Kevin B. Anderson: Marx … Shakespeare’s political economy!

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Blasting Kevin B. Anderson in his book “Marx and Societies of the Periphery” (2010), which finally moved to Arabic (Dar Nineveh – translated by Hisham Rouhana), the general allegations that reduced the image of the owner of “capital” to the Eurocentric thinker, even in his aspirations towards other societies, by undoing his late writings. And the relatively unknowns, and it is mostly related to his critique of colonialism and his dissection of issues of national liberation, racism, slavery and gender equality. His sub-texts thus reveal an avant-garde mood in deconstructing the relationship between economics and anthropology, when he rethought his old conceptions of social development, “placing peripheral, non-Western European societies at the center of his attention, to suggest that these societies might lead the revolutionary transformation”. The American researcher seeks here to show Marx as a creative thinker of the twenty-first century, despite the attempts of his opponents to bury him time and time again, as his spectrum hovers over again, whenever the matter concerns the diseases and defeats of capitalism, regardless of the attempts of the workshops of neoliberalism and Orientalism to push him aside with different theories. The impetus for Marx is that he put forward a theory in history that has multiple tracks that cannot be reduced to a single framework. Jacques Derrida points out that Marx occupied a marginal position after settling in London as a political refugee, saying: “Marx remains a refugee among us, glorified, holy, cursed, but he remains an invisible refugee as he was throughout his life.” During this period, Marx focused his intellectual activities on the harsh results of French colonialism in Algeria and on the fierce resistance shown by the Arabs and Berbers in the face of this invasion, stressing the capitalist character of this conquest, which uprooted the roots of village participatory ownership, unlike the Ottoman conquest. Marx will also study societies such as India, Indonesia, Russia, China, Poland and Latin America as peripheral maps to Eurocentrism, but he will gradually rely on them in his belief that “the more capitalist modernity penetrated Russia and Asia, undermining the pre-capitalist regimes of these societies, new sites of resistance emerged.”

In embroidering Marx’s life, Kevin Anderson relied on his critical analytical texts for non-Western societies, and for ethnocentrism and nationalism, texts that sometimes surpass what he wrote on political economy, especially on Russia, India, and China, as well as on race and slavery in America. He thus transcends his position as a theorist of political economy, and “hero of the industrial working class” towards “the critical thinker of capitalist modernity, dialectical philosopher, sociologist of alienation, and cultural critic.” He will turn in his journalistic writings from adhering to a linear model of development in which non-Western societies will lead to deeper readings that involve a different understanding of the reality of these countries (British colonialism in India), considering that fragmented India is an “inevitable prey for invaders” and “the opium war in China.” And Russia as the geography of totalitarian regime and absolute rule, and the “bloody swamp of servitude to the Mongols” before he changed his orientation in dealing with Russia after the “serf uprising” relying on producing a revolution influenced by the West, while Poland would be considered “the external thermometer of the revolution in Europe.” He linked Poland’s emancipation from the grip of its powerful neighbors, only when “European people gain democracy.” In his recent writings and letters to Engels on Poland (1867), he will consider that “Poland … is the only European people who have fought and are still fighting as the universal soldier of the revolution.”
Except for accomplishing the first part of “Capital” in the 1860s, Marx turned to addressing “race, class and slavery,” considering the American Civil War (1861-1865) as one of the century’s great battles for human liberation. In a series of articles, Marx resolutely articulates the necessity of abolishing slavery, unlike other socialists. He will also disagree with Engels in his vision of the end of the American Civil War. But what about the journey of “capital” from one language to another? Here Kevin Anderson deals with this book as a historical narrative text on the formation of the working class’s self-consciousness and its resistance to the degradation of its humanity, relying on Hegel and the concept of “negation of exile”, leading to “the union of free and working human beings under the collective ownership of the means of production.” This masterpiece of Marx will undergo clear modifications from one copy to the next, before it takes its final form by Engels in its approved German edition to this day. Regardless of the weight of economic terminology, we glimpse a poetic description that creeps into narratives of “capital”: “There is hardly an analogous to this tragedy in the history of trade.

Anatomy of issues of national liberation, racism, slavery, and gender equality

The plains of India have been colored with the whiteness of the bones of the cotton weavers that cover them, ”he says. There are also, Marx’s later texts on non-European and pre-capitalist societies, which include notes and quotes that imply a turn in his interests, which some of his critics have considered “unjustifiable cleverness”, given their attachment to issues far from political economy, such as gender and classes in different regions and civilizations. . Others will see that these observations show Marx as a “reader” moving to new heights, describing British colonialism as “introducing the most plundering form of capitalism, and transforming ancient forms of land ownership into exclusive private ownership in the hands of moneylenders and speculators.” This changed perspective of what was stated in the “Communist Manifesto” reveals Marx more dialectically in issues of slavery, ethnicity, colonialism, and the transformation of gender relations. Finally, Kevin Anderson asks, “What can Marx’s multi-track developmental social theory, dialectical and open to multiple civilizations, tell us about capitalism in our age?” He answers, “I believe that Marx’s writings, whether because it is a theory or because it is a method of research, analysis and disclosure, were presented in the interest of indigenous national movements in the face of capitalist globalization.” We conclude that we should not be surprised to see Marx wandering the streets of Wall Street like another Shakespeare in political economy!

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