Latin American critics in particular have provided analyses of Eurocentrism that link its epistemological dimension, that is Eurocentric knowledge, to economic aspects such as the organisation of global capitalism and economic exploitation see Quijano Many substantial critiques of Eurocentrism, such as Edward Said's Orientalism or Samir Amin's Eurocentrism , have focussed on the production of Eurocentric knowledge through Europe's encounter with and construction of the Orient as distinct entity. The resulting localisation of the colonial divide between Orient and Occident has been found as failing to accommodate the Latin American experience Mignolo While both North and Latin America are considered part of the Occident, they were and continue to be affected by Eurocentrism in quite different ways. With regards to their insertion into the global economy, the historical experience of the United States as part of the centre, for example, differs substantially from that of many Latin American countries whose productive sectors were organised so as to serve the needs of neo- colonial powers.
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Lenin and Bukharin went much further than Hobson and Hilferding in their analyses of monopoly capitalism and imperialism and drew this major political conclusion: the imperialist war of — they were among the few, if not the only ones, to anticipate it made necessary and possible a revolution led by the proletariat.
With the benefit of hindsight, I will indicate here the limitations of their analyses. I question this thesis and contend that historical capitalism has always been imperialist, in the sense that it has led to a polarization between centers and peripheries since its origin the sixteenth century , which has only increased over the course of its later globalized development.
The nineteenth-century pre-monopolist system was not less imperialist. Great Britain maintained its hegemony precisely because of its colonial domination of India.
Their hope was based on an underestimate of the effects of imperialist polarization, which destroyed revolutionary prospects in the centers. Nevertheless, Lenin, and even more Bukharin, quickly learned the necessary historical lesson. The revolution, made in the name of socialism and communism , was, in fact, something else: mainly a peasant revolution. So what to do? How can the peasantry be linked with the construction of socialism?
By making concessions to the market and by respecting newly acquired peasant property; hence by progressing slowly towards socialism? Yes, but …. Lenin, Bukharin, and Stalin also understood that the imperialist powers would never accept the Revolution or even the NEP.
After the hot wars of intervention, the cold war was to become permanent, from to In effect, Soviet Russia delinked. So what to do now? Attempt to push for peaceful coexistence, by making concessions if necessary and refraining from intervening too actively on the international stage? But at the same time, it was necessary to be armed to face new and unavoidable attacks. And that implied rapid industrialization, which, in turn, came into conflict with the interests of the peasantry and thus threatened to break the worker-peasant alliance, the foundation of the revolutionary state.
It is possible, then, to understand the equivocations of Lenin, Bukharin, and Stalin. In theoretical terms, there were U-turns from one extreme to the other. Sometimes a determinist attitude inspired by the phased approach inherited from earlier Marxism first the bourgeois democratic revolution, then the socialist one predominated, sometimes a voluntarist approach political action would make it possible to leap over stages.
Finally, from —, Stalin chose rapid industrialization and armament and this choice was not without some connection to the rise of fascism. Collectivization was the price of that choice. In my opinion, Trotsky would certainly not have done better. His attitude towards the rebellion of the Kronstadt sailors and his later equivocations demonstrate that he was no different than the other Bolshevik leaders in government.
But, after , living in exile and no longer having responsibility for managing the Soviet state, he could delight in endlessly repeating the sacred principles of socialism. He became like many academic Marxists who have the luxury of asserting their attachment to principles without having to be concerned about effectiveness in transforming reality.
The Chinese communists appeared later on the revolutionary stage. Mao was able to learn from Bolshevik equivocations. China was confronted with the same problems as Soviet Russia: revolution in a backward country, the necessity of including the peasantry in revolutionary transformation, and the hostility of the imperialist powers.
But Mao was able to see more clearly than Lenin, Bukharin, and Stalin. Yes, the Chinese revolution was anti-imperialist and peasant anti-feudal. But it was not bourgeois democratic; it was popular democratic. The difference is important: the latter type of revolution requires maintaining the worker-peasant alliance over a long period. China was thus able to avoid the fatal error of forced collectivization and invent another way: make all agricultural land state property, give the peasantry equal access to use of this land, and renovate family agriculture.
The two revolutions had difficulty in achieving stability because they were forced to reconcile support for a socialist outlook and concessions to capitalism. Which of these two tendencies would prevail? But when was the Thermidor in Russia? Was it in , as Trotsky said? Or was it in the s, with the NEP? Or was it the ice age of the Brezhnev period? And in China, did Mao choose Thermidor beginning in ? Or do we have to wait until Deng Xiaoping to speak of the Thermidor of ?
It is not by chance that reference is made to lessons of the French Revolution. The three great revolutions of modern times the French, Russian, and Chinese are great precisely because they looked forward beyond the immediate requirements of the moment. With the rise of the Mountain, led by Robespierre, in the National Convention, the French Revolution was consolidated as both popular and bourgeois and, just like the Russian and Chinese Revolutions—which strove to go all the way to communism even if it were not on the agenda due to the necessity of averting defeat—retained the prospect of going much further later.
Thermidor is not the Restoration. The latter occurred in France, not with Napoleon, but only beginning in Still it should be remembered that the Restoration could not completely do away with the gigantic social transformation caused by the Revolution. In Russia, the restoration occurred even later in its revolutionary history, with Gorbachev and Yeltsin.
It should be noted that this restoration remains fragile, as can be seen in the challenges Putin must still confront. In China, there has not been or not yet! The contemporary world is still confronted with the same challenges encountered by the revolutions of the twentieth century.
But this transformation will only be able to go beyond the first steps and proceed on the path to socialism later if and when the peoples of the centers, in turn, begin the struggle for communism, viewed as a higher stage of universal human civilization.
The systemic crisis of capitalism in the centers gives a chance for this possibility to be translated into reality. In the meantime, there is a two-fold challenge confronting the peoples and states of the South: 1 the lumpen development that contemporary capitalism forces on all peripheries of the system has nothing to offer three-quarters of humanity; in particular, it leads to the rapid destruction of peasant societies in Asia and Africa, and consequently the response given to the peasant question will largely govern the nature of future changes; 7 2 the aggressive geostrategy of the imperialist powers, which is opposed to any attempt by the peoples and states of the periphery to get out of the impasse, forces the peoples concerned to defeat the military control of the world by the United States and its subaltern European and Japanese allies.
The first long systemic crisis of capitalism got underway in the s. But it was Lenin and Bukharin who drew the political conclusion from this transformation, a transformation that initiated the decline of capitalism and thus moved the socialist revolution onto the agenda.
The concept of surplus, put forth by Baran and Sweezy in the — decade, allows a grasp of what is essential in the transformation of capitalism. In the previous forms of competition among firms producing the same use value—numerous then, and independent of each other—decisions were made by the capitalist owners of those firms on the basis of a recognized market price which imposed itself as an external datum.
Baran and Sweezy observed that the new monopolies act differently: they set their prices simultaneously with the nature and volume of their outputs.
Although use values used to constitute to a great extent autonomous realities, they become, in monopoly capitalism, the object of actual fabrications produced systematically through aggressive and particularized sales strategies advertising, brands, etc.
In monopoly capitalism, a coherent reproduction of the productive system is no longer possible merely by mutual adjustment of the two departments discussed in the second volume of Capital : it is thenceforward necessary to take into account a Department III, conceived by Baran and Sweezy.
This allows for added surplus absorption promoted by the state—beyond Department I private investment and beyond the portion of Department II private consumption devoted to capitalist consumption.
The classic example of Department III spending is military expenditure. However, the notion of Department III can be expanded to cover the wider array of socially unreproductive expenditures promoted by generalized-monopoly capitalism. The excrescence of Department III, in turn, favors in fact the erasure of the distinction made by Marx between productive of surplus-value labor and unproductive labor. All forms of wage labor can—and do—become sources of possible profits.
A hairdresser sells his services to a customer who pays him out of his income. But if that hairdresser becomes the employee of a beauty parlor, the business must realize a profit for its owner. If the country at issue puts ten million wage workers to work in Departments I, II, and III, providing the equivalent of twelve million years of abstract labor, and if the wages received by those workers allow them to buy goods and services requiring merely six million years of abstract labor, the rate of exploitation for all of them, productive and unproductive confounded, is the same percent.
But the six million years of abstract labor that the workers do not receive cannot all be invested in the purchase of producer goods destined to expand Departments I and II; part of them will be put toward the expansion of Department III. Generalized-Monopoly Capitalism Since Passage from the initial monopoly capitalism to its current form generalized-monopoly capitalism was accomplished in a short time between and in response to the second long crisis of declining capitalism.
In that interpretation I accentuated the three directions of this expected reply, then barely under way: strengthened centralization of control over the economy by the monopolies, deepening of globalization and the outsourcing of the manufacturing industry to the peripheries , and financialization. But today the three characteristics at issue have become blindingly obvious to everybody.
A name had to be given to this new phase of monopoly capitalism. The example of family farming in the capitalist centers provides the finest example of this. These farmers are controlled upstream by the monopolies that provide their inputs and financing, and downstream by the marketing chains, to the point that the price structures forced on them wipe out the income from their labor. Farmers survive only thanks to public subsidies paid for by the taxpayers. The fragmented, and by that fact concrete, economic power of proprietary bourgeois families gives way to a centralized power exercised by the directors of the monopolies and their cohort of salaried servitors.
For generalized-monopoly capitalism involves not the concentration of property, which on the contrary is more dispersed than ever, but of the power to manage it.
Absolute monarchs, the top executives of the monopolies, decide everything in their name. Moreover, the deepening globalization of the system wipes out the holistic i. This is the empire of chaos—the title of one of my works, published in and subsequently taken up by others: in fact international political violence takes the place of economic competition. In place of strategies set out by real owners of fragmented capital are those of the managers of ownership titles over capital.
What is vulgarly called fictitious capital the estimated value of ownership certificates is nothing but the expression of this displacement, this disconnect between the virtual and real worlds.
By its very nature capitalist accumulation has always been synonymous with disorder, in the sense that Marx gave to that term: a system moving from disequilibrium to disequilibrium driven by class struggles and conflicts among the powers without ever tending toward an equilibrium.
But this disorder resulting from competition among fragmented capitals was kept within reasonable limits through management of the credit system carried out under the control of the national state. With contemporary financialized and globalized capitalism those frontiers disappear; the violence of the movements from disequilibrium to disequilibrium is reinforced. The successor of disorder is chaos. Domination by the capital of the generalized monopolies is exercised on the world scale through global integration of the monetary and financial market, based henceforward on the principle of flexible exchange rates, and giving up national controls over the flow of capital.
Nevertheless, this domination is called into question, to varying degrees, by state policies of the emerging countries. Upper managers are thenceforward employees who do not participate in the formation of surplus-value, of which they have become consumers. At the other social pole, the generalized proletarianization that the wage-form suggests is accompanied by multiplication in forms of segmentation of the labor force. In the peripheries, the effects of domination by generalized-monopoly capital are no less visible.
Above an already diverse social structure made up of local ruling classes and the subordinate classes and status groups there is placed a dominant superclass emerging in the wake of globalization. In the centers a new political consensus-culture only seeming, perhaps, but nevertheless active synonymous with depolitization, has taken the place of the former political culture based on the right-left confrontation that used to give significance to bourgeois democracy and the contradictory inscription of class struggles within its framework.
Taking as its point of departure this observation, itself a feature of 50 books by Samir Amin, the film depicts the audacious struggles of, as well as interviews with, addresses by and special moments involving this most outstanding intellectual of the South. In the film Samir Amin discusses the political economy of development, capitalism and imperialism, as well as the resistance of workers and peoples. This bilingual English-French cinematic homage is enhanced by some images from the film The Dispossessed by Mathieu Roy, and also by several other sequences from throughout the world illustrating poetically. On the other hand, there is a second path that demands the lucid and organized intervention of the internationalist front of workers and peoples. Fuente: Monthly Review Online. Recibir nuevas entradas por email.
File:Amin Samir El eurocentrismo Critica de una ideologia.pdf
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Eurocentrismo: Critica de una ideologia (Spanish Edition)