Death of a Marxist

Egyptian economist Samir Amin observed the dangers of our world but also its possibilities
On Sunday, August 12, Samir Amin died. With him went a generation of Egyptian Marxists who came of age in the time of Nasserism and departed with the world in tatters. Amin was born in 1931 in Cairo. He was doing his PhD in Paris when Gamal Abdel Nasser and the Free Officers overthrew the British-dominated monarchy in Egypt in 1952 and directed their country towards a path of non-alignment.
Amin’s thesis — in economics — was written while he was active in the French Communist Party. In the thesis, he thought hard about the problems of his native land and other countries despoiled by the colonial menace. For Amin, as with other dependency theorists, the Third World suffered from theft, plunder as well as deindustrialisation, and then unequal exchange. The policy space for the new Third World states — Nasser’s Egypt amidst them — was narrow. Emancipation would be difficult. It would take courage to break the yoke of monopoly capitalism, to rise from the penalty of For the past 40 years, Amin was based in Dakar (Senegal), where he led the Third World Forum. Here, he looked out of his window and observed the dangers of our current world, but also its possibilities. This year is the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth. In one of his last texts, to honour Marx, Amin reflected on a line from The Communist Manifesto — that the class struggle always results “either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes”. This sentence, he wrote, ‘has been at the forefront of my thinking for a long time’. He was not interested in defeat: “The uninterrupted revolution,” he wrote, “is still on the agenda for the periphery. Restorations in the course of the socialist transition are not irrevocable. And breaks in the imperialist front are not inconceivable in the weak links of the centre.”
However bad the situation — harshness and ugliness everywhere — our struggles were unbeaten and our futures uncharted. As long as we are resisting, he would say, we are free.
Vijay Prashad is the Chief Editor at LeftWord Books and the Director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research colonialism and advance towards a necessary socialist future.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/death-of-a-marxist/article24683995.ece

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