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Takabatake Motoyuki was one of several prewar Japanese socialists who combined the Marxian ideal of proletarian socialism with nationalism. The first to produce a full Japanese translation of Karl Marx's Capital in 1919, Takabatake formulated a doctrine of national or state socialism that same year and dedicated the rest of his life to the promotion of that ideal. While Takabatake continued to call himself a Marxist, he criticized Marx's understanding of the state and drew on the work of Western political theorists such as Thomas Hobbes to construct his own functionalist interpretation of the state. Takabatake's work not only exposes some important lacunae in Marxist-Leninism, but his continued appeal to Marxism while embracing an ideology usually associated with the political Right defies analysis on the basis of conventional Left-Right distinctions. As his treatment of contemporary domestic and international problems demonstrates, both socialist and nationalist movements of this era constituted impassioned responses to social, economic, and political crises that were already apparent in the Taishō years.
Why has communism flourished in some parts of Asia and not in others? Examining the case of Kerala, this paper argues that, in India at least, social dislocation is the crucial ingredient when added to poverty, landlessness, and literacy. In Kerala, the matrilineal family system of caste-Hindus and the attendant system of extreme disabilities enforced against the low castes collapsed in the early twentieth century. The social upheaval was greater than anywhere else in India. A déraciné generation of caste-Hindus was forced to seek remedies for-the disruption and misery that daily confronted it, while increasing numbers of low castes refused to submit to the restrictions that traditional society sought to impose. This situation of social turmoil, similar in some ways to that prevailing in China and Vietnam, contributed crucially to the establishment of Kerala's vigorous, broad-based Communist party in the late 1930s.
Analyses of Thai political economy since World War II have sought to define the stages of Thai social evolution from earliest times to the present and to determine whether or not the Bowring Treaty of 1855 and the 1932 coup mark changes in the social formation and/or the mode of production. Over the past decade, as a consequence of political change in the mid-1970s, a new generation of historians has rejuvenated Marxist methodology, using it to pry the chronicles and archives away from royalist and nationalist myth-making concerns, to dismantle the court-centered historiography, and to erect a new historical paradigm for the late twentieth century.
Historical materialism entered Chinese thought as part of the new wave of socialism during the New Culture movement. By the late 1920's, during the ebb of communism as a political movement, it had gained a foothold in the consciousness of many Chinese intellectuals. Its application to the analysis of Chinese history reached its peak in the “social history controversy” of the late twenties and early thirties.1 After the mid-thirties interest in the Marxist discussion of history dwindled, not reaching a comparable degree of intensity until its revival after 1949.
The conflict between the theory of art for art's sake and the theory of purposive art is not of recent origin. In modern times however the Soviet Union has made a comprehensive experiment with the theory of purposive art, subordinating all artistic endeavors to socialist realism and partiinost—the party spirit. This experiment began when the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party passed a resolution on April 23, 1932 creating a single Union of Soviet Writers (actually organized in 1934) and inviting the authors to join this Union while adhering to the doctrine of socialist realism in literature. Western literary critics have maintained that while the appreciable part of literature produced during the last thirty-five years “possesses artistic qualities of high worth” in its postwar development Soviet literature in general has simply become a “perfect propaganda instrument.”