I’m reading through some of our literature (namely Socialism, Utopian and Scientific) and I really get the sense that many of our intellectual forebears think that everything important in philosophy happened in Europe. Granted, European philosophy is necessarily of primary relevance in a critique of early capitalism, but when Engels traces the history of these strains of thought (materialism, dialectics, etc.), they all go back to ancient Greece. I find this suspicious.

Is this a consequence of lopsided education, either of the target audience or of Engels himself? Have non-western Marxists grafted dialectical materialism onto Asian or African philosophy? Are there analogous movements within these cultures that dovetail nicely with Dialectical Materialism? Or do they more or less take Engels at his word here? Maybe I’m misinterpreting something.

No, because Marxism is not only Marx and Engels. Marxism was first developed by them, but was also developed by many other non-European peoples, and just to name a few, Maurice Bishop, Thomas Sankara, Amilcar Cabral, Che Guevara, Raul and Fidel Castro, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, Luis Carlos Prestes, Clovis Moura, Ruy Mauro Marini, Vânia Bambirra, Theotônio do Santos, Carlos Marighella, all of them non-European Marxists.

So no, Marxism is not euro-centric.

Would you not consider Fidel and Raul European colonists of Cuba? Sure they were revolutionaries, but they came from landed wealthy Spanish merchants.

They did not took resources from the country and its people, and they did not bring slaves to work the lands. So no, no way they would be considered colonialists.

He was the son of a Spaniard. His family wealth was from owning a sugarcane farm. He was raised by a Spaniard who fed him with the money from owning a sugarcane farm. How is that not settler colonialism? Like, by definition.

Again, I agree that he was a revolutionary, but he was a class traitor. He was not indigenous, he was not a descendant of a slave. He was European by heritage, in the same way any US president in the same time frame was also a European settler colonialist living in America.

He was not aware, and his actions defined his character along with the class consciousness and the revolution he achieved. It is like saying that since you are son of a slave-owner, you are one too.

This is a very idealist take. I didn’t say that Castro’s “character” was settler colonialist. I said he was a settler colonialist, materially. I don’t see how you can refute this by saying he was unaware.

Yes, the child of a slave owner, while that owner owns slaves, is, in fact, a slave owner, because the property is shared within the family. Just like the child lives in a house built upon a mass grave indigenous people. Just like the child grows strong and healthy eating foods produced by slave labor. Materially, the child is part of the slave owning class.

Castro was a European. He spoke a European language. He lived in European-designed and built homes. He wore European-designed clothes. He ate European-developed foods. He was culturally European. He was a class traitor, but it does not change the material fact that a violent band of pirates and murderers set sail from Spain with Spanish wealth that was stolen from Africa, landed on an island inhabited by the indigenous Taino people, slaughtered every single one they could find, and built a European colony on that island, and imported people that were kidnapped from Africa and benefit from their slave labor for generations, imposed their language, religion, and customs on them, and then a couple hundred years later, had a bourgeois revolution to free themselves from colonial rule so that they could maximize their profits as independent owners of the means of production in a rapidly industrializing world.

That’s the inheritance of ALL white Cubans. That is the material reality that gave rise to the Castro family in Cuba. It’s the material history that led to the birth of a Spanish speaking white cis-het male baby named Fidel and his brother Raul, and it’s the material history that led to them being educated.

And then Fidel (and Raul and many others) became a class traitor, aligned his interests with the massed, and worked hard to oust all of the bourgeois and the petite bourgeois from the island, eliminate the conditions for the reemergence of the bourgeoisie, and improve the lives of the masses, who were primarily descendants of slaves in one way or another.

The question was about whether Marxism was Eurocentric. It is very difficult to separate European colonies from Europe. Is Canada Eurocentric? I would say so. Is Australia Eurocentric, I would say so.

So, when we consider Marxist movements, how are we to judge their Eurocentricity? European lineage, European wealth, European language, European religion, European cuisine, European style, European education, European families, European institutions… All of these dominate American, Canadian, Australian, and Cuban society. If an indigenous movement developed Marxism, that would be a non-Eurocentric form of Marxism, even if they had to use the language of the colonists to be heard, even if they had to incorporate cultural elements of the colonists to be taken seriously. But I am not convinced that a white Spaniard who lived on a sugar plantation and had patriarchal rights back in Spain and lived as a colonizer lives who then became a class traitor is not a Euro-centric Marxist simply because he was geographically located on the island of Cuba instead of the island of Ibiza or Mallorca.

I see know and understand better the argument. Then in the material sense, indeed, Castro was part of the ruling class, which then became a class traitor and alligned himself with the workers and peasants to build the revolution.


A good thread about the centrality of the third world to ML thought.

It’s also really funny that anticommunists use the term “eurocentric”, since that term was invented by an Egyptian Marxist economist, Samir Amin.

Thanks for mentioning Samir Amin, I’m surprised there’s based people from my country. Also had no idea he coined that.

Egypt has a very rich history of socialist revolutionaries, and were it not for Britain, the US, and Israel working so hard to crush pan-Arabic socialist movements, it would be a socialist nation

Wow I had no idea tbh, I’ll have to look more into that. I do know about the imperialist repression but not about any socalists from here, we didn’t get taught that stuff in history class (unsurprising). I wouldn’t call it overt anti-communism like in the West but more lying by omission.

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