Since the Foundation of Marxist ideology, it can be said that it has found a place in almost any form of thought. Marxist history, Marxist Economy, Marxist Politics, the list goes on. It has also found a spot in International Relations, providing several theories which answer how the international body of politics work in the current day. I will be providing a description of just such theories.
The first theory is a fundamental part of what we call Leninism. More specifically, from his book “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism”. Basically, he simply states that what Marx had predicted was true, that Capitalist countries will take control of foreign nations for the supplies, and in the process makes conditions in the home countries better. This then makes it difficult for a revolution to take place. He states that the revolution then must start in underdeveloped countries. One could take this and say that it was merely a way to promote the Bolshevik Revolution, But that doesn’t mean it is not true. We see it even today how countries in the first world are living in comfort while all of the worlds problems originate in third world countries, and are overflowing with conflict. In any case, there is no denying that Lenin provided the first socialist theory on international relations.
In fact, his theory can be found as a basis for the next theory in the Marxist arsenal. The problem with these next one, however, is that they are not inherently Marxist. For example, the Dependency describes that Capitalism enriches itself my integrating the “periphery” nations into capitalism, with the use of multinational corporations, political advisers, missionaries, and experts. Capitalist claim that this is to that they can join the ranks of wealthy nations, but Dependency theorist say that it is instead to further enrich the core countries. Obviously one can see the connection to Lenin’s “Imperialism”. However, it stops short of saying how these systems change to overcome the core countries. It also lacks a lot of Marxist terminology in it. Non the less, it is a good theory to use to disprove how core countries are “helping” the development of developing countries.
The World Systems theory is a relatively revolutionary in IR studies. Instead of Nation states being the unit of analysis, it is instead the world systems. They are split into three systems: Core, semi-periphery, and periphery.
Core countries are countries with high skill, capital intensive production, while the other countries vary in the amount of low skill labor and mineral extraction. Countries can change their system, but the basis is still the system itself. Created by Immanuel Wallerstein, he meant for this theory to provide a new language for international relations, a new way of analyzing the world instead of the typical Liberal or realist point of view. It is Marxist in that it is very economically focused, which is a criticism to many IR theorist today. But we Marxist know of the validity of economic situations on the state.
The last theory I present is unusual as it does not provide a current analysis, instead explains society through an Historical Materialist and dialectic point of view. Neo-Gramscianism, as can be found by it’s name, is heavily tied to Gramsci’s ideas. The Thesis is the Hegemony, not in term of nations, but of class. A class is considered hegemonic if it has gained control with institutions and concessions. After achieving this hegemony, it is considered an Historic Bloc. At the Moment, we can say that a Neo-liberalist Historic Bloc is in control or is gaining control. However, there can exist a counter hegemony. This is essentially an alternate class or idea that contrasts the current hegemony. Should the counter-hegemony gain enough support, they will overcome the old historic bloc and start a new one in it’s place. It does this my using war of position and war of movement. War of position tries to increase its numbers via propaganda or persuasion or any other means. War of Movement is where the Movement has grown large enough it can take over, violently or democratically the old historic bloc. One such example would be the enlightenment. Their theories were against the old aristocratic bloc. They gained followers through the philosophers, universities, and through the press. Soon they grew strong enough to overthrow the historic bloc. In France, it was violent. In Britain, it was Democratic. None the less, the Liberals took over eventually as the historic bloc. It is the hope of these theorist, that Socialism will be the next historic bloc.
There are no right or wrong theories, just different. There are parts we agree with and there are those we do not. We don’t have to agree to one. We can, and I believe we should, try and take all the parts we do agree on an create a strategy with it. If we can combine these theories into a central Marxist strategy, we can perhaps find a way to unify the Left without actually having to agree on ideology. But it is up to us to create that theory.
Written by DeathlessLegends13