحاضر منصب رئيس كلية بيركبك في جامعة لندن، كما أنه بروفسوراً فخرياً في ذي النيو سكول للبحث الإجتماعي في نيويورك بالولايات المتحدة الأمريكية. وتشمل قائمة مؤلفاته الطويلة ثلاثيته الشهيرة عن “القرن التاسع عشر الطويل” وهي : كتاب “عصرالثورة : أوروبا في فترة 1789 – 1848″، الذي صدر في العام 1962، وكتاب “عصر رأس المال، 1848 – 1874” الذي صدر في العام 1975، وكتاب “عصر الإمبراطورية: 1875 – 1914” الذي صدر في العام 1987. كما تشمل القائمة كتاب “عصر التطرف: القرن العشرين القصير: 1914- 1991” الذي صدر في العام 1994.
أما مارشيلو موستو فهو محرر كتاب كارل ماركس “أسس نقد الإقتصاد السياسي” الذي صدر في العام 2008 عن دار روتلدج Routledge في لندن ونيويورك.]

(1) مارشيلو موستو: بروفسور هوبسباوم، لقد مر عقدان منذ 1989 عندما جرى على عجل الحكم على كارل ماركس بالنسيان، ولكنه عاد مجدداً إلى دائرة الضوء، بعد أن تحرر من دور “أداة الحكم”، ذلك الدور الذي أسنده إليه الإتحاد السوفييتي، وأيضاً من قيود “الماركسية – اللينينية”. إنه لم يحظ فقط خلال السنوات القليلة الماضية بالإهتمام الفكري من خلال إعادة نشر أعماله، ولكن أصبح أيضاً موضع اهتمام متزايد على نطاق واسع. ففي العام 2003 خصصت مجلة “نوفيل أوبزرفاتير” الفرنسية عددا خاصاً لكارل ماركس تحت عنوان “مفكر الألفية الثالثة”. وبعد مضي عام على ذلك، اختار أكثر من نصف مليون ألماني وألمانية من مشاهدي قناة زد دي إف (ZDF) التليفزيونية في استطلاع رأي رعته القناة ذاتها، كارل ماركس كأهم شخصية ألمانية على مر العصور، وجاء ترتيبه الثالث في التصنيف العام، والأول في تصنيف “الأهمية الراهنة”. وفي العام 2005، نشرت مجلة “دير شبيجل ” الألمانية صورته على غلافها تحت عنوان “عودة الشبح”. وفي الوقت ذاته اختار المستمعون لبرنامج “عصرنا” في راديو 4 التابع لهيئة الإذاعة البريطانية ماركس كأعظم الفلاسفة في التاريخ. لقد قلت بروفسور هوبسباوم في حديث لك مؤخراً مع جاك أتالا إن من المفارقات أن ” الرأسماليين أكثر من غيرهم هم من يقومون بإعادة اكتشاف ماركس” وتحدثت عن ما انتابك من دهشة عندما قال لك رجل الأعمال والسياسي الليبرالي جورج سوروس: “كنت أقرأ للتو ماركس. وثمة الكثير من الصواب فيما يقول”.

على الرغم من أن إعادة إحياء ماركس ما زالت ضعيفة وإلى حد ما مبهمة، ما هي، في رأيك أسبابها ؟ هل من الممكن أن ينحصر الاهتمام بأعماله في دائرة المتخصصين والمثقفين، فتقدم في الدراسات الجامعية كأعمال كلاسيكية عظيمة من أعمال الفكر الحديث، التي يجب ألاَّ تندثر وتُنسى ؟ أم أن من الممكن أن يظهر في المستقبل “طلب على ماركس” من الجانب السياسي أيضاً ؟

إريك هوبسباوم : بلا شك هناك في العالم الرأسمالي إعادة إحياء للإهتمام العام بماركس، ولكن على الأرجح ليس من الأعضاء الجدد في الإتحاد الأوروبي من أوروبا الشرقية. وقد أدى إلى التسريع في انتعاش هذا الاهتمام حلول الذكرى السنوية المائة والخمسون لصدور “بيان الحزب الشيوعي”، الأمر الذي تزامن بشكل خاص مع وقوع الأزمة الاقتصادية الدولية الدراماتيكية في خضم فترة من عولمة السوق الحر المتسارعة للغاية. لقد تنبأ ماركس قبل 150 عاما بطبيعة الاقتصاد العالمي في مطلع القرن الحادي والعشرين، وذلك استنادا إلى تحليله للمجتمع البرجوازي. وليس هناك ما يثير الدهشة في أن الأذكياء من الرأسماليين، لا سيما في القطاع المالي المعولم، اهتموا بماركس. كانوا يدركون بالضرورة، أكثر من غيرهم، طبيعة عدم الاستقرار في الاقتصاد الرأسمالي الذين يعملون في إطاره. ولكن غالبية المثقفين اليساريين لم يعودوا يعرفون ما يفعلون بماركس. أصيبوا بالإحباط نتيجة لإنهيار المشروع الاشتراكي الديمقراطي في غالبية دول شمال الأطلسي في ثمانينيات القرن العشرين،ونتيجة لتحول غالبية الحكومات الوطنية إلى أيديولوجية السوق الحر، وأيضاً بسبب انهيار الأنظمة السياسية والاقتصادية التي كانت تدَّعي أنها تستلهم في أعمالها وسياساتها ماركس ولينين. بالإضافة إلى ذلك إن “الحركات الاجتماعية الجديدة”، مثل الحركات النسوية، إما أنه لم يكن لها أية صلة منطقية بمناهضة الرأسمالية (على الرغم من أن أعضاءها قد يكونوا منحازين إليها كأفراد)، أو أنها قامت بتحدي الإيمان بتقدم الإنسان اللامتناهي على الطبيعة، ذلك الإيمان الذي تشترك فيه الرأسمالية والإشتراكية التقليدية. وفي الوقت ذاته، كفَّت “البروليتاريا”، التي أضحت منقسمة على نفسها وآخذة في “التلاشي”، عن كونها الوسيلة التاريخية الموثوقة للتحول الاجتماعي التي تحدث عنها ماركس. كما أنه منذ 1968 أخذت الحركات الراديكالية الرئيسية تُفَضِّل العمل المباشر، الذي لا يستند بالضرورة إلى الكثير من المطالعة والتحليل النظري.
لا يعني هذا، بالطبع، أن اعتبار ماركس كمفكر كلاسيكي عظيم سيتوقف، رغم الحملة الثقافية القوية المعادية لماركس وللتحليل الماركسي التي شهدتها، لأسباب سياسية، بلدان كان فيها أحزاباً شيوعية قوية، وبشكل خاص في بلدان مثل فرنسا وإيطاليا، على سبيل المثال. وقد تكون تلك الحملة قد وصلت ذروتها في ثمانينيات وتسعينيات القرن العشرين. وهنالك مؤشرات الآن توحي بأن تلك الحملة قد وصلت إلى نهايتها.

(2) مارشيلو موستو: كان ماركس، طيلة حياته، باحثاً قديراً لا يكل؛ أدرك وحلل، أفضل من غيره من معاصريه، تطور الرأسمالية على المستوى العالمي. لقد فهم أن مولد الاقتصادي الدولي المعولم أمر ملازم لنمط الإنتاج الرأسمالي؛ وتنبأ بأن هذه العملية ستولد ليس نمواً ورفاهية فقط، كما كان يبشر به المنظرون والساسة الليبراليون، بل أيضاًً نزاعات عنيفة وأزمات اقتصادية ومظالم اجتماعية على نطاق واسع. لقد شهدنا في العقد الأخير الأزمة الاقتصادية في شرق آسيا التي بدأت في صيف 1997، وشهدنا أيضاً الأزمة الاقتصادية الأرجنتينية في 1999 – 2002. وشهدنا قبل كل شيء بداية أزمة الرهن العقاري التي بدأت في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية في العام 2006، وأصبحت الآن أكبر أزمة مالية في فترة ما بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية. فهل يصح القول بأن عودة الإهتمام بماركس تعود أيضاً إلى الأزمة التي يعاني منها المجتمع الرأسمالي، وكذلك إلى قدرة ماركس الدائمة على تفسير التناقضات التي يشهدها عالم اليوم ؟

إريك هوبسباوم: سيعتمد استلهام اليسار لسياسته في المستقبل تحليل ماركس – كما كانت تفعل الحركات الإشتراكية والشيوعية القديمة – على ما سيحدث في العالم الرأسمالي. وهذا الأمر لا ينطبق على ماركس فقط، بل على اليسار كمشروع وأيديولوجية سياسية متماسكة. وبما أن عودة الاهتمام بماركس – كما تقول أنت محقاً – مردها إلى حد كبير – وأقول أنا بالأساس – إلى أزمة المجتمع الرأسمالي الراهنة، فإن المنظور في المستقبل يبدو واعداً أكثر مما كان في تسعينيات القرن العشرين. فالأزمة المالية الراهنة في العالم، والتي قد تصبح هبوطاً اقتصادياً رئيسياً في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية، تضفي دراماتيكية على فشل “ديانة” السوق الحر العولمي الذي لا يخضع لأية رقابة وإشراف، ويُرغم حتى حكومة الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية على التفكير في اتخاذ إجراءات عامة تم نسيانها منذ ثلاثينيات القرن العشرين. إن الضغوط السياسية أدت فعلاً إلى إضعاف إلتزام الحكومات النيو ليبرالية اقتصادياً بالعولمة غير المقيدة وغير المحدودة والتي لا تخضع لأية قوانين. ففي بعض الحالات (الصين) تسبب التحول الشامل إلى اقتصاد السوق الحر بعدم مساواة وظلم على نطاق واسع مما تسبب بمشاكل كبيرة لاستقرار المجتمع، وأثار شكوكاً حتى على المستويات العليا للحكومة.

إن من الواضح أن أية “عودة إلى ماركس” ستكون بالأساس عودة إلى تحليل ماركس للرأسمالية ومكانتها في التطور التاريخي للإنسانية – بما في ذلك في الدرجة الأولى تحليله لعدم الاستقرار المركزي للتطور الرأسمالي الذي يمر عبر أزمات إقتصادية دورية تتولد ذاتياً، ولها أبعاداً سياسية واجتماعية. فليس بوسع أي ماركسي أن يصدق، ولو للحظة واحدة، ما كان يقوله الأيديولوجيون الليبراليون الجدد في العام 1989، بأن الرأسمالية الليبرالية قد وطدت أقدامها للأبد، وأن التاريخ قد وصل إلى نهايته، أو أن يصدق بأن بمقدور أي نظام علاقات إنسانية أن يكون نهائيا وحاسماً.
(3) مارشيلو موستو: هل تعتقد بأن القوى السياسية والفكرية اليسارية العالمية، التي تُسائل نفسها فيما يتعلق بالإشتراكية في القرن الجديد، ستخسر دليلاً أساسياً وجوهرياً في دراسة الواقع الراهن وتحويله، إذا هي تخلت عن أفكار ماركس ؟

إريك هوبسباوم: ليس بوسع أي إشتراكي أن يتخلى عن أفكار ماركس، بما أن إيمانه بأن الرأسمالية لا بد أن يخلفها مجتمع من نوع آخر ليس مبنياًعلى مجرد أمل أو رغبة، بل على تحليل جدي للتطور التاريخي، لا سيما في الحقبة الرأسمالية. فتنبؤه الفعلي بأن الرأسمالية سيحل محلها نظام تجري إدارته مجتمعياً، أو نظام مخطط ما زال يبدو منطقياً، على الرغم من أنه يقلل بالتأكيد من أهمية عناصر السوق التي ستسمر موجودة حتى في أي نظام أو أنظمة ما بعد الرأسمالية. وبما أنه امتنع عمداً عن التخمين فيما يتعلق بالمستقبل، فلا يمكن اعتباره مسؤولاً عن الطرق المحددة التي جرى تنظيم الاقتصاد وفقها في ظل “الإشتراكية الفعلية”. أما فيما يتعلق بأهداف الإشتراكية، فماركس لم يكن المفكر الوحيد الذي كان يريد مجتمعاً خالياً من الاستغلال والاغتراب، مجتمعاً يمكن لجميع البشر أن يحققوا فيه كل قدراتهم. ولكنه كان الوحيد الذي عبَّر عن هذا الطموح أقوى من أي مفكر آخر. وما زالت كلماته تحتفظ بقوة الإلهام.
بيد أن ماركس لن يعود كإلهام سياسي بالنسبة لليسار إن لم يجر إدراك ضرورة عدم التعامل مع كتاباته كبرنامج سياسي مرجعي أو غيره، وعدم اعتبارها وصفا لحالة الرأسمالية العالمية الفعلية في الوقت الراهن.، بل كدليل لطريقة فهمه لطبيعة التطور الرأسمالي. كما يجب ألاَّ ننسى أنه لم ينجز عرضاً متماسكا وكاملا لأفكاره، على الرغم من محاولات إنجلز وغيره وقد جمعوا وقدموا الجزئين الثاني والثالث من كتاب “رأس المال” استناداً إلى أوراق ماركس ومدوناته. وكا يبدو من كتاب “أسس نقد الإقتصاد السياسي”، فإن كتاب “رأس المال” حتى ولو كان ماركس قد أنجزه، كان سيشكل مجرد جزء من خطة ماركس الأصلية، التي ربما كانت في منتهى الطموح.
ومن الناحية الأخرى، لن يعود ماركس إلى اليسار [الحالي] إلاَّ إذا جرى تخلي النشطاء الراديكاليون عن توجههم إلى جعل مناهضة الرأسمالية مناهضة للعولمة. إن العولمة قائمة وموجودة، ولا يمكن إلغاؤها ما دام المجتمع الإنساني قائم ولم ينهار. لقد أدرك ماركس في الواقع أن هذه حقيقة لا جدال فيها، ورحب بها من حيث المبدأ كرجل أممي. ولكن ما انتقده وما يجب علينا انتقاده هو هذا النوع من العولمة الذي أنتجته الرأسمالية.

(4) مارشيلو موستو: إن أحد كتب ماركس الذي أثار أكبر اهتمام في أوساط القراء والمعلقين الجدد هو كتاب “أسس نقد الإقتصاد السياسي” . لقد كتبه ماركس في الفترة ما بين 1857 و1858، وهو المسودة الأولى للنقد الذي قام به ماركس للإقتصاد السياسي، وبالتالي فهو العمل التحضيري الأولي لكتاب “رأس المال”. إنه يحتوي على العديد من الأفكار حول قضايا لم يطورها ماركس في أماكن أخرى من أعماله التي لم ينهيها. لماذا برأيك استمرت هذه المخطوطات من أعمال ماركس تثير جدلاً أكثر من غيرها، على الرغم من أنه كتبها كي يلخص أسس انتقاده للإقتصاد السياسي ؟ ما السبب في رأيك لجاذبيتها المستمرة ؟

إريك هوبسباوم: برأيي إن كتاب “أسس نقد الإقتصاد السياسي” ترك هذا التأثير الدولي الكبير على المسرح الفكري الماركسي لسببين مترابطين. لم ينشر في الواقع قبل خمسينيات القرن العشرين، واحتوى، كما تقول، على أفكار بالنسبة لقضايا لم يطورها ماركس في أماكن أخرى. لم يكن ما ورد فيه جزءاً من منظومة الماركسية الأرثوذكسية التي جرى إلى حد كبيرالتعامل معها كـ”عقيدةلاهوتية” في الاشتراكية السوفييتية العالمية، ومع ذلك لم تكن الاشتراكية السوفييتية تستطيع ببساطة إنكارها والتنكر لها. وبالتالي كان بإمكان الماركسيين الذين يريدون انتقاد الأرثوذكسية أو توسيع مجال التحليل الماركسي بالإستناد إلى نص لا يمكن اتهامه بالزندقة أو معاداة الماركسية، استخدامه. ومن ثم فإن طبعتي السبعينيات والثمانينيات من القرن العشرين (قبل انهيار جدار برلين بفترة طويلة) من الكتاب ما زالتا تثيران جدلاً إلى حد كبير لأن ماركس أثار في هذه المخطوطات قضايا مهمة لم تعالج في كتاب “رأس المال”- على سبيل المثال القضايا التي أثرتها في مقدمتي للمقالات التي قمت أنت بجمعها [أسس نقد للاقتصاد السياسي لكارل ماركس بعد 150 عاماً، تحرير مارشيلو موستو، الذي صدر في لندن ونيويورك].

(5) مارشيلو موستو: في المقدمة لهذا الكتاب، الذي ألفه عدد من الخبراء الدوليين وصدر للاحتفال بالذكري السنوية المائة والخمسين لانتهاء ماركس من تأليفه، كتبت تقول: “لعل هذه هي اللحظة المناسبة للعودة إلى دراسة “اسس نقد الاقتصاد السياسي” دون قيود تفرضها الاعتبارات المعاصرة للسياسة اليسارية، بين هجوم نيكيتا خروتشوف على ستالين وسقوط ميخائيل جورباتشوف. بالإضافة إلى ذلك قلت، كي تؤكد على القيمة الهائلة لهذا النص، إن “أسس نقد الاقتصاد السياسي” يحتوي على “تحليل ورؤى، بشأن التكنولوجيا، على سبيل المثال، تنقل معالجة ماركس للرأسمالية إلى أبعد من القرن التاسع عشر بكثير، وإلى عصر مجتمع لا يعود الإنتاج فيه بحاجة إلى عمالة كثيفة، إلى الأتمتة، وتوفر إمكانية أوقات الفراغ، وبالتالي التحول من الاغتراب في ظروف كهذه. إنه النص الوحيد الذي يتخطى إلى حد ما تلميح ماركس الخاص بالمستقبل الشيوعي الوارد في “الأيديولوجية الألمانية”. باختصار، لقد جرى وصفه بأنه “قمة تفكير ماركس وأغناه”. بالتالي، ماذا ستكون نتيجة إعادة قراءة “أسس نقد الاقتصاد السياسي” اليوم ؟

إريك هوبسباوم: قد لا يكون هناك اليوم أكثر من حفنة من المحررين والمترجمين الذين يعرفون معرفة تامة هذا الحجم الضخم والصعب للغاية من النصوص. بيد أن إعادة قراءة، أو بالأحرى قراءة هذه النصوص اليوم سيساعدنا على إعادة التفكير في ماركس: من أجل أن نميِّز ما هو عام في تحليل ماركس للرأسمالية، وما كان خاصاً في أوضاع المجتمع البرجوازي في منتصف القرن التاسع عشر. لا يمكننا التنبؤ ما هي الاستنتاجات الممكنة والمحتملة لهذا التحليل، ولكننا نستطيع التنبؤ بأنها لن تحظى باتفاق يحظى بالإجماع.
(6) مارشيلو موستو: سؤال أخير: لماذا من المهم اليوم قراءة ماركس ؟
إريك هوبسباوم: إن من الواضح للغاية لكل من هو مهتم بالأفكار، أكان طالب جامعة أم لا، أن ماركس من أعظم العقول الفلسفية والمحللين الاقتصاديين في القرن التاسع عشر، وسيظل من أعظمهم، كما أنه كاتب نثر في غاية الرقي. لذا فإن من المهم أيضاً قراءة ماركس، لأن العالم الذي نعيش فيه اليوم لا يمكن فهمه من غير التأثيرالذي مارسته كتابات هذا الرجل على القرن العشرين. وأخيراً، يجب أن يُقرأ لأنه، كما قال هو نفسه، لا يمكن تغيير العالم بشكل فعال بدون فهمه – إن ماركس يظل دليلاً رائعاً لفهم العالم والمشاكل التي يجب علينا مواجهتها.


Airopiya Naadugallil Valathusaarigalin Valarchiyai Idathusaarigal Thadukka Mudiyuma? Marcello Musto Virivurai”

ஐரோப்பிய நாடுகளில் வலதுசாரிகளின் வளர்ச்சியை இடதுசாரிகள் தடுக்கமுடியுமா? மார்செல்லோ மஸ்டோ விரிவுரைஐரோப்பிய நாடுகளில் வலதுசாரிகளின் வளர்ச்சியை இடதுசாரிகள் தடுக்கமுடியுமா? மார்செல்லோ மஸ்டோ விரிவுரை

பிப்ரவரி 23 அன்று இந்திய வளர்ச்சி ஆராய்ச்சி கழகத்தில் நடைபெற்ற கருத்தரங்கத்தில் ஐரோப்பிய நாடுகளில் இன்றைய அரசியல் போக்கு மற்றும் இடதுசாரி கட்சிகளின் நிலைமைகள் குறித்து கனடாவில் பணிபுரியும் மார்க்சிய சமூகவியலாளர் மார்செல்லோ மஸ்டோ உரையாற்றினார். ஈரோ மணடலத்தில் இன்றுள்ள பெரும் நெருக்கடி மற்றும் உலகளாவிய பொருளாதார மந்தம் ஆகிய நிலைகளில் மாஸ்டோவின் அரசியல் கூற்றுகள் கவனிக்கதக்கவை. அவரை அறிமுகம் செய்த பெண்ணிய வரலாற்றாசிரியர். வ.கீதா, மார்க்ஸ்,எங்கெல்ஸ் மற்றும் முதல் இன்டர்நேஷனல் ஆகியவை குறித்து இதுவரை வெளியிடப்படாத தகவல்களை மாஸ்டோ கண்டறிந்து மார்க்சிய வரலாற்றை மறுபார்வை செய்யும் அவருடைய வேலையை குறிப்பிட்டார்.

பெர்லின் சுவர் வீழ்ந்த பின்னர் வரும் 90களின் அரசியல் வரலாற்றிலிருந்து மாஸ்டோ தனது உரையை ஆரம்பித்தார். கிழக்கு ஈரோப்பில் சோவியத் வழி கம்யூனிசம் வீழ்ந்த பின்னர், கிழக்கு ஐரோப்பிய நாடுகள் ஐரோப்பிய ஐக்கியத்தில் கூட்டு சேர ஆரம்பித்தன. இந்த சூழ்நிலையில் இடதுசாரிகள் தோல்வி மனப்பான்மை அடைந்தனர். குறிப்பாக சமூக ஜனநாயகவாத சீர்திருத்தவாத இடதுசாரிகளுக்கும் மித வலதுசாரிகளுக்கும் இடையே கருத்தியல்ரீதியாக எந்த மாற்றமும் இல்லாமல் போய் விட்டது.

ஆட்சியில் இருந்த சீர்திருத்தவாதிகள் வலதுசாரி முதலாளித்துவத்தை ஆதரித்து, ஐரோப்பிய நாடுகளில் அதுவரை கடைபிடித்து வந்ந நல சீர்திருத்த கொள்கைகளை கைவிட்டனர். இதன் விளைவாக இந்நாடுகளில் உள்ள நடுத்தர வர்க்கம் வீழ்ந்து, வேலையின்மை அதிகரி;த்துள்ளது. குறிப்பாக கிழக்கு ஈரோப்பில் இளைஞரிடையே வேலையின்மை 35சதமும் கிரீஸில் 50சதத்திற்கும் மேலே எட்டியுள்ளது. இதன் சமூக விளைவை பல ஐரோப்பிய நாடுகள் எதிர் கொண்டு வரும் நிலையில் அவைகள் சமூக துறை செலவுகளை பாதிக்கும் மேல் குறைக்கும் நிலைக்கு தள்ளப்பட்டுள்ளன. இதை நடைமுறைபடுத்திய சீர்திருத்த கட்சிகள் இன்று அழிக்கப்பட்டு வலதுசாரி கட்சிகள் ஆட்சிக்கு வந்துள்ளன.

இடதுசாரிகள் ஆட்சிக்கு வந்தாலும் அவர்கள் தொழிலாளர் வர்க்கத்திற்கு மாற்று என்று எதையும் வைக்க முடியவில்லை. முக்கியமாக தேசிய அரசுகளை ஆட்டுவிப்பது ஐரோப்பிய ட்ராய்கா ஆகும். ஜனநாயகத்திற்கு அப்பாற்பட்டு செயல்படும் ட்ராய்காவில் ஐரோப்பிய கமிஷன், ஈரோப்பியன் மத்திய வங்கி, மற்றும் ஐ.எம்.எஃப் அடக்கம். இந்த அமைப்புகள் தங்களது கொள்கைகளை ஏற்ப தேசிய அரசியலமைப்பை மாற்றுவதற்கு நாடுகளை நிர்ப்பந்தம் செய்து வருகின்றன. இந்த கொள்கையின் அடிப்படையே ஐக்கியத்தின் கரன்சி ஈரோவின் மதிப்பை காப்பாற்றுவதாகும். இதற்கு நாடுகள் நிதி கச்சிதம் என் பெயரில் தங்களது நிதி பற்றாக்குறையை குறைக்க வேண்டும்.

இந்த பொருளாதார தாக்கத்தின் நடுவில் வெளிப்படும் ஐரோப்பிய அரசியலின் நான்கு போக்குகளை மார்செல்லோ விவரித்தார். முதலாவதாக, பல நாடுகளில் புதிய இடதுசாரி கட்சிகள் வளர்ந்து வருகின்றன. இவைகள் தங்கள் உள்நாட்டு பிரச்சனைகளின் மீது கவனம் செலுத்துவதாக உள்ளன. பல்வேறு கருத்தியல் கொண்ட அமைப்புகளுடன் கூட்டு முயற்சியில் ஈடுபடத் தயாராக உள்ளன. இன்றைக்கு சமூகத்தில் உள்ள பெரும்பான்மையான கருத்துகளுக்கு எதிரான கருத்துகளை வைக்கின்றன. சில இடங்களில், சீர்திருத்தவாதிகள் அழிந்து விட்ட நிலையில், இந்த அமைப்புகள் சமூக நல கோரிக்கைகளை வைக்க வேண்டிய நிலைகளிலும் உள்ளன. இடதுசாரிகளின் அரசியலை பற்றி பேசுகையில், கிரீஸின் சிரிஸா மற்றும் ஸ்பெயின் நாட்டின் போடேமோஸ் பற்றி மார்செல்லோ குறிப்பிட்டார்.

ஆனால் இந்த தருணத்தில் அரசியல் கட்சிகளும் கருத்துகளும் மக்களுக்கு எதுவும் செய்வதில்லை என்ற அரசியல் விரோத போக்கும் ஒருசாரார் மத்தியில் வளர்ந்துள்ளது. இவற்றை ஆதரிக்கும் மக்கள் தொழில்நுட்பவாதிகளை கொண்ட அரசை அமைக்க கோருகின்றனர். இந்த அரசியல் விரோத போக்கு, ஜனரஞ்சகவாதத்தை வளர்த்துள்ளது. கருத்தியல் இல்லாமல் பாபுலிசத்தை நாடும் இந்த கட்சிகள் ஜனரஞ்சக கருத்துகளின் அடிப்படையில் போட்டியிடுகின்றன. இவை அனைத்தையும் பார்த்தால் கருத்தியல் ரீதியான அரசியல் பயணம் முடிவுற்றதாக மார்செல்லோ கருதுகிறார்.

கடைசியாக இன்று வளர்ந்து வரும் நவீன பாசிஸமும் அதன் அடிப்படையில் வளர்ந்து வரும் வலதுசாரி கட்சிகளும் ஆகும். இன்று ஈரோப்பில் வெளிநாட்டவர் மீதான எதிர்ப்பும் பரந்த கொள்கை கலாச்சாரத்திற்கு எதிரான ஒரு போர் நடந்து வருவதாக மார்செல்லோ குறிப்பிட்டார். இதில் நலவாதத்தை விட்டு தேசியவாதம் மேலோங்கியுள்ளது. இந்த குறுகிய தேசியவாதம் பரந்த கொள்கை நிறைந்து உள்ள ஸ்காண்டநேவியன் நாடுகளிலும் பரவி வருகிறது.

மக்களின் அரசியல் போக்கை குறித்து, முன்பு இருந்தது போல் இன்று கட்சி மற்றும் அரசுகளின் விசுவாசிகளாக மக்கள் இருப்பதில்லை என்று அவர் கூறினார். இந்த சூழ்நிலையில் ஐரோப்பிய ஐக்கியத்தை எவ்வாறு பராமரிப்பது என்பது இடதுசாரிகளுக்கு முன் உள்ள சவால். எதிர்பார்த்த வகையாக இல்லாமல், ஐக்கியம் இன்று ஜனநாயகத்திற்கு அப்பாற்பட்ட ஒரு சிலரால் ஆட்டுவிக்கும் மையமாக வளர்ந்து உள்ளது. அதன் கொள்கைகள் நாடுகளை ஒரு பக்கம் ஏழ்மையாக்கி உள்ளது இன்னொரு பக்கம் வலதுசாரிக்கு தள்ளி உள்ளது. ஆனாலும் மக்கள் எங்கும் செல்லும் உரிமையை ஐக்கியம் ஏற்படுத்தியுள்ளது. பலநாட்டினருக்கிடையே ஒரு பிணைப்பை ஏற்படுத்தியுள்ளது. இந்நிலையில் ஐரோப்பிய இடதுசாரிகளின் முன் உள்ள கேள்வி என்பது, ஐக்கியத்தை எவ்வாறு இடதுசாரிகள் அணுக வேண்டும் என்பது என்று அவர் குறிப்பிட்டார்.

உலகத்தின் ஒரு பக்கம் உஎள்ள அரசியல் நிலைமைகளின் பல்வேறு பரிமாணங்களை எடுத்துரைத்த இந்த விரிவுரை இந்தியாவில் உள்ள போக்குகளுடன் ஒத்து போவதை காணலாம். அரசியலில் அடிப்படைவாத வளர்ச்சி, தேசியவாத பேச்சுக்கள் மக்களின் அன்றாட பிரச்சனைகளையும் தேவைகளையும் மறைக்கின்றன. இதை குறித்து முடிவுரையில் பேசிய வ.கீதா, பல்வேறு கலாச்சாரங்களை உள்ளடக்கிய ஈரோப்பில் இன்று ‘பொருளாதார நியதிகள்’ மேலோங்கி உள்ளன என்று குறிப்பிட்டார்.. ஒரு சிலர் ஆளும் நிதி அமைப்புகள் அனைத்து ஐரோப்பிய நாடுகளின் விதிகளை தீர்மானிக்கும் போக்கில் அவை இட்டு செல்கின்றன. தங்களது உறுப்பினர்களை இழந்து குறிப்பாக தொழிலாளர் வர்க்கத்தை தங்கள் பக்கம் இழுக்கும் எந்த ஒரு தூண்டுதல்களை வைக்க முடியாத உள்ள இந்திய இடது சாரிக்கும் பல கேள்விகளை எழுப்புகின்றன என்று அவர் கூறினார்.



Can the Left resist the Right ward slide of Europe?

Marcello Musto, Marxist Sociologist from Canada, gave a lecture on 23 rd February at Madras Institute of Development Studies on the political developments in Europe and the condition of leftist political parties.

Coming as it does, at a time of great crisis in Euro Zone and the generalized global recession, the talk was highly relevant. V. Geetha, feminist historian, introduced Marcello Musto and highlighted the important work that he has been carrying out in reviewing and re-interpreting history of Marxist thought from the more recent and hitherto unpublished works of Marx and Engles that are emerging into the academic world.

During his lecture Marcello Musto briefly traced the political scenario as it unfolded since 90s after the ‘Fall of Berlin Wall’, that effective marked the fall of soviet style communism in East Europe and led to greater integration of East Europe into the European Union. He described the left as becoming too defeatist and the disappearance of ideological barriers between centre left(social democrats) and centre right. As the social democrats succumbing to the right wing agenda, dismantled the welfare state that dominated governance in Europe, it has led to the steady erosion of middle class and increased unemployment especially in east Europe that has peaked at 35% of youth population. Other countries such as Greece have even gone higher with over 50% in youth unemployment. Even as European countries grapple with the extreme social costs of this trend, they have been forced to cut down on social sector spending by nearly half. Such policies have decimated the social democrats and allowed for right wing parties to take power. Even where centre left parties have come to power, they don’t have much to present in terms of alternatives to working class. But more importantly it points to the power of an undemocratic troika of institutions with EU, that seem to control national governments. The troika, comprising of the European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF, have even forced governments to write these policies into their constitution, titling it as ‘Fiscal Compact’, binding limits to fiscal deficit which is meant to protect the value of their currency, the Euro.

In this condition, Marcello Musto discerned four critical trends in European politics. One a new left politics is coming back in many countries, that is more inward looking, more willing to network with ideologically similar parties and becoming the counter to the present dominant narrative. He also mentioned that in some parts, the radical left has to even place itself in social democratic footing that has been obliterated, in articulation of welfarist demands. But this period has also seen a steady growth of an attitude of ‘anti-politics’ among the people who feel that political parties and political ideas have little to offer in terms of tangible results and they should have more support for ‘technical’ governments. This anti politics culture is also giving rise to ‘populism’ where political leaders come up with populist ideas that is not based on rational or ideologies. He mentioned that it does mark a period of ‘end of ideologies’, where being ‘ideological’ is considered pejorative. The last and the most disturbing phenomenon has been the rise of the neo fascist tendency and related political parties across Europe. He mentioned that there is heightened xenophobia in Europe and a war on liberal culture. ‘Nationalism’ is trumping ‘welfarism’, and is seemingly on the rise in even Scandinavian countries that have been liberal bastions for long.

Discussing further about the possibilities of left politics, he mentioned the case of Syriza in Greece and Podemos of Spain, and said that the parties and the governments do not enjoy the same loyalty among their populace they used to have decades ago. In this situation, he said, an important dilemma for the European left, is the issue of maintaining the European Union. It has not emerged as the creature it was hoped to be and has rather become a centralized, undemocratic force that is pushing policies to the right and impoverishing populations, yet it has allowed for greater movement among the people and has bound them in new ways. He concluded with the question facing the left: So what should be the attitude of the left towards the Union and how are they to engage with it in the future?

The lecture brought out interesting dimensions of political developments in an important yet distant part of the world to the audience. It also pointed to some very interesting trends that resonate with our present condition, where we see the key features of a resurgent fundamentalist political force, the high pitched rhetoric of ‘nationalism’ drown out the concerns and issues of a wide range of people. As V Geetha pointed out, it also brings back the issue of ‘economic determinism’ in that, in spite of a very vibrant and diverse culture and politics, all of Europe is being driven into a direction determined by a handful of people, controlling a few financial institutions. It also raises difficult questions for the left in India, that has seen steady erosion of its base and a lack of inspirational agenda that can invigorate the working masses and draw them towards their ideas.