Samir Amin is one of the greatest Marxist thinkers whose works will be eternally in developing the thinking of human beings. His pioneer works educate for revolutionary class struggle to change the world. It is the dialectical change.
While Amin’s contributions to Marxism are too many, the following are his main ones:
The Tribute mode of production which dominates a lot of eastern social formations, especially in Arab-Islamic social formations before capitalism. This contribution uncovers the fact that while human history is one in general but it varies in concrete cases. His main argument was that history of the west does not represent that of the rest of the world, i.e. the rest of the world was never a mere extension to that of the west. His works negate the racist European pretend that:”Only the west can do it”, and “The west and the rest”. By this contribution, Amin challenges the western pretence that the world develops only on the western manner or as he and others call it Eurocentricism.
This contribution strengthened his inclination towards the reality that the Third World needs theoretical research and theorization according to its own history, current situation and the nature of its social formations which contradicts the western supremacist pretence that the entire world will follow the western development route. In this position, Amin was and still is close to Moist China’s theorization of the Third World development considering at least one important phenomenon regarding the size and role of its’ peasantry in revolution and development.
On the same line of thinking, Amin’s theory in de-linking is the most revolutionary route for the South to embark for development in a different route from that of the capitalist west.
It is enough to understand the importance of his de-linking theory when one looks at the numerous bourgeois theories, analyses, propaganda and lies which preach for “Open Markets”, “liberalization of trade”, “anti Protectionism” , but act the opposite way. US policies under Trump, i.e. Trump’s wars against all other nations, are the strongest confirmation on the importance and necessity of Amin’s theory of delinking.
Amins’ development theory of law of value which is close to the Chinese/Maoist reading of the role of value in the capitalist formations and its possible existence even in the socialist formations and the only possibility to transcend it is the transformation to communist formations.
Amin rightly considers the importance of historical materialism and accordingly differentiates between law of value and historical materialism.
According to Foster, “insists that the economic laws of capitalism, summed up by the law of value, ‘are subordinate to the laws of historical materialism.’
“In Amin’s analysis, then, the law of value and historical materialism do not have equal standing — if only because the former offers the world no way out, while the latter does.”
On the practical field, let’s remember that Amin’s position in support of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is a great and courageous position challenging the western bourgeois and revisionist deformation of this form of revolution which is from inside targets the party headquarters which became a shelter for the Capitalist Roaders.
“Bombard the headquarters” – meant targeting the leadership of the communist party taking the capitalist road.
It is important to mention here that critiques against Amin’s writings on Arab issues were mainly false and exaggerating. Amin was a victim of two problems far from his hand:
He was a victim of Naser’s nondemocratic rule in Egypt which pushed him to leave Egypt. While this regime was progressive led by nationalist developmental regime, Amin was one of the Egyptian communists who refused the Soviet theory of non-capitalist development and the communist party dissolves itself and integrate into the regime’s party which was also recommended by the Soviet Union. Amin’s attitude encouraged his understanding of Maoism.
Since Amin lived most of his life far from Arab Homeland, he got a lot of distorted information and analyses about Arab politics as long as he never believes Arab bourgeois, the western, and the revisionist media and analyses. The other source about Arab politics is intellectuals who are either revolutionaries or pretend that they are. Amin was cheated by some of those distorted information and analyses.
Take the Oslo Accords as an example. Palestinian lecturers invited Amin to visit the occupied West Bank and Gaza after the Oslo catastrophic Accords which are a mere Internalization of Defeat against our people’s struggle. They told him that West Bank and Gaza are liberated from the Zionist Ashkenazi Regime; he accepts the invitation imagining that he is going to liberated areas. I explained to him, at that time, what was the reality in the West Bank and Gaza under Palestinian Self-Rule which is under real Zionist settler colonialism. He cancelled the visit since it would mean normalization with Zionist Ashkenazi Regime.
Amin spent his life fighting in the core of theoretical and political struggle. One of his last contributions was his article on Kurds Issue. http://monthlyreview.org/2016/10/01/the-kurdish-question-then-and-now/.
In this article, he sheds an important light on this debatable issue especially his strong argument that there is no one Kurds nation or nationalism for Kurds of Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey.
Through this article Amin develops his understanding of the issue of Arab nationalism in a very clear and correct manner.
It is important to mention here that, while Amin like many welcomed the events of 2011 in Arab Homeland even without deep reading of it at least in the beginning, he did not go too far like the so-called Socialist Revolutionaries, the Trotskyites who are still argue that in Syria there is a revolution and cheating many intellectuals around the world to sign manifestos against Syria in harmony with the Counter Revolution’s war against Syria, Libya, Yemen and for sure Palestine.
Finally, Amin is one of few communists who did not collapse or renegade following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
- The opinions and views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Kana’an’s Editorial Board.