Communism in History and Theory: The European Experience

By Donald F. Busky | Go to book overview

Preface

In my first book, Democratic Socialism: A Global Survey, I wrote about social democratic parties and governments of the world that combine a belief in the need for a socially owned economy with that of the idea of political democracy and civil liberties. 1 Mainly I wrote about the European democratic socialist parties and governments. However, there is a whole other kind of European party and government that calls itself socialist. These are communist parties, or more properly, the Marxist-Leninist parties and governments. In volumes 1 and 2 of this work I have written about communism as conceived by pre-Marxian utopian socialists, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the nineteenth century, by Vladimir I. Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Joseph Stalin, and their successors in Russia, by Mao Zedong and his successors in China, and by other communist parties and governments in other parts of the world. In the present volume I want to continue the story of socialism, but focusing here on the histories and theories of communist parties and governments in Europe.

I also want to discuss the theories of the neo-Marxists, who are mainly Europeans who tried to expand on the theories of Marx and Engels. In a concluding chapter I want to critique Marxism. It is my belief that although Marx was indeed a genius, and that Engels was a talented writer and exponent of his great friend's theories, the basic theory of Marxism is flawed. The essential problem with Marxism is that it is a monist theory. It tries to explain the whole world by one aspect of it. In the case of Marx and Engels, that aspect was class struggle. Engels, ever the great describer, simplifier, and labeler of the ideas of his friend, called this Marxian idea dialectical materialism. It held that the only really important thing about society was class struggle. Applied to history, Engels came up with the term

-ix-

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Communism in History and Theory: The European Experience
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction: Communism in Europe xvii
  • 1 - Eastern Europe 1
  • 2 - Western Europe 41
  • 3 - Neo-Marxism 93
  • 4 - A Critique of Marxism 119
  • Appendix 159
  • Bibliography 163
  • Index 169
  • About the Author 173
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