Communism in History and Theory: Asia, Africa, and the Americas

Greenwood Publishing Group
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Busky examines the history of Marxist-Leninist parties and governments in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, with biographies of key figures from their beginnings to the ends of their careers. An up-to-date work, the volume incorporates the latest scholarship on the topic.

While focused mainly on the Third World, it also presents a detailed history of Marxist-Leninist parties in the United States and other developed nations such as Australia and New Zealand. Busky presents a full-length examination of the history of Maoism and the rise of the People's Republic of China to the post-Cultural Revolution China of today. In addition, Buskey examines the American wars against communist and other leftist nations and movements, from the Korean War to Vietnam and the wars of Central America. He also looks at U.S. covert action against what officials saw as communist threats in Iran, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Granada, and elsewhere. A detailed synthesis that will be of value to beginning students and researchers as well as scholars in comparative politics and history, socialism, and communism.

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About the author

DONALD F. BUSKY is Adjunct Professor of History and Political Science at Camden County College. He is the author of Democratic Socialism: A Global Survey (Praeger, 2000) and the companion volumes to the present book: From Utopian Socialism to the Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union: Communism in History and Theory and The European Experience with Communism: History and Theory, both published by Praeger in 2002.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Greenwood Publishing Group
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Published on
Dec 31, 2002
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Pages
238
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ISBN
9780275977337
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Political Ideologies / Communism, Post-Communism & Socialism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The spectacular growth in the 1970s and 1980s of the Marxist literature on politics and the state in capitalist society was hailed at the time as cumulative proof of Marxism's success in producing an effective theory of the political superstructure. More generally, it was seen as confirmation of the health and vigor of Marxist theory. Axel van den Berg questions both of these claims. Through comprehensive analysis of Marxist thought on bourgeois politics and the state, from that produced by Marx himself on, van den Berg radically challenges the viability of a distinctly Marxist theory of the state and of recent Marxist theorizing in general.

In an exhaustive review of the literature, van den Berg shows that neo-Marxist theories are, for the most part, not empirically testable. To the extent that it is possible to draw any empirical implications from these theories at all, such implications are virtually indistinguishable from those of "bourgeois" theories. Van den Berg proceeds to lay bare the contradiction at the heart of Marxist theory in general: it presupposes the viability and desirability of some ideal socialist society yet its "anti-utopian" insistence that all criticisms of capitalism must rest on foundations immanent in capitalism itself prohibits any open discussion of such a utopia. Now available in paperback, this is a fundamental work for political and social theorists.

"This work is brilliant in its polemical courage, its originality, and its detailed and revealing examination of texts. Van den Berg demonstrates that postwar Marxist political theory and sociology is not only vague and contradictory but that it actually makes critical concessions to the bourgeois thought' it claims to surpass. Appearing in the midst of afar-reaching reconsideration of the Marxism project in Europe, this volume crystallizes these issues for North American social science..."--Jeffrey Alexander, University of California, Los Angeles.

"Van den Berg has made a major contribution to the long overdue relegation of Marxism to the museum of nineteenth-century ideological antiquities."--Dennis Wrong, Contemporary Sociology.

Axel van den Berg is a Dutch-Canadian professor of sociology at McGill University in Montreal. His most recent work is The Social Sciences and Rationality.
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Andrei Lankov has gone where few outsiders have ever been. A native of the former Soviet Union, he lived as an exchange student in North Korea in the 1980s. He has studied it for his entire career, using his fluency in Korean and personal contacts to build a rich, nuanced understanding. In The Real North Korea, Lankov substitutes cold, clear analysis for the overheated rhetoric surrounding this opaque police state. After providing an accessible history of the nation, he turns his focus to what North Korea is, what its leadership thinks, and how its people cope with living in such an oppressive and poor place. He argues that North Korea is not irrational, and nothing shows this better than its continuing survival against all odds. A living political fossil, it clings to existence in the face of limited resources and a zombie economy, manipulating great powers despite its weakness. Its leaders are not ideological zealots or madmen, but perhaps the best practitioners of Machiavellian politics that can be found in the modern world. Even though they preside over a failed state, they have successfully used diplomacy-including nuclear threats-to extract support from other nations. But while the people in charge have been ruthless and successful in holding on to power, Lankov goes on to argue that this cannot continue forever, since the old system is slowly falling apart. In the long run, with or without reform, the regime is unsustainable. Lankov contends that reforms, if attempted, will trigger a dramatic implosion of the regime. They will not prolong its existence. Based on vast expertise, this book reveals how average North Koreans live, how their leaders rule, and how both survive.
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