Issue 18 – Historiography II

Editors:  Ateş Uslu, Attila Aytekin, Burak Gürel, Fatih Yaşlı, Ferdan Ergut, Fuat Özdinç, Güçlü Ateşoğlu, Sinan Yıldırmaz

Democrat Party and its Period: In Search of the “Lost” Times in the Left Historiography
Sinan Yıldırmaz

Except some keywords, which are mostly used to define the period, the post-World War II years do not hold much place in the left historiography of Turkey. This period is mainly characterized with the severe obstruction of the organized socialist opposition and with the dominance of a systematic anti-communism. But our knowledge on the existence or on the general characteristics of the social movements of the period is still limited. This limitation creates a deficiency for left historiography, especially in defining the social movements of the 1960’s in Turkey. In this study, it will be asserted that in order to understand the 1960’s the Democrat Party period is needed to be reconsidered with a new perspective. This paper will try to present some of the social movements of the period in question, which are not taken into consideration by left historiography in Turkey.

Keywords: Democrat Party, Turkey, Historigraphy, post-World War II, Social Movements.

Hungary, 1918-1919: Passage from the Bourgeois Revolution to the Dictatorship of Proletariat and Count Mihály Károlyi
Ateş Uslu

Count Mihály Károlyi was among the leading hungarian politicians of the first quarter of 29th century: leader of the opposition party of Hungary during the last years of Austria-Hungary and the First World War, he led the bourgeois revolution of 1918, and served as Prime Minister (then, as President) of independent Hungary. With the support that he provided to the Hungarian Republic of Councils (1919), he contributed to the establishment of a relation continuity between the bourgeois revolution and the dictatorship of proletariat. In this article, the author proposes a biographical framework based on the personality of Karolyi, in order to study political transformations and social dynamics of Hungary during 1918-1919. A first chapter provides a description of the pre- and post-war Hungary, and of the bourgeois revolution of 1918. The second chapter focuses on the Republic of Councils. The whole paper is intended to accentuate the limits of the eventual alliances between aristocratic or bourgeois politicians and
political movements, and the socialist movement.

Keywords: Hungary, Bourgeois Revolution, Mihály Károlyi, Republic of Councils, Socialist Movement.

From Totalitarian Paradigm to Post-revisionism: New Developments in Soviet Russian Historiography
Yiğit Akın

This article discusses Soviet Russian historiography which has dramatically transformed since the end of the Second World War. Through the analysis of representative academic studies that reflect the characteristics of each period, this article examines important milestones through which Soviet Russian historiography has passed. This article also aims at relating the developments in Soviet Russian historiography with the global political conjuncture and parallel developments in Western historiography. Finally, this study elaborates the processes that Soviet Russian historiography has experienced in its trajectory from an elite-centered, political/ diplomatic history perspective to the one that has centered on social, cultural, and economic aspects of peoples’ experiences.

Keywords: Totalitarianism, Postrevisionism, Soviet Russian Historiography, Elite-centrisim, Western Historiography.

What is Living and What is Dead in the Marxist Theory of History
Vivek Chibber

The classical marxist theory of history has been vigorously defended as a kind of technological determinism. This defense, however, has come under criticism in recent years, which in turn has generated a spirited response by defenders of the classical technological determinist interpretation. Chief among these theorists are the team of Erik Wright, Andrew Levine and Elliott Sober, and in a separate body of work, Alan Carling. This article takes up the reformulated classical theory, as presented by these theorists. İt argues that the more recent versions are either unsustainable, or in the case of Wright and his colleagues, end up with a version of the theory in which the basic claims are so weak as to have little explanatory force.The defense of the classical version of the theory thus fails. But this doesn’t mean that marxism lacks a plausible theory of history. I propose that, in its place, we are left with a robust theory that is based on class struggle, and not on the functional reguirements of the productive forces.

Keywords: Marxist Theory of History, Erik Wright, Andrew Levine, Elliott Sober, Alan Carling.

Political Strategy Question in Marxism: From Marx to Comintern
Mustafa Şener

A series of social and political changes occurred in some Latin American countries in recent years has resulted in the renewing of the debates concerning the ways of coming to political power and the sorts of revolutionary strategies among the leftist cycles. The socialist-oriented governments, especially in Venezuela and Bolivia, have adapted redistributive policies, and due
to these developments Marxist theses on revolution and strategy -once more- have been put on the agenda. The article, taking these changes as a starting point, aims to provide an overview on political power and revolutionary strategy within the Marxist theoretical framework. The paper, paying a special attention to its historical process and major themes, revises the Marxist approach to the question of seizing political power, and particularly tries to clarify the issue that whether the orthodox Marxist texts have envisaged a ‘transition period’ between the capitalist and socialist stages. The paper, then, deals with theoretical insights proposed by Marx and Engels on this matter, and gives a brief account of the theoretical heritage left by the Second International, Lenin,Trotsky and the Communist International.

Keywords: Marx, Political Strategy, Lenin, Trotsky, International.

 Immanuel Wallerstein and Marxism
Güllistan Yarkın

Immanuel Wallerstein has become increasingly well-known over the last two decades in Turkey among certain academicians and activists who have long been familiar with Marxist approaches. This article discusses the perspectives of Immanuel Wallerstein and Marxism a) by analyzing Wallerstein’s ideas on Marx, Marxism and antisystemic movements, b) by presenting Marxist critiques of Wallerstein, and c) by contrasting the two thinkers’ basic points of departure in analyzing capitalism. The key difference is that while Marx and Marxists mainly focus on production relations, Wallerstein focuses on circulation relations. This article argues that these two points of departure not only affect their historiographies but also their understandings of the process by which capitalism will ultimately be abolished. While Marxists seek the creation of communist world by workers as revolutionary subjects, Wallerstein suggests the formation of a democratic and egalitarian system through the construction of non-profit enterprises. In reference to this final point, Wallerstein diverges from the historical materialist approach.

Keywords: Immanuel Wallerstein, Circulation Relations, Anti-systemic Movements, Marxism, Capitalism.

Did it All Start With Words: Structuralism, Poststructuralism And History
Mustafa Kemal Coşkun

It can be said that the structuralism has affected a number of the social scientists. The structuralists claim that the unconscious activity of mind is more important than the conscious one for understanding social phenomena. The task of structural method is to reach these deep, unconscious structures. The task of the historical method is to provide descriptive material for the structural procedure.Therefore, the relations between structuralism and history have always
been problematic. Poststructuralists and postmarxists do not also care about historical subject.
Therefore, if the subject is history and historism, somebody who seeks Marxist characteristics in
structuralism, poststructuralism and postmarxism will find very little thing.

Keywords: Marxism, Postmarxism, Poststructuralism, History, Historism.

The Stress and Oppurtunity of Modernite: Benjamin and Lukâcs in The Discussion of Realism and Avangardism
Kubilay Hoşgör

In this paper, transformations that can be described as “modern” will be analyzed through aesthetical and political issues. Thus, a different method of a critical approach to the social change is emphasized. In this framework, the argument between realism and avant-garde art and literature will be discussed in general terms. This argument will then be concretized on Lukács and Benjamin for a better understanding. The ultimate aim of this paper is to grasp the political content and significance of these arguments for the present.

Keywords: Modernite, Walter Benjamin, Gyorgy Lukács, Realism, Avadgardism.

Is The Psychoanalytical Treatment of Capitalism Possible?
Ebru Alp

This article aims to discuss Slavoj Zizek’s approach of Leninist act who revives Lenin’s question of “What is to be done?”and cricitizes postmodern political concept severely in today’s world where capitalism has been increasingly globalizing and deepening. In this article, the works of Zizek who broadens the principles of psychoanalytic treatment around the analysis of capitalism will be dealt with analitically and hence an answer will be seeked to the question “Is psychoanalytic treatment of capitalism possible?”. For Zizek, what must be done at first for this
treatment is to identify with “symptom”, while the second step to take is to realize the “Leninist
act”, the negative gesture which annihilates ideological coordinates of the system.

Keywords: Slavoj Zizek, Leninism, Psychoanalysm, Capitalism, Capitalism.