Marxist Theory and International Conflict and Security • Why include Marxist theory as a valid theory of international security when it has proved a failure? – Soviet Union, a Marxist model states, organized as a centralized political and economic system, selfdestructed – The Chinese Communist state abandoned the Maoist model of Marxist central political and economic control, in favor of a market economic system, linked to global markets around the globe, and Chinese membership in the World Trade Organization. Two Forces Underlying Marxist Theory Qualify Marxism as a Theory of International Security • First, the Marxist prediction that capitalism and capitalist markets will distribute wealth and income unequally will be a constant source of conflict • Second, Marxism, viewed as a political ideology, has mobilized the populations around the globe under European imperial rule to revolt and create their own states – Marxism as an ideology is still strong, notably once again justifying the centralization of political and economic power: e.g. Venezuela and Cuba and to a lesser extent in Bolivia, Ecuador – Many critics of globalization also rely on Marxist ideology to justify their opposition to global capitalistic markets and corporate power What Are Key Concepts of Marxism As a Theory of International Conflict and Security? • Realists and Liberal Institutionalists identify the state as the principal actor in international relations and global politics • Liberal theorists identify the individual as the principal actor and source of political and economic legitimacy of state and markets systems • But Marxism identifies the creation of classes as the principal actor in international relations How Does Marxism Arrive at Class Struggle as the Central Actors in International Relations? • 1) Marx and Marxists state that humans are fundamentally material entities – Frederick Engels: “Mankind must first off eat, drink, have shelter and clothing before it can pursue politics, science, and religion” • 2) The modes of production to meet human material needs creates a power structure that rules humans who depend on this production system – Under feudalism (European and Japanese), agriculture was the dominant mode of production of wealth • Those who owned land controlled the workers and serfs that were the labor for agriculture which they exploited • They also controlled political authorities and military forces to impose their rule on others The Industrial Revolution and Capitalist Destroys Feudalism • 3) The Industrial Revolution and global capital markets that facilitate mass production and economies of scale create a capitalist class, opposed to feudal land owners – Capitalists and corporations which own and control the means of industrial production capture most of the wealth of the capitalist system – Workers are exploited by being paid low or subsistence wages – Traditional home industries, like Indian cotton manufacture, are destroyed – The state and its military and police forces are controlled by capitalists and corporations – Thus, the struggle between a capitalist class and a worker or proletariat class is what is “real” about international politics, not the state (realists) or individuals (liberals) Marxism and the Cold War • Marxism as ideology helps explain the Russian and Chinese revolutions – A socialist state and economy claimed to end the alleged injustices (unequal power and wealth to capitalists) and to be a superior system for the production and equitable distribution of wealth – The state seized the private land and destroyed the landowner class – Collective farms were were created as the foundation of a socialist state and society Marxism and the End of Europe’s Empires • Marxist doctrine of exploitation by the West and capitalism rationalized the revolt of the developing world • The Soviet Union and Communist China aligned with these movements for selfdetermination in their struggle with the West and, especially, with the United States Marxism and the Cold War • The socialist model that combined political and economic power in the state proved fatal to the Soviet Union • China abandoned the Maoist socialist state both on political and economic grounds – The cultural revolution was directed at the elites of the Communist party – The state controlled economic system produced famine and massive economic dislocation and losses Marxism and Identity Politics • Marxism is not able to explain – Why the peoples of the developing world created their own states instead of joining a global socialist order – Why the Soviet Union was destroyed by • The demand of its East European satellites for national selfdetermination • The demand of Russian elites to abandon a socialist system that impoverished the Soviet Union • The demand of the peoples of the Soviet Republics for selfdetermination and their own state Can Marxism Still Explain Conflict? • The unequal distribution of wealth through globalization and global markets within and between states remains a flaw within the global system and a source of conflict • The ideology of Marxism, based on the unequal distribution of economic wealth and political power as the product of capitalism, has created a backlash against global markets and the power of the Western liberal market democracies • Marxist theory still has some explanatory power along these two dimensions of inequality and ideology.