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Marxist Theories

Western Marxist theories of consumer culture represent a rupture from the classical and orthodox eastern Marxist theories of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Nikolai Bukharin, and Rosa Luxemburg. However, the rupture was not immediate but took place over a number of years. Gyorg Lukacs's work and personal political history represent, in some respects, an overlap between the traditions. Major differences between the two traditions are that Western Marxists reject Marx's claim of the historical inevitability of the proletarian revolution and subsequent liberation. This is in large part due to the brutality and oppression that occurred following the Russian Revolution, especially under Stalin's Soviet version of socialism. Although both traditions see consumption as an “extension of production” (Adorno 1967/1983, 26), Western Marxists who ...

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