M. N. Roy and the Frankfurt School: Socialist Humanism and the Critical Analysis of Communication, Culture, Technology, Fascism and Nationalism
Manabendra Nath Roy (1887-1954) was the founder of the Communist Parties of Mexico and India and a socialist-humanist philosopher. In the Western world, his works are today widely ignored and forgotten. This article introduces some philosophical aspects of Roy’s thought. It engages with foundations of his theory and shows its relevance for the study of communication, culture, technology, the human being, fascism, and nationalism. Frankfurt School thinkers such as Theodor W. Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, and Erich Fromm were interested in similar topics to Roy. This article also compares the approach of Roy and the Frankfurt School. It shows parallels between Roy and the first generation of the Frankfurt School with respect to themes such as the dialectic of technology and society, the dialectic of the Enlightenment, fascism, nationalism, and authoritarianism. In the age of new nationalisms and authoritarian capitalism, global environmental crises, capitalist crisis, and the digital crisis, socialist-humanist theories such as M. N. Roy’s can inspire struggles for a humanist and socialist society as antidotes to the acceleration and deepening of the three crises.
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