ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Paresh ChattopadhyaySubscribe to Paresh Chattopadhyay

On 'What Is Maoism?': Some Comments

In this rejoinder to Bernard D'Mello's "What Is Maoism?" (EPW, 21 November 2009), Paresh Chattopadhyay argues, among other things, that (1) the reader is not given the opportunity to verify whether the author's interpretations tally with the original texts of Marx, Lenin and Mao because he does not quote from the original texts; (2) the author and Paul Sweezy are wrong in particular interpretations of Marx and Engels; (3) Lenin misinterpreted Marx on socialism and was responsible for the degeneration of the Russian Revolution; (4) Mao was an ideological Stalinist; and (5) the category Cultural Revolution is alien to Marx.

On Maoist China

We read with interest the editorial (EPW, 24 October 2009) on China. While appreciating the great relevance of the subject we see a couple of problems as we go through it. First, the statement: “But what of the socialism conceived by Marx and Engels as the negation of capitalism which would, over...

On Democratic Centralism

I read with great interest Javeed Alam’s article “Can Democratic Centralism Be Conducive to Democracy?” (EPW, 19 September 2009). It brings out very well the complex issues connected with the subject. Such discussion one hardly comes across in the writings of the Indian left. This is praiseworthy...

Khatkhate on Socialism, Inspired by Kornai: A Note

Was Marx intellectually responsible for what happened in Russia and eastern Europe, beginning with 1917? A discussion of Khatkhate's position on socialism, inspired by Kornai's ideas in his review article, "Janos Kornai's Odyssey to the Never, Never Land" (EPW, 28 March 2009), and a brief outline of socialism as envisaged by Marx.

International Women's Day

We read with considerable interest the letter on the centenary year of women’s day by the centenary committee (EPW, 21 March 2009). It is a fine piece offering a synopsis of the history of women’s “militant struggles to improve their working conditions and to end exploitation”. The committee should...

Socialism, Freedom, Democracy: Some Issues

While rightly emphasising the indissoluble connection of "democracy" and "freedom" with "socialism", Prabhat Patnaik (November 3, 2007) leaves the meanings of these central concepts unclear.

Neither (Neo)Liberalism Nor Party-State

Neither (Neo)Liberalism Nor Party-State PARESH CHATTOPADHYAY We read with considerable interest Prabhat Patnaik

Comintern and Indian Communism

Communism Comintern and the Destiny of Communism in India: 1919-1943 by Sobhanlal Datta Gupta; Seribaan, Kolkata, 2006; PARESH CHATTOPADHYAY This is an important book, perhaps the first of its kind in India.This work of considerable scholarship is a result of meticulous research carried out in Russia, Germany and England based mostly on archival sources now accessible after the collapse of Russia

Worlds Apart: Socialism in Marx and in Early Bolshevism

This paper is concerned with socialism purely as a theoretical category, leaving aside the historical movements and acts that have occurred in its name. "Early Bolshevism" refers to Bolshevism before Stalin's consolidation of power. Marx's notion of post-capitalist society - "communism", "socialism", "society of free and associated producers" - envisaged a society that has left behind all the vehicles of exploitation and oppression of the old society, such as state, commodity production, money, wage labour, to name the principal ones. This is contrasted with the notion of socialism as it appears in the writings of the early Bolsheviks - Lenin, Trotsky, Bukharin and Preobrazhensky. It turns out that the socialism emerging from the works of these avowed "Marxists" is the exact opposite of the socialism one finds in Marx's extant texts.

Marx on Capital's Globalisation

Drawing on Hegel, in his Parisian Manuscripts of 1844 Marx first attempted to show how capitalism not only contained within itself conditions for its own negation, but also created elements of the new society that would supersede it. Under capitalism, labour, like other factors, too is converted to a commodity - 'surplus labour' with exchange value; while production is not bound by limited needs or needs that limit it. Thus, the more capitalism develops, the more it is compelled to produce on a scale which has little to do with immediate demands but depends instead on a continuous enlargement of the world market - leading to 'capital's globalisation'. Yet, even as capitalism seeks to enlarge itself, it creates its own grave diggers - the proletariat who finally revolt against the system.

A Manifesto of Emancipation

Marx drafted his 'Marginal Notes' in 1875 to underline what he perceived to be the shortcomings in the workers' programme. This drew on his earlier works and encapsulated new insights gleaned from the new forms of workers' struggles. For the first time, Marx also sketched his vision of a 'union of free individuals' that would be finally established with the disappearance of 'unfreedom' - both personal and material. Such a union would in the end lead to true socialism. However, these ideas were seen as too emancipatory by later followers of Marx like Lenin.

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