Marxism and Socialist Theory

Marxism and Socialist Theory

Marxism and Socialist Theory

Marxism and Socialist Theory

Excerpt

The historical locus of the revolution is that stage of development where the satisfaction of basic needs creates needs which transcend the state capitalist and state socialist society.

Herbert Marcuse

In this first volume of the set entitled Socialism in Theory and Practice, we will deal with theory. An introductory chapter focuses on many of the philosophical problems associated with doing science in general and, in particular, social science and historical theory. It sets the stage for the work to follow. Next, the second chapter discusses the contributions of a number of contemporary Marxist theorists and presents the main contours of our own overall theoretical approach to understanding history and social change in a totalist manner. It provides the conceptual underpinning of the more critical and detailed discussions to follow.

There are then four chapters dealing in sequence with political, economic, kinship, and community theory. Each addresses certain of the predominant schools of thought, criticizes them, and elaborates our alternative perspective. These discussions are not meant to address all alternative left theories nor even to address any one in complete detail. Rather, by dealing with the main features of the most popular theories we hope to illuminate much of the texture and advantage of a totalist approach. Furthermore, we single out certain popular Marxist theories for more detailed treatment because their concepts—by and large—dominate the usual discourse about socialism and also serve to legitimate certain basic beliefs about socialism which we must overturn. These critical discussions are enjoined therefore, not solely in relation to the new theories put forth in this volume, but also as a basis for our criticisms of certain visions of socialism and our argument for a new socialist vision next volume.

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