The period from 1945 to 1989
After the Second World War, the situation of the parties and movements that followed Marx changed fundamentally. 1956 marked an important turning point as the 20th Congress of the CPSU initiated a programme of “de-Stalinisation”; this partially delegitimised Soviet Marxism. 1968 was also crucial, as student and worker unrest occurred in many countries.
Furthermore, the post-war period was characterised by renewed broadening and subsequent divides within these parties and movements. From the mid-1950s, the canonised Soviet-style Marxism-Leninism, which had been posited as universally binding, had begun to erode. Even within the dominion of the CPSU and its dependent states, there were numerous attempts to discuss alternatives to Moscow’s theoretical orthodoxy and attempts were made to open up the debate that had followed Marx to new thinking. At the same time, and especially after 1968, the tendency towards the academisation of Marxist theory finally gained traction, although it had been noticeable during the interwar period. By the late 1970s, at least in the “Western world”, “Marxism” had become noticeably less attractive.
Nordamerika und Europa
This tendency developed in the 1940s out of “Third Camp” Trotskyism but increasingly shifted away from its roots.Weiter
This British organisation from the 1960s provides another example of the way in which small, but relatively influential groups can move away from Trotskyism without leaving behind their belief in a political vanguard.
In this case, the group was influenced by Socialisme ou Barbarie and turned towards a libertarian understanding of socialism based on the concept of worker autonomy.Weiter
The Situationists were an international organisation founded in 1957 by avant-garde artists and revolutionaries that followed the councilist model. Although very small, the Situationists had a remarkable influence over activists in the run-up to May 1968 and during the events that took place in France at the time.Weiter
After 1956, Marxist intellectuals in Britain began moving away from the Communist Party and seeking new orientation without rejecting their socialist perspectives.Weiter
Attempts to bring together elements of Marxist and anarchist positions have a long tradition; they acquired new relevance during the 1960s and 1970s as part of a wide, heterogeneous spectrum.Weiter
The West German SDS was founded in 1946 as a social-democratic student organisation. However, due to its left-wing positions, the SPD issued an incompatibility declaration against it in 1961.Weiter
During the 1960s, the US group Students for a Democratic Society underwent a process of radicalisation.Weiter
Operaism (or Workerism) was a current within Italian “Marxism” that was independent of the Communist Party and the Socialist Party. It developed in the early to mid-1960s in the context of the magazines Quaderni Rossi and Classe Operaia.Weiter
In the 1970s, parts of the operaist movement continued its development under the term Autonomia. Their aim was to extend the sphere of antagonisms and struggle in factories to the whole of society.Weiter
During the 1970s, armed groups in Western Europe looked to the armed struggle taking place in Latin American cities and attempted to transfer it to Western European countries.Weiter
After 1956, greater intellectual scope developed in Eastern and Eastern Central Europe for heterodox ideas linked to Marx and Marxist theory and for views that were independent of the official Communist Party.Weiter
In the 1970s, this political current particularly influenced the communist parties of Italy, Spain and France. The aim here was to link a socialist economy with democratic politics. Eurocommunists positioned themselves in contrast to bureaucratic-authoritarian party-communism in socialist countries.Weiter
At the end of 1969, a debate took place about the Italian Communist Party’s Euro-Communism and its approach to the 1968 movement. This occurred shortly after Italy’s “hot autumn”, where, unlike Germany, workers were active in the protests.Weiter
Anarchists and Marxists have both undertaken attempts to combine environmental and socialist perspectives. Marxist representatives of eco-socialism include Manuel Sacristan (from Spain), the Brazilian-born sociologist and philosopher Michael Löwy and John Bellamy Foster from the US.Weiter
This current developed within the French “ultra-left” of the 1970s and is aimed at critically analysing and productively overcoming “historical” left-wing currents such as council communism, Bordigism and situationism, which developed later.Weiter
From the ranks of the Rono group in the interwar period (see The Koza current versus the Rono current), a left-wing socialist intellectual group developed after the Second World War that was linked to the Japanese Socialist Party.
The Marx translator and biographer Itsuro Sakisaka, who was also politically active, played a leading role.Weiter
The influential student umbrella organisation Zengakuren (General Confederation of student self-governments) was established in 1948. It had numerous members and was initially close to the Communist Party.Weiter
During the 1950s and 1960s a debate about Marxism took place in Japan. Its key issues were linked to the concept of “civil society”.Weiter
The Chinese Communist Party, which was established in 1921, had a highly varied history until the 1930s – as demonstrated by its temporary alliance with the Kuomintang, the formation of a left-wing opposition under former General Secretary Chen Duxiu, the Civil War and the “Long March” from 1934.Weiter
In China, the period after 1978 was marked by a cautious opening and de-dogmatisation of Marxism. Inspired by re-readings of Marx’s early work, a philosophical current evolved during this time that interpreted Marxism as humanistic thought.Weiter
After the anti-dictatorship uprising in Kwangju in 1980, a broad and radical opposition movement took shape in South Korea. Although Marx’s Capital was banned, a “countercultural” reading movement established itself in the underground.Weiter
Iranian worker communism is a version of classic or traditional Marxism that arrived “late” on the field. From the 1980s, it insisted on proletarian class struggle with the aim of returning to the “Marxist orthodoxy” of the pre-Stalin era.Weiter