Socialism Or Barbarism


Socialism Or Barbarism

infobox Book
name = Socialism or Barbarism - From the "American Century" to the Crossroads
author = István Mészáros
publisher = Monthly Review Press
classification = Non-Fiction
release_date = 2001
media_type = Print
pages = 126
isbn = ISBN 1-58367-052-1

"Socialism or Barbarism" is a book about globalism, U.S. socialism and capitalist systems by Hungarian Marxist philosopher and Professor Emeritus István Mészáros. It was published in 2001 and is comprised of two parts, the first part is an expanded version of an essay of the same title originally publish in 2000 [OYTOPIA (no.39 March-April 2000)] ; the second part consists of an interview conducted in 1998. [Naghd (no. 25, Spring 1999)/ Science and Society, 63:3 (Fall 1999)]

Mészáros' is convinced that the future of socialism will be decided in the U.S.A. and sees its main obstacle to be the globalization of Keynesian liberal-capitalism. He reckons that the 21st century will coincide with the "third stage of capitalism" which Mészáros characterizes as the barbarous global competition for domination between a plurality of free-market capitalist systems. [Mészáros (2001, 81)] His examination of the history of American capitalism predicts several eminent ramifications to this struggle: imperialist driven territorial expansion in the Middle East, the continuation and increase of NATO aggression, [Mészáros (2001, 44)] increased infrastructure weakening with major degradation in the quality of life for the lower class [Mészáros (2001, 42)] , and eventually a proxy war with China via U.S.A.'s defense treaties with Japan. [Mészáros (2001, 42)]

Much of the book is devoted to applying Marx's nineteenth century theories to current events, such as the environment:

cquote
Marx was to some extent already aware of the "ecological problem," i.e. the problems of ecology under the rule of capital and the dangers implicit in it for human survival. In fact he was the first to conceptualize it. He talked about pollution, and he insisted that the logic of capital - which must pursue profit, in accordance with the dynamic of self-expansion and capital accumulation - cannot have any consideration for human values and even for human survival. [. . .] What you cannot find in Marx, of course, is an account of the utmost gravity of the situation facing us. For us the threat to human survival is a matter of "immediacy. [Mészáros (2001, 99)]

What Mészáros prescribes is a labor union socialist solution, specifically the syndicalist form of socialism that Samuel Gompers had abandoned when the AFL provided the a workforce for the U.S. involvement in WWI. He advocates a marxist form of socialism:

cquote
What is of primary importance is that under all conceivable varietties of the capital system "surplus labor" must be appropriated by a separate body superimposed on, and strucurally dominating, labor. Here, as you can see, the fundamental category is "surplus labor," and not "surplus value," as people often erroneously assume. [. . .] In order to do away with the labor theory of value, you have to away with the extraction and allocation of surplus labor by an external body of any sort, be that political or economic. [. . .] In other words, we can only speak about socialism when the people are in contol of their own activity and of the allocation of its fruits to their own ends. [Mészáros (2001, 86)]

ee also

*Alexander Zinoviev
*The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein
*Multitudes by Negri & Hardt
*Hegemony or Survival by Noam Chomsky
*Anti-globalization movement

References

Bibliography

*Mészáros, István 2007. Socialism or Barbarism?: Monthly Review Press ISBN 0745636322.

External links

* [http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/llt/50/book_notes.html Book Review by the History Cooperative]
* [http://www.swans.com/library/art7/gowans04.html Quotes To Ponder by Stephen Gowans]
* [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1132/is_8_51/ai_59363000 Mészáros interview with the Monthly Review]


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