Questioning Marx, Critiquing Marxism Reflections on the Ideological Crisis on the Left

Francisco Nemenzo Jr.


While celebrating the collapse of communist regimes in Eastern Europe, the ideologues of capitalism cannot gloss over the parallel crisis that is tearing apart the major capitalist societies. They declare Marxism dead, but ''the grave-diggers of capitalism" hound them everywhere. For as long as capitalism continues to devastate the lives of the working people Marxism will always be relevant as a method of analysis. Some Marxist parties, however, are making themselves irrelevant by holding fast to outdated doctrines and pursuing political lines that have lost the power to convince.

The crisis of Marxism may serve as the impetus for a Marxist renewal if it jolts these parties out of complacency and forces them to re-examine what they had taken for granted. To turn the crisis into an opportunity they must reaffirm the democratic and humanist values of Marxism, rescue it from the curse of Stalin, and bring it to where marx stood - on the side of freedom in the struggle for democracy.

This paper grew out of a lecture where I tried to provoke the defenders of the faith with what il though were outrageously heretical ideas. To my great disappointment, everyone (including the former Communist Party of the Philippines [CPP] Chairman and New People's Army [NPA] commander-in-chief Rodolfo Salas) tacitly agreed even with those points on which I was most uncertain. But some approached me afterwards to express their private thoughts. I benefited immensely from their suggestions. As a result, this paper is substantially different from the one I delivered. Heeding their criticism that I covered too broad a range of issues, I dropped the sections on religion and the class structure to focus on the issue of democracy.

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