The New Marxism: Soviet and East European Marxism since 1956

The New Marxism: Soviet and East European Marxism since 1956

The New Marxism: Soviet and East European Marxism since 1956

The New Marxism: Soviet and East European Marxism since 1956

Excerpt

▪ Since Khrushchev's 1956 speech on Stalin, a great deal has happened in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.There has been a shift from Moscow as the center of the communist movement to what has become known as "polycentrism." The brute force associated with Stalin's reign has been mitigated, the countries of Eastern Europe have asserted their nationalism, and there has been a noticeable thaw in the cold war. Has there been any corresponding change in theory, in the Marxism or Marxism-Leninism which flourishes in the countries of Eastern Europe? This book is an attempt to answer this question by describing the changes which have taken place, the relation of present positions to previous ones, and the divergencies among the East European Marxists. It further attempts to evaluate the significance of these developments. Though my primary emphasis is on theory and especially on Marxist ideology and philosophy, other aspects necessarily enter into the discussion.

At the risk of oversimplification, we can roughly characterize the situation of Marxist theory in several of the countries in which we shall be primarily interested. In the Soviet Union, which represents the most dogmatic end of the spectrum, all the philosophers who are allowed to publish are officially Marxist-Leninists. Though the official position is that they all agree on the truth and truths of Marxism-Leninism, there are more differences among them than they are willing to admit. In Hungary also all the philosophers who are allowed to publish are Marxist-Leninists. They claim to disagree among themselves; but they disagree less than they claim to. In Poland philosophers are allowed to publish who are not Marxists or Marxist-Leninists, and among the Marxists there are significant disagreements. And in Yugoslavia, which represents the least dogmatic end of the spectrum, though almost all of the philosophers claim to be Marxists, they differ with one another to such an extent that it is sometimes difficult to tell from their writings that they are Marxists at all.

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