Samir Amin was a prominent Egyptian-French Marxist thinker. His work on capitalism, colonialism and (under)development was one of the most important contributions to the discussion over the Third Worlds place in the World economy. As a critical Marxist thinker, he is also one of the founders of post-colonial thoughts. Amin was born in Cairo in 1931. In 1947, he moved to Paris to study political science, statistics and economics. From his arrival he became very active politically. He joined the French Communist Party. Later on he became a member of the Maoist circles in Paris. His PhD dissertation title was “The origins of underdevelopment – capitalist accumulation on world scale”. In it he introduced his theoretical analysis on the relationship between capitalism, eurocentrism, development and under-development in the World economy. Since then, his perspective open a new historiographical approach to the relationship between the First and the Third World. After finishing his degrees he moved back to Cairo where he worked as an economic advisor for the government. In 1960 he moved to Bamako, Mali, to work as an adviser to the Ministry of Planning. In 1963 he was offered a fellowship at the Institut Africain de Développement Économique et de Planification (IDEP). In 1980 he left IDEP and became the Director of the Third World Forum in Dakar. Amin published more than 30 books on Capitalism and Marxism. Some of the most important titles are “Accumulation on a World Scale: A Critique of the Theory of Underdevelopment”, “The Liberal Virus” and “Imperialism and Unequal Development”, among others.
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October 1917 Revolution: A century later
Great revolutions make history. Conservative resistance and counter-revolutions only delay their progress. The French revolution invented modern politics and democracy, the Russian revolution paved the way for the socialist transition, while the Chinese revolution connected the emancipation of those peoples oppressed by imperialism with the path to socialism. These revolutions are great precisely because they are bearers of undertakings that are far ahead of the immediate demands of their time. beacons that illuminate the still unfinished struggles of the peoples for the realization of these goals. It is impossible to understand the contemporary world by ignoring these great revolutions. To commemorate these revolutions, says Samir Amin, one needs both to assess their ambitions (the utopia of today will be the reality of tomorrow), and to understand the reasons for their temporary setbacks. Conservative and reactionary minds refuse to do so—they wish us to believe that great revolutions have been nothing more than unfortunate accidents, that the peoples who have made them were carried away by their deceitful enthusiasm, diversions from the normal current of history. This collection of essays helps to situate the lessons of the October 1917 Russian Revolution from a perspective of 100 years.
Egyptian economist and intellectual, Samir Amin (1931-2018), was one of the world’s greatest radical thinkers —a creative Marxist’. He was the director of Third World Forum (Forum du tiers monde), Dakar and President of the World Forum for Alternatives. He published numerous books and papers, including The Law of Value and Historical Materialism, Eurocentrism – Modernity, Religion and Democracy: A Critique of Eurocentrism and Culturalism, Ending the Crisis of Capitalism or Ending Capitalism?‘, Global History – a View from the South and Russia and the Long Transition from Capitalism to Socialism