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Marx's Legacy to Humanity

mikebrig writes "Marx's legacy to humanity
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A collection of papers presented at a seminar organised at the University in
1998 under the auspices of the Mediterranean Institute to mark the 150th
anniversary of the Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels, was edited by Carmel
Vassallo and Clare Thake Vassallo.

During the seminar, established and up-and-coming specialists in literature and
literary theory, theatre, sociology, education, art, geography, law, theology,
anthropology, and philosophy looked briefly at what each felt had been the
impact of Marxism on their respective disciplines and all were in agreement that
Marxism had come to constitute an integral part of the heritage of humanity.

Paula Allman, a distinguished academic and a prolific writer on education and
Marxism and a self-declared admirer of Marx's work, wrote the introduction to
the first part of this collection which relates to the 'social' sciences.

The introduction makes an impassioned plea for a return to the core of Marx's
work: his critique of capitalism and political economy, an area which Allman
feels has been relatively neglected in the writings generated by Marx's work.
The second part, relating to the Arts, is introduced by Clare Thake Vassallo.

The seminar attracted considerably more attention than expected, both as regards
media coverage and as regards attendance by the public, particularly younger
people. The reason for this interest may be the wide dissatisfaction with, and
the consequent search for alternatives to, a system - global capitalism - which
many feel has failed to deliver. This is particularly true in the former
Communist countries and in the Third World but it is increasingly evident in the
so-called developed countries too.

There is no doubt concerning the justification of criticism of the now defunct
Communist bloc for the lack of political participation, the absence of civil and
intellectual liberties and the privileged existence of the elites. But all these
ills pale into insignificance when set against the current backdrop of organised
crime and corruption at all levels, breakdown in state finances, domestic and
exported prostitution and child abuse, the destruction of model educational and
health systems, and other developments which have resulted in massive poverty
and under-nourishment, disease and a dramatic shortening of life expectancy in
Eastern Europe and beyond.

In the countries of the Third World the scenario is even more dramatic with the
gap between the income of the world's poor, the overwhelming majority, and the
world's rich widening considerably.

In the 'developed' countries the state, in the hands of self-confessed
conservatives or, more menacingly, reconverted social democrats, has rolled back
the social gains brought about by the struggles of the working class movement
and the presence of the 'alternative' socialist model during the post-World War
Two period.

To sum up, the disappearance of the socialist camp has not brought about the
much-heralded improvement in global democracy and living standards, at least as
far as the vast majority of the world's population are concerned, and the tight
hold which global capitalism exerts is not so much by virtue of its good
qualities but mostly by virtue of the absence of a seemingly viable alternative.

This, according to the editors, is the major reason why one ought to look again
at Marxism, the most powerful anti-capitalist discourse that has ever been put
forward namely to examine what may be salvaged, or to be more ecological, what
may be recycled, in the process of constructing a viable alternative to a system
whose unbridled excesses are destroying us and the planet we live in. The
editors trust that this publication constitutes a modest contribution towards
that end.


The Communist Manifesto - Karl Marx's Legacy to Humanity

Carmel Vassallo & Clare Thake Vassallo Editors
Malta University Press 2003


PART 1 - Marxism and the Social Sciences

Introduction by PAULA ALLMAN

Malta: Between Consumerism and Materialism

Global Dominance / Global Resistance

Liberation Theology or the Liberation of Theology?

Marxism's Impact on Adult Education

Ernesto Laclau on the Future of Marxism

Part 2 - Marxism and the Arts


Marxism in African Literature

So who's the Fetishist, then?

Marxism and Arty

Brecht and Marxism

Marxist Ideology, the Literary Canon and the Sign of Canonicity"