الماركسية والعالم الثالث / Marxism and the Third World



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عبدالله, اسماعيل صبري; Abdalla, Ismail Sabri

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

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[The article offers an interpretation of Marx and Marxism that reaffirms their pertinence to the Third World today. The interpretation is presented from the standpoint of a Marxist economist and a spokesman for the Third World. The reading of Marx in this study contextualizes Marx's writings within their historical framework and uncovers the philological significance of key words. Appropriating nature, for example, is explained as making proper use of nature rather than exploiting nature. The approach attempts a total reading of the corpus of Marx and uses lesser known commentaries, letters and manuscripts of Marx to shed light on his renowned texts. Through this methodology priority is given to the source over the established exegesis, and Marx is read as a structured whole, albeit unfinished, rather than reading Marx's canonical extracts. Thus, Ismail Sabri Abdalla derives fresh Marxist principles which are crucial for the current debate on development, dependency, ecology, bureaucracy and cultural hegemony. By this innovative reading, the relevance of Marx is demonstrated while in the very process Marx is liberated from the self-styled Marxist readings and practises which dogmatize and mythologize him. The author puts the accent on the principles enunciated by Marx in his analysis of the European situation, rather than applying Marx's conclusions about nineteenth-century Europe to the rest of the world. The article draws attention to Marxist touchstones: critical approach, historical specificity and the interaction of theory and praxis. Accordingly, the Third World should analyze critically the nature of capitalist wealth rather than try to reproduce a capitalist affluence that can only be achieved through programmed theft, exploitation and ideological distortion. With figures drawn from economic statistics coupled with an analysis of Western discourse on the Other, the author demonstrates how the Third World has been and continues to be robbed of its wealth and national heritage under the guise of civilizing missions and development aid. The figures belie such claims and show that wealth is moving from the South to the North. The only possible road to genuine development is not to imitate a model which is both alien and bankrupt, but to work for autonomous development calling on the economic resources and cultural modes of each region. Such a development cannot take place except in a democratic context and with popular participation which can confront crippling bureaucracies. The innovative roads to meaningful development are, therefore, varied and multiple, but they all converge on the deep level with Marx's humane message.]

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