Posted in Culture

Imagined Communities

Capitalism and Marxist Communism have somewhat opposed each other as critics, journals and books argued in the past few decades. Capitalism fosters individuality while communism fosters uniformity. Is it? Or not?

Both capitalism and communism represent contradicted values, equality, and individuality. Ever since the French Revolution, people have gradually come to see both equality and individual freedom as fundamental values. Yet the two values contradict each other.

Equality can be ensured only by curtailing the freedoms of those who are better off. Guaranteeing that every individual will be free to do as he wishes inevitably short-changes equality. Sort of Trade-off. Thus, the entire political history of the world since 1789 can be seen as a series of attempts to reconcile this contradiction. The question is “who” plays “what” role?

Throughout the 20th century, we have always presented by the conflict: equality and individuality. The global conflict occurs when cold-war started (no one really knows when cold-war actually happened). The imagined-Communism society of USSR and the Liberty-Capitalism of USA. There is no good-evil here. Moreover, today, there is no region nor state that entirely crafted by purely communism or capitalism.

Somewhere between their gaps, there is always reconciliation around those two values. That’s where governments play their roles.

While we are depicted by the global situation, in the local region, the conflict between Marxist regimes also happened. This is not all about Capitalism-Communism clash. The root of conflict rather, the nationalism itself.

A fundamental transformation in the history of the Marxist movement lies in the conflict in Southeast Asia and China. If the Vietnamese invasion and occupation of Cambodia in December 1978 and January 1979 represented the first large-scale conventional war waged by one revolutionary Marxist regime against another, then China’s assault on Vietnam in February rapidly confirmed the precedent.

In Indonesia, the communist party (PKI), although they failed the coup d’etat on 1948, by the year of 1955 they achieved 4th rankings in the national election. After that, in 1965 the CIA conspiracy thingy happened and there was massacred. Some would argue that the opportunist groups had made a deal and thus established themselves as the government and victimized the communist party. Despite this fact, rarely known that because of disagreement over the political strategy they are using, some of the party members had split apart and established their own party, Murba (established by Tan Malaka).

In the other cases, in Eastern Europe, who can be confident that Yugoslavia and Albania will not one day come to blows? Those variegated groups who seek a withdrawal of the Red Army from its encampments in Eastern Europe should remind themselves of the degree to which its overwhelming presence has, since 1945, ruled out an armed conflict between the regions Marxist regimes.

The clash of capitalism and communism is nevertheless the struggle for crafting and imagining the communities. While in the processes, war is inevitable. Then we should ask, “For what purpose does a nation has?”

Benedict Anderson wrote this cause in his books “Imagined Communities”. He examining the creation and global spread of the ‘imagined communities’ of nationality and explores the processes that created these communities: the religious faiths, the decline of antique kingship, the interaction between capitalism and print, the development of secular language-of-state, and changing the conceptions of time and space.

Every rooted ideological movement, therefore, moves towards the nationality as each of them had defined. He agreed with Eric Hobsbawm who stated that “Marxist movement and state have tended to become national not only in form but in substance i.e., nationalist.”

He argued, “what, in a positive sense, made the new communities imaginable was a half-fortuitous, but explosive, interaction between a system of production and productive relations (capitalism), a technology of communications (print), and the fatality of human linguistic diversity.”

Even today, clothes picturing the Marxist martyr, Che-Guevara, are most likely can be found anywhere in this global-capitalized market. Funny.

As the globalization continue, the clash of forces is likely to happen. Soekarno, coined the terms Nefo-Oldefo, New Emerging Forces-Old Emerging Forces.

It is not just about where we sided now, it is about how we interpret. History needs interpretation in every angle, right?

Don’t be caught by such propaganda while you are still uncertain about something, and you are not in a capacity to bear the responsibility. So this is propaganda then? You decide.

 ben anderson

A tribute to Benedict Anderson.


Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. London: Verso. 2006

Harari, Yuval. N. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. London: Harvill Secker. 2014



Philanthropic Muslim Enthusiast, Engaging in pursuit of knowledge and creativity, love to read books (any kind of books)

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