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In Praise of Socialism; Glimpses of Underdevelopment in Turkey

Samir Amin, Jonah Raskin, Alain J. Rawick


Samir Amin's article "In Praise of Socialism" (MR, September 1974) was useful for its discussion of use and exchange value, and the vision of a "disalienated society," but it has severe limitations. Amin notes that "capitalism has no culture. It is the moment of the negation of culture." (p. 9) While this is true, it is of equal importance to note that there is a culture of resistance and rebellion within capitalist society. And this culture of resistance is not simply or only, as Amin suggests, a "vestige" from a precapitalist culture. His whole notion of "vestiges" seems distorted to me, in a word, "reactionary." He asks "Why…is it that we are so fond of what we increasingly think of as 'vestiges'? China, Egypt, Asia, and Africa are full of these 'vestiges.' " Now, I am not fond of the "vestiges" in China. As a socialist I feel that the Cultural Revolution, and now the current movement which Barbara Ehrenreich describes in her article "Democracy in China" in the same issue were aimed to end "vestiges" like Confucianism. It seems to me that Amin romanticizes and idealizes what he calls "ancient cultures."



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