POS360_Marxism_Fall 2011

POS360_Marxism_Fall 2011 - POS360 Fall 2011 Marxism and...

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1 POS360 Fall 2011 Marxism and Neomarxism Part I. Marxism and Neomarxism Review: So far in this course we have examined international relations (IR) from within two major conceptual frameworks: liberalism and realism. As we have discussed, there are many variants of each approach, such as: neorealism, defensive/offensive realism, economic interdependence, idealism, etc. The third major approach in the study of IR is Marxism. Most contemporary versions of this approach are considered neomarxism. In this lecture, we will examine the theoretical foundations of neomarxism. Then we will discuss how more contemporary versions of neomarxism discuss international politics. Last, we will discuss the importance of humor as a form of resistance and the role of “joke-telling” in the resistance of communist regimes. Historical Context As we discussed in the last lecture, modern liberalism rounded off some of the sharp edges of capitalism. How so? (Hint: think about modern or welfare liberalism). 1 Karl Marx thought that tinkering with capitalism would not end the exploitation of the workers. To think that it would was to misunderstand the nature of man and the flow of history. Capitalism and bourgeois liberalism were not to be reformed. According to Marx, they were to be dismantled and destroyed. Marx admired utopian critiques of early capitalism and agreed with many of their ideals such as cooperation and distribution according to need. However, distribution for Marx did NOT mean that people should be equal in all things . That Marx dismissed contemptuously as "raw communism." He wanted to abolish class distinctions and class privileges. When these were removed, the natural differences among persons would remain. To repeat: Marx did not argue for all people to be the same and have equal things! Marx argued that unfair advantages and class distinctions should be removed. If we did this 1 Remember: we discussed how classical liberalism feared the government. Classical liberal thought distinguished between private and public, emphasized the natural rights of the individual, and firmly believed that the government should not interfere with these individual rights. Modern liberalism, however, developed during the social injustices associated with the Industrial Revolution. Individuals were suffering. Modern liberals revised the classical thought, to rethink the relationship of the individual and the government. Instead of seeing the government as something to be feared, the government became the ally of the worker. The government could provide education, require better working conditions, protect children. See lectures on liberalism.
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2 then we would all be starting off at the same point. What you accomplish is up to you. If you acquire more things, then good for you. However, having more things or a better life should not, argued Marx, be the result of class privilege. In short, Marx wanted to do away with class privilege. He did NOT want to do away with difference. Let’s look at Marxist theory in more detail.
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POS360_Marxism_Fall 2011 - POS360 Fall 2011 Marxism and...

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