Marxism and Oriental Studies
Marxism and Oriental Studies
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Marxism as a theory of historical process now, 200 years after Marx’s birth and 170 years after the publication of “The Communist Manifesto”, seems an anachronism. It has not developed during all these years under the impact of changing social conditions and the achievements in various branches of humanities. Non-development of Marxism may be explained by the fact that from the very beginning it was not a scientific theory but an ideology of the hired working class. That class was destined to free all humankind and to finalize the prehistory of the humanity. Marxism turned the symbol of faith and obtained its own kind of Holy Scripture. The paper shows the obsolescence of Marxism as a historic-philosophical and politico-economic teaching, and its initial inapplicableness for studies of countries outside Western Europe. Following Hegel, Marx considered all Asian societies as well as Russia as being at the last stage of the archaic social formation characterized by rural community and by despotic political regime. Marx did not formulate stages of history of Eastern countries, models of Asian and African societies and state-formations except the notion of so-called Oriental despotism. Eurocentrism, inherent in Marxian teachings, which simultaneously pretended to be the explanation of the global history, essentially hampered studies of history.
About authors
Leonid Alaev
Senior Research Fellow of the Department of Oriental History of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences
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