Whatever Happened to Imperialism?
Patnaik, Prabhat, Monthly Review
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO IMPERIALISM?
An outsider cannot help noticing a remarkable transformation that has taken place in the Marxist discourse in the United States over the last decade: hardly anybody talks about imperialism any more. In 1974, I left Cambridge, England, where I was teaching economics, and have now returned to the West, this time to the United States, after 15 years. When I left, imperialism occupied perhaps the most prominent place in any Marxist discussion, and nowhere was more being written about and talked about on this subject than in the United States--so much so that many European Marxists accused American Marxism of being tainted with "third worldism." Herbert Marcuse had written that advanced capitalism had manipulated its internal class contradictions to a point where the only effective challenge that could be launched against it (other than from students and marginal groups within) was in the "periphery." Monthly Review had a more or less similar position. And there was a veritable flood of books and articles written on the role of U.S. imperialism in the third world. Many of these were no doubt somewhat naive, and some almost subscribed to a conspiracy theory; but they had vigor, and Marxists everywhere looked to the United States for literature on imperialism.
That is obviously not the case today. Younger Marxists look bemused when the term is mentioned. Burning issues of the day such as Eastern Europe or perestroika are discussed, but without any reference to imperialism. Radical indignation over the invasion of Panama or military intervention in Nicaragua and El Salvador does not jell into theoretical propositions about imperialism. And the topic has virtually disappeared from the pages of Marxist …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Whatever Happened to Imperialism?. Contributors: Patnaik, Prabhat - Author. Magazine title: Monthly Review. Volume: 42. Issue: 6 Publication date: November 1990. Page number: 1+. © 1999 Monthly Review Foundation, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1990 Gale Group.