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Western Marxism is a term used to describe revisions in "Marxist theory arising from "Western and "Central Europe in the aftermath of the 1917 "October Revolution in "Russia and the ascent of "Leninism. "Karl Marx had predicted that "socialist "revolution would be achieved first in the developed West and after the ascent of "Marxist-Leninism in comparatively agrarian Russia, these academics attempted to explain this apparent contradiction.
The Western Marxists placed more emphasis on "philosophical and "sociological aspects, and its origins in the philosophy of "Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (for which reason it is sometimes called Hegelian Marxism) and what they called ""Young Marx" (ie - the more humanistic early works of Marx). Although some early figures such as "György Lukács and "Antonio Gramsci had been prominent in political activities, Western Marxism became parimarily the reserve of the academia; especially after the "Second World War. Prominent figures included "Walter Benjamin, "Theodor Adorno and "Max Horkheimer.
Since the 1960s, the concept has been closely associated with the "New Left and the focus on "identity politics and the cultural domain, rather than economics and "class struggle (this became especially prominent in the "United States and the Western world). While many of the Western Marxists were adherents of "Marxist humanism, the term also encompasses their critics in the form of the "Structural Marxism of "Louis Althusser.
The phrase "Western Marxism" wasn't coined until 1953, by "Maurice Merleau-Ponty. While often contrasted with the Marxism of the "Soviet Union, Western Marxists were often divided in their opinion of it and other "Marxist-Leninist states.
Although there have been many schools of Marxist thought that are sharply distinguished from Marxism–Leninism—such as "Austromarxism or the "Left Communism of "Antonie Pannekoek—those theorists who downplay the primacy of economic analysis are considered Western Marxists, as they concern themselves instead with abstract and philosophical areas of Marxism. In its earliest years, Western Marxism's most characteristic element was a stress on the "Hegelian and "humanist components of Karl Marx's thought.
Western Marxism often emphasises the importance of the study of culture for an adequate Marxist understanding of society. Western Marxists have thus elaborated often-complex variations on the theories of ideology and "superstructure, which are only thinly sketched in the writings of "Marx and "Engels themselves.["citation needed]
Usually seen as a separate current of thought from Western Marxism, the "cultural studies that was developed by British academics in the 1960s shares some common conceptions of classes with Western Marxism.["citation needed] The work of theorists such as "Raymond Williams addresses issues of culture that were dismissed by previous Marxists as unimportant, where as "Stuart Hall (who founded "The Birmingham School of Cultural Studies with Williams) argues that the divisions between classes such as "consumer" and "producer" have been over valorized, holding a view of British Cultural Studies more in line with "Post Modern thought.
Western Marxists have held a wide variety of political commitments: Lukács and Gramsci were members of Soviet-aligned parties; Korsch, Marcuse and Debord were highly critical of Soviet communism and instead advocated council communism; Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Althusser and Lefebvre were, at different periods, supporters of the Soviet-aligned "Communist Party of France, but all would later become disillusioned with it; Bloch lived in and supported the "Eastern Bloc, but lost faith in Soviet Communism towards the end of his life. "Maoism and "Trotskyism also influenced Western Marxism.