This volume under review may incite one into debate among Marxist as well as non-Marxist scholars on the shortcomings in Karl Marx'stheory and his concept of scientific socialism. So much so that with the disintegration of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, many Marxist scholars have already started debating the reasons behind the failures responsible for such a case. In this book articles by well-known communists like Mohit Sen, P.N. Haksar, Sumit Chakravarty and Chaturanan Mishra and which appeared in Mainstream magazine have been quoted.
It is already known to most of us that George Bernard Shaw had once said that Marx and Marxism should be included in the curriculum of schools and colleges so that at the drawbacks of Marxism as propounded by Marx would become clear to the people. Nevertheless, even after a hundred years and more, Marx is still considered as the world'sgreatest political philosopher because at one time one-third countries of the world had their political system based on the tenets laid down by Marx. The best part of this book is that Dr Bokare, the author, had once been a staunch communist for decades. Hence his critical evaluation of Marxism carries weight.
The book has been divided into three sections. The first section has 11 articles published in the Nagpur Times under the title ?Is Marxism Dead?? The second section has six essays reflecting upon the analysis of economic ideas of Marx. The third section carries a bunch of letters written by Dr Bokare to eminent personalities and leaders, discussing some aspects of Marxian philosophy.
Dr Bokare says that opinions among the Marxists are divided on the cause of the crisis especially with reference to the erstwhile Soviet Union. He says that almost all essays deal with the cruelty of Stalin under whom the dictatorship of the proletariat had been converted into dictatorship by Stalin and that he had suppressed expression, activities and writings of the intellectuals. But the fact was that what Stalin had suggested was State ownership sector, collective ownership sector and cooperative ownership sector all of which would contribute some fund to the common consumption fund which would be used for goods and services provided to all irrespective of the membership of the three sectors.
The author says that Marx was a friend of capitalists, a friend in disguise of the enemy, and cites the reasons responsible for coming to his aforesaid conclusion. But Marx was unequivocal in support of violence, armed confrontation, mass demonstration, etc. because of which he was called the enemy of capitalism. The author says if there is a war between two or more capitalist countries, ?it is most suitable for organising armed agitations with the tacit support of the government or against the government also. If there is a civil war, the communist party gets the benefits of a long disturbance. A long period of civil war is always beneficial to communists.?
In such a scenario, economic issues and its theories are useless for capturing power. ?All against all is the ultimate in the bedlam of politics.? It is like the game of musical chairs. If economics of Marx is not useful to them, then politics is equally available to all political parties seeking power and this explains why many anti-Marxist parties duplicate the same programmes like those of the communist party and ?all political parties are the brand names of the same contents.?
Dr Bokare has read most of the books written by Marx and Engels very carefully and come to the conclusion that Marx's?concept of classes, contradiction between classes, class-war (in economics) and scientific socialism? were wrong and his ?socialism after capitalism was false?. At best it was ?an empty box and sophistry in dialectics,? concludes the author.
(Dr M.G. Bokare Memorial Foundation, C-507, Shilpa Housing Society, near MIT College, Paud Road, Pune-411038.)