English abstracts MarxVentuno n.1-2/2018

Copertina n. 1-2/2018

MarxVentuno n.1-2/2018

Versione italiana

Changes in the world scenario.
Trump, the EU, Italy

Andrea Catone

We are witnessing a tough fight within the USA ruling class, before and after Trump’s election. Almost 30 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the “American project for the new century” of being the world unopposed superpower (unipolarism) has failed. The extraordinary rise of China, the restructuring of Russia under the leadership of Putin, the emergence of new subjects on the world stage are making that project fail. Trump changes policy, not to accept a real multipolar world, but in the attempt to establish the American supremacy on a more solid basis. He does not dismantle the military and industrial compound, but he strengthens it (the expenditure is going to increase in 2019), and he doesn’t even decommission the system of military bases and alliances under the strict control of USA, first of all the Nato. In the same time, he aims to relaunch the industrial system, weakened during the last decades, by a protectionist policy and a tough trade war against not only China but even against capitalistic countries – from EU to Canada to Japan – which formed, after 1945, the “Western Bloc”. Trump wants to break all the organisms of international cooperation, so as to negotiate from a strong position with every single country. EU is living today a deep political, moral and project crisis. Trump’s action, openly against EU, fits into this crisis. The collapse of EU would have today strong right-wing features – as evidenced by the significant increase of League in Italy – and would brought every single European country under the USA control.

The Return of Fascism in Contemporary Capitalism

Samir Amin

It’s not by chance that the title of this paper links the comeback of fascism on the political stage with the crisis of contemporary capitalism. Fascism is not a synonym of an authoritarian police state rejecting all the uncertainties of the electoral parliamentary democracy. Fascism is a specific political response to the challenges that the management of the capitalistic society has to face in specific circumstances.

Revolution or Decadence?
Thoughts on the Transition between Modes of Production on the Occasion of the Marx Bicentennial

Samir Amin

Starting with Marx and Engels, through the experiences of German social democracy and the Russian Revolution, the workers’ and socialist movement has argued that a series of revolutions would occur from the advanced capitalist countries. However, in the last 75 years history has radically changed the scenario: today, the revolutionary perspective seems very remote in the center of the world economic system and more likely in the less developed peripheries. An analysis of the contemporary imperialist system and previous epochs must be based on the concept of unequal development and on a comparative study of the crisis and the transition between modes of production. From the fall of the Roman Empire to the current crisis of the capitalist system, in the study of the transitions from one mode of production to another in different epochs, one can draw a line of demarcation between historical “decadent” and “revolutionary” phases. Is the socialist revolution we are dealing with in our time, which was born from the peripheries but from which the centre is not necessarily immune, decadent or revolutionary?

To Samir Amin

Andrea Catone

Reflections on China after the 19th Congress of the Communist Party

Samir Amin

China is engaged in a double project that aims, on the one hand, to build a complete, coherent and articulated industrial production system on the renewal of peasant agriculture and, on the other hand, tries to take advantage of its being included in contemporary capitalist globalization. This project is conflictual by nature, but if the decision-making power of the CCP and the State take measures sharply, it becomes possible to overcome the contradiction in question. But for this it is necessary that the power preserves and strengthens its capacity to control the insertion of China in the imperialist globalization and that it respects and also favors the capacity of the popular classes to resist the devastations of capitalism. In this regard, reading the documents of the 19th Congress reassures the author.

Chinese socialism enters a new era.
Notes on Marxist teachings in Xi Jinping’s political report to the 19th Congress of the CCP

Francesco Maringiò

A new phase opens for the history of China and the development of the key ideology of the CCP, socialism with Chinese characteristics. The Xi report marks the theoretical turning point of the 19th National Congress. “China will continue to carry out a development project that puts the human being at the center, setting as a strategic objective the search for a better life for its population. Xi speaks a very important language that is also attractive within the West: there is an alternative to liberal capitalism that causes insecurity for ordinary people all over the world. The first turning point is in the economy, where one passes from an impetuous growth of the GDP to a new model called the “new normal” (xin changtai). It is a paradigm shift, the conversion from a production oriented towards quantity to one oriented towards quality and innovation. The challenge is to transform from an “imitating” country to an “innovative” one. The second turning point lies in political reforms. The fight against corruption has made the party stronger, putting it at the centre of everything, and the relationship with the masses has been strengthened. “The theme of the Congress is: to remain faithful to our original aspiration and to keep our mission firmly in place”.

Chinese Socialism in the New Age and its main contradiction

Gaio Doria

The 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party is of unprecedented historical importance. The conquest of the position of the second largest economy in the world has transformed China into an industrial power. The age of backwardness of the productive forces is definitively over. For this reason, Xi Jinping theorized: “What we are now facing is the contradiction between an unbalanced and inadequate development and the growing needs of the people for a better life”. The redefinition of China’s main contradiction may be the most important point of the 19th Congress.

The central role of popularisation in Marxism with Chinese characteristics

Zhang Boying

There is an inseparable link between the popularization of Marxism and Marxism with Chinese characteristics. Academic research in this area has started, but it still needs to be developed. The present paper takes the popularization of Marxism as starting point to analyze Marxism with Chinese characteristic and examine in depth the knowledge of the relation between them. Chinese intellectuals and communists initially accepted Marxism, which originated in the West, in order to survive and overthrow the “three mountains” of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism, which oppressed the people. During the popular revolution, the CPC gradually understood that copying Marxist theory to the letter and without considering Chinese national conditions would not be possible. The universal principles of Marxism must be combined with the concrete reality of the country for success of the revolution. Marxism with Chinese characteristics has written a new chapter in Marxist theory. The popularisation of contemporary Chinese Marxism must also have a global perspective. The dissemination of the theoretical results of contemporary Chinese Marxism enriches the general Marxist theories.

Unforgettable my Soviet Union...
Methodical advice to propagandists, teachers, speakers

Vladimir F. Gryzlov

This paper traces the history of USSR from its birth in the aftermath of October Revolution. The newborn Soviet Union had to face a heavy inheritance: the national issue, which was rode from the beginning by the nationalist bourgeoisies to undermine the newborn soviet power and fragment the country. The constitution and the administration of several republics and peoples within the Union required an imaginative effort and the country saw a dynamic development in the spirit of friendship between peoples and of international unity, which culminated in the joint effort of the Great Patriotic War. The persistence of the national issue was part of the complex framework of the crisis and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and in the following decades. When the “democrats” came to power, the State of the Union was destroyed also by socio-economic changes, while the spread of the bourgeoisie market has encouraged the emergence of national and regional markets, proceeding at the same time to disrupt vertically the state bodies and the social organizations. Today the comprehension of the direction of development of the national issues on the ground of the former USSR is hugely important in order to work out the strategy of the communist parties and the patriotic popular organizations. There are two main trends today: one toward re-integration and another toward disintegration. The main role in the mass movement for re-integration is played by the proletariat, that’s why the involvement and the attention of the communist parties are needed.

The causes of the disintegration of the USSR. An overview of the debate in Russia

Dmitrij Georgevič Novikov

The disintegration of the USSR was possible thanks to the combination of numerous and varied factors. There is a widespread view that the decline of the Soviet state is due to the economic model based on planned economy and management principles. It is claimed that the USSR’s economy did not withstand Western competition and that by the mid-1980s it had been using its resources. This conclusion about the lack of vitality of the national socialist economy is not confirmed by objective data. The idea that the main cause of the crisis was the ill-considered economic reforms promoted by M. Gorbačëv in the years 1985-1990 is much more well-founded. The most important cause of the dissolution of the Soviet Union was the subversive action of the Western secret services. The infiltration of contradictions between the nations of the USSR became one of the main causes of disintegration.

The Italian prefaces of the Manifesto.
A glance on the development of Marxism in Italy

Francesco Galofaro


The paper presents a survey on some historical Italian prefaces to Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto. The purpose is to underline how, in each historical period, the preface draws a balance on the history of the workers’ movement, actualizing the Manifesto and orienting the reader in the context of the Marxist debate at the time and the consequent political choices. Starting from the first anarchist preface by Pietro Gori, the paper considers Engels’ own preface, Labriola’s one, and then readings by Togliatti, Zangheri, Colletti, Sanguineti, Hobsbawn, Losurdo, and Bertinotti. According to our interpretation, after the birth of every new political movement (anarchist, socialist, communist, new left, post-colonial, and even neoliberal forces) a new reading of the Manifesto is functional to search for roots – or to invent it. This is done by underlining every time the still current features of Marx and Engels’ Weltanschauung : during the rise of the Workers’ forces, till the Fifties, forewords focused on their power to reshape the world; after the fall of the mainstream Socialist states, social-democratic forces abandon Marx while liberalist movements rediscover him as an economist, and radical forces portrait him as the prophet of the globalization and the crisis.

Actuality of Marx’s legacy.
What can we say again about Science from the point of view of Marx’s Historical Materialism?

Angelo Baracca

It is interesting to consider the historical materialism point of view about science and the relation between man, as a social being, and nature. Firstly, we have to observe Engel’s refusal to consider nature as a mere
inactive “tank” of resources to be exploited; secondly, we have to reject the thesis of the presumed neutrality of science, and to recognize its structural relation with the interests of the capitalistic class. It is important to resume an integral critic of science, refusing the abstract concepts of “progress” and “development” of science and accounting for scientific and epistemological twists and their being always linked to the transformation of production conditions, to the need of the capitalistic class to maximize the profits through new technical innovations, to exploit the working class with the maximum effectiveness. Clearly science has increased the power of Man upon Nature, but always in strict complicity with the interests of Capital against Work. This instrumental subjugation of the scientific “association” or “caste” to the interests of the business ruling classes has to be judged with the tools of historical materialism. This is hugely important in a historical period in which the capitalistic production cycle has grown as never before in harmfulness for nature and human health.

Domenico Losurdo.
Philosopher of history, geographer of anti-colonialism

Marcos Aurélio da Silva

The rich work of Losurdo will continue to enlighten the struggle for socialism

Luciana Santos, Renato Rabelo

The disappearance of Domenico Losurdo:
a huge loss for critical thinking

Salvatore Tinè