Lecture Notes-11.30.06 - Marxist Debates about...

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Marxist Debates about “imperialism” in the run-up to the Bolshevik Revolution (1917-18) 1. The emergence of social reformism and Marxist defense of “imperialism” a. R. Hilferding, E. Bernstein, K. Kautsky) - ultraimperialsm 2. The radicals and the opposition to “imperialism” a. R. Luxemburg 3. Lenin, the discontents of capitalism in Russia and the theory of world revolution against “imperialism” a. Key insight of Russian populists: i. Small scale capitalists (petty bourgeoisie) and big business Two levels of analysis o Class relations within a nation o Relations among nations (uneven, asymmetrical) within a broader world market Smith and Marx would have been surprised by the rise state regulation and of big business empires. Division of labor was clearly becoming internationalist. Tremendous geographical spread of the division of labor. Usually economic boundaries did not coincide with the national boundaries. Rise of state regulation/ nationalism International commercial ties were integrating different regions of the world w/o transforming relations within these different regions of the world Hybrid economy developing, with increasingly powerful capital networks Marx predicted an Increasing radicalization and militancy of the labor force o Once a revolutionary set of conditions occur, and the proletariat revolt Revolutionary parties and their constituencies were becoming increasingly integrated and absorbed into the capitalist system (which according to Marx they were supposed to resist) o Many of Marx’s followers stopped preaching revolution and started advocating peaceful change, to serve the needs to the working class within the framework of capitalism Working classes began to splinter o Parts began to shy away from radical demands, and supported these kinds of calls to precede among a more evolutionary path with class cooperation Social Reformism o Problems of capitalism could be reformed and could change it peacefully in a peaceful evolution into socialism. Rise of Nationalism o Even though there are differences in the classes, what unifies these classes is more important than what divides them o We should preach national class reconciliation and state should be the mediator between the classes Radicalization of working classes and peasantry, and a radicalization of revolutionary movements o Which of these theories about the transcendence of capitalism are going to be applicable to what country? (Peaceful or radical?)
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o Radicals concerned with the socialist reforms and increasing de-radicalization of
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This note was uploaded on 05/08/2008 for the course PEIS 100 taught by Professor Mckenzie during the Spring '08 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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Lecture Notes-11.30.06 - Marxist Debates about...

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