Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Marxist Theory

You won't come across the term "Marxist analysis" very often unless you spend a lot of your time reading radical Leftist literature, but to celebrate Independence Day Jacobin Magazine published a Marxist analysis of the US constitution written in 1990 by Bertell Ollman, who teaches Marxist theory at New York University.

When Marxism is mentioned its usually in terms of Socialism, even though that's just one aspect of Marxism. There are also the theories Marx and Engels laid out in their many writings that established new ways of analyzing many things -- art, music, literature, society, and in this case a historical document.

As you read through it and see what kinds of things it takes into account, how it weighs different aspects of its subject, the assumptions and values it makes use of, you'll notice that although it's pretty "radical" sounding, a lot of it isn't that far different from a lot of what you'd read in mainstream academia. That's because  mainstream academia has been heavily influenced by Marxism -- Marxist theory and Marxist academics. It's just not widely recognized as such.

1 comment:

  1. I like the way Ollman digs into why the Constitution was produced, whose needs it was intended to serve, and how the various and sometimes somewhat conflicting interests were accommodated. A welcomed demystification of one of our nation's essential magical mystical documents.

    Marxist analysis reminds me somewhat of competent psychoanalysis, but applied at the socio-economic/political scale rather than at the personal scale. Political sociology.