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Why revisit the history of Marxism today? This introductory chapter sets the stage for the book’s main theoretical developments by emphasizing the complexity with which the so-called national question has challenged Marxist theory throughout its existence. How was it possible for an internationalist politics and thought, inherently global from its outset, to overcome its seemingly fixed intellectual origins? What effects were exerted on this question when Marxist thought was undertaken elsewhere, in a situation with distinct divergences in political organization, the development of capitalism, and social forms? The chapter proposes that the intellectual history of the debate on Japanese capitalism, and Uno Kōzō’s theoretical attempts to overcome this debate, should be treated as a sort of prehistory of the contemporary debates around “alternative modernity,” the rethinking of the transition to capitalism outside the West, and the development of new intellectual histories beyond the Eurocentric format.

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