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Marxism, Fascism, and Totalitarianism:…

Marxism, Fascism, and Totalitarianism: Chapters in the Intellectual…

by A. James Gregor

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Like many academic texts, "Marxism, Fascism and Totalitarianism" can be slow, dense, repetitious and theoretical to a fault. Even so, readers interested in the intellectual history of the twentieth century may find this book both useful and interesting. Gregor makes a few assertions here that may challenge the way that many of us consider the development both fascism and Marxism. He asserts that the fact that after the death of Frederick Engels in 1895, the fact that the proletarian revolution predicted by Marx did not take place led Marxists to weigh what practical steps they should take to implement socialism in their societies. Gregor seems to discount entirely the idea that a "pure" Marxism ever really existed, tracing instead the various arguments and factional splits that engaged Marxists in the years leading up to the Russian revolution of 1917. Marxism's need to adopt viable political strategies, according to this argument, led it to adopt less "scientific" approaches to politics and to cross-breed with other currents of European thought, most notably Darwinism and nationalism. Gregor sees fascism as more than Marxism's competing totalitarianism: in his view, it was an evolved Marxist heresy that developed after Italian socialists became divested of their class-oriented one-worldism. Well, that's not all, of course. There's much more here, and Gregor, who shows extraordinary determination extracting meaning from obscure Marxist and fascists texts, provides ample textual citations and other evidence to support his views. Of course, these are the sort of social debates that can still, almost a hundred years on, be argued from virtually every angle: it's possible that a reader more familiar with this subject than I am would be able to offer a much more thorough critique of Mr. Gregor's book. Still, if you've got an interest in the development of extreme political philosophies, or in the turbulent middle years of the twentieth century, you might find that "Marxism, Fascism, and Totalitarianism" is very much worth your time. ( )
1 vote TheAmpersand | Sep 23, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0804760349, Paperback)

This work traces the changes in classical Marxism (the Marxism of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels) that took place after the death of its founders. It outlines the variants that appeared around the turn of the twentieth century—one of which was to be of influence among the followers of Adolf Hitler, another of which was to shape the ideology of Benito Mussolini, and still another of which provided the doctrinal rationale for V. I. Lenin's Bolshevism and Joseph Stalin's communism. This account differs from many others by rejecting a traditional left/right distinction—a distinction that makes it difficult to understand how totalitarian political institutions could arise out of presumably diametrically opposed political ideologies. Marxism, Fascism, and Totalitarianism thus helps to explain the common features of "left-wing" and "right-wing" regimes in the twentieth century.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:21 -0400)

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