Marxist Humanism

Marxist Humanism
Marxist Humanism is an intellectual strand within the Marxian tradition that is critical of Stalinist variants of socialism and looks to the early writings of Marx, such as the Paris Manuscripts of 1844, as a source for humanitarian values and ethical principles. In 1983, during ceremonies marking the centennial of Marx’s death, some Chinese intellectuals utilized General Secretary Hu Yaobang’s call for emancipating the mind to focus attention on themes like individual freedom, subjectivity and human nature. Drawing inspiration from the early Marx, as had Soviet and European Marxists in the wake of de-Stalinization two and a half decades earlier, Wang Ruoshui, Zhou Yang, Ru Xin, Su Shaozhi and others criticized the cult of personality, arbitrary exercise of power, and lack of democracy in Stalinist/Maoist systems as manifestations of alienation and of the subordination of individual rights to collectivist goals. By arguing that the theme of socialist humanism and the subject-centred view of history was the essence of Marxist philosophy, these intellectuals made a case for political democratization, constitutional guarantees of basic human rights, and the personal freedom and dignity of the individual. This critical and humanist version of Marxism undermined the concept of class dictatorship and questioned both the achievements of Chinese socialism and the CCP’s monopoly of power. Consequently, it found little favour with the political leadership and came to be repudiated as a form of ‘bourgeois individualism’.
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Hua, S. (1995). Scientism and Humanism. Albany: SUNY Press.
Liu, Kang (1993), ‘Subjectivity, Marxism, and Cultural Theory in China’. In Tang Xiaobing and Liu Kang (eds), Politics, Ideology and Literary Discourse in Modern China: Theoretical Interventions and Cultural Critique. Durham: Duke University Press, 169–209.
Wang, Jing (1996). High Culture Fever: Politics, Aesthetics, and Ideology in Deng’s China. Berkeley: University of California Press, ch. 1 (esp. 25–31).

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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