WHY MARXISM?: The Continuing Success of a Failed Theory by Robert G. Wesson

WHY MARXISM?: The Continuing Success of a Failed Theory

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A penetrating critique of Marx's theory and the history of Communism. Wesson explores the contradiction between Marxism's blatant inability to predict and explain 20th century realities and its continued political success. ""Experiences would seem to have been more than ample, in a logical universe, to complete the discrediting of the Marxist approach,"" he writes, citing the tyranny and cynicism of Communist states, the endless dissension and schisms among Marx's followers, and the social and economic failures of the system. Wesson recaps the development of socialist theory and practice through Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, as well as contemporary Soviet, Chinese, and New Left leaders. He particularly stresses Marxism's current appeal to the Third World where it has been adapted, through the inclusion of strong nationalist and xenophobic elements, to meet the needs of local elites. Marxism also offers the ideal rationalization for dictatorships which can blame all shortcomings on foreign countries, excuse their destruction of opposition parties and justify the centralization of all power. Wesson is stronger in his analysis of Marxism's appeal in the West, where, he claims, it represents the interests of power-seeking intellectuals. The author's style is often surprisingly unpolished, but he makes his case forcefully, if not always convincingly.

Pub Date: Feb. 20th, 1976
Publisher: Basic Books