Welcome, I’m an aspiring political economist and intellectual historian interested in the history of theories of imperialism, as well as contemporary formulations on Subimperialism, ecologically unequal exchange, and other issues in Marxian IPE.
Currently I’m working on an intellectual history of the late Samir Amin (1931-2018), towards which my (aptly named) paper – Samir Amin: towards an intellectual history – was the natural first step. Another paper of mine (under review at International Critical Thought) explores a particular aspect (the principal one to my mind) of Amin’s thought – as is made evident by it’s title; The Maoism of Samir Amin.
Eventually I’d like to write Amin’s intellectual history in full (perhaps as a masters thesis or dissertation) and move on to other figures in the same tradition, eventually culminating in the writing of A People’s Intellecutal History of Imeprialism.
Why A People’s Intellectual History of Imperialism? Two reasons; first, on the academic plane, intellectual history has been stagnating for at least two decades, mired in endless renditions of the same classic figures – Marx, Smith, Ghandi etc. (or else obscure unknowns). At the same time, theories of imperialism have seen rapid growth (cf. the recent publications by Patnaik, Cope, Lauesen, Smith and so forth). Yet ‘imperialism studies’ lacks official recognition, and therefore its pool of intellectual talent is precarious. I see an opportunity for synthesis here; A People’s Intellectual History of Imperialism would help revive intellectual history by transferring over dynamism from imperialism studies, while imperialism studies would benefit from the ‘officiating touch’ of intellectual history, gaining the recognition it needs to sustain a healthy pool of intellectual talent in the crucial years to come.
Second reason is on the political plane. Lauesen described the situation with the world left well when he remarked that, ‘in the 70s we were too optimistic, but today we are too pessimistic. Objective conditions exist, but subjective will is lacking’. Indeed, with the exhaustion of the Leninist party, the Soviet state, and traditional unionism (to say nothing of modalities of Praxis particular to the global South like foco, NDR etc.), no stable new formulations on ideology or praxis have yet been reached. Theory and history cannot be separated, therefore, it seems to me that clarifying the radical intellectual history of the 20th century will go a long way toward clearing the way for cogent new theoretical formulations on left praxis and ideology for the 21st and 22nd centuries.
Does my preoccupation with intellectual history preclude my making original contributions to contemporary theorizing on imperialism? Certainly not, I think this is obvious enough; the two are inseparable. Fortunately, we live in a discipline where overspecialization is being kept (relatively) at bay, and there is hardly anybody mindlessly churning out treatises on minutia with no idea about the bigger picture simply to bring in the citations and research dollars. A deep understanding of the intellectual history of imperialism therefore, will surely help me make useful contributions to contemporary debates on; EUE, Subimperialism, extractivism, income deflation, imperialist rent, and suchlike.
To sum up then, my point of departure is an absolute and unequivocal commitment to socialist praxis and the project of long transition to a society in which people not forced to become monsters. My route there is the writing of A People’s Intellectual History of Imperialism, covering first, Amin (who may be the topic of a master’s thesis or dissertation, depending) and then others in the same anti-imperialist tradition. This will, I hope, relieve intellectual history’s stagnation by transferring over dynamism from ‘imperialism studies’, while simultaneously imbuing imperialism studies with the recognition it needs to sustain a robust pool of intellectual talent via. the officiating touch of intellectual history. Moreover, I hope that in clarifying the history of radical thought in the 20th century, I might aid in contemporary efforts to reformulate left theory and praxis, these being the cultural revolutionary prerequisites of a successful second wave of the awakening of the south, which will bring a close of the autumn of capitalism and usher in a wonderful springtime of the peoples.
I am well aware the only alternative is barbarism.
I have seen it.