For those Australians under the age of about forty, it must be difficult to grasp just how significant for Australian intellectual life were debates about Marxism and communism before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991. In Australian universities now, one encounters nothing like the atmosphere of radicalism that was prominent, if not pervasive, in the 1960s and the first half of the 1970s. This is partly because the nature of the student population in Australian universities has changed dramatically, but it is also because of the collapse of Marxism and states purporting to give effect to Marxist visions. Yet when one looks at the kind of critiques that sought to bring Marxism down, it is clear that at least two of radically different character can be found. One might be called populist, and one might be called intellectual. It is my thesis that, in virtually every respect, the intellectual critique was and is vastly superior to the populist alternative, and that the work of Robert Manne provides a very fine example of the intellectual critique at its most powerful. The following remarks are divided into four sections. The first discusses the nature of populism, and the second populist anti-communism. The third outlines the intellectual alternative to populist anti-communism, as it developed in both the wider world and in Australia, while the fourth examines the contemporary relevance of the intellectual approach.
|Title of host publication||State Of The Nation: Essays for Robert Manne|
|Place of Publication||Collingwood, Vic, Australia|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|