The author, against the background of Communist Studies developed in Poland since World War I, reconstructs theoretical orientations that explained the communist system in that country. In this paper, the division of theoretical approaches into political, economic, and cultural ones is proposed. Each of them seeks factors responsible for nature, evolution, and final decline of the communist system in a different sphere of social life. An approach of the political type was Leszek Nowak’s theory of communism as a system (...) of emancipated political power; of the economic type — Jadwiga Staniszkis’s theory of the communist system as incomplete capitalism; and of the cultural type — MichaÂ Buchowski’s conceptualization of communism as a system of new religion. In the final part, the author considers complementary character of reconstructed approaches and analyzes reasons why some of reconstructed theories did not generate schools of thought in Polish social sciences after 1989. (shrink)
This paper explores the question of whether it is possible to be communist without Marx. This entails encountering the ontological dimension of communism, that is, the material tenor of this ontology, its residual effectiveness, the desire of human beings to go beyond capital, and the reality of the episode of statism.
In their work The German Ideology, the founders of Marxism assert that the prerequisite of post-capitalist (defined by them as communist) society is the universal development of human abilities and all social relations. But then on the same page, contrary to this statement, it is alleged that the abolition of private property is not only highly topical but it is also an imperative history-making task. In Manifesto of the Communist Party, Marx and Engels explain that economic crises recurrently shaking capitalist (...) society expose an apparent contradiction between the productive forces and the capitalist relations of production – therefore, these relations must be eliminated for the preservation of society. Nonetheless, the same treatise affirms that the bourgeoisie cannot exist without revolutionizing not only the productive forces but also the relations of production. But in this case it stands to reason to recognize that there is no conflict between productive forces and production relations, and, therefore, there is no crisis of the capitalist system, either. Paradoxes in the communist theory of Marxism stem not merely from erroneous conceptions but reveal the fact that Marxism as an ideology comes into conflict with its scientific social theory. Hence, these paradoxes disclose the relative independence of the social theory of Marxism from its ideological postulates. (shrink)
This article considers Sartre's relations with the French Communist Party (PCF) in the years immediately following the Liberation when the PCF considered that, of all the prominent French intellectuals, it was Sartre who posed the greatest threat. This article opens by situating the PCF within the French political landscape immediately after the Liberation and addressing its attitudes towards intellectuals. It then examines the main themes of the attacks launched by the PCF, between 1944 and the staging of Les Mains sales (...) ( Dirty Hands ) in 1948, on both Sartre and existentialism and the reasons for these attacks. It concludes by noting the differences between the PCF and Sartre on three specific political issues during this period. (shrink)
This article argues the main following points. (1) Communism was fatefully dependent upon the action or inaction of its top leaders because of the vulnerability of the hyper-centralized power and hyper-centralized defense of the ruling class and the ruling party. No one was really able to seriously predict the historical contingencies such as Gorbachev and Yeltsin that played a decisive role. The most that social scientists and analysts could safely claim was that communism had become unsuccessful and problematical (...) to such an extent that force alone could maintain it. However, given the overall history of communism, who could have anticipated that such force would not be used. (2) The United States is toiling now in an overwhelmingly difficult and dangerous transition, not only from a ‘superpower’ to ‘merely’ a big power, but from a totalistic and laissez-faire capitalism to a limited and state-regulated capitalism. It is the most efficacious way of production and primary distribution. However, unless capitalism, national and global, becomes regulated and combined with some kind of socialism (solidarism) that is yet to be established, global crises will keep recurring. The best chance for enlightened socialist (solidaristic) humanism lies in secondary distribution based on equality and justice as its fundamental principles. (3) The very term ‘superpower’ suggests a kind of superhuman, almost divine power. The United States does not have such power because (among other things) apocalyptic weapons are at the disposal of some considerably weaker states (in every other respect). (4) The possibility of the self-destruction of humankind has become the over-determination of all other over-determinations in history. It follows that auto-apocalypse must be separated from the categorical and epochal dichotomy between modernity/ modernism and postmodernity/postmodernism and given an absolute priority, both theoretical and practical. This break should be characterized as post-postmodernity and reflection upon it as post-postmodernism. We are in vital need of a total anti-apocalyptic turnaround in overall thought, sensitivity, activity and organization. Unfortunately, it can now safely be predicted that more and more states and societies, even those founded on (internal) freedoms and desirous to maintain them, will become transformed into states and societies focused on the struggle for survival in the face of auto-apocalyptic threats. I believe that confronted more and more with such threats liberalism will actually, and later probably also explicitly, yield the place of the fundamental operative (unlike declarative) view of the world, ideology, imagology, and principle of social organization — to humankind existentialism. We have entered an existentialist ‘end of history’ instead of the proclaimed liberalistic ‘end of history’. (shrink)
The sketch of communist society in The German Ideology is often dismissed for lacking seriousness or coherence. Thorough philological, contextual and philosophical inquiry reveals otherwise. The final version of the sketch enjoys a systematic place within Marx’s thought, as a description of activity in developed communism, and advances a provocative thesis of the negation of vocation. This thesis is composed of two distinct claims: occupational confinement is abolished, and occupational identities disappear. These claims recommend communist society on grounds of (...) autonomy and recognition. (shrink)
Some Romanian feminist scholars argue that welfare policies of post-communist states are deeply unjust to women and preclude them from reaching economic autonomy. The upshot of this argument is that liberal economic policy would advance feminist goals better than the welfare state. How should we read this dissonance between Western and some Eastern feminist scholarship concerning distributive justice? I identify the problem of dependency at the core of a possible debate about feminism and welfare. Worries about how decades of (...) class='Hi'>communism have shaped citizenry feed feminists' suspicion of the welfare state and fears of paternalist policies. I criticize the arguments in favour of neoliberal policies and I suggest a crucial distinction between legitimate, universal forms of human dependency and dependencies that result from particular social arrangements. (shrink)
This article is concerned with writing in Poland since the collapse of Communism. It focuses mainly on the generation of Polish writers who made their debut around the time of the collapse of Communism and whose work has since begun to appear in English translation. It considers the changing focus of the post-Communist generation of writers, asks how the translations of their work represent Poland to the world and what these works might indicate about changes within contemporary Polish (...) literary and political culture. In particular the article looks at recent fiction from Polish Women Writers and themes in recent writing including the ideas of Poland as Post-Communist, Post-nationalist, Post-Jewish and Post-German. (shrink)
In late 1949 the former Soviet Union conducted an open trial of eight Japanese physicians and researchers and four other military servicemen in Khabarovsk, a city in eastern Siberia. Despite its strong ideological tone and many obvious shortcomings such as the lack of international participation, the trial established beyond reasonable doubt that the Japanese army had prepared and deployed bacteriological weapons and that Japanese researchers had conducted cruel experiments on living human beings. However, the trial, together with the evidence presented (...) to the court and its major findings — which have proved remarkably accurate — was dismissed as communist propaganda and totally ignored in the West until the 1980s. This paper reviews the 1949 Khabarovsk trial, examines the West's dismissal of the proceedings as mere propaganda and draws some moral lessons for bioethics today. As an important historical case, set in the unique socio-political context of the Cold War, the West's dismissal of the trial powerfully illustrates some perennial ethical issues such as the ambivalence of evidence and the power of ideology in making (or failing to make) cross-national and cross-cultural factual and moral judgments. (shrink)
This paper re-examines the relevance of three academic norms to contemporary academic life – communism, universalism and disinterestedness – based on the work of Robert Merton. The results of a web-based survey elicited responses to a series of value statements and were analysed using the weighted average method and through cross-tabulation. Results indicate strong support for communism as an academic norm defined in relation to sharing research results and teaching materials as opposed to protecting intellectual copyright and withholding (...) access. There is more limited support for universalism based on the belief that academic knowledge should transcend national, political, or religious boundaries. Disinterestedness, defined in terms of personal detachment from truth claims, is the least popular contemporary academic norm. Here, the impact of a performative culture is linked to the need for a large number of academics to align their research interests with funding opportunities. The paper concludes by considering the claims of an alternate set of contemporary academic norms including capitalism, particularism and interestedness. (shrink)
This is an attempt to determine the character of Antonio Gramsci''s Marxism by way of a critical analysis of Luciano Pellicani''sGramsci: An Alternative Communism? His interpretation is that, except for a peaceful revolutionary strategy, Gramsci is a typical Marxist-Leninist. This is criticized by pointing out that it is largely grounded on non-Gramscian texts, that its references to Gramsci are primarily to an intermediate phase of his development, and that its construal of the mature texts of thePrison Notebooks does violence (...) to the contexts of the passages quoted. The criticism strongly points in the direction of either an original Gramscian communism or a Gramscian noncommunism. (shrink)
Following the October Revolution of 1917 the Bolsheviks embarked upon a series of initiatives in order to bring about a socialist economic order. Traditional accounts of these events?"War Communism?; and the New Economic Policy?are deficient in two respects. First, they do not consider the policy implications of early twentieth?century Marxism. Second, they do not appreciate the economic coordination problems such policies would, and did, encounter. As a result, the standard account of early Soviet socialism is distorted. This paper attempts (...) to rectify these deficiencies by discussing the Bolshevisks? own assessments of their purposes and exploring the consequences of their policies in the period 1918?1921. (shrink)
Ai Ssu-ch'i is a little known but very important figure in the introduction of Marxism-Leninism into China. This first article provides a brief biography of Ai Ssu-ch'i as well as a detailed account of his activities as teacher, author and propagandist. Among his other services to the cause of Marxism-Leninism in China, one has to stress Ai Ssu-ch'i's systematic opposition to Yeh Ch'ing and to the non-Communist interpretation of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Three Principles of the People. (cf.SST 10 (1970), 138–166.).
Abstract This study examined the cross?cultural universality of Kohlberg's theory of moral reasoning development in the People's Republic of China??a culture quite different from the one out of which the theory arose. In particular, the applicability of the theory was evaluated in terms of its comprehensiveness and the validity of the moral stage model. Participants were 52 adolescents and adults, drawn from five groups: moral leaders, intellectuals, workers, college and junior high school students. In individual interviews they responded to hypothetical (...) moral dilemmas and discussed a real?life dilemma from their own experience. These interviews were scored for both moral stage and moral orientation. The findings indicated a high level of intra?individual consistency in level of moral reasoning. A wide range of moral stages was evidenced and predictable group differences in moral development were found. An analysis of moral orientations provided an additional perspective on individuals? moral reasoning, in particular, in revealing group differences. Although, in general, the universal applicability of Kohlberg's approach was supported by these data, a subjective analysis of responses revealed some indigenous concepts, fundamental to Communist Chinese morality, that are not well tapped by the approach. (shrink)
Why do marketing managers in the transitional economies of Eastern Europe and China often engage in competitively irrational behavior, choosing pricing strategies that damage competitors’ profits, rather than choosing pricing strategies that improve their firm’s profits? We propose one possible reason, the moral vacuum created by the collapse of communist ideology. We hypothesize and find that managers who experienced formal communist moral ideological indoctrination are less likely to be competitively irrational than the post-communist managers who did not. Implications are discussed.
Russian is presently in a transition stage between the old centrally administered command economy and a market economy. The result is uncertainty and instability. In such a situation there is both little room and little concern for business ethics. The objective conditions for this include distortions in the systems of supply and exchange, political instability, and judicial ineffectiveness. The subjective conditions include the breakdown of morality under the communist system, and the wide acceptance of “wild” capitalism as a necessary stage (...) in the development of a capitalist market system. (shrink)
The thesis examines the thought of Thomas More and Gerrard Winstanley, emphasizing the concern of both theorists with the prevailing moral depravity of human nature attributable to the Fall of Man, and their proposals for the amendment of men's conduct by institutional means, especially by the establishment of a communist society. The thesis opens with a conceptual exploration of 'utopianism' and 'millenarianism' before discussing the particular forms of these concepts employed by More and Winstanley. The introductory section also includes an (...) investigation of the context which constituted the background to the ideas of More and Winstanley. More's theology, his conception of human nature, and his view of contemporary civil society are examined in detail. It is argued that the conclusions More derived from this aspect of his thought formed his basic conception of the situation to which the institutional amendments outlined in Utopia were directed. These proposals, regarding communism, the state, family and community life, education, religion, and ethics, are discussed. It is argued that Utopia constitutes More's model of a society designed to facilitate the salvation of man. Winstanley's appreciation of man's nature, prevailing condition, and potential for spiritual regeneration, are outlined. The development of Winstanley's thought, and the impression his active involvement with the Diggers made upon him, is described. It is argued that Winstanley renounced millenarianism and ultimately assumed utopian social theory as a medium for the articulation of his proposals for the restoration of man to spiritual regeneracy on earth. The institutional aspects of this scheme, regarding communism, the state, patriarchalism, labour, and education, which he outlined in The Law of Freedom, are evaluated. The thesis concludes, with a brief comparative analysis before setting the ideas of More and Winstanley'in the context of the changing worldview, appreciation of man's potential and progress, and the emphasis upon aspiration, which evolved in the early modern period. (shrink)
If literary avant-garde journals and their communities have been, in the twentieth century, a space for creating, if not sustaining, major political utopias, it should help explain why this “literary communism,” as Jean-Luc Nancy called it, is not a weakened or substitutional form of politics. No myth without narration, no implementation without an instrumentation, no organic unity without a political organ voicing its claim, in short: no organicity without an organon. But can there be a (literary) community that does (...) not aim at the achievement of its own assumed truth, a form of writing in common that does not serve to convey a meaning, but bears witness, in its very form, to the fragmentation of meaning? This essay examines three attempts of an affi rmative answer to this question by reappraising three interrelated experimental cases: Jena around 1800 and the Athenaeum journal of the Early Romantics; Walter Benjamin’s journal projects, from the Angelus Novus to the prison camp journal at the end of his life; Maurice Blanchot and the failed trans-European project of what was arguably the most ambitious intellectual journal enterprise of the century, the Revue internationale in the early 1960s. (shrink)
This analysis examines fundamental questions at the intersection of social science and social technology as well as problems of disciplinary divisions and the challenge of cross-disciplinary cooperation. Its theoretical-empirical context is provided by post-communist transformations, a set of profound societal changes in which institutional design plays a central role. The article critically reappraises the contribution of Karl Popper's philosophy to this problem context, examines neoliberalism as social science and social technology, and examines the role of experts and disciplinary divisions in (...) the reform process. Building on Mario Bunge's social philosophy, it sketches basic elements of a cross-disciplinary approach to "social change by design." Key Words: post-communist transformation social change institutional design Karl Popper Mario Bunge. (shrink)
Cities of the Gods is a historical study of the theory of Utopian communism in ancient Greek thought, identifying and assessing its several currents. The author looks at the reason for the decline of the Utopian traditions after c. 150 BC and suggests that the main factor was the Roman conquest of the Greek world, which produced a more conservative intellectual climate. He concludes by looking at the evidence for the survival of utopian traditions, particularly their influence on early (...) Christianity. (shrink)
The purpose of this study is to examine F. S. C. Northrop's approach to Russian Communism via his analysis of (1) the fundamental types of all possible concepts and (2) how an exposition of the basic concepts of Russian Communism enable us to understand not only the past performances of the Soviet Union but also to predict what they are likely to do in the future. This goal is accomplished by an examination of three essays that Northrop penned (...) over a period of 14 years. Although a few critical remarks are tendered, my essay tends to be descriptive in an effort to introduce those unfamiliar with Northrop to the work of this vast mind. Readers of this journal will no doubt profit from exposure to Northrop's entire corpus. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to analyze the political development of the Belarusian society in the years 1986–2006 in order to answer the following questions: (i) what was the impact of support the nomenclature of the Belarusian Communist Party gave to the Belarusian independence after August 1991 on the process of decrease in power regulation (or in other words – democratization), (ii) why initial period of decrease in power regulation was replaced by its growth and (iii) why this growth (...) of power regulation did not encounter efficient civil reaction like in the neighbouring republics (ex. Ukraine). Finally, I would like to consider further political development in Belarus, especially the perspective of civil revolutions. Presented analysis will not be a chronicler’s presentation of facts from the current history of this country but will be based on a social theory – non–Marxian historical materialism, which will serve as a basis for answering these questions and considering posed problems. (shrink)
The decline of communism in Eastern Europe in years 1989-1991 was a big surprise for Western Sovietology. The sudden disappearance of the object of research would undermine the reason of existence of the whole science. For this reason, in the first half of the 90s Western scientists tried to answer following question: why Sovietology was not able to predict the demise of communism. The purpose of my paper is not to make one more analysis of factors responsible for (...) this failure of social sciences but reconstruction of theories which accurately predicted the demise of communism. It is possible to point out two scholars whopredicted the collapse of communism at the turn of the 70s and 80s. One of them is Randall Collins, an American sociologist who elaborated in 1978 Geopolitical Theory. The second of them is Leszek Nowak, Polish philosopher, who in 1979 elaborated theory of historical process – non-Marxian historical materialism. In the last part of my paper I compare these two theories. Despite obvious differences, these theories share striking similarities: model status, antagonistic vision of society, grand scope of applicability and belonging to the periphery rather than to mainstream of social sciences. Maybe, this last feature is one of the necessary conditions of making accurate predictions in social and historical sciences. (shrink)
In this paper, we discuss the problem of communist power in so called totalitarian regimes. Inspired by strategies of explanation in contemporary science studies and by the ethnomethodological conception of social order, we suggest that the power of communists is not to be taken as an unproblematic source of explanation; rather, we take this power as something that is itself in need of being explained. We study personal narratives on political screenings that took place in Czechoslovakia in 1970 and analyze (...) how the power of communists obtained its strength from ordinary and “unremarkable” interactions between participants. The screenings are interpreted, in the terms of Bruno Latour, as “trials of strength.” We show that it was crucial for all the participants that associations, translations or mobilizations involved in making the regime real, remained partial and multiple, and not exclusive and “total” as is often assumed within dominant discourses on totalitarianism. (shrink)
Drawing on stakeholder theory and the evolutionary approach to institutions, this paper investigates the channels through which corporate social responsibility (CSR) is developed in post-communist economies by focusing on the employee background factors that shape the employees' expectations with regard to corporate socially responsible behaviour. We identify three channels through which exogenous and endogenous CSR are developed: employees with work experience in multinational enterprises (MNEs) (leading to exogenous CSR), employees with CSR knowledge (leading to exogenous CSR) and employees with experience (...) of the socialist system (leading to endogenous CSR). Furthermore, we argue that the interactions between these channels lead to hybrid CSR in transition economies. We use a questionnaire-based survey with employees of domestic and MNEs in Romania and we conduct regression analysis. We find that employees with work experience in MNEs act as channels for exogenous CSR, while employees with experience of the socialist system act as channels for endogenous CSR. Furthermore, employees with experience of the socialist system and CSR knowledge or work experience in an MNE act as channels for hybrid CSR in transition economies. Based on our results, we put forward implications for theory, managers and policy makers. (shrink)
This paper begins by raising a puzzle about what function our use of the word ‘rational’ could serve. To solve the puzzle, I introduce a view I call Epistemic Communism: we use epistemic evaluations to promote coordination among our basic belief-forming rules, and the function of this is to make the acquisition of knowledge by testimony more efficient.
As an accompaniment to the translation into English of Louis Althusser's 'Letter to the Central Committee of the PCF, March 18th, 1966', this note provides the historical and theoretical context necessary to understand Althusser's 'anti-humanist' interventions into French Communist Party policy decisions during the mid-1960s. Because nowhere else in Althusser's published writings do we see as clearly the political stakes involved in his philosophical project, nor the way in which this project evolved from a 'theoreticist' pursuit into a more practical (...) one, the note also argues that the letter is of importance to Althusser scholars, to historians of Marxist thought, and to those interested in the relevance of Althusser's work to contemporary Marxist philosophy. (shrink)
Interviews Professor Wang, a political philosopher at Beijing University about the political reforms in China. Explanation on a democratic political system with Chinese characteristics; Confucian tradition of respect for a ruling intellectual elite; Relevance of Confucian scholar Huang Zongxi's proposal for reform.
The remarks that follow are not the work of a China specialist. I am a philosopher who has spent most of his scholarly life--from my days as a graduate student in the early 1970s to the present--grappling with one of the great lacunas in Marx=s work. As everyone knows, Marx thought that capitalism will eventually be replaced by a higher form of society that will resolve humanity's economic problem. He characterized this ultimate Acommunism@ in various ways: rather whimsically as a (...) socio-economic order that allows us to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, criticize after dinner, without ever becoming hunters, fishermen or a critical critics; more seriously, in accordance with the need for a compelling political slogan, as one that allows us to work according to our abilities and consume according to our needs; more philosophically, as one that reduces the realm of necessity to a minimum so as to maximize the realm of freedom. But Marx was no utopian dreamer. He knew that we would have to pass through a transitional stage to get from capitalism to this truly human society. This would be a stage marked by its origins, hence imperfect, even in theory, and yet capable of surmounting the fundamental contradictions of capitalism. (shrink)
Background: The Albanian medical system and Albanian health legislation have adopted a paternalistic position with regard to individual decision making. This reflects the practices of a not-so-remote past when state-run facilities and a totalitarian philosophy of medical care were politically imposed. Because of this history, advance directives concerning treatment refusal and do-not-resuscitate decisions are still extremely uncommon in Albania. Medical teams cannot abstain from intervening even when the patient explicitly and repeatedly solicits therapeutic abstinence. The Albanian law on health care (...) has no provisions regarding limits or withdrawal of treatment. This restricts the individual's healthcare choices.DiscussionThe question of 'medically futile' interventions and pointless life-prolonging treatment has been discussed by several authors. Dutch physicians call such interventions 'medisch zinloos' (senseless), and the Netherlands, as one of the first states to legislate on end-of-life situations, actually regulates such issues through appropriate laws. In contrast, leaving an 'advance directive' is not a viable option for Albanian ailing individuals of advanced age. Verbal requests are provided during periods of mental competence, but unfortunately such instructions are rarely taken seriously, and none of them has ever been upheld in a legal or other official forum.SummaryEnd-of-life decisions, treatment refusal and do-not-resuscitate policies are hazardous options in Albania, from the legal point of view. Complying with them involves significant risk on the part of the physician. Culturally, the application of such instructions is influenced from a mixture of religious beliefs, death coping-behaviors and an immense confusion concerning the role of proxies as decision-makers. Nevertheless, Albanian tradition is familiar with the notion of 'amanet', a sort of living will that mainly deals the property and inheritance issues. Such living wills, verbally transmitted, may in certain cases include advance directives regarding end-of-life decisions of the patient including refusal or termination of futile medical treatments. Since these living wills are never formally and legally validated, their application is impossible and treatment refusal remains still non practicable. Tricks to avoid institutional treatment under desperate conditions are used, aiming to provide legal coverage for medical teams and relatives that in extreme situations comply with the advice of withholding senseless treatment. (shrink)
Marx was and remained a philosopher. This simple fact was forgotten when Marxism became a system. Now that the system has been defeated, the philosophy re-emerges. However, its "Marxist" adherents have never understood that this philosophy was always political - in short, they have never understood politics, and therefore will never understand philosophy. Thus, the claim of the article is that, correctly read, Marx can be seen as the true philosophical founder of a modern theory of democracy.
Marx: Later Political Writings brings together new translations of Marx's most important texts in political philosophy written after 1848. Marx challenged poitical theory to its very fundamentals, as his works do not follow traditional models for exploring politics theoretically. In his introduction, Terrell Carver situates Marx in a politics of democratic constitutionalism and revolutionary communism. The works are presented here complete, according to the first editions or the earliest manuscript state, and include the Manifesto of the Communist Party, the (...) Preface of 1859 to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, The Civil War in France, and the little-known Notes on Adolph Wagner. More than most political theorists, Marx made contemporary politics the focus for his theoretical work. He created a distinctive kind of political theory, and this volume makes it accessible today. (shrink)
In this paper we theorize that cognitive ethical orientations play an influential role in the beliefs of consumers when faced with different ranges of moral dilemmas. We examine this proposition in transitional Eastern Europe and results from a sample of 210 Romanian consumers suggest that Romanians are faced with a moral situation where low levels of Machiavellianism and high levels of idealism appear to relate to a higher ethical concern about passively benefiting at the expense of others.