From Marxism          toPost-Marxism?   GORAN THERBORN         VERSO     London   •   New York
First published by Verso 2008                       © Goran Therbom 2008                           All rights reserved    ...
Contents  INTRODUCTION: Our Time and the Age of Marx                 vii1 . Into the Twenty-first Century:    The New Para...
INTRODUCTION Our Time and the Age of MarxKarl Marx, born in 1 8 1 8, is about the same age as LatinAmerican independence. ...
viii                  INTRO D U CTION   Nowadays, it is much harder to determine how long anintellectual will last than to...
INT R O D UCTION                     ixMarx. But as far as Marx in our time is concerned, myimpression is that he is matur...
x                     INTRO D UCTIONseen rather as a travellers notebook, unpretentious note sjotted down after a long, ar...
INTRO D UCTION                        xi  As a scholar whose interests are global, I try to situatethe Left in global spac...
1   Into the Twenty-first Century:        The New Parameters          of Global PoliticsPolitics is thought and fought out...
2           F R O M MARXISM T O P O ST MARXISM?first decade of the twenty-first century. It is neither a polit­ical histor...
INTO THE TWENTY FI RST CENTURY                                 3the Soviet Union, and the US claim to a final victo ry int...
4              F R O M MARXI S M TO P O S T MARXI S M ?                          Socio-economic PlaneThe social space of m...
INTO T H E TWENTY FIRST C E N T U RY                5Figure 1.1:   Crucial dimensions of the social patterning of actors  ...
6                 F R O M MARXIS M TO P O ST MARXISM?    Figure 1.2:     Social space of politics and its dynamics        ...
INT O THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY                               7been pushed into American-style poverty, which mustcount as ...
8              FROM MARXI SM TO P O ST MARXISM?members of the European Union, the corresponding figureswere 18 19 percenta...
INT O THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY                    9the development state soon became        with varying combi­nations of ...
10            FROM MARXI S M T O P O S T MARXI S M ?a significant, and consistent, positive correlation betweenworld-marke...
INTO T H E TWENTY FI RST CENTURY                 11to force open the regions economies has met with onlymodest success; Ma...
12          FRO M MARXISM T O P O S T MARXI S M?such as Francos Spain were also forced to change: beginingin about 1 960, ...
INTO THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY                                          l3their attention to the production of compe titive...
14            FROM MARXISM T O POST MARXI SM?cent in 1 99 9. Public taxes, on the other hand, rose from8 per cent of GNP i...
INTO THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY                                    15role in the take-off of East Asian development. On a wo...
16             FRO M MARXI S M T O P O ST MARXI SM?US residents rose from          6.9   per cent of US GDP in          19...
INTO THE TWENTY FIRST C ENTURY                          17for IMF loans. How can this historical tum from social­iza tion ...
18            FROM MARXI SM TO POST MARXISM?the leaders entourage. Once put on track, though, it wasvigorously pushed by i...
INTO THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY                           19employment making up         21    per cent of world employmenta...
20            F R O M MARXI S M T O POST MARX I S M?to one-third in the twenty years that followed. The gripof patriarchy,...
INTO THE TWENTY FIRST C ENTURY                  21North African Islam and Israeli Judaism. While Islamicfundamentalism and...
22           FROM MARXIS M TO P O S T MARXISM?                         Left Successes1.   The discrediting of explicit rac...
INTO THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY                        23as well as of patriarchy        than in the US. In the past,womens ...
24            F R O M MARXI S M TO P O S T MARX I S M ?3.   The Rights capacity for violence - fatally underestimatedby th...
INTO THE TWENTY FIRST C ENTURY                 255. A further difficulty for the Left : neoliberal economicpolicies did br...
26             F R O M MARXI S M T O P O ST M ARXI S M ?been. S econdly, the politics of ethnic and sexual identityhave be...
INTO THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY                   27assumptions or principles embodied in its subject. TheEnlightenment and ...
28           FRO M MARXI S M   TO P O S T MARXI S M ?What are the rights of the people? but rather, Who arethe people? Doe...
INTO THE TWENTY FIRST C ENTURY                            29contradictions were kept out of sight or sidelined from thebeg...
30             FROM MARXISM T O POST MARXISM?reaction against the austere high modernism of Mies vander Rohe and the Inter...
INTO THE TWENTY FI RST CENTURY                                   31cultural analysis to socio-economic change never fullys...
32             F R O M MARXI S M TO P O S T MARXI S M ?mentalism m a y have found i t hard t o flourish i n th e esoterica...
INTO THE TWENTY FIRST C ENTURY                 33virulent internal anti-leftism found within French academiaand certain po...
34              FROM MARXI S M TO P O ST MARXISM?staging an increasing number of actions in the 2000s, andthe promotion of...
INT O THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY                                35   Among the critiques of progress and development, therei...
36             FROM MARXI S M TO P O ST MARXIS M ?stimulating cultural space is not in itself transformativeaction, which ...
INTO THE TWENTY FI RST CENTURY                                  37hail from here . Although its new spirit of c apitalism ...
38           FROM MARXISM T O P O ST MARXI SM?increasingly been challenged and undermined by ethnona­tionalism, ethnorelig...
INTO THE TWENTY FIRST C E N TURY                 39a more open Islamic culture did n o t prevent the emergenceof a Marxist...
40          FRO M MARXI S M TO P O ST MARXI S M ?unions secularized, as happened in Austria after the SecondWorld War, and...
INTO THE TWENTY F I RST C ENTURY                 41Gustice Development Party) i n its mutation into a governingparty seems...
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From marxism to_post_marxism

  1. 1. From Marxism toPost-Marxism? GORAN THERBORN VERSO London • New York
  2. 2. First published by Verso 2008 © Goran Therbom 2008 All rights reserved The moral rights of the author have been asserted 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 Verso UK: 6 Meard Street, London W 1 F OEG USA: 20 Jay Street, Suite 1 0 1 0, Brooklyn, NY 1 1 2 0 1 ww.versobooks . com Verso is the imprint of New Left Books ISBN- 1 3: 9 7 8- 1 -84467- 1 8 8-5 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataA catalog record for this book is available from the library of Congress Typeset by Hewer Text UK Ltd, Edinburgh Printed in the USA by Maple Vail
  3. 3. Contents INTRODUCTION: Our Time and the Age of Marx vii1 . Into the Twenty-first Century: The New Parameters of Global Politics2. Twentieth-C entury Marxism and the Dialectics of Modernity 663 . After Dialectics: Radical Social Theory i n the North at the Dawn of the Twenty-first Century 1 11
  4. 4. INTRODUCTION Our Time and the Age of MarxKarl Marx, born in 1 8 1 8, is about the same age as LatinAmerican independence. The first calls for independencewere issued in 1 8 1 0, although the decisive anticolonialbattles of Mexico and Peru were fought in the 182 0 s . InLatin America, preparations for bicentenary celebrationsin 20 1 0 have already begun. Marx is of course youngerthan the protagonists of the Latin American liberationstruggles younger than, for instance, the Liberatorhimself, Simon Bolivar, recently revived as the spiritualguide of the revolution in Venezuela for he was born inthe dark years of European reaction, of the Holy Allianceof counter-revolution. But the seeds of modernity hadbeen deeply planted in the economic and the culturalsoil of Western Europe, and Karl witnessed their firstflowering. The Communist Manifesto appeared muchahead of its time, with its vision of globalized capitalismand working-class struggles during the Springtide ofpeoples, the February March revolutions of 1 84 8 . In terms of his literary counterparts, Marx i s much youngerthan, say, Rumi, Dante, Cervantes or Shakespeare, and asa social and political theorist younger than, for instance,Hobbes and Locke who in his day were the heroes of Cambridge academic politics not to speak of classical sagessuch as Plato, Aristotle, Confucius and Mencius.
  5. 5. viii INTRO D U CTION Nowadays, it is much harder to determine how long anintellectual will last than to predict the likely lifespan ofthe average human being. What can we say of Marxs abilityto endure? As we approach the bicentennial of the mansbirth, is the body of work that bears his name (long?) dead,dying, ageing, or maturing? Is its resurrection possible?Certainly, it would be impossible to argue that the founderof historical materialism is timeless or eternally young. Any appropriate response would have to take into accountthe fact that Marx was a great articulator and a multi­dimensional personality. He was an intellectual, a socialphilosopher of the radical Enlightenment, a social scientist­cum-historian, and a political strategist and leader firstof the diasporic C ommunist League and then of the Inter­national Working Mens Association. Over the decades,these multiple personae have been assigned vastly differentmeanings and implications. Politics is inescapably a centralpiece of the legacy of Marxism, but nobody has ever claimedthat Marx was a major political leader. He has served as asource of political inspiration and as a social compass forpolitical navigation, but Marx the politician is long dead.Few, if any, social scientists and historians would deny thatsocial and historical methodology, understanding andknowledge have progressed in the 1 25-odd years sinceMarxs final illness put an end to his work on the manuscriptof Capital. But here matters are more complicated, becausesocial analysis, contemporary as well as historical, continuesto draw upon classics, not only for inspiration but alsofor topics of research, concepts, interesting apercyus andintriguing insights. Emile Durkheim, Alexis de Tocquevilleand Max Weber are coeval classics in this sense, as are IbnKhaldoun and Machiavelli, although several centuries older.And great philosophers never die they have their periodsof hibernation as well as of flowering, which usually last astretch of time somewhere between that of Kondratiev cycles and climatic epochs . This book is more concerned with Marx-ism than with
  6. 6. INT R O D UCTION ixMarx. But as far as Marx in our time is concerned, myimpression is that he is maturing, a bit like a good cheeseor a vintage wine not suitable for dionysiac parties orquick gulps at the battlefront. Rather, he is a stimulatingcompanion for profound thought about the meanings ofmodernity and of human emancipation. For his forthcoming bicentenary, I would p ropose threetoasts . First, to Karl Marx as a proponent of emancipatoryreason, of a rationalist scrutiny of the world, with acommitment to human fre edom from exploitation andoppression. Second, to his historical materialist approachto social analysis in other words, to his understandingof the present as history, with particular attention p aid tothe living and working conditions of ordinary people andto the economic and political materiality of power anapproach not to be followed as if laid out in a m anual,but rather as a broad directive accompanied by themotivation to pursue it further. Third, Karl should b ecelebrated for his dialectical openness his sensitivity to,and comprehension of, contradictions, antimonies andconflicts in social life. Marx-ism has, I think, an uncertain future, for reasonsexplained below. But Marx himself is bound for the longlife of alternating winters, springs, summers and autumnsundergone by so many of the great thinkers of humankind,from Confucius and Plato onward. The Nature of this StudyThis book is intended as a map and a compass. It is anattempt to understand the seismic social and intellectualshift between the twentieth century in an importantsense the century of Marxism and the twenty-firstcentury, which began in the years of 1 97 8 9 1 , when Chinaturned to the market and the Soviet system collapsed inboth Europe and the USSR itself. It lays no claim to beingan intellectual history or a history of ideas, and may be
  7. 7. x INTRO D UCTIONseen rather as a travellers notebook, unpretentious note sjotted down after a long, arduous j ourney through theclimbs, passes, descents and dead ends of twentieth- andearly twenty-first-century Marxism. The book has two aims. The first is to situate the left­wing political practice and thought of the early twenty-firstcentury in the terrain of the previous c entury. The secondis to provide a systematic p anorama of left-wing thoughtin the North at the beginning of this new century, an dto compare it with the Marxism of the preceding era.While abstaining from pleading for any particular pathor interpretation, I do not want to hid e the fact that thiswork is written by a scholar who has not surrendere dhis left-wing commitment. Indeed, it is that very commit­m ent which has motivated the writing of this book. The two objectives are pursued in three differentchapters, of various origins . The first, on the spaces ofleft-wing thought and practice, was initially presented ata conference in Mexico organized by the senators ofthe PRD in April 2 0 0 1 , and was then published with apost-September update in New Left Review no. 1 0 . Hereit has been significantly restructured and rewritten . Thesecond, an attempt at identifying the legacy of twentieth­century Marxism as critical theory, derives from acontribution to the first ( 1 9 9 6) edition of BlackwellsCompanion to Social Theory (edited by Bryan Turner, whoalso edited the second, twenty-first-century edition) . It ishere reprinted with minor changes, mainly with a view toavoiding too much overlap with the subsequent essay. Thethird chapter� on recent radical thought, derives from my contribution to The Handbook on European Social Theory (edited by Gerard D elanty for Routledge in 2006) , which was later expanded and Atlanticized for publication inNLR no . 43 . I have updated and somewhat extended ithere; some errors spotted by NLR readers and kindly conveyed to me have been corrected, and some contex­ tual arguments have been moved to other chapters .
  8. 8. INTRO D UCTION xi As a scholar whose interests are global, I try to situatethe Left in global space. But I admit from the outset thata systematic overview of contemporary Southern radicalthought has been beyond my linguistic competence as wellas my time constraints. I do, nevertheless, take note ofthe rich legacy of sophisticated left-wing thought in theSouth, for it is here that the future is likely to be decided. Cambridge October-November 2007
  9. 9. 1 Into the Twenty-first Century: The New Parameters of Global PoliticsPolitics is thought and fought out, policies are forged andimplemented, political ideas wax and wane all within aglobal space. The space itself decides nothing: only actorsand their actions can do that. But it is this dimensionlong global, in many respects, but now far denser in itsworldwide connectivity that endows these actors withtheir strengths and weaknesses, constraints and opportu­nities. Space provides the coordinates of their politicalmoves. Skill and responsibility in the art of politics, luckand genius and their opposites remain constant, butit is the space that largely allocates the political actorstheir cards. This global space comprises three major planes. Oneis socio-economic, laying out the preconditions for thesocial and economic orientation of politics in otherwords, for Left and Right. Another is cultural, with itsprevailing patterns of beliefs and identities and the prin­cipal means of communication. The third is geopolitical,providing the p ower parameters f or confrontationsbetween and against states. This chapter aims to map thesocial space of Left Right politics, from the 1960s to the
  10. 10. 2 F R O M MARXISM T O P O ST MARXISM?first decade of the twenty-first century. It is neither a polit­ical history nor a strategic programme, although it bearss ome relevance to both. It is an attempt to assess thestrengths and weaknesses of the forces of Left and Right,in a broad, non-partisan sense both during the recentp ast, which still bears forcefully on the present, and withinemerging currents. The overall geopolitical space will b e invoked only whereit most directly affects Left Right p olitics. As regards theunderlying conceptions, however, a few p oints ofclarific ation may be needed. The analytical distinctionb etween the two elements does not, of course, imply thatthey are literally distinct . In the concrete world, socialand geopolitical spaces are conjoined . Nevertheless, it isimportant not to confound the two. The Cold War, forexample, had an important Left Right dimension thatof competing socialist and c apitalist modernities. But italso had a specifically geopolitical dynamic, which pittedthe two global superpowers against each other andentrained, on each side, allies, clients and friends . Whichof thes e two dimensions was the more important remainsa controversial question. The resources, opportunities and options of inter­territorial actors within the geopolitical plane are generatedby a-variety of factors military might, demographic weight,economic power and geographical location, among others.For the understanding of Left Right p olitics that concernsus here, two further aspects are particularly significant:the distribution of geopolitical power in the world, andthe social character of interterritorial, or transterritorial, actors . On the first, we should note that the distribution ofpower has changed dramatically during the last forty years, and not just in one direction. The period began with thebuild-up to the United States first military defeat in its history, in Vietnam, and with the ascendancy of the USSR to approximate military parity. Then came the collapse of
  11. 11. INTO THE TWENTY FI RST CENTURY 3the Soviet Union, and the US claim to a final victo ry inthe Cold War. Although in 1 9 56, the fiasco of the French­British-Israeli invasion of Suez signalled the end ofEuropean military might on a world scale, Europe hasas the EU returned as both an economic great power anda continental laboratory for complex, interstate relations. Atthe beginning of the p eriod, Japan was the worlds risingeconomic star; currently it is fading economically andrapidly ageing socially. By contrast, Chinas still unbrokendecades of spectacular growth have given economic muscleto its massive demographic weight. The social character of interterritorial a ctors c an b eread not only from the colour of state regimes but alsofrom the orientation and weight of non-state forces. Twonew kinds of international actors of divergent socialsignificance have become increasingly important duringthis perio d. I The first consists of transnational interstateorganizations such as the World Bank, the IMF and theWTO, which have jointly served as a maj or neoliberalspearhead for the Right (although the World Bank hashad some dissenting voices) . The second i s a loo ser setof transnational networks, movements and lobbies forglobal concerns that have emerged as fairly significant,progressive actors within the world are n a - initiallythrough their links with such UN mechanisms a s thehuman rights conventions and major internationalconferences on women and on population, and, morerecently, through their international mobilizations againsttrade liberalization. In brief, even though the US has become the onlysuperpower, the geopolitical space has not simply b ecomeunipolar; instead, it has begun to assume new forms ofcomplexity.1. Multinational corporations are, of course, an age old feature of capitalism.
  12. 12. 4 F R O M MARXI S M TO P O S T MARXI S M ? Socio-economic PlaneThe social space of modern p olitics has at least threecrucial p arameters: states, markets and social pattern­ings .2 The first two are well-known and highly visibleinstitutional complexes. The third may require some expla­nation. It refers to the shaping of social actors a processinfluenced,. of course, by states and markets, but withadditional force of its OWO, derived from forms of livelihoodand residence, religions and family institution s . It involvesnot only a class structure but, more fundamentally, arendering of variable classness. It may be useful here toinvoke a more abstract, analytic al differentiation of socialpatterning than the conventional ones of class size orstrength, or of categorical identities such as class, genderand ethnicity. The p atternings I want to highlight aresociocultural ones, with an emphasis on broad, sociallydetermined cultural orientations rather than just structuralcategories . Here I suggest irreverence deference andcollectivism individualism as key dimensions (sketched inFigure 1.1). Irreverence and deference here refer to orientationstowards existing inequalities of power, wealth and status;collectivism and individualism to propensities high orlow towards collective identification and organization.The classical Left was driven by the irreverent collec­tivism of the socialist working-class and anti-imperialistmovements, while other contemporary radical currentsfor womens rights or human rights, for instance have2. Capitalism itself is a system of markets, social patternings and (one or more)states. Looking at the features and, above all, at the interrelationships of thesethree dimensions is one way in my experience, a fruitful one of dissectingpower relations and their dynamics within capitalism. These variables have theadvantage of opening up into empirical analytical overviews, while neitherpresupposing nor requiring assessments of the actual extent of the capitalistsystemness of states and social patterns. As current and foreseeable politicscan hardly be summed up in terms of socialism vs. capitalism, this conceptualapparatus broader, looser, less capitalllabour focused may have some merit.
  13. 13. INTO T H E TWENTY FIRST C E N T U RY 5Figure 1.1: Crucial dimensions of the social patterning of actors Collectivism Irreverence Deference Individualisma more individualist character. The traditional Right wasinstitutionally, or c1ientistically, collectivist; liberalism, bothold and new, tends rather towards deferential individualism deferring to those of supposedly superior status,entrepreneurial bosses, the rich, managers, experts (inparticular, liberal economists) - and, at least until recently,male chefs de famille, imperial rulers and representatives ofHerrenvolk empires. It is within this triangle of states, markets and socialpatternings that political ideas gain their ascendancy, andpolitical action occurs. The dynamics of this space derive,firstly, from the outcomes of previous political contests;secondly, from the input of new knowledge and techno­logy; and thirdly, from the processes of the economic system capitalism and, formerly, actually existing socialism. Aschematization of the full model is given in Figure 1 . 2 . C O O RDINATES O F POLITICAL SPACEMost contemporary discussions of the state, whether fromLeft or Right, focus on the question of the nation-stateas it confronts globalization, or on privatization as a
  14. 14. 6 F R O M MARXIS M TO P O ST MARXISM? Figure 1.2: Social space of politics and its dynamics Social coordinates of politics States Markets Social patternings il Dynamics of the social space Political outcomes Knowledge and technology Systemic economic dynamicschallenge to its institutions. These approaches tend toignore both the reality of contemporary state policy-makingand, even more importantly, the varying structural formsof state development. On the first point, the key questionis: has the states capacity to pursue policy targets actuallydiminished over the p ast four decades? The clear answerfor developed democracies is that, generally speaking, ithas not. On the contrary, one c ould say that recent yearshave seen some stunning successes for state policies:the worldwide reduction indeed, the virtual abolitionof inflation is one major example; the development ofstrong regional interstate organizations the EU, ASEAN,Mercosur and NAFTA - is another. True, the persistenceof mass unemployment in the EU is a clear policy failure,but the European unemployed have, on the whole, not
  15. 15. INT O THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY 7been pushed into American-style poverty, which mustcount as at least a modest success. Policy orientations and priorities have changed; newskills and greater flexibility may be required; as always, aconsiderable number of policies fail to reach their goals.But this is nothing new. Nation-states, regions and citieswill differ, as always, in their effectiveness, but I see notrend towards a generally diminished policy-making capac­ity. That certain left-wing policies have b e c ome moredifficult to implement is probably true, but that derivesnot so much from state-level failures as from the right­wing tilt of the political coordinates. Successful State FormsThe most serious flaw of conventional globalizationdiscourse, however, is its blindness to the development ofstrongly differentiated state forms over the past forty years.Two models arose in the sixties: the welfare state, based ongenerous, publicly financed social entitlements, and theEast Asian outward development model. Both have beensuccessfully deployed and consolidated ever since. The coreregion of welfare statism has been Western Europe, whereit has had an impact on all the original OECD countries.Although its European roots go back a long way, it was inthe years after 1960 that welfare statism began to soar inabout a decade, the expenditure and revenue of the statesuddenly expan ded, more than during its entire previoushistory. Unnoticed by conventional globalization theory, thelast four decades of the twentieth century saw the developedstates grow at a far greater rate than international trade . Forthe old OE CD as a whole, public expenditure as a proportionof GDP increased by 13 percentage points between 1 960and 1999, while exports grew 1 1 per cent.3 For the fifteen3 . That is, for the O E CD before the recent inclusion of Mexico, South Koreaand post Communist East Central Europe.
  16. 16. 8 FROM MARXI SM TO P O ST MARXISM?members of the European Union, the corresponding figureswere 18 19 percentage points and 14 per cent.4 Despite the many claims to the contrary echoed onboth Left and Right the welfare state still stands tallwherever it was constructed. Whether measured by publicexpenditure or by revenue, the public sector in the richestcountries of the world stands at, or has plateaued at, peakhistorical levels . For the OECD countries of WesternEurope, North America, Japan and O ceania, the nationalaverage of total government outlays (unweighted bypopulation, but exclusive of Iceland and Luxembourg) in1960 was 24 .7 per cent of GDP. By 200 5 it sto od at 44per cent. For the G7, public outlays increased from 28 percent of their total combined GDP in 1960 to 44 per centin 2005. True, the expenditure share in both cases was acouple of percentage points higher during the recessionyears of the early nineties than at the booming end of thedecade, but that should be interpreted as a largely conjunc­tural oscillation. In terms of taxes, in 2006 the OECDb eat its own historical record of tax revenue, from 2000,and registered its highest revenue ever, about 37 per centof GDP flowing into public coffers . This is not to arguethat there is not a growing need and demand for education,health and social services, and retirement income, whichwill require the further growth of the welfare state, a growthcurrently stultified by right-wing forces. The second new state form its breakthrough againcoming in the sixties (following a pre-war take-off in Japan) has been that of the East Asian outward-developmentmodel: oriented towards exports to the world market, biasedtowards heavy manufacturing, characterized by state plan­ning and control of banks and credit, and indeed, sometimes,as in Korea, by full state ownership. Pioneered by Japan,4. 1 960 data from OEeD Historical Statistics 1960-1997, Paris: OECD, 1 99 9 ,tables 6.5, 6 . 1 2; 1 9 99 data from OEeD Economic Outlook, Paris: OECD, 2000,annex tables 28, 29.
  17. 17. INT O THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY 9the development state soon became with varying combi­nations of state intervention and capitalist enterprise aregional model, with S outh Korea (perhaps now thearchetype), Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong blazing thetrail for Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and, less successfully,the Philippines (the latter, culturally and socially, is some­thing of a Latin America in Southeast Asia, with its powerfullandowning oligarchy still in place, for instance). These werethe examples that China would draw upon from the lateseventies onward; as, a decade later, would Vietnam . Thereis considerable variation between these stat e s and theirdiffering forms of capitalism but all arose within a commonregional context a Cold War frontier receiving a great dealof US economic (and military) assistance . All shared severalfeatures: Japan as the regional development model, a broken,or absent, landed oligarchy; a high rate of literacy; a strongentrepreneurial stratum, usually diaspora Chinese. For themost part, they have also had similar political regimes:authoritarian yet strongly committed to national economicdevelopment through international competitiveness, withthe will to implement decisive state initiatives. This sixties legacy remains a major feature of the worldtoday. China, the largest country on the planet, has becomehistory s most successful development state, with a twenty­year growth rate per capita of almost 10 per cent peryear. The crisis of 1997 98 hit Korea and S outheast Asiapretty hard but, with the possible exception of strife-tornIndonesia, it did not result in a lost decade. On thecontrary, most countries Korea above all have alreadyvigorously bounced back. The Western European welfarist and East Asian devel­opment states were rooted in very differently patternedsocieties, and their political priorities have been quitedistinct . But qua states, and economies, they have hadtwo important f eatures in c ommon. Firstly, they are bothoutward looking, dependent on exports to the worldmarket. Contrary to conventional opinion, there has been
  18. 18. 10 FROM MARXI S M T O P O S T MARXI S M ?a significant, and consistent, positive correlation betweenworld-market dependence and social-rights munificenceamong the rich OECD countries: the more dependent acountry is on exports, the greater its social generosity. 5Secondly, for all their competitive edge and receptivity tothe new, neither the welfarist nor the development statesare wide open to the winds of the world market. Both modelshave established, and continue to maintain, systems ofdomestic protection . Among the welfare states, this takesthe form of social security and income redistribution. WhenFinland, for instance, was hit by recession in the earlynineties, with a 10 per cent decline of GDP and unemploy­ment climbing to nearly 20 per cent, the state stepped into prevent any increase in poverty, thereby maintaining oneof the most egalitarian income distributions in the world.While I am writing this, the Finnish economy is riding highagain, and Finnish Nokia currently reigns as the world leaderin mobile phones. By European standards, the Canadianwelfare state is not particularly developed; nevertheless,despite Canadas close ties with its massive neighbourreinforced through NAFrA it has been able to maintainits more egalitarian income distribution over the past twentyyears, whereas US inequality has risen sharply. The Asian development states have been moreconcerned with political and cultural protection againstunwanted foreign influences, often adopting an authori­tarian nationalist stance . Japan and S outh Korea havewaged low-key but tenacious and effective battles againstincoming foreign investment. The IMF and, behind it,the US attempt to use the East Asian crisis of 1 9 97-985. In the mid nineties the Pearson correlation measure of exports and socialexpenditure as a percentage of GDP in the original OECD countries was 0.26.There is probably no direct cause and effect here. Rather, the link should beinterpreted as meaning that international competitiveness has contributed,through growth, to the weight of progressive forces, and has not been incompatible with the latters p olicies of extending social entitlements.
  19. 19. INTO T H E TWENTY FI RST CENTURY 11to force open the regions economies has met with onlymodest success; Malaysia even managed to get away withimposing a set of controls on transborder capital flows. State FailuresOn the other hand, there has been a lethal crisis amongeconomically inward-looking, low-trade states. The shieldedC o mmunist models have imploded, with the exceptio nof North Korea, which b arely remains afloat. China,Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos have all staked out a newcourse: China now has a proportionately larger block offoreign investment than Latin America. Cuba has managedto survive despite the US blockade even after the dis­appearance of the Soviet Union - largely through mutatinginto a tourist destination, with the help of capital from Italy,C anada and Spain (although that capital is curently beingovertaken by Venezuelan money iri return for Cuban educa­tional and medical aid) . In Africa, the postcolonial stateswith national socialist ambitions have failed miserably,through a lack of both administrative and economic compe­tence and a suitable national political culture. S outh Asiahad better initial conditions, with a qualified administrativeelite, a significant domestic b ourgeoisie and a democraticculture . But the outcome has been disappointing, with anexclusionary education system and low economic growthleading to an increase in the numbers of people living inpoverty. Even after Indias recent moves onto a path ofeconomic growth, it remains the largest poorhouse on earth.About 40 per cent of the worlds p oor (living on less than$2 a day) are in South Asia, 7 5 80 per cent of the regionalpopulation. The tum towards import-substituting industri­alization in Latin America in the fifties was not withoutsuccess, especially in Brazil. But it was clear by the seventiesand eighties that the model had reached a dead end. Bythen, the entire region had run into a deep crisis, economicas well as political. Traditionalist, inward-oriented states
  20. 20. 12 FRO M MARXISM T O P O S T MARXI S M?such as Francos Spain were also forced to change: beginingin about 1 960, Spain took a new tack, concentrating onmass tourism and attracting foreign investment. The widespread crises faced by this type of inward-lookingstate, in all its many incarnations in sharp contrast tothe successes of the diferent versions of the two outward­looking state forms must have some general explanation.It should probably be sought along the following lines. Theperiod after the Second World War saw a new upturn ininternational trade although by the early seventies, it hadonly reached the same proportion of world trade as that of 1 9 1 3 . More important than its scale, however, was its chang­ing character. As became clear by the end of the twentiethcentury, international trade has been decreasingly anexchange of raw materials against industrial commoditiespredominant in the Latin American age of export orientation and increasingly a competition among industrial enter­prise s . One effect of this growth of intra-industrial trade hasbeen a great boost to technology; thus, countries standing aside from the world market have tended to miss out onthis wave of development. By the early eighties, when theUSSR finally managed to surpass the US in steel production,steel had become an expression of economic obsolescencerather than a signifier of industrial might. Somewherebetween the enthusiasm over Sputnik ( 1 9 57) and the pre­crisis stagnation of the 1 980s, the Soviet Union - whichhad always borrowed its industrial goal-models· from theWest, from the US above all slacked off in its technological dynamic . The Western post-industrial turn and the newpossibilities of electronics were discovered too late by the Soviet and Eastern European planners. A state, then, can still assert itself and implement its own policies under current conditions of globalization provided that its economy can compete on the world market. To the classical Left, this is a new challenge, but it was something the Scandinavian labour movement grew up with, in small, little-developed societies that turned
  21. 21. INTO THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY l3their attention to the production of compe titive exp ortsby relatively skilled labour. Corporations and StatesThe relative economic importance of the large st corpora­tions has grown over the long historical haul creating aconcentration of capital, j ust as Marx predicted. In 1 905,the fifty largest US corporations, by nominal capitalization,had assets equal to 1 6 per cent of GNP. By 1999, the assetsof the fifty largest US industrial companies amounted to37 p er cent of GNP. For the UKs ten large st industrialcompanies, the rise was from 5 per cent of GNP in 1 905to 4 1 per cent in 1 999 of which Vodafone, the worldslargest mobile phone operator, had 1 8 per cent.6 Comparedwith the growth of the state, however, corporate growth isnot always so outstandingly impre ssive . Perhap s sur­pri singly, although the figures are not quite comparable, itseems that the US state has actually grown faster thanindustrial corporations during the course of the twentiethcentury (although in the UK, the reverse is true). Pu blicexpenditure in the US more than quadrupled between 19 1 3and 1 9 98, rising from 7 . 5 to 33 p er cent of GDP; in theUK it trebled, from 1 3 to 40 per cent.7 In Sweden, too,the state has outgrown the corporations. The capital assetsof the countrys three largest industrial c orporationsamounted to 1 1- 1 2 per cent of GNP i n 1 913 and 1 929,went down to 5 per cent i n 1 948, and reache d 28-29 per6. The capital balance in principle, a balance of assets versus shares and debt -of the historical record may not be quite the same as the curent accounting ofcorporate assets, but that change in turn corresponds to actual corporate development.Calculations from P.L. Payne, The Emergence of the Large Scale Company inGre at Britain, Economic History Review 20, 1 9 67, 540- 1 , and British and US historicalnational accounts; compared with contemporary data from Fom, 31 July 2000,and from the World B anks World Development Repurt 2000/200 l.7. N. Crafts, Globalization and Growth in the Twentieth Century, in IMF,World Economic Outlook, Supporting Studies, Washin gt o n, DC: IMF, 2001, 3 5 .
  22. 22. 14 FROM MARXISM T O POST MARXI SM?cent in 1 99 9. Public taxes, on the other hand, rose from8 per cent of GNP in 1 9 1 3 to 52 per cent in 1 9 97. Over the more recent period, growth relations b etweentransnational corporations and national economies havebeen surprisingly nuanced. The revenue a measure notusually available for long-te rm comparisons of the worldsten largest corporations has decrease d, relative to theworlds largest national economy. In 1 9 80, their salesre venue amounted to 2 1 p er cent of US GDP; in 2006,to only 1 7 per cent; in 1 9 80, corporate revenue was threetimes the GDP of Mexico; in 2006, twice that of Mexico,whose p opulation was then around 1 0 5 million. We are,nevertheless, facing big private forces. In 1 999, the totalrevenue of the worlds 500 largest corporations amountedto 43 per cent of the world product. Their annual profitsalone were 29 per cent larger than the GNP of Mexico,whose 1 99 9 population was around 97 million people.8It is the wealth rather than the revenue of corporationsthat has increased in relation to states and nationaleconomies. Contrary to current assumptions, corporatere venue has no t quite kept up with the growth of coreeconomies in the past two decades.9 Market DynamicsEven more than corporations, it is markets transnationalmarkets that have grown. The financing of the US warin Vietnam was probably one of the turning-points in theeconomic history of the twentieth century: it helped to spawnthe new transnational currency market with its giganticcapital flows, and American war purchases played a crucial8. C orporations data from Fortune, 24 July 2000. GDP data from WorldDevelopment Report 2000/200 I.9. Corporate account assets are more stable than market capitalization i.e.,the stock market value of the corporations shares on a given day. On 24 April2000, at the very start of the downturn on the worlds stock exchanges, themarket value of Microsoft was almost 7 per cent of US GDP in 1 99 9 , and thatof General Electric almost 6 per cent; see the Financial Times, 4 May 2000.
  23. 23. INTO THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY 15role in the take-off of East Asian development. On a worldscale, stock-market turnover increased from 2 8 per cent ofthe world product in 1 990 to 81 1 998 . US stock­ per cent inmarket capitalization rose from about 40 per cent of GDPin 1 980, to 53 per cent in 1 990, to 1 50 per cent by early2 00 1 , after peaking at around 1 80 per cent.10 Transnationalcapital flows have speeded up to an enormous extent� notonly probably not even mainly thanks to innovations incommunications technology, but because of institutionalchange. Two examples come to mind, the first of which isthe transnational currency market. The postwar trans­national anchorage of the currency system, set up at BrettonWoods, collapsed in the early seventies. Transnationalcurrency trading soon became an enormous global casino,amounting to 12 times world exports in 1979 and 61 timesworld exports in 1 9 89, and then levelling off on this altiplano .In April 1 998 the daily turnover of foreign-currency tradingin the world was 3.4 times larger than the Mexican GNIfor the whole year. Since the autumn of 1 998, however,with the introduction of the euro and the fallout from theAsian crisis, among other factors, currency trading hasdeclined significantly. In April 2007 the daily turnover offoreign exchange markets was $3.2 trillion, more than theannual GDP of the worlds third largest economy, Gennany,with a GDP in 2006 of $2.9 trillion. The second change has been the development of signif­icant new objects of trade. One such invention contrivedin the seventies, but exploding in the eighties was that ofderivatives: betting on the future. Between 1 986 and 1996,derivatives trading multiplied fifty-six-fold, reaching avolume of around $34,000 billion. In 1 995, the notionalamount of bets outstanding in global derivatives tradingalmost equalled the whole world product; since 1 9 96, theyhave surpassed it. Cross-border flows of bonds and equitiesrose in the eighties and soared to a peak in 199 8. Trans­national transactions on bonds and equities that involved1 0 . The World Bank, World Development Indicators, Washington, DC: The WorldBank, 2005, table 5.4.
  24. 24. 16 FRO M MARXI S M T O P O ST MARXI SM?US residents rose from 6.9 per cent of US GDP in 1975-9to 22 1.8 per cent in 1 99 8 more than twice US GDPbefore declining to 189 per cent in 1 999 .1 1 A hundred and fifty years ago, Marx foresaw ahistorical tendency of development that the productiveforces would acquire a more social character and wouldthus come into increasing contradiction with the privateownership of the means of production. From that perioduntil about 1 980, there was indeed a long-term trend towardsthe socialization and/or public regulation of the means ofproduction, transport (railways, airlines, rapid transit) andcommunications (telephones and, later, broadcasting). Thiswas a major dynamic in the capitalist heartlands from theFirst World War to the beginning of the Cold War. It wasbuttressed by the might of Soviet industrialization and, afterthe S econd World War, by the entire Communist bloc. Stillanother socializing wave came with postcolonial socialism,the Cuban revolution, the Chilean Unidad Popular and thesocialization proposals of the French and Swedish govern­ments between the mid-seventies and the early eighties . Then the trend reversed, with failures and defeatsfrom Sweden to Chile, from France to Tanzania to India,accompanied by a mounting crisis in the Communist coun­tries. In Britain the wave of privatization was initiated byThatcher in this respect, more radical than her Chileancounterpart, Pinochet. Since then, privatization programmeshave been adopted not only in post-Communist EasternEurope but also in the largest remaining C ommunistcountries, China and Vietnam, and by virtually all socialdemocracies not to speak of the Right. Such programmeshave become a major, sometimes a decisive, condition1 1 . The World Bank, World Development Indicators, Washington, D C: The WorldBank, 2000, table 5.2; Dagens Nyheter, 1 2 April 200 1 , C3; David Held et ai.,Global Transformations, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1 9 99, 208 9;Bank for International Settlements, 70th Annual Report, Basle: Bank for International Settlements, 2000.
  25. 25. INTO THE TWENTY FIRST C ENTURY 17for IMF loans. How can this historical tum from social­iza tion to privatization be explained? What happenedwas a confluence of three systemic processes� under theconditions - favourable or unfavourable� depending on onespoint of view of contingent events.1. The development programme of the Communist states,dependent on mobilizing natural and human resourceswith the help of existing technology, domestic or borrowed,was beginning to exhaust itself.. This first became visiblein East Central Europ e by the mid-sixties and in the S ovietUnion about a decade later. Outside the domain of thearms race with the US, the question of how to generatenew technology and more productivity was neveranswered. The Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1 9 68froze new Communist initiatives and inaugurat ed a periodof stagnation, which perestroika could not disrupt.2. The competence and integrity of the postco lonial statesturned out to be fatally inadequate to the requirements ofsocial planning and state-sponsored economic development.3. In the core capitalist countries, new source s of capitalgeneration and management technologies challenged thecapacity of the state. Heavy social commitments also madeit increasingly difficult for even wealthy states to meet newdemands for investment in infrastructure, while the explosionof financial markets generated much more private capital. These three systemic tendencies coalesced in theeighties. Privatization then gained its own politicalthrust through the emergence of two particularly ruthlessand strong-willed tendencies, both arising out of theLefts failed crisis management: Pinochetismo in Chileand Thatcherism in Britain . In neither case was privatizationinitially an issue - beyond undoing Allendes s o cializations- but rather something which emerged, early on, from within
  26. 26. 18 FROM MARXI SM TO POST MARXISM?the leaders entourage. Once put on track, though, it wasvigorously pushed by interested investment bankers andbusiness consultants, turned into a condition of IMF WorldBank loans, and taken up as an ideological centrepiece bythe right-wing media. As was noted, there have been sometechnological aspects to this shift, mainly in telecommuni­cations, and some managerial aspe cts. Private-sectoroutsourcing has been a parallel development. But overall,the privatization drive has been powered by new privatecapital, strongly supported by ideological fashion. Less Class� More IrreverenceIndustrial employment peaked in the capitalist heartlandsin the second half of the sixties; the industrial working-classmovement reached the historical height of its size and influ­ence in the seventies; and a fairly dramatic process ofdeindustrialization took place in the eighties . 12 While indus­trialization and industrial working-class formation continuedin East and Southeast Asia, most powerfully in South Korea where manufacturing employment soared from 1 . 5 percent in 1 960 to 22 per cent in 1 980, peaking in 1 990 at 27per cent of total employment deindustriali zation alsohit old Third World industrial centres, such as Bombay.Manufacturing employment also declined, relatively, begin­ning in 1 980 in all the more developed Latin Americancountries (save Mexico, with its US-operated maquilado­ras)Y Between 1 96 5 and 1 990, industrial employment asa proportion of world employment declined from 19 to 17per cent, and among the industrial countries from 37 to26 per cent.14 A later ILO time series, 1 99 6-2006, indicatesa certain stabilization at a slightly higher level, with industrial1 2 . See my European Modernity and Beyond, London: Sage Publications,1 99 5 , 69ff.13. CEPAL, Panorama social de America Latina, 1997, Santiago de Chile: UN,1 997, table 111.3.14 . ILO, World Employment 1995, Geneva: ILO, 1 9 95, 2 9 .
  27. 27. INTO THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY 19employment making up 21 per cent of world employmentat both end years, in as much as post-industrial decline wasoffset by S outh Asian industrialization. Clearly, however, the great epoch of the industrialworking-class movem ent has come to an end. In fa ct,industrial labour came to dominate post-agrarian employ­ment only in Europe, never in the US, Japan or S outhKorea, and it is most unlikely to happen ever a gain. Onc emore according t o the ILO, service employment is o n theverge of overtaking industrial employment in China . Theenormous growth of Third World megacities � from Cairoto Jakarta, from Dhaka to Mexico via Kinshasa and Lagosis generating an urb an proletariat only in i the Rom an, �pre-Marxist sense of informal labour and dea �rs. In India,only about a tenth of the economically activ� p opulationis in the fonnal urban sector; in China, 23 per kent. Whilean international slum-dwellers organization i exists, aneventual revolt of the slums (as suggested in Mike DavissPlanet of Slums), if it occurs, is unlikely to fit into the classicalrepertoire of working-class protest and revolution. Classicalirreverent c ollectivism, of which the industrial working­class movement was the main historical carrier, has passedits high point and is now progressively weakening . But thisis only part of the story. The other crucial development over this period hasbeen the strong erosion of traditional deference, religiousas well a s s o c iopolitical . De-agrarianization has been onefactor here agricultural lab our declining fro m 5 7 to48 per cent of world employment between 1 9 6 5 and1 990 although peasants have been far from always andeverywhere deferential. According to the 2000 census,town-dwellers in China now make up a good third of thepopulation; ten years ago, they constituted a quarter. TheNetherlands provides a stark example of secul arizatio n :the explicitly religious parties received over half of all votescast in every election from the introduction o f universalsuffrage in 1918 up until 1 9 63; their share then dropped
  28. 28. 20 F R O M MARXI S M T O POST MARX I S M?to one-third in the twenty years that followed. The gripof patriarchy, too, has been significantly loosened : womensrights and questions of gender equality have appeared onthe agenda virtually everywhere in the world. 1 5 What we might call social modernization resulting fromeconomic change, education, mass communication, formaldemocratic rights, transnational migrations has had theeffect of eroding many different kinds of deference, affectingnot only women and young people but also the salariedmiddle strata in most countries, the lower castes anduntouchables in South Asia, indigenous peoples on allcontinents, the urban poor in the new big-city slums of theThird World, Catholics and European Protestants. Thisdevelopmental outcome was first visible in the sixties, withthe undermining of traditional clientelism in Latin Europeand America. It was highlighted in the protests of 1 968 andthen by the womens movement that followed in their wake. One element of this erosion of deference has been thecre ation of new forms of rebellious collectivism. Indige­nous p e oples have organized in defence of their rights andh ave become a significant political force throughout theAmericas, from Arctic Canada to sub-Antarctic C hile, anda major force in Bolivia and Ecuador. In India, indigenousmovements allied with environmentalist organizations haveexerted veto power. Lower castes have reshaped theircollective identity as D alits, the downtrodden oroppressed, rather than polluted untouchables; women haveworke d to build transnational feminist networks . But therehave been other trends as well . One is towards what wecould call deferential individualism the worship ofmammon and success in any form. The decline of erstwhile authority has also given rise to new, self-chosen brandsof authoritarianism or to fundamentalism p articularlysignificant within American Protestantism, West Asian and1 5 . See Part 1 of my Between Sex and Power, Family in the World 1 900-2000,London: Routledge, 2004.
  29. 29. INTO THE TWENTY FIRST C ENTURY 21North African Islam and Israeli Judaism. While Islamicfundamentalism and Latin American evangelicalism havethrived on the social failures of both the secularized Leftand traditional religious institutions, fundamentali stcurrents within Judaism and US Protestantism seem ratherto be driven by specific concerns of identity. It is impossible, at this stage, to draw up a balance she etof the combined effects of all these social processes, withtheir many contradictions, their exceptions, their uneven­ness. But my impression would be that the overall directionin which they have been and will be heading is notonly away from traditional collectivism but also, and moreinsistently, towards a greater irreverence in the face ofinequalities and privileges, particularly those of power andstatus . From a left-wing perspective, these processes offernot only the potential reinforcement of further allies in thestand against deference but also the challenge of an indi­vidualist or a new-collectivist questioning of the traditionalcollectivism of the Left and the anti-imperialist and labourmovements . Most importantly, however, these develop­ments do not simply provide additional resources for theLeft. They raise new issues and generate new questions ofpriorities, alliances and compromises. At the very least, forinstance, environmentalism and identity politics can clashhead-on with the developmentalism and egalitarianism ofthe classical Left. Irreverence may also express itself inrepulsive forms, such as xenophobic violence or crime . DYNAMICS OF THE POLITICAL SPHEREWithin these coordinates, further dynamics are at work. Themost immediate are those created by the historical outcomeof previous political contests. Here we shall simply list whatseem to have been the most significant defeats and victories,successes and failures, of the past forty years for both Rightand Left, as well as noting what parameters have changedacross the political field.
  30. 30. 22 FROM MARXIS M TO P O S T MARXISM? Left Successes1. The discrediting of explicit racism and the fall ofcolonialism. Until the sixties, European colonial rule overother p eoples was still widely held to be perfectly legiti­mate. Blacks in the US were still denied human and civilrights . The decolonization of Mrica, the defeat of insti­tutional racism in the US, the overthrow of ap artheid inSouth Africa and the defeat of US imperialism in Cubaand Vietnam were resounding left-wing victories, whichaltered the political space of the world in imp ortant ways .2. The postwar argument over the welfare state within theadvanced capitalist countries did the new prosperitymean that less so cial expenditure would be needed, orthat s ocial security and proper social services had nowbecome affordable? was resoundingly won by the(refonnist) Left, especially in West Germany, Scandinaviaand the Netherlands, and ratified by a series of importantelection results around 1 9 60.3. The worldwide student movement o f 1 968 was a majoradvance for the forces of ireverence across the world, forit attacked not only tradition and reaction but also thecomplacency of social liberalism, social democracy, Commu­nism and national revolutions . It rejected the fonnula ofeconomic growth and expanded mass education as anadequate fulfilment of the classical Left Enlightenmentdemands for emancipation and equality, and set newagendas for human liberation and self-realization.4. The new feminist movement questioned male radicalsleadership of movements for liberation and equality in whichtraditional gender roles remained unchanged. Overall,feminism has been a movement of the Left in the broadestsense, although more so in Western Europe and in theThird World questioning the masculinist rule of capital
  31. 31. INTO THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY 23as well as of patriarchy than in the US. In the past,womens voting patterns tended to be more right-wing thanmens, in spite of the tendency of the early feminist move­ment to align with the Left. But in the course of theeighties and nineties this pattern changed, in the capitalistdemocracies, into a female voting preference for left­of-centre parties and candidates (very clearly marked inrecent US presidential elections). Left Failures and Defeats1 . An important turning-point was the failure of the Leftto cope with the distributive conflicts that broke out duringthe economic crises of the seventies and eighties. WesternEuropean social democracy above all, the British LabourParty US liberalism, Latin American populism and theChilean Left were confronted with such confli cts, whi chled to ever deeper crises of inflation, unemployment,economic ungovernability and decline. Their failures pavedthe way for a powerful right-wing backlash violent inLatin America but within the bounds of formal democracyin North America and Western Europe . Thus ensued themoment of neoliberalism, which is with us still .2. The rendez-vous m anque between the protesters of1 968 and the existing labour movements. After its first waveof individualist iconoclasm, the former turned to mimeticearly Bolshevik romanticism and party-building. Disillusion­ment there in turn generated a good deal of right-wing liberalrenegadism, nouveaux philosophes and the ideological stonntroopers of the Gulf and Kosovo wars, as well as the self­indulgent individualism of the Clinton kids. A good part ofthe irreverent individualism of 1 968 has persisted, toosometimes politically expressed, as in feminist andenvironmentalist movements and in human-rights activism.But because of that missed appointment, the potential for ahistorical renewal or refounding of the Left was lost.
  32. 32. 24 F R O M MARXI S M TO P O S T MARX I S M ?3. The Rights capacity for violence - fatally underestimatedby the Left led to a number of bloody defeats : Indonesiain 1 9 65 , the S outhern Cone of Latin America in the earlyseventies, a more protracted but proportionately even moremurderous struggle in Central America.4. The implosion of Communism in the 1 990s was a negativetum on an epochal scale, for the non-Communist as wellas the Communist Left: the possibility of achieving a viablenoncapitalist society lost much of its credibility. The demiseof Communism was neither a heroic defeat nor merely theresult of an accelerating process of decay. It had, in fact,an ironic twist. In both the Soviet Union and China, thebeginning of the end was a wave of radical and unexpectedinternal reforms; in both countries, the denouement cameas the unintended result of the success of these reforms . Inthe Soviet Union, the reforms were largely political anddemocratizing; they threw the planned economy into chaosand, finally, benefited nationalist politicians. In China, theywere largely economic, taking longer to tear socialist politicsto pieces while profoundly corrupting the party-state . EasternEurope overtook the USSR, breaking loose before the latterdisintegrated, and C ommunist Southeast Asia followedChina rather cautiously. Two smaller Communist regimes, however, have so farmaintained themselves, through very different survivalstrategies. Nationalist isolation has mutated North KoreanCommunism into a dynastic power, complete with ballisticmissiles and mass poverty. Cuba has survived with the revo­lutionary integrity of its regime intact, although this is hardlyless personality-driven and authoritarian than what precededit. Its ingenious strategy has been to become, once again,a major international holiday resort . While tourism iscertainly an industry of the future, it is less clear that thebeach hotel can be a medium-term social model. 161 6 . Many if not most of the best Cuban hotels are public property, butthey are usually managed by foreign based capitalist enterprises.
  33. 33. INTO THE TWENTY FIRST C ENTURY 255. A further difficulty for the Left : neoliberal economicpolicies did bring some material rewards and could notcredibly be denounced as a complete failure for the Right .Neoliberal governments succeeded in curbing inflation, amajor political asset in the nineties in Argentina, Bolivia,Brazil, Peru and elsewhere . The opening of world marketsmeant new opportunities for quite a number of people .Some privatization initiatives succeeded n o t only inproviding more privileges for a few but also in encouraginginvestment and providing services: telecommunications isthe outstanding example here.6. Geopolitical events at the state level have weighed heavilyon the Left Right balance of world forces. A brief list mustsuffice as a reminder. The Sino-Soviet split, later reproducedin the Pol Pot Vietnam conflict, divided and demoralizedthe Left and enormously strengthened the hand of the Right.State breakdowns in independent Africa, begining in theCongo in the autumn of 1960, left little space for Leftpolitics and policy on that continent a restriction camou­flaged for a while by the geopolitical alignment of someleaders with the USSR. The catastrophic defeat by Israelin the 1 9 67 war discredited and demoralized the secularizedArab Left throughout the region and bred aggressive religiousfundamentalisms among both Arabs and Jews.In addition to these successes and failures, we must registerthe ways in which the parameters of the political field ingeneral have shifted during this period. Again, there is spacehere only to note the effects of some of these dynamics onthe balance of Right and Left. Firstly, there has been therise of environmental politics, which surged in the wake ofthe mid-seventies oil crisis. While generally more critical ofcapital than of labour, these currents have also questionedthe fundamentally developmentalist perspective of theindustrial Left, and may prove more tolerant of unemploy­ment and economic inequality than the traditional Left has
  34. 34. 26 F R O M MARXI S M T O P O ST M ARXI S M ?been. S econdly, the politics of ethnic and sexual identityhave become considerably more important in some parts ofthe world. Their relation to socio-economic issues is oftenambiguous critical of inequalities that affect their groupingor community, for instance, but not of those that affectothers or of inequality in general. Impact of TechnologiesNew developments in scientific knowledge and technologyover the past forty years have also had an impact on politicalspace. First, we should note the effects of technology in theacceleration of industrial productivity, resulting inrelative deindustrialization and, with it, the disappearanceof traditional working-class milieux. Television has furtheredthe creation of new, home-centred social relations and ofa more image-focused politics. Further developments intelecommunications satellite broadcasting, mobile phones,email and the Internet have been double-edged, erodingboth public-service communication and also public-ordercontrols . 1 7 Finally, more than a century after Darwin, biologyis once more emerging as a site for the expansion of knowl­edge and technology, and thereby also for cultural ideology.The political field of the future will surely contain a largerelement of life politics around issues such as health, theenvironment, coping with ageing, genetic engineering, ethicalquestions and quality of life . C ULTURE S O F C RITIQUECritical thought depends on cultural soil to grow. Inorder to make sense, a critique must depart from certain1 7 . This loosening of public order controls may be reversed in the near future:an interesting test will be how the police authorities deal with forthcoming EU,WTO or World Bank summits. The technology for global surveillance andespionage already exists in the US Echelon system.
  35. 35. INTO THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY 27assumptions or principles embodied in its subject. TheEnlightenment and its subsequent traditions provided anideal starting point for left-wing critical thought. Criticalenquiry, unhampered by existing authorities and beliefs,was enshrined at the core of the Enlightenment itself -Sapere aude! (Dare to know!) Its universalistic principle ofreason provided a tribunal for critical accusation, againstancestral wisdom and the self-proclaimed heirs of theEnlightenment. European modernity developed, culturally and philo­sophically, out of the Enlightenment and, politically, outof the French Revolution. Its political culture fo cuse d onthe confrontation of the people/nation against the prince,the monarchical entourage of aristocracy, and upperranks of the clergy. Although the forces of the status quohad strong institutional and intellectual resources to drawupon, the culture of European modernity was a fertilebreeding-ground for radical critical thought; post- 1 7 89Europe became the worlds primary arena for ideologicalconfrontation . S o what was actually happening to therights of the people, to lib erty, equality and fraternityunder industrial capitalism and landowner p olitics ? Theconcept of class was forged before Marx in the first break­through of European modernity, in reflections on theIndustrial Revolution in Britain and on the FrenchRevolution . The value assigned to progress tended toundermine the b asic assumptions of conservatism. As I have argued more extensively in other contexts,the modem rupture with the past took different roads indifferent parts of the world a European road, a roadsuited to the New World of settlers, a colonial roa d andthe road of reactive modernization from above . In the new settler worlds of the Americas after inde­pendence, modern thought be came the conventionalmainstream, fundamentally challenged only by C atholicclericalism in Colombia and some other p arts of LatinAmerica. The main question in the Americas was not,
  36. 36. 28 FRO M MARXI S M TO P O S T MARXI S M ?What are the rights of the people? but rather, Who arethe people? Does the people include indigenous inhab­itants? Black people? Uncouth recent immigrants? In arough summary of New World political culture, two thingsstand out . Liberalism in the broad sense of the defenceof liberty (private pursuits, private property, private beliefs)and a commitment to science and progress (to reason)has had a much firmer intellectual hold than in Europe,usually, if not always, overshadowing socialist critiques .Secondly, because of the much less pronounced ideologicaldivides in America, Marxist thought and p olitics have onoccasion more easily melded with mainstream politicalcurrents, such as New Deal liberalism; Creole p opulismin Cuba, Guatemala and Argentina in the 1 9 4 0 s ; orChilean radicalism in the 1 9 6 0 s 7 0 s . The anticolonial modernism of the colonized a perspec­tive also adopted in Latin America by those who rejectedsettler Creolity was highly conducive to radicalism. Thecolonized modems the generation of Nehru, Sukarno,Ho Chi Minh and Nkrumah were probably the p eopleexperiencing the contradictions of liberal European moder­nity most acutely. On one hand, they had identified withthe modem aggressor, the colonial power learning itslanguage, its culture, its political principles ofnation/people, rights and self-determination. On the other,they experienced the denial of rights and self-determinationto their own people, the haughty face and the iron fist ofliberal imperialism . Socialist radicalism, both Communistand non-Communist, was a pervasive characteristic of post­Second World War anticolonial nationalism. Reactive modernization from above, by contrast, leftlittle space for radical thought. By definition, it meant aninstrumentalization of nation, politics, science and progress,with a view to preserving a regime real or imaginedunder external imperialist threat. Since liberty, equalityand fraternity were predefined in the mainstream as ameans of strengthening the regime, their intrinsic social
  37. 37. INTO THE TWENTY FIRST C ENTURY 29contradictions were kept out of sight or sidelined from thebeginning. This did not, of c ourse, prevent radical currentsfrom making their way, alongside modem ideas in general,into Japan, Siam, Turkey and the uncolonized Arab world.There, however, they encountered a more b arren soil, aswell as repressive vigilance. Modernism - with its commitment to reason, science,change, progress and the future - was not inherently left­wing. (Chapter 3 examines the different master narratives of modernity and their relationship to Marxism . ) In thelatter p art of the ninete enth century, traditionalistconservatism was increasingly supplemented, and in theAmericas it was overtaken, by a right-wing modernism thatextolled the overriding rights of the strongest and the fittest.This was social Darwinism and the new language of liberalimperialism, both important ingredients of twentieth-centuryFascism. However, after Stalingrad and Auschwitz, thisracist, imperialist and militaristic modernism was bothdefeated and utterly discredited. Non-militaristic laissez-fairesocial Darwinism, promulgated by Herbert Spencer amongothers and very influential in the US, had its thesis of theantagonism between industrialism and militarism disprovedby the First World War, and its e conomic credentialsdestroyed by the Depression of the 1 930s . After the Second World War, modernism was overwhelm­ingly left-of-centre in all parts of the world, except, by andlarge, the countries involved in reactive modernization .Then, in about 1 9 80, came the avalanche of post­modernism. The same period that saw the eclipse of politicalMarxism also witnessed the denial of modernity in the nameof p ostmodernity, and the rise of postmodernism . The latterhas at least two very different originS. 1 8 One is aesthetic:a mutation of the modernist succession of avant-gardes,most clearly developed in the field of architecture as a1 8 . See the unrivalled critical archaeology of Perry Anderson, The Origins ofPostmodernity, London: Verso, 1 99 8 .
  38. 38. 30 FROM MARXISM T O POST MARXISM?reaction against the austere high modernism of Mies vander Rohe and the International Style. The other source liesin social philosophy, a manifestation of ex-leftist exhaustionand disenchantment . The key figure here is the late Frenchphilosopher Jean-Fran90is Lyotard, a disillusioned formermilitant of the far-left grouplet Socialisme au Barbarie. 1 9 Why did postmodernism become such a formidablechallenge? Why was postmodernity badly needed, intuitivelylonged for, and desperately sought, as an early devoteerecently put it, with the benefit of a more sceptical hind­sight?20 The aesthetic attraction is easily understood as,above all, another manifestation of the relentless modernistdrive for innovation; what influences its specific forms wouldbe in opposition to its immediate predecessor/enemy, aswell as the sociocultural context. But the question of thetheoretical and p olitical significance of p ostmodernism stillremains . Here, Jeffrey Alexander captures one salient pointwhen he c oncludes that postmodern theory . . . may beseen . . . as an attempt to redress the problem of meaningcreated by the experienced failure of "the sixties" . 2 1 All this involved a remarkable conflation of brillianceand myopia . In the cultural sphere, important changeshad clearly taken place b etween the work of, say, Miesvan der Rohe and Robert Venturi, o r Jackson Pollockand Andy Warhol changes emerging in the 1 9 6 0 s, andsetting a new aesthetic tone for the coming decade s .Thos e d evelopments warranted analyses of a new modeof cultural production, such as Fredric Jamesons Pos t­modernism. 22 But even the very best attempts at relating1 9 . J. F. Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, tran s .G . Bennington and B . Massumi, Minneapolis: University o f Minnesota Press,1 984 ( 1 979).20. Z. B auman and K. Tester, Conversations with Zygmunt Bauman, Cambridge:Polity, 200 1 , 7 1 .2 1 . J. Alexander, Modem, Anti, Post, Neo, NLR 1 : 2 1 0, March April 1 995, 82.22. Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, Or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism,London: Verso, 1 99 1 .
  39. 39. INTO THE TWENTY FI RST CENTURY 31cultural analysis to socio-economic change never fullysucceeded in articulating the connections between thetwo . Jameson bases his account on Ernest Mandel s LateCapitalism, a picture of the postwar world economy orig­inating in the 1 9 60s, which largely focused on the stateregulation of capital and its insuperable limits, so Jamesondoes not discuss the later post- 1 9 7 5 capitalism or thesurge of right-wing neolibe ral modernism. 2 3 Despite hisseminal contributions, postmodernism mutated into a setof cultural political attacks on modernity and the modern- a malaise within scholarly analytics. 24 Outside the specificaudiences of architecture and art, it largely addressed theLeft and the ex-Left, including feminism, and paid scantattention to the simultaneous rise of right-wing modernismin the form of neoliberalism or assertive capitalism .25 Instead, postmodernism fed on the demoralization anduncertainty of the Left in the aftermath of late 1 960s andearly 1 970s euphoria. Its critique of reason and rationalitythrived on the machinery of images of the television society,providing sustenance to academic cultural studies . 2 6 Therewere, in addition, two further pillars of the new edifice ofpostmodernity. One was the social restru cturing thatfollowed from deindustrialization an epochal s o ci alchange. Another was the critique of modernist progressthat arose from ecological concerns, which were intensifiedby the oil crises of the 1 970s and early 1 9 8 0 s . Environ-2 3 . Ernest Mandels Late Capitalism was published in English in 1 9 75; its Gennanedition appeared in 1 972 from Suhrkamp. According to the authors preface,the main elements of the theory of late capitalism were conceived in 1 9 63 6 7 .24. S e e also Linda Hutcheon, The Politics of Postmodernism, London: Routledge,2002 ( 1 989); and Pauline Marie Rosenau, Post-Modernism and the Social Sciences,Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1 9 9 1 .2 5 . 1ameson himself scoffingly dismisses the doctrines intellectual attractions:no one is going to persuade me that there is anything glamorous about thethought of a Milton Friedman, a Hayek or a Popper in the present day andage; see Jameson, A Singular Modernity, London: Verso, 2002, 2-3 .2 6 . Anderson, The Origins of Postmodernity, 8 8 .
  40. 40. 32 F R O M MARXI S M TO P O S T MARXI S M ?mentalism m a y have found i t hard t o flourish i n th e esotericambience of postmodernist philosophizing, but its adherentshave proved receptive to postmodernism. Indeed, mass­market imagery, de-industrialization and ecologicalblowbacks provided a social echo chamber for the post­modernist discourse of (ex-) Left disorientation. Against thisbackground, the modem the target of postmodernismsattacks has been defined in a number of ways . JamesonsA Singular Modernity, for example, while grimly notingrecent regressions from an earlier consensu s around full p ostmodernity, cites the asceticism of modernism, itsphallocentrism and authoritarianism, the teleology of itsaesthetic, its minimalism, its cult of genius and the non­pleasurable demands it made on the audience or public . 27 Although the intellectual wave of postmodernism hasnow subsided, the right-wing revival of modernity p ersists.The contamination of social Darwinism by Fascism is beingpushed under the rug, while globalization is staged as thesurvival of the fittest alone, free from Spencerian p acifismand accompanied instead by a loud neo-imperial drumbeat.The modem is becoming the property of liberal reaction.Modernizing the labour market usually means more rightsfor capital and employers . Modernizing social servicesusually means the privatization of and cuts to public services.Modernizing the pension system generally means fewerrights for old people. Rarely does the term signal morerights for employees, the unemployed and pensioners, fewerrights for capital, or more public services. Were socialistmodernism a species, it would be almost extinct. Progressive academic culture has declined the worldover, as p o stmo dernism has turned into socioculturalstudies, a tendency that is more closely connected to dark­ening p o litical pro spe cts extra muros than the kind of27. Jameson, A Singular Modernity, 1 . But were asceticism, phallocentrism andauthoritarianism really more characteristic of, and more universal in, modernthan pre modern cultures and societies?
  41. 41. INTO THE TWENTY FIRST C ENTURY 33virulent internal anti-leftism found within French academiaand certain post-C ommunist milieux. Japans once stronguniversity-based Marxist economics, which survived thegreat postwar boom, has faded; radical historiography inIndia seems to have lost its once impressive vibrancy; andthe left-wing intellectual political essay has gone out offashion in Latin America . The public universities havelost many of their brightest students to right-wing p rivateinstitutions. The continental European and Latin Americanmass Marxism of students and teaching a ssistants is gone .University students have not only been depoliticized, theirmovements have als o diversified and now include streetb attalions supporting liberal-democratic, pro-Americanregime change in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine, as wellas the anti-Chavista opposition in Venezuela . Academia, think tanks and public research institutes,however, still support a wide range of Marxist and otherleft-wing thought. The politically more insulated Anglo­Saxon universities fare better in this regard than do theLatin American ones, which are always more susc eptibleto political developments and ambitions. Non-conformismremains well represented at Oxbridge and in the IvyLeague, as well as at, for instance, top universities in S aoPaulo and S eoul . Part of their strength comes from amatured generation, with intellectually oriented studentradicals of the late sixtie s and early seventies havingattained s enior professorships. But in the last five to tenyears a new, though smaller, left-of-centre intelle ctualgeneration has been blossoming. Institutional innovation has also taken place . One exam­ple is the revitalization of CLACSO (the Latin AmericanCouncil of S o cial S ciences) under the leadership of AtilioBoron and, more recently, Emir Sader, aided by Swedishand other external public funding. CLACSO has b ecomean important inspiration to and financier of progressiveempirical research; its work includes the monitoring ofprotest movements in Latin America, which have been
  42. 42. 34 FROM MARXI S M TO P O ST MARXISM?staging an increasing number of actions in the 2000s, andthe promotion of South-South contacts . 28 Its weakerAfrican equivalent, C ODESRIA, based in Dakar, hasrecently been reinvigorated. In the current research armsof the UN, one also finds several products of an e arlierprogressive era, particularly from the Third World, doingexcellent work while exercising diplomatic caution. LatinAmerica has also been a major centre of thought andanalysis of the cultures of globalization, as can be seen inthe work of Octavio Ianni and Renato Ortiz in Brazil andof Nestor Garcia C anclini in Mexico, for example . 2 9 There has always existed a strong subaltern anti­modernism, to which the working-class history of E. P.Thomp son in England and the multi-volume SubalternStudies of Ranajit Guha and his associates in India gaveeloquent expression, and of which James C. Scott hasbeen a sympathetic theorist.30 The Marxist labour move­ment could usually accommodate it through its socialistcritique of industrial capitalism. But now that theMarxian dialectic has lost most of its force, it is necessaryto take a systematic look, however brief, at the currentpolitical implications of antimodernism. Here we are interested in movements critical ofmodernism that are not, however, right-wing defences oftraditional privilege and power. There are several suchmovements, and they tend to cluster in two groups , onechallenging the call for progress, development andgrowth, and the other questioning mundane rationalismand secularism.28. See A. B oron and G. l.echini, eds, Politicas y movimientos sociales en unmundo hegemOnico, Buenos Aires: ClACSO, 2007.2 9 . N. Garcia Canclini, Culturas Hibridas, Mexico: Editorial Paidos, 2002;O. Ianni, A sociedade global, Rio de Janeiro: Civilizac;ilo Brasilera, 1 992; R. Ortiz,Mundializacao e cultura, Silo Paulo: Brasiliense, 1 994.30. Scotts classic work was Weapons of the Weak, New Haven and London:Yale University Press, 1 98 5 ; but his oeuvre also includes Domination and theArts of Resistance and Seeing like a State.
  43. 43. INT O THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY 35 Among the critiques of progress and development, thereis one that has followed the Industrial Revolution into thepostindustrial world: the defence of traditional livelihoodsby artisans, peasants, small farmers, fishermen and tribalcommunities. That defence is easily supported by an anti­capitalist Left in opposition� and has been adopted by thecurrent Social Forum movement: We do not want devel­opment. We just want to live, declared a front-stage bannerat the World S ocial Forum in Mumbai in 2004. But wheriframed in strong� unqualified terms� it makes no sense tothe masses of the world, who are struggling to get out ofpoverty. As a movement, antidevelopment frequently frag­ments into isolated minority battles with ineffectual andlimited support. The World S o cial Forums of the 2000s have given riseto similar antimodernist protest movements from differentcountries and continents, and have also given them plat­fonus and a sympathetic hearing. But that has been possiblebecause WSF is a forum, a meeting-place by far themost exciting one in the last two decades and not amovement or even a force of common action. The criticalculture created at the forums has been that o f resistanceto neoliberal modernism. The global amplitude of thelatters offensive engendered a wide range of losers andcritics, who were brought together with Latin flair in 2 00 1by a diverse c oalition of Brazilian social movements andFrench academics and journalists grouped around Le MondeDiplomatiqueY Significant organizational infrastructure hasbeen provided by the Workers Party CPT) governm e ntsin Porto Alegre and Rio Grande do SuI, by French andother Trotskyists in the alter-globalist movement ATTAC,and by the CPI CM) in Mumbai. But in their ideologicalecumenism, lack of a single control centre and truly globalcharacter, the WSF does represent a novel phenomenonin the world history of the Left. On the other hand, a3 1 . B. Cassen, On the Attack, New Left Review 2: 19, Januray February 2003 .
  44. 44. 36 FROM MARXI S M TO P O ST MARXIS M ?stimulating cultural space is not in itself transformativeaction, which has led to tense debates within the broadInternational C ouncil of the WSF.32 Another current, as old as modernism itself, is driven bya commitment to a natural or aesthetic lifestyle, originallyconceived as a protest against massive ugly and unhealthyurbanization. In the 1 960s, this became a significant urbanmovement, above all in Western Europ e and NorthAmerica, against the demolition of historic city centres tomake room for motorways and commercial development.It scored several important victories in big cities such asAmsterdam, Paris and Washington DC, as well as in smallerplaces such as Lund, my oid university town in Sweden.Since then it has spread to other parts of the world. Theradical Left and to a much lesser extent social democracyand its centre-left equivalents usually played an active rolein these urban movements, and broad, winning coalitionshave often proved feasible . The political irony is that suchcoalitions have generally also included a strong right-wingcomponent of cultural conservatives, so that the credit forsuccess is legitimately claimable by both Right and Left.Nevertheless, the pollution and traffic congestion of Asiancities, and Third World cities in general, testify to the weak­ness of and the urgent need for critical urban movements. In some parts of the rich world, most notably perhapsin California, a kind of postmodern middle-class culturehas also developed, its origins traceable to the youth cultureof 1 9 6 8 individualistic, irreverent, hedonistic but notnecessarily consumerist, unattracted by capitalism s relent­less drive to accumulate . Open to idealistic arguments aswell as to ecological and aesthetic concerns, this is a milieuto which left-wing discourse can connect. The youngstersof the North who attend the World Social Forums often3Z. Cf. B . de Sousa Santos (2007) , The World Social Forum and the GlobalLeft, http://focusweb. orgithe world social forum and the globalleft.html?Itemid=1 5 0; C. Whitaker, Crossroads do not always close roads , http ://wsficstrategies.blogspot.comlZ007/08/chico whitaker crossroads do not always.html
  45. 45. INTO THE TWENTY FI RST CENTURY 37hail from here . Although its new spirit of c apitalism ishardly on the verge of transforming the ruthlessness ofactual world capitalism, as some enthusiastic theorizingseems to imply (with some caveats) , it does provide newpossibilities for dialogue and debate with the Left as didthe old Enlightenment liberalism . 33 The ecological critique of developmentalism connectsrather easily with both livelihood defence and urban­community aestheticism, but as a major movement it ismore recent, traceable to the early 1 970s and the impactof the (recently updated) Limits to Growth. Its original neo­Malthusian thrust focused on the depletion of planetaryresources, which has been replaced by an emphasis onenvironmental destruction, currently centreing on the effectof man-made climate change . But the engineers modernism,which built the Soviet Union and is now building post-MaoChina, is as deaf and blind to environmental externalitiesas was the capitalist modernism hailed in the CommunistManifesto. In this regard, it is noteworthy that the firstoppositional movements in late Communist Eastern Euro pewere very often ecological movements . Environmentalism and developmentalism have reacheda modernist compromise, at least in principle, in theconcept of sustainable development. To the extent that it istaken seriously, that concept provides an imp ortant b asisfor critiques of and interventions against unfetteredcapitalism. Indeed, socialism would have made much moresense in the twenty-first century if conceptions of sustain­able development had been developed out of socialisttheory, rather than growing into a belated ecologicalqualification of capitalism. In the second cluster of challenges to modernism, thesecular universalism of the European Enlightenment, alongwith its offshoots of settler liberalism, anticolo nial nation­alism and reactive developmentalism from above , has3 3 . Cf. L. Boltanski a n d E . Chiapello, Th e New Spirit of Capitalism, London:Verso, 2006; N . Thrift, Knowing Capitalism, London: Sage, 2005 .
  46. 46. 38 FROM MARXISM T O P O ST MARXI SM?increasingly been challenged and undermined by ethnona­tionalism, ethnoreligious movements and by a resurgentreligious universalism. In different ways, these new culturaltendencies which make a mockery of modernitys self­confident secular evolutionism severely restrict radicalcritical thought. Their unexpected emergence also callsfor a reconsideration of some of the assumptions ofEuropean modernity. Marx, Engels and later great Marxists have always beenmuch more shrewd and circumspect than textbooksummaries of historical materialism would suggest. Whileethnicity, nations and national conflict have no place inthe latter, the former always paid attention to their strategicimportance, from Marxs hypothesis on a linkage of futurerevolutions in Ireland and Britain to Lenins and theCominterns focus on national liberation. On the otherhand, ethnicity as such does not promote critical and radi­cal thought. On the contrary, ethnic/national mobilizationstend to foster ethnic cultural closure . The leadership,which usually has had a trans ethnic enculturation, maylink the national struggle to global anti-imperialism andto universalistic proj ects of social change, to socialism orto communism, but their national standing is not basedon this. Positions of anti-imperialism and/or socialism maytherefore, under changed geopolitical circumstances,become easily discarded postures. Ethiopia and MugabesZimbabwe are gaudy illustrations; another is contemporaryIraqi Kurdistan, who se regional leading family, the Barzanis, once flew the banner of Marxism-Leninism . Until certain Second World War rapprochements in the USSR and certain post-Second Vatican Council shifts inWestern Europe and Latin America, Marxism had been firmly planted in the secularist, anticlerical and often atheistic strand of modernism . Where the subaltern populationshave a strong religious commitment, as is the case in most of the Islamic world, this has been a major barrier between Marxism and the people. But even in Indonesia, where
  47. 47. INTO THE TWENTY FIRST C E N TURY 39a more open Islamic culture did n o t prevent the emergenceof a Marxist-le d mass movement, the massacre o f 1 9 6 5fed o n whipped-up religious fervour. The failures of secular anticolonial nationalisms spawneda strong religious comeback, thoroughly politicized in theArab Islamic world and in maj ority Hindu India; mainlyap olitical in Christian Africa, except in the ap artheidS outh; politically active but internally divided in LatinAmerica into currents of Christian demo cracy, liberationtheology and US-exported Protestantism (either right­wing or politically acquiescent) . This religious resurgence,which also includes a p owerful fundamentalist ChristianRight in the US and an international revival of militantJudaism, has significantly altered the cultural parametersof the Left. Between middle- and upper-class fundamentalismwhether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu o r Buddhist- and the Left there is no common language that couldfacilitate dialogue, as there is, deriving from the EuropeanEnlightenment, with middle- and even upper-class liberal­ism . With the religiosity of the popular classes, however,there might b e . Historically, achieving any common understanding or anyform of cooperation between strongly religious subalterncommunities on the one hand and the Marxist Left and thelabour movem:ent on the other has been extremely difficultand rare . The Christian s ocial movements of late nineteenth­and early twentieth-century continental Europe were usuallyset up by local clergy worried about industrial secularization,of which the socialist labour movement was the most impor­tant representative . The cultural antagonism almost alwaysovershadowed their common social issues, poverty andmisery, with which the Christian social movements wereincreasingly confronted. In spite of mounting friction andoccasional conflict, these religious movements loyallypreserved their subordination to the church hierarchy andto the political leaders blessed by it. Until the religious trade
  48. 48. 40 FRO M MARXI S M TO P O ST MARXI S M ?unions secularized, as happened in Austria after the SecondWorld War, and in the Netherlands and in France in the1 9 60s, when the chips were down, the Christian social move­ments sided with reactionary and anti-Left authoritarianism,in Austria in 1 927 34, in the Netherlands in 1 9 1 8 and 1 9 54,in Germany in 1 9 3 3 . I n the last third o f the twentieth century, however, thereoccurred a seismic shift in a part of Christianity.Mainstream C atholicism and Protestantism generallybecame socially progressive, and often also culturally andpolitically progressive . Advocates of Third World s olidarityand aid, environmental activists, poverty-alleviation proj­ects, harassed immigrants and even religious minoritiesand persecuted political radicals could count on substantialsupport from mainstream Protestantism as well as fromthe C atholic Church . The Jesuits, long demonized bysecular liberals and left-wingers, provided courageoussupport to popular struggles and to human rights, aboveall in Central America. Many were martyred by the localrepresentatives of Yankee America for it. ProgressiveC atholics constituted a major component in the formationof the most successful labour party in Latin Americanhistory, the PT, which lifted the metallurgical trade union­ist Lula to the presidency of Brazil . C an something similar happen in the non-Christianworld? Sinhala Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Hindutva inIndia seem to be purely ethnoreligious political move­ments . The Buddhist monks of Burma/Myanmar maysustain a democratic movement, but almost nothing isknown of their social agenda, if any although the autumn2007 p rotests started as a protest against price increasesfor fuel . In the Muslim world, by contrast, there aredefinitely strong social currents . Hamas in P alestine andHizbollah in Lebanon already function as Islamic socialmovements, even while cornered by Israeli might that isbacked by the entire North Atlantic Right. There were similar tendencies in Turkey, and still are, but the AKP
  49. 49. INTO THE TWENTY F I RST C ENTURY 41Gustice Development Party) i n its mutation into a governingparty seems to take European Christian democracy as asocial model, that is, seeing and presenting itself as a centre­right party with social concerns. In Indonesia too, there isan Islamist political movement with a social perspective . Social Islamism is likely to develop further, having analmost unlimited supply of social problems in Muslimcountries to nourish it. But it occupies an unstable positionon a wide spectrum from theocratic fundamentalism to apolitically secularized Left, and thanks to heavy S audi,US and Israeli investments in the form of money andmilitary terror, the former is stronger and more attractivethan the latter. In sum, the cultural space of the Left has altered substan­tially in the past quarter century. On the whole that spacehas narrowed, but the new challenges to Enlightenmentmodernism indicate new tasks and possibilities for left­wing thought and practice, as well as a call for a self-criticalappraisal of the inherent limitations and lacunae of left­wing modernism. G E O P O L I T I C S AFTER THE S OVIET UNI O NPolitical inspiration and demoralization are much influencedby state power and by the outcome of state conflicts . TheJapanese victory over Russia in 1 9 05, for instance, was asource of inspiration to anticolonial nationalists not only allover Asia but also in Egypt and Morocco. After the outcomeof the Stalingrad battle, European opinion from occupiedFrance to neutral Sweden tilted left. The Vietnam War,unlike the Korean War, unleashed tremendous politicalrepercussions on social movements throughout the world. The twenty-first century starts out with a quite newgeopolitical configuration, radically different from that ofthe previous century. As it now stands, there are three majornovelties. One is the absence of any state counterpart tothe big capitalist power(s) . The Soviet Union whatever

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