Chip Taylor Communications

Subject: History

Europe and America in the Modern Age Series

Stanford University Professors James Sheehan and David Kennedy present in-depth lectures on the concept of liberalism as a theoretical framework for examining the interrelationships between the histories of Europe and America. Produced by the Stanford University Channel. Programs available on 20 individual Click for more

6. The Marxist Tradition in America

06. The Marxist Tradition in America

For Marxist theorists, post-Civil War capitalist America was ripe for socialist revolution. However, by 1930 the socialist movement had become nothing more than an inconsequential element in American political life, and it was apparent that no socialist revolution was occurring in America. In this program Professor David Kennedy explores the Marxist perspective on America. He explains why Marxists first discounted America as irrelevant to the history of Europe, and then reversed themselves to the point of predicting that America would become "the classic land of socialism." However, the American psyche, permeated with the ideals of freedom, equality, and liberty, tended to "retard the development of any sense of class consciousness." Americans at all social classes enjoyed a degree of material wealth and economic opportunity unparalleled in other societies, and the unprecedented ethnic and racial diversity in America presented a significant obstacle to the formation of a cohesive and politically powerful "proletariat." Kennedy shows how Marxist theory failed to recognize that modern liberal societies, rather than polarizing the classes, have tended to promote the proliferation of interest groups across class lines. Finally, he states that the Marxist prediction of class struggle and socialist revolution never occurred in America because "class" has never materialized as a means of social identity or as a cause of action. 99/10DE SCA 52 min.

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