Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Cultural Pillars and Critical Theory

"All the other large and small nationalities and peoples are destined to perish before long in the revolutionary world storm… these residual fragments of peoples always become fanatical standard-bearers of counter-revolution and remain so until their complete extirpation or loss of their national character… [A general war will] wipe out all these petty hidebound nations, down to their very names. The next world war will result in the disappearance from the face of the earth not only of reactionary classes and dynasties, but also of entire reactionary peoples. And that, too, is a step forward." -- Friedrich Engels, "The Magyar Struggle," Neue Rhenische Zeitung, January 13, 1849
Immediately after Russia's October Revolution of 1917, Lenin withdrew from fighting in World War One, although the formal end of Russia's involvement wasn't until the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918.  The Great War in Europe had all been predicted by Marx and Engels decades earlier and it appeared things were going exactly as they should. The next event that should have happened was for the common-man (the workers) to throw off their chains and unite under a new, global system of Communist Utopia. 

Of course, it never happened. This was a pivotal and confusing moment in the world of Marxism. Obviously, since the global revolution didn't appear as predicted, Marx and Engels had gotten something wrong. It is from here that "Marxism" goes from being strictly an economic theory and into the realm of cultural theory.

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