After Socialism: Reconstructing Critical Social Thought by Gabriel Kolko

By Gabriel Kolko

Does socialism have a destiny on the earth of the twenty-first century? If now not, what's the destiny for innovative politics?

This is a tremendous contribution to modern social and political inspiration written by means of one of many world's prime severe historians. Gabriel Kolko ask the tricky questions on the place the left can move in a post-Cold warfare international the place neoliberal rules seem to have triumphed in either the West and the previous Soviet bloc. In attempting to resolution this, he interrogates either the origins and improvement of socialist rules and the modern dynamics of the globalized financial system ruled by means of American army, cultural and political might.

While fending off the enticements of both pessimism or utopianism, Kolko bargains an unique and useful answer in regards to the future of a liberal politics.

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Additional info for After Socialism: Reconstructing Critical Social Thought

Sample text

It never has done so. If a theory demands such efforts then it suffers from serious defects. In Chapter 4 I consider such issues in greater detail. But one of Marxism’s leading defenses was in fact its incomprehensibility, which always gave hope that it could somehow be clarified with Marx’s own words to answer objections. Socialism would have been far better served if it had been on an analytically stronger base, less pretentious but also more convincing as well as comprehensible. In a word, both simpler and far more useful.

Marxism became the intellectual property of the country of its founders, stultifying the mentality and concerns of the national movements. The problem, in essence, is that neither Marx nor Engels had a coherent notion of the political process leading to socialism, much less what socialism embodied in practice. Engels in 1877 outlined an economic “law of nature working blindly, forcibly, destructively” that would “socialize” the forces of production, at which point “The proletariat seizes political power” and takes possession of property in the name of society.

They never even considered how state power might influence and abort economic processes and the proletariat’s ability to fulfill Capital’s prognostications – the occasional letters and articles his disciples cite notwithstanding. What Marxism was to mean politically was to be defined by those who followed Marx and Engels. It was not merely that they adhered to their original apocalyptic theory. The events in the real world were both too demanding and exhausting for more than the impressionistic commentaries both made.

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