Historical_materialism_and_the_claims_of - Arno Noack 1...

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Arno Noack 1 Historical Materialism and the Claims of Post-Colonial Theory: Rethinking the Core Assumptions of Quijano’s Coloniality of Power. In the latter half of the twentieth century, it has become a fashionable practice for left intellectuals to distance themselves from the traditional left, often this divorce has come as a complete rejection of the entire basis of post enlightenment thought. In this process all European thinkers from Locke, to Rousseau, and even Marx have been grouped together as if they were all members of a similar school of thought that would reproduce the ideology of European superiority. This is done through a series of intellectual gymnastics that rather than analysis of ideas and their origins within their specific historical contexts. This process denies the unique history of the composition of ideas leaving an intellectual practice that is as problematic as the actual Eurocentric views the thinkers attempt to critique. Quijano, as a particular example, works in his article “Coloniality of Power, Eurocentrism, and Latin America” attempts to challenge traditional dogmatic views that look at Europe as the pinnacle of modernity, the last line in a linear progression of historical stages, But in the process of his critique Quijano clouds over the distinctive differences in forms of domination, the relations between dominators and dominated both at home and abroad, and the origin and logic of capitalism and how it manifests. Due to his oversights Quijano tends to fall into a common practice within the eurocentered world of naturalizing capitalism within the traditional commercialization model which limits his ability to recognize its universalizing tendencies as well as its specific logic and role as a specific historical form that has a beginning and will have an end. Quijanos theories as opposed to challenging eurocentric narratives tends to just invert them. Ironically the historical materialist tradition which he attacks can shed a great amount of
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Arno Noack 2 light on the issues with his specific argument and provide important answers to problems and questions which Quijano highlights. In the following pages through the lens of historical materialism I will look at some of the core assumptions of Quijano, and their implications, and deconstruct his arguments and assumptions to show the structural flaws in the foundation of his thought, when these weaknesses are brought to the surface it begs a rethinking of many of the conclusions which he had reached. Peppered throughout Quijano’s article on eurocentrism is an elaborate strawman he has built to discredit Marxism and Marx’s historical materialism as a method for understanding capitalism and history. The picture he paints reflects little of Marx’s actual thought and is more representative to the strong revisions made to justify the actions of the national chauvanists of the second international and the state collectivist regimes of the 20 th century, regimes that called themselves socialist in name but had little of the original Marx within their ideologies. I
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