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Political Science

Lecture 4 Marxism 05272013Chapter 8 Marxist Theories of International Relations Stephen Hobden Richard Wyn JonesAfter the Cold War Marxist theories were thought to be dead but still persisted why1 Marxists see communism in Soviet Union as a major embarrassment and not a true test to the Marxist experiment the breakup of the Soviet bloc encouraged the possibility of defending Marxs ideas without having to justify their behaviour with reference to them2 Marxs social theory retains importance his criticism of capitalism allowed liberals to question whether the market will equalize itself and provides insight into the alternatives of capitalism the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s and the credit crunch demonstrate global capitalism continues to be rocked by massive convulsionsMarxist understanding of international relations is based on an understanding of the truth of which they question the global capital system as the basis for understanding global politicsoMarx said Accumulation of wealth at one pole is therefore at the same time accumulation of misery agony of toil slavery ignorance brutality at the opposite poleImportant tenets of Marxism1 Social world should be analysed in totality as everything is interconnected academic divisions of social world into different areas of enquiry history philosophy economics political science etc is not helpful2 Have a materialist conception of history process of historical change are ultimately a reflection of economic development of societyoEconomic development is effectively the motor of historyoTension between means of production as it is developed it impacts the following and relations of production the most effective utilization of new productive capacity as it leads a process of social change whereby relations of production are transformed in order to better accommodate new configuration of meansoArgues that the base is the means and relations of production which affect the superstructure of political system legal system culture etcEconomics is the basis for everything3 Belief that society is systematically prone to class conflict in capitalism the main axis of conflict is between the bourgeoisie capitalists and proletariat workersMarx called for emancipation or understanding the prevailing order to overthrow it with communismMichael Mann a sociologist argues that there are 4 kinds of social power instead of isolating economic ideology economic military and political IEMP and that these different sources of social power has been more significant in different historical epochsImperialism Cross border characteristic of capitalism where Trotsky discussed of combined and uneven development in a capitalist system of statesoRosa Luxemburg furthered this argument by saying that capitalism depended on the continued growth on precapitalist societiesWhen Lenin wrote Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism in 1917 he accepted much of Marxs basic thesis but argued that the character of capitalism has entered monopoly capitalismMonopoly capitalism twotiered structure which has developed within the world economy where the dominant core exploits the less developed peripheryoNo longer a harmony of interests between all workers posited by MarxContemporary world systems theory developed by the Latin American Dependency School where development of less industrialized countries was directly dependent on more advanced capitalist societiesWorldsystems theory developed by Immanuel Wallerstein who believed global history has been marked by the rise and demise of world systemsthoBelieves it began at the turn of the 16 century which was driven by a market of profitoThree zones of world economy Coreperiphery Democratic government high wages imports raw materials exports manufactures high investment welfare servicesSemiperiphery Authoritarian governments exports mature manufactures or raw materials imports manufactures and raw materials low wages low welfare servicesPeriphery nondemocratic governments exports raw materials imports manufactures below subsistence wages no welfare servicesoBelief that the three zones of world are linked together in an exploitative relationship where wealth is drained away from periphery to the centre rich get richer and poorer get poorerThis is a rather static view of the world however Wallerstein is working to develop a political programme to promote a new world system that is more equitable than the current oneAntonio Gramsci was a Sardinian and one of the founding members of the Italian Communist PartyAsked the key question of Why is it so difficult to promote revolution in Western Europe Marx had predicted that revolution and the transition to socialism that would occur first in most advanced capitalist societies So why did revolution first happen in Russia
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