Number one – 2015

Topic of the issue: "Marxism today"
Issue editors: Dimitar Ganov and Nikolay Mihaylov
& Abstracts & Keywords

Martin Tabakov – Marxism after the Collapse of the System (A Logical Side View)
The problem with Marxism is that it became the official ideology of an undemocratic system. Marxism grounded the right of forming a ruling elite based on the principle of caste. Do Marxists today recognize this system as a realization of their ideas, or do they consider that it abused those ideas? If the system amounted to „state Capitalism“, then all Marxist tenets about Capitalism should be applied to „Socialism“ as well, including the views on class, class struggle, exploitation, nepotism, comprador bourgeoisie... The determining relations are the functional ones: „rulers and ruled“, „empowered and powerless“. While, under capitalism, man exploited man through the economy, under socialism exploitation was realized through the redistributing state. The system was not a „dictatorship of the proletariat“ but a „dictatorship of the Party apparatus over the proletariat“.
Marxism must also explain why the system broke down. The basic contradiction in the system was that between the elite nature of the establishment and the egalitarian nature of the ideology used to justify the power of the establishment: the revolutionary, rebellious, egalitarian pathos could easily be turned against the Red elite.
The system collapsed because, at a given moment of its development, a stratum of people appeared within that elite in whose interest it was that the system should collapse. Part of the establishment provoked, headed and directed the transition in a direction that was convenient for them! Unnerved by the ideas of glasnost and perestroika, the nomenklatura sacrificed both the ideology and the system, but preserved its dominant role in a formally democratic but oligarchic and corrupt new system. Money and property provide greater security. The oligarchy originated out of the nomenklatura!
Marxism had also become an official ideology by which a superpower (an empire) justified its right to rule and control a whole bloc of countries. Marxism would be hard to revive today if it is prepared to recognize the USSR as a fulfillment of Marxist ideas!
Keywords: Marxism, ideology, Capitalism, nomenklatura, class, exploitation, dictatorship, establishment, egalitarian, oligarchy, empire, transition.
Ivan Katsarski – Two Approaches to Karl Marx’s Scientific Work
The paper presents two different approaches, situational and non-situational, to Karl Marx’s scientific work. The first approach is the most widespread and is characterized by a selective attitude to ideas and texts in Marx’s heritage, the choices of the authors interpreting Marx’s works being defined by their purposes in a particular situation (scientific, cultural, social). This approach can be used both for the needs of apology and criticism. Its major shortcoming is that the use of Marx’s work for situational purposes does not provide the possibility of revealing its real potential (its capacities and limits) for understanding contemporary realities. The non-situational approach is characterized by comprehensiveness and a critical attitude. Comprehensiveness in this case implies a highly explicit correlation of ideas and texts in Marx’s enormous body of theoretical works; only after conducting such a correlation analysis can we come closer to a true evaluation of the relevance of Marx’s ideas for contemporary realities. This correlation analysis and understanding presupposes a critical attitude. The paper concludes with examples showing the need to apply the non-situational approach to Marx’s concept of the dialectical method and to the analysis of the content of Capital. The author argues that dialectic is problematic in its application as a universal theoretical tool. Marx’s magnum opus is viewed as a multilayered work, the various layers of which possess different scientific value and can find divergent continuations and applications in philosophy and science today.
Keywords: Marx, situational and non-situational approaches, comprehensiveness, critical attitude, philosophy, economic theory, dialectical method, Capital.

Aleksandar Karakachanov – A Critique of Marx’s Formation Conception from the Standpoint of the Monopoly Model of Society Abstract Keywords
The suggestive power of Marxism, and the great historical inertia, put contemporary social science in a difficult situation. Social science has not given society its due, as it has not been able to offer an approach to overcome the shortcomings of Marxism as regards the explanation of social dynamics and the historical process. This article is an attempt in this direction; the author suggests an alternative to the monopoly model.
Keywords: transition, society, socioeconomic formation, totalitarianism, monopoly, monopoly model.

Dimitar Ganov – Marx against State Socialism Abstract Keywords
The study analyses the replacement of Marxist theory in the era of state socialism. The focus of the article is on the attitude to the state and on the very concept of „socialism"; the latter was equated by Lenin, and more recently by Balibar, with „dictatorship of the proletariat"; this view has had crucial implications for the history of Marxist thought and practice. The author considers that the term „socialism“, in principle, had a negative connotation for Marx, who, as well as Engels, argued that socialism does not mean social structure.
Keywords: state, socialism, communism, dictatorship of the proletariat, party.

Plamen Damianov – Technological Development, Class Struggle, Struggle between Nations, and Internationalism Abstract Keywords
The article argues in support of the view that the struggle between classes and social groups in defense of their interests is still topical, although it develops mainly within the boundaries of a given national community. The struggle between classes is an essential factor of the development of social relationships; the focus on this issue is undoubtedly an important contribution made by the classics K. Marx and F. Engels. Conflicts between nations, however, are also an objective reality; they contains class contradictions within themselves. The author assumes that the clash between nations for predominance and resources is also a powerful tool for social and economical development. In this respect, the author supports the view that the proletariat is not without a fatherland, and in addition to its class interests, it also has largely national interests. Class and international contradictions are viewed as a stimulus for technological development although their nature does not depend on the latter.
Keywords: classes, social groups, nations, class struggle, struggle between nations, technological development
Макsim Mizov – Karl Marx and the Problem of Censorship
The article reveals some discrete semantic-value projections of Karl Marx’s ideas on censorship. The author analyses the mechanisms of disguising, but also of deciphering, the nature and role of censorship. The article also reveals some converted forms and technologies of instrumentality, speculation and manipulation employed in the discourses or impacts of censorship. The consequences of some manifestations of censorship are „disenchanted“. Keywords: authority, state, censorship, political power, civil society, institutions, truth, conformism, violence, mistrust, illusion, sanctity, human nature.

Ventseslav Kulov – Three Aspects of Karl Marx’s Views
The article discusses the following issues:
1) What is the adequate approach to the theoretical legacy of Karl Marx?
2) From a present-day viewpoint, what is acceptable and not acceptable in Marxist teaching on ideology and the state?
3) What should be our attitude today towards the tendency of expanding the scope of the profit maximization principle, which, according to Marx, represents the essence of capitalism?
The following ideas are upheld in this connection:
1) Marxist teaching may be regarded in two ways: as a universal explanatory theory about society or as a treasury of valuable ideas. As for the first view, Marxist theory is an admirable intellectual construction, but overall, it cannot resist criticism. It should either be acknowledged as actually untrue or as being „immune“ against criticism, i.e., as pseudoscientific. As regards the second approach, the Marxist ideas which have survived the test of time may be outlined and developed further.
2) The Marxist view of the class character of the state is essentially correct although, similarly to anarchism, it wrongly underestimates the overall cultural role of the state.
3) The Marxist teaching about ideology is based on the psychological assumption that there is a correlation between people’s worldview and their selfish interests. Though this view has been criticized, it seems plausible. At the same time, Karl Marx’s view that there are two kinds of ideology – a true one and a misleading one – is wrong. Every ideology is misleading insofar as it suggests that the normative statements it contains can be true or untrue.
4) The mass inclusion today of non-production activities within the sphere of economic life provides fresh arguments in support of Marxist criticism of capitalism. Karl Marx’s thesis that the profit maximization principle has negative social consequences is partially corroborated by the commercialization of art. Subordinating the sphere of art to this principle turns art into an entertainment business and deprives it of aesthetical values.
Keywords: Karl Marx, ideology, state, the maximum profit principle.

Hristina Ambareva – How Hacker Ethics Prepared a Coup in the Heart of Neoliberal Capitalism Abstract Keywords
The article addresses the question whether it could be said that the ethics of informationalism provides an alternative to the basic tools of capitalism, such as private ownership over the means of production and wage labor, and whether changes caused by the Internet culture accompany the decay of capitalism. The author’s answer to the question is influenced by M. Castells’s book The Internet Galaxy and P. Himanen’s Hacker Ethics.
The most important elements of hacker ethics are the rejection of private ownership over knowledge and the creation of the Open Source licenses. The ethics of informationalism is a source of positive social change because it initiates the Open Source movement, large-scale voluntary work in the Web, ideas about the freedom of the Internet and access to the Internet for all. The role of the Internet for overcoming social inequalities stems from the fact that it overcomes the limitations of time and space, social isolation, and invisibility. The social role of the Internet stems from the rise of a new type of citizenship, which employs an increasing number of ever better instruments for participation in society.
Keywords: Marx, Internet culture, hacker ethics, social inequality, open source, digital citizen

Iva Kuyumdjieva – Policy Cycle, the History of Cultural Strategies in Bulgaria, and Marxism
The article discusses the history of cultural strategies in Bulgaria and their ideologization during the era of state socialism and in the period from the end of the 20th century until today. The study is based (though not only) on the Marxist understanding of modern public relations as a system of domination and subordination; the author interprets the policy cycle through Bourdieu’s theory of fields.
Keywords: policy cycle, ideology, cultural strategy, domination, Marxism, subordination
Nonka Bogomilova – Marx’s Interpretation of Religion: Conceptual Influences in the 20th Century
The article analyses the general philosophical framework that determines the specificity of Marx’s theoretical approach to religion as a spiritual product dependent on the structures and relations of material life. The author argues that, in the evolution of Marx’s ideas, his interpretation of religion played a transitional role and was a sort of introduction to the interpretation of the material and social relations in life that give birth to religion. The author emphasizes the influence of Marx’s interpretation of religion on three great 20th-century thinkers – M. Weber, E. Fromm, and P. Tillich.
Keywords: Marx, religion, material relations, social relations, Weber, Fromm, Tillich.

Erika Lazarova – Gospel Values in the Context of Bogomilism and Marxism
The article discusses the problem of equality in the context of Gospel values such as brotherhood, compassion and solidarity; the author emphasizes the role of work in Bogomil ethics as a way of life based on the everyday work of all people. Marx’s emancipation philosophy is determined by the understanding of equality as the main principle of democracy and egalitarianism. The Gospel parable about the vine-growers is used to illustrate the concept.
Keywords: Gospel values, brotherhood, equality, Bogomilism, Marxism
Valentina Zlatanova – Ethnic Relations: Theory and Practice
The article gives answers to many questions related to the ideological-normative significance of multiculturalism for political action, and emphasizes the importance of knowledge of existing theory and practice for ethnic relations and social integration.
The author does not limit the term multiculturalism to its ethnic definition (the coexistence of different ethnicities as parts of the population in society) and its political usage, defined in response to ethnic diversity. The article supports the view that multiculturalism ensures the rights of individuals to maintain their own culture and to be successfully integrated into society in accordance with constitutional principles, the shared values in society, and respect for their constitutional rights.
The author defends the thesis that the state should support the process of ethnic integration and stimulate the formation of new forms of solidarity.
Keywords: multiculturalism, ethnic diversity, social exclusion, social integration, civil identity, ethnic conflicts

Veselin Bosakov –The Roma Between the Scylla of Being Different and the Charybdis of Ethnic Stereotypes
: There exists in Bulgaria a new kind of poverty that is not simply an element of the individual's life cycle but is rather a kind of social-economic dependence that has a very strong impact particularly on the Roma, a numerous ethnic minority. A large proportion of these people are excluded from the labour market for long periods of time and gradually drop out of all social spheres, including the economy, education, healthcare services, the cultural and political life of Bulgarian society. Poverty is inherited among the Roma, and ethnic segregation cuts short their possibility for realization and gradual integration within the social structures. Due to the prolonged and all-encompassing social exclusion of this minority and the rigid borderlines established around it by the ethnic majority, it is not the specific cultural content within the ethnic boundary but the boundary itself that separates, consolidates and preserves this community.
Keywords: ethnos, religion, poverty, social exclusion, stigmatization.
Lyuben Sivilov – Bishop Berkeley and the Philosophers: William James
In a series of six articles, the author traces the responses of philosophers to the epochal achievement of Bishop Berkeley, set out in his An Essay Towards A New Theory of Vision. The comments on Berkeley’s theory stimulate the modern reader to focus on some overwhelming conclusions about philosophy and philosophical education in Bulgaria. The first article in this series deals with William James. Keywords: theory of vision, existence, translations, prohibitions.
Kamelia Zhabilova – P. P. Slaveykov’s Philosophical Projects
Nikolay Mihaylov – A Meeting of Two Cultural-Philosophical Worlds