Since the emerge of the societies and social life, political theorists tried to develop frameworks and ideas in order to explain main causes of incidents that occur in international relations. Two German thinkers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels developed a theory mainly based on a materialist view of history and society in early 1900s, which is commonly referred as Marxism. Since its' introduction to the political science Marxism have become one of the core schools of thoughts in international relations.
However, Marxism in practice has evolved and shown differentiations from the initial thoughts and ideas argued by Marx and Engel. Especially Bolshevik leaders such as Lenin and Stalin have interpreted Marx’s ideas differently after the October Revolution in Russia, while they were governing the Soviets. Due to the differences between the theory and the practice, Marxism can be considered as one of the most controversial approaches of political science.
Another argument is the question of contribution of Marxism to the world politics. Although Marxist ideas were influenced and accelerated the diversity between the Western the Eastern hemispheres in the past, especially during the Cold War, some notable political scientist like Martin Wight asserted “neither Marx, Lenin nor Stalin made any systematic contribution to international theory...”.
Due to these problems mentioned previously, it is a difficult task to develop a universally accepted Marxist understanding of international relations. The aim of this paper is to explain and present a critical analysis of the Marxist theory. To do so, this essay will first explain the Marx’s thought and vision by comparing them with past and current practices. Later on in order to understand the Contribution of the Marxist theory to the international relations it will provide a historical overview of past and current practices of Marxist theory on state level. Finally this essay will present a critical analysis of the Marxist theory.
Marxism: The Theory
Even though there are different interpretations do exist it still possible to generate a skeleton for the essential dynamics of Marxist theory. The aim of this chapter is to provide some basic information and establish a common ground on Marxism.
Although Marx himself provided little in terms of a theoretical analysis of International Relations it is still possible to draw a framework for his ideas. As a determinist theory, Marxism is first and foremost an analysis of existing and past societies. Hence, history is an essential element of the Marxist theory. According to Marx’s original ideas, history is full of class struggles between ruling and opposing classes of the societies. Hence, the main causes behind every conflict fought in the past are the different classes within the societies.
Marxist school of thoughts contains criticism of capital society. In addition to this while developing his theory, Marx gave a special importance and weight to all the factors existing between the economic agents. According to him in capitalist societies a class is defined by the relations of its members to the means of production. Moreover, Marxist view argues that, means of production within a society are also the means of oppression. In other words, whichever class holds the use of the means of production and economy also holds the key to rule other classes. For instance, due to their lack of accessibility for the means of production, in capitalist societies in order to support their families the working class members are paid a bare minimum wage or salary. Hence this situation makes them feel alienated from the society itself and also sets the grounds for the class struggle. Thus Marx’s theory suggests that in order to stop the class conflict within the societies the establishment of socialism, which promises a classless society, is inevitable. In very basic terms, Marxism suggests that there is...