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1 Concepts of Marxism 1
1.1 Historical materialism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
1.1.1 Key ideas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
1.1.2 Key implications in the study and understanding of history . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
1.1.3 Marx's materialism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1.1.4 The future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1.1.5 Marxist beliefs about history . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1.1.6 Alienation and freedom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1.1.7 History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1.1.8 Warnings against misuse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1.1.9 In Marxist thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
1.1.10 Recent versions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
1.1.11 Criticisms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
1.1.12 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
1.1.13 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
1.1.14 Further reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
1.1.15 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
1.2 Dialectical materialism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
1.2.1 The term . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
1.2.2 Historical background of materialism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
1.2.3 Marx's dialectics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
1.2.4 Engels' dialectics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
1.2.5 Lenin's contributions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
1.2.6 Lukács' contributions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
1.2.7 Mao's contributions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
1.2.8 Dialectical materialism as a heuristic in biology and elsewhere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
1.2.9 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
1.2.10 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
1.2.11 Further reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
1.3 Marxist philosophy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
1.3.1 Marxism and philosophy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
1.3.2 The Philosophy of Marx . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17


1.3.3 Differences within Marxist philosophy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

1.3.4 Key works and authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
1.3.5 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
1.3.6 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
1.3.7 Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
1.4 Marx's method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
1.4.1 Readings on Marx’s method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
1.4.2 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
1.4.3 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
1.5 Marxian economics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
1.5.1 Marx's response to classical economics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
1.5.2 Marx's theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
1.5.3 Current theorizing in Marxian economics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
1.5.4 Criticisms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
1.5.5 Neo-Marxian economics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
1.5.6 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
1.5.7 Footnotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
1.5.8 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
1.5.9 Further reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
1.5.10 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
1.6 Surplus value . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
1.6.1 Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
1.6.2 Definition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
1.6.3 Interpretations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
1.6.4 Equalization of rates of surplus value . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
1.6.5 Appropriation from production . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
1.6.6 Absolute vs. relative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
1.6.7 Production versus realisation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
1.6.8 Relation to taxation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
1.6.9 Relation to the circuits of capital . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
1.6.10 Measurement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
1.6.11 Different conceptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
1.6.12 Morality and power of surplus value . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
1.6.13 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
1.6.14 Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
1.6.15 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
1.6.16 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
1.7 Bourgeoisie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
1.7.1 Etymology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
1.7.2 History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
1.7.3 Denotations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

1.7.4 Modern history . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

1.7.5 Bourgeois culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
1.7.6 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
1.7.7 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
1.7.8 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
1.8 Proletariat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
1.8.1 Usage in Roman law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
1.8.2 Usage in Marxist theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
1.8.3 Prole drift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
1.8.4 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
1.8.5 Reference notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
1.8.6 Further reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
1.8.7 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
1.9 Class conflict . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
1.9.1 Usage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
1.9.2 Capitalist societies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
1.9.3 The Soviet Union and similar societies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
1.9.4 Marxist perspectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
1.9.5 Non-Marxist perspectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
1.9.6 Class vs. race struggle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
1.9.7 Chronology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
1.9.8 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
1.9.9 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
1.9.10 Further reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
1.9.11 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
1.10 Classless society . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
1.10.1 Classlessness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
1.10.2 Marxist definition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
1.10.3 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
1.10.4 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
1.11 Class consciousness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
1.11.1 Marxist theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
1.11.2 Georg Lukács' History and Class Consciousness (1923) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
1.11.3 Criticism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
1.11.4 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
1.11.5 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
1.12 Commune (socialism) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
1.12.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
1.12.2 Within Marxism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
1.12.3 Bakunin's Revolutionary Catechism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
1.12.4 The function of mini-communes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

1.12.5 Contemporary political movements organized around the idea of the commune . . . . . . . 58
1.12.6 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
1.12.7 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
1.12.8 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
1.13 Common ownership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
1.13.1 History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
1.13.2 Common ownership and socialism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
1.13.3 In practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
1.13.4 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
1.13.5 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
1.14 Dictatorship of the proletariat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
1.14.1 Theoretical approaches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
1.14.2 Lenin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
1.14.3 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
1.14.4 Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
1.14.5 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
1.15 Collective leadership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
1.15.1 Forms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
1.15.2 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
1.15.3 Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
1.15.4 Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
1.16 Scientific socialism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
1.16.1 Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
1.16.2 Similar perspectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
1.16.3 Critique of the notion of socialism as a science . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
1.16.4 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
1.16.5 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
1.17 Gift economy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
1.17.1 Principles of gift exchange . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
1.17.2 Case studies: Prestations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
1.17.3 Charity and alms giving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
1.17.4 Gifting as non-commodified exchange in market societies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
1.17.5 Related concepts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
1.17.6 Characteristics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
1.17.7 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
1.17.8 Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
1.17.9 Further reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
1.18 Communist society . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
1.18.1 Economic aspects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
1.18.2 Social aspects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
1.18.3 Open-source and peer production . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82

1.18.4 In Soviet ideology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82

1.18.5 Fictional portrayals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
1.18.6 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
1.18.7 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
1.18.8 Further reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
1.19 Socialist mode of production . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
1.19.1 Mode of production . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
1.19.2 Social relations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
1.19.3 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
1.19.4 Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
1.20 World revolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
1.20.1 Communist movements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
1.20.2 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
1.20.3 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88

2 Communism & Variants 89

2.1 Anti-imperialism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
2.1.1 Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
2.1.2 Political movement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
2.1.3 Anti-Imperialist League . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
2.1.4 Marxism, Leninism, and anti-imperialism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
2.1.5 Right-wing anti-imperialism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
2.1.6 Criticism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
2.1.7 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
2.1.8 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
2.1.9 Further reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
2.1.10 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
2.2 Theory of the productive forces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
2.2.1 Empirical support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
2.2.2 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
2.2.3 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
2.2.4 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
2.3 Economic planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
2.3.1 Socialist economic planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
2.3.2 Planning in capitalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
2.3.3 Economic planning in practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
2.3.4 Criticisms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
2.3.5 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
2.3.6 Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
2.4 Commanding heights of the economy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
2.4.1 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
2.4.2 Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100

2.5 Communist state . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100

2.5.1 Communist party as the leader of the state . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
2.5.2 Development of communist states . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
2.5.3 State institutions in Communist states . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
2.5.4 Critiques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
2.5.5 Modern period . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
2.5.6 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
2.5.7 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
2.6 Democratic centralism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
2.6.1 Before Stalin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
2.6.2 In the Soviet Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
2.6.3 In China . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
2.6.4 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
2.6.5 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
2.6.6 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
2.7 Marxist–Leninist atheism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
2.7.1 Influence of Feuerbach and Left Hegelians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
2.7.2 Marx . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
2.7.3 Engels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
2.7.4 Lenin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108
2.7.5 Soviet Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
2.7.6 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
2.7.7 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
2.7.8 Further reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
2.7.9 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
2.8 Proletarian internationalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
2.8.1 Marx and Engels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
2.8.2 First International . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
2.8.3 Second International . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
2.8.4 First World War . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
2.8.5 Third International: Leninism versus Left Communism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
2.8.6 Socialist internationalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
2.8.7 Proletarian internationalism today . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
2.8.8 Leftist opposition to proletarian internationalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
2.8.9 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
2.8.10 Footnotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
2.8.11 References and external links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
2.9 Socialist patriotism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
2.9.1 Countries' variants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
2.9.2 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
2.9.3 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119

2.10 Single-party state . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120

2.10.1 Concept . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
2.10.2 Examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
2.10.3 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
2.10.4 Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
2.10.5 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
2.11 Socialist state . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
2.11.1 Marxist concept of a socialist state . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
2.11.2 Non-Leninist countries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
2.11.3 Establishing a socialist state by reformism or revolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
2.11.4 Controversy with the term . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
2.11.5 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
2.11.6 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
2.12 Vanguardism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
2.12.1 Foundations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
2.12.2 Current use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
2.12.3 Political party . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
2.12.4 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
2.12.5 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
2.12.6 Further reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
2.13 Leninism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
2.13.1 Historical background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
2.13.2 Leninist theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
2.13.3 Leninism after 1924 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
2.13.4 Philosophic successors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
2.13.5 Criticism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
2.13.6 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
2.13.7 Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
2.13.8 Further reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
2.13.9 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
2.14 Stalinism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
2.14.1 Etymology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
2.14.2 History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
2.14.3 Stalinist policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
2.14.4 Legacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
2.14.5 Relationship to Leninism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
2.14.6 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
2.14.7 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
2.14.8 Further reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
2.14.9 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
2.15 Maoism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148

2.15.1 Origins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149

2.15.2 Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150
2.15.3 Maoism in China . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
2.15.4 Maoism after Mao . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
2.15.5 Maoism's International Impact . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
2.15.6 Criticisms and interpretations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
2.15.7 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
2.15.8 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
2.15.9 Further reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
2.15.10 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
2.16 Anti-revisionism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
2.16.1 Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
2.16.2 Anti-revisionist groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
2.16.3 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
2.17 Marxism–Leninism–Maoism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
2.17.1 Origin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
2.17.2 Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
2.17.3 Differences from Mao Zedong Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161
2.17.4 Marxism-Leninism-Maoism Internationally . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162
2.17.5 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
2.17.6 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
2.18 Hoxhaism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
2.18.1 List of Hoxhaist parties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
2.18.2 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
2.18.3 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
2.18.4 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
2.19 Trotskyism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
2.19.1 Definition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
2.19.2 Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
2.19.3 History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168
2.19.4 Trotskyist movements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
2.19.5 Criticism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174
2.19.6 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174
2.19.7 Further reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
2.19.8 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
2.20 Politics of Fidel Castro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
2.20.1 Influences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
2.20.2 On the Soviet Union and its leaders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177
2.20.3 On Israel and anti-Semitism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177
2.20.4 Public image . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177
2.20.5 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177

2.20.6 Further reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178

2.21 Guevarism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
2.21.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
2.21.2 Criticism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
2.21.3 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
2.21.4 Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179

3 Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses 180

3.1 Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
3.2 Images . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190
3.3 Content license . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198
Chapter 1

Concepts of Marxism

1.1 Historical materialism beings to survive and continue existence from generation
to generation, it is necessary for them to produce and re-
Historical materialism is a methodological approach to produce the material requirements of life.* [4] Marx then
the study of human societies and their development over extended this premise by asserting the importance of the
time first articulated by Karl Marx (1818–1883) as the fact that, in order to carry out production and exchange,
materialist conception of history. It is principally a people have to enter into very definite social relations,
theory of history according to which the material con- most fundamentally “production relations”.
ditions of a society's mode of production (its way of pro- However, production does not get carried out in the ab-
ducing and reproducing the means of human existence - stract, or by entering into arbitrary or random relations
in Marxist terms, the union of its productive capacity and chosen at will. Human beings collectively work on nature
social relations of production) fundamentally determine but do not do the same work; there is a division of labor
its organisation and development. in which people not only do different jobs, but according
Historical materialism* [1] looks for the causes of devel- to Marxist theory, some people live off the fruits of oth-
opments and changes in human society in the means by ers' labour by owning the means of production. How this
which humans collectively produce the necessities of life. is accomplished depends on the type of society. Produc-
Social classes and the relationship between them, along tion is carried out through very definite relations between
with the political structures and ways of thinking in soci- people. And, in turn, these production relations are deter-
ety, are founded on and reflect contemporary economic mined by the level and character of the productive forces
activity.* [2] that are present at any given time in history. For Marx,
productive forces refer to the means of production such
Since Marx's time, the theory has been modified and ex- as the tools, instruments, technology, land, raw materi-
panded by Marxist writers. It now has many Marxist and als, and human knowledge and abilities in terms of using
non-Marxist variants. these means of production.
Writers who identify with historical materialism usually
postulate that society has moved through a number of
1.1.1 Key ideas types or modes of production. That is, the character of
the production relations is determined by the character of
“In the Marxian view, human history is like a river. From the productive forces; these could be the simple tools and
any given vantage point, a river looks much the same instruments of early human existence, or the more de-
day after day. But actually it is constantly flowing and veloped machinery and technology of present age. The
changing, crumbling its banks, widening and deepening main modes of production Marx identified generally in-
its channel. The water seen one day is never the same as clude primitive communism or tribal society (a prehis-
that seen the next. Some of it is constantly being evapo- toric stage), ancient society, feudalism, and capitalism.
rated and drawn up, to return as rain. From year to year In each of these social stages, people interact with nature
these changes may be scarcely perceptible. But one day, and produce their living in different ways. Any surplus
when the banks are thoroughly weakened and the rains from that production is allotted in different ways. An-
long and heavy, the river floods, bursts its banks, and may cient society was based on a ruling class of slave owners
take a new course. This represents the dialectical part of and a class of slaves; feudalism was based on landowners
Marx's famous theory of dialectical (or historical) mate- and serfs; and capitalism based on the capitalist class and
rialism.” the working class. The capitalist class privately owns the
—Hubert Kay, LIFE Magazine, 1948* [3] means of production, distribution and exchange (e.g., fac-
tories, mines, shops and banks) while the working class
live by exchanging their socialized labour with the capi-
Historical materialism springs from a fundamental under-
talist class for wages.
lying reality of human existence: that in order for human


Marx identified the production relations of society (aris- of development, the material productive forces
ing on the basis of given productive forces) as the eco- of society come into conflict with the existing
nomic base of society. He also explained that on the relations of production or —this merely ex-
foundation of the economic base there arise certain po- presses the same thing in legal terms —with
litical institutions, laws, customs, culture, etc., and ideas, the property relations within the framework of
ways of thinking, morality, etc. These constituted the which they have operated hitherto. From forms
political/ideological superstructure of society. This su- of development of the productive forces these
perstructure not only has its origin in the economic base, relations turn into their fetters. Then begins
but its features also ultimately correspond to the character an era of social revolution. The changes in
and development of that economic base, i.e. the way peo- the economic foundation lead sooner or later
ple organize society is determined by the economic base to the transformation of the whole immense
and the relations that arise from its mode of production. superstructure. In studying such transforma-
tions it is always necessary to distinguish be-
Historical materialism can be seen to rest on the following
principles: tween the material transformation of the eco-
nomic conditions of production, which can be
determined with the precision of natural sci-
1. The basis of human society is how humans work on ence, and the legal, political, religious, artistic
nature to produce the means of subsistence. or philosophic —in short, ideological forms in
2. There is a division of labour into social classes (re- which men become conscious of this conflict
lations of production) based on property ownership and fight it out. Just as one does not judge an
where some people live from the labour of others. individual by what he thinks about himself, so
one cannot judge such a period of transforma-
3. The system of class division is dependent on the tion by its consciousness, but, on the contrary,
mode of production. this consciousness must be explained from the
contradictions of material life, from the con-
4. The mode of production is based on the level of the
flict existing between the social forces of pro-
productive forces.
duction and the relations of production.”* [5]
5. Society moves from stage to stage when the domi-
nant class is displaced by a new emerging class, by
overthrowing the“political shell”that enforces the
Perhaps the most influential recent defense of this pas-
old relations of production no longer corresponding
sage, and of relevant Marxian and Marxist assertions,
to the new productive forces. This takes place in the
is G.A. Cohen's Karl Marx's Theory of History: A De-
superstructure of society, the political arena in the
fence.* [6]
form of revolution, whereby the underclass “lib-
erates”the productive forces with new relations of
production, and social relations, corresponding to it.

Marx's clearest formulation of his “materialist concep- 1.1.2 Key implications in the study and un-
tion of history”was in the 1859 Preface to his book A derstanding of history
Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, whose
relevant passage is reproduced here:
Many writers note that historical materialism represented
“In the social production of their exis- a revolution in human thought, and a break from previ-
tence, men inevitably enter into definite re- ous ways of understanding the underlying basis of change
lations, which are independent of their will, within various human societies. As Marx puts it, “a co-
namely relations of production appropriate to a herence arises in human history”* [7] because each gener-
given stage in the development of their material ation inherits the productive forces developed previously
forces of production. The totality of these re- and in turn further develops them before passing them on
lations of production constitutes the economic to the next generation. Further, this coherence increas-
structure of society, the real foundation, on ingly involves more of humanity the more the productive
which arises a legal and political superstruc- forces develop and expand to bind people together in pro-
ture and to which correspond definite forms duction and exchange.
of consciousness. The mode of production of This understanding counters the notion that human his-
material life conditions the general process of tory is simply a series of accidents, either without any un-
social, political and intellectual life. It is not derlying cause or caused by supernatural beings or forces
the consciousness of men that determines their exerting their will on society. This posits that history
existence, but their social existence that deter- is made as a result of struggle between different social
mines their consciousness. At a certain stage classes rooted in the underlying economic base.

1.1.3 Marx's materialism or institutions), which constitute our most decisive

social relations.
While the “historical”part of historical materialism
does not cause a comprehension problem (i.e., it means 3. Production relations progress, with a degree of in-
the present is explained by analysing the past), the term evitability, following and corresponding to the de-
materialism is more difficult. Historical materialism uses velopment of the productive forces.
“materialism”to make two separate points, where the
truth or falsehood of one point does not affect the oth- 4. Relations of production help determine the degree
ers. and types of the development of the forces of pro-
Firstly, there is metaphysical or philosophical material- duction. For example, capitalism tends to increase
ism, in which matter-in-motion is considered primary the rate at which the forces develop and stresses the
and thought about matter-in-motion, or thought about ab- accumulation of capital.
stractions, secondary.
5. Both productive forces and production relations
Secondly, there is the notion that economic processes progress independently of mankind's strategic inten-
form the material base of society upon which institutions tions or will.
and ideas rest and from which they derive. While the
economy is the base structure of society, it does not fol- 6. The superstructure —the cultural and institutional
low that everything in history is determined by the econ- features of a society, its ideological materials —is
omy, just as every feature of a house is not determined by ultimately an expression of the mode of production
its foundations. Thus, there is the idea that in the capitalist (which combines both the forces and relations of
mode of production the behaviour of actors in the mar- production) on which the society is founded.
ket economy (means of production, distribution and ex-
change, the relations of production) plays the major role 7. Every type of state is a powerful institution of the
in configuring society. ruling class; the state is an instrument which one
class uses to secure its rule and enforce its preferred
production relations (and its exploitation) onto soci-
1.1.4 The future ety.
In his analysis of the movement of history, Marx pre-
8. State power is usually only transferred from one class
dicted the breakdown of capitalism, and the establish-
to another by social and political upheaval.
ment in time of a communist society in which class-based
human conflict would be overcome. The means of pro-
9. When a given style of production relations no longer
duction would be held in the common ownership and used
supports further progress in the productive forces,
for the common good. In the mention of “human liber-
either further progress is strangled, or 'revolution'
ation”one should not neglect that, in the level of produc-
must occur.
tion, solely the working class is the most oppressed. But
either way in the prediction of the future, one shall first
10. The actual historical process is not predetermined
know of the past (i.e. the establishment of capitalism and
but depends on the class struggle, especially the or-
the transitional part of feudalism).
ganization and consciousness of the working class.

1.1.5 Marxist beliefs about history

1.1.6 Alienation and freedom
“Society does not consist of individuals,
but expresses the sum of interrelations, the re- Hunter-gatherer societies were structured so that the eco-
lations within which these individuals stand.” nomic forces and the political forces were one and the
—Karl Marx, Grundrisse, 1858* [8] same. The elements of force and relation operated to-
gether, harmoniously. In the feudal society, the political
forces of the kings and nobility had their relations with
According to Marxist theorists, history develops in accor- the economic forces of the villages through serfdom. The
dance with the following observations: serfs, although not free, were tied to both forces and, thus,
not completely alienated. Capitalism, Marx argued, com-
1. Social progress is driven by progress in the mate- pletely separates the economic and political forces, leav-
rial, productive forces a society has at its disposal ing them to have relations through a limiting government.
(technology, labour, capital goods, etc.) He takes the state to be a sign of this separation - it exists
to manage the massive conflicts of interest which arise
2. Humans are inevitably involved in production re- between classes in all those societies based on property
lations (roughly speaking, economic relationships relations.

1.1.7 History required, instead of philosophical speculation and unwar-

ranted, sweeping generalisations.
Marx's attachment to materialism arose from his doctoral But having abandoned abstract philosophical speculation
research on the philosophy of Epicurus,* [9] as well as in his youth, Marx himself showed great reluctance dur-
his reading of Adam Smith and other writers in classi- ing the rest of his life about offering any generalities or
cal political economy. Historical materialism builds upon universal truths about human existence or human history.
the idea that became current in philosophy from the six- The first explicit and systematic summary of the material-
teenth to eighteenth centuries that the development of hu- ist interpretation of history published, Anti-Dühring, was
man society has moved through a series of stages, from written by Friedrich Engels.
hunting and gathering, through pastoralism and cultiva-
tion, to commercial society.* [10] One of the aims of Engels's polemic Herr Eugen
Dühring's Revolution in Science (written with Marx's ap-
Friedrich Engels wrote: “I use 'historical materialism' to proval) was to ridicule the easy “world schematism”of
designate the view of the course of history, which seeks philosophers, who invented the latest wisdom from be-
the ultimate causes and the great moving power of all im- hind their writing desks. Towards the end of his life, in
portant historic events in the economic development of 1877, Marx wrote a letter to the editor of the Russian
society, in the changes in the modes of production and paper Otetchestvennye Zapisky, which significantly con-
exchange, with the consequent division of society into tained the following disclaimer:
distinct classes and the struggles of these classes.”* [11]
"(...) If Russia is tending to become a cap-
italist nation after the example of the Western
1.1.8 Warnings against misuse European countries, and during the last years
she has been taking a lot of trouble in this di-
See also: Economic determinism rection - she will not succeed without having
first transformed a good part of her peasants
into proletarians; and after that, once taken to
“One has to “leave philosophy aside” the bosom of the capitalist regime, she will ex-
(Wigand, p. 187, cf. Hess, Die letzten perience its pitiless laws like other profane peo-
Philosophen, p. 8), one has to leap out of it ples. That is all. But that is not enough for
and devote oneself like an ordinary man to my critic. He feels himself obliged to meta-
the study of actuality, for which there exists morphose my historical sketch of the genesis of
also an enormous amount of literary material, capitalism in Western Europe into an historico-
unknown, of course, to the philosophers.... philosophic theory of the marche generale im-
Philosophy and the study of the actual world posed by fate upon every people, whatever the
have the same relation to one another as historic circumstances in which it finds itself, in
masturbation and sexual love.”(Karl Marx order that it may ultimately arrive at the form of
and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology, economy which will ensure, together with the
International Publishers, ed. Chris Arthur, p. greatest expansion of the productive powers of
103) social labour, the most complete development
of man. But I beg his pardon. (He is both hon-
ouring and shaming me too much.)"
Marx himself took care to indicate that he was only
proposing a guideline to historical research (Leitfaden or Marx goes on to illustrate how the same factors can in dif-
Auffassung), and was not providing any substantive“the- ferent historical contexts produce very different results,
ory of history”or “grand philosophy of history”, let so that quick and easy generalisations are not really pos-
alone a “master-key to history”. Numerous times, he sible. To indicate how seriously Marx took research, it is
and Engels expressed irritation with dilettante academics interesting to note that when he died, his estate contained
who sought to knock up their skimpy historical knowl- several cubic metres of Russian statistical publications (it
edge as quickly as possible into some grand theoretical was, as the old Marx observed, in Russia that his ideas
system that would explain“everything”about history. To gained most influence).
their great annoyance, the materialist outlook was used as But what is true is that insofar as Marx and Engels re-
an excuse for not studying history. garded historical processes as law-governed processes,
In the 1872 Preface to the French edition of Das Kapital the possible future directions of historical development
Vol. 1, Marx also emphasised that“There is no royal road were to a great extent limited and conditioned by what
to science, and only those who do not dread the fatiguing happened before. Retrospectively, historical processes
climb of its steep paths have a chance of gaining its lu- could be understood to have happened by necessity in cer-
minous summits”. Reaching a scientific understanding tain ways and not others, and to some extent at least, the
was hard work. Conscientious, painstaking research was most likely variants of the future could be specified on the

basis of careful study of the known facts. stress enough in our writings and in regard to
Towards the end of his life, Engels commented several which we are all equally guilty. That is to say,
times about the abuse of historical materialism. we all laid, and were bound to lay, the main
emphasis, in the first place, on the derivation
In a letter to Conrad Schmidt dated August 5, 1890, he of political, juridical and other ideological
stated: notions, and of actions arising through the
medium of these notions, from basic economic
“And if this man (i.e., Paul Barth) has facts. But in so doing we neglected the formal
not yet discovered that while the material side —the ways and means by which these
mode of existence is the primum agens this notions, etc., come about —for the sake of
does not preclude the ideological spheres from the content. This has given our adversaries a
reacting upon it in their turn, though with welcome opportunity for misunderstandings,
a secondary effect, he cannot possibly have of which Paul Barth is a striking example.”
understood the subject he is writing about. *
(...) The materialist conception of history
has a lot of [dangerous friends] nowadays, to
whom it serves as an excuse for not studying
history. Just as Marx used to say, commenting 1.1.9 In Marxist thought
on the French “Marxists”of the late 70s:
“All I know is that I am not a Marxist.”(...) In 1880, about three years before Marx died, Friedrich
In general, the word “materialistic”serves Engels indicated that he accepted the usage of the term
many of the younger writers in Germany “historical materialism”. Recalling the early days of the
as a mere phrase with which anything and new interpretation of history, he stated:
everything is labeled without further study,
that is, they stick on this label and then “We, at that time, were all materialists, or,
consider the question disposed of. But our at least, very advanced free-thinkers, and to us
conception of history is above all a guide to it appeared inconceivable that almost all edu-
study, not a lever for construction after the cated people in England should believe in all
manner of the Hegelian. All history must be sorts of impossible miracles, and that even ge-
studied afresh, the conditions of existence ologists like Buckland and Mantell should con-
of the different formations of society must tort the facts of their science so as not to clash
be examined individually before the attempt too much with the myths of the book of Gene-
is made to deduce them from the political, sis; while, in order to find people who dared to
civil law, aesthetic, philosophic, religious, use their own intellectual faculties with regard
etc., views corresponding to them. Up to now to religious matters, you had to go amongst the
but little has been done here because only uneducated, the “great unwashed”, as they
a few people have got down to it seriously. were then called, the working people, espe-
In this field we can utilize heaps of help, cially the Owenite Socialists”.
it is immensely big, anyone who will work (Preface to the English edition of his pam-
seriously can achieve much and distinguish phlet Socialism: Utopian and Scientific)* [14]
himself. But instead of this too many of the
younger Germans simply make use of the In a foreword to his essay Ludwig Feuerbach and the End
phrase historical materialism (and everything of Classical German Philosophy (1886), three years af-
can be turned into a phrase) only in order ter Marx's death, Engels claimed confidently that“In the
to get their own relatively scanty historical meantime, the Marxist world outlook has found represen-
knowledge —for economic history is still in its tatives far beyond the boundaries of Germany and Europe
swaddling clothes! —constructed into a neat and in all the literary languages of the world.”* [15]
system as quickly as possible, and they then In his old age, Engels speculated about a new cosmology
deem themselves something very tremendous. or ontology which would show the principles of dialectics
And after that a Barth can come along and to be universal features of reality. He also drafted an
attack the thing itself, which in his circle has article on The Part Played by Labour in the Transition
indeed been degraded to a mere phrase.”* [12] from Ape to Man, apparently a theory of anthropogenesis
which would integrate the insights of Marx and Charles
Darwin.* [16] (This is discussed by Charles Woolfson in
Finally, in a letter to Franz Mehring dated 14 July 1893,
The Labour Theory of Culture: a Re-examination of En-
Engels stated:
gels Theory of Human Origins).
"...there is only one other point lacking, At the very least, Marxism had now been born, and“his-
which, however, Marx and I always failed to torical materialism”had become a distinct philosophical

doctrine, subsequently elaborated and systematised by in- ism.

tellectuals like Eduard Bernstein, Karl Kautsky, Georgi
Plekhanov and Nikolai Bukharin. Even so, up to the
1930s many of Marx's earlier works were still unknown,
and in reality most self-styled Marxists had not read be-
yond Capital Vol. 1. Isaac Deutscher provides an anec- 1.1.11 Criticisms
dote about the knowledge of Marx in that era:
"Capital is a tough nut to crack, opined Ignacy Daszyński, Philosopher of science Karl Popper, in his Conjectures
one of the best known socialist“people's tribunes”around and Refutations, critiqued such claims of the explana-
the turn of the 20th century, but anyhow he had not read tory power or valid application of historical materialism
it. But, he said, Karl Kautsky had read it, and written by arguing that it could explain or explain away any fact
a popular summary of the first volume. He hadn't read brought before it, making it unfalsifiable.
this either, but Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz, the party theo- In his 1940 essay "On the Concept of History,”scholar
retician, had read Kautsky's pamphlet and summarised Walter Benjamin compares historical materialism to The
it. He also had not read Kelles-Krauz's text, but the fi- Turk, an 18th-century device which was promoted as a
nancial expert of the party, Hermann Diamand, had read mechanized automaton which could defeat skilled chess
it and had told him, i.e. Daszynski, everything about it” players but actually concealed a human who controlled
.* [17] the machine. Benjamin suggested that, despite Marx's
After Vladimir Lenin's death in 1924, Marxism was claims to scientific objectivity, historical materialism was
transformed into Marxism-Leninism and from there to actually quasi-religious. Like the Turk, wrote Benjamin,
Maoism or Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought in "[t]he puppet called 'historical materialism' is always sup-
China which some regard as the“true doctrine”and oth- posed to win. It can do this with no further ado against any
ers as a “state religion”. opponent, so long as it employs the services of theology,
which as everyone knows is small and ugly and must
In the early years of the 20th century, historical mate-
be kept out of sight.”Benjamin's friend and colleague
rialism was often treated by socialist writers as inter-
Gershom Scholem would argue that Benjamin's critique
changeable with dialectical materialism, a formulation
of historical materialism was so definitive that, as Mark
never used by Friedrich Engels however. According to
Lilla would write,“nothing remains of historical materi-
many Marxists influenced by Soviet Marxism, historical
alism [...] but the term itself.* [18] It is important to note,
materialism is a specifically sociological method, while
however, that Benjamin was arguing against a mechanis-
dialectical materialism refers to a more general, abstract,
tic form of historical materialist explanation then preva-
philosophy. The Soviet orthodox Marxist tradition, in-
lent in Stalin's Russia, and was himself a committed, if
fluential for half a century, based itself on Joseph Stalin's
unorthodox, Marxist. Later in “On the Concept of His-
pamphlet Dialectical and Historical Materialism and on
tory,”he writes: “Class struggle, which for a historian
textbooks issued by the“Institute of Marxism-Leninism
schooled in Marx is always in evidence, is a fight for the
of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the
crude and material things without which no refined and
Soviet Union”.
spiritual things could exist. ... There is no document of
culture which is not at the same time a document of bar-
barism. And just as such a document is never free of
1.1.10 Recent versions barbarism, so barbarism taints the manner in which it was
transmitted from one hand to another. The historical ma-
Several scholars have argued that historical materialism terialist therefore dissociates himself from this process of
ought to be revised in the light of modern scientific transmission as far as possible. He regards it as his task
knowledge. Jürgen Habermas believes historical mate- to brush history against the grain.”* [19]
rialism “needs revision in many respects”, especially Underlying the dispute among historians are the differ-
because it has ignored the significance of communicative ent assumptions made about the definition or concept of
action. "history" and "historiography". Different historians take
Göran Therborn has argued that the method of historical a different view of what it is all about, and what the pos-
materialism should be applied to historical materialism as sibilities of historical and social scientific knowledge are.
intellectual tradition, and to the history of Marxism itself. Broadly, the importance of the study of history lies in the
In the early 1980s, Paul Hirst and Barry Hindess elab- ability of history to explain the present. John Bellamy
orated a structural Marxism interpretation of historical Foster asserts that historical materialism is important in
materialism. explaining history from a scientific perspective, by fol-
lowing the scientific method, as opposed to belief-system
Regulation theory, especially in the work of Michel Agli- theories like Creationism and Intelligent Design, which
etta draws extensively on historical materialism. do not base their beliefs on verifiable facts and hypothe-
Spiral dynamics shows similarities to historical material- ses.* [20]

1.1.12 See also [13] “Letters: Marx-Engels Correspondence 1893”. Marx- Retrieved 2011-12-07.
• Economic determinism
[14] Frederick Engels. “Socialism: Utopian and Scientific
• Fundamentals of Marxism Leninism (Introduction - Materialism)". Retrieved
• Marx's theory of history
[15] Frederick Engels. “Ludwig Feuerbach and the End
• Marxist historiography of Classical German Philosophy —Foreword”. Marx- Retrieved 2011-12-07.
• Orthodox Marxism
[16] “The Part Played by Labor in the Transition From Ape
• Parametric determinism to Man”. Retrieved 2011-12-07.
• Historical Materialism - Journal [17] “de beste bron van informatie over rote ruhr uni. Deze
website is te koop!". 2011-01-02. Re-
trieved 2011-12-07.
1.1.13 References
[18] Mark Lilla,“The Riddle of Walter Benjamin”in The New
Notes York Review of Books, May 25, 1995.

[1] Seligman 1901, p. 613: “This doctrine is often called [19] Theses on the Philosophy of History
'historical materialism,' or the 'materialistic interpretation
[20] Foster, John Bellamy; Clark, Brett (2008). Critique of In-
of history.' Such terms are, however, lacking in precision.
telligent Design: Materialism versus Creationism from An-
If by materialism is meant the tracing of all changes to
tiquity to the Present. Monthly Review Press. ISBN 978-
material causes, the biological view of history is also ma-
terialistic. Again, the theory which ascribes all changes
in society to the influence of climate or to the character
of the fauna and flora is materialistic, and yet has little in
common with the doctrine here discussed. The doctrine
we have to deal with is not only materialistic, but also eco-
nomic in character; and the better phrase is not the 'mate- • Seligman, Edwin R. A. (1901).“The Economic In-
rialistic interpretation,' but the 'economic interpretation' terpretation of History”. Political Science Quarterly
of history.” 16 (4): 612–640. (Free to view)

man/ch02.htm 1.1.14 Further reading
[3] Karl Marx, by Hubert Kay, LIFE Magazine, October 18,
1948, p. 66 • Marx, Karl, Theses on Feuerbach, 1845

[4] Seligman 1901, p. 163. • Marx, Karl, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts
of 1844, 1844; 1932
[5] K. Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Econ-
omy, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1977, with some • Marx, Karl, The German Ideology, 1846; 1932
notes by R. Rojas.
• Marx, Karl, Preface to A Contribution to the Cri-
[6] G.A. Cohen (1978, 2000), Karl Marx's Theory of History:
tique of Political Economy, 1859
A Defence, Princeton and Oxford.

[7] Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Works in One • Marx, Karl, Manifesto of the Communist Party,
Volume (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1968), p. 660. 1848

[8] Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Econ- • Marx, Karl, The Class Struggles in France, 1848 -
omy, by Karl Marx & Martin Nicolaus, Penguin Classics, 1850
1993, ISBN 0-14-044575-7, pg 265
• Marx, Karl, The 18th Brumaire of Napoleon Bona-
[9] John Bellamy Foster, Marx's Ecology parte, 1852
[10] Ronald Meek, Social Science and the Ignoble Savage
• Marx, Karl, The Grundrisse, (foundations for the
[11] “Historical Materialism is a theory that privileges the eco- study of Capital), 1857
nomic in explanation of non”. Retrieved
2011-12-07. • Marx, Karl, Capital, Vol. 1, 1867

[12] “Letters: Marx-Engels Correspondence 1890”. Marx- • Marx, Karl, Capital, Vols. 2 & 3, 1867 - 1883, (un- Retrieved 2011-12-07. finished)

• Aronowitz, Stanley, The Crisis in Historical Mate- • Franz Jakubowski, Ideology and Superstructure at-
rialism, (American criticism of orthodox Marxism tempts to provide an alternative to schematic inter-
and argument for a more radical version of histori- pretations of historical materialism
cal materialism that sticks closer to Marx by chang-
ing itself to keep up with changes in the historical • Z.A. Jordan, The Origins of Dialectical Materialism
situation), 1981 (good survey)* [1]

• Karl Marx, Pre-capitalist Economic Formations, • Ernest Mandel, Introduction to Marxism. (empha-
with an introduction by Eric Hobsbawm sizes understanding the roots of class society and the
• H. B. Acton, The Illusion of the Epoch. (criti-
cal account which focusses on incoherencies in the • Ernest Mandel, The Place of Marxism in History
thought of Marx, Engels and Lenin) (modelled on Lenin's“Three components of Marx-
ism”but with a section on the reception and diffu-
• Perry Anderson, Lineages of the Absolutist State, sion of Marxism in the world)* [2]
• Mao Zedong, Four Essays on Philosophy. (standard
• Ronald L. Meek, Social Science and the Ignoble
Maoist reading of Marx's materialism)
Savage, Cambridge U.P. Cambridge studies in the
history and theory of politics, 1976 • Franz Mehring, On Historical Materialism (classic
• Paul Blackledge, Reflections on the Marxist Theory statement by a contemporary and friend of Marx &
of History (2006) Engels)* [3]

• Louis B. Boudin, The Theoretical System of Karl • George Novack, Understanding History: Marxist
Marx. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr Publishing Co., Essays (Trotskyist interpretations of problems of
1907, contains an early defense of the materialist history)* [4]
conception of history against its critics of the day
• Leszek Nowak, Property and Power: Towards
• Gordon V. Childe, Man Makes Himself (free inter- a non-Marxian Historical Materialism attempts to
pretation of Marx's idea) develop a post-Stalinist interpretation of Marx's
• Gerald Cohen, Karl Marx's Theory of History: A
Defence. (influential analytical Marxist interpreta- • Anton Pannekoek, Materialism And Historical Ma-
tion) terialism.
• Hal Draper, Karl Marx's Theory of Revolution (4 • Alexander Spirkin; Sergei Syrovatkin (translator)
volumes). (captures the full subtlety of Marx's (1990), Fundamentals of Philosophy., Moscow:
thought, but at length) Progress Publishers, ISBN 5-01-002582-5, re-
trieved 15 January 2011 First published in 1988, as
• Helmut Fleischer, Marxism and History. (good re-
“Основы философии”
ply to false interpretations of Marx's view of history)
• John Bellamy Foster, Marx's Ecology: Materialism • Karl Popper, The Poverty of Historicism, attacks the
and Nature, London, New York: Monthly Review, notion that the study of history can be used to predict
1999 the future.

• Stefan Gandler, Critical Marxism in Mexico: Adolfo • S.H. Rigby, Marxism and History, 1977
Sánchez Vázquez and Bolívar Echeverría, Lei-
• John Rees, The Algebra of Revolution. (Classical
den/Boston, Brill Academic Press, 2015.
Marxist account of the philosophy of Marx, Engels,
• Loren R. Graham, Science Philosophy and Human Lenin, Lukacs and Trotsky)
Behavior in the Soviet Union. (sympathetically-
critical of dialectical materialism) • William H. Shaw, Marx's Theory of History provides
a short survey
• Anthony Giddens, A Contemporary Critique of His-
torical Materialism, 1981 • Joseph Stalin, Historical and Dialectical Material-
ism. (classic statement of Stalinist doctrine)
• Jürgen Habermas, Communication and the Evolu-
tion of Society. (argues historical materialism must • Wal Suchting, Marx: An Introduction includes a
be revised to include communicative action) good short introduction

• Chris Harman, A People's History of the World • Göran Therborn, Science, Class and Society (criti-
(Marxist view of history according to a leader of the cal survey of the relationship between sociology and
International Socialist Tendency) historical materialism)

• E.P. Thompson, The Poverty of Theory. (polemic The formulation of dialectical and historical materialism
which ridicules theorists of history who do not actu- in the Soviet Union in the 1930s by Stalin and his asso-
ally study history) ciates (such as in Stalin's book Dialectical and Histori-
cal Materialism) became the “official”interpretation of
• Gustav A. Wetter, Dialectical Materialism: a His- Marxism. It was codified and popularized in text books
torical and Systematic Survey of Philosophy in the that were required reading in the Soviet Union as well as
Soviet Union. (alternative survey) the Eastern European countries it occupied. It was ex-
• Johan Witt-Hansen, Historical Materialism: The ported to China as the“official”interpretation of Marx-
Method, The Theories. (sees historical materialism ism but has since then been widely rejected in China in
as a methodology, and Das Kapital as an application the Soviet formulation.
of the method) A Soviet philosophical encyclopedia of the 1960s speaks
of the evolution of complexity in nature as follows:“This
• Allen W. Wood, Karl Marx (Arguments of the Phil- whole series of forms (mechanical, physical, chemical,
iosophers series), Routledge 2004 delves into misin- biological and social) is distributed according to com-
terpretations of Marx including the substitution of plexity from lower to higher. This seriation expresses
“Historical materialism”by Lenin their mutual bonds in terms of structure and in terms of
history. The general laws of the lower forms of the mo-
1.1.15 External links tion of matter keep their validity for all the higher forms
but they are subject to the higher laws and do not have
• Extract from the Communist Manifesto a prominent role. They change their activity because of
changed circumstances. Laws can be general or specific,
• Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political depending on their range of applicability. The specific
Economy laws fall under the special sciences and the general laws
are the province of diamat.”* [4] Each level of matter ex-
• Materialist Conception of History ists as a type of organization, in which the elements that
• The materialist conception of history make up a whole, or system, are marked by a specific type
of interconnection.
• Bibliography of modern commentaries on Marx's
1.2.1 The term
[1] Z A Jordan. “The Origins of Dialectical Materialism by
Z. A. Jordan”. Marx Myths. Retrieved 2011-12-07. The term dialectical materialism was coined in 1887, by
Joseph Dietzgen, a socialist tanner who corresponded
[2] Ernest Mandel. The Place of Marxism in History with Marx, during and after the failed 1848 German Rev-
olution. As a philosopher, Dietzgen had constructed the
[3] “Franz Mehring: On Historical Materialism (1893)". 2004-02-27. Retrieved 2011-12-07.
theory of dialectical materialism independently of Marx
and Engels.* [5] Casual mention of the term is also found
[4] “George Novack Internet Archive”. 2009- in the biography Frederick Engels, by Karl Kautsky,* [6]
06-23. Retrieved 2011-12-07. written in the same year. Marx himself had talked about
the“materialist conception of history”, which was later
referred to as "historical materialism" by Engels. Engels
1.2 Dialectical materialism further exposed the“materialist dialectic”—not“dialec-
tical materialism”—in his Dialectics of Nature in 1883.
Dialectical materialism (sometimes abbreviated dia- Georgi Plekhanov, the father of Russian Marxism, later
mat) is a philosophy of science and nature, based on introduced the term dialectical materialism to Marxist lit-
the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and de- erature.* [7] Joseph Stalin further delineated and defined
veloped largely in Russia and the Soviet Union.* [1]* [2] dialectical and historical materialism as the world outlook
It was inspired by dialectic and materialist philosophical of Marxism-Leninism, and as a method to study society
traditions. The main idea of dialectical materialism lies and its history.* [8]
in the concept of the evolution of the natural world and The exact term was not used by Marx in any of his
the emergence of new qualities of being at new stages of works, and controversy exists regarding the relationship
evolution. As Z. A. Jordan notes,“Engels made constant between dialectics, ontology, and nature. Joseph Need-
use of the metaphysical insight that the higher level of ex- ham, the influential historian of science and a Christian
istence emerges from and has its roots in the lower; that who nonetheless was an adherent of dialectical materi-
the higher level constitutes a new order of being with its alism, suggested that a more appropriate term might be
irreducible laws; and that this process of evolutionary ad- “dialectical organicism”.* [9] For scholars working on
vance is governed by laws of development which reflect these issues from a variety of perspectives see the works
basic properties of 'matter in motion as a whole'.”* [3] of Bertell Ollman, Roger Albritton, and Roy Bhaskar.

1.2.2 Historical background of material- rising workers' movement observed by Engels in England
ism (Chartist movement) and by Marx in France and Ger-
many. Marx's view of human history was thus historical
Marx and Engels each began their adulthood as Young materialism. Marxist materialists tended to accord pri-
Hegelians, one of several groups of intellectuals inspired macy to the class struggle. The ultimate sense of Marx's
by the philosopher Hegel.* [10]* [11] But both soon con- materialist philosophy is that philosophy itself must take
cluded that Hegelian philosophy, at least as interpreted a position in the class struggle based on objective analy-
by their former colleagues, was too abstract and was be- sis of physical and social relations. Otherwise, it will be
ing misapplied in attempts to explain the social injus- reduced to spiritualist idealism, such as the philosophies
tice in recently industrializing countries such as Germany, of Immanuel Kant or Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.
France, and the United Kingdom, which was a growing
concern in the early 1840s.* [11] In contrast to the con-
ventional Hegelian dialectic of the day, which empha- 1.2.3 Marx's dialectics
sized the idealist observation that human experience is
dependent on the mind's perceptions, Marx developed The concept of dialectical materialism emerges from
Marxist dialectics, which emphasized the materialist view statements by Marx in the preface to his magnum opus,
that the world of the concrete shapes socioeconomic in- Capital. There Marx says he intends to use Hegelian di-
teractions and that those in turn determine sociopolitical alectics but in revised form. He defends Hegel against
reality.* [10] Whereas some Hegelians blamed religious those who view him as a “dead dog”and then says, “I
alienation (estrangement from the traditional comforts openly avowed myself as the pupil of that mighty thinker
of religion) for societal ills, Marx and Engels concluded [Hegel].”* [13] Marx credits Hegel with“being the first
that alienation from economic and political autonomy, to present its [dialectic's] form of working in a compre-
coupled with exploitation and poverty, was the real cul- hensive and conscious manner”. But he then criticizes
prit.* [11] In keeping with dialectical ideas of such se- Hegel for turning dialectics upside down: “With him
quences as thesis-antithesis-synthesis, thesis-rejection- it is standing on its head. It must be turned right side up
rejection, and action-reaction-reaction, Marx and Engels again, if you would discover the rational kernel within the
thus created an alternative theory, not only of why the mystical shell.”* [14]
world is the way it is, but also of which actions people Marx's criticism of Hegel asserts that Hegel's dialectics
should take to make it the way it ought to be. Marx sum- go astray by dealing with ideas, with the human mind.
marized, “The philosophers have only interpreted the Hegel's dialectic, Marx says, inappropriately concerns
world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change “the process of the human brain"; it focuses on ideas.
it.”* [10] Dialectical materialism is thus closely related to
Hegel's thought is in fact sometimes called dialectical
Marx's and Engels's historical materialism (and has some- idealism. Marx believed that dialectics should deal not
times been viewed as synonymous with it). with the mental world of ideas but with “the material
Dialectical materialism is but an aspect of the broader world,”the world of production and other economic ac-
subject of materialism. Marx's doctoral thesis concerned tivity.* [14]
the atomism of Epicurus and Democritus, which is con-
For Marx, human history cannot be fitted into any neat
sidered the foundation of materialist philosophy. Marx a priori schema. He explicitly rejects the idea of Hegel’
was also familiar with Lucretius's theory of clinamen.
s followers that history can be understood as “a person
Materialism asserts the primacy of the material world: in apart, a metaphysical subject of which real human indi-
short, matter precedes thought. Materialism is a realist viduals are but the bearers”.* [15] To interpret history
philosophy of science,* [12] which holds that the world as though previous social formations have somehow been
is material; that all phenomena in the universe consist of aiming themselves toward the present state of affairs is
“matter in motion,”wherein all things are interdependent “to misunderstand the historical movement by which the
and interconnected and develop according to natural law; successive generations transformed the results acquired
that the world exists outside us and independently of our by the generations that preceded them”.* [16] Marx's re-
perception of it; that thought is a reflection of the mate- jection of this sort of teleology was one reason for his
rial world in the brain, and that the world is in principle enthusiastic (though not entirely uncritical) reception of
knowable. Darwin’s theory of natural selection.* [17]
Marx presented his own materialist philosophy as an al- For Marx, dialectics is not a formula for generating pre-
ternative to Hegel's idealism. However, Marx also crit- determined outcomes, but is a method for the empiri-
icized classical materialism as another idealist philoso- cal study of social processes in terms of interrelations,
phy—idealist because of its transhistorical understand- development, and transformation. In his introduction to
ing of material contexts. According to the famous Theses the Penguin edition of Marx’s Capital, Ernest Mandel
on Feuerbach (1845), philosophy had to stop“interpret- writes, “When the dialectical method is applied to the
ing”the world in endless metaphysical debates, in order study of economic problems, economic phenomena are
to start “changing”the world, as was being done by the not viewed separately from each other, by bits and pieces,

but in their inner connection as an integrated totality, tative changes can also be applied to the process of social
structured around, and by, a basic predominant mode of change and class conflict.* [31]
production.”* [18] The third law, “negation of the negation,”originated
Marx’s own writings are almost exclusively concerned with Hegel. Although Hegel coined the term “negation
with understanding human history in terms of systemic of the negation,”it gained its fame from Marx's using it
processes, based on modes of production (broadly speak- in Capital. There Marx wrote this: “The [death] knell
ing, the ways in which societies are organized to employ of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators
their technological powers to interact with their mate- [capitalists] are expropriated. The capitalist mode of ap-
rial surroundings). This is called historical materialism. propriation, the result of the capitalist mode of produc-
More narrowly, within the framework of this general the- tion, produces capitalist private property. This is the first
ory of history, most of Marx’s writing is devoted to an negation [antithesis] of individual private property. [The
analysis of the specific structure and development of the “first negation,”or antithesis, negates the thesis, which in
capitalist economy. this instance is feudalism, the economic system that pre-
For his part, Engels applies a “dialectical”approach ceded capitalism.] . . . But capitalist production begets,
to the natural world in general, arguing that contem- with the inexorability of a law of Nature, its own nega-
porary science is increasingly recognizing the necessity tion. It [final communism,
the synthesis] is the negation
of viewing natural processes in terms of interconnected- of [the] negation.” [32]
ness, development, and transformation. Some scholars In drawing up these laws, Engels presupposes a holistic
have doubted that Engels’“dialectics of nature”is a approach outlined above and in Lenin's three elements of
legitimate extension of Marx’s approach to social pro- dialectic below, and emphasizes elsewhere that all things
cesses.* [19]* [20]* [21]* [22] Other scholars have argued are in motion.* [33] The discovery that heat was actually
that despite Marx’s insistence that humans are natural the movement of atoms or molecules was the very latest
beings in an evolving, mutual relationship with the rest of science of the period in which Engels was writing.
nature, Marx’s own writings pay inadequate attention to
the ways in which human agency is constrained by such
factors as biology, geography, and ecology.* [23]* [24] 1.2.5 Lenin's contributions
After reading Hegel's Science of Logic in 1914, Lenin
1.2.4 Engels' dialectics made some brief notes outlining three “elements”of
logic.* [34] They are:
Engels postulated three laws of dialectics from his reading
of Hegel's Science of Logic.* [25] Engels elucidated these 1. The determination of the concept out of itself [the
laws as the materialist dialectic in his work Dialectics of thing itself must be considered in its relations and in
Nature: its development];

2. The contradictory nature of the thing itself (the

1. The law of the unity and conflict of opposites
other of itself), the contradictory forces and tenden-
2. The law of the passage of quantitative changes into cies in each phenomenon;
qualitative changes
3. The union of analysis and synthesis.
3. The law of the negation of the negation
Lenin develops these in a further series of notes, and ap-
pears to argue that“the transition of quantity into quality
The first law was seen by both Hegel and Vladimir Lenin
as the central feature of a dialectical understanding of and vice versa”is an example of the unity and opposition
things* [26]* [27] and originates with the ancient Ionian of opposites expressed tentatively as “not only the unity
philosopher Heraclitus.* [28] of opposites, but the transitions of every determination,
quality, feature, side, property into every other [into its
The second law Hegel took from Ancient Greek philoso- opposite?].”
phers, notably the paradox of the heap, and explanation
by Aristotle,* [29] and it is equated with what scientists Also, in his essay“On the Question of Dialectics”, Lenin
call phase transitions. It may be traced to the ancient stated that " Development is the“struggle ”of opposites.”
Ionian philosophers, particularly Anaximenes* [30] from He stated that " The unity ( coincidence, identity, equal
whom Aristotle, Hegel, and Engels inherited the concept. action ) of opposites is conditional, temporary, transitory,
For all these authors, one of the main illustrations is the relative. The struggle of mutually exclusive opposites is
phase transitions of water. There has also been an effort absolute, just as development and motion are absolute.
to apply this mechanism to social phenomena, whereby "* [35]
population increases result in changes in social structure. In Materialism and Empiriocriticism (1908), Lenin ex-
The law of the passage of quantitative changes into quali- plained dialectical materialism as three axes: (i) the

materialist inversion of Hegelian dialectics, (ii) the in this or that thesis, nor the exegesis of a“sa-
historicity of ethical principles ordered to class struggle, cred”book. On the contrary, orthodoxy refers
and (iii) the convergence of "laws of evolution" in physics exclusively to method. It is the scientific con-
(Helmholtz), biology (Darwin), and in political economy viction that dialectical materialism is the road
(Marx). Hence, Lenin was philosophically positioned to truth, and that its methods can be developed,
between historicist Marxism (Labriola) and determinist expanded, and deepened, only along the lines
Marxism—a political position close to "social Darwin- laid down by its founders. (§1)
ism" (Kautsky). Moreover, late century discoveries in
physics (x-rays, electrons), and the beginning of quantum In his later works and actions, Lukács became a leader
mechanics, philosophically challenged previous concep- of Democratic Marxism. In the 1960s his associates,
tions of matter and materialism, thus Matter seemed to which became known as the Budapest School. He and
be disappearing. Lenin disagreed: his associates became sharply critical of the formulation
of dialectical materialism in the Soviet Union that was
'Matter disappears' means that the limit exported to those countries under its control. He modi-
within which we have hitherto known matter fied many of his formulations in his 1923 works and went
disappears, and that our knowledge is penetrat- on to develop a Marxist ontology and played an active
ing deeper; properties of matter are disappear- role in democratic movements in Hungary in 1956 and
ing that formerly seemed absolute, immutable, the 1960s.
and primary, and which are now revealed to be Lukács philosophical criticism of Marxist revisionism
relative and characteristic only of certain states proposed an intellectual return to Marxist method. As
of matter. For the sole 'property' of matter, did Louis Althusser, who later defined Marxism and
with whose recognition philosophical material- psychoanalysis as “conflictual sciences";* [37] that polit-
ism is bound up, is the property of being an ob- ical factions and revisionism are inherent to Marxist the-
jective reality, of existing outside of the mind. ory and political praxis, because dialectical materialism
is the philosophic product of class struggle:
Lenin was developing the work of Engels, who said that
“with each epoch-making discovery, even in the sphere For this reason, the task of orthodox
of natural science, materialism has to change its form.” Marxism, its victory over Revisionism and
[36] One of Lenin's challenges was distancing material- utopianism can never mean the defeat, once
ism, as a viable philosophical outlook, from the “vulgar and for all, of false tendencies. It is an ever-
materialism”expressed in the statement “the brain se- renewed struggle against the insidious effects
cretes thought in the same way as the liver secretes bile” of bourgeois ideology on the thought of the
(attributed to 18th-century physician Pierre Jean Georges proletariat. Marxist orthodoxy is no guardian
Cabanis, 1757–1808);“metaphysical materialism”(mat- of traditions, it is the eternally vigilant prophet
ter composed of immutable particles); and 19th-century proclaiming the relation between the tasks of
“mechanical materialism”(matter as random molecules the immediate present and the totality of the
interacting per the laws of mechanics). The philosophic historical process. (§5)
solution that Lenin (and Engels) proposed was“dialecti-
cal materialism”, wherein matter is defined as objective
reality, theoretically consistent with (new) developments Moreover,“the premise of dialectical materialism is, we
occurred in the sciences. recall: 'It is not men's consciousness that determines their
existence, but, on the contrary, their social existence that
determines their consciousness'. . . . Only when the core
1.2.6 Lukács' contributions of existence stands revealed as a social process can exis-
tence be seen as the product, albeit the hitherto uncon-
György Lukács, minister of Culture in the brief Béla Kun scious product, of human activity”. (§5) Philosophically
government of the Hungarian Soviet Republic (1919), aligned with Marx is the criticism of the individualist,
published History and Class Consciousness (1923), which bourgeois philosophy of the subject, which is founded
defined dialectical materialism as the knowledge of so- upon the voluntary and conscious subject. Against said
ciety as a whole, knowledge which, in itself, was imme- ideology is the primacy of social relations. Existence —
diately the class consciousness of the proletariat. In the and thus the world —is the product of human activity; but
first chapter “What is Orthodox Marxism?", Lukács de- this can be seen only by accepting the primacy of social
fined orthodoxy as fidelity to the “Marxist method”, process on individual consciousness. This type of con-
not fidelity to “dogmas": sciousness is an effect of ideological mystification.
Yet, at the 5th Congress of the Communist Interna-
Orthodox Marxism, therefore, does not tional (July 1924), Grigory Zinoviev formally denounced
imply the uncritical acceptance of the results Lukács's heterodox definition of orthodox Marxism as
of Marx's investigations. It is not the “belief” exclusively derived from fidelity to the“Marxist method”

, and not to Communist party dogmas; and denounced the not discarded because some nations of the second world
Marxism developments of the German theorist Karl Ko- have constructed a cardboard version as an official polit-
rsch. ical doctrine.”* [40] Furthermore,

when presented as guidelines for a philos-

1.2.7 Mao's contributions ophy of change, not as dogmatic precepts true
by fiat, the three classical laws of dialectics em-
In On Contradiction (1937) Mao outlined a version of di-
body a holistic vision that views change as in-
alectical materialism that subsumed two of Engels' three
teraction among components of complete sys-
principal laws of dialectics,“the transformation of quan-
tems, and sees the components themselves not
tity into quality”and “the negation of the negation”as
as a priori entities, but as both products and
sub-laws (and not principal laws of their own) of the first
inputs to the system. Thus, the law of “inter-
law, “the unity and interpenetration of opposites”.
penetrating opposites”records the inextricable
interdependence of components: the “trans-
1.2.8 Dialectical materialism as a heuristic formation of quantity to quality”defends a
systems-based view of change that translates
in biology and elsewhere incremental inputs into alterations of state; and
the“negation of negation”describes the direc-
The noted historian of science Loren Graham has de-
tion given to history because complex systems
tailed at length the role played by dialectical material-
cannot revert exactly to previous states.* [41]
ism in the Soviet Union in disciplines as diverse as bi-
ology, psychology, chemistry, cybernetics, quantum me-
chanics, and cosmology. He has concluded that, despite This heuristic was also applied to the theory of punctuated
the Lysenko period in genetics and constraints on free in- equilibrium proposed by Niles Eldredge and Gould. They
quiry imposed by political authorities, dialectical materi- wrote that “history, as Hegel said, moves upward in
alism had a positive influence on the work of many Soviet a spiral of negations,”and that “punctuated equilib-
scientists.* [38] ria is a model for discontinuous tempos of change (in)
the process of speciation and the deployment of species
Some evolutionary biologists, such as Richard Lewontin in geological time.”* [42] They noted that “the law of
and the late Stephen Jay Gould, have tried to employ di- transformation of quantity into quality”, “holds that a
alectical materialism in their approach. They view dialec- new quality emerges in a leap as the slow accumulation
tics as playing a precautionary heuristic role in their work. of quantitative changes, long resisted by a stable system,
From Lewontin's perspective, we get this idea: finally forces it rapidly from one state into another,”a
phenomenon described in some disciplines as a paradigm
Dialectical materialism is not, and never shift. Apart from the commonly cited example of water
has been, a programmatic method for solving turning to steam with increased temperature, Gould and
particular physical problems. Rather, a dialec- Eldredge noted another analogy in information theory,
tical analysis provides an overview and a set of “with its jargon of equilibrium, steady state, and home-
warning signs against particular forms of dog- ostasis maintained by negative feedback,”and“extremely
matism and narrowness of thought. It tells us, rapid transitions that occur with positive feedback.”* [43]
“Remember that history may leave an impor-
Lewontin, Gould and Eldredge were thus more interested
tant trace. Remember that being and becom-
in dialectical materialism as a heuristic, than a dogmatic
ing are dual aspects of nature. Remember that
form of 'truth' or a statement of their politics. Neverthe-
conditions change and that the conditions nec-
less, they found a readiness for critics to“seize upon”key
essary to the initiation of some process may
statements* [44] and portray punctuated equilibrium, and
be destroyed by the process itself. Remem-
exercises associated with it, such as public exhibitions, as
ber to pay attention to real objects in time and
a “Marxist plot”.* [45]
space and not lose them in utterly idealized ab-
stractions. Remember that qualitative effects
of context and interaction may be lost when 1.2.9 See also
phenomena are isolated”. And above all else,
“Remember that all the other caveats are only
1.2.10 References
reminders and warning signs whose application
to different circumstances of the real world is [1] Z. A. Jordan, The Evolution of Dialectical Materialism
contingent.”* [39] (London: Macmillan, 1967).

[2] Paul Thomas, Marxism and Scientific Socialism: From En-

Gould shared similar views regarding a heuristic role for
gels to Althusser (London: Routledge, 2008).
dialectical materialism. He wrote that“dialectical think-
ing should be taken more seriously by Western scholars, [3] Jordan, p. 167.

[4] T. J. Blakeley (ed.), Themes in Soviet Marxist Philosophy [26]“It is in this dialectic as it is here understood, that is, in
(Dordrecht: Reidel, 1975), p. 29. the grasping of oppositions in their unity, or of the posi-
tive in the negative, that speculative thought consists. It is
[5] Pascal Charbonnat, Histoire des philosophies matérialistes, the most important aspect of dialectic.”Hegel, Science of
Syllepse, 2007, p. 477. Logic, § 69, (p 56 in the Miller edition)

[6] “Karl Kautsky: Frederick Engels (1887)". [27]“The splitting of a single whole and the cognition of its
2003-11-23. Retrieved 2012-08-09. contradictory parts is the essence (one of the“essentials”
, one of the principal, if not the principal, characteristics
[7] For instance, Plekhanov, The development of the monist or features) of dialectics. That is precisely how Hegel, too,
view of history (1895) puts the matter.”Lenin's Collected Works VOLUME 38,
p359: On the question of dialectics.
[8] as discussed in his 1938 article, Dialectical and Historical
Materialism [28] cf, for instance. 'The Doctrine of Flux and the Unity of
Opposites' in the 'Heraclitus' entry in the Internet Encyclo-
[9] Joseph Needham, Moulds of Understanding (London: pedia of Philosophy
George Allen & Unwin, 1976), p. 278.
[29]“The sudden conversion into a change of quality of a
[10] Sperber, Jonathan (2013), Karl Marx: A Nineteenth- change which was apparently merely quantitative had al-
Century Life, W.W. Norton & Co. ready attracted the attention of the ancients who illus-
trated in popular examples the contradiction arising from
[11] Hunt, Tristram (2009), Marx's General: The Revolution-
ignorance of this fact; they are familiar under the names
ary Life of Friedrich Engels, Metropolitan/Henry Holt &
of ‘the bald’and ‘the heap’. These elenchi are, ac-
cording to Aristotle's explanation, ways in which one is
[12] Bhaskar 1979 compelled to say the opposite of what one had previously
[13] Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, ed. hegel/works/hl/hl333.htm#0719. Hegel, Science of Logic,
Frederick Engels (New York: Modern Library, no date, § 718ff, (p 335 in the Miller edition. See also pp. 368-
first published 1906), p. 25. 70.)

[14] Marx, p. 25. [30] c.f. a fascination with transitions between rarefaction
and condensation. Guthrie, W.K.C. “The Milesians:
[15] K. Marx and F. Engels, The Holy Family (Moscow: For- Anaximenes.”A History of Greek Philosophy. Cambridge:
eign Languages Publishing House, 1956), p. 107. Cambridge University Press, 1962. 116.

[16] Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy (London: Martin [31] Carneiro, R.L. (2000). The transition from quantity to
Lawrence, [1936]), p. 102. quality: A neglected causal mechanism in accounting for
social evolution. Proceedings of The National Academy of
[17] Angus Taylor, “The Significance of Darwinian Theory Sciences. Vol 97, No.23, pp.12926 - 12931. http://www.
for Marx and Engels”, Philosophy of the Social Sciences
19 (1989), 409–423.
[32] Marx, Capital, ch. 32, 837.
[18] Ernest Mandel, Introduction to Karl Marx, Capital, Vol.
1 (Harmondsworth, U.K.: Penguin, 1976), p. 18. [33] Biel,R. and Mu-Jeong Kho (2009)“The Issue of Energy
within a Dialectical Approach to the Regulationist Prob-
[19] Jordan (1967). lematique,”Recherches & Régulation Working Papers,
RR Série ID 2009-1, Association Recherche & Régula-
[20] Alfred Schmidt, The Concept of Nature in Marx (London: tion: 1-21.” (PDF). 2009-
NLB, 1971). 11-23. Retrieved 2013-11-09.

[21] Paul Thomas, “Marx and Science”, Political Studies 24 [34] “Lenin's Summary of Hegel's Dialectics (Lenin's Col-
(1976), 1-23. lected Works Vol. 38, pp. 221–222)". Re-
trieved 2012-08-09.
[22] Terrell Carver, Engels: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2003). [35] Lenin : On the Question of Dialectics

[23] Sebastiano Timpanaro, On Materialism (London: NLB, [36] Frederick Engels. “Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of
1975). Classical German Philosophy”. Retrieved
[24] Ted Benton, ed., The Greening of Marxism (New York:
Guilford Press, 1996). [37] Louis Althusser,“Marx and Freud”, in Writings on Psy-
choanalysis, Stock/IMEC, 1993 (French edition)
[25] Engels, F. (7th ed., 1973). Dialectics of nature (Transla-
tor, Clements Dutt). New York: International Publishers. [38] Loren R. Graham, Science, Philosophy, and Human Be-
(Original work published 1940). See also Dialectics of havior in the Soviet Union (New York: Columbia Univer-
Nature sity Press, 1987).

[39] Beatty, J. (2009).“Lewontin, Richard”. In Michael Ruse направления" - The author traces the struggle be-
& Joseph Travis. Evolution: The First Four Billion Years. tween materialism and idealism on the basis of the
Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Har- dialectical-materialist conception of the history of
vard University Press. p. 685. ISBN 978-0-674-03175-3. philosophy. The book was in 1979 awarded the
[40] Gould, Stephen Jay (1990). “Nurturing Nature”. In …
Plekhanov prize under the decision of the USSR
. An Urchin in the Storm: Essays About Books and Ideas. Academy of Sciences.
London: Penguin. p. 153.
• Materialism And Historical Materialism, Anton Pan-
[41] Gould, S.J. (1990), p.154 nekoek

[42] Gould, Stephen Jay, & Eldredge, Niles (1977). “Punctu- • Grant, Ted; Woods, Alan (1995), Reason in Revolt,
ated equilibria: the tempo and mode of evolution recon- Marxist Philosophy and Modern Science, London:
sidered.” Paleobiology 3 (2): 115-151. (p.145) Wellred, ISBN 978-1-900007-00-9 text replication
[43] Gould, S. J., & Eldredge, N. (1977) p.146
• Grant, Ted; Woods, Alan (2003), Dialectical Philos-
[44] Gould, S. J. (1995).“Stephen Jay Gould:“The Pattern of ophy and Modern Science, Reason in Revolt, Vol.2
Life's History"". In Brockman, J. The Third Culture. New (American ed.), Algora Publishing, ISBN 0-87586-
York: Simon and Schuster. p. 60. ISBN 0-684-80359-3.
158-X, retrieved 26 September 2010
[45] Gould, Stephen Jay (2002). The Structure of Evolutionary
• Hollitscher, Walter (March 1953),“Dialectical Ma-
Theory. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press
of Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-674-00613-5. In
terialism and the Physicist”, Bulletin of the Atomic
his account of one ad hominem absurdity, Gould states on Scientists 9 (2): 54–57, retrieved 26 September 2010
p. 984 “I swear that I do not exaggerate”regarding the
• Lefebvre, Henri; John Sturrock (translator) (2009),
accusations of a Marxist plot.
Dialectical Materialism, Minneapolis, Minnesota:
University of Minnesota Press, ISBN 978-0-8166-
1.2.11 Further reading 5618-9, retrieved 26 September 2010 First pub-
lished 1940 by Presses Universitaires de France, as
• Dialectical Materialism, Alexander Spirkin Le Matérialisme Dialectique. First English transla-
tion published 1968 by Jonathan Cape Ltd.
• Spirkin, Alexander (1990). Fundamentals of Phi-
losophy (DjVu, PDF, etc.). Moscow: Progress Pub- • History and Class Consciousness, György Lukács
lishers. ISBN 5-01-002582-5. Retrieved 2011-01- • Ioan, Petru “Logic and Dialectics”A.I. Cuza Uni-
22 This systematic exposition of dialectical and his- versity Press, Iaşi 1998.
torical materialism was awarded a prize at a com-
petition of textbooks for students of higher educa- • Jameson, Fredric. Valences of the Dialectic. London
tional establishments; first published in Russian as and New York: Verso, 2009.
"Основы философии".
• The Origins of Dialectical Materialism, Z.A. Jordan
• Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German • Dialectics For Kids
Philosophy, Friedrich Engels
• Dialectical Materialism: Its Laws, Categories, and
• Anti-Dühring, Friedrich Engels Practice, Ira Gollobin, Petras Press, NY, 1986.
• Dialectics of Nature, Friedrich Engels • Dialectics for the New Century, ed. Bertell Oll-
man and Tony Smith, Palgrave Macmillan, England,
• Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, V.I. Lenin
• On the Question of Dialectics, V.I. Lenin • (French) Eftichios Bitsakis, Physique contemporaine
• Dialectical and Historical Materialism, Joseph Stalin et matérialisme dialectique, Éditions Sociales, 1973.
• Rosa Lichtenstein's criticism of dialectical material-
• On the Materialist Dialectic, Louis Althusser
• Dialectical Materialism, V.G. Afanasyev
• Oizerman : Dialectical Materialism and the History
• Oizerman T.I.; H. Campbell Creighton, M.A. of Philosophy
(translator, Oxon) (1988), The main Trends in Phi- • Afanasyev : Marxist Philosophy (Chapter 4 to
losophy. A Theoretical Analysis of the History of Chapter 9)
Philosophy., Moscow: Progress Publishers, ISBN
5-01-000506-9, retrieved 30 October 2010 First • Philosophy in the USSR: Problems of Dialectical
published in 1971, as "Главные философские Materialism

• (French) Pascal Charbonnat, Histoire des philoso- philosophy: “The philosophers have only interpreted
phies matérialistes, Syllepse, 2007 (ISBN 978- the world, in various ways; the point is to change it”.
2849501245) (second edition, Kimé, 2013) If this claim (which Marx originally intended as a criti-
• Bertell Ollman, Dance of the Dialectic: Steps in cism of German Idealism and the more moderate Young
Marx's Method Hegelians) is still more or less the case in the 21st century,
as many Marxists would claim, then Marxist theory is in
• Biel, R. and Mu-Jeong Kho (2009), The Issue of fact the practical continuation of the philosophical tradi-
Energy within a Dialectical Approach to the Regu- tion, while much of philosophy is still politically irrele-
lationist Problematique,”Recherches & Régulation vant. Many critics, both philosophers outside Marxism
Working Papers, RR Série ID 2009-1, Association and some Marxist philosophers, feel that this is too quick
Recherche & Régulation: 1-21. a dismissal of the post-Marxian philosophical tradition.
Much sophisticated and important thought has taken
• (French) Évariste Sanchez-Palencia, Promenade di-
place after the writing of Marx and Engels; much or
alectique dans les sciences, Hermann, 476p., 2012
perhaps even all of it has been influenced, subtly or
(ISBN 978-2705682729)
overtly, by Marxism. Simply dismissing all philoso-
• Tucker, Robert, Philosophy and Myth in Karl Marx phy as sophistry might condemn Marxism to a simplis-
(Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University tic empiricism or economism, crippling it in practice and
Press, 1961). making it comically simplistic at the level of theory.
Nonetheless, the force of Marx's opposition to Hegelian
idealism and to any“philosophy”divorced from political
1.3 Marxist philosophy practice remains powerful even to a contemporary reader.
Marxist and Marx-influenced 20th century theory, such
as (to name a few random examples) the critical theory
Marxist philosophy or Marxist theory are works in
of the Frankfurt School, the political writing of Antonio
philosophy that are strongly influenced by Karl Marx's
Gramsci, and the neo-Marxism of Fredric Jameson, must
materialist approach to theory, or works written by
take Marx's condemnation of philosophy into account,
Marxists. Marxist philosophy may be broadly divided
but many such thinkers also feel a strong need to remedy
into Western Marxism, which drew out of various
the perceived theoretical problems with orthodox Marx-
sources, and the official philosophy in the Soviet Union,
which enforced a rigid reading of Marx called dialectical
materialism, in particular during the 1930s. Such problems might include a too-simple economic de-
terminism, an untenable theory of ideology as "false con-
Marxist philosophy is not a strictly defined sub-field of
sciousness,”or a simplistic model of state power rather
philosophy, because the diverse influence of Marxist
than hegemony. So Marxist philosophy must continue to
theory has extended into fields as varied as aesthetics,
take account of advances in the theory of politics devel-
ethics, ontology, epistemology, theoretical psychology
oped after Marx, but it must also be wary of a descent
and philosophy of science, as well as its obvious influ-
into theoreticism or the temptations of idealism.
ence on political philosophy and the philosophy of his-
tory. The key characteristics of Marxism in philosophy Étienne Balibar claimed that if one philosopher could
are its materialism and its commitment to political prac- be called a “Marxist philosopher”, that one would
tice as the end goal of all thought. doubtlessly be Louis Althusser:
Marxist theorist Louis Althusser, for example, defined
philosophy as "class struggle in theory”, thus radically Althusser proposed a 'new definition' of
separating himself from those who claimed philosophers philosophy as “class struggle in theory”...
could adopt a "God's eye view" as a purely neutral judge. marxism had proper signification (and original
“problematic”) only insofar as it was the the-
ory of the tendency towards communism, and
1.3.1 Marxism and philosophy in view of its realization. The criteria of ac-
ceptation or rejectal of a 'marxist' proposition
The philosopher Étienne Balibar wrote in 1993 that was always the same, whether it was presented
“there is no Marxist philosophy and there never will be; as 'epistemological' or as 'philosophical': it was
on the other hand, Marx is more important for philosophy in the act of rendering intelligible a communist
than ever before.”* [1] So even the existence of Marx- policy, or not.”(Ecrits pour Althusser, 1991,
ist philosophy is debatable (the answer may depend on p.98).
what is meant by “philosophy,”a complicated question
in itself). Balibar's remark is intended to explain the sig- However,“Althusser never ceased to put in question the
nificance of the final line of Karl Marx's 11 Theses on images of communism that Marxist theory and ideology
Feuerbach (1845), which can be read as an epitaph for carried on: but he did it in the name of communism

itself.”Althusser thus criticized the evolutionist image ing Louis Napoleon Bonaparte's 1851 coup and then after
which made of communism an ultimate stage of history, the crushing of the 1871 Paris Commune, Marx's thought
as well as the apocalyptic images which made it a“society transformed itself.
of transparence”,“without contradiction”nor ideology. Marxism's philosophical roots were thus commonly ex-
Balibar observes that, in the end, Althusser enjoined the plained as derived from three sources: English political
most sober definition of communism, exposed by Marx economy, French republicanism and radicalism, and Ger-
in The German Ideology: Communism is “not a state of man idealist philosophy. Although this “three sources”
the future, but the real movement which destroys the exist- model is an oversimplification, it still has some measure
ing state of being.”.
of truth.
On the other hand, Costanzo Preve (1990) has assigned
1.3.2 The Philosophy of Marx four “masters”to Marx: Epicurus (to whom he dedi-
cated his thesis, Difference of natural philosophy between
Democritus and Epicurus, 1841) for his materialism and
theory of clinamen which opened up a realm of liberty;
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, from which come his idea of
egalitarian democracy; Adam Smith, from whom came
the idea that the grounds of property is labour; and finally
“Vulgar Marxism”(or codified dialectical materialism)
was seen as little other than a variety of economic deter-
minism, with the alleged determination of the ideological
superstructure by the economical infrastructure. This
positivist reading, which mostly based itself on Engels'
latter writings in an attempt to theorize "scientific so-
cialism" (an expression coined by Engels) has been chal-
lenged by Marxist theorists, such as Lukacs, Gramsci, Al-
thusser or, more recently, Étienne Balibar.


See also: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was an important figure in theMarx develops a comprehensive, theoretical understand-
development of Marxism. ing of political reality early in his intellectual and activist
career by means of a critical adoption and radicalization
There are endless interpretations of the “philosophy of of the categories of 18th and 19th century German Ideal-
Marx”, from the interior of the Marxist movement as ist thought. Of particular importance is Hegel's appropri-
well as in its exterior. Although some have separated ation of Aristotle's organicist and essentialist categories in
Marx's works between a "young Marx" (in particular the the light of Kant's transcendental turn.* [2]
Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844) and a
“mature Marx”or also by separating it into purely philo- Marx builds on four contributions Hegel makes to our
philosophical understanding. They are: (1) the replace-
sophical works, economics works and political and histor-
ical interventions, Étienne Balibar (1993) has pointed out ment of mechanism and atomism with Aristotelean cat-
that Marx's works can be divided into“economic works” egories of organicism and essentialism, (2) the idea that
(Das Kapital, 1867),“philosophical works”and“histori- world history progresses through stages, (3) the differ-
cal works”(The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, ence between natural and historical (dialectical) change,
the 1871 Civil War in France which concerned the Paris and (4) the idea that dialectical change proceeds through
Commune and acclaimed it as the first "dictatorship of contradictions in the thing itself.
the proletariat", etc.) (1) Aristotelian Organicism and Essentialism
Marx's philosophy is thus inextricably linked to his (a) Hegel adopts the position that chance is not the basis
critique of political economy and to his historical in- of phenomena and that events are governed by laws.* [3]
terventions in the workers' movement, such as the 1875 Some have falsely attributed to Hegel the position that
Critique of the Gotha Program or The Communist Mani- phenomena are governed by transcendent, supersensible
festo, written with Engels (who was observing the Chartist ideas that ground them. On the contrary, Hegel argues
movement) a year before the Revolutions of 1848. Both for the organic unity between universal and particular.* [4]
after the defeat of the French socialist movement dur- Particulars are not mere token types of universals; rather,

they relate to each other as a part relates to a whole. This The process of natural development occurs in a relatively
latter has import for Marx's own conception of law and straight line from the germ to the fully realized being and
necessity. back to the germ again. Some accident from the outside
(b) In rejecting the idea that laws merely describe or in- might come along to interrupt this process of develop-
dependently ground phenomena, Hegel revives the Aris- ment, but if left to its own devices, it proceeds in a rela-
totlean position that law or principle is something implicit tively straightforward manner.
in a thing, a potentiality which is not actual but which is Society's historical development is internally more com-
in the process of becoming actual.* [4] This means that if plex.* [4] The transaction from potentiality to actuality is
we want to know the principle governing something, we mediated by consciousness and will.* [4] The essence re-
have to observe its typical life-process and figure out its alized in the development of human society is freedom,
characteristic behavior. Observing an acorn on its own, but freedom is precisely that ability to negate the smooth
we can never deduce that it is an oak tree. To figure out line of development and go off in novel, hitherto unfore-
what the acorn is - and also what the oak tree is - we have seen directions. As humankind's essence reveals itself,
to observe the line of development from one to the other. that revelation is at the same time the subversion of itself.
(c) The phenomena of history arise from a whole with Spirit is constantly at war with itself. [4] This appears as
an essence which undergoes transformation of form and the contradictions constituting the essence of Spirit.
which has an end or telos.* [5] For Hegel, the essence of (4) Contradiction
humanity is freedom, and the telos of that essence is the In the development of a natural thing, there is by and large
actualization of that freedom.* [4] Like Aristotle, Hegel no contradiction between the process of development and
believes the essence of a thing is revealed in the entire, the way that development must appear.* [9] So the transi-
typical process of development of that thing. Looked at tion from an acorn, to an oak, to an acorn again occurs in
purely formally, human society has a natural line of devel-
a relatively uninterrupted flow of the acorn back to itself
opment in accordance with its essence just like any other again. When change in the essence takes place, as it does
living thing. This process of development appears as a
in the process of evolution, we can understand the change
succession of stages of world history. mostly in mechanical terms using principles of genetics
(2) The Stages of World History and natural selection.
Human history passes through several stages, in each of The historical process, however, never attempts to pre-
which is materialized a higher level of human conscious- serve an essence in the first place.* [4] Rather, it develops
ness of freedom.* [4] Each stage also has its own prin- an essence through successive forms.* [4] This means that
ciple or law according to which it develops and lives in at any moment on the path of historical change, there is
accordance with this freedom.* [4] Yet the law is not free- a contradiction between what exists and what is in the
standing. It is delivered by means of the actions of men process of coming-to-be.* [4] The realization of a natu-
which spring from their needs, passions, and interests.* [4]ral thing like a tree is a process that by and large points
Teleology, according to Hegel, is not opposed to the effi- back toward itself: every step of the process takes place
cient causation provided by passion; on the contrary, the in order to reproduce the genus. In the historical process,
latter is the vehicle realizing the former.* [4] Hegel consis-
however, what exists, what is actual, is imperfect.* [10] It
tently lays more stress on passion than on the more histor- is inimical to the potential. What is trying to come into
ically specifiable interests of men.* [4] Marx will reverse existence - freedom - inherently negates everything pre-
this priority.* [4] ceding it and everything existing, since no actual exist-
(3) The Difference Between Natural and Historical ing human institution can possibly embody pure human
freedom. So the actual is both itself and its opposite (as
potential).* [4] And this potential (freedom) is never inert
Hegel distinguishes as Aristotle did not between the ap- but constantly exerts an impulse toward change.* [4]
plication of organic, essentialist categories to the realm
of human history and the realm of organic nature.* [6]
According to Hegel, human history strives toward per-
The rupture with German Idealism and the Young
fectibility, but nature does not.* [7] Marx deepens and ex-
pands this idea into the claim that humankind itself can
adapt society to its own purposes rather than adapting
themselves to it.* [4] Main articles: German Idealism and Young Hegelians

Natural and historical change, according to Hegel, have

two different kinds of essences.* [4] Organic natural enti- Marx did not study directly with Hegel, but after Hegel
ties develop through a straightforward process, relatively died Marx studied under one of Hegel's pupils, Bruno
simple to comprehend at least in outline.* [4] Historical Bauer, a leader of the circle of Young Hegelians to whom
development, however, is a more complex process.* [8] Marx attached himself. However, Marx and Engels came
Its specific difference is its “dialectical”character.* [4] to disagree with Bruno Bauer and the rest of the Young
Hegelians about socialism and also about the usage of

Hegel's dialectic. Having achieved his thesis on the Dif- alienation. Some critics have claimed that meant that
ference of natural philosophy between Democritus and Marx enforced a strict social determinism which de-
Epicurus in 1841, the young Marx progressively broke stroyed the possibility of free will.
away with the Prussian university and its teachings im-
pregnated by German Idealism (Kant, Fichte, Schelling
and Hegel). Criticisms of the “human rights” In the same way,
following Babeuf, considered as one of the founder of
Along with Engels, who observed the Chartist movement communism during the French Revolution, he criticized
in the United Kingdom, he cut away with the environ- the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Cit-
ment in which he grew up and encountered the proletariat izen as a “bourgeois declaration”of the rights of the
in France and Germany. He then wrote a scathing crit- “egoistic individual”, ultimately based on the “right to
icism of the Young Hegelians in two books, "The Holy private property”, which economism deduced from its
Family" (1845), and The German Ideology (1845), in own implicit“philosophy of the subject”, which asserts
which he criticized not only Bauer but also Max Stirner's the preeminence of an individual and universal subject
The Ego and Its Own (1844), considered as one of the over social relations. On the other hand, Marx also criti-
founding book of individualist anarchism. Max Stirner cized Bentham's utilitarianism.
claimed that all ideals were inherently alienating, and that
replacing God with Humanity, as did Ludwig Feuerbach Alongside Freud, Nietzsche, and Durkheim, Marx thus
in The Essence of Christianity (1841), was not sufficient. takes a place amongst the 19th century philosophers
According to Stirner, any ideals, God, Humanity, the who criticized this pre-eminence of the subject and its
Nation, or even the Revolution alienated the “Ego”. consciousness.* [11] Instead, Marx saw consciousness as
Marx also criticized Proudhon, who had become famous political. According to Marx, the recognition of these in-
with his cry "Property is theft!", in The Poverty of Philos- dividual rights was the result of the universal extension of
ophy (1845). market relations to all of society and to all of the world,
first through the primitive accumulation of capital (in-
Marx's early writings are thus a response towards Hegel, cluding the first period of European colonialism) and then
German Idealism and a break with the rest of the Young through the globalization of the capitalist sphere. Such in-
Hegelians. Marx, “stood Hegel on his head,”in his dividual rights were the symmetric of the “right for the
own view of his role, by turning the idealistic dialectic labourer”to“freely”sell his labor force on the market-
into a materialistic one, in proposing that material cir- place through juridical contracts, and worked in the same
cumstances shape ideas, instead of the other way around. time as an ideological means to discompose the collective
In this, Marx was following the lead of Feuerbach. His grouping of producers required by the Industrial Revolu-
theory of alienation, developed in the Economic and tion: thus, in the same time that the Industrial Era re-
Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 (published in 1932), quires masses to concentrate themselves in factories and
inspired itself from Feuerbach's critique of the alienation in cities, the individualist, “bourgeois”ideology sepa-
of Man in God through the objectivation of all his inher- rated themselves as competing homo economicus.
ent characteristics (thus man projected on God all quali-
ties which are in fact man's own quality which defines the Marx's critique of the ideology of the human rights
"human nature"). thus departs from the counterrevolutionary critique by
Edmund Burke, who dismissed the “rights of Man”in
But Marx also criticized Feuerbach for being insuffi- favour of the“rights of the individual": it is not grounded
ciently materialistic, as Stirner himself had pointed out, on an opposition to the Enlightenment's universalism and
and explained that the alienation described by the Young humanist project on behalf of the right of tradition, as
Hegelians was in fact the result of the structure of the in Burke's case, but rather on the claim that the ideol-
economy itself. Furthermore, he criticized Feuerbach's ogy of economism and the ideology of the human rights
conception of human nature in his sixth thesis on Feuer- are the reverse sides of the same coin. However, as Éti-
bach as an abstract“kind”which incarnated itself in each enne Balibar puts it, “the accent put on those contradic-
singular individual: “Feuerbach resolves the essence of tions can not not ring out on the signification of 'human
religion into the essence of man (menschliche Wesen, hu- rights', since these therefore appears both as the language
man nature). But the essence of man is no abstraction in which exploitation masks itself and as the one in which
inherent in each single individual. In reality, it is the en- the exploited class struggle express itself: more than a
semble of the social relations.” truth or an illusion, it is therefore a stake".* [12] Das Kap-
Thereupon, instead of founding itself on the singu- ital ironizes on the “pompous catalogue of the human
lar, concrete individual subject, as did classic philoso- rights”in comparison to the “modest Magna Charta of
phy, including contractualism (Hobbes, John Locke and a day work limited by law":
Rousseau) but also political economy, Marx began with
the totality of social relations: labour, language and all The creation of a normal working-day is,
which constitute our human existence. He claimed that therefore, the product of a protracted civil war,
individualism was the result of commodity fetishism or more or less dissembled, between the capital-
ist class and the working-class... It must be ac-

knowledged that our labourer comes out of the no less ahistorical and idealist than what it purported
process of production other than he entered. In to replace, namely the reified notion of God found in
the market he stood as owner of the commod- institutional Christianity that legitimized the repressive
ity“labour-power”face to face with other own- power of the Prussian state. Instead, Marx aspired to give
ers of commodities, dealer against dealer. The ontological priority to what he called the “real life pro-
contract by which he sold to the capitalist his cess”of real human beings, as he and Engels said in The
labour-power proved, so to say, in black and German Ideology (1846):
white that he disposed of himself freely. The
bargain concluded, it is discovered that he was In direct contrast to German philosophy,
no “free agent,”that the time for which he which descends from heaven to earth, here we
is free to sell his labour-power is the time for ascend from earth to heaven. That is to say,
which he is forced to sell it, that in fact the vam- we do not set out from what men say, imagine,
pire will not lose its hold on him “so long as conceive, nor from men as narrated, thought
there is a muscle, a nerve, a drop of blood to be of, imagined, conceived, in order to arrive at
exploited.”For“protection”against“the ser- men in the flesh. We set out from real, active
pent of their agonies,”the labourers must put men, and on the basis of their real life pro-
their heads together, and, as a class, compel the cess we demonstrate the development of the
passing of a law, an all-powerful social barrier ideological reflexes and echoes of this life pro-
that shall prevent the very workers from selling, cess. The phantoms formed in the human brain
by voluntary contract with capital, themselves are also, necessarily, sublimates of their ma-
and their families into slavery and death. In terial life process, which is empirically verifi-
place of the pompous catalogue of the“inalien- able and bound to material premises. Moral-
able rights of man”comes the modest Magna ity, religion, metaphysics, all the rest of ide-
Charta of a legally limited working-day, which ology and their corresponding forms of con-
shall make clear “when the time which the sciousness, thus no longer retain the semblance
worker sells is ended, and when his own be- of independence. They have no history, no de-
gins. Quantum mutatus ab illo![How changed velopment; but men, developing their material
from what he/it was!]"* [13] production and their material intercourse, al-
ter, along with this, their real existence, their
But the communist revolution does not end with thinking, and the products of their thinking.
the negation of individual liberty and equality Life is not determined by consciousness, but
("collectivism"* [14]), but with the “negation of consciousness by life.
the negation": “individual property”in the capitalist
regime is in fact the “expropriation of the immediate Also, in his Theses on Feuerbach (1845), in which the
producers.”“Self-earned private property, that is young Marx broke with Feuerbach's idealism, he writes
based, so to say, on the fusing together of the isolated, that “the philosophers have only described the world, in
independent laboring-individual with the conditions of various ways, the point is to change it,”and his materialist
his labor, is supplanted by capitalistic private property, approach allows for and empowers such change. This op-
which rests on exploitation of the nominally free labor position between various subjective interpretations given
of others, i.e., on wage-labor... The capitalist mode by philosophers, which may be, in a sense, compared
of appropriation, the result of the capitalist mode of with Weltanschauung designed to legitimize the current
production, produces capitalist private property. This state of affairs, and effective transformation of the world
is the first negation of individual private property, as through praxis, which combines theory and practice in a
founded on the labor of the proprietor. But capitalist materialist way, is what distinguish “Marxist philoso-
production begets, with the inexorability of a law of phers”with the rest of philosophers.
Nature, its own negation. It is the negation of negation.
This does not re-establish private property for the Indeed, Marx's break with German Idealism involves a
producer, but gives him individual property based on the new definition of philosophy; Louis Althusser, founder
acquisition of the capitalist era: i.e., on co-operation and of "Structural Marxism" in the 1960s, would define it as
the possession in common of the land and of the means "class struggle in theory”. Marx's movement away from
of production.* [15] university philosophy and towards the workers' movement
is thus inextricably linked to his rupture with his earlier
writings, which pushed Marxist commentators to speak
Criticisms of Feuerbach Main articles: Ludwig of a “young Marx”and a “mature Marx”, although
Feuerbach and Marx's theory of alienation the nature of this cut poses problems.
A year before the Revolutions of 1848, Marx and En-
What distinguished Marx from Feuerbach was his view gels thus wrote The Communist Manifesto, which was
of Feuerbach's humanism as excessively abstract, and so prepared to an imminent revolution, and ended with

the famous cry: "Proletarians of all countries, unite!". stage in the development of their material
However, Marx's thought changed again following Louis- forces of production. The totality of these re-
Napoleon Bonaparte's December 2, 1851 coup, which lations of production constitutes the economic
put an end to the French Second Republic and created the structure of society, the real foundation, on
Second Empire which would last until the 1870 Franco- which arises a legal and political superstructure
Prussian War. and to which correspond definite forms of so-
Marx thereby modified his theory of alienation exposed in cial consciousness. The mode of production of
the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 and material life conditions the general process of
social, political and intellectual life. It is not
would later arrive to his theory of commodity fetishism,
exposed in the first chapter of the first book of Das Kap- the consciousness of men that determines their
existence, but their social existence that deter-
ital (1867). This abandonment of the early theory of
alienation would be amply discussed, and several Marxist mines their consciousness.
theorists, including Marxist humanists such as the Praxis
School, would return to it. Others, such as Althusser, In this brief popularization of his ideas, Marx emphasized
would claim that the "epistemological break" between the that social development sprang from the inherent contra-
“young Marx”and the“mature Marx”was such that no dictions within material life and the social superstructure.
comparisons could be done between both works, marking This notion is often understood as a simple historical nar-
a shift to a “scientific theory”of society. rative: primitive communism had developed into slave
states. Slave states had developed into feudal societies.
In 1844-5, when Marx was starting to settle his account
Those societies in turn became capitalist states, and those
with Hegel and the Young Hegelians in his writings, he
states would be overthrown by the self-conscious portion
critiqued the Young Hegelians for limiting the horizon of
of their working-class, or proletariat, creating the condi-
their critique to religion and not taking up the critique of
tions for socialism and, ultimately, a higher form of com-
the state and civil society as paramount. Indeed in 1844,
munism than that with which the whole process began.
by the look of Marx's writings in that period (most famous
Marx illustrated his ideas most prominently by the devel-
of which is the "Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts
opment of capitalism from feudalism, and by the predic-
of 1844", a text that most explicitly elaborated his theory
tion of the development of socialism from capitalism.
of alienation), Marx's thinking could have taken at least
three possible courses: the study of law, religion, and the The base-superstructure and stadialist formulations in
state; the study of natural philosophy; and the study of the 1859 preface took on canonical status in the subse-
political economy. quent development of orthodox Marxism, in particular in
dialectical materialism (diamat, as it was known in the
He chose the last as the predominant focus of his studies
Soviet Union). They also gave way to a vulgar Marxism
for the rest of his life, largely on account of his previ-
as plain economic determinism (or economism), which
ous experience as the editor of the newspaper Rheinische
has been criticized by various Marxist theorists. “Vul-
Zeitung on whose pages he fought for freedom of expres-
gar Marxism”was seen as little other than a variety
sion against Prussian censorship and made a rather ide-
of economic determinism, with the alleged determina-
alist, legal defense for the Moselle peasants' customary
tion of the ideological superstructure by the economical
right of collecting wood in the forest (this right was at the
infrastructure. However, this positivist reading, which
point of being criminalized and privatized by the state).
mostly based itself on Engels' latter writings in an attempt
It was Marx's inability to penetrate beneath the legal and
to theorize "scientific socialism" (an expression coined by
polemical surface of the latter issue to its materialist, eco-
Engels) has been challenged by Marxist theorists, such as
nomic, and social roots that prompted him to critically
Antonio Gramsci or Althusser.
study political economy.
Some believe that Marx regarded them merely as a short-
hand summary of his huge ongoing work-in-progress
Historical materialism Main articles: Historical (which was only published posthumously over a hun-
materialism and Dialectical materialism dred years later as Grundrisse). These sprawling, volumi-
nous notebooks that Marx put together for his research
Marx summarized the materialistic aspect of his the- on political economy, particularly those materials asso-
ory of history, otherwise known as historical materialism ciated with the study of “primitive communism”and
(this term was coined by Engels and popularised by Karl pre-capitalist communal production, in fact, show a more
Kautsky and Georgi Plekhanov), in the 1859 preface to radical turning “Hegel on his head”than heretofore ac-
A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy: knowledged by most mainstream Marxists and Marxiol-
In the social production of their existence, In lieu of the Enlightenment belief in historical progress
men inevitably enter into definite relations, and stages espoused by Hegel (often in a racist,
which are independent of their will, namely Eurocentric manner, as in his Lectures on the Philosophy
relations of production appropriate to a given of History), Marx pursues in these research notes a decid-

edly empirical approach to analyzing historical changes “freedom,”and “human potential”are pure ideology,
and different modes of production, emphasizing without or theoretical versions of the bourgeois economic order.
forcing them into a teleological paradigm the rich vari- They feel that such concepts can only condemn Marxism
eties of communal productions throughout the world and to theoretical self-contradictions which may also hurt it
the critical importance of collective working-class antag- politically.
onism in the development of capitalism.
Moreover, Marx's rejection of the necessity of bour-
geois revolution and appreciation of the obschina, the 1.3.4 Key works and authors
communal land system, in Russia in his letter to Vera
Zasulich; respect for the egalitarian culture of North • the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels:
African Muslim commoners found in his letters from especially the earlier writings such as The 1844
Algeria; and sympathetic and searching investigation of Manuscripts, The German Ideology and "Theses on
the global commons and indigenous cultures and prac- Feuerbach,” but also the Grundrisse, Das Kapital and
tices in his notebooks, including the Ethnological Note- other works inspired
books that he kept during his last years, all point to a his-
torical Marx who was continuously developing his ideas • V.I. Lenin
until his deathbed and does not fit into any pre-existing
ideological straitjacket. • Lev Trotsky

• Rosa Luxemburg
1.3.3 Differences within Marxist philoso-
• Karl Korsch
• Georg Lukács: History and Class Consciousness de-
Some varieties of Marxist philosophy are strongly influ-
veloped the theory of ideology to include a more
enced by Hegel, emphasizing totality and even teleology:
complex model of class consciousness
for example, the work of Georg Lukács, whose influ-
ence extends to contemporary thinkers like Fredric Jame- • Antonio Gramsci
son. Others consider “totality”merely another version
of Hegel's “spirit,”and thus condemn it as a crippling, • Laszlo Garai
secret idealism.
Theodor Adorno, a leading philosopher of the Frankfurt • Ernst Bloch
School, who was strongly influenced by Hegel, tried to
take a middle path between these extremes: Adorno con- • The Frankfurt School, esp. Theodor Adorno,
tradicted Hegel's motto “the true is the whole”with his Herbert Marcuse and Jürgen Habermas
new version, “the whole is the false,”but he wished to
preserve critical theory as a negative, oppositional version • Walter Benjamin
of the utopia described by Hegel's “spirit.”Adorno be-
• Bertolt Brecht
lieved in totality and human potential as ends to be striven
for, but not as certainties.
• Socialisme ou Barbarie (Cornelius Castoriadis,
The status of humanism in Marxist thought has been Claude Lefort, etc.)
quite contentious. Many Marxists, especially Hegelian
Marxists and also those committed to political programs • Louis Althusser and his students (e.g. Étienne
(such as many Communist Parties), have been strongly Balibar, Alain Badiou, Jacques Rancière, Pierre
humanist. These humanist Marxists believe that Marx- Macherey)
ism describes the true potential of human beings, and
that this potential can be fulfilled in collective free- • Praxis school
dom after the Communist revolution has removed cap-
italism's constraints and subjugations of humanity. A • Situationist International
particular version of the humanism within the marxism
is represented by the school of Lev Vygotsky and his • Fredric Jameson
school in theoretical psychology (Alexis Leontiev, Laszlo
Garai* [16]). The Praxis school based its theory on the • Antonio Negri and autonomist Marxism
writings of the young Marx, emphasizing the humanist
• Helmut Reichelt
and dialectical aspects thereof.
However, other Marxists, especially those influenced by • Slavoj Žižek
Louis Althusser, are just as strongly anti-humanist. Anti-
humanist Marxists believe that ideas like “humanity,” • Mao Zedong

1.3.5 See also 1.3.7 Bibliography

• Category:Marxist theorists and List of contributors • Balibar, Étienne, The Philosophy of Marx. Verso,
to Marxist theory 1995 (French edition: La philosophie de Marx, La
Découverte, Repères, 1991)
• Critical theory
• Bottomore, Thomas, ed.. A Dictionary of Marxist
• Dialectical materialism Thought. Blackwell, 1991.
• Frankfurt School's critical theory
• Freudo-Marxism 1.4 Marx's method
• Marxist sociology
Various Marxist authors have focused on Marx's
• Neo-Marxism method of analysis and presentation (historical material-
• Orthodox Marxism ist and logically dialectical) as key factors both in under-
standing the range and incisiveness of Karl Marx's the-
• Post-Marxism oretical writing in general and Das Kapital in particular.
One of the clearest and most instructive examples of this
• Analytical Marxism is his discussion of the value-form, which acts as a pri-
• Rethinking Marxism, a review mary guide or key to understanding the logical argument
as it develops throughout the volumes of Das Kapital.
Marx himself presents a simplified explanation in the Ap-
1.3.6 References pendix to the first German edition of Das Kapital pub-
lished in English translation in Capital & Class. The need
[1] Étienne Balibar, 1993. La philosophie de Marx, La Dé-
couverte, Repères (English edition, The Philosophy of
for this appendix was suggested by Engels* [1] and there is
Marx. Verso, 1995) an exchange of correspondence* [1]* [2]* [3]* [4] concern-
ing its purpose and form.
[2] Meikle, Essentialism in the Thought of Karl Marx, Open
Court Publishing Company (1985), 30.
1.4.1 Readings on Marx’s method
[3] Ibid, 31.

[4] Ibid. • Henryk Grossman focussed considerable effort in

often difficult circumstances in pursuing fundamen-
[5] Ibid, 32. tal research into Marx’s method. His studies re-
[6] Ibid, 33. sulted amongst others in his masterwork: The Law
of Accumulation and the breakdown of the Capitalist
[7] Ibid, 34. System: Being also a theory of crises Pluto 1992.
[8] Ibid, 35. • Evald Ilyenkov The Dialectics of the Abstract and the
[9] Ibid, 36.
Concrete in Marx's Capital Progress Moscow 1982

[10] Ibid, 37. • Franz Jakubowski in his Ideology and Superstructure

in Historical Materialism Pluto 1990
[11] ; See section on“The
Individual and Society.” • Karl Korsch Three Essays on Marxism Pluto 1971
and Marxism and Philosophy Monthly Review 1970
[12] Étienne Balibar, The Philosophy of Marx, 1993, p.74 orig-
inal edition • György Lukács in "What is Orthodox Marxism?",
defined orthodoxy as the fidelity to the “Marxist
[13] Karl Marx, Das Kapital, chapter X, section 7
[14] Louis Dumont argued that Marx represented exacerbated
individualism instead of holism as the popular interpreta- • Geoffrey Pilling Marx’s Capital: Philosophy and
tion of Marxism as “collectivism”would have it political economy RKP 1980

[15] Karl Marx, Das Kapital, chapter XXXII, section 1 • Roman Rosdolsky particularly in The Making of
Marx's Capital Pluto 1980
[16] Interview with Laszlo Garai on the Activity Theory of
Alexis Leontiev and his own Theory of Social Identity as • Isaak Illich Rubin Essays on Marx’
s Theory of Value
referred to the meta-theory of Lev Vygotsky. Journal of Black & Red 1972
Russian and East European Psychology, vol. 50, no. 1,
January–February 2012, pp. 50–64 • Jindřich Zelený The Logic of Marx Blackwell 1980

1.4.2 References those related to capital accumulation and the business cy-
cle, such as creative destruction, have been fitted for use
[1] Engels to Marx, June 16, 1867 Letters on ‘Capital’ in capitalist systems.
[2] Marx to Engels, June 22, 1867 Letters on ‘Capital’ Marx's magnum opus on political economy was Das Kap-
ital (Capital: A Critique of Political Economy) in three
[3] Engels to Marx, June 24, 1867 Letters on ‘Capital’ volumes, of which only the first volume was published
in his lifetime (1867); the others were published by
[4] Marx to Engels, June 27, 1867 Letters on ‘Capital’
Friedrich Engels from Marx's notes. One of Marx's early
works, Critique of Political Economy, was mostly incor-
Bibliography porated into Das Kapital, especially the beginning of vol-
ume 1. Marx's notes made in preparation for writing Das
• Marx, Karl & Engels, Frederick 1983 Letters on Kapital were published in 1939 under the title Grundrisse.
‘Capital’ New Park
1.5.1 Marx's response to classical eco-
1.4.3 External links nomics

• Appendix to the first German edition Marx's economics took as its starting point the work of
the best-known economists of his day, the British classi-
cal economists Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, and David
1.5 Marxian economics
Smith, in The Wealth of Nations (1776), argued that
the most important characteristic of a market economy
Marxian economics or the Marxian school of eco- was that it permitted a rapid growth in productive abil-
nomics refers to a school of economic thought tracing its ities. Smith claimed that a growing market stimulated
foundations to the critique of classical political economy a greater "division of labor" (i.e., specialization of busi-
first expounded upon by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. nesses and/or workers) and this, in turn, led to greater
Marxian economics refers to several different theories productivity. Although Smith generally said little about
and includes multiple schools of thought which are some- laborers, he did note that an increased division of labor
times opposed to each other, and in many cases Marxian could at some point cause harm to those whose jobs be-
analysis is used to complement or supplement other eco- came narrower and narrower as the division of labor ex-
nomic approaches.* [1] Because one does not necessarily panded. Smith maintained that a laissez-faire economy
have to be politically Marxist to be economically Marx- would naturally correct itself over time.
ian, the two adjectives coexist in usage rather than being
synonymous. They share a semantic field while also al- Marx followed Smith by claiming that the most impor-
lowing connotative and denotative differences. tant beneficial economic consequence of capitalism was
a rapid growth in productivity abilities. Marx also ex-
Marxian economics concerns itself variously with the
panded greatly on the notion that laborers could come
analysis of crisis in capitalism, the role and distribution to harm as capitalism became more productive. Addi-
of the surplus product and surplus value in various types
tionally, in Theories of Surplus Value, Marx noted, “We
of economic systems, the nature and origin of economic see the great advance made by Adam Smith beyond the
value, the impact of class and class struggle on economic
Physiocrats in the analysis of surplus-value and hence of
and political processes, and the process of economic evo- capital. In their view, it is only one definite kind of con-
crete labour—agricultural labour —that creates surplus-
Marxian economics, particularly in academia, is distin- value....But to Adam Smith, it is general social labour
guished from Marxism as a political ideology as well —no matter in what use-values it manifests itself—the
as the normative aspects of Marxist thought, with the mere quantity of necessary labour, which creates value.
view that Marx's original approach to understanding eco- Surplus-value, whether it takes the form of profit, rent, or
nomics and economic development is intellectually inde- the secondary form of interest, is nothing but a part of
pendent from Marx's own advocacy of revolutionary so- this labour, appropriated by the owners of the material
cialism.* [2]* [3] Marxian economists do not lean entirely conditions of labour in the exchange with living labour.”
upon the works of Marx and other widely known Marx- Malthus' claim, in "An Essay on the Principle of Pop-
ists, but draw from a range of Marxist and non-Marxist ulation", that population growth was the primary cause
sources.* [4] of subsistence level wages for laborers provoked Marx
Although the Marxian school is considered heterodox, to develop an alternative theory of wage determination.
ideas that have come out of Marxian economics have con- Whereas Malthus presented an ahistorical theory of pop-
tributed to mainstream understanding of the global econ- ulation growth, Marx offered a theory of how a relative
omy; certain concepts of Marxian economics, especially surplus population in capitalism tended to push wages to

subsistence levels. Marx saw this relative surplus pop- the universe as composed of separate objects, each with
ulation as coming from economic causes and not from essentially stable unchanging characteristics. One com-
biological causes (as in Malthus). This economic-based ponent of dialectics is abstraction; out of an undifferen-
theory of surplus population is often labeled as Marx's tiated mass of data or system conceived of as an organic
theory of the reserve army of labour. whole, one abstracts portions to think about or to refer
Ricardo developed a theory of distribution within capital- to. One may abstract objects, but also —and more typ-
ism, that is, a theory of how the output of society is dis- ically —relations, and processes of change. An abstrac-
tributed to classes within society. The most mature ver- tion may be extensive or narrow, may focus on general-
ities or specifics, and may be made from various points
sion of this theory, presented in On the Principles of Po-
litical Economy and Taxation, was based on a labour the- of view. For example, a sale may be abstracted from a
buyer's or a seller's point of view, and one may abstract
ory of value in which the value of any produced object is
equal to the labor embodied in the object. (Adam Smith a particular sale or sales in general. Another compo-
nent is the dialectical deduction of categories. Marx uses
also presented a labor theory of value but it was only in-
completely realized.) Also notable in Ricardo's economic Hegel's notion of categories, which are forms, for eco-
nomics: The commodity form, the money form, the cap-
theory was that profit was a deduction from society's out-
put and that wages and profit were inversely related: an ital form etc. have to be systematically deduced instead
increase in profit came at the expense of a reduction in of being grasped in an outward way as done by the bour-
wages. Marx built much of the formal economic analysis geois economists. This corresponds to Hegel's critique of
found in Capital on Ricardo's theory of the economy. Kant's transcendental philosophy.* [7]
Marx regarded history as having passed through several
stages. The details of his periodisation vary somewhat
1.5.2 Marx's theory through his works, but it essentially is: Primitive Com-
munism -- Slave societies -- Feudalism -- Capitalism --
Marx employed a labour theory of value, which holds that Socialism -- Communism (capitalism being the present
the value of a commodity is the socially necessary labour stage and communism the future). Marx occupied him-
time invested in it. In this model, capitalists do not pay self primarily with describing capitalism. Historians
workers the full value of the commodities they produce; place the beginning of capitalism some time between
rather, they compensate the worker for the necessary la- about 1450 (Sombart) and some time in the 17th century
bor only (the worker's wage, which cover only the neces- (Hobsbawm).* [8]
sary means of subsistence in order to maintain him work-
ing in the present and his family in the future as a group). Marx defines a commodity as a product of human labour
This necessary labor is, Marx supposes, only a fraction of that is produced for sale in a market, and many products
a full working day - the rest, the surplus-labor, would be of human labour are commodities. Marx began his major
pocketed by the capitalist. work on economics, Capital, with a discussion of com-
modities; Chapter One is called “Commodities”.
Marx theorized that the gap between the value a worker
produces and his wage is a form of unpaid labour, known
as surplus value. Moreover, Marx argues that markets
tend to obscure the social relationships and processes of Commodities
production; he called this commodity fetishism. People
are highly aware of commodities, and usually don't think “The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist
about the relationships and labour they represent. mode of production prevails, presents itself as 'an im-
mense accumulation of commodities,' its unit being a sin-
Marx's analysis leads to the consideration of economic gle commodity.”(First sentence of Capital, Volume I.)
crisis. “A propensity to crisis—what we would call busi-
ness cycles—was not recognised as an inherent feature of “The common substance that manifests itself in the ex-
capitalism of by other economist of Marx's time,”ob- change value of commodities whenever they are ex-
served Robert Heilbroner in The Worldly Philosophers, changed, is their value.”(Capital, I, Chap I, section 1.)
“although future events have certainly indicated his pre- The worth of a commodity can be conceived of in two
diction of successive boom and crash.”* [5] Marx's theory different ways, which Marx calls use-value and value. A
of economic cycles was formalised by Richard Goodwin commodity's use-value is its usefulness for fulfilling some
in“A Growth Cycle”(1967),* [6] a paper published dur- practical purpose; for example, the use-value of a piece
ing the centenary year of Capital, Volume I. of food is that it provides nourishment and pleasurable
taste; the use value of a hammer, that it can drive nails.
Methodology Value is, on the other hand, a measure of a commodity's
worth in comparison to other commodities. It is closely
Marx used dialectics, a method that he adapted from the related to exchange-value, the ratio at which commodities
works of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Dialectics fo- should be traded for one another, but not identical: value
cuses on relation and change, and tries to avoid seeing is at a more general level of abstraction; exchange-value

is a realisation or form of it. 3. the instruments of labour: tools, labouring domestic

Marx argued that if value is a property common to all animals like horses, chemicals used in modifying the
commodities, then whatever it is derived from, whatever subject, etc.
determines it, must be common to all commodities. The
only relevant thing that is, in Marx's view, common to all Some subjects of labour are available directly from Na-
commodities is human labour: they are all produced by ture: uncaught fish, unmined coal, etc. Others are re-
human labour. sults of a previous stage of production; these are known as
Marx concluded that the value of a commodity is simply raw materials, such as flour or yarn. Workshops, canals,
the amount of human labour required to produce it. Thus and roads are considered instruments of labour. (Capital,
Marx adopted a labour theory of value, as had his pre- I, VII, 1.) Coal for boilers, oil for wheels, and hay for
decessors Ricardo and MacCulloch; Marx himself traced draft horses is considered raw material, not instruments
the existence of the theory at least as far back as an anony- of labour.
mous work, Some Thoughts on the Interest of Money in “If, on the other hand, the subject of labour has, so to
General, and Particularly the Publick Funds, &c., pub- say, been filtered through previous labour, we call it raw
lished in London around 1739 or 1740.* [9] material. . . .”(Capital, I, Chap VII, section 1.)
Marx placed some restrictions on the validity of his value The subjects of labour and instruments of labour together
theory: he said that in order for it to hold, the commodity are called the means of production. Relations of produc-
must not be a useless item; and it is not the actual amount tion are the relations human beings adopt toward each
of labour that went into producing a particular individual other as part of the production process. In capitalism,
commodity that determines its value, but the amount of wage labour and private property are part of the relations
labour that a worker of average energy and ability, work- of production.
ing with average intensity, using the prevailing techniques
of the day, would need to produce it. A formal state-
Calculation of value of a product (price not to
ment of the law is: the value of a commodity is equal to
be confused with value):
the average socially necessary labour time required for its
production. (Capital, I, I—p 39 in Progress Publishers, If labour is performed directly on Nature and
Moscow, ed'n.) with instruments of negligible value, the value
of the product is simply the labour time. If
Marx's contention was that commodities tend, at a fairly
labour is performed on something that is itself
general level of abstraction, to exchange at value; that is,
the product of previous labour (that is, on a raw
if Commodity A, whose value is“V”, is traded for Com-
material), using instruments that have some
modity B, it will tend to fetch an amount of Commodity B
value, the value of the product is the value of
whose value is the same,“V”. Particular circumstances
the raw material, plus depreciation on the in-
will cause divergence from this rule, however.
struments, plus the labour time. Depreciation
may be figured simply by dividing the value of
Money the instruments by their working life; e.g. if a
lathe worth £1,000 lasts in use 10 years it im-
Marx held that metallic money, such as gold, is a com- parts value to the product at a rate of £100 per
modity, and its value is the labour time necessary to pro- year.
duce it (mine it, smelt it, etc.). Marx argued that gold and
silver are conventionally used as money because they em-
body a large amount of labour in a small, durable, form, Effect of technical progress
which is convenient. Paper money is, in this model, a rep-
resentation of gold or silver, almost without value of its According to Marx, the amount of actual product (i.e.
own but held in circulation by state decree. use-value) that a typical worker produces in a given
amount of time is the productivity of labour. It has tended
“Paper money is a token representing gold or money.” to increase under capitalism. This is due to increase in the
(Capital, I, Chap III, section 2, part c.) scale of enterprise, to specialisation of labour, and to the
introduction of machinery. The immediate result of this
Production is that the value of a given item tends to decrease, because
the labour time necessary to produce it becomes less.
Marx lists the elementary factors of production as: In a given amount of time, labour produces more items,
but each unit has less value; the total value created per
1. labour, “the personal activity of man.”(Capital, I, time remains the same. This means that the means of sub-
VII, 1.) sistence become cheaper; therefore the value of labour
power or necessary labour time becomes less. If the
2. the subject of labour: the thing worked on. length of the working day remains the same, this results

in an increase in the surplus labour time and the rate of his conclusion that aggregate price and profit are deter-
surplus value. mined by, and equal to, aggregate value and surplus value
Technological advancement tends to increase the amount no longer holds true. This result calls into question his
of capital needed to start a business, and it tends to re- theory that
the exploitation of workers is the sole source
sult in an increasing preponderance of capital being spent of profit. [14]
on means of production (constant capital) as opposed to Whether the rate of profit in capitalism has, as Marx pre-
labour (variable capital). Marx called the ratio of these dicted, tended to fall is a subject of debate. N. Okishio,
two kinds of capital the composition of capital. in 1961, devised a theorem (Okishio's theorem) showing
that if capitalists pursue cost-cutting techniques and if the
real wage does not rise, the rate of profit must rise.* [15]
1.5.3 Current theorizing in Marxian eco-
The inconsistency allegations have been a prominent fea-
nomics ture of Marxian economics and the debate surrounding it
since the 1970s.* [16]
Marxian economics has been built upon by many oth-
ers, beginning almost at the moment of Marx's death. Among the critics pointing out internal inconsisten-
The second and third volumes of Das Kapital were edited cies are former and current Marxian and/or Sraffian
by his close associate Friedrich Engels, based on Marx's economists, such as Paul Sweezy,* [17] Nobuo Ok-
notes. Marx's Theories of Surplus Value was edited ishio,* [18] Ian Steedman,* [19] John Roemer,* [20] Gary
by Karl Kautsky. The Marxian value theory and the Mongiovi,* [21] and David Laibman,* [22] who propose
Perron-Frobenius theorem on the positive eigenvector of that the field be grounded in their correct versions of
a positive matrix * [10] are fundamental to mathematical Marxian economics instead of in Marx's critique of polit-
treatments of Marxist economics. ical economy in the original form in which he presented
and developed it in Capital.* [23]
Universities offering one or more courses in Marxian
economics, or teach one or more economics courses on Proponents of the Temporal Single System Interpretation
other topics from a perspective that they designate as (TSSI) of Marx's value theory claim that the supposed
Marxian or Marxist, include Colorado State University, inconsistencies are actually the result of misinterpreta-
New School for Social Research, School of Oriental and tion; they argue that when Marx's theory is understood
African Studies, Universiteit Maastricht, University of as“temporal”and“single-system,”the alleged internal
Bremen, University of California, Riverside, University inconsistencies disappear. In a recent survey of the de-
of Leeds, University of Maine, University of Manchester, bate, a proponent of the TSSI concludes that“the proofs
University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Mas- of inconsistency are no longer defended; the entire case
sachusetts Boston, University of Missouri–Kansas City, against Marx has been reduced to the interpretive issue.”
University of Sheffield, University of Utah, and York Uni- [24]
versity (Toronto).* [11]
English-language journals include Capital & Class,
Historical Materialism, Monthly Review, Rethinking Relevance to economics
Marxism, Review of Radical Political Economics, and
Studies in Political Economy. Marxist economics was assessed in 1988 by Robert
M. Solow, who criticized the New Palgrave Dictionary
of Economics for over-sampling articles on Marxism
1.5.4 Criticisms themes, giving a “false impression of the state of play”
in the economics profession:
Main article: Criticisms of Marxism
See also: Criticisms of Socialism, Criticism of com-
munism, and Criticisms of Communist party rule for
Marx was an important and influential
specific criticisms of Communist states
thinker, and Marxism has been a doctrine with
intellectual and practical influence. The fact
Much of the critique of classical Marxian economics is, however, that most serious English-speaking
came from Marxian economists that revised Marx's orig- economists regard Marxist economics as an ir-
inal theory, or by the Austrian school of economics. relevant dead end.* [25]
V. K. Dmitriev, writing in 1898, [12] Ladislaus von
Bortkiewicz, writing in 1906-07,* [13] and subsequent
critics have shown how Marx's value theory and law of the “Economists working in the Marxian-Sraffian tradition
tendency of the rate of profit to fall are internally incon- represent a small minority of modern economists, and
sistent. In other words, the critics allege that Marx drew that their writings have virtually no impact upon the pro-
conclusions that actually do not follow from his theoret- fessional work of most economists in major English-
ical premises. Once these alleged errors are corrected, language universities”, according to George Stigler.* [26]

1.5.5 Neo-Marxian economics [6] Screpanti & Zamagni 2005, p. 474.

See also: Neo-Marxian economics and Neo-Marxism [7] See Helmut Reichelt, quoted in: Kubota, Ken: Die di-
alektische Darstellung des allgemeinen Begriffs des Kapi-
tals im Lichte der Philosophie Hegels. Zur logischen Anal-
The terms Neo-Marxian, Post-Marxian, and Radical Po- yse der politischen Ökonomie unter besonderer Berücksich-
litical Economics were first used to refer to a distinct tra- tigung Adornos und der Forschungsergebnisse von Rubin,
dition of economic thought in the 70s and 80s. Backhaus, Reichelt, Uno und Sekine, in: Beiträge zur
Marx-Engels-Forschung. Neue Folge 2009, pp. 199-224,
In industrial economics, the Neo-Marxian approach here p. 199.
stresses the monopolistic rather than the competitive na-
ture of capitalism. This approach is associated with [8] Angus Maddison, Phases of Capitalist Development. Ox-
Kalecki, and Baran and Sweezy.* [27]* [28] ford, 1982. P 256, note.

[9] Capital, Vol I, Chap I (p 39 in the Progress Publishers,

1.5.6 See also Moscow, edition).

• List of Marxian economists [10] Fujimori, Y. (1982).“Modern Analysis of Value Theory”

. Lecture Notes in Economics and Mathematical Systems.
• Capitalist mode of production Springer.

• Capital accumulation [11] Schools. Retrieved on: August 23, 2007.

• Evolutionary economics [12] V. K. Dmitriev, 1974 (1898), Economic Essays on Value,

Competition and Utility. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ.
• Surplus product Press.
• Surplus labour
[13] Ladislaus von Bortkiewicz, 1952 (1906–1907), “Value
• Labour power and Price in the Marxian System”, International Economic
Papers 2, 5–60; Ladislaus von Bortkiewicz, 1984 (1907),
• Law of value “On the Correction of Marx’s Fundamental Theoretical
Construction in the Third Volume of Capital". In Eugen
• Unequal exchange von Böhm-Bawerk 1984 (1896), Karl Marx and the Close
of his System, Philadelphia: Orion Editions.
• Value product
[14] M. C. Howard and J. E. King. (1992) A History of Marx-
• Productive and unproductive labour ian Economics: Volume II, 1929–1990, chapter 12, sect.
• Regulation school III. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

• Socialist economics [15] M. C. Howard and J. E. King. (1992) A History of Marx-

ian Economics: Volume II, 1929–1990, chapter 7, sects.
• The Accumulation of Capital II-IV. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

• Material product [16] See M. C. Howard and J. E. King, 1992, A History of

Marxian Economics: Volume II, 1929–1990. Princeton,
NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.
1.5.7 Footnotes
[17]“Only one conclusion is possible, namely, that the Marx-
[1] Wolff and Resnick, Richard and Stephen (August 1987). ian method of transformation [of commodity values into
Economics: Marxian versus Neoclassical. The Johns Hop- prices of production] is logically unsatisfactory.”Paul M.
kins University Press. p. 130. ISBN 0801834805. Marx- Sweezy, 1970 (1942), The Theory of Capitalist Develop-
ian theory (singular) gave way to Marxian theories (plu- ment, p. 15. New York: Modern Reader Paperbacks.
[18] Nobuo Okishio, 1961, “Technical Changes and the Rate
[2] “The Neo-Marxian blood Schools”. The New School. of Profit,”Kobe University Economic Review 7, pp. 85–99.
Retrieved 2007-08-23.
[19] "[P]hysical quantities ... suffice to determine the rate of
[3] Munro, John. “Some Basic Principles of Marxian Eco- profit (and the associated prices of production) .... [I]t
nomics” (PDF). University of Toronto. Retrieved 2007- follows that value magnitudes are, at best, redundant in
08-23. the determination of the rate of profit (and prices of pro-
[4] Described in Duncan Foley and Gérard Duménil, 2008, duction).”“Marx’s value reasoning––hardly a periph-
“Marx's analysis of capitalist production,”The New Pal- eral aspect of his work––must therefore be abandoned, in
grave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract. the interest of developing a coherent materialist theory of
capitalism.”Ian Steedman, 1977, Marx after Sraffa, pp.
[5] Heilbroner 2000, p. 164. 202, 207. London: New Left Books.

[20] "[The falling-rate-of-profit] position is rebutted in Chap- • Diane Flaherty (2008). “radical economics,”The
ter 5 by a theorem which states that ... competitive inno- New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition,
vations result in a rising rate of profit. . There seems to be Abstract.
no hope for a theory of the falling rate of profit within the
strict confines of the environment that Marx suggested as • Lenny Flank, 'Contradictions of Capitalism: An In-
relevant.”John Roemer, Analytical Foundations of Marx- troduction to Marxist Economics', St Petersburg,
ian Economic Theory, p. 12. Cambridge: Cambridge Florida: Red and Black Publishers, 2007. ISBN
Univ. Press, 1981. 978-0-9791813-9-9.
[21] Vulgar Economy in Marxian Garb: A Critique of Tempo- • Heilbroner, Robert (2000). The Worldly Philoso-
ral Single System Marxism, Gary Mongiovi, 2002, Review phers (7th ed.). London: Penguin Books. ISBN
of Radical Political Economics 34:4, p. 393. “Marx did 978-0-140-29006-6.
make a number of errors in elaborating his theory of value
and the profit rate .... [H]is would-be Temporal Single • Screpanti, Ernesto; Zamagni, Stefano (2005). An
System defenders ... camouflage Marx’s errors.” “Marx’ Outline of the History of Economic Thought (2nd
s value analysis does indeed contain errors.”(abstract). ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-
[22]“An Error II is an inconsistency, whose removal through
development of the theory leaves the foundations of the • Thomas T. Sekine, The Dialectic of Capital. A Study
theory intact. Now I believe that Marx left us with a few
of the Inner Logic of Capitalism, 2 volumes (prelimi-
Errors II.”David Laibman, “Rhetoric and Substance in
nary edition), Tokyo 1986; OCLC 489902822 (vol.
Value Theory”in Alan Freeman, Andrew Kliman, and
Julian Wells (eds.), The New Value Controversy and the 1), OCLC 873921143 (vol. 2).
Foundations of Economics, Cheltenham, UK: Edward El-
• Solow, Robert M. (20 March 1988). “The Wide,
gar, 2004, p. 17
Wide World Of Wealth (The New Palgrave: A Dic-
[23] See Andrew Kliman, Reclaiming Marx's “Capital": A tionary of Economics'. Edited by John Eatwell, Mur-
Refutation of the Myth of Inconsistency, esp. pp. 210-211. ray Milgate and Peter Newman. Four volumes.
4,103 pp. New York: Stockton Press. $650)". New
[24] Andrew Kliman, Reclaiming Marx's“Capital”, Lanham, York Times.
MD: Lexington Books, p. 208, emphases in original.

[25] Robert M. Solow, “The Wide, Wide World of Wealth, 1.5.9 Further reading
"New York Times, March 28, 1988, excerpt (from a review
of The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, 1987). • Althusser, Louis and Balibar, Étienne. Reading
Capital. London: Verso, 2009.
[26] Stigler, George J. (December 1988). “Palgrave's Dic-
tionary of Economics”. Journal of Economic Literature • Bottomore, Tom, ed. A Dictionary of Marxist
(American Economic Association) 26 (4): 1729–1736. Thought. Oxford: Blackwell, 1998.
JSTOR 2726859.
• Fine, Ben. Marx's Capital. 5th ed. London: Pluto,
[27] Baran, P. and Sweezy, P. (1966). Monopoly Capital: An 2010.
essay on the American economic and social order, Monthly
Review Press, New York • Harvey, David. A Companion to Marx's Capital.
London: Verso, 2010.
[28] Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler. Capital as power:
a study of order and creorder. Taylor & Francis, 2009, p. • Harvey, David. The Limits of Capital. London:
50 Verso, 2006.

• Mandel, Ernest. Marxist Economic Theory. New

1.5.8 References York: Monthly Review Press, 1970.

• Mandel, Ernest. The Formation of the Economic

• Andrew Glyn (1987). “Marxist economics,”The Thought of Karl Marx. New York: Monthly Review
New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, v. 3, pp. Press, 1977.
• Morishima, Michio. Marx's Economics: A Dual
• J.E. Roemer (1987).“Marxian value analysis,”The Theory of Value and Growth. Cambridge: Cam-
New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, v. 3, pp. bridge University Press, 1973.
• Postone, Moishe. Time, Labor, and Social Domina-
• John E. Roemer (2008). “socialism (new perspec- tion: A Reinterpretation of Marx's Critical Theory.
tives),”The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press,
2nd Edition, Abstract. 1993.

• Saad-Filho, Alfredo. The Value of Marx: Politi-

cal Economy for Contemporary Capitalism. London:
Routledge, 2002.

• Wolff, Richard D. and Resnick, Stephen A. Con-

tending Economic Theories: Neoclassical, Keyne-
sian, and Marxian. The MIT Press, 2012. ISBN

1.5.10 External links

• Marxist Economics Courses, Links and Information

• Marxian Economics (archive from Schwartz center of

economic policy analysis)

• Marxian Political Economy

• The Neo-Marxian Schools (archive from Schwartz cen-

ter of economic policy analysis)

• A Marxian Introduction to Modern Economics

• International working group on value theory

• An outline of Marxist economics, Chapter 6 of Re-

formism or Revolution by Alan Woods

• The End of the Market A website containing a crit- “The production of surplus value,”from Karl Marx's 'Capital'
ical evaluation the idea of the market-clearing price in Lithographs, by Hugo Gellert, 1934
which affirms Marx's theory that in capitalism prof-
itability would decline
Marx thought that the gigantic increase in wealth and
• The Neo-Marxian Schools “Radical
( Political Econ- population from the 19th century onwards was mainly
omy”) due to the competitive striving to obtain maximum
surplus-value from the employment of labor, resulting in
• If you're so smart, why aren't you rich? Monthly an equally gigantic increase of productivity and capital
Review article detailing the degeneration of Marxian resources. To the extent that increasingly the economic
economics. surplus is convertible into money and expressed in money,
the amassment of wealth is possible on a larger and larger
scale (see capital accumulation and surplus product).
1.6 Surplus value
Surplus value is a central concept in Karl Marx's cri-
1.6.1 Theory
tique of political economy. Marx did not himself invent
The problem of explaining the source of surplus value is
the term, he developed the concept.* [1]“Surplus value”
expressed by Friedrich Engels as follows:
is a translation of the German word "Mehrwert", which
simply means value added (sales revenue less the cost of
materials used up). Conventionally, value-added is equal “Whence comes this surplus-value? It
to the sum of gross wage income and gross profit income. cannot come either from the buyer buying the
However, Marx's use of this concept is different, because commodities under their value, or from the
for Marx, the Mehrwert refers to the yield, profit or re- seller selling them above their value. For in
turn on production capital invested, i.e. the amount of both cases the gains and the losses of each in-
the increase in the value of capital. Hence, Marx's use of dividual cancel each other, as each individual
Mehrwert has always been translated as “surplus value” is in turn buyer and seller. Nor can it come
, distinguishing it from “value-added”. According to from cheating, for though cheating can enrich
Marx's theory, surplus value is equal to the new value cre- one person at the expense of another, it cannot
ated by workers in excess of their own labour-cost, which increase the total sum possessed by both,
is appropriated by the capitalist as profit when products and therefore cannot augment the sum of the
are sold.* [2]* [3] values in circulation. (...) This problem must

be solved, and it must be solved in a purely average share of government spending in GDP in the ad-
economic way, excluding all cheating and the vanced capitalist economies was around 5%; in 1870, a
intervention of any force —the problem being: bit above 8%; on the eve of World War I, just under 10%;
how is it possible constantly to sell dearer than just before the outbreak of World War II, around 20%;
one has bought, even on the hypothesis that by 1950, nearly 30%; and today the average is around
equal values are always exchanged for equal 35-40%. (see for example Alan Turner Peacock, “The
values?"* [4] growth of public expenditure”, in Encyclopedia of Public
Choice”, Springer 2003, pp. 594–597).

Marx's solution was to distinguish between labor-time

worked and labor power. A worker who is sufficiently 1.6.3 Interpretations
productive can produce an output value greater than what
it costs to hire him. Although his wage seems to be based Surplus-value may be viewed in five ways:
on hours worked, in an economic sense this wage does not
reflect the full value of what the worker produces. Ef- • As a component of the new value product, which
fectively it is not labour which the worker sells, but his Marx himself defines as equal to the sum of labor
capacity to work. costs in respect of capitalistically productive labor
(variable capital) and surplus-value. In production,
Imagine a worker who is hired for an hour and paid
he argues, the workers produce a value equal to
$10. Once in the capitalist's employ, the capitalist can
their wages plus an additional value, the surplus-
have him operate a boot-making machine using which the
value. They also transfer part of the value of fixed
worker produces $10 worth of work every fifteen min-
assets and materials to the new product, equal to
utes. Every hour, the capitalist receives $40 worth of
economic depreciation (consumption of fixed capi-
work and only pays the worker $10, capturing the re-
tal) and intermediate goods used up (constant capital
maining $30 as gross revenue. Once the capitalist has
inputs). Labor costs and surplus-value are the mon-
deducted fixed and variable operating costs of (say) $20
etary valuations of what Marx calls the necessary
(leather, depreciation of the machine, etc.), he is left with
product and the surplus product, or paid labour and
$10. Thus, for an outlay of capital of $30, the capitalist
unpaid labour.
obtains a surplus value of $10; his capital has not only
been replaced by the operation, but also has increased by • Surplus-value can also be viewed as a flow of net in-
$10. come appropriated by the owners of capital in virtue
The worker cannot capture this benefit directly because of asset ownership, comprising both distributed per-
he has no claim to the means of production (e.g. the sonal income and undistributed business income. In
boot-making machine) or to its products, and his capac- the whole economy, this will include both income
ity to bargain over wages is restricted by laws and the directly from production and property income.
supply/demand for wage labour. Hence the rise of trade
unions which aim to create a more favourable bargaining • Surplus-value can be viewed as the source of soci-
position through collective action by workers. ety's accumulation fund or investment fund; part of
it is re-invested, but part is appropriated as personal
income, and used for consumptive purposes by the
1.6.2 Definition owners of capital assets (see capital accumulation);
in exceptional circumstances, part of it may also be
Total surplus-value in an economy (Marx refers to the hoarded in some way. In this context, surplus value
mass or volume of surplus-value) is basically equal to can also be measured as the increase in the value of
the sum of net distributed and undistributed profit, net the stock of capital assets through an accounting pe-
interest, net rents, net tax on production and various riod, prior to distribution.
net receipts associated with royalties, licensing, leasing,
certain honorariums etc. (see also value product). Of • Surplus-value can be viewed as a social relation of
course, the way generic profit income is grossed and net- production, or as the monetary valuation of surplus-
ted in social accounting may differ somewhat from the labour - a sort of “index”of the balance of power
way an individual business does that (see also Operating between social classes or nations in the process of
surplus). the division of the social product.

Marx's own discussion focuses mainly on profit, interest • Surplus-value can, in a developed capitalist econ-
and rent, largely ignoring taxation and royalty-type fees omy, be viewed also as an indicator of the level
which were proportionally very small components of the of social productivity that has been reached by the
national income when he lived. Over the last 150 years, working population, i.e. the net amount of value it
however, the role of the state in the economy increased can produce with its labour in excess of its own con-
in almost every country in the world. Around 1850, the sumption requirements.

1.6.4 Equalization of rates of surplus In fact, Marx argues that the whole purpose of production
value in this situation becomes the growth of capital, i.e. that
production of output becomes conditional on capital ac-
Marx believed that the long-term historical tendency cumulation. If production becomes unprofitable, capital
would be for differences in rates of surplus value between will be withdrawn from production sooner or later.
enterprises and economic sectors to level out, as Marx ex- This means, systemically, that the main driving force of
plains in two places in Capital Vol. 3: capitalism becomes the quest to maximise the appropria-
tion of surplus-value augmenting the stock of capital. The
“If capitals that set in motion unequal overriding motive behind efforts to economise resources
quantities of living labour produce unequal and labor is to obtain the maximum possible increase in
amounts of surplus-value, this assumes that the income and capital assets (“business growth”), and pro-
level of exploitation of labour, or the rate of vide a steady or growing return on investment.
surplus-value, is the same, at least to a certain
extent, or that the distinctions that exist here
are balanced out by real or imaginary (conven- 1.6.6 Absolute vs. relative
tional) grounds of compensation. This
assumes competition among workers, and According to Marx, absolute surplus value is obtained
an equalization that takes place by their con- by increasing the amount of time worked per worker in
stant migration between one sphere of produc- an accounting period.* [6] Marx talks mainly about the
tion and another. We assume a general rate length of the working day or week, but in modern times
of surplus value of this kind, as a tendency, the concern is about the number of hours worked per
like all economic laws, as a theoretical sim- year.
plification; but in any case this is in practice
In many parts of the world, as productivity rose, the work-
an actual presupposition of the capitalist mode
ing classes forced a reduction in the workweek, from 60
of production, even if inhibited to a greater or
hours to 50, 40 or 35 hours; but casualisation and flexibili-
lesser extent by practical frictions that produce
sation of working hours also permits higher paid workers
more or less significant local differences, such
to work less (a fact of concern to statesmen who worry
as the settlement laws for agricultural labourers
about international competitiveness, i.e. if we don't work
in England, for example. In theory, we assume
harder our country will lose business).
that the laws of the capitalist mode of produc-
tion develop in their pure form. In reality, this Relative surplus value is obtained mainly by:
is only an approximation; but that approxima-
tion is all the more exact, the more the capi- • reducing wages* [7] —this can only go to a cer-
talist mode of production is developed and the tain point, because if wages fall below the ability of
less it is adulterated by survivals of earlier eco- workers to purchase their means of subsistence, they
nomic conditions with which it is amalgamated will be unable to reproduce themselves and the cap-
" - Capital Vol. 3, ch. 10, Pelican edition p. italists will not be able to find sufficient labor power.
• reducing the cost of wage-goods by various means,
[5] so that wage increases can be curbed.* [8]
So, he assumed a uniform rate of surplus value in his
• increasing the productivity and intensity of labour
models of how surplus value would be shared out under
generally, through mechanisation and rationalisa-
competitive conditions.
tion, yielding a bigger output per hour worked.

1.6.5 Appropriation from production The attempt to extract more and more surplus-value from
labor on the one side, and on the other side the resistance
Both in Das Kapital and in preparatory manuscripts such to this exploitation, are according to Marx at the core of
as the Grundrisse and Results of the immediate process of the conflict between social classes, which is sometimes
production, Marx shows how commerce by stages trans- muted or hidden, but at other times erupts in open class
forms a non-capitalist production process into a capitalist warfare and class struggle.
production process, integrating it fully into markets, so
that all inputs and outputs become marketed goods or ser-
vices. When that process is complete, the whole of pro- 1.6.7 Production versus realisation
duction has become simultaneously a labor process cre-
ating use-values and a valorisation process creating new Marx distinguished sharply between value and price, in
value, and more specifically a surplus-value appropriated part because of the sharp distinction he draws between
as net income (see also capital accumulation). the production of surplus-value and the realisation of

profit income (see also value-form). Output may be pro- what is a cost to some, is a source of profit to others.
duced containing surplus-value (valorisation), but selling Marx never analysed all this in detail; but the concept of
that output (realisation) is not at all an automatic process. surplus value will apply mainly to taxes on gross income
Until payment from sales is received, it is uncertain how (personal and business income from production) and on
much of the surplus-value produced will actually be re- the trade in products and services. Estate duty for exam-
alised as profit from sales. So, the magnitude of profit re- ple rarely contains a surplus value component, although
alised in the form of money and the magnitude of surplus- profit could be earned in the transfer of the estate.
value produced in the form of products may differ greatly, Generally, Marx seems to have regarded taxation imposts
depending on what happens to market prices and the va- as a“form”which disguised real product values. Appar-
garies of supply and demand fluctuations. This insight ently following this view, Ernest Mandel in his 1960 trea-
forms the basis of Marx's theory of market value, prices tise Marxist Economic Theory refers to (indirect) taxes as
of production and the tendency of the rate of profit of “arbitrary additions to commodity prices”. But this is
different enterprises to be levelled out by competition. something of a misnomer, and disregards that taxes be-
In his published and unpublished manuscripts, Marx went come part of the normal cost-structure of production. In
into great detail to examine many different factors which his later treatise on late capitalism, Mandel astonishingly
could affect the production and realisation of surplus- hardly mentions the significance of taxation at all, a very
value. He regarded this as crucial for the purpose of serious omission from the point of view of the real world
understanding the dynamics and dimensions of capital- of modern capitalism since taxes can reach a magnitude
ist competition, not just business competition but also of a third, or even half of GDP (see E. Mandel, Late Cap-
competition between capitalists and workers and among italism. London: Verso, 1975)
workers themselves. But his analysis did not go much
beyond specifying some of the overall outcomes of the
1.6.9 Relation to the circuits of capital
His main conclusion though is that employers will aim Generally, Marx focused in Das Kapital on the new
to maximise the productivity of labour and economise on surplus-value generated by production, and the distribu-
the use of labour, to reduce their unit-costs and maximise tion of this surplus value. In this way, he aimed to reveal
their net returns from sales at current market prices; at the “origin of the wealth of nations”given a capitalist
a given ruling market price for an output, every reduc- mode of production. However, in any real economy, a
tion of costs and every increase in productivity and sales distinction must be drawn between the primary circuit
turnover will increase profit income for that output. The of capital, and the secondary circuits. To some extent,
main method is mechanisation, which raises the fixed cap- national accounts also do this.
ital outlay in investment.
The primary circuit refers to the incomes and products
In turn, this causes the unit-values of commodities to de- generated and distributed from productive activity (re-
cline over time, and a decline of the average rate of profit flected by GDP). The secondary circuits refer to trade,
in the sphere of production occurs, culminating in a cri- transfers and transactions occurring outside that sphere,
sis of capital accumulation, in which a sharp reduction in which can also generate incomes, and these incomes may
productive investments combines with mass unemploy- also involve the realisation of a surplus-value or profit.
ment, followed by an intensive rationalisation process of
It is true that Marx argues no net additions to value can
take-overs, mergers, fusions, and restructuring aiming to
be created through acts of exchange, economic value be-
restore profitability.
ing an attribute of labour-products (previous or newly
created) only. Nevertheless trading activity outside the
sphere of production can obviously also yield a surplus-
1.6.8 Relation to taxation value which represents a transfer of value from one per-
son, country or institution to another.
In general, business leaders and investors are hostile to A very simple example would be if somebody sold a
any attempts to encroach on total profit volume, espe- second-hand asset at a profit. This transaction is not
cially those of government taxation. The lower taxes are, recorded in gross product measures (after all, it isn't
other things being equal, the bigger the mass of profit that new production), nevertheless a surplus-value is obtained
can be distributed as income to private investors. It was from it. Another example would be capital gains from
tax revolts that originally were a powerful stimulus moti- property sales. Marx occasionally refers to this kind of
vating the bourgeoisie to wrest state power from the feu- profit as profit upon alienation, alienation being used here
dal aristocracy at the beginning of the capitalist era. in the juridical, not sociological sense. By implication,
In reality, of course, a substantial portion of tax money is if we just focused on surplus-value newly created in pro-
also redistributed to private enterprise in the form of gov- duction, we would underestimate total surplus-values re-
ernment contracts and subsidies. Capitalists may there- alised as income in a country. This becomes obvious if
fore be in conflict among themselves about taxes, since we compare census estimates of income & expenditure

with GDP data. tempts by Marxian economists to measure the trend in

This is another reason why surplus-value produced and surplus-value statistically using national accounts data.
surplus-value realised are two different things, although The most convincing modern attempt is probably*
that of
this point is largely ignored in the economics literature. Professors Anwar Shaikh & Ahmet Tonak. [9]
But it becomes highly important when the real growth Usually this type of research involves reworking the com-
of production stagnates, and a growing portion of cap- ponents of the official measures of gross output and capi-
ital shifts out of the sphere of production in search of tal outlays to approximate Marxian categories, in order to
surplus-value from other deals. estimate empirically the trends in the ratios thought im-
Nowadays the volume of world trade grows significantly portant in the Marxian explanation of capital accumula-
faster than GDP, suggesting to Marxian economists such tion and economic growth: the rate of surplus-value, the
as Samir Amin that surplus-value realised from com- organic composition of capital, the rate of profit, the rate
mercial trade (representing to a large extent a transfer of increase in the capital stock, and the rate of reinvest-
of value by intermediaries between producers and con- ment of realised surplus-value in production.
sumers) grows faster than surplus-value realised directly The Marxian mathematicians Emmanuel Farjoun and
from production. Moshé Machover argue that “even if the rate of sur-
Thus, if we took the final price of a good (the cost to the plus value has changed by 10-20% over a hundred years,
final consumer) and analysed the cost structure of that the real problem [to explain] is why it has changed so lit-
good, we might find that, over a period of time, the direct tle” (quoted from The Laws of Chaos; A Probabilistic Ap-
producers get less income and intermediaries between proach to Political Economy (1983), p. 192). The answer
producers and consumers (traders) get more income from to that question must, in part, be sought in artifacts (sta-
it. That is, control over the access to a good, asset or re- tistical distortion effects) of data collection procedures.
Mathematical extrapolations are ultimately based on the
source as such may increasingly become a very important
factor in realising a surplus-value. In the worst case, this data available, but that data itself may be fragmentary and
not the “complete picture”.
amounts to parasitism or extortion. This analysis illus-
trates a key feature of surplus value which is that it accu-
mulated by the owners of capital only within inefficient 1.6.11 Different conceptions
markets because only inefficient markets - i.e. those in
which transparency and competition are low - have profit In neo-Marxist thought, Paul A. Baran for example sub-
margins large enough to facilitate capital accumulation. stitutes the concept of“economic surplus" for Marx's sur-
Ironically, profitable - meaning inefficient - markets have plus value. In a joint work, Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy
difficulty meeting the definition a free market because a define the economic surplus as “the difference between
free market is to some extent defined as an efficient one: what a society produces and the costs of producing it”
one in which goods or services are exchanged without co- (Monopoly Capitalism, New York 1966, p. 9). Much de-
ercion or fraud, or in other words with competition (to pends here on how the costs are valued, and which costs
prevent monopolistic coercion) and transparency (to pre- are taken into account. Piero Sraffa also refers to a“phys-
vent fraud). ical surplus”with a similar meaning, calculated according
to the relationship between prices of physical inputs and
1.6.10 Measurement In these theories, surplus product and surplus value are
equated, while value and price are identical, but the dis-
The first attempt to measure the rate of surplus-value in tribution of the surplus tends to be separated theoretically
money-units was by Marx himself in chapter 9 of Das from its production; whereas Marx insists that the distri-
Kapital, using factory data of a spinning mill supplied bution of wealth is governed by the social conditions in
by Friedrich Engels (though Marx credits “a Manch- which it is produced, especially by property relations giv-
ester spinner”). Both in published and unpublished ing entitlement to products, incomes and assets (see also
manuscripts, Marx examines variables affecting the rate relations of production).
and mass of surplus-value in detail.
In Capital Vol. 3, Marx insists strongly that
Some Marxian economists argue that Marx thought the
possibility of measuring surplus value depends on the “the specific economic form, in which
publicly available data. We can develop statistical indi- unpaid surplus labour is pumped out of direct
cators of trends, without mistakenly conflating data with producers, determines the relationship of
the real thing they represent, or postulating“perfect mea- rulers and ruled, as it grows directly out of
surements or perfect data”in the empiricist manner. production itself and, in turn, reacts upon
Since early studies by Marxian economists like Eugen it as a determining element. Upon this,
Varga, Charles Bettelheim, Joseph Gillmann, Edward however, is founded the entire formation of
Wolff and Shane Mage, there have been numerous at- the economic community which grows up

out of the production relations themselves, The problem here is that Thurow doesn't really provide
thereby simultaneously its specific political an objective explanation of profits so much as a moral
form. It is always the direct relationship of justification for profits, i.e. as a legitimate entitlement or
the owners of the conditions of production claim, in return for the supply of capital.
to the direct producers -- a relation always He adds that“Attempts have been made to organize pro-
naturally corresponding to a definite stage of ductive societies without the profit motive (...) [but] since
the methods of labour and thereby its social the industrial revolution... there have been essentially no
productivity -- which reveals the innermost successful economies that have not taken advantage of the
secret, the hidden basis of the entire social
profit motive.”The problem here is again a moral judge-
structure, and with it the political form of the ment, dependent on what you mean by success. Some
relation of sovereignty and dependence, in
societies using the profit motive were ruined; profit is no
short, the corresponding specific form of the guarantee of success, although you can say that it has
state. This does not prevent the same eco-
powerfully stimulated economic growth.
nomic basis -- the same from the standpoint
of its main conditions -- due to innumerable Thurow goes on to note that “When it comes to actu-
different, empirical circumstances, natural en- ally measuring profits, some difficult accounting issues
vironment, racial relations, external historical arise.”Why? Because after deduction of costs from gross
influence, etc. from showing infinite variations income,“It is hard to say exactly how much must be rein-
and gradations in appearance, which can be vested to maintain the size of the capital stock”. Ulti-
ascertained only by analysis of the empirically mately, Thurow implies, the tax department is the arbiter
given circumstances.” of the profit volume, because it determines depreciation
allowances and other costs which capitalists may annually
deduct in calculating taxable gross income.
This is a substantive - if abstract - thesis about the ba- This is obviously a theory very different from Marx's.
sic social relations involved in giving and getting, taking In Thurow's theory, the aim of business is to maintain
and receiving in human society, and their consequences the capital stock. In Marx's theory, competition, desire
for the way work and wealth is shared out. It suggests a and market fluctuations create the striving and pressure
starting point for an inquiry into the problem of social or-to increase the capital stock; the whole aim of capitalist
der and social change. But obviously it is only a starting production is capital accumulation, i.e. business growth
point, not the whole story, which would include all the maximising net income. Marx argues there is no evidence
“variations and gradations”. that the profit accruing to capitalist owners is quantita-
tively connected to the “productive contribution”of the
capital they own. In practice, within the capitalist firm, no
1.6.12 Morality and power of surplus standard procedure exists for measuring such a“produc-
value tive contribution”and for distributing the residual income
A typical textbook-type example of an alternative inter-
In Thurow's theory, profit is mainly just“something that
pretation to Marx's is provided by Lester Thurow. He
happens”when costs are deducted from sales, or else a
argues in an Concise Encyclopedia of Economics arti-
* justly deserved income. For Marx, increasing profits is, at
cle: [10] “In a capitalistic society, profits - and losses
least in the longer term, the“bottom line”of business be-
- hold center stage.”But what, he asks, explains profits?
haviour: the quest for obtaining extra surplus-value, and
There are five reasons for profit, according to Thurow: the incomes obtained from it, are what guides capitalist
development (in modern language, “creating maximum
• capitalists are willing to delay their own personal shareholder value”).
gratification, and profit is their reward. That quest, Marx notes, always involves a power relation-
ship between different social classes and nations, inas-
• some profits are a return to those who take risks.
much as attempts are made to force other people to pay
• some profits are a return to organizational ability, for costs as much as possible, while maximising one's own
enterprise, and entrepreneurial energy entitlement or claims to income from economic activity.
The clash of economic interests that invariably results,
• some profits are economic rents - a firm that has a implies that the battle for surplus value will always in-
monopoly in producing some product or service can volve an irreducible moral dimension; the whole process
set a price higher than would be set in a competitive rests on complex system of negotiations, dealing and bar-
market and, thus, earn higher than normal returns. gaining in which reasons for claims to wealth are asserted,
usually within a legal framework and sometimes through
• some profits are due to market imperfections - they
wars. Underneath it all, Marx argues, was an exploitative
arise when goods are traded above their competitive
equilibrium price.

That was the main reason why, Marx argues, the real 1.6.14 Notes
sources of surplus-value were shrouded or obscured by
ideology, and why Marx thought that political economy [1] Pierre-Joseph Proudhon already used the idea in a critical
merited a critique. Quite simply, economics proved un- sense..
able to theorise capitalism as a social system, at least not [2] Marx, The Capital, Chapter 8
without moral biases intruding in the very definition of
its conceptual distinctions. Hence, even the most sim- [3] "...It was made clear that the wage worker has permission
ple economic concepts were often riddled with contra- to work for his own subsistence—that is, to live, only in-
dictions. But market trade could function fine, even if sofar as he works for a certain time gratis for the capitalist
the theory of markets was false; all that was required (and hence also for the latter's co-consumers of surplus
value)...”Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme.
was an agreed and legally enforceable accounting system.
On this point, Marx probably would have agreed with
Austrian School economics – no knowledge of“markets [4] Marxists Internet Archive
in general”is required to participate in markets.
[5] Marxists Internet Archive

[6] Karl Marx and Frederick The Collected Works of Karl

1.6.13 See also Marx and Frederick Engels: Volume 34 (New York: In-
ternational Publishers, 1994) p. 63.
• Analytical Marxism
[7] Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Collected Works of Karl
• Capital accumulation Marx and Frederick Engels: Volume 34, pp. 75-76.

• Capital, Volume I [8] Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Collected Works of Karl
Marx and Frederick Engels: Volume 34, p. 77.
• Character mask
• Commodity fetishism isbn=0521564794

• Compensation of employees [10]

• Cost of capital
1.6.15 References
• Das Kapital
• Theories of Surplus-Value (1863)
• Labour theory of value
• Value, Price and Profit (1865)
• Law of value
• Capital, Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3
• Primitive accumulation of capital
• Anwar Shaikh & Ahmet Tonak, Measuring the
• Productive and unproductive labour Wealth of Nations

• Profit • Anwar Shaikh papers

• Rate of exploitation • G.A. Cohen (1988), History, Labour and Freedom:

Themes from Marx, Oxford University Press
• Relations of production
• Shane Mage, The Law of the Falling Tendency of
• Return on capital the Rate of Profit; Its Place in the Marxian Theoret-
ical System and Relevance to the US Economy. Phd
• Superprofit
Thesis, Columbia University, 1963.
• Surplus • Fred Moseley papers
• Surplus labour • Gerard Dumenil & Dominique Levy papers
• Surplus product • Steve Keen, Debunking Economics; The Naked Em-
peror of the Social Sciences. London: Zed Press,
• Surplus economics
2004.Economics: Debunking Economics Overview
• Theories of Surplus Value

• Valorisation • Emmanuel Farjoun and Moshe Machover, Laws of

Chaos; A Probabilistic Approach to Political Econ-
• Value added omy, London: Verso, 1983.

• Ian Wright, iwright - Probabilistic Political Econ-

omy “Laws of Chaos”in the 21st Century.

• Ernest Mandel, Marxist Economic Theory, Vol. 1

and Late Capitalism.

• Harry W. Pearson,“The economy has no surplus”in

“Trade and market in the early empires. Economies
in history and theory”, edited by Karl Polanyi,
Conrad M. Arensberg and Harry W. Pearson (New
York/London: The Free Press: Collier-Macmillan,

• Paul A. Baran, The Political Economy of Growth.

• Piero Sraffa, Production of Commodities by means

of commodities.

• Michal Kalecki, “The Determinants of Profits”,

in Selected Essays on the Dynamics of the Capitalist
Economy 1933-1970.

• John B. Davis (ed), The economic surplus in

advanced economies. Aldershot, Hants, Eng-
land/Brookfield, Vt., USA : Elgar, 1992.

• Anders Danielson, The economic surplus : theory,

measurement, applications. Westport, Connecticut:
Praeger, 1994.

• Helen Boss, Theories of surplus and transfer : par-

asites and producers in economic thought. Boston:
Hyman, 1990.
The prototypical bourgeois: Monsieur Jourdain, the protagonist
in Molière's play Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (1670).
1.6.16 External links
• 'The Concepts of Alienation and Surplus-value, a that of inhabitants having the rights of citizenship
Brief Look' ( and political rights in a city (comparable to the Ger-
man term Bürgertum and Bürger);

1.7 Bourgeoisie • and a sociologically defined class, especially in con-

temporary times, referring to people with a certain
“Bourgeois”redirects here. For other uses, see Bourgeois cultural and financial capital belonging to the mid-
(disambiguation). dle or upper stratum of the middle class: the upper
The bourgeoisie (Eng.: /bʊərʒwɑːˈziː/; French pronunci- (haute), middle (moyenne) and petty (petite) bour-
ation: [buʁʒwazi]), is a polysemous French term, because geoisie (which are designated “the Bourgeoisie”).
it means: An affluent and often opulent stratum of the mid-
dle class (capitalist class) who stood opposite the
• originally and generally “those who live in the proletariat class.
borough", that is to say, the people of the city (in-
cluding merchants and craftsmen), as opposed to The “bourgeoisie”in its original sense, is intimately
those of rural areas; in this sense, the bourgeoisie linked to the existence of cities recognized as such by
began to grow in Europe from the 11th-century their urban charters (e.g. municipal charter, town priv-
and particularly during the Renaissance of the 12th- ileges, German town law) so there was no bourgeoisie
century, with the first developments of rural exodus “outside the walls of the city”beyond which the peo-
and urbanization; ple were "peasants" submitted to the stately courts and
manorialism (except for the travelling "Fair bourgeoisie”
• a legally defined class of the Middle Ages to the end living outside urban territories, who retained their city
of the "Ancien Régime" (Old Regime) in France, rights and domicile).

In Marxist philosophy the bourgeoisie is the social class Bourgeois gentilhomme, 1670.)
who owns the means of production and whose societal
concerns are the value of property and the preservation
of capital, to ensure the perpetuation of their economic
supremacy in society.* [1] Joseph Schumpeter instead saw
the creation of new bourgeoisie as the driving force be-
hind the capitalist engine, particularly entrepreneurs who
took risks to bring innovation to industries and the econ-
omy through the process of creative destruction.* [2]

1.7.1 Etymology
The Modern French word bourgeois derived from the Old
French burgeis (walled city), which derived from bourg
(market town), from the Old Frankish burg (town); in
other European languages, the etymologic derivations are
the Middle English burgeis, the Middle Dutch burgher,
the German Bürger, the Modern English burgess, and
the Polish burżuazja, which occasionally is synonymous
with the intelligentsia.* [3] In English, “bourgeoisie”(a
French citizen-class) identified a social class oriented to
economic materialism and hedonism, and to upholding
the extreme political and economic interests of the cap-
italist ruling class.* [4] In the 18th century, before the
French Revolution (1789–99), in the French feudal order,
the masculine and feminine terms bourgeois and bour-
geoise identified the rich men and women who were mem-
bers of the urban and rural Third Estate – the common
people of the French realm, who violently deposed the
absolute monarchy of the Bourbon King Louis XVI (r.
The 16th-century German banker Jakob Fugger and his principal
1774–91), his clergy, and his aristocrats. Hence, since accountant, M. Schwarz, registering an entry to a ledger. The
the 19th century, the term“bourgeoisie”usually is politi- background shows a file cabinet indicating the European cities
cally and sociologically synonymous with the ruling upper where the Fugger Banker conducts business. (1517)
class of a capitalist society.* [5]
Historically, the medieval French word bourgeois denoted
the inhabitants of the bourgs (walled market-towns), the 1.7.2 History
craftsmen, artisans, merchants, and others, who consti-
tuted “the bourgeoisie”, they were the socio-economic Origins and rise
class between the peasants and the landlords, between
the workers and the owners of the means of production. Further information: History of capitalism § Origins of
As the economic managers of the (raw) materials, the capitalism and Trade § History
goods, and the services, and thus the capital (money) pro-
duced by the feudal economy, the term “bourgeoisie” In the 11th century, the bourgeoisie emerged as a histor-
evolved to also denote the middle class – the businessmen ical and political phenomenon when the bourgs of Cen-
and businesswomen who accumulated, administered, and tral and Western Europe developed into cities dedicated
controlled the capital that made possible the development to commerce. The organised economic concentration
of the bourgs into cities.* [6] that made possible such urban expansion derived from
Contemporarily, the terms “bourgeoisie”and “bour- the protective self-organisation into guilds, which be-
geois”(noun) identify the ruling class in capitalist so- came necessary when individual businessmen (craftsmen,
cieties, as a social stratum; while “bourgeois”(ad- artisans, merchants, et alii) conflicted with their rent-
jective / noun modifier) describes the Weltanschauung seeking feudal landlords who demanded greater-than-
(worldview) of men and women whose way of thinking is agreed rents. In the event, by the end of the Middle
socially and culturally determined by their economic ma- Ages (ca. AD 1500), under régimes of the early na-
terialism and philistinism, a social identity catalogued and tional monarchies of Western Europe, the bourgeoisie
described in drame bourgeois (bourgeois drama), which acted in self-interest, and politically supported the king or
satirises buying the trappings of a noble-birth identity as the queen against the legal and financial disorder caused
the means climbing the social ladder.* [7]* [8] (See: Le by the greed of the feudal lords. In the late-16th and

early 17th centuries, the bourgeoisies of England and the ital and land), and who controlled the means of coer-
Netherlands had become the financial – thus political – cion (armed forces and legal system, police forces and
forces that deposed the feudal order; economic power had prison system). In such a society, the bourgeoisie's own-
vanquished military power in the realm of politics.* [6] ership of the means of production enabled their employ-
ment and exploitation of the wage-earning working class
(urban and rural), people whose sole economic means is
From progress to reaction labour; and the bourgeois control of the means of coer-
cion suppressed the socio-political challenges of the lower
During the 17th and 18th centuries, the bourgeoisie were classes, and so preserved the economic status quo; work-
the politically progressive social class who supported the ers remained workers, and employers remained employ-
principles of constitutional government and of natural ers.* [9]
right, against the Law of Privilege and the claims of
rule by divine right that the nobles and prelates had In the 19th century, Marx distinguished two types of
autonomously exercised during the feudal order. The bourgeois capitalist: (i) the functional capitalist, the busi-
motivations for the English Civil War (1642–51), the ness administrator of the means of production; and (ii)
American War of Independence (1775–83), and French the rentier capitalist whose livelihood derives either from
Revolution (1789–99) partly derived from the desire of the rent of property or from the *
interest-income produced
the bourgeoisie to rid themselves of the feudal tram- by finance capital, or both. [10] In the course of eco-
mels and royal encroachments upon their personal liberty, nomic relations, the working class and the bourgeoisie
commercial rights, and the ownership of property. In the continually engage in class struggle, wherein the capital-
19th century, the bourgeoisie propounded liberalism, and ists exploit the workers, whilst the workers resist their
gained political rights, religious rights, and civil liberties economic exploitation, which occurs because the worker
for themselves and the lower social classes; thus was the owns no means of production, and, to earn a living, he or
bourgeoisie then a progressive philosophic and political she seeks employment from the bourgeois capitalist; the
force in modern Western societies. worker produces goods and services that are property of
the employer, who sells them for a price.
By the middle of the 19th century, subsequent to the
Industrial Revolution (1750–1850), the great expansion Besides describing the social class who own the means
of the bourgeoisie social class caused its self-stratification of production, the Marxist usage of the term “bour-
– by business activity and by economic function – into geois”also describes the consumerist style of life de-
the haute bourgeoisie (bankers and industrialists) and the rived from the ownership of capital and real property.
petite bourgeoisie (tradesmen and white-collar workers). Marx acknowledged the bourgeois industriousness that
Moreover, by the end of the 19th century, the capitalists created wealth, yet criticised the moral hypocrisy of the
(the original bourgeoisie) had ascended to the upper class, bourgeoisie when they ignored the alleged origins of their
whilst the developments of technology and technical oc- wealth – the exploitation of the proletariat, the urban and
cupations allowed the ascension of working-class men rural workers. Further sense denotations of“bourgeois”
and women to the lower strata of the bourgeoisie; yet the describe ideological concepts such as “bourgeois free-
social progress was incidental. dom”, which is thought to be opposed to substantive
forms of freedom; “bourgeois independence"; “bour-
In the event, despite its initial philosophic progressivism geois personal individuality"; the “bourgeois family";
– from feudalism to liberalism to capitalism – the bour- et cetera, all derived from owning capital and property.
geoisie social class (haute and petite) became reactionary (See: The Communist Manifesto, 1848.)
in their refusal to allow the ascension (economic, social,
political) of people from the proletariat (peasants and
urban workers) to maintain hegemony.* [6] Nomenklatura

In the 20th century, some communist states, particularly

1.7.3 Denotations the Soviet Union, developed a category of people called
a nomenklatura, the bureaucrats who administered the
Marxist theory country's government, industry, agriculture, education,
system of state capitalism, et cetera.
According to Karl Marx, the bourgeois during Middle
Ages usually was a self-employed businessman – such as
a merchant, banker, or entrepreneur – whose economic France and French-speaking countries
role in society was being the financial intermediary to the
feudal landlord and the peasant who worked the fief, the In English, the term bourgeoisie is often used to denote
land of the lord. Yet, by the 18th century, the time of the middle classes. In fact, the French term encompasses
the Industrial Revolution (1750–1850) and of industrial both the upper and middle classes,* [11] a misunderstand-
capitalism, the bourgeoisie had become the economic ing which has occurred in other languages as well. The
ruling class who owned the means of production (cap- bourgeoisie in France and many French-speaking coun-

tries consists of four evolving social layers: la petite bour- haute bourgeoisie are also referred to as les 200 familles,
geoisie, la moyenne bourgeoisie, la grande bourgeoisie, a term which was coined in the first half of the 20th cen-
and la haute bourgeoisie. tury. Michel Pinçon and Monique Pinçon-Charlot have
studied the lifestyle of the French bourgeoisie, and how
they boldly guard their world from the nouveau riche, or
La Petite Bourgeoisie The petite bourgeoisie consists of newly rich.
people who have experienced a brief ascension in social
mobility for one or two generations. It usually starts with In the French language, the term bourgeoisie almost des-
a trade or craft, and by the second and third generation, a ignates a caste by itself, even though social mobility into
family may rise another level. The petite bourgeois would this socio-economic group is possible. Nevertheless, the
belong to the British lower middle class and would be bourgeoisie is differentiated from la classe moyenne, or
American middle income. They are distinguished mainly the middle class, which consists mostly of white-collar
by their mentality, and would differentiate themselves employees, by holding a profession referred to as a pro-
from the proletariat or working class. This class would in- fession libérale, which la classe moyenne, in its definition
clude artisans, small traders, shopkeepers, and small farm does not hold. Yet, in English the definition of a white-
owners. They are not employed, but may not be able to collar job encompasses the profession libérale. As the
afford employees themselves. world becomes globalised and society moves towards a
corporate one, the term la bourgeoisie in its pure form
has become a somewhat outdated term, which requires a
La Moyenne Bourgeoisie People who belong to the more up-to-date definition.
moyenne bourgeoisie or middle bourgeoisie, have solid in-
comes and assets, but without the aura of those who have
become established at a higher level. They tend to be- 1.7.4 Modern history
long to a family that has been bourgeois for three or more
generations. Some members of this class may have rel- Because of their ascribed cultural excellence as a social
atives from similar backgrounds, or may even have aris- class, the Italian fascist régime (1922–45) of Prime Min-
tocratic connections. The moyenne bourgeoisie would be ister Benito Mussolini regarded the bourgeoisie as an ob-
the equivalent of the British and American upper-middle stacle to Modernism in aid to transforming Italian soci-
classes. ety.* [12] Nonetheless, despite such intellectual and so-
cial hostility, the Fascist State ideologically exploited the
Italian bourgeoisie and their materialistic, middle-class
La Grande Bourgeoisie The grande bourgeoisie are spirit, for the more efficient cultural manipulation of the
families that have been bourgeois since the 19th century, upper (aristocratic) and the lower (working) classes of
or for at least four or five generations. Members of these Italy. In 1938, Prime Minister Mussolini gave a speech
families tend to marry with the aristocracy or make other wherein he established a clear ideological distinction be-
advantageous marriages. This bourgeoisie family has ac- tween capitalism (the social function of the bourgeoisie)
quired an established historical and cultural heritage over and the bourgeoisie (as a social class), whom he dehu-
the decades. The names of these families are generally manised by reducing them into high-level abstractions:
known in the city where they reside, and their ancestors a moral category and a state of mind.* [12] Culturally
have often contributed to the region's history. These fam- and philosophically, Mussolini isolated the bourgeoisie
ilies are respected and revered. They belong to the upper from Italian society by portraying them as social para-
class, and in the British class system would be considered sites upon the Fascist Italian State and “The People"; as
part of the gentry. In the French-speaking countries they a social class who drained the human potential of Ital-
are sometimes referred la petite haute bourgeoisie. ian society, in general, and of the working class, in par-
ticular; as exploiters who victimised the Italian nation
La Haute Bourgeoisie The haute bourgeoisie is a social with an approach *
to life characterised by hedonism and
rank in the bourgeoisie that can only be acquired through materialism. [12] Nevertheless, despite the slogan The
time. In France, it is composed of bourgeois families that Fascist Man Disdains the ″Comfortable″ Life, which epit-
have existed since the French Revolution. They hold only omised the anti-bourgeois principle, in its final years of
honourable professions and have experienced many illus- power, for mutual benefit and profit, the Mussolini Fascist
trious marriages in their family's history. They have rich régime transcended ideology to merge the political and fi-
cultural and historical heritages, and their financial means nancial interests of Prime Minister Benito Mussolini with
are more than secure. These families exude an aura of the political and financial interests of the bourgeoisie, the
nobility, which prevents them from certain marriages or Catholic social circles who constituted the ruling class of
occupations. They only differ from nobility in that due to Italy.
circumstances, the lack of opportunity, and/or political Philosophically, as a materialist creature, the bourgeois
regime, they have not been ennobled. These people nev- man was irreligious; thus, to establish an existential dis-
ertheless live a lavish lifestyle, enjoying the company of tinction between the supernatural faith of the Roman
the great artists of the time. In France, the families of the Catholic Church and the materialist faith of temporal re-

ligion; in The Autarchy of Culture: Intellectuals and Fas-

cism in the 1930s, the priest Giuseppe Marino said that:

Christianity is essentially anti-bourgeois.

... A Christian, a true Christian, and thus a
Catholic, is the opposite of a bourgeois.* [13]

Culturally, the bourgeois man is unmanly, effeminate,

and infantile; describing his philistinism in Bonifica anti-
borghese (1939), Roberto Paravese said that the:

Middle class, middle man, incapable of

great virtue or great vice: and there would be
nothing wrong with that, if only he would be
willing to remain as such; but, when his child-
like or feminine tendency to camouflage pushes
him to dream of grandeur, honours, and thus
riches, which he cannot achieve honestly with
his own “second-rate”powers, then the aver-
age man compensates with cunning, schemes,
and mischief; he kicks out ethics, and becomes
a bourgeois. Thomas Mann (1875–1955) portrayed the moral, intellectual,
The bourgeois is the average man who does and physical decadence of the German upper bourgeoisie in the
not accept to remain such, and who, lacking the novel Buddenbrooks (1926)
strength sufficient for the conquest of essential
values—those of the spirit—opts for material
ones, for appearances.* [14]

The economic security, financial freedom, and social mo-

bility of the bourgeoisie threatened the philosophic in-
tegrity of Italian Fascism, the ideologic monolith that was
the régime of Prime Minister Benito Mussolini. Any as-
sumption of legitimate political power (government and
rule) by the bourgeoisie represented a Fascist loss of
totalitarian State power for social control through polit-
ical unity—one people, one nation, one leader. Sociolog-
ically, to the fascist man, to become a bourgeois was a
character flaw inherent to the masculine mystique; there-
fore, the ideology of Italian Fascism scornfully defined
the bourgeois man as “spiritually castrated”.* [14]

1.7.5 Bourgeois culture

Cultural hegemony

Karl Marx said that the culture of a society is dominated

by the mores of the ruling-class, wherein their superim-
posed value system is abided by each social class (the The 17th-century French playwright Molière (1622–73) cata-
upper, the middle, the lower) regardless of the socio- logued the social-climbing essence of the bourgeoisie in Le Bour-
economic results it yields to them. In that sense, con- geois gentilhomme (1670).
temporary societies are bourgeois to the degree that they
practice the mores of the small-business“shop culture”of
early modern France; which the writer Émile Zola (1840– Rougon-Macquart family; the thematic thrust is the ne-
1902) naturalistically presented, analysed, and ridiculed cessity for social progress, by subordinating the economic
in the twenty-two-novel series (1871–1893) about Les sphere to the social sphere of life.* [15]

Two spatial constructs manifest the bourgeois mentality:

(i) the shop-window display, and (ii) the sitting room. In
English, the term “sitting-room culture”is synonymous
for“bourgeois mentality”, a philistine cultural perspec-
tive from the Victorian Era (1837–1901), especially char-
acterised by the repression of emotion and of sexual de-
sire; and by the construction of a regulated social-space
where "propriety" is the key personality trait desired in
men and women.* [16] Nonetheless, from such a psycho-
logically constricted worldview, regarding the rearing of
children, contemporary sociologists claim to have identi-
fied“progressive”middle-class values, such as respect for
non-conformity, self-direction, autonomy, gender equal-
ity and the encouragement of innovation; as in the Vic-
torian Era, the transposition to the US of the bourgeois
system of social values has been identified as a requisite
for employment success in the professions.* [17]* [18]


Beyond the intellectual realms of political economy, his-

tory, and political science that discuss, describe, and anal-
yse the bourgeoisie as a social class, the colloquial usage
of the sociological terms bourgeois and bourgeoise de-
scribe the social stereotypes of the old money and of the
nouveau riche, who is a politically timid conformist satis-
fied with a wealthy, consumerist style of life characterised
by conspicuous consumption and the continual striving
The Spanish cinéast Luis Buñuel (1900–83) depicted the tortuous
for prestige.* [19]* [20] This being the case, the cultures
mentality and self-destructive hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie
of the world describe the philistinism of the middle-class
personality, produced by the excessively rich life of the
bourgeoisie, is examined and analysed in comedic and
Conspicuous consumption
dramatic plays, novels, and films. (See: Authenticity.)

The critical analyses of the bourgeois mentality by the

German intellectual Walter Benjamin (1892–1940) indi- Theatre
cated that the shop culture of the petite bourgeoisie es-
tablished the sitting room as the centre of personal and Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (The Would-be Gentleman,
family life; as such, the English bourgeois culture is a 1670) by Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin), is a comedy-
sitting-room culture of prestige through conspicuous con- ballet that satirises Monsieur Jourdain, the prototypical
sumption. The material culture of the bourgeoisie con- nouveau riche man who buys his way up the social-class
centrated on mass-produced luxury goods of high qual- scale, to realise his aspirations of becoming a gentleman,
ity; between generations, the only variance was the ma- to which end he studies dancing, fencing, and philoso-
terials with which the goods were manufactured. In the phy, the trappings and accomplishments of a gentleman,
early part of the 19th century, the bourgeois house con- to be able to pose as a man of noble birth, someone who,
tained a home that first was stocked and decorated with in 17th-century France, was a man to the manor born;
hand-painted porcelain, machine-printed cotton fabrics, Jourdain's self-transformation also requires managing the
machine-printed wallpaper, and Sheffield steel (crucible private life of his daughter, so that her marriage can also
and stainless). The utility of these things was inherent to assist his social ascent.* [8]* [21]
their practical functions. By the latter part of the 19th
century, the bourgeois house contained a home that had
been remodelled by conspicuous consumption. Here, the Literature
goods were bought to display wealth (discretionary in-
come), rather than for their practical utility. The bour- Buddenbrooks (1901), by Thomas Mann (1875–1955),
geoisie had transposed the wares of the shop window chronicles the moral, intellectual, and physical decay of
to the sitting room, where the clutter of display sig- a rich family through its declines, material and spiritual,
nalled bourgeois success.* [16] (See: Culture and Anar- in the course of four generations, beginning with the
chy, 1869.) patriarch Johann Buddenbrook Sr. and his son, Johann

Buddenbrook Jr., who are typically successful German 1.7.6 See also
businessmen; each is a reasonable man of solid charac-
ter. Yet, in the children of Buddenbrook Jr., the materi- • Beurgeois (affluent French Muslims of North-
ally comfortable style of life provided by the dedication African descent)
to solid, middle-class values elicits decadence: The fickle
daughter, Toni, lacks and does not seek a purpose in life; • Bildungsbürgertum
son Christian is honestly decadent, and lives the life of a • Burgess
ne’er-do-well; and the businessman son, Thomas, who
assumes command of the Buddenbrook family fortune, • Conspicuous consumption
occasionally falters from middle-class solidity by being
interested in art and philosophy, the impractical life of • Conspicuous leisure
the mind, which, to the bourgeoisie, is the epitome of so- • Cultural hegemony
cial, moral, and material decadence.* [22]* [23]* [24]
• Economic stratification
Babbitt (1922), by Sinclair Lewis (1885–1951), satirises
the American bourgeois George Follansbee Babbitt, a • Gemütlichkeit
middle-aged realtor, booster, and joiner in the Midwest-
ern city of Zenith, who – despite being unimaginative, • Grand Burgher (German Großbürger)
self-important, and hopelessly conformist and middle-
class – is aware that there must be more to life than • Habitus (sociology)
money and the consumption of the best things that money • Homo economicus
can buy. Nevertheless, he fears being excluded from the
mainstream of society more than he does living for him- • Occupational prestige
self, by being true to himself – his heart-felt flirtations
with independence (dabbling in liberal politics and a love • Petite bourgeoisie
affair with a pretty widow) come to naught because he is • Political class
existentially afraid.
Yet, George F. Babbitt sublimates his desire for self- • The Proletariat, the opposite of the Bourgeoisie
respect, and encourages his son to rebel against the con- • Rational-legal authority
formity that results from bourgeois prosperity, by recom-
mending that he be true to himself: • Social environment

• Social structure of the United Kingdom

Don't be scared of the family. No, nor
• The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study
all of Zenith. Nor of yourself, the way I've
of Institutions (1899)
been.* [25]
• Vecino

1.7.7 References
The comedy films by the Spanish film director Luis
Buñuel (1900–83) examine the mental and moral effects [1] Bourgeois Society
of the bourgeois mentality, its culture, and the stylish way
of life it provides for its practitioners. [2] Joseph A. Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism, and
Democracy',' pages 83-84, 134

• L'Âge d'or (The Golden Age, 1930) illustrates the [3] The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology C.T. Onions,
Editor (1995) p. 110.
madness and self-destructive hypocrisy of bourgeois
society. [4] Oxford English Reference Dictionary Second Edition
(1996) p. 196.
• Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie (The Discreet [5] Dictionary of Historical Terms Chris Cook, Editor (1983)
Charm of the Bourgeoisie, 1972) explores the timid- p. 267.
ity instilled by middle-class values.
[6]“Bourgeoisie”, The Columbia Encyclopedia, Fifth Edi-
tion. (1994) p. 0000.
• Cet obscur objet du désir (That Obscure Object of De-
sire, 1977) illuminates the practical self-deceptions [7] Benét's Reader's Encyclopedia Third Edition (1987) p.
required for buying love as marriage.* [26]* [27] 118, p. 759.

[8] Molière, ed. Warren 1899 • Byrne, Frank J. Becoming Bourgeois: Merchant Cul-
ture in the South, 1820-1865. University Press of
[9] The Class Struggles in France, 1848 to 1850, Works of
Kentucky. 2006.
Karl Marx, 1850

[10] A Dictionary of Marxist Thought, T.B. Bottomore, p. 272 • Hunt, Margaret R. The Middling Sort: Commerce,
Gender, and the Family in England, 1680–1780.
[11] Béatrix Le Wita,J. A. Underwood. “French Bourgeois University of California Press. 1996.
• Kinder, Marsha. (ed.) Luis Buñuel's The Discreet
[12] Bellassai, Sandro (2005)“The Masculine Mystique: Anti- Charm of the Bourgeoisie. Cambridge University
Modernism and Virility in Fascist Italy”, Journal of Mod-
Press. 1999.
ern Italian Studies, 3, pp. 314–335.
• Lockwood, David. Cronies or Capitalists? The
[13] Marino, Giuseppe Carlo (1983) L'autarchia della cultura.
Intellettuali e fascismo negli anni trenta, Roma: Editori Ri- Russian Bourgeoisie and the Bourgeois Revolution
uniti. from 1850 to 1917. Cambridge Scholars Publish-
ing. 2009.
[14] Paravese, Roberto (1939) “Bonifica antiborghese”, in
Edgardo Sulis (ed.), Processo alla borghesia, Roma: Edi- • Molière, and Warren, Frederick Morris (ed.)
zioni Roma, pp. 51–70. Molière's Le bourgeois gentilhomme. D.C. Heath
& Co. 1899. (full text)
[15] Émile Zola, Le Rougon-Macquart (1871–1893).
• Siegel, Jerrold. Bohemian Paris: Culture, Politics,
[16] Walter Benjamin, The Halles Project.
and the Boundaries of Bourgeois Life, 1830–1930.
[17] Gilbert, Dennis (1998). The American Class Structure. The Johns Hopkins University Press. 1999.
New York: Wadsworth Publishing. 0-534-50520-1.
• Stern, Robert W. Changing India: Bourgeois Rev-
[18] Williams, Brian; Stacey C. Sawyer; Carl M. Wahlstrom olution on the Subcontinent. Cambridge University
(2005). Marriages, Families & Intimate Relationships. Press. 2nd edition, 2003.
Boston, MA: Pearson. 0-205-36674-0.

[19] Howard Zinn. A People's History of the United States

(1980) 1.7.8 External links
[20] Sven Beckert “Propertied of Different Kind: Bour- • The Democratic State – A Critique of Bourgeois
geoisie and Lower Middle Class in the Nineteenth- Sovereignty
Century United States”in The Middling Sorts: Explo-
rations in the History of the American Middle Class (2001)
Burton J. Bledstein and Robert D. Johnston, Eds. (2001)
1.8 Proletariat
[21] Benét's Reader's Encyclopedia Third Edition (1987) p.
118, p. 512.
For other uses, see Proletariat (disambiguation).
[22] Benét's Reader's Encyclopedia Third Edition (1987) p.
118, p. 137.
The proletariat (/ˌproʊlɪˈtɛəriːət/ from Latin proletarius)
[23] Charles Neider, The Stature of Thomas Mann (1968) is a term used to describe the class of wage-earners
(especially industrial workers), in a capitalist society,
[24] Wolfgang Beutin, A history of German Literature: From whose only possession of significant material value is
the Beginnings to the Present Day (1993) Routledge, 1993,
their labour-power (their ability to work);* [1] a member
ISBN 0-415-06034-6, p. 433.
of such a class is a proletarian.
[25] Benét's Reader's Encyclopedia Third Edition (1987) p. 65.

[26] see this review by Roger Ebert 1.8.1 Usage in Roman law
[27] Kinder (ed.) 1999
As defined in the Constitution of the Roman Republic,
the proletarii constituted a social class of Roman citizens
Further reading owning little or no property.

• Bledstein, Burton J. and Johnston, Robert D. (eds.) The origin of the name is presumably linked with the
The Middling Sorts: Explorations in the History of census, which Roman authorities conducted every five
the American Middle Class. Routledge. 2001. years to produce a register of citizens and their prop-
erty from which their military duties and voting privileges
• Brooks, David, Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper could be determined. For citizens with property valued
Class and How They Got There. Simon & Schuster. 11,000 asses or less, which was below the lowest census
2001. for military service, their children—proles (from Latin

proli, “offspring”)—were listed instead of their prop- classes by wealth, plus 5 centuriae of support personnel
erty; hence, the name proletarius,“the one who produces called adsidui. The top infantry class assembled with full
offspring”. The only contribution of a proletarius to the arms and armor; the next two classes brought arms and ar-
Roman society was seen in his ability to raise children, mor, but less and lesser; the fourth class only spears; the
the future Roman citizens who can colonize new territo- fifth slings. In voting, the cavalry and top infantry class
ries conquered by the Roman Republic and later by the were enough to decide an issue; as voting started at the
Roman Empire. The citizens who had no property of sig- top, an issue might be decided before the lower classes
nificance were called capite censi because they were“per- voted.* [6] In the last centuries of the Roman Republic
sons registered not as to their property...but simply as to (509-44 B.C.), the Comitia Centuriata became impotent
their existence as living individuals, primarily as heads as a political body, which further eroded already minus-
(caput) of a family.”* [2]* [3] cule political power the proletarii might have had in the
Roman society.
Following a series of wars the Roman Republic engaged
since the closing of the Second Punic War (218–201),
such as the Jugurthine War and conflicts in Macedonia
and Asia, the significant reduction in the number of Ro-
man family farmers had resulted in the shortage of people
whose property qualified them to perform the citizenry's
military duty to Rome.* [7] As a result of the Marian re-
forms initiated in 107 B.C. by the Roman general Gaius
Marius (157–86), the proletarii became the backbone of
the Roman Army.* [8]
Karl Marx, who studied Roman law at the University of
Berlin,* [9] used the term proletariat in his socio-political
theory of Marxism to describe a working class unadul-
terated by private property and capable of a revolution-
ary action to topple capitalism in order to create classless

1.8.2 Usage in Marxist theory

The term proletariat is used in Marxist theory to name the

social class that does not have ownership of the means of
production and whose only means of subsistence is to sell
their labour power* [10] for a wage or salary. Proletarians
are wage-workers, while some refer to those who receive
salaries as the salariat. For Marx, however, wage labor
A manual labourer at work in Venezuela. Manual labourers are may involve getting a salary rather than a wage per se.
generally considered to be part of the proletariat. Marxism sees the proletariat and bourgeoisie (capitalist
class) as occupying conflicting positions, since workers
Although included in one of the five support centuriae of automatically wish their wages to be as high as possible,
the Comitia Centuriata, proletarii were largely deprived while owners and their proxies wish for wages (costs) to
of their voting rights due to their low social status caused be as low as possible.
by their lack of“even the minimum property required for In Marxist theory, the borders between the proletariat
the lowest class”* [4] and a class-based hierarchy of the and some layers of the petite bourgeoisie, who rely pri-
Comitia Centuriata. The late Roman historians, such as marily but not exclusively on self-employment at an in-
Livy, not without some uncertainty, understood the Comi- come no different from an ordinary wage or below it –
tia Centuriata to be one of three forms of popular assem- and the lumpen proletariat, who are not in legal employ-
bly of early Rome composed of centuriae, the voting units ment – are not necessarily well defined. Intermediate po-
whose members represented a class of citizens according sitions are possible, where some wage-labour for an em-
to the value of their property. This assembly, which usu- ployer combines with self-employment. While the class
ally met on the Campus Martius to discuss public policy to which each individual person belongs is often hard to
issues, was also used as a means of designating military determine, from the standpoint of society as a whole,
duties demanded of Roman citizens.* [5] One of recon- taken in its movement (i.e. history), the class divisions
structions of the Comitia Centuriata features 18 centuriae are incontestable; the easiest proof of their existence is
of cavalry, and 170 centuriae of infantry divided into five the class struggle – strikes, for instance. While an em-

wealth that the proletariat produces through its work, and

the wealth it consumes to survive and to provide labor to
the capitalist companies.* [13] A part of the surplus value
is used to renew or increase the means of production, ei-
ther in quantity or quality (i.e., it is turned into capital),
and is called capitalised surplus value.* [14] What remains
is consumed by the capitalist class.
The commodities that proletarians produce and capital-
ists sell are valued for the amount of labor embodied in
them. The same goes for the workers' labor power itself:
it is valued, not for the amount of wealth it produces, but
for the amount of labor necessary to produce and repro-
duce it. Thus the capitalists earn wealth from the labor of
their employees, not as a function of their personal contri-
bution to the productive process, which may even be null,
but as a function of the juridical relation of property to
the means of production. Marxists argue that new wealth
is created through labor applied to natural resources.* [15]
Marx argued that it was the goal of the proletariat to
displace the capitalist system with the dictatorship of
the proletariat, abolishing the social relationships un-
derpinning the class system and then developing into a
communist society in which “the free development of
A 1911 Industrial Worker publication advocating industrial each is the condition for the free development of all”
unionism based on a critique of capitalism. The proletariat .* [16]
“work for all”and “feed all”.

1.8.3 Prole drift

ployee may be subjectively unsure of his class belonging,
when his workmates come out on strike he is objectively Prole drift, short for proletarian drift, is the trend in which
forced to follow one class (his workmates, i.e. the prole- class and social signifiers of membership in the lower
tariat) over the other (management, i.e. the bourgeoisie). classes are adopted by the middle and upper classes.* [17]
Marx makes a clear distinction between proletariat as
salaried workers, which he sees as a progressive class, and
Lumpenproletariat, “rag-proletariat”, the poorest and 1.8.4 See also
outcasts of the society, such as beggars, tricksters, enter-
• Bourgeoisie
tainers, buskers, criminals and prostitutes, which he con-
siders a retrograde class.* [11]* [12] Socialist parties have • Blue collar
often struggled over the question of whether they should
seek to organize and represent all the lower classes, or • Folk culture
just the wage-earning proletariat.
• Laborer
According to Marxism, capitalism is a system based on
the exploitation of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie. This • Lumpenproletariat
exploitation takes place as follows: the workers, who own • Peasantry
no means of production of their own, must use the means
of production that are property of others in order to pro- • Precariat
duce, and, consequently, earn their living. Instead of hir-
ing those means of production, they themselves get hired • Prolefeed
by capitalists and work for them, producing goods or ser- • Proles
vices. These goods or services become the property of
the capitalist, who sells them at the market. • Proletarianization
One part of the wealth produced is used to pay the work- • Proletarian internationalism
ers' wages (variable costs), another part to renew the
means of production (constant costs) while the third part, • Proletarian literature
surplus value is split between the capitalist's private tak- • Slavery
ings (profit), and the money used to pay rents, taxes, in-
terests, etc. Surplus value is the difference between the • Social Class

• Social class in ancient Rome [14] Luxemburg, Rosa. The Accumulation of

Capital. Chapter 6, Enlarged Reproduction,
• Working class
• Wage slavery
[15] Marx, Karl. Critique of the Gotha Programme, I.
1.8.5 Reference notes gotha/ch01.htm

[16] Marx, Karl. The Communist Manifesto, part II, Proletar-

[1] proletariat. Accessed: 6 June 2013.
ians and Communists
[2] Adolf Berger, Encyclopedic Dictionary of Roman Law marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch02.htm
(Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society 1953) at
[17] Fussell, Paul (October 1992). Class, A Guide Through the
380; 657.
American Status System. New York: Ballantine. ISBN 0-
[3] Arnold J. Toynbee, especially in his A Study of History, 345-31816-1.
uses the word Proletariat in this general sense of people
without property or a stake in society. Toynbee focuses
particularly on the generative spiritual life of the“internal 1.8.6 Further reading
proletariat”(those living within a given civil society). He
also describes the“heroic”folk legends of the“external • Blackledge, Paul (2011).“Why workers can change
proletariat”(poorer groups living outside the borders of the world”. Socialist Review 364 (London).
a civilization). Cf., Toynbee, A Study of History (Oxford
University 1934–1961), 12 volumes, in Volume V Disin- • Hal Draper, Karl Marx's Theory of Revolution, Vol.
tegration of Civilizations, part one (1939) at 58–194 (in- 2; The Politics of Social Classes. (New York:
ternal proletariat), and at 194–337 (external proletariat). Monthly Review Press 1978).
[4] Berger, Encyclopedic Dictionary of Roman Law (1953) at
351; 657 (quote). 1.8.7 External links
[5] Titus Livius (c.59 BC-AD 17), Ab urbe condita, 1, 43;
the first five books translated by Aubrey de Sélincourt as 1.9 Class conflict
Livy, The Early History of Rome (Penguin 1960, 1971) at
“Class struggle”redirects here. For other uses, see Class
[6] Andrew Lintott, The Constitution of the Roman Republic Struggle.
(Oxford University 1999) at 55–61, re the Comitia Cen- Class conflict, frequently referred to as class warfare

[7] Cf., Theodor Mommsen, Römisches Geschichte (1854–

1856), 3 volumes; translated as History of Rome (1862–
1866), 4 volumes; reprint (The Free Press 1957) at vol.III:
48–55 (Mommsen's Bk.III, ch.XI toward end).

[8] H. H. Scullard, Gracchi to Nero. A History of Rome from

133 BC to AD 68 (London: Methuen 1959, 4th ed. 1976)
at 51–52.

[9] Cf., Sidney Hook, Marx and the Marxists (Princeton: Van
Nostrand 1955) at 13.

[10] Marx, Karl (1887). “Chapter Six: The Buying and Sell-
ing of Labour-Power”. In Frederick Engels. Das Kapital,
Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) demonstration in New
Kritik der politischen Ökonomie [Capital: Critique of Polit-
York, 11 April 1914
ical Economy]. Moscow: Progress Publishers. Retrieved
10 February 2013.
or class struggle, is the tension or antagonism which ex-
[11] Lumpen proletariat – Britannica Online Encyclopedia ists in society due to competing socioeconomic interests
and desires between people of different classes. The view
[12] Marx, Karl (February 1848). “Bourgeois and Proletari- that the class struggle provides the lever for radical so-
ans”. Manifesto of the Communist Party. Progress Pub-
cial change for the majority is central to the work of Karl
lishers. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
Marx and the anarchist Mikhail Bakunin. However, the
[13] Marx, Karl. The Capital, volume 1, chapter 6. discovery of the existence of class struggle is not the prod- uct of their theories; their theories can instead be seen as
ch06.htm a response to the existence of class struggles.

Class conflict can take many different forms: direct vio- in the history of class-based hierarchical systems such as
lence, such as wars fought for resources and cheap labor; capitalism and feudalism.* [1] Marxists refer to its overt
indirect violence, such as deaths from poverty, starvation, manifestations as class war, a struggle whose resolution in
illness or unsafe working conditions; coercion, such as the favor of the working class is viewed by them as inevitable
threat of losing a job or pulling an important investment; under plutocratic capitalism.
or ideology, either intentionally (as with books and arti-
cles promoting capitalism) or unintentionally (as with the
promotion of consumerism through advertising). Addi- Pre-capitalist societies
tionally, political forms of class conflict exist; legally or
illegally lobbying or bribing government leaders for pas- Where societies are socially divided based on status,
sage of partisan desirable legislation including labor laws, wealth, or control of social production and distribution,
tax codes, consumer laws, acts of congress or other sanc- conflict arises. This conflict is both everyday, such as the
tion, injunction or tariff. The conflict can be open, as with common medieval insistence on the right of lords to con-
a lockout aimed at destroying a labor union, or hidden, as trol access to grain mills and baking ovens, or it can be
with an informal slowdown in production protesting low exceptional such as the Roman Conflict of the Orders,
wages or unfair labor practices. the uprising of Spartacus, or the various popular upris-
ings in late medieval Europe. One of the earliest analysis
of these conflicts is Friedrich Engels' The Peasant War
1.9.1 Usage in Germany.* [2] One of the earliest analyses of the de-
velopment of class as the development of conflicts be-
tween emergent classes is available in Peter Kropotkin's
Mutual Aid. In this work, Kropotkin analyzes the disposal
of goods after death in pre-class or hunter-gatherer soci-
eties, and how inheritance produces early class divisions
and conflict.* [3]

21st century USA

Billionaire and friend to Warren Buffett, George Soros

addresses the pejorative use of the term by the
conservative-right by stating,“Speaking as a person who
would be most hurt by this, I think my fellow hedge fund
managers call this class warfare because they don't like to
pay more taxes.”* [4]
Teamsters wild-cat strike in Minneapolis, 1934 The term is not always used as a pejorative in mod-
ern times. Bill Moyers, for example, gave a speech at
In the past the term Class conflict was a term used mostly Brennan Center for Justice in December 2013 which was
by socialists, who define a class by its relationship to the titled“The Great American Class War,”referring to the
means of production —such as factories, land and ma- current struggle between democracy and plutocracy in the
chinery. From this point of view, the social control of U.S.* [5] Chris Hedges wrote a column for Truthdig called
production and labor is a contest between classes, and “Let's Get This Class War Started,”which was a play on
the division of these resources necessarily involves con- Pink's song "Let's Get This Party Started.”* [6]* [7]
flict and inflicts harm. It can involve ongoing low-level Historian Steve Fraser, author of The Age of Acquies-
clashes, escalate into massive confrontations, and in some cence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Or-
cases, lead to the overall defeat of one of the contending ganized Wealth and Power, asserts that class conflict is
classes. However, in more contemporary times this term an inevitability if current political and economic condi-
is striking chords and finding new definition amongst cap- tions continue, noting that “people are increasingly fed
italistic societies in the United States and other Western- up…their voices are not being heard. And I think that
ized countries. can only go on for so long without there being more and
The anarchist Mikhail Bakunin argued that the class more outbreaks of what used to be called class struggle,
struggle of the working class, peasantry and poor had the class warfare.”* [8]
potential to lead to a social revolution involving the over-
throw of ruling elites, and the creation of libertarian so-
cialism. This was only a potential, and class struggle was, 1.9.2 Capitalist societies
he argued, not always the only or decisive factor in soci-
ety, but it was central. By contrast, Marxists argue that The typical example of class conflict described is class
class conflict always plays the decisive and pivotal role conflict within capitalism. This class conflict is seen to oc-

cur primarily between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat,

and takes the form of conflict over hours of work, value
of wages, division of profits, cost of consumer goods, the
culture at work, control over parliament or bureaucracy,
and economic inequality. The particular implementation
of government programs which may seem purely human-
itarian, such as disaster relief, can actually be a form of
class conflict.* [9] In the USA class conflict is often noted
in labor/management disputes. As far back as 1933 rep-
resentative Edward Hamilton of ALPA, the Airline Pi-
lot's Association, used the term “class warfare”to de-
scribe airline management's opposition at the National
Labor Board hearings in October of that year.* [10] Apart
from these day-to-day forms of class conflict, during peri-
ods of crisis or revolution class conflict takes on a violent
nature and involves repression, assault, restriction of civil
liberties, and murderous violence such as assassinations
or death squads. (Zinn, People's History)

Thomas Jefferson, USA

Warren Buffett
Although Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) led the United
States as president from 1801–1809 and is considered one Warren Buffett, USA
of the founding fathers, he died with immense amounts
of debt. Regarding the interaction between social classes, The investor, and billionaire , and philanthropist Warren
he wrote, Buffett, one of the 10 wealthiest persons in the
world,* [12] voiced in 2005 and once more in 2006 his
view that his class – the “rich class”– is waging class
warfare on the rest of society. In 2005 Buffet said to
I am convinced that those societies (as CNN: "It's class warfare, my class is winning, but they
the Indians) which live without government shouldn't be."* [13] In a November 2006 interview in The
enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater New York Times, Buffett stated that "[t]here’s class war-
degree of happiness than those who live fare all right, but it’
s my class, the rich class, that’
s making
under the European governments. Among war, and we’re winning."* [14] Later Warren gave away
the former, public opinion is in the place of more than half of his fortune to charitable causes through
law, & restrains morals as powerfully as laws a program developed by himself and computer software
ever did anywhere. Among the latter, under tycoon Bill Gates.* [15] In 2011 Buffett called on govern-
pretence of governing they have divided their ment legislators to, "...stop coddling the super rich."* [16]
nations into two classes, wolves & sheep. I
do not exaggerate. This is a true picture of
Europe. Cherish therefore the spirit of our Noam Chomsky
people, and keep alive their attention. Do not
be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim Noam Chomsky, American linguist, philosopher, and
them by enlightening them. If once they political activist has criticized class war in the United
become inattentive to the public affairs, you States:
& I, & Congress & Assemblies, judges &
governors shall all become wolves. It seems to Well, there’s always a class war going
be the law of our general nature, in spite of on. The United States, to an unusual extent,
individual exceptions; and experience declares is a business-run society, more so than others.
that man is the only animal which devours his The business classes are very class-conscious
own kind, for I can apply no milder term to —they’re constantly fighting a bitter class war
the governments of Europe, and to the general to improve their power and diminish opposi-
prey of the rich on the poor.* [11] tion. Occasionally this is recognized....
—Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Edward Car-
rington - January 16, 1787 The enormous benefits given to the very wealthy, the priv-
ileges for the very wealthy here, are way beyond those

of other comparable societies and are part of the ongo- 1.9.3 The Soviet Union and similar soci-
ing class war. Take a look at CEO salaries.... -- Noam eties
Chomsky in OCCUPY: Class War, Rebellion and Solidar-
ity, Second Edition (November 5, 2013)* [17] A variety of predominantly Marxist and anarchist
thinkers argue that class conflict exists in Soviet-style so-
cieties. These arguments describe as a class the bureau-
cratic stratum formed by the ruling political party (known
Max Weber, Germany
as the Nomenklatura in the Soviet Union) —sometimes
termed a "new class".* [27]—that controls the means of
Max Weber (1864–1920) agrees with the fundamental production. This ruling class is viewed to be in opposi-
ideas of Karl Marx about the economy causing class con- tion to the remainder of society, generally considered the
flict, but claims that class conflict can also stem from proletariat. This type of system is referred to by its de-
prestige and power.* [18] Weber argues that classes come tractors as state capitalism, state socialism, bureaucratic
from the different property locations. Different locations collectivism or new class societies. (Cliff; Ðilas 1957)
can largely affect one's class by their education and the Marxism was such a predominate ideological power in
people they associate with.* [18] He also states that pres- what became the Soviet Union since a Marxist group
tige results in different status groupings. This prestige is known as the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
based upon the social status of one's parents. Prestige is was formed in the country, prior to 1917. This party soon
an attributed value and many times cannot be changed. divided into two main factions; the Bolsheviks, who were
Weber states that power differences led to the forma- led by Vladimir Lenin, and the Mensheviks, who were
tion of political parties.* [18] Weber disagrees with Marx led by Julius Martov.
about the formation of classes. While Marx believes that
groups are similar due to their economic status, Weber ar-
gues that classes are largely formed by social status.* [18] 1.9.4 Marxist perspectives
Weber does not believe that communities are formed by
economic standing, but by similar social prestige.* [18]
Weber does recognize that there is a relationship between
social status, social prestige and classes.* [18]

Arab Spring

Numerous factors have culminated in what's known as the

Arab Spring. Agenda behind the civil unrest, and the ulti-
mate overthrow of authoritarian governments throughout
the Middle-East included issues such as dictatorship or
absolute monarchy, human rights violations, government
corruption (demonstrated by Wikileaks diplomatic ca-
bles),* [19] economic decline, unemployment, extreme
poverty, and a number of demographic structural fac-
tors,* [20] such as a large percentage of educated but dis-
satisfied youth within the population.* [21] Also, some,
like Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek attribute the
2009 Iranian protests as one of the reasons behind the
Arab Spring.* [22] The catalysts for the revolts in all
Northern African and Persian Gulf countries have been
the concentration of wealth in the hands of autocrats in
power for decades, insufficient transparency of its redis-
tribution, corruption, and especially the refusal of the
youth to accept the status quo.* [23]* [24] as they involve
threats to food security worldwide and prices that ap-
proach levels of the 2007–2008 world food price cri- Karl Marx, 1875
sis.* [25] Amnesty International singled out Wikileaks' re-
lease of US diplomatic cables as a catalyst for the re- Karl Marx (1818–1883) was a German born philosopher
volts.* [26] One additional issue is the financing and arm- who lived the majority of his adult life in London, Eng-
ing of rebels by western, non-Arab countries, as well as land. In The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx argued
favourable media coverage and intense propaganda cam- that a class is formed when its members achieve class con-
paigning by using social networks. sciousness and solidarity.* [18] This largely happens when

the members of a class become aware of their exploitation from the bourgeoisie because production becomes a so-
and the conflict with another class. A class will then real- cial enterprise. Contributing to their separation is the
ize their shared interests and a common identity. Accord- technology that is in factories. Technology de-skills and
ing to Marx, a class will then take action against those that alienates workers as they are no longer viewed as hav-
are exploiting the lower classes. ing a specialized skill.* [18] Another effect of technology
What Marx points out is that members of each of the two is a homogenous workforce that can be easily replace-
main classes have interests in common. These class or able. Marx believed that this class conflict would result
collective interests are in conflict with those of the other in the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and that the private
property would be communally owned.* [18] The mode
class as a whole. This in turn leads to conflict between
individual members of different classes. of production would remain, but communal ownership
would eliminate class conflict.* [18]
Marxist analysis of society identifies two main social
groups: Even after a revolution, the two classes would struggle,
but eventually the struggle would recede and the classes
dissolve. As class boundaries broke down, the state ap-
• Labour (the proletariat or workers) includes any-
paratus would wither away. According to Marx, the main
one who earns their livelihood by selling their labor
task of any state apparatus is to uphold the power of the
power and being paid a wage or salary for their labor
ruling class; but without any classes there would be no
time. They have little choice but to work for capi-
need for a state. That would lead to the classless, state-
tal, since they typically have no independent way to
less communist society.
• Capital (the bourgeoisie or capitalists) includes any-
one who gets their income not from labor as much
as from the surplus value they appropriate from the
workers who create wealth. The income of the cap-
italists, therefore, is based on their exploitation of
1.9.5 Non-Marxist perspectives
the workers (proletariat).
Social commentators, historians and socialist theorists
Not all class struggle is violent or necessarily radical, as had commented on class struggle for some time before
with strikes and lockouts. Class antagonism may instead Marx, as well as the connection between class strug-
be expressed as low worker morale, minor sabotage and gle, property, and law: Augustin Thierry,* [28] François
pilferage, and individual workers' abuse of petty author- Guizot, François-Auguste Mignet and Adolphe Thiers.
ity and hoarding of information. It may also be expressed The Physiocrats, David Ricardo, and after Marx, Henry
on a larger scale by support for socialist or populist par- George noted the inelastic supply of land and argued
ties. On the employers' side, the use of union busting that this created certain privileges (economic rent) for
legal firms and the lobbying for anti-union laws are forms landowners. According to the historian Arnold Toynbee,
of class struggle. stratification along lines of class appears only within civ-
ilizations, and furthermore only appears during the pro-
Not all class struggle is a threat to capitalism, or even to
the authority of an individual capitalist. A narrow strug- cess of a civilization's decline while not characterizing the
growth phase of a civilization.* [29]
gle for higher wages by a small sector of the working-
class, what is often called “economism”, hardly threat- Proudhon, in What is Property? (1840) states that “cer-
ens the status quo. In fact, by applying the craft-union tain classes do not relish investigation into the pretended
tactics of excluding other workers from skilled trades, an titles to property, and its fabulous and perhaps scan-
economistic struggle may even weaken the working class dalous history.”* [30] While Proudhon saw the solution as
as a whole by dividing it. Class struggle becomes more the lower classes forming an alternative, solidarity econ-
important in the historical process as it becomes more omy centered on cooperatives and self-managed work-
general, as industries are organized rather than crafts, places, which would slowly undermine and replace capi-
as workers' class consciousness rises, and as they self- talist class society, the anarchist Mikhail Bakunin while
organize away from political parties. Marx referred to influenced by Proudhon, insisted that a massive class
this as the progress of the proletariat from being a class struggle, by the working class, peasantry and poor, was
“in itself”, a position in the social structure, to being essential to the creation of libertarian socialism. This
one“for itself”,an active and conscious force that could would require a (final) showdown in the form of a social
change the world. revolution.
Marx largely focuses on the capital industrialist society Fascists have often opposed class struggle and instead
as the source of social stratification, which ultimately re- have attempted to appeal to the working class while
sults in class conflict.* [18] He states that capitalism cre- promising to preserve the existing social classes and have
ates a division between classes which can largely be seen proposed an alternative concept known as class collabo-
in manufacturing factories. The proletariat, is separated ration.

Middle Ages

• Ciompi in Florence 1378

• Jacquerie - France 14th century

Modern era

Jobless Black workers in the heat of the Philadelphia summer,


1.9.6 Class vs. race struggle

According to Michel Foucault, in the 19th century the

essentialist notion of the "race" was incorporated by
racists, biologists, and eugenicists, who gave it the mod-
ern sense of“biological race”which was then integrated
to "state racism". On the other hand, Foucault claims
that when Marxists developed their concept of “class
struggle”, they were partly inspired by the older, non-
biological notions of the “race”and the “race strug-
gle”. In a letter to Friedrich Engels in 1882 Karl Marx
wrote: You know very well where we found our idea of
class struggle; we found it in the work of the French histori- The rebellion of György Dózsa in 1514 spread like lightning in
ans who talked about the race struggle.* [31] For Foucault, the Kingdom of Hungary where hundreds of manor-houses and
the theme of social war provides the overriding principle castles were burnt and thousands of the gentry killed.
that connects class and race struggle.* [32]
Moses Hess, an important theoretician of the early social-
• German Peasants' War since 1524
ist movement, in his“Epilogue”to "Rome and Jerusalem"
argued that“the race struggle is primary, the class strug- • English Civil War (1642–1651) (Diggers)
gle secondary... With the cessation of race antagonism,
the class struggle will also come to a standstill. The equal- • French Revolution since 1789* [35]
ization of all classes of society will necessarily follow the
• Canut revolts in Lyon since 1831 - often considered
emancipation of all the races, for it will ultimately be-
as the beginning of the modern labor movement
come a scientific question of social economics.”* [33]
In modern times, emerging schools of thought in the U.S. • Revolutions of 1848 France (et al.)
and other countries hold the opposite to be true.* [34] • Paris Commune 1871
They argue that the race struggle is less important, be-
cause the primary struggle is that of class since labor of • Donghak Peasant Revolution in Korea 1893/94
all races face the same problems and injustices.
• 1907 Romanian Peasants' Revolt

• Mexican Revolution since 1910

1.9.7 Chronology
• October Revolution in 1917
Riots with a basically nationalist background are not in-
cluded. • Spartacist uprising in Germany 1919

• Seattle General Strike of 1919 in Seattle

Classical antiquity • General Strike of 1919 in Spain
• Conflict of the Orders • Winnipeg General Strike 1919

• Roman Servile Wars • Ruhr Uprising in Germany 1920


• Kronstadt rebellion 1921 • Labor union

• Hamburg Uprising 1923 • No War But The Class War
• 1926 United Kingdom general strike • Popular revolt in late medieval Europe
• 1934 West Coast waterfront strike • Revolution
• Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 • Sharecropping
• Uprising of 1953 in East Germany • Slave rebellion
• Cuban Revolution 1953-1959 • Social class
• Hungarian Revolution of 1956 - foundation of • Socialist Harmonious Society
worker's councils
• Taxation
• Poznań 1956 protests
• Mai 68 in France 1.9.9 References
• Battle of Valle Giulia 1968 Italy [1] Marx, Karl et al. (1848). The Communist Manifesto. :
• Wild cats in Western Germany in 1969
[2] Frederick Engels, The Peasant War in Germany, marx-
• Winter of Discontent 1978/79
• UK miners' strike (1984–1985) [3] Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid
• 1993 Russian constitutional crisis [4] Sahadi, Jeanne (April 12, 2012). “Soros: Why I Support
the Buffett Rule”. CNN. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
• 2006 Oaxaca protests in Mexico
[5] Moyers, Bill (12 December 2013). The Great American
• 2008 Greek riots Class War. Brennan Center for Justice. Retrieved 25 Jan-
uary 2014.
• Kyrgyz Revolution of 2010
[6] The Pathology of the Rich - Chris Hedges on Reality As-
• Egyptian Revolution of 2011
serts Itself pt1 The Real News. 5 December 2013. Re-
• 2011 England riots trieved 25 January 2014.

• World Civil Class & Race War on a Selection of [7] Hedges, Chris (20 October 2013). Let’s Get This Class
War Started. Truthdig. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
Drug Users
[8] Full Show: The New Robber Barons. Moyers & Company.
• World Social Forum December 19, 2014.
• World Economic Forum [9] Greg Palast, Burn baby burn

1.9.8 See also [10] Kaps, Robert W. (1997). Air Transport Labor Rela-
tions. Section 3: Major Collective Bargaining Legislation:
• Class consciousness Southern Illinois Press. p. 51. ISBN 0-8093-1776-1.

• Classism [11] Jefferson, Thomas. “Letter to Edward Carrington - Jan-

uary 16, 1787”.
• Classless society
• Conflict of the Orders
[13] Buffett: 'There are lots of loose nukes around the world'
• Deformed workers state

• Degenerated workers state [14] Buffett, Warren (Nov 26, 2006). “In Class Warfare,
Guess Which Class is Winning”. The New York Times.
• Economic inequality
[15] “Warren Buffett Gives Away Fortune”. Huffington Post.
• Economic stratification 4/12/2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012. Check date values
in: |date= (help)
• Exploitation
[16] Buffett, Warren (Nov 2011). “Stop Coddling the Super
• Johnson County War Rich”. The New York Times. Retrieved 16 May 2012.

[17] Chomsky, Noam (2013), OCCUPY: Class War, Rebel- 1.9.10 Further reading
lion and Solidarity, Second Edition (November 5, 2013),
Zuccotti Park Press, retrieved October 14, 2014 • Class & Class Conflict in Industrial Society,Ralf
Dahrendorf, Stanford University Press, 1959, trade
[18] Blackwell Reference Online.. Retrieved November 24,
paperback, 336 pages, ISBN 0-8047-0561-5 (also
available in hardback as ISBN 0-8047-0560-7 and
[19] Cockburn, Alexander (18–20 February 2011). “The ISBN 1-131-15573-4).
Tweet and Revolution”.
• The Global Class War: How America's Bipartisan
[20] Korotayev A, Zinkina J (2011).“Egyptian Revolution: A Elite Lost Our Future and What It Will Take to
Demographic Structural Analysis”. Entelequia. Revista Win It Back Jeff Faux, John Wiley and Sons. 2006.
Interdisciplinar 13: 139–165.
ISBN 978-0-471-69761-9
[21] “Demographics of the Arab League, computed by Wol-
• Li Yi. 2005. The Structure and Evolution of Chi-
fram Alpha”.
nese Social Stratification. University Press of Amer-
[22] “Ahmadinejad row with Khamenei intensifies”. Al ica. ISBN 0-7618-3331-5
Jazeera. 6 May 2011.
• The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and
[23] Ecker, Al-Riffai, Perrihan. “Economics of the Arab Protest: 1500 to the Present, ed. by Immanuel Ness,
awakening”. International Food Policy Research Insti- Malden, MA [etc.]: Wiley & Sons, 2009.
tute. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
• Louis Adamic, Dynamite: The story of class violence
[24] The Other Arab Spring April 7, 2012 Thomas L. Friedman
in America, Revised Edition (1934)
New York Times Op Ed

[25] Javid, Salman Ansari (27 January 2011).“Arab dictator-

• Leo Zeilig (Editor), Class Struggle and Resistance in
ships inundated by food price protests”. Tehran Times. Africa, New Clarion Press, 2002.
Retrieved 13 February 2011. • Gerson Antell/Walter Harris, “Economics For Ev-
[26] Peter Walker Amnesty International hails WikiLeaks and erybody”, Amsco School Publications, 2007
Guardian as Arab spring 'catalysts', in The Guardian, Fri-
• Mathew Maavak, "Class Warfare, Anarchy and the
day 13 May 2011
Future Society", Journal of Futures Studies, Decem-
[27] Đilas, Milovan (1983, 1957). The New Class: An Anal- ber 2012, 17(2): 15-36
ysis of the Communist System (paperback ed.). San
Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. ISBN 0-15-665489- • The Black Bloc Papers: An Anthology of Primary
X. Check date values in: |date= (help) Texts From The North American Anarchist Black
Bloc 1988-2005, by Xavier Massot & David Van
[28] Augustin Thierry: Recueil des monuments inédits de
Deusen of the Green Mountain Anarchist Collective
l'histoire du Tiers état
(NEFAC-VT), Breaking Glass Press, 2010.
[29] Toynbee, Arnold (1947). “The Nature of Disintegra-
tion”. In Dorothea Grace Somervell. A Study of History: • A Communiqué on Tactics and Organization to the
Abridgment of Volumes I - VI. New York, NY: Oxford Black Bloc, from within the Black Bloc, by The
University Press. p. 365. ISBN 0-19-505081-9. Green Mountain Anarchist Collective (NEFAC-
VT) & Columbus Anti-Racist Action, Black Clover
[30] Pierre Proudhon, What is Property?, chapter 2, remark 2. Press, 2001.
[31] Quoted in Society Must be Defended by Michel Foucault • Neither Washington Nor Stowe: Common Sense For
(trans. David Macey), London: Allen Lane, Penguin
The Working Vermonter, by David Van Deusen and
Press (1976, 2003), p. 79
the Green Mountain Anarchist Collective (NEFAC-
[32] Ann Laura Stoler, Race and the Education of Desire: Fou- VT), Catamount Tavern Press, 2004.
cault's “History of Sexuality”and the Colonial Order of
Things , Duke University Press (1995), p.71-72
1.9.11 External links
[33] quoted in Prophecy and Politics: Socialism, Nationalism,
and the Russian Jews by Jonathan Frankel, Cambridge • 2008-2010 Study: CEOs Who Fired Most Work-
University Press (1981), p. 22.
ers Earned Highest Pay - video report by Democracy
[34] Eastwood, John H. (1995).“Chapter 3: Ye Are the Salt of Now!
the Earth”. The Wonder of Grace. Shippensburg, Penn-
sylvania: Companion Press. p. 18. ISBN 1-56043-572-0. • Blair Community Center and Museum to help pre-
The system that was supposed to treat all men equally ac- serve and understand the largest labor uprising in US
tually created a class society. history—the Battle of Blair Mountain.

[35] see Daniel Guérin, Class Struggle in the First French Re- • Let’s Get This Class War Started. Chris Hedges,
public, Pluto Press 1977 Truthdig.

1.10 Classless society the different functional assignments of the primitive

mode of production, howsoever rigid and stratified they
“Classlessness”redirects here. For Internet routing in might be, did not and could not, simply because of the
which class distinctions are ignored, see Classless routing. numbers, produce a class society as such. With the
transition to agriculture, the possibility to make a surplus
product, i.e. to produce more than what is necessary to
Classless society refers to a society in which no one satisfy one's immediate needs, developed in the course
is born into a social class. Such distinctions of wealth, of development of the productive forces. According to
income, education, culture, or social network might arise Marxism, this also made it possible for a class society
and would only be determined by individual experience to develop, because the surplus product could be used
and achievement in such a society. to nourish a ruling class, which did not participate in
Since these distinctions are difficult to avoid, advocates, production.
such as anarchists, communists, etc. of a classless society
propose various means to achieve and maintain it and at-
tach varying degrees of importance to it as an end in their
overall programs/philosophy.
1.10.3 See also
1.10.1 Classlessness
1.10.4 References
The term classlessness has been used to describe differ-
ent social phenomena.
1.11 Class consciousness
In societies where classes have been abolished it is usually
the result of a voluntary decision by the membership to
form such a society, to abolish a pre-existing class struc- Class consciousness is a term used in social sciences
ture in an existing society or to form a new one with- and political theory, particularly Marxism, to refer to the
out any. This would include communes, of the mod- beliefs that a person holds regarding their social class or
ern period, such as various Utopian communities, the economic rank in society, the structure of their class, and
kibbutzim, etc. as well as revolutionary and political their class interests.* [1]* [2]
acts at the nation-state level such as the Paris Commune,
Russian Revolution, etc. The abolition of social classes
and the establishment of a classless society is the primary
goal of communism, libertarian socialism and anarchism.
1.11.1 Marxist theory
Classlessness also refers to the state of mind required in
order to operate effectively as a social anthropologist.
Anthropological training includes making assessments of While German theorist Karl Marx rarely used the term
and therefore becoming aware of one's own class assump- “class consciousness”, he did make the distinction be-
tions, so that these can be set aside from conclusions tween“class in itself”, which is defined as a category of
reached about other societies. This may be compared to people having a common relation to the means of produc-
ethnocentric biases or the "neutral axiology" required by tion, and a“class for itself”, which is defined as a stratum
Max Weber. Otherwise conclusions reached about stud- organized in active pursuit of its own interests.* [2]
ied societies will likely be coloured by the anthropolo- Defining a person's social class can be a determinant for
gist's own class values. their awareness of it. Marxists define classes on the basis
Classlessness can also refer to a society that has acquired of their relation to the means of production – especially on
pervasive and substantial social justice; where the eco- whether they own capital. Non-Marxist social scientists
nomic upper class wields no special political power and distinguish various social strata on the basis of income,
poverty as experienced historically is virtually nonexis- occupation, or status.* [3]
tent. Early in the nineteenth century, the labels "working
classes" and "middle classes" were already coming into
common usage. “The old hereditary aristocracy, re-
1.10.2 Marxist definition inforced by the new gentry who owed their success to
commerce, industry, and the professions, evolved into an
Main article: pure communism "upper class". Its consciousness was formed in part by
public schools (in the British sense) and Universities. The
In Marxist theory, tribal hunter-gatherer society, upper class tenaciously maintained control over the polit-
primitive communism, was classless. Everyone was ical system, depriving not only the working classes but the
equal in a basic sense as a member of the tribe and middle classes of a voice in the political process.”* [4]

1.11.2 Georg Lukács' History and Class ism has gone so far as seeing an invisible hand in this col-
Consciousness (1923) lective results, making capitalism the best of all possible
worlds). By contrast, the proletariat would be, accord-
Class consciousness, as described by Georg Lukács's fa- ing to Lukács, the first class in history with the possibility
mous History and Class Consciousness (1923), is opposed to achieve a true form of class consciousness, granting it
to any psychological conception of consciousness, which knowledge of the totality of the historical process.
forms the basis of individual or mass psychology (see The proletariat takes the place of Hegel's Weltgeist
Freud or, before him, Gustave Le Bon). According to (“World Spirit”), which achieves history through
Lukács, each social class has a determined class con- Volksgeist (“the spirit of the people”): the idealist con-
sciousness which it can achieve. In effect, as opposed ception of an abstract Spirit making history, which ends
to the liberal conception of consciousness as the basis in the realm of Reason, is replaced by a materialist con-
of individual freedom and of the social contract, Marxist ception based not on mythical Spirits, but on a concrete
class consciousness is not an origin, but an achievement “identical subject-object of history": the proletariat. The
(i.e. it must be “earned”or won). Hence, it is never as- proletariat is both the “object”of history, created by
sured: the proletariat's class consciousness is the result of the capitalist social formation; but it is also the “sub-
a permanent struggle to understand the "concrete totality" ject”of history, as it is its labour that shapes the world,
of the historical process. and thus, knowledge of itself is also, necessarily, knowl-
According to Lukács, the proletariat was the first class edge of the reality and of the totality of the historical pro-
in history that may achieve true class consciousness, be- cess. The proletariat's class consciousness is not immedi-
cause of its specific position highlighted in the Communist ate; class consciousness must not be mistaken either with
Manifesto as the “living negation”of capitalism. All the consciousness of one's future and collective interests,
others classes, including the bourgeoisie, are limited to a opposed to personal immediate interests.
"false consciousness" which impedes them from under- The possibility of class consciousness is given by the ob-
standing the totality of history: instead of understanding jective process of history, which transforms the prole-
each specific moment as a portion of a supposedly de- tariat into a commodity, hence objectifying it. Class con-
terministic historical process, they universalize it and be- sciousness is thus not a simple subjective act: “as con-
lieve it is everlasting. Hence, capitalism is not thought as sciousness here is not the consciousness of an object op-
a specific phase of history, but is naturalized and thought posed to itself, but the object's consciousness, the act of
of as an eternal solidified part of history. Says Lukács, being conscious of oneself disrupts the objectivity form
this“false consciousness”, which forms ideology itself, of its object”(in “Reification and the Proletariat's Con-
is not a simple error as in classical philosophy, but an sciousness”§3, III “The proletariat's point of view”).
illusion which can't be dispelled. In other words, instead of the bourgeois subject and its
Marx described it in his theory of commodity fetishism, corresponding ideological concept of individual free will,
which Lukács completed with his concept of reification: the proletariat has been transformed into an object (a
alienation is what follows the worker's estrangement to commodity) which, when it takes consciousness of itself,
the world following the new life acquired by the prod- transforms the very structure of objectivity, that is of re-
uct of his work. The dominant bourgeois ideology thus ality.
leads the individual to see the achievement of his labour This specific role of the proletariat is a consequence of
take a life of its own. Furthermore, specialization is its specific position; thus, for the first time, consciousness
also seen as a characteristic of the ideology of modern of itself (class consciousness) is also consciousness of the
rationalism, which creates specific and independent do- totality (knowledge of the entire social and historical pro-
mains (art, politics, science, etc.). Only a global perspec- cess). Through dialectical materialism, the proletariat un-
tive can point out how all these different domains interact, derstands that what the individual bourgeois conceived as
argues Lukács. He also points out how Kant brought to its “laws”akin to the laws of nature, which may be only ma-
limit the classical opposition between the abstract form nipulated, as in Descartes's dream, but not changed, is in
and the concrete, historical content, which is abstractly fact the result of a social and historical process, which can
conceived as irrational and contingent. Thus, with Kant's be controlled. Furthermore, only dialectical materialism
rational system, history becomes totally contingent and is links together all specialized domains, which modern ra-
thus ignored. Only with Hegel's dialectic can a media- tionalism can only think as separate instead of as forming
tion be found between the abstract form and the abstract a totality.
notion of a concrete content.* [5]
Only the proletariat can understand that the so-called
Even if the bourgeois loses his individual point of view “eternal laws of economics”are in fact nothing more than
in an attempt to grasp the reality of the totality of society the historical form taken by the social and economical
and of the historical process, he is condemned to a form process in a capitalist society. Since these “laws”are
of false consciousness. As an individual, he will always the result of the collective actions of individuals, and are
see the collective result of individual actions as a form of thus created by society, Marx and Lukács reasoned that
"objective law" to which he must submit himself (liberal-

this necessarily meant that they could be changed. Any 1.11.4 See also
attempt in transforming the so-called “laws”governing
capitalism into universal principles, valid in all times and 1.11.5 References
places, are criticized by Lukács as a form of false con-
sciousness. [1] Wright, Erik Olin (2006). “Class”. In Beckert, Jens &
Zafirovski, Milan. International encyclopedia of economic
As the “expression of the revolutionary process itself”,
sociology. Psychology Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-415-
dialectical materialism, which is the only theory with an 28673-2.
understanding of the totality of the historical process, is
the theory which may help the proletariat in its“struggle [2] Borland, Elizabeth (2008). “Class consciousness”. In
for class consciousness”. Although Lukács does not con- Parrillo, Vincent N. Encyclopedia of social problems, Vol-
test the Marxist primacy of the economic infrastructure ume 1. SAGE. p. 134. ISBN 978-1-4129-4165-5.
on the ideological superstructure (not to be mistaken with
[3] Jon Elster, An Introduction to Karl Marx. Cambridge,
vulgar economic determinism), he considers that there is England, 1986.
a place for autonomous struggle for class consciousness.
In order to achieve a unity of theory and praxis, the-
ory must not only tend toward reality in an attempt to [5] Georg Lukács, History and Class Consciousness Complete
change it; reality must also tend towards theory. Other- Text.
wise, the historical process leads a life of its own, while
theorists make their own little theories, desperately wait- [6] Ludwig von Mises ([1957], 2007). Theory and His-
ing for some kind of possible influence over the historical tory: An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolu-
tion. Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute, p.
process. Henceforth, reality itself must tend toward the
113. ISBN 978-1-933550-19-0
theory, making it the “expression of the revolutionary
process itself”. In turn, a theory which has as its goal [7] Leszek Kolakowski,“My Correct Views on Everything,”
helping the proletariat achieve class consciousness must The Socialist Register 1974, pp. 1–20
first be an “objective theory of class consciousness”.
However, theory in itself is insufficient, and ultimately [8] ’Marxism, being a scientific theory, could not be a spon-
taneous product of the working class [according to Lenin],
relies on the struggle of humankind and of the proletariat
but had to be imported from outside, by intellectuals
for consciousness: the “objective theory of class con-
equipped with scientific knowledge, became the peculiar
sciousness is only the theory of its objective possibility” ideological instrument to justify a new idea of the party of
. manipulators. Since the working class is in principle in-
capable of articulating theoretically its consciousness, it is
possible and even necessary that the“genuine”theoretical
consciousness of the working class should be incarnated in
1.11.3 Criticism a political organism that could consider itself the carrier
of this consciousness regardless of what the “empirical”
Economist Ludwig Von Mises* [6] argued that “Marx working class thought about it, given that the“empirical”
confus[ed] the notions of caste and class.”Mises allowed consciousness of this class is irrelevant in defining who in
that class consciousness, and the associated class strug- a given moment represents its interest. This is why the
gle, were valid concepts in some circumstances where theory of class consciousness instilled from outside and
the whole idea of scientific socialism so conceived served
rigid social castes exist; e.g., when slavery is legal, and
to justify the fact that in all kinds of political activity and
slaves thus share a common motive for ending their dis- later in the exercise of political power, the working class
advantaged status relative to other castes. “But no such may be and must be replaced by the political apparatus
conflicts are present in a society in which all citizens are which is the vehicle of its consciousness at the highest
equal before the law,”according to Mises. “No logical level. The whole Leninist and then Stalinist principle of
objection can be advanced against distinguishing various dictatorship which the proletariat exercises through the in-
classes among the members of such a society. Any clas- termediary of its self-appointed representatives, is only a
sification is logically permissible, however arbitrarily the development of the idea of“scientific socialism”so con-
mark of distinction may be chosen. But it is nonsensical ceived.’Leszek Kolakowski, “Althusser’s Marx”The
to classify the members of a capitalistic society according Socialist Register 1971, pp. 111–128
to their position in the framework of the social division [9] Haag, Ernest van den (1987) “Marxism as pseudo-
of labor and then to identify these classes with the castes science”, Reason Papers No. 12, Spring 1987
of a status society.”
Philosopher Leszek Kołakowski argued that the“theory
of class consciousness is false”* [7] and that attempts by 1.12 Commune (socialism)
Marxist–Leninists to advance the concept of class con-
sciousness necessarily led to totalitarianism.* [8] The commune is a model of government that is gener-
Sociologist Ernest van den Haag has argued: ally advocated by communists, revolutionary socialists,

and anarchists. The model is often characterized as be- the proletarian counterpart to bourgeois political forms
ing a local and transparent organization composed of del- such as parliaments. In his pamphlet, Marx explains the
egates bound by mandates. These delegates would be purpose and function of the commune during the period
recallable at any time from their positions. Proponents that he termed the dictatorship of the proletariat:* [2]
view the right of recall as a particularly important safe- Marx based these ideas on the example of the Paris Com-
guard against corruption and unresponsiveness among the mune, which he described in The Civil War in France:* [2]
In addition to local governance, the communes were to
play a central role in the national government:* [2]
1.12.1 Introduction

Almost universally, communists, left-wing socialists, and 1.12.3 Bakunin's Revolutionary Catechism
anarchists have seen the Commune as a model for the
liberated society that will come after the masses are lib- Bakunin eventually diverged sharply both personally and
erated from capitalism, a society based on participatory ideologically from Marx and such a divergence is evident
democracy from the grass roots up. in his thought. Bakunin never advocated a dictatorship of
the proletariat, but instead a collectivism based on com-
Marx and Engels, Bakunin, and later Lenin and Trotsky munes and cooperative worker's associations allied to-
gained major theoretical lessons (in particular as regards gether into a decentralized and stateless federation. In
the “dictatorship of the proletariat”and the "withering his Revolutionary Catechism he laid down the principles
away of the state") from the limited experience of the on which he believed a free, anarchist society should be
Paris Commune. founded upon. This included the political organization of
Nonetheless, these very advocates provided critiques society into communes:* [3]
of the commune. Marx found it aggravating that the The autonomous commune is furthermore based upon the
Communards pooled all their resources into first organiz- complete liberty of the individual and dedicated to its re-
ing democratic elections rather than gathering their forces alization. Bakunin's anarchist commune is not organized
and attacking Versailles in a timely fashion. Many Marx- into a dictatorship of the proletariat but a loose, yet co-
ists, based on their interpretation of the historical evi- hesive federation that attempts to achieve the aims of the
dence and on Marx's writings on the subject, believe that actively revolutionary class as a whole.
the Communards were too“soft”on the non-proletarian
elements in their midst.
But the idea of the commune as a libertarian social
1.12.4 The function of mini-communes
organization has persisted within revolutionary theory.
Mini-communes and squats exist all over the world, but
Kropotkin criticized modern representative democracy as
comprise only a marginal pattern of social organization
merely being an instrument for the ruling class, and ar-
in relation to society at large. However, many of them
gued that a new society would have to be organized on en-
provide a self-conscious example of how a socialist soci-
tirely different principles which involved every individual
ety would function, even if only on a microsociological
more directly.* [1] He treats the nation state as a capital-
level. As they are, socialist mini-communes are, along
ist territorial organization which imposes itself over many
with workers' associations, the germs for the development
communities through the spectacle of participation which
of mass, socially complex communist communes.* [4]
elections deceptively provide. Communes on the other
hand are expected to endow communities with autonomy
from external powers and offer each person within them 1.12.5 Contemporary political movements
a part in decision-making processes, through communal
organized around the idea of the
assemblies and easily revocable delegates.
• Abahlali baseMjondolo
1.12.2 Within Marxism
• Homeless Workers' Movement
Karl Marx, in his important pamphlet The Civil War in
France (1871), written during the Commune, advocated • Landless Workers' Movement
the Commune's achievements, and described it as the • Occupy Oakland
prototype for a revolutionary government of the future,
'the form at last discovered' for the emancipation of the • Zapatista Army of National Liberation
Thus in Marxist theory, the commune is a form of politi- 1.12.6 See also
cal organization adopted during the first (or lower) phase
of communism, socialism. Communes are proposed as • Commune

• Workers' council 1.13.1 History

• Libertarian municipalism
See also: Communalism
• Soviet democracy

• Anarchism In Marxist theory, Primitive communism was based on

common ownership on a subsistence level. Pre-Neolithic
tribes held property in common. Another term for this
1.12.7 References arrangement is a "gift economy" or communalism.

[1] Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets (1970), Dover Pub-


[2] Marx and Engels, The Civil War in France

[3] “Revolutionary Catechism”. Retrieved 7 March 2013. Movement in the UK

[4] Shantz, Jeff (2010) Constructive Anarchy: Building Infras-
tructures of Resistance
The principle was adopted by the “new wave”work-
ers’co-operative movement during the 1970s, and con-
tinues into the present day, although it is less common.
1.12.8 External links
In 1976, the British Parliament passed the Industrial
• An Anarchist FAQ, Section I: What would an anar- Common Ownership Act (“ICO Act”), which gave
chist society look like? £100,000 of “seed”funding to the Industrial Common
Ownership Movement (ICOM) and £50,000 to the Scot-
tish Co-operative Development Committee (SCDC), re-
spectively. ICOM was fueled by three strands of thought–
1.13 Common ownership Christian socialism, workers’control and“rice and san-
dals”alternativism–and successfully promoted the cre-
Common ownership is a principle according to which ation of over 2,000 worker’s co-operatives, before merg-
the assets of an organization, enterprise or community ing in 2001 with the Co-operative Union to form Co-
are held indivisibly rather than in the names of the indi- operatives UK, thus reuniting the worker co-operative
vidual members. It involves an arrangement whereby the and consumer co-operative sectors.
produce belongs indivisibly to all members. In parallel, the growth of some 60 local co-operative
The principle of holding the means of production in com- development agencies (CDAs), supported by local au-
mon with free access to the output produced is a central thorities, gave on-the-spot start-up assistance to groups
goal of many socialist movements and is taken to be a wanting to create a co-operative. Some local retail co-
defining feature of a genuine communist society. Ad- operative societies were also active. By combining per-
vocates make a distinction between forms of collective sonal, community, and business development, this move-
ownership (such as corporate/private ownership and state ment brought many disadvantaged people the opportunity
ownership) and common property based on access abun- to go into business for themselves on the basis of eco-
dance.* [1] nomic democracy, equal opportunities, and social inclu-
In political philosophy, common ownership refers to joint sion.
ownership by all individuals in society. Common owner- Finance: The ICO Act also established a £250,000 ro-
ship of the means of production is advocated, or asserted, tating loan fund managed by Industrial Common Owner-
by communism and some forms of socialism. Common ship Finance Ltd (ICOF). ICOF —since 2005 trading as
ownership differs from collective ownership. The for- Co-operative and Community Finance- has grown steadily
mer means property open for access to anyone, and the and now manages a range of funds totalling some £4.5
latter means property owned jointly by agreement.* [2] million. Some of these have been endowed by public bod-
Examples of collective ownership include modern forms ies, and others were raised through public subscription.
of corporate ownership as well as producer cooperatives, This was the start of the ethical investment movement in
which are in contrast to forms of common ownership, Britain.
such as a public park available to everyone.* [3] Currently, as signalled by the British Labour Party’s
Common ownership of land is an example of customary abandonment of “clause 4”of its constitution, which
land ownership in tribal societies which predates and runs called for common ownership and was printed on party
simultaneously to the arrangement of colonised alienated membership cards, ideology has given way to pragma-
land. Tribes and families living on the land have common tism, and the social enterprise movement focuses on out-
ownership through tradition. comes rather than structures.

1.13.2 Common ownership and socialism with a workforce of hundreds.)

In London, Calverts is another rare example of an estab-
Many socialist movements advocate the common own- lished worker co-operative with a policy of pay parity.
ership of the means of production by all of society as The John Lewis Partnership is probably the most famous
an eventual goal to be achieved through the development example of a worker co-operative, albeit one without pay
of the productive forces, although many socialists clas- parity. From the collective movement, one of the most
sify socialism as public ownership of the means of pro- successful ventures is probably Suma Wholefoods in El-
duction, reserving “common ownership”for what Karl land, West Yorkshire.
Marx termed "upper-stage communism". From a Marxist
analysis, society based on a superabundance of goods and
common ownership of the means of production would be UK law
devoid of classes based on ownership of productive prop-
erty. The principle is typically implemented through inserting
two clauses in a company’s Memorandum of Associa-
Therefore, public or state ownership of industry is seen
tion, or an industrial and provident society’s rules.
as a temporary measure to be adopted during the transi-
tion from capitalism to socialism, which will eventually
be displaced by common ownership as state authority be- • the first provides that the company’s assets shall
comes obsolete as class distinctions evaporate. Common be applied solely in furtherance of its objectives and
ownership in a hypothetical communist society is distin- may not be divided among the members or trustees.
guished from primitive forms of common property that • the second provides for "altruistic dissolution”, an
have existed throughout history, such as communalism “asset lock”, whereby if the enterprise is wound
and primitive communism, in that Communist common up, remaining assets exceeding liabilities shall not be
ownership is the outcome of technological developments divided among the members but shall be transferred
leading to superabundance. to another enterprise with similar aims or to charity.
It is the practical application of the socialist desire to
achieve the “common ownership of the means of pro- British law has been reluctant to entrench common own-
duction”(see Clause IV). Its purpose, by preventing con- ership, insisting that a three-quarters majority of a com-
trol being obtained through the purchase of a company’ pany’s members, by passing a “special resolution”,
s share capital, is to ensure that the founders’aims are have the right to amend a company’s memorandum of
pursued in perpetuity. This is particularly desirable to the association. This three-quarters majority above applies
founders of a workers’co-operative, who, inspired by sol- to most limited companies, except that it is possible since
idarity and the desire to create fulfilling employment, will 2006 to entrench altruistic dissolution in an industrial and
typically build the business up through hard and low-paid provident society registered as a 'community benefit so-
work (misleadingly called “sweat equity”). They may ciety' ('bencom'). This statutory asset lock is not avail-
out of a sense of fairness wish to hinder future genera- able to societies registered as 'bona fide' co-operatives.
tions of employees, or their heirs, from winding up the However such entrenchment has also been written into
co-operative so as to be able to share the sale proceeds the Community interest company (CIC), a new legal sta-
among themselves (see asset stripping). tus that was introduced in 2005.

1.13.3 In practice 1.13.4 See also

Common ownership is practised by large numbers of vol- • Communism

untary associations and non-profit organizations, by all • Common-pool resource
charities, as well as implicitly by all public bodies. Most
co-operatives have some element of common ownership, • Commons
but some part of their capital may be individually owned.
• Commons-based peer production
A very significant early influence on the movement
has been the Scott Bader Commonwealth, a compos- • Cooperative
ites and speciality polymer plastics manufacturing com-
• Creative Commons
pany in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, which its
owner, Ernest Bader, gave to the workforce in install- • Egalitarianism
ments through the late 1950s to early 1960s. (Con-
trary to the popular concept of common ownership or- • Georgism / Geolibertarianism
ganisations as being small organisations, this is a high- • Libertarian socialism
technology chemical manufacturer whose turnover has
exceeded £100 million per annum since the early 1990s • Open source

• Post-capitalism Karl Marx

• Post-scarcity economy Karl Marx did not write much about the nature of the
dictatorship of the proletariat, with his published works
• Property rights (economics) instead largely focusing on analysing and criticising cap-
• Social ownership italist society. In 1848 he and Engels wrote in the
Communist Manifesto that “their ends can be attained
• State ownership only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social condi-
tions”.* [6] In the same year, commenting on revolution
• Tragedy of the commons in Vienna he again highlighted the role of the violence:
“there is only one way in which the murderous death ag-
onies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of
1.13.5 References the new society can be shortened, simplified and concen-
trated, and that way is revolutionary terror”.* [7]
[1] Public Ownership and Common Ownership, Anton Pan-
nekoek, Western Socialist, 1947. Transcribed by Adam On 1 January 1852, the communist journalist Joseph
Buick. Weydemeyer published an article entitled “Dictatorship
of the Proletariat”in the German language newspaper
[2] Holcombe, Randall G. (2005). “Common Property in Turn-Zeitung, where he wrote that “it is quite plain that
Anarcho-Capitalism”(PDF). Journal of Libertarian Stud- there cannot be here any question of gradual, peace-
ies 19 (2): 10. ful transitions”, and recalled the examples of Oliver
Cromwell (England) and Committee of Public Safety
(France) as examples of“dictatorship”and“terrorism”
(respectively) required to overthrow the bourgeoisie.* [8]
In that year, Karl Marx wrote to him, saying:
1.14 Dictatorship of the proletariat
Long before me, bourgeois historians had
In Marxist socio-political thought, the dictatorship described the historical development of this
of the proletariat refers to a state in which the struggle between the classes, as had bourgeois
proletariat, or the working class, has control of political economists their economic anatomy. My
power.* [1]* [2] The term, coined by Joseph Weydemeyer, own contribution was (1) to show that the
was adopted by the founders of Marxism, Karl Marx and existence of classes is merely bound up with
Friedrich Engels, in the 19th century. In Marxist theory, certain historical phases in the development
the dictatorship of the proletariat is the intermediate sys- of production; (2) that the class struggle
tem between capitalism and communism, when the gov- necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the
ernment is in the process of changing the means of own- proletariat; [and] (3) that this dictatorship,
ership from privatism to collective ownership.* [3] itself, constitutes no more than a transition to
the abolition of all classes and to a classless
Both Marx and Engels argued that the short-lived Paris society
Commune, which ran the French capital for over two —Karl Marx, 1852* [9]
months before being repressed, was an example of the
dictatorship of the proletariat.
According to Marxist theory, the existence of any Marx expanded upon his ideas about the dictatorship
government implies the dictatorship of one social class of the proletariat in his short 1875 work, Critique of
over another. The dictatorship of the bourgeoisie is thus the Gotha Program, a scathing criticism and attack on
used as an antonym of the dictatorship of the prole- the principles laid out in the programme of the Ger-
tariat.* [4] man Workers' Party (predecessor to the SPD). The pro-
gramme presented a moderate, evolutionary way to so-
Rosa Luxemburg, a Marxist theorist, emphasized the role cialism, as opposed to revolutionary, violent approach of
of the dictatorship of the proletariat as the rule of the the “orthodox”Marxists. As result the latter accused
whole class, representing the majority, and not a single the Gotha program as being “revisionist”and ineffec-
party, characterizing the dictatorship of the proletariat as tive.* [10]
a concept meant to expand democracy rather than reduce
it, as opposed to minority rule in the dictatorship of the Marx stated that in a proletarian-run society, the state
bourgeoisie, the only other class state power can reside in should control the “proceeds of labour”(i.e. all the
according to Marxist theory.* [5] food and products produced), and take from them that
which was “an economic necessity”, namely enough to
replace “the means of production used up”, an “ad-
1.14.1 Theoretical approaches ditional portion for expansion of production”and “in-
surance funds”to be used in emergencies such as natural

disasters. Furthermore, he believed that the state should In the 1891 postscript to The Civil War in France (1872)
then take enough to cover administrative costs, funds for pamphlet, Friedrich Engels said: “Well and good, gen-
the running of public services, and funds for those who tlemen, do you want to know what this dictatorship looks
were physically incapable of working. Once enough to like? Look at the Paris Commune. That was the Dic-
cover all of these things had been taken out of the “pro- tatorship of the Proletariat"; to avoid bourgeois political
ceeds of labour”, Marx believed that what was left should corruption:
then be shared out amongst the workers, with each indi-
vidual getting goods to the equivalent value of how much the Commune made use of two infallible
labour they had invested.* [11] In this meritocratic man- expedients. In this first place, it filled all posts
ner, those workers who put in more labour and worked —administrative, judicial, and educational—
harder would get more of the proceeds of the collective by election on the basis of universal suffrage of
labour than someone who had not worked as hard. all concerned, with the right of the same elec-
In the Critique, he noted however that “defects are in- tors to recall their delegate at any time. And, in
evitable”and there would be many difficulties in initially the second place, all officials, high or low, were
running such a workers' state“as it emerges from capital- paid only the wages received by other workers.
istic society”because it would be“economically, morally The highest salary paid by the Commune to
and intellectually... still stamped with the birth marks of anyone was 6,000 francs. In this way an effec-
the old society from whose womb it emerges”, thereby tive barrier to place-hunting and careerism was
still containing capitalist elements.* [11] set up, even apart from the binding mandates to
delegates [and] to representative bodies, which
In other works, Marx stated that he considered the Paris were also added in profusion.
Commune (a revolutionary socialism supporting govern-
ment that ran the city of Paris from March to May 1871)
as an example of the proletarian dictatorship. Describing In the same year he criticised “anti-authoritarian social-
the short-lived regime, he remarked that: ists”, again referring to the methods of the Paris Com-

The Commune was formed of the munic- A revolution is certainly the most authori-
ipal councilors, chosen by universal suffrage tarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one
in the various wards of the town, responsi- part of the population imposes its will upon
ble, and revocable at short terms. The major- the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and
ity of its members were naturally workers, or cannon —authoritarian means, if such there
acknowledged representatives of the working be at all; and if the victorious party does not
class. The Commune was to be a working, not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain
a parliamentary body, executive, and legisla- this rule by means of the terror which its arms
tive at the same time.* [12] inspire in the reactionists. Would the Paris
Commune have lasted a single day if it had
This form of popular government, featuring revocable not made use of this authority of the armed
election of councilors and maximal public participation in people against the bourgeois?
governance, resembles contemporary direct democracy. —Friedrich Engels, On Authority, 1872* [14]

Friedrich Engels Marx's attention to the Paris Commune placed the

commune in the centre of later Marxist forms.
Force and violence played an important role in Friedrich This statement was written in “Address of the Central
Engels's vision of the revolution and rule of proletariat. Committee to the Communist League”, which is credited
In 1877, arguing with Eugen Dühring Engels ridiculed to Marx & Engels:
his reservations against use of force:
[The workers] must work to ensure that
That force, however, plays yet another the immediate revolutionary excitement is not
role in history, a revolutionary role; that, in suddenly suppressed after the victory. On
the words of Marx, it is the midwife of every the contrary, it must be sustained as long as
old society pregnant with a new one, that it possible. Far from opposing the so-called
is the instrument with the aid of which social excesses – instances of popular vengeance
movement forces its way through and shatters against hated individuals or against public
the dead, fossilised political forms buildings with which hateful memories are
—Friedrich Engels, Anti-Duhring, 1877* [13] associated – the workers’party must not only
tolerate these actions but must even give them

direction. The use of violence, terror and rule of single communist

—Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, Address of party was criticised by Karl Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg
the Central Committee..., 1850* [15] and Mikhail Bakunin. In response Lenin accused Kaut-
sky of being a“renegade”and“liberal”* [19] and these
socialist movements that did not support the Bolshevik
party line were condemned by the Communist Interna-
1.14.2 Lenin tional and called social fascism.
No Dictatorship in developed countries
In the 20th century, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin developed
Leninism—the adaptation of Marxism to the backward Soviet democracy granted voting rights to the majority of
socio-economic and political conditions of Imperial Rus- the populace who elected the local soviets, who elected
sia (1721–1917). This body of theory later became the the regional soviets, and so on until electing the Supreme
official ideology of some Communist states. Soviet of the Soviet Union. Capitalists were disenfran-
chised in the Russian soviet model. However, accord-
The State and Revolution (1917) explicitly discusses the ing to Lenin, in a developed country it would be possi-
practical implementation of “dictatorship of the prole- ble to dispense with the disenfranchisement of capital-
tariat”through means of violent revolution. Lenin denies ists within the democratic proletarian dictatorship; as the
any reformist interpretations of Marxism, such as the one proletariat would be guaranteed of an overwhelming ma-
of Kautsky's. Lenin especially focuses on Engels' phrase jority. [Notes on Plenkhanov's Second Draft Programme.
of the state “withering away”, denying that it could Lenin Collected Works. Vol. 6, p. 51]
apply to “bourgeois state”and highlighting that Engels
work is mostly“panegyric on violent revolution”. Based The Bolsheviks in 1917–1924 did not claim to have
on these arguments, he denounces reformists as“oppor- achieved a communist society; in contrast the preamble to
tunistic”, reactionary and points out the red terror as the the 1977 Constitution (Fundamental Law) of the Union of
only* [16] method of introducing dictatorship of the pro- Soviet Socialist Republics (the“Brezhnev Constitution”),
letariat compliant with Marx and Engels work.* [17] stated that the 1917 Revolution established the dictator-
ship of the proletariat as “a society of true democracy”
In Imperial Russia, the Paris Commune model form , and that “the supreme goal of the Soviet state is the
of government was realised in the soviets (councils of building of a classless, communist society in which there
workers and soldiers) established in the Russian Revo- will be public, communist self-government.”
lution of 1905, whose revolutionary task was deposing
the capitalist (monarchical) state to establish socialism—
the dictatorship of the proletariat—the stage preceding ....Dictatorship does not necessarily mean
communism. the abolition of democracy for the class that ex-
ercises the dictatorship over other classes; but
In Russia the Bolshevik Party (described by Lenin as the it does mean the abolition of democracy (or
“vanguard of the proletariat”) elevated the soviets to very material restriction, which is also a form
power in the October Revolution of 1917. Throughout of abolition) of democracy for the class over
1917, Lenin argued that the Russian Provisional Govern- which, or against which, the dictatorship is ex-
ment was unrepresentative of the proletariat's interests ercised.
because, in his estimation, they represented the “dic- — Vladimir Lenin* [20]* [21]
tatorship of the bourgeoisie”. He argued that because
they continually put off democratic elections, they denied
the prominence of the democratically constituted sovi- Banning of opposition parties and factions
ets, and all the promises made by liberal-bourgeois par-
ties prior to the February revolution remained unfulfilled, During the Russian Civil War (1918–22), all the major
the soviets would need to take power for themselves. opposition parties either took up arms against the new
Soviet Government, took part in sabotage, collaboration
with the deposed Tsarists, or made assassination attempts
Proletarian government against Lenin and other Bolshevik leaders. When oppo-
sition parties such as the Cadets and Mensheviks were
Lenin argued that in an underdeveloped country such as democratically elected to the Soviets in some areas, they
Russia, the capitalist class would remain a threat even af- proceeded to use their mandate to welcome in Tsarist and
ter a successful socialist revolution.* [18] As a result, he foreign capitalist military forces. In one incident in Baku,
advocated the repression of those elements of the capital- the British military, once invited in, proceeded to exe-
ist class that took up arms against the new soviet govern- cute members of the Bolshevik party (who had peacefully
ment, writing that as long as classes existed, a state would stood down from the Soviet when they failed to win the
need to exist to exercise the democratic rule of one class elections). As a result, the Bolsheviks banned each oppo-
(in his view, the working class) over the other (the capi- sition party when it turned against the Soviet government.
talist class).* [18] In some cases, bans were lifted. This banning of parties

did not have the same repressive character as later bans Stalinist Communists and Socialists—argue that the Stal-
under Stalin would.* [22] inist USSR and other Stalinist countries used the“dicta-
Internally, Lenin's critics argued that such political sup- torship of the proletariat”to justify the monopolisation of
pression always was his plan; supporters argued that political power by a new ruling layer of bureaucrats, de-
the reactionary civil war of the foreign-sponsored White rived partly from the old Tsarist bureaucracy and partly
Movement required it—given Fanya Kaplan's unsuccess- created by the impoverished condition of Russia.
ful assassination of Lenin on 30 August 1918, and the However, the rising Stalinist clique rested on other
successful assassination of Moisei Uritsky, the same day. grounds for political legitimacy, rather than a confusion
After 1919, the Soviets had ceased to function as organs between the modern and Marxist use of the term“dicta-
of democratic rule, as the famine induced by forced grain torship”. Rather, they took the line that since they were
requisitions led to the Soviets emptying out of ordinary the vanguard of the proletariat, their right to rule could
people. Half the population of Moscow and a third of not be legitimately questioned. Hence, opposition par-
Petrograd had, by this stage, fled to the countryside to ties could not be permitted to exist. From 1936 onward,
find food. Political life ground to a halt.* [22] Stalinist-inspired state constitutions enshrined this con-
cept by giving the various 'Communist Parties' a “lead-
The Bolsheviks became concerned that under these con- ing role”in society—a provision that was interpreted to
ditions —the absence of mass participation in political either ban other parties altogether or force them to ac-
life, and the banning of opposition parties —counter- cept the Stalinists guaranteed right to rule as a condition
revolutionary forces would express themselves within the of being allowed to exist.
Bolshevik party itself (some evidence existed for this in
the mass of ex-opposition party members who signed up This justification was adopted by subsequent 'communist'
for Bolshevik membership immediately after the end of parties built upon the Stalinist model, such as the CCP
in China, the CP in North Korea, Vietnam, and the CP
the Civil War).
(initially the 26th of July Movement) in Cuba.
Despite the principle of democratic centralism in the Bol-
shevik Party, internal factions were banned. This was
considered an extreme measure, and did not fall within Post-Stalin
Marxist doctrine. The ban remained until the USSR's dis-
solution in 1991.* [23] In 1921, vigorous internal debate At the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the So-
and freedom of opinion were still present within Russia; viet Union (CPSU) Nikita Khrushchev declared an end to
the beginnings of censorship and mass political repres- the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' and the establishment
sion had not yet emerged. For example, the Workers Op- of the All People's Government. [24]
position faction continued to operate despite being nom-
inally dissolved. The debates of the Communist Party of
the Soviet Union continued to be published until 1923.
1.14.3 See also
• Democracy in Marxism

Stalinism and 'dictatorship' • Invisible dictatorship

• People's democratic dictatorship
Elements of the later censorship and attacks on political
expression would appear during Lenin's illness, and after • Trotskyism
his death, when members of the future Stalinist clique • Tyranny of the majority
clamped down on party democracy among the Geor-
gian Bolsheviks and began to censor material. Pravda
ceased publishing the opinions of political oppositions 1.14.4 Notes
after 1924, and at the same time, the ruling clique (Zi-
noviev, Kamenev, and Stalin) admitted large numbers of [1] “On Authority”. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
new members into the party in order to shout down the [2] Karl Marx and Frederick Engels.“Manifesto of the Com-
voices of oppositionists at party meetings, severely cur- munist Party”. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
tailing internal debate. Their policies were partly directed
by the interests of the new bureaucracy that had accumu- [3] “Critique of the Gotha Programme—IV”. Critique of
lated a great deal of social weight in the absence of an the Gotha Programme. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
active participation in politics by the majority of people. [4] Lenin, Vladimir (1918). "Class society and the state".
By 1927 many supporters of the Left Opposition began The State and Revolution. Lenin Internet Archive (marx-
to face political repression, and Leon Trotsky was exiled.
Some modern critics of the concept of the “dictatorship [5] Luxemburg, Rosa (1918). "Democracy and Dictator-
of the proletariat”—including various Anti-Communists, ship". The Russian Revolution. New York: Workers Age
Libertarian Marxists, Anarcho-Communists, and anti- Publishers.

[6] Communist Manifesto, 1848, Chapter IV 1.14.5 External links

[7] Karl Marx (1848). “The Victory of the Counter-
• Critique of the Gotha Programme
Revolution in Vienna”. Neue Rheinische Zeitung. Re-
trieved 2015-04-25. • The Civil War in France
[8] Joseph Weydemeyer (1962). “The dictator-
• glossary term
ship of the proletariat”. Labor History (in En-
glish translated from German) 3 (2): 214–217. • “The 'Dictatorship of the Proletariat' in Marx and
doi:10.1080/00236566208583900. Retrieved October
Engels”by Hal Draper
15, 2011.

[9] See the letter from Marx to Joseph Weydemeyer dated

March 5, 1852 in Karl Marx & Frederick Engels, Col- 1.15 Collective leadership
lected Works Vol. 39 (International Publishers: New York,
1983) pp. 62–65.
Collective leadership is considered an ideal form of rul-
[10] “The Gotha and Erfurt Programs”. 1875. Retrieved 13 ing a communist party, both within and outside a socialist
September 2014.
state. Its main task is to distribute powers and functions
[11] Marx 1875. Chapter One. from the individual to a single group. For instance, in
China powers have been distributed from the office of
[12] Marx, Karl (1986). “The Civil War in France”. Marx General Secretary of the Communist Party and shared
& Engels Collected Works 22. New York: International
with the Politburo Standing Committee while still retain-
Publishers. p. 331.
ing one ruler. On the other hand, in Vietnam there is
[13] Engels, Friedrich (1877). “Theory of Force (Conclu- not one paramount leader, and power is shared by the
sion)". Retrieved 2013-11-06. party General Secretary, President and the Prime Min-
ister along with collegial bodies such as the Politburo,
[14] Engels, Friedrich (1872). “On Authority”. Retrieved
2013-11-06. Secretariat and the Central Committee.

[15] Marx, Karl & Engels, Friedrich (1850). “Address of

the Central Committee to the Communist League”. Re- 1.15.1 Forms
trieved 2013-11-06.

[16] The supersession of the bourgeois state by the proletarian China

state is impossible without a violent revolution (The State
and Revolution, Chapter 1) Currently, the central authority of the Chinese govern-
ment is concentrated in the Politburo Standing Commit-
[17] The theory of Marx and Engels of the inevitability of a vio- tee, which is composed of 7-members of the Communist
lent revolution refers to the bourgeois state. The latter can-Party of China and headed by the General Secretary of
not be superseded by the proletarian state (the dictatorship
the Central Committee.* [1]
of the proletariat) through the process of 'withering away”
, but, as a general rule, only through a violent revolution.
The panegyric Engels sang in its honor, and which fully Soviet Union
corresponds to Marx's repeated statements. (The State and
Revolution, Chapter 1)
Main article: Collective leadership in the Soviet Union
[18] "
Collective leadership (Russian: коллективное руко-
[19] Vladimir Lenin (1918).“The Proletarian Revolution and водство, kollektivnoye rukovodstvo) or Collectivity of
the Renegade Kautsky”. Retrieved 13 September 2014. leadership (Russian: коллективность руководства,
kollektivnost rukovodstva), was considered an ideal form
[20] V. I. Lenin, The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade
Kautsky. Collected Works, Vol. 28, p. 235. of governance in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
(USSR). Its main task was to distribute powers and func-
[21] Marx Engels Lenin on Scientific Socialism. Moscow: tions among the Politburo, the Central Committee, and
Novosti Press Ajency Publishing House. 1974. the Council of Ministers to hinder any attempts to cre-
[22] Marcel Leibman (1980) Leninism under Lenin ate a one-man dominance over the Soviet political sys-
tem by a Soviet leader, such as that seen under Joseph
[23] “A Country Study: Soviet Union (Former). Chapter 7 Stalin's rule. On the national level, the heart of the col-
—The Communist Party. Democratic Centralism”. The lective leadership was officially the Central Committee
Library of Congress. Country Studies. Retrieved October of the Communist Party, but in practice, was the Polit-
24, 2005.
buro. Collective leadership is characterised by limiting
[24] Law, David A. (1975). Russian Civilization. Ardent Me- the powers of the General Secretary and the Chairman
dia. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-8422-0529-0. of the Council of Ministers as related to other offices by

enhancing the powers of collective bodies, such as the 1.16 Scientific socialism
Lenin was, according to Soviet literature, the perfect Scientific socialism is the term first used by Friedrich
example of a leader ruling in favour of the collective. Engels* [1] to describe the social-political-economic the-
Stalin's rule was characterised by one-man dominance, ory first pioneered by Karl Marx. The purported rea-
which was a deep breach of collective leadership; this son why this form of socialism is “scientific socialism”
made his leadership highly controversial in the Soviet (as opposed to "utopian socialism") is that it is said to
Union following his death in 1953. At the 20th Party be based on the scientific method, in that its theories are
Congress, Stalin's reign was criticised as the “person- held to an empirical standard, observations are essential
ality cult”. Nikita Khrushchev, Stalin's successor, sup- to its development, and these can result in changes and/or
ported the ideal of collective leadership but increasingly falsification of elements of the theory.
ruled in an autocratic fashion. In 1964, Khrushchev was Although the term socialism has come to mean specifi-
ousted and replaced by Leonid Brezhnev as First Secre- cally a combination of political and economic science, it
tary and by Alexei Kosygin as Premier. Collective lead- is also applicable to a broader area of science encompass-
ership was strengthened during the Brezhnev years and ing what is now considered sociology and the humanities.
the later reigns of Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Cher- The distinction between utopian and scientific socialism
nenko. Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms helped spawn fac- originated with Marx, who criticized the utopian charac-
tionalism within the Soviet leadership, and members of teristics of French socialism and English and Scottish po-
Gorbachev's faction openly disagreed with him on key is- litical economy. Engels later argued that utopian social-
sues. The factions usually disagreed on how little or howists failed to recognize why it was that socialism arose in
much reform was needed to rejuvenate the Soviet system. the historical context that it did, that it arose as a response
to new social contradictions of a new mode of produc-
tion, i.e. capitalism. In recognizing the nature of social-
1.15.2 See also ism as the resolution of this contradiction and applying
a thorough scientific understanding of capitalism, Engels
• Federal Council (Switzerland) asserted that socialism had broken free from a primitive
state and become a science.* [2] This shift in socialism
was seen as complimentary to shifts in contemporary bi-
1.15.3 Notes ology sparked by Charles Darwin and the understanding
of evolution by natural selection; Marx and Engels saw
[1] “New Politburo Standing Committee decided: Mingjing
this new understanding of biology as essential to the new
News”. Want China Times. 18 October 2012. Retrieved understanding of socialism, and vice versa.
2 January 2013. Similar methods for analyzing social and economic trends
and involving socialism as a product of socioeconomic
evolution have also been used by non-Marxist theoreti-
1.15.4 Bibliography cians, such as Joseph Schumpeter and Thorstein Veblen.

• Baylis, Thomas A. (1989). Governing by Committee:

Collegial Leadership in Advanced Societies. State 1.16.1 Methodology
University of New York Press. ISBN 978-0-88706-
944-4. Scientific socialism refers to a method for understanding
and predicting social, economic, and material phenom-
• Cocks, Paul; Daniels, Robert Vincent; Whittier ena by examining their historical trends through the use
Heer, Nancy (1976). The Dynamics of Soviet Pol- of the scientific method in order to derive probable out-
itics. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674- comes and probable future developments. It is in con-
21881-9. trast to what later socialists referred to as “utopian so-
cialism”—a method based on establishing seemingly ra-
• Christian, David (1997). Imperial and Soviet Rus- tional propositions for organizing society and convincing
sia: Power, Privilege, and the Challenge of Moder- others of their rationality and/or desirability. It also con-
nity. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-312-17352- trasts with classical liberal notions of natural law, which
4. are grounded in metaphysical notions of morality rather
than a dynamic materialist or physicalist conception of
• Taras, Roy (1989). Leadership Change in Commu- the world. [3]
nist States. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-04-445277-5. Scientific socialists view social and political develop-
ments as being largely determined by economic condi-
• Law, David A. (1975). Russian Civilization. Ardent tions as opposed to ideas in contrast to utopian socialists
Media. ISBN 978-0-8422-0529-0. and classical liberals, and thus believe that social relations

and notions of morality are context-based relative to their als, libertarians, social liberals and some early socialist
specific stage of economic development. Therefore as thought). Specifically, these philosophies are based on
economic systems, socialism and capitalism are not so- metaphysical conceptions of a“natural”order of liberty
cial constructs that can be established at any time based that exists irrespective of civilizations' material, techno-
on the subjective will and desires of the population, but logical and productive capabilities. While scientific so-
instead are products of social evolution. An example of cialists see economic laws and various forms of social
this was the advent of agriculture which enabled human arrangements as context-based (relative to their specific
communities to produce a surplus; this change in mate- stage of human development), and thus relative to spe-
rial and economic development led to a change in social cific material conditions, these critics view them as static
relations and rendered the old form of social organiza- and absolute moral values.
tion based on subsistence-living obsolete and a hindrance
The philosopher of science Karl Popper in his book The
to further material progress. Changing economic condi- Open Society and Its Enemies characterized Scientific So-
tions necessitated a change in social organization.* [4]
cialism as a pseudoscience. He argues that its method is
what he calls "historicism": the method of analyzing his-
torical trends and deriving universal laws from them. He
1.16.2 Similar perspectives
criticizes this approach as unscientific as its claims can-
not be tested and, in particular, are not subject to being
Thorstein Veblen, the founder of evolutionary economics,
believed that technological developments would eventu-
ally lead toward a socialistic organization of economic
affairs. However, his views regarding socialism and the 1.16.4 See also
nature of the evolutionary process of economics differed
sharply from that of Karl Marx; while Marx saw socialism • Critique of Dialectical Reason
as the ultimate goal for civilization and saw the working-
class as the group that would establish it, Veblen saw so- • Evolutionary economics
cialism as one immediate phase in an ongoing evolution-
ary process in society that would be brought about by the • Historical materialism
natural decay of the business enterprise system and by the • Lysenkoism
inventiveness of engineers.* [5]
Veblen's methodology for analyzing economic develop- • Marxism
ments is similar to that of scientific socialism and also • Socialism with Chinese characteristics, the official
contrast to neoclassical/classical political economy and ideology of the Communist Party of China
utopian socialism; he believed that society and economics
was constantly evolving and that this process affected the • Scientific Outlook on Development, a socio-
fundamental basis of established social relations. economic concept of the Communist Party of China

• Scientific communism, the USSR curriculum re-

1.16.3 Critique of the notion of socialism quirements for understanding Soviet orthodoxy on
the subject.
as a science
• Siad Barre, who called his mixture of Marxism and
The argument that socialism —whether Marxist, Islam “scientific socialism”.
Marxist–Leninist or its other forms —is a science is
based on the concepts of dialectical materialism and • Socialist mode of production
historical materialism.* [6]
The most one could say is that socialism has historically 1.16.5 References
been an idea that finds expression in various scientific dis-
ciplines such as mathematical economics, sociology, and [1] Frederick Engels - Socialism: Utopian and Scientific.
other like areas of study. Socialism and Marxism are 1880 Full Text
thus better described as theoretical frameworks for un-
derstanding and analyzing the social, economic and po- [2] Frederick Engels - Socialism: Utopian and Scientific.
litical world rather than the natural or physical world. 1880 Full Text

[3] Socialism and Modern Science, by Ferri, Enrico. 1912.

From “Evolution and Socialism”(P.79): “Upon what
Critique of scientific socialist methodology point are orthodox political economy and socialism in ab-
solute conflict? Political economy has held and holds that
The term also refers to an important philosophical dif- the economic laws governing the production and distribu-
ference between proponents of natural law, static human tion of wealth which it has established are natural laws ...
nature, and static equilibrium (such as classical liber- not in the sense that they are laws naturally determined by

the condition of the social organism (which would be cor- communities, and that the market serves as an acid on
rect), but that they are absolute laws, that is to say that they those relationships.* [8]
apply to humanity at all times and in all places, and conse-
Gift exchange is distinguished from other forms of ex-
quently, that they are immutable in their principal points,
change by a number of principles, such as the form of
though they may be subject to modification in details. Sci-
property rights governing the articles exchanged; whether
entific socialism holds, on the contrary, that the laws es-
gifting forms a distinct “sphere of exchange”that can
tablished by classical political economy, since the time of
Adam Smith, are laws peculiar to the present period inbe characterized as an“economic system"; and the char-
the history of civilized humanity, and that they are, con-
acter of the social relationship that the gift exchange es-
sequently, laws essentially relative to the period of their
tablishes. Gift ideology in highly commercialized soci-
analysis and discovery.” eties differs from the“prestations”typical of non-market
societies. Gift economies must also be differentiated
[4] Frederick Engels. “Socialism: Utopian and Scientific”. from several closely related phenomena, such as common Retrieved 2013-12-22.
property regimes and the exchange of non-commodified
[5] Wood, John (1993). The life of Thorstein Veblen and per-
spectives on his thought. introd. Thorstein Veblen. New
York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-07487-8. The decisive
difference between Marx and Veblen lay in their respec- 1.17.1 Principles of gift exchange
tive attitudes on socialism. For while Marx regarded so-
cialism as the ultimate goal for civilization, Veblen saw According to anthropologist Jonathan Parry, discussion
socialism as but one stage in the economic evolution of on the nature of gifts, and of a separate sphere of gift
society. exchange that would constitute an economic system, has
been plagued by the ethnocentric use of modern, western,
[6] The life of Thorstein Veblen and perspectives on his market society-based conception of the gift applied as if
thought, Wood, John (1993) (in English). The life of it were a cross-cultural, pan-historical universal. How-
Thorstein Veblen and perspectives on his thought. introd.
ever, he claims that anthropologists, through analysis of a
Thorstein Veblen. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-
variety of cultural and historical forms of exchange, have
07487-8. Part III Historical Materialism
established that no universal practice exists.* [9] His clas-
sic summation of the gift exchange debate highlighted
that ideologies of the “pure gift”“are most likely to
1.17 Gift economy arise in highly differentiated societies with an advanced
division of labour and a significant commercial sector”
A gift economy, gift culture or gift exchange is a mode and need to be distinguished from non-market “presta-
of exchange where valuables are not sold, but rather given tions.”* [10] According to Weiner, to speak of a “gift
without an explicit agreement for immediate or future economy”in a non-market society is to ignore the distinc-
rewards.* [1] This contrasts with a barter economy or a tive features of their exchange relationships, as the early
market economy, where social norms and custom gov- classic debate between Bronislaw Malinowski and Marcel
ern gift exchange. Gifts are not given in an explicit ex- Mauss demonstrated.* [5]* [6] Gift exchange is frequently
change of goods or services for money or some other "embedded" in political, kin, or religious institutions, and
commodity.* [2] therefore does not constitute an“economic”system per
se.* [11]
The nature of gift economies forms the subject of a foun-
dational debate in anthropology. Anthropological re-
search into gift economies began with Bronisław Mali- Property and alienability
nowski's description of the Kula ring* [3] in the Trobriand
Islands during World War I.* [4] The Kula trade appeared Gift-giving is a form of transfer of property rights over
to be gift-like since Trobrianders would travel great dis- particular objects. The nature of those property rights
tances over dangerous seas to give what were consid- varies from society to society, from culture to culture, and
ered valuable objects without any guarantee of a re- are not universal. The nature of gift-giving is thus altered
turn. Malinowski's debate with the French anthropol- by the type of property regime in place.* [12]
ogist Marcel Mauss quickly established the complexity Property is not a thing, but a relationship amongst
of “gift exchange”and introduced a series of techni- people about things.* [13] According to Hann, prop-
cal terms such as reciprocity, inalienable possessions, and erty is a social relationship that governs the conduct
prestation to distinguish between the different forms of of people with respect to the use and disposition of
exchange.* [5]* [6] things. Anthropologists analyze these relationships in
According to anthropologists Maurice Bloch and terms of a variety of actors' (individual or corpo-
Jonathan Parry, it is the unsettled relationship between rate) "bundle of rights" over objects.* [12] An exam-
market and non-market exchange that attracts the most ple is the current debates around intellectual property
attention. Gift economies are said, by some,* [7] to build rights.* [14]* [15]* [16]* [17]* [18] Hann and Strangelove

both give the example of a purchased book (an object is no such thing as the “free gift”given without expec-
that he owns), over which the author retains a “copy- tation.* [22]
right”. Although the book is a commodity, bought and Mauss, in contrast, emphasized that the gifts were not be-
sold, it has not been completely“alienated”from its cre- tween individuals, but between representatives of larger
ator who maintains a hold over it; the owner of the book collectivities. These gifts were, he argued, a“total presta-
is limited in what he can do with the book by the rights tion.”A prestation is a service provided out of a sense of
of the creator.* [19]* [20] Weiner has argued that the abil- obligation, like “community service”.* [23] They were
ity to give while retaining a right to the gift/commodity not simple, alienable commodities to be bought and sold,
is a critical feature of the gifting cultures described by
but, like the "Crown jewels", embodied the reputation,
Malinowski and Mauss, and explains, for example, why history and sense of identity of a“corporate kin group,”
some gifts such as Kula valuables return to their original
such as a line of kings. Given the stakes, Mauss asked
owners after an incredible journey around the Trobriand “why anyone would give them away?" His answer was an
islands. The gifts given in Kula exchange still remain, in
enigmatic concept,“the spirit of the gift.”Parry believes
some respects, the property of the giver.* [6] that a good part of the confusion (and resulting debate)
In the example used above, “copyright”is one of those was due to a bad translation. Mauss appeared to be argu-
bundled rights that regulate the use and disposition of a ing that a return gift is given to keep the very relationship
book. Gift-giving in many societies is complicated be- between givers alive; a failure to return a gift ends the
cause“private property”owned by an individual may be relationship and the promise of any future gifts.
quite limited in scope (see 'The Commons' below).* [12] Both Malinowski and Mauss agreed that in non-market
Productive resources, such as land, may be held by mem- societies, where there was no clear institutionalized eco-
bers of a corporate group (such as a lineage), but only nomic exchange system, gift/prestation exchange served
some members of that group may have "use rights". economic, kinship, religious and political functions that
When many people hold rights over the same objects gift- could not be clearly distinguished from each other,
ing has very different implications than the gifting of pri- and which mutually influenced the nature of the prac-
vate property; only some of the rights in that object may tice.* [22]
be transferred, leaving that object still tied to its corporate
owners. Anthropologist Annette Weiner refers to these
types of objects as "inalienable possessions" and to the Inalienable possessions
process as “keeping while giving.”* [6]

Gift vs prestation

Watercolor by James G. Swan depicting the Klallam people of

chief Chetzemoka at Port Townsend, with one of Chetzemoka's
wives distributing potlatch.
A Kula necklace, with its distinctive red shell-disc beads, from
the Trobriand Islands. Mauss' concept of “total prestations”was further de-
veloped by Annette Weiner, who revisited Malinowski's
Malinowski's study of the Kula ring* [21] became the fieldsite in the Trobriand Islands. Her critique was
subject of debate with the French anthropologist, Mar- twofold: first, Trobriand Island society is matrilineal, and
cel Mauss, author of "The Gift" (“Essai sur le don,” women hold a great deal of economic and political power.
1925).* [5] In Parry's view, Malinowski placed the em- Their exchanges were ignored by Malinowski. Secondly,
phasis on the exchange of goods between individuals, and she developed Mauss' argument about reciprocity and the
their non-altruistic motives for giving the gift: they ex- “spirit of the gift”in terms of "inalienable possessions:
pected a return of equal or greater value. Malinowski the paradox of keeping while giving.”* [6] Weiner con-
states that reciprocity is an implicit part of gifting; there trasts “moveable goods”which can be exchanged with

“immoveable goods”that serve to draw the gifts back (in Charity, debt, and the “poison of the gift”
the Trobriand case, male Kula gifts with women's landed
property). She argues that the specific goods given, like Jonathan Parry has argued that ideologies of the “pure
Crown Jewels, are so identified with particular groups, gift” “are most likely to arise only in highly differentiated
that even when given, they are not truly alienated. Not societies with an advanced division of labour and a sig-
all societies, however, have these kinds of goods, which nificant commercial sector”and need to be distinguished
depend upon the existence of particular kinds of kinship from the non-market“prestations”discussed above.* [10]
groups. French anthropologist Maurice Godelier* [24] Parry also underscored, using the example of charitable
pushed the analysis further in “The Enigma of the Gift” giving of alms in India (Dāna), that the“pure gift”of alms
(1999). Albert Schrauwers has argued that the kinds of given with no expectation of return could be“poisonous.”
societies used as examples by Weiner and Godelier (in- That is, the gift of alms embodying the sins of the giver,
cluding the Kula ring in the Trobriands, the Potlatch of when given to ritually pure priests, saddled these priests
the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast, with impurities that they could not cleanse themselves of.
and the Toraja of South Sulawesi, Indonesia) are all char- “Pure gifts”given without a return, can place recipients
acterized by ranked aristocratic kin groups that fit with in debt, and hence in dependent status: the poison of the
Claude Lévi-Strauss' model of“House Societies”(where gift.* [28] David Graeber points out that no reciprocity is
“House”refers to both noble lineage and their landed es- expected between unequals: if you make a gift of a dol-
tate). Total prestations are given, he argues, to preserve lar to a beggar, he will not give it back the next time you
landed estates identified with particular kin groups and meet. More than likely, he will ask for more, to the detri-
maintain their place in a ranked society.* [25] ment of his status.* [29] Many who are forced by circum-
stances to accept charity feel stigmatized. In the Moka
exchange system of Papua New Guinea, where gift givers
become political Big men, those who are in their debt and
Reciprocity and the “spirit of the gift” unable to repay with“interest”are referred to as“Rub-
bish men.”
According to Chris Gregory reciprocity is a dyadic ex- In La part Maudite Georges Bataille, the French writer,
change relationship that we characterize, imprecisely, uses Mauss's argument in order to construct a theory of
as gift-giving. Gregory believes that one gives gifts to economy: the structure of gift is the presupposition for
friends and potential enemies in order to establish a rela- all possible economy. Bataille is particularly interested
tionship, by placing them in debt. He also claimed that in the potlatch as described by Mauss, and claims that
in order for such a relationship to persist, there must be its agonistic character obliges the receiver of the gift to
a time lag between the gift and counter-gift; one or the confirm their own subjection. Gift-giving thus embodies
other partner must always be in debt, or there is no rela- the Hegelian dipole of master and slave within the act.
tionship. Marshall Sahlins has stated that birthday gifts
are an example of this.* [26] Sahlins notes that birthday
presents are separated in time so that one partner feels the Spheres of exchange and 'economic systems'
obligation to make a return gift; and to forget the return
gift may be enough to end the relationship. Gregory has The relationship of new market exchange systems to in-
stated that without a relationship of debt, there is no reci- digenous non-market exchange remained a perplexing
procity, and that this is what distinguishes a gift economy question for anthropologists. Paul Bohannan argued that
from a “true gift”given with no expectation of return the Tiv of Nigeria had three spheres of exchange, and
(something Sahlins calls 'generalized reciprocity', see be- that only certain kinds of goods could be exchanged in
low).* [27] each sphere; each sphere had its own different form of
Marshall Sahlins, an American cultural anthropologist, special purpose money. However, the market and uni-
identified three main types of reciprocity in his book versal money allowed goods to be traded between spheres
Stone Age Economics (1972). Gift or generalized reci- and thus *
served as an acid on established social relation-
procity is the exchange of goods and services without ships. [30] Jonathan Parry and Maurice Bloch, argued in
keeping track of their exact value, but often with the ex- “Money and the Morality of Exchange”(1989), that the
pectation that their value will balance out over time. Bal- “transactional order”through which long-term social re-
anced or Symmetrical reciprocity occurs when someone production of the family takes place has to be preserved as
gives to someone else, expecting a fair and tangible re- separate from short-term market relations.* [31] It is the
turn at a specified amount, time, and place. Market or long-term social reproduction of the family that is sacral-
Negative reciprocity is the exchange of goods and services ized by religious rituals such baptisms, weddings and fu-
where each party intends to profit from the exchange, nerals, and characterized by gifting.
often at the expense of the other. Gift economies, or In such situations where gift-giving and market exchange
generalized reciprocity, occurred within closely knit kin were intersecting for the first time, some anthropologists
groups, and the more distant the exchange partner, the contrasted them as polar opposites. This opposition was
more balanced or negative the exchange became.* [26] classically expressed by Chris Gregory in his book“Gifts

and Commodities”(1982). Gregory argued that 1.17.2 Case studies: Prestations

Commodity exchange is an exchange of Marcel Mauss was careful to distinguish“gift economies”

alienable objects between people who are in (reciprocity) in market-based societies from the “total
a state of reciprocal independence that estab- prestations”given in non-market societies. A prestation
lishes a quantitative relationship between the is a service provided out of a sense of obligation, like
objects exchanged... Gift exchange is an ex- “community service.”* [23] These “prestations”bring
change of inalienable objects between people together domains that we would differentiate as politi-
who are in a state of reciprocal dependence that cal, religious, legal, moral and economic, such that the
establishes a qualitative relationship between exchange can be seen to be embedded in non-economic
the transactors (emphasis added).* [32] social institutions. These prestations are frequently com-
petitive, as in the Potlatch, Kula exchange, and Moka ex-
Gregory opposes gift and commodity exchange according change. [35]
to five criteria:
Other anthropologists, however, refused to see these Moka exchange in Papua New Guinea: competitive
different "exchange spheres" as such polar opposites. exchange
Marilyn Strathern, writing on a similar area in Papua New
Guinea, dismissed the utility of the opposition in “The Main article: Moka exchange
Gender of the Gift”(1988).* [33] The Moka is a highly ritualized system of exchange

Wedding rings: commodity or pure gift?

Rather than emphasize how particular kinds of objects

are either gifts or commodities to be traded in restricted
spheres of exchange, Arjun Appadurai and others began
to look at how objects flowed between these spheres of
exchange (i.e. how objects can be converted into gifts Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea.
and then back into commodities). They refocussed atten-
tion away from the character of the human relationships in the Mount Hagen area, Papua New Guinea, that has
formed through exchange, and placed it on “the social become emblematic of the anthropological concepts of
life of things”instead. They examined the strategies by “gift economy”and of "Big man" political system. Moka
which an object could be "singularized" (made unique, are reciprocal gifts of pigs through which social status is
special, one-of-a-kind) and so withdrawn from the mar- achieved. Moka refers specifically to the increment in
ket. A marriage ceremony that transforms a purchased the size of the gift.* [36] Social status in the 'Big man' po-
ring into an irreplaceable family heirloom is one example; litical system is the result of giving larger gifts than one
the heirloom, in turn, makes a perfect gift. Singulariza- has received. These gifts are of a limited range of goods,
tion is the reverse of the seemingly irresistible process of primarily pigs and scarce pearl shells from the coast. To
commodification. They thus show how all economies are return the same amount as one has received in a moka is
a constant flow of material objects that enter and leave simply the repayment of a debt, strict reciprocity. Moka
specific exchange spheres. A similar approach is taken is the extra. To some, this represents interest on an invest-
by Nicholas Thomas, who examines the same range of ment. However, one is not bound to provide moka, only
cultures and the anthropologists who write on them, and to repay the debt. One adds moka to the gift to increase
redirects attention to the “entangled objects”and their one's prestige, and to place the receiver in debt. It is this
roles as both gifts and commodities.* [34] constant renewal of the debt relationship which keeps the

relationship alive; a debt fully paid off ends further inter- Toraja funeral rites are important social events, usually
action. Giving more than one receives establishes a rep- attended by hundreds of people and lasting for several
utation as a Big man, whereas the simple repayment of days. The funerals are like Big men competitions where
debt, or failure to fully repay, pushes one's reputation to- all the descendants of a Tongkonan will compete through
wards the other end of the scale, Rubbish man.* [37] Gift gifts of sacrificial cattle. Participants will have invested
exchange thus has a political effect; granting prestige or cattle with others over the years, and will now draw on
status to one, and a sense of debt in the other. A political those extended networks to make the largest gift. The
system can be built out of these kinds of status relation- winner of the competition becomes the new owner of the
ships. Sahlins characterizes the difference between status Tongkonan and its rice lands. They display all the cattle
and rank by highlighting that Big man is not a role; it is horns from their winning sacrifice on a pole in front of
a status that is shared by many. The Big man is “not a the Tongkonan.* [40]
prince OF men,”but a “prince among men.”The Big The Toraja funeral differs from the Big Man system in
man system is based upon the ability to persuade, rather
that the winner of the “gift”exchange gains control of
than command.* [38] the Tongkonan's property. It creates a clear social hier-
archy between the noble owners of the Tongkonan and
Toraja funerals: the politics of meat distribution its land, and the commoners who are forced to rent their
fields from him. Since the owners of the Tongkonan gain
rent, they are better able to compete in the funeral gift
exchanges, and their social rank is more stable than the
Big man system.* [40]

1.17.3 Charity and alms giving

Main article: Alms

Anthropologist David Graeber has argued that the great

world religious traditions on charity and gift giving
emerged almost simultaneously during the "Axial age"
(the period between 800 to 200 BCE), which was the
Three tongkonan noble houses in a Torajan village. same period in which coinage was invented and mar-
ket economies established on a continental basis. These
religious traditions on charity emerge, he argues, as a
reaction against the nexus formed by coinage, slavery,
military violence and the market (a “military-coinage”
complex). The new world religions, including Hinduism,
Judaism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, and
Islam all sought to preserve “human economies”where
money served to cement social relationships rather than
purchase things (including people).* [41]
Charity and alms-giving are religiously sanctioned volun-
tary gifts given without expectation of return. Case stud-
ies demonstrate, however, that such gift-giving is not nec-
essarily altruistic.* [42]
Ritual slaughter of gift cattle at a funeral.
Merit making in Buddhist Thailand
The Toraja are an ethnic group indigenous to a mountain-
ous region of South Sulawesi, Indonesia.* [39] Torajans Theravada Buddhism in Thailand emphasizes the impor-
are renowned for their elaborate funeral rites, burial sites tance of giving alms (merit making) without any inten-
carved into rocky cliffs, and massive peaked-roof tradi- tion of return (a pure gift), which is best accomplished
tional houses known as tongkonan which are owned by according to doctrine, through gifts to monks and tem-
noble families. Membership in a Tongkonan is inherited ples. The emphasis is on the selfless gifting which“earns
by all descendants of its founders. Any individual Toraja merit”(and a future better life) for the giver rather than
may thus be a member of numerous Tongkonan, as long on the relief of the poor or the recipient on whom the gift
as they contribute to its ritual events. Membership in a is bestowed. Bowie's research among poorer Thai farm-
Tongkonan carries benefits, such as the right to rent some ers shows, however, that this ideal form of gifting is lim-
of its rice fields.* [40] ited to the rich who have the resources to endow temples,

The Children of Peace in Canada

Sharon Temple.

Young Burmese monk The Children of Peace (1812–1889) were a utopian

Quaker sect. Today, they are primarily remembered for
the Sharon Temple, a national historic site and an archi-
or sponsor the ordination of a monk.* [43] Monks come tectural symbol of their vision of a society based on the
from these same families, hence the doctrine of pure gift- values of peace, equality and social justice. They built
ing to monks has a class element to it. Poorer farmers this ornate temple to raise money for the poor, and built
place much less emphasis on merit making through gifts the province of Ontario's first shelter for the homeless.
to monks and temples. They equally validate gifting to They took a lead role in the organization of the province's
beggars. Poverty and famine is widespread amongst these first co-operative, the Farmers' Storehouse, and opened
poorer groups, and by validating gift-giving to beggars, the province's first credit union. The group soon found
they are in fact demanding that the rich see to their needs that the charity they tried to distribute from their Temple
in hard times. Bowie sees this as an example of a moral fund endangered the poor. Accepting charity was a sign
economy (see below) in which the poor use gossip and of indebtedness, and the debtor could be jailed without
reputation as a means of resisting elite exploitation and trial at the time; this was the 'poison of the gift.' They
pressuring them to ease their“this world”suffering.* [44] thus transformed their charity fund into a credit union
that loaned small sums like today's micro-credit institu-
tions. This is an example of singularization, as money was
transformed into charity in the Temple ceremony, then
shifted to an alternate exchange sphere as a loan. Interest
Charity: Dana in India on the loan was then singularized, and transformed back
into charity.* [45]
Dāna is a form of religious charity given in Hindu India.
The gift is said to embody the sins of the giver (the 'poi-
son of the gift'), who it frees of evil by transmitting it to 1.17.4 Gifting as non-commodified ex-
the recipient. The merit of the gift is dependent on find- change in market societies
ing a worthy recipient such as a Brahman priest. Priests
are supposed to be able to digest the sin through ritual Non-commodified spheres of exchange exist in relation
action and transmit the gift with increment to someone to the market economy. They are created through the
of greater worth. It is imperative that this be a true gift, processes of singularization as specific objects are de-
with no reciprocity, or the evil will return. The gift is commodified for a variety of reasons and enter an alter-
not intended to create any relationship between donor and nate exchange sphere. As in the case of organ donation,
recipient, and there should never be a return gift. Dana this may be the result of an ideological opposition to the
thus transgresses the so-called universal 'norm of reci- “traffic in humans.”In other cases, it is in opposition to
procity'.* [10] the market and to its perceived greed. It may, however, be

used by corporations as a means of creating a sense of en- Unlike body organs, blood and semen have been success-
debtedness and loyalty in customers. It is very interesting fully and legally commodified in the United States. Blood
that modern marketing techniques often aim at infusing and semen can thus be commodified, but once consumed
commodity exchange with features of gift exchange, thus are“the gift of life.”Although both can be either donated
blurring the presumably sharp distinction between gifts or sold; are perceived as the 'gift of life' yet are stored
and commodities.* [46] in 'banks'; and can be collected only under strict govern-
ment regulated procedures, recipients very clearly prefer
altruistically donated semen and blood. Ironically, the
Organ transplant networks, sperm and blood banks blood and semen samples with the highest market value
are those that have been altruistically donated. The recip-
ients view semen as storing the potential characteristics
of their unborn child in its DNA, and value altruism over
greed.* [50] Similarly, gifted blood is the archetype of a
pure gift relationship because the donor is only motivated
by a desire to help others.* [51]

Copyleft vs copyright: the gift of 'free' speech

Main article: Copyleft

Engineers, scientists and software developers have cre-

ated open-source software projects such as the Linux ker-
nel and the GNU operating system. They are prototyp-
ical examples for the gift economy's prominence in the
technology sector and its active role in instating the use
of permissive free software and copyleft licenses, which
allow free reuse of software and knowledge. Other ex-
amples include file-sharing and open access.

Points: Loyalty programs

Main article: Loyalty program

Blood donation poster, WW II.
Many retail organizations have“gift”programs meant to
Main article: Organ gifting encourage customer loyalty to their establishments. Bird-
David and Darr refer to these as hybrid “mass-gifts”
which are neither gift nor commodity. They are called
Market economies tend to reduce everything -“including
mass-gifts because they are given away in large num-
human beings, their labor, and their reproductive capac-
bers “free with purchase”in a mass-consumption en-
ity”to the status of commodities. The rapid transfer of
vironment. They give as an example two bars of soap in
organ transplant technology to the third world has cre-
which one is given free with purchase: which is the com-
ated a trade in organs, with sick bodies travelling to the
modity and which the gift? The mass-gift both affirms
global south for transplants, and healthy organs from the
the distinct difference between gift and commodity while
global south being transported to the richer global north,
confusing it at the same time. As with gifting, mass-gifts
“creating a kind of 'Kula ring' of bodies and body parts.”
* are used to create a social relationship. Some customers
[47] However, all commodities can also be singularized,
embrace the relationship and gift whereas others reject
or de-commodified, and transformed into gifts. In North
the gift relationship and interpret the“gift”as a 50% off
America, it is illegal to sell organs, and citizens are en-
sale.* [52]
joined to give the “gift of life”and donate their organs
in an organ gift economy.* [48] However, this gift econ-
omy is a “medical realm rife with potent forms of mys- Free shops
tified commodification.”* [49] This multi-million dollar
medical industry requires clients to pay steep fees for the Main article: Give-away shop
gifted organ, which creates clear class divisions between "Give-away shops", “freeshops”or “free stores”are
those who donate (frequently in the global south) and will stores where all goods are free. They are similar to
never benefit from gifted organs, and those who can pay charity shops, with mostly second-hand items—only ev-
the fees and thereby receive the gifted organ.* [48] erything is available at no cost. Whether it is a book,

Inside Utrecht Giveaway shop. The banner reads “The earth Black Rock City, the temporary settlement created in the Nevada
has enough for everyone's need, but not for everyone's greed.” Desert for Burning Man, 2010.

a piece of furniture, a garment or a household item, it 1.17.5 Related concepts

is all freely given away, although some operate a one-
in, one-out–type policy (swap shops). The free store is Mutual aid
a form of constructive direct action that provides a shop-
ping alternative to a monetary framework, allowing peo- Main article: Mutualism (economic theory)
ple to exchange goods and services outside of a money- Many anarchists, particularly anarcho-primitivists and
based economy. The anarchist 1960s countercultural
group The Diggers* [53] opened free stores which sim-
ply gave away their stock, provided free food, distributed
free drugs, gave away money, organized free music con-
certs, and performed works of political art.* [54] The Dig-
gers took their name from the original English Diggers led
by Gerrard Winstanley* [55] and sought to create a mini-
society free of money and capitalism.* [56] Although free
stores have not been uncommon in the United States since
the 1960s, the freegan movement has inspired the estab-
lishment of more free stores. Today the idea is kept alive
by the new generations of social centres, anarchists and
environmentalists who view the idea as an intriguing way
to raise awareness about consumer culture and to promote
the reuse of commodities.

Burning Man

Main article: Burning Man

Burning Man is a week-long annual art and community
event held in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada,
in the United States. The event is described as an exper-
iment in community, radical self-expression, and radical
self-reliance. The event outlaws commerce (except for
ice, coffee, and tickets to the event itself)* [57] and en-
courages gifting.* [58] Gifting is one of the 10 guiding
principles,* [59] as participants to Burning Man (both the
desert festival and the year-round global community) are The Conquest of Bread by Peter Kropotkin, influential work
encouraged to rely on a gift economy. The practice of which presents the economic vision of anarcho-communism.
gifting at Burning Man is also documented by the 2002
documentary film “Gifting It: A Burning Embrace of anarcho-communists, believe that variations on a gift
Gift Economy”,* [60] as well as by Making Contact's ra- economy may be the key to breaking the cycle of poverty.
dio show “How We Survive: The Currency of Giving Therefore, they often desire to refashion all of society
[encore]".* [58] into a gift economy. Anarcho-communists advocate a

gift economy as an ideal, with neither money, nor mar- The commons
kets, nor central planning. This view traces back at least
to Peter Kropotkin, who saw in the hunter-gatherer tribes Main articles: Commons and The tragedy of the com-
he had visited the paradigm of "mutual aid".* [61] In place mons
of a market, anarcho-communists, such as those who in-
habited some Spanish villages in the 1930s, support a Some may confuse common property regimes with gift
currency-less gift economy where goods and services are exchange systems. “Commons”refers to the cultural
produced by workers and distributed in community stores and natural resources accessible to all members of a so-
where everyone (including the workers who produced ciety, including natural materials such as air, water, and
them) is essentially entitled to consume whatever they a habitable earth. These resources are held in common,
want or need as payment for their production of goods not owned privately.* [67] The resources held in com-
and services.* [62] mon can include everything from natural resources and
As an intellectual abstraction, mutual aid was devel- common land to software.* [68] The commons contains
oped and advanced by mutualism or labor insurance sys- public property and private property, over which peo-
tems and thus trade unions, and has been also used in ple have certain traditional rights. When commonly held
cooperatives and other civil society movements. Typi- property is transformed into private property this process
cally, mutual-aid groups will be free to join and partici- alternatively is termed "enclosure" or more commonly,
pate in, and all activities will be voluntary. They are of- “privatization.”A person who has a right in, or over, com-
ten structured as non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic non- mon land jointly with another or others is called a com-
profit organizations, with members controlling all re- moner.* [69]
sources and no external financial or professional sup- There are a number of important aspects that can be used
port. They are member-led and member-organized. to describe true commons. The first is that the commons
They are egalitarian in nature, and designed to support cannot be commodified – if they are, they cease to be
participatory democracy, equality of member status and commons. The second aspect is that unlike private prop-
power, and shared leadership and cooperative decision- erty, the commons are inclusive rather than exclusive —
making. Members' external societal status is considered their nature is to share ownership as widely, rather than
irrelevant inside the group: status in the group is con- as narrowly, as possible. The third aspect is that the as-
ferred by participation.* [63] sets in commons are meant to be preserved regardless of
their return of capital. Just as we receive them as a shared
right, so we have a duty to pass them on to future gener-
ations in at least the same condition as we received them.
Moral economy If we can add to their value, so much the better, but at
a minimum we must not degrade them, and we certainly
have no right to destroy them.* [70]
English historian E.P. Thompson wrote of the moral
economy of the poor in the context of widespread English
food riots in the English countryside in the late eighteenth The new intellectual commons: Free content
century. According to Thompson these riots were gener-
ally peaceable acts that demonstrated a common political Main article: Free content
culture rooted in feudal rights to “set the price”of es-
sential goods in the market. These peasants held that a Free content, or free information, is any kind of func-
traditional “fair price”was more important to the com- tional work, artwork, or other creative content that meets
munity than a “free”market price and they punished the definition of a free cultural work.* [71] A free cultural
large farmers who sold their surpluses at higher prices work is one which has no significant legal restriction on
outside the village while there were still those in need people's freedom:
within the village. A moral economy is thus an attempt to
preserve an alternate exchange sphere from market pen-
etration.* [64]* [65] The notion of a peasants with a non- • to use the content and benefit from using it,
capitalist cultural mentalité using the market for their own • to study the content and apply what is learned,
ends has been linked to subsistence agriculture and the
need for subsistence insurance in hard times. James C. • to make and distribute copies of the content,
Scott points out, however, that those who provide this
subsistence insurance to the poor in bad years are wealthy • to change and improve the content and distribute
patrons who exact a political cost for their aid; this aid is these derivative works.* [72]* [73]
given to recruit followers. The concept of moral econ-
omy has been used to explain why peasants in a number Although different definitions are used, free content is
of colonial contexts, such as the Vietnam War, have re- legally similar if not identical to open content. An anal-
belled.* [66] ogy is the use of the rival terms free software and open

source which describe ideological differences rather than benefits, was more rarely reported. Many of those
legal ones.* [74] surveyed said things like, “Mainly I contribute just to
Free content encompasses all works in the public domain make it work for me”, and “programmers *
and also those copyrighted works whose licenses honor software to 'scratch an itch'". [80] The International
and uphold the freedoms mentioned above. Because Institute of Infonomics at the University of Maastricht,
copyright law in most countries by default grants copy- in the Netherlands, reported in 2002 that in addition
right holders monopolistic control over their creations, to the above, large corporations, and they specifically
copyright content must be explicitly declared free, usually mentioned IBM, also spend large annual sums employ-
ing developers specifically for them to contribute to
by the referencing or inclusion of licensing statements
from within the work. open source projects. The firms' and the employees'
motivations in such cases are less clear.* [81]
Though a work which is in the public domain because its
copyright has expired is considered free, it can become Members of the Linux community *
often speak of their
non-free again if the copyright law changes. [75] community as a gift economy. [82] The IT research firm
IDC valued the Linux kernel at $18 billion USD in 2007
Information is particularly suited to gift economies, as in- and projected its value at $40 billion USD in 2010.* [83]
formation is a nonrival good and can be gifted at practi- The Debian distribution of the GNU/Linux operating sys-
cally no cost (zero marginal cost).* [76]* [77] In fact, there tem offers over 37,000 free open-source software pack-
is often an advantage to using the same software or data ages via their AMD64 repositories alone.* [84]
formats as others, so even from a selfish perspective, it
can be advantageous to give away one's information.
Collaborative works Collaborative works are works
created by an open community. For example, Wikipedia
Filesharing Markus Giesler in his ethnography Con-
– a free online encyclopedia – features millions of ar-
sumer Gift System, described music downloading as a sys-
ticles developed collaboratively, and almost none of its
tem of social solidarity based on gift transactions.* [78]
many authors and editors receive any direct material re-
As Internet access spread, file sharing became extremely
ward.* [85]* [86]
popular among users who could contribute and receive
files on line. This form of gift economy was a model for
online services such as Napster, which focused on mu-
sic sharing and was later sued for copyright infringement. 1.17.6 Characteristics
Nonetheless, online file sharing persists in various forms
such as Bit Torrent and Direct download link. A number Many societies have strong prohibitions against turning
of communications and intellectual property experts such gifts into trade or capital goods. Anthropologist Wendy
as Henry Jenkins and Lawrence Lessig have described James writes that among the Uduk people of northeast
file-sharing as a form of gift exchange which provides Africa there is a strong custom that any gift that crosses
numerous benefits to artists and consumers alike. They subclan boundaries must be consumed rather than in-
* *
have argued that file sharing fosters community among vested. [87] :4 For example, an animal given as a gift
distributors and allows for a more equitable distribution must be eaten, not bred. However, as in the example
of media. of the Trobriand armbands and necklaces, this “perish-
ing”may not consist of consumption as such, but of the
gift moving on. In other societies, it is a matter of giv-
Free and open-source software In his essay ing some other gift, either directly in return or to another
"Homesteading the Noosphere", noted computer party. To keep the gift and not give another in exchange
programmer Eric S. Raymond said that free and open- is reprehensible. “In folk tales,”Lewis Hyde remarks,
source software developers have created “a 'gift culture' “the person who tries to hold onto a gift usually dies.”
in which participants compete for prestige by giving * [87]* :5
time, energy, and creativity away”.* [79] Prestige gained
as a result of contributions to source code fosters a social Daniel Everett, a linguist *who studied a small tribe of
network for the developer; the open source community hunter-gatherers in Brazil, [88] reported that, while they
will recognize the developer's accomplishments and are aware of food preservation using drying, salting, and
intelligence. Consequently, the developer may find more so forth, they reserve the use of these techniques for items
opportunities to work with other developers. However, for barter outside of the tribe. Within the group, when
prestige is not the only motivator for the giving of someone has a successful hunt they immediately share
lines of code. An anthropological study of the Fedora the abundance by inviting others to enjoy a feast. Asked
community, as part of a master's study at the University about this practice, one hunter laughed *and replied, “I
of North Texas in 2010-11, found that common reasons store meat in the belly of my brother.” [89] [90]
given by contributors were “learning for the joy of Carol Stack's All Our Kin describes both the positive and
learning and collaborating with interesting and smart negative sides of a network of obligation and gratitude
people”. Motivation for personal gain, such as career effectively constituting a gift economy. Her narrative of

The Flats, a poor Chicago neighborhood, tells in pass- [8] J. Parry, M. Bloch (1989). “Introduction”in Money and
ing the story of two sisters who each came into a small the Morality of Exchange. Cambridge: Cambridge Uni-
inheritance. One sister hoarded the inheritance and pros- versity Press. pp. 8–12.
pered materially for some time, but was alienated from [9] Parry, Jonathan (1986). “The Gift, the Indian
the community. Her marriage ultimately broke up, and Gift and the 'Indian Gift'". Man 21 (3): 453–473.
she integrated herself back into the community largely doi:10.2307/2803096.
by giving gifts. The other sister fulfilled the commu-
nity's expectations, but within six weeks had nothing ma- [10] Parry, Jonathan (1986).“The Gift, the Indian Gift and the
terial to show for the inheritance but a coat and a pair of 'Indian Gift'". Man 21 (3): 467. doi:10.2307/2803096.
* *
shoes. [87] :75–76 [11] Gregory, Chris (1982). Gifts and Commodities. London:
Academic Press. pp. 6–9.

1.17.7 See also [12] Hann, C.M. (1998). Property Relations: Renewing the An-
thropological Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge Univer-
• Knowledge market sity Press. p. 4.

[13] Sider, Gerald M. (1980). “The Ties That Bind: Cul-

• Basic income ture and Agriculture, Property and Propriety in the New-
foundland Village Fishery”. Social History 5 (1): 2–3,
• Brownie points
17. doi:10.1080/03071028008567469.
• Egoboo [14] Coleman, Gabriella (2004). “The Political Agnosticism
of Free and Open Source Software and the Inadvertent
• Food swap Politics of Contrast”. Anthropological Quarterly 77 (3):
507–19. doi:10.1353/anq.2004.0035.
• Giving circles
[15] Levitt, Leon (1987). “On property, Intellectual Prop-
• History of money erty, the Culture of Property, and Software Pirat-
ing”. Anthropology of Work Review 8 (1): 7–9.
• Calculation in kind
• Reciprocity in cultural anthropology [16] Friedman, Jonathan (1999). American Ethnologist 26 (4):
1001–2. Missing or empty |title= (help)
• Post-scarcity economy
[17] Aragon, Lorraine; James Leach (2008). “Arts and Own-
• Pay it forward ers: Intellectual property law and the politics of scale in
Indonesian Arts”. American Ethnologist 35 (4): 607–31.
1.17.8 Notes
[18] Coombe, Rosemary J. (1993). “Cultural and Intellec-
[1] Cheal, David J (1988). “1”. The Gift Economy. New tual Properties: Occupying the Colonial Imagination”.
York: Routledge. pp. 1–19. ISBN 0415006414. Re- PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 16 (1):
trieved 2009-06-18. 8–15. doi:10.1525/pol.1993.16.1.8.

[19] Chris Hann, Keith Hart (2011). Economic Anthropology:

[2] R. Kranton: Reciprocal exchange: a self-sustaining sys-
History, Ethnography, Critique. Cambridge: Polity Press.
tem, American Economic Review, V. 86 (1996), Issue 4
p. 158.
(September), p. 830-51
[20] Strangelove, Michael (2005). The Empire of Mind: Digital
[3] Malinowski, Bronislaw (1922). Argonauts of the Western
Piracy and the Anti-Capitalist Movement. Toronto: Uni-
Pacific. London.
versity of Toronto Press. pp. 92–6.
[4] Keesing, Roger; Strathern, Andrew (1988). Cultural An- [21] Malinowski, Bronislaw (1984) [1922]. Argonauts of the
thropology. A Contemporary Perspective. Fort Worth: Western Pacific : an account of native enterprise and ad-
Harcourt Brace and Company. p. 165. venture in the archipelagoes of Melanesian New Guinea.
Prospect Heights, Ill.: Waveland Press.
[5] Mauss, Marcel (1970). The Gift: Forms and Functions of
Exchange in Archaic Societies. London: Cohen & West. [22] Parry, Jonathan (1986). “The Gift, the Indian
Gift and the 'Indian Gift'". Man 21 (3): 466–69.
[6] Weiner, Annette (1992). Inalienable Possessions: The
Paradox of Keeping-while-Giving. Berkeley: University
of California Press. [23] Hann, Chris, Hart, Keith (2011). Economic Anthropology:
History, Ethnography, Critique. Cambridge: Polity Press.
[7] Bollier, David. “The Stubborn Vitality of the Gift Econ- p. 50.
omy.”Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common
Wealth. First Printing ed. New York: Routledge, 2002. [24] Godelier, Maurice (1999). The Enigma of the Gift. Cam-
38-39. Print. bridge: Polity Press.

[25] Schrauwers, Albert (2004). “H(h)ouses, E(e)states and [43] Bowie, Katherine (1998). “The Alchemy of
class: On the importance of capitals in central Sulawesi” Charity: Of class and Buddhism in Northern Thai-
. Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 160 (1): land”. American Anthropologist 100 (2): 473–4.
72–94. doi:10.1163/22134379-90003735. doi:10.1525/aa.1998.100.2.469.

[26] Sahlins, Marshall (1972). Stone Age Economics. Chicago: [44] Bowie, Katherine (1998). “The Alchemy of
Aldine-Atherton. ISBN 0-202-01099-6. Charity: Of class and Buddhism in Northern Thai-
land”. American Anthropologist 100 (2): 475–7.
[27] Gregory, Chris (1982). Gifts and Commodities. London:
Academic Press. pp. 189–194.

[28] Parry, Jonathan (1986). “The Gift, the Indian [45] Schrauwers, Albert (2009). 'Union is Strength': W.L.
Gift and the 'Indian Gift'". Man 21 (3): 463–67. Mackenzie, The Children of Peace and the Emergence of
doi:10.2307/2803096. Joint Stock Democracy in Upper Canada. Toronto: Uni-
versity of Toronto Press. pp. 97–124.
[29] Graeber, David (2001). Toward an Anthropological The-
ory of Value: The false coin of our own dreams. New [46] "Features of gift exchange in market economy"
York: Palgrave. p. 225.
[47] Schepper-Hughes, Nancy (2000). “The Global Traffic
[30] Bohannan, Paul (1959). “The Impact of money in Human Organs”. Current Anthropology 41 (2): 193.
on an African subsistence economy”. The doi:10.1086/300123.
Journal of Economic History 19 (4): 491–503.
doi:10.1017/S0022050700085946. [48] Schepper-Hughes, Nancy (2000). “The Global Traffic in
Human Organs”. Current Anthropology 41 (2): 191–224.
[31] Parry, Jonathan; Maurice Bloch (1989). Money and the
Morality of Exchange. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press. pp. 28–30.
[49] Sharp, Lesley A. (2000). “The Commodification of the
[32] Gregory, Chris (1982). Gifts and Commodities. London: Body and its Parts”. Annual Review of Anthropology 29:
Academic Press. pp. 100–101. 303. doi:10.1146/annurev.anthro.29.1.287.

[33] Strathern, Marilyn (1988). The Gender of the Gift: Prob- [50] Tober, Diane M. (2001). “Semen as Gift, Se-
lems with Women and Problems with Society in Melanesia. men as Goods: Reproductive Workers and the Mar-
Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 143–7. ket in Altruism”. Body & Society 7 (2-3): 137–60.
[34] Thomas, Nicholas (1991). Entangled Objects: Exchange,
Material Culture, and Colonialism in the Pacific. Cam- [51] Titmuss, Richard (1997). The Gift Relationship: From hu-
bridge, MA: Harvard University Press. man blood to social policy. New York: The New Press.
[35] Graeber, David (2001). Toward an Anthropological The-
[52] Bird-David, Nurit; Darr, Asaf (2009).“Commodity, gift
ory of Value. Basingstoke: Palgrave. p. 153.
and mass-gift: on gift-commodity hybrids in advanced
[36] Gregory, C.A. (1982). Gifts and Commodities. London: mass consumption cultures”. Economy and Society 38
Academic Press. p. 53. (2): 304–25. doi:10.1080/03085140902786777.

[37] Gregory, C.A. (1982). Gifts and Commodities. London: [53] John Campbell McMillian; Paul Buhle (2003). The new
Academic Press. pp. 53–54. left revisited. Temple University Press. pp. 112–. ISBN
978-1-56639-976-0. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
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Man, Chief: Political Types in Melanesia and Polynesia” [54] Lytle 2006, pp. 213, 215.
. Comparative Studies in Society and History. 3 5: 294–7.
doi:10.1017/s0010417500001729. [55] “Overview: who were (are) the Diggers?". The Digger
Archives. Retrieved 2007-06-17.
[39] “Tana Toraja official website”(in Indonesian). Archived
from the original on May 29, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10- [56] Gail Dolgin; Vicente Franco (2007). American Experi-
04. ence: The Summer of Love. PBS. Retrieved 2007-04-23.
[40] Schrauwers, Albert (2004). “H(h)ouses, E(e)states and
class; On the importance of capitals in central Sulawesi” [57] “What is Burning Man? FAQ - Preparation” Retrieved
. Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 160 (1): 10/5/11
83–86. doi:10.1163/22134379-90003735.
[58] “How We Survive: The Currency of Giving (Encore)"
[41] Graeber, David (2011). Debt: The first 5,000 years. New Making Contact, produced by National Radio Project.
York: Melville House. pp. 223–49. December 21, 2010.

[42] Bowie, Katherine (1998). “The Alchemy of [59] Burning Man principles include Gift Economy
Charity: Of class and Buddhism in Northern Thai-
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doi:10.1525/aa.1998.100.2.469. mentary on IMDB

[61] Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1955 paperback [80] Suehle, Ruth. “An anthropologist's view of an open
(reprinted 2005), includes Kropotkin's 1914 preface, source community”. Retrieved 19
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Boston: Extending Horizons Books, Porter Sargent Pub- [81] “Free/Libre and Open Source Software: Survey and
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Project LibriVox audiobook sity of Maastricht and Berlecon Research GmbH. 2002.
Retrieved 19 March 2012.
[62] [Augustin Souchy,“A Journey Through Aragon,”in Sam
Dolgoff (ed.), The Anarchist Collectives, ch. 10] [82] Matzan, Jem (5 June 2004). “The gift economy and free
software”. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
[63] Turner, Francis J. (2005). Canadian encyclopedia of so-
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[64] Thompson, Edward P. (1991). Customs in Common. New [84]

York: New Press. p. 341. ch02.en.html

[65] Thompson, Edward P. (1991). Customs in Common. New [85] D. Anthony, S. W. Smith, and T. Williamson, "Explaining
York: New Press. quality in internet collective goods: zealots and good
samaritans in the case of Wikipedia,”THanover : Dart-
[66] Scott, James C. (1976). The Moral Economy of the Peas- mouth College, Technical Report, November 2005.
ant: Rebellion and subsistence in Southeast Asia. Prince-
ton: Princeton University Press. [86] Anthony, Denise; Smith, Sean W.; Williamson, Tim
(April 2007), “The Quality of Open Source Production:
[67] Bollier, David (2002). “Reclaiming the commons”. Zealots and Good Samaritans in the Case of Wikipedia"
Boston Review. (PDF), Technical Report TR2007-606 (Dartmouth Col-
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[68] Berry, David (21 February 2005).“The commons”. Free
Software Magazine. [87] Lewis Hyde: The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of
Property, pg. 18
[69] Anon. “Commoner”. Farlex Inc. Retrieved 20 April
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on Grammar and Cognition in Pirahã: Another Look at
[70] Barnes, Peter (2006). Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaim- the Design Features of Human Language”. Current An-
ing the Commons. Berrett-Koehler Publishers. ISBN 978- thropology 46 (4).
[89] Curren, Erik (2012). “Charles Eisenstein wants to de-
[71] value your money to save the economy”. Transition
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[72] “Definition of Free Cultural Works”. Retrieved 8 De-
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manity. Harrisburg, PA: Pananthea Press. ISBN 978-
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and Free Manuals”. Free Software Foundation. Retrieved
March 22, 2009.

[74] Stallman, Richard. “Why Open Source misses the point 1.17.9 Further reading
of Free Software”. Free Software Foundation.
The concept of a gift economy has played a large role
[75] Anderson, Nate (July 16, 2008).“EU caves to aging rock- in works of fiction about alternate societies, especially in
ers, wants 45-year copyright extension”. Ars Technica. works of science fiction. Examples include:
Retrieved August 8, 2008.

[76] Mackaay, Ejan (1990).“Economic Incentives in Markets • News from Nowhere (1890) by William Morris is a
for Information and Innovation”. Harvard Journal of Law utopian novel about a society which operates on a
& Public Policy 13 (909): 867–910. gift economy.
[77] Heylighen, Francis (2007).“Why is Open Access Devel- • The Great Explosion (1962) by Eric Frank Russell
opment so Successful?". In B. Lutterbeck, M. Barwolff, describes the encounter of a military survey ship and
and R. A. Gehring. Open Source Jahrbuch. Lehmanns
a Gandhian pacifist society that operates as a gift
[78] Markus Giesler, Consumer Gift Systems
• The Dispossessed (1974) by Ursula K. Le Guin is a
[79] novel about a gift economy society that had exiled
homesteading/ themselves from their (capitalist) homeplanet.

• The Mars trilogy, a series of books written by Kim Communism is a specific stage of socioeconomic devel-
Stanley Robinson in the 1990s, suggests that new hu- opment predicated upon a superabundance of material
man societies that develop away from Earth could wealth, which is postulated to arise from technological
migrate toward a gift economy. advances in the productive forces. This would allow for
distribution based on need and social relations based on
• The movie Pay It Forward (2000) centers on a freely-associated individuals.* [4]* [5]
schoolboy who, for a school project, comes up with
the idea of doing a good deed for another and then The term “communist society”should be distinguished
asking the recipient to“pay it forward”. Although from "communist state", the latter referring to a state
the phrase“gift economy”is never explicitly men- ruled by a party which professes a variation of Marxism-
tioned, the scheme would, in effect, create one. Leninism.* [6]

• Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (2003) by Cory

Doctorow describes future society where rejuvena- 1.18.1 Economic aspects
tion and body-enhancement have made death obso-
lete, and material goods are no longer scarce, result-
A communist economic system is characterized by ad-
ing in a reputation-based (whuffie) economic sys- vanced productive technology that enables material abun-
tem. dance, which in turn enables the free distribution of most
or all economic output and the holding of the means of
• Wizard's Holiday (2003) by Diane Duane describes producing this output in common. In this respect commu-
two young wizards visiting a utopian-like planet nism is differentiated from socialism, which, out of eco-
whose economy is based on gift-giving and mutual nomic necessity, restricts access to articles of consump-
support. tion and services based on one's contribution.* [7]
• Voyage from Yesteryear (1982) by James P. Hogan In further contrast to previous economic systems, com-
describes a society of the embryo colonists of Alpha munism would be characterized by the holding of natural
Centauri who have a post-scarcity gift economy. resources and the means of production in common as op-
posed to them being privately owned (as in the case of
• Cradle of Saturn (1999) and its sequel The An-
capitalism) or owned by public or cooperative organiza-
guished Dawn (2003) by James P. Hogan describe a
tions that similarly restrict access (as in the case of social-
colonization effort on Saturn's largest satellite. Both
ism). In this sense, communism involves the “negation
describe the challenges involved in adopting a new
of property”insofar as there would be little economic ra-
economic paradigm.
tionale for exclusive control over production assets in an
• Science fiction author Bruce Sterling wrote a story, environment of material abundance. [8]
Maneki-neko, in which the cat-paw gesture is the
sign of a secret AI-based gift economy.
1.18.2 Social aspects
• The Gift Economy. Writings and videos of
Genevieve Vaughan and associated scholars. Individuality, freedom and creativity

“In fact, the realm of freedom actually begins only where

1.18 Communist society labor which is determined by necessity and mundane con-
siderations ceases; thus in the very nature of things it lies
This article is about the hypothetical stage of socioeco- beyond the sphere of actual material production.”
nomic development. For the economic systems of the —Capital Volume III, 1894* [9]
former Soviet and Eastern bloc Communist states, see
Soviet-type economic planning. A communist society would free individuals from long
working hours by first automating production to an ex-
A communist society or communist system is the type tent that the average length of the working day is reduced
of society and economic system postulated to emerge and second by eliminating the exploitation inherent in
from technological advances in the productive forces in the division between workers and owners. A commu-
Marxist thought, representing the ultimate goal of the nist system would thus free individuals from alienation
political ideology of Communism. A communist soci- in the sense of having one's life structured around sur-
ety is characterized by common ownership of the means vival (making a wage or salary in a capitalist system),
of production with free access* [1]* [2] to the articles of which Marx referred to as a transition from the “realm
consumption and is classless and stateless,* [3] implying of necessity”to the “realm of freedom”. As a result,
the end of the exploitation of labor. In his Critique of a communist society is envisioned as being composed of
the Gotha Programme Karl Marx referred to this stage of an intellectually-inclined population with both the time
development as upper-stage communism.* [4] and resources to pursue its hobbies and genuine interests,

and to contribute to creative social wealth in this manner. marginalization of human labor to the highest possible
Karl Marx considered “true richness”to be the amount extent, replacing with automated labor.
of time one has at his or her disposal to pursue one's cre-
ative passions.* [10] Marx's notion of communism is in
this way radically individualistic.* [11] 1.18.3 Open-source and peer production
Marx's concept of the “realm of freedom”goes hand-
in-hand with Marx's idea of the ending of the division Many aspects of a communist economy have emerged
of labor, which would not be required in a society with in recent decades in the form of open-source software
highly automated production and limited work roles. and hardware, where source code and thus the means
of producing software is held in common and freely-
In a communist society, economic necessity and rela-
accessible to everyone; and to the processes of peer
tions would cease to determine cultural and social rela-
* production where collaborative work processes produce
tions. As scarcity is eliminated, [8] alienated labor would
freely-available software that does not rely on monetary
cease and people would be free to pursue their individual
* valuation. Michel Bauwens juxtaposes open source and
goals. [12]
peer production with “market production”.* [15]
Ray Kurzweil posits that the goals of communism will
Politics, law and the state be realized by advanced technological developments in
the 21st century, where the intersection of low manu-
Marx and Engels maintained that a communist society facturing costs, material abundance and open-source de-
would have no need for the state as it exists in contempo- sign philosophies will enable the realization of the maxim
rary capitalist society, which exists to enforce hierarchi- “from each according to his ability, to each according to
cal economic relations, enforce the exclusive control of his needs”.* [16]
property, and to regulate capitalistic economic activities
- all of which would be non-applicable to a communist
system.* [8]* [12] 1.18.4 In Soviet ideology
Engels noted that in a socialist system the primary func-
tion of public institutions will shift from being about The communist economic system was officially enumer-
the creation of laws and control of people into a techni- ated as the ultimate goal of the Communist Party of the
cal role as an administrator of technical production pro- Soviet Union in its party platform. According to the 1986
cesses, with a decrease in the scope of traditional politics Programme of the CPSU:
as scientific administration overtakes the role of politi-
cal decision-making.* [13] Communist society is charac- “Communism is a classless social
terized by democratic processes, not merely in the sense system with one form of public
of electoral democracy, but in being characterized by ownership of the means of produc-
an open and collaborative social and workplace environ- tion and with full social equality
ment.* [8] of all members of society. Under
Marx never clearly said whether communist society communism, the all-round devel-
would be just; other thinkers have speculated that he opment of people will be accompa-
thought communism would transcend justice and create nied by the growth of the produc-
society without conflicts, thus, without the needs for rules tive forces on the basis of continu-
of justice.* [14] ous progress in science and technol-
ogy, all the springs of social wealth
will flow abundantly, and the great
Transitional stages principle“From each according to
his ability, to each according to his
Marx also wrote that between capitalist and communist needs”will be implemented. Com-
society, there would be a transitory period known as munism is a highly organised soci-
the dictatorship of the proletariat.* [8] During this pre- ety of free, socially conscious work-
ceding phase of societal development, capitalist eco- ing people a society in which pub-
nomic relationships would be abolished and in place lic self-government will be estab-
would arise socialism. Natural resources would become lished, a society in which labour for
public property, while all manufacturing centers and the good of society will become the
workplaces would become owned by their workers and prime vital requirement of every-
democratically managed. Production would be organized one, a clearly recognised necessity,
by scientific assessment and planning, thus eliminating and the ability of each person will
what Marx called the “anarchy in production”. The be employed to the greatest benefit
development of the productive forces would lead to the of the people.

The material and technical foun- In Vladimir Lenin's political theory, a classless society
dation of communism presupposes would be a society controlled by the direct producers, or-
the creation of those productive ganized to produce according to socially managed goals.
forces that open up opportunities Such a society, Lenin suggested, would develop habits
for the full satisfaction of the rea- that would gradually make political representation unnec-
sonable requirements of society essary, as the radically democratic nature of the Soviets
and the individual. All productive would lead citizens to come to agree with the represen-
activities under communism will be tatives' style of management. Only in this environment,
based on the use of highly effi- Lenin suggested, could the state wither away, ushering in
cient technical facilities and tech- a period of stateless communism.
nologies, and the harmonious inter-
action of man and nature will be en-
sured. 1.18.5 Fictional portrayals

In the highest phase of commu- Iain M. Banks' Culture series of novels are centered
nism the directly social character of around a communist post-scarcity economy where tech-
labor and production will become nology is advanced to such a degree that all production is
firmly established. Through the automated and thus any concept of money and property
complete elimination of the rem- is nonexistent. Humans in the Culture are free to pursue
nants of the old division of la- their own interests in an open and tolerant society.* [18]
bor and the essential social differ-
ences associated with it, the process
of forming a socially homogeneous 1.18.6 See also
society will be completed.
• Common ownership
Communism signifies the transfor-
• Commons-based peer production
mation of the system of socialist
self-government by the people, of • Digital commons (economics)
socialist democracy into the high-
est form of organization of society - • Lower-stage communism
communist public self-government.
• Marxism
With the maturation of the neces-
sary socioeconomic and ideologi- • Open source
cal preconditions and the involve-
ment of all citizens in administra- • Post-scarcity economy
tion, the socialist state - given ap-
• Technological determinism
propriate international conditions -
will, as Lenin noted, increasingly
become a transitional form“from a 1.18.7 References
state to a non-state.”The activities
of state bodies will become non- [1] Steele, David Ramsay (September 1999). From Marx to
political in nature, and the need for Mises: Post Capitalist Society and the Challenge of Eco-
the state as a special political insti- nomic Calculation. Open Court. p. 66. ISBN 978-
tution will gradually disappear. 0875484495. Marx distinguishes between two phases
of marketless communism: an initial phase, with labor
The inalienable feature of the com- vouchers, and a higher phase, with free access.
munist mode of life is a high level of
[2] Busky, Donald F. (July 20, 2000). Democratic Socialism:
consciousness, social activity, dis- A Global Survey. Praeger. p. 4. ISBN 978-0275968861.
cipline, and self-discipline of mem- Communism would mean free distribution of goods and
bers of society, in which obser- services. The communist slogan, 'From each according to
vance of the uniform, generally ac- his ability, to each according to his needs' (as opposed to
cepted rules of communist conduct 'work') would then rule
will become an inner need and habit
[3] O'Hara, Phillip (September 2003). Encyclopedia of Po-
of every person.
litical Economy, Volume 2. Routledge. p. 836. ISBN 0-
415-24187-1. it influenced Marx to champion the ideas of
Communism is a social system un-
a 'free association of producers' and of self-management
der which the free development of replacing the centralized state.
each is a condition for the free de-
velopment of all.”* [17] [4] Critique of the Gotha Programme, Karl Marx.

[5] Full Communism: The Ultimate Goal [17] “THE CPSU'S TASKS IN PERFECTING SOCIAL-
[6] Busky, Donald F. (July 20, 2000). Democratic Socialism: COMMUNISM”. Eurodos. 1998. Retrieved 26 October
A Global Survey. Praeger. p. 9. ISBN 978-0275968861. 2014.
In a modern sense of the word, communism refers to the
ideology of Marxism-Leninism. [18] Cramer & Hartwell, Kathryn & David G. (10 July 2007).
The Space Opera Renaissance. Orb Books. p. 298. ISBN
[7] Gregory and Stuart, Paul and Robert (2003). Compar- 978-0765306180. Iain M. Banks and his brother-in-arms,
ing Economic Systems in the Twenty-First. South-Western Ken MacLeod, both take a Marxist line: Banks with his
College Pub. p. 118. ISBN 0-618-26181-8. Commu- communist-bloc 'Culture' novels, and MacLeod with his
nism, the highest stage of social and economic develop- 'hard-left libertarian' factions.
ment, would be characterized by the absence of markets
and money and by abundance, distribution according to
need, and the withering away of the state…Under social-
1.18.8 Further reading
ism, each individual would be expected to contribute ac-
cording to capability, and rewards would be distributed
in proportion to that contribution. Subsequently, under
• Ollman, Bertell. “Marx's Vision of Communism”
communism, the basis of reward would be need. Dialetical Marxism, New York University.

[8] Barry Stewart Clark (1998). Political economy: a com- • Rigi, Jakob. “Peer to Peer Production as the Alter-
parative approach. ABC-CLIO. pp. 57–59. ISBN 978- native to Capitalism: A New Communist Horizon”
0-275-96370-5. Retrieved 7 March 2011. Journal of Peer Production.

[9] Karl Marx (1894). “Karl Marx, Capital Volume III, Part
VII. Revenues and their Sources”. Capital Volume III. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 1.19 Socialist mode of production
[10] Marx, Theorien uber der Mehwert III, ed. K. Kautsky
This article is about socialism as a historical evolutionary
(Stuttgart, 1910), pp. 303-4.
stage of development in Marxist theory. For broader
[11] Karl Marx on Equality, by Woods, Allen. definitions of socialism, see Socialism. For “socialism” meaning a method for analyzing socioeconomic devel-
Allen-Wood-Marx-on-Equality.pdf: “A society opment in Classical Marxism, see Scientific socialism.
that has transcended class antagonisms, therefore, would See also: mode of production
not be one in which some truly universal interest at last
reigns, to which individual interests must be sacrificed.
It would instead be a society in which individuals freely In Marxist theory, socialism, also called lower-stage
act as the truly human individuals they are. Marx’s communism or the socialist mode of production, refers
radical communism was, in this way, also radically to a specific historical phase of economic development
individualistic.” and its corresponding set of social relations that supersede
capitalism in the schema of historical materialism. So-
[12] Craig J. Calhoun (2002). Classical sociological theory.
cialism is defined as a mode of production where the sole
Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 23–23. ISBN 978-0-631-21348-
2. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
criterion for production is use-value and therefore the law
of value no longer directs economic activity. Production
[13] Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, on for use is coordinated through conscious economic plan- ning, while distribution of economic output is based on
soc-utop/ch01.htm: “In 1816, he declares that politics the principle of To each according to his contribution.
is the science of production, and foretells the complete The social relations of socialism are characterized by the
absorption of politics by economics. The knowledge that working-class effectively owning the means of produc-
economic conditions are the basis of political institutions tion and the means of their livelihood, either through
appears here only in embryo. Yet what is here already
cooperative enterprises or by public ownership and self
very plainly expressed is the idea of the future conversion
of political rule over men into an administration of things
management, so that the social surplus accrues to the
and a direction of processes of production.” working class and society as a whole.* [1]
This view is consistent with, and helped to inform, early
[14] “Karl Marx – Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy”..
conceptions of socialism where the law of value no longer
First published Tue Aug 26, 2003; substantive revision
Mon Jun 14, 2010. Accessed March 4, 2011. directs economic activity, and thus monetary relations in
the form of exchange-value, profit, interest and wage la-
[15] Michel Bauwens (22 March 2014). “From the Commu- bor would not operate and apply to socialism.* [2]
nism of Capital to a Capital for the Commons”. P2P
The Marxian conception of socialism stands in contrast to
Foundation. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
other early conceptions of socialism, most notably early
[16] Ray Kurzweil (February 1, 2012). Kurzweil: Technology forms of market socialism based on classical economics
Will Achieve the Goals of Communism. FORA TV. such as Mutualism and Ricardian socialism. Unlike the

Marxian conception, these conceptions of socialism re- damental ways. While socialism implies public owner-
tained commodity exchange (markets) for labor and the ship (by a state apparatus) or cooperative ownership (by
means of production, seeking to perfect the market pro- a worker cooperative enterprise), communism would be
cess.* [3] The Marxist idea of socialism was also heavily based on common ownership of the means of production.
opposed to utopian socialism. Class distinctions based on ownership of capital cease to
Although Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote very lit- exist, along with the need for a state. A superabundance
tle on socialism and neglected to provide any details on of goods and services are made possible by automated
how it might be organized,* [4] numerous social scientists production that allow for *goods to be distributed based
on need rather than merit. [8]
and neoclassical economists have used Marx's theory as
a basis for developing their own models of socialist eco-
nomic systems. The Marxist view of socialism served as a
Intermediate phases
point of reference during the socialist calculation debate.
The period in which capitalism becomes increasingly in-
1.19.1 Mode of production sufficient as an economic system and immediately after
the proletarian conquest of the state, an economic sys-
Socialism is a post-commodity economic system, mean- tem that features elements of both socialism and capital-
ing that production is carried out to directly produce use- ism will probably exist until both the productive forces
value (to directly satisfy human needs, or economic de- of the economy and the cultural and social attitudes de-
mands) as opposed to being produced with a view to gen- velop to a point where they satisfy the requirements for a
erating a profit. The stage in which the accumulation of full socialist society (one that has lost the need for mone-
capital was viable and effective is rendered insufficient tary value, wage labor and capital accumulation). Specif-
at the socialist stage of social and economic develop- ically, market relations will still exist but economic units
ment, leading to a situation where production is carried are either nationalized or re-organized into cooperatives.
out independently of capital accumulation in a suppos- This transitional phase is sometimes described as "state
edly planned fashion. Although Karl Marx and Friedrich capitalism" or "market socialism". China is officially in
Engels understood planning to involve the input and deci- the primary stage of socialism.
sions of the individuals involved at localized levels of pro-
duction and consumption, planning has been interpreted
to mean centralized planning by Marxist-Leninists during 1.19.2 Social relations
the 20th century. However, there have been other con-
ceptions of economic planning, including decentralized- The fundamental goal of socialism from the view of Marx
planning and participatory planning. and Engels was the realization of human freedom and
individual autonomy. Specifically, this refers to free-
In contrast to capitalism, which relies upon the coercive dom from the alienation imposed upon individuals in the
market forces to compel capitalists to produce use-values form of coercive social relationships as well as material
as a byproduct of the pursuit of profit, socialist produc- scarcity, whereby the individual is compelled to engage
tion is to be based on the rational planning of use-values
in activities merely to survive (to reproduce his or her-
and coordinated investment decisions to attain economic self). The aim of socialism is to provide an environ-
goals.* [5] As a result, the cyclical fluctuations that occur
ment whereby individuals are free to express their gen-
in a capitalist market economy will not be present in a uine interests, creative freedom, and desires unhindered
socialist economy. The value of a good in socialism is
by forms of social control that force individuals to work
its physical utility rather than its embodied labor, cost of for a class of owners who expropriate and live off the
production and exchange value as in a capitalist system.
surplus product.* [9]
Socialism would make use of incentive-based systems, As a set of social relationships, socialism is defined by the
and inequality would still exist but to a diminishing extent degree to which economic activity in society is planned
as all members of society would be worker-owners. This by the associated producers, so that the surplus product
eliminates the severity of previous tendencies towards in- produced by socialized assets is controlled by a majority
equality and conflicts arising ownership of the means of of the population through democratic processes. The sale
production and property income accruing to a small class of labor power would be abolished so that every individ-
of owners.* [6] The method of compensation and reward ual participates in running their institution as stakeholders
in a socialist society would be based on an authentic mer- or members with no one having coercive power over any-
itocracy, along the principle of "from each according to one else in a vertical social division of labor (which is to
his ability, to each according to his contribution".* [7] be distinguished from a non-social, technical division of
The advanced stage of socialism, referred to as "upper- labor which would still exist in socialism).* [10] The in-
stage communism" in the Critique of the Gotha Pro- centive structure changes in a socialist society given the
gramme, is based on the socialist mode of production but change in the social environment, so that an individual la-
is differentiated from lower-stage socialism in a few fun- borers' work becomes increasingly autonomous and cre-

ative, creating a sense of responsibility for his or her insti- 1.19.4 Notes
tution as a stakeholder. The individual is no longer alien-
ated from his or her work: work becomes a means by [1] “Socialism”. Glossary of Terms. Marx-
which the individual fulfills his or her humanity (pursues Retrieved 20 February 2013.
his or her interests).
[2] Bockman, Johanna (2011). Markets in the name of So-
cialism: The Left-Wing origins of Neoliberalism. Stan-
Role of the state ford University Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-8047-7566-
3. According to nineteenth-century socialist views, social-
ism would function without capitalist economic categories
In Marxist theory, the state is“the institution of organised
- such as money, prices, interest, profits and rent - and
violence which is used by the ruling class of a country thus would function according to laws other than those de-
to maintain the conditions of its rule. Thus, it is only in scribed by current economic science. While some social-
a society which is divided between hostile social classes ists recognized the need for money and prices at least dur-
that the state exists.”* [11] The state is thus seen as a ing the transition from capitalism to socialism, socialists
mechanism that is dominated by the interests of the ruling more commonly believed that the socialist economy would
class and utilized to subjugate other classes in order to soon administratively mobilize the economy in physical
protect and legitimize the existing economic system. units without the use of prices or money.

After a workers' revolution, the state would initially be- [3] McNally, David (1993). Against the Market: Political
come the instrument of the working class. Conquest of economy, market socialism and the Marxist critique. Verso.
the state apparatus by the working class must take place to ISBN 978-0-86091-606-2.
establish a socialist system. As socialism is built, the role
and scope of the state changes as class distinctions (based [4] Gasper, Phillip (October 2005). The Communist Mani-
festo: a road map to history's most important political doc-
on ownership of the means of production) gradually dete-
ument. Haymarket Books. p. 23. ISBN 1-931859-25-6.
riorate due to the concentration of means of production
Marx and Engels never speculated on the detailed orga-
in state hands. From the point where all means of pro- nization of a future socialist or communist society. The
duction become state property, the nature and primary key task for them was building a movement to overthrow
function of the state would change from one of political capitalism. If and when that movement was successful, it
rule (via coercion) over men by the creation and enforce- would be up to the members of the new society to decide
ment of laws into a scientific administration of things and democratically how it was to be organized, in the concrete
a direction of processes of production; that is the state historical circumstances in which they found themselves.
would become a coordinating economic entity rather than
[5] Market Socialism: The Debate Among Socialists, by
a mechanism of class or political control, and would no
Schweickart, David; Lawler, James; Ticktin, Hillel; Oll-
longer be a state in the Marxian sense.* [12]
man, Bertell. 1998. From “The Difference Between
Marxism and Market Socialism”(P.61-63): “More fun-
damentally, a socialist society must be one in which the
1.19.3 See also economy is run on the principle of the direct satisfaction
of human needs...Exchange-value, prices and so money
• Capitalist mode of production
are goals in themselves in a capitalist society or in any mar-
• Communism ket. There is no necessary connection between the accu-
mulation of capital or sums of money and human welfare.
• Economic planning Under conditions of backwardness, the spur of money and
the accumulation of wealth has led to a massive growth
• Law of value
in industry and technology...It seems an odd argument to
• Marxism say that a capitalist will only be efficient in producing use-
value of a good quality when trying to make more money
• Marxian economics than the next capitalist. It would seem easier to rely on the
• Mode of production planning of use-values in a rational way, which because
there is no duplication, would be produced more cheaply
• Post-capitalism and be of a higher quality.”
• Primary stage of socialism [6] SCARLETT.“Karl Marx Socialism and Scientific Com-
munism”. Retrieved 20 February
• Production for use
• Relations of production
[7] Critique of the Gotha Programme, Karl Marx.
• Scientific Socialism
[8] Karl Marx - Critique of the Gotha Programme. 1875 Full
• Socialist calculation debate Text. Part 1:“In a higher phase of communist society, af-
• Socialist economics ter the enslaving subordination of the individual to the di-
vision of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between
• Socialization (economics) mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has

become not only a means of life but life's prime want; af-
ter the productive forces have also increased with the all-
around development of the individual, and all the springs
of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly -- only then
can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in
its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each
according to his ability, to each according to his needs!"

[9] Erich Fromm (1961). “Marx's Concept Of Socialism”

. Marx's Concept of Man. Frederick Ungar Publishing.
Retrieved 20 February 2013.

[10] Market Socialism: The Debate Among Socialists, by

Schweickart, David; Lawler, James; Ticktin, Hillel; Oll-
man, Bertell. 1998. From “Definitions of market and
socialism”(P.58-59): “For an Anti-Stalinist Marxist,
socialism is defined by the degree to which the society
is planned. Planning here is understood as the conscious
regulation of society by the associated producers them-
selves. Put it differently, the control over the surplus prod-
uct rests with the majority of the population through a res-
olutely democratic process...The sale of labour power is
abolished and labour necessarily becomes creative. Ev-
eryone participates in running their institutions and soci-
ety as a whole. No one controls anyone else.”

[11] “State”. Glossary of Terms.

Retrieved 20 February 2013.

[12] Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, on “Comrade Lenin Cleanses the Earth of Filth”(1920).
soc-utop/ch01.htm: “In 1816, he declares that politics
is the science of production, and foretells the complete
absorption of politics by economics. The knowledge that
1.20.1 Communist movements
economic conditions are the basis of political institutions
appears here only in embryo. Yet what is here already The October Revolution of 1917 in Russia sparked a
very plainly expressed is the idea of the future conversion revolutionary wave of socialist and communist upris-
of political rule over men into an administration of things ings across Europe, most notably the German Revolu-
and a direction of processes of production.” tion, the Hungarian Revolution, Biennio Rosso and the
revolutionary war in Finland with the short lived Finnish
Socialist Workers' Republic, which made large gains and
1.20 World revolution met with considerable success in the early stages; see also
Revolutions of 1917-23.
This article is about the concept of world revolution in Particularly in the years 1918-1919, it seemed plausi-
Marxist theory. For other uses of the term, see World ble that capitalism would soon be swept from the Eu-
revolution (disambiguation). ropean continent forever. Given the fact that European
World revolution is the Marxist concept of over- powers controlled the majority of Earth's land surface
throwing capitalism in all countries through the conscious at the time, such an event could have meant the end of
revolutionary action of the organized working class. capitalism not just in Europe, but everywhere. Addi-
These revolutions would not necessarily occur simulta- tionally, the Comintern, founded in March 1919, began
neously, but where and when local conditions allowed as an independent international organization of commu-
a revolutionary party to successfully replace bourgeois nists from various countries around the world that evolved
ownership and rule, and install a workers' state based on after the Russian Civil War into an essentially Soviet-
social ownership of the means of production. In most sponsored agency responsible for coordinating the revo-
Marxist schools, such as Trotskyism, the essentially inter- lutionary overthrow of capitalism worldwide.
national character of the class struggle and the necessity
With the prospect of world revolution so close at hand,
of global scope are critical elements and a chief explana-
Marxists were dominated by a feeling of overwhelming
tion of the failure of socialism in one country. optimism, which in the end proved to be quite premature.
The end goal of such internationally oriented The European revolutions were crushed one by one, until
revolutionary socialism is to achieve world social- eventually the Russian revolutionaries found themselves
ism, and later, stateless communism.* [1]* [2] to be the only survivors. Since they had been relying on

the idea that an underdeveloped and agrarian country like itly pursue the goal of worldwide communist revolution,
Russia would be able to build socialism with help from calling it the truest expression of proletarian internation-
successful revolutionary governments in the more indus- alism.
trialized parts of Europe, they found themselves in a crisis
once it became clear that no such help would arrive; see
Socialism in one country. 1.20.2 See also
After those events and up until the present day, the in- • Communist revolution
ternational situation never came quite so close to a world
revolution again. As fascism grew in Europe in the 1930s, • Proletarian internationalism
instead of immediate revolution, the Comintern opted for
a Popular Front with liberal capitalists against fascism; • Revolutionary wave
then, at the height of World War II in 1943, the Com- • Stateless communism
intern was disbanded on the request of the Soviet Union's
Western allies. • Social Patriotism
• Workers of the world, unite!
After World War II • World communism

A new upsurge of revolutionary feeling swept across Eu-

rope in the aftermath of World War II, though it was not 1.20.3 References
as strong as the one triggered by World War I which re-
sulted in failed (in the socialist sense) revolution in Ger- [1] The Theory of Proletarian Dictatorship and Scientific
Communism by Bukharin
many and a successful one (for seventy years) in Russia.
Communist parties in countries such as Greece, France, [2] The State and Revolution —Chapter 5
and Italy had acquired significant prestige and public sup-
port due to their activity as leaders of anti-fascist re- [3] Stalin in Power: The Revolution from Above 1928-1941
by Robert C. Tucker, W. W. Norton & Company, 1992,
sistance movements during the war; as such, they also
ISBN 0-393-30869-3, pg 608
enjoyed considerable success at the polls and regularly
finished second in elections in the late 1940s. How-
ever, none managed to finish in first and form a govern-
ment. Communist parties in Eastern Europe, meanwhile,
though they did win elections at around the same time, did
so under circumstances regarded by some as mere show
Revolts across the world in the 1960s and early 1970s,
coupled with the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the estab-
lishment of the New Left together with the Civil Rights
Movement, the militancy of the Black Panther Party and
similar armed/insurrectionary“Liberation Front”groups
around the globe, and even a bit of a resurgence in the
labor movement for a time once again made it seem to
some as though world revolution was not only possible,
but actually imminent; thus, there was a common ex-
pression, “The East is Red, and the West is Ready”.
However, this radical left spirit ebbed by the mid-1970s,
and in 1980s and 1990s there was a return to certain
right-wing, economically conservative ideologies (spear-
headed, among other examples, by Thatcherism in the
United Kingdom and Reaganomics in the United States)
and also free-market reforms in China and in Vietnam.
Within Marxist theory, Lenin's concept of the labor aris-
tocracy and his description of imperialism, and – sepa-
rately, but not necessarily unrelatedly – Trotsky's theo-
ries regarding the deformed workers' state, offer several
explanations as to why the world revolution has not oc-
curred to the present day. Many groups, however, such as
the Progressive Labor Party (United States), still explic-
Chapter 2

Communism & Variants

2.1 Anti-imperialism
Anti-imperialism in political science and international
relations is a term used in a variety of contexts, usually
by nationalist movements, who want to secede from a
larger polity (usually in the form of an empire, but also
in a multi-ethnic sovereign state) or as a specific theory
opposed to capitalism in Marxist–Leninist discourse, de-
rived from Vladimir Lenin's work Imperialism, the High-
est Stage of Capitalism. A less common usage is by
isolationists who oppose an interventionist foreign policy.
People who categorise themselves as anti-imperialists,
often state that they are opposed to colonialism, colo-
nial empire, hegemony, imperialism and territorial ex-
pansion of a country beyond its established borders.* [1]
The phrase gained a wide currency after the Second
World War and at the onset of the Cold War as political
movements in colonies of European powers promoted na-
tional sovereignty. Some “anti-imperialist”groups who
opposed the United States, supported the power of the
Soviet Union, such as in Guevarism, while in Maoism,
this was criticised as "social imperialism.”In the Arab
and Muslim world, the term is often used in the context
of Anti-Zionist nationalist and religious movements.

Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of Britain from 1874 to 1880,

2.1.1 Theory expanded the British Empire.

In the late 1870s, the term Imperialism was introduced

to the English language by opponents of the aggressively pher Columbus and, in some facts, to the Crusades. As
imperial policies of British Prime Minister Benjamin Dis- the application of the term has expanded, its meaning
raeli (1874–80).* [2] It was shortly appropriated by sup- has shifted along five distinct but often parallel axes: the
porters of “imperialism”such as Joseph Chamberlain. moral, the economic, the systemic, the cultural, and the
For some, imperialism designated a policy of idealism temporal. Those changes reflect—among other shifts in
and philanthropy; others alleged that it was characterized sensibility—a growing unease, even squeamishness, with
by political self-interest, and a growing number associ- the fact of power, specifically, Western power.* [3]* [4]
ated it with capitalist greed. John A. Hobson and Lenin The relationships among capitalism, aristocracy, and
added a more theoretical macroeconomic connotation to imperialism have been discussed and analysed by theo-
the term. Many theoreticians on the left have followed reticians, historians, political scientists such as John A.
either or both in emphasizing the structural or systemic Hobson and Thorstein Veblen, Joseph Schumpeter and
character of“imperialism.”Such writers have expanded Norman Angell.* [5] Those intellectuals produced much
the time period associated with the term so that it now of their works about imperialism before the First World
designates neither a policy, nor a short space of decades War (1914–18), yet their combined work informed the
in the late 19th century, but a global system extending study of the impact of imperialism upon Europe, and con-
over a period of centuries, often going back to Christo- tributed to the political and ideologic reflections on the


rise of the military–industrial complex in the US from ernment...

the 1950s onwards. We cordially invite the cooperation of all men
J. A. Hobson said that domestic social reforms could cure and women who remain loyal to the Declara-
the international disease of imperialism by removing its tion of Independence and the Constitution of
economic foundation. Hobson theorized that state inter- the United States.* [12]
vention through taxation could boost broader consump-
tion, create wealth, and encourage a peaceful multilateral Fred Harrington states,“the anti-imperialist's did not op-
world order. Conversely, should the state not intervene, pose expansion because of commercial, religious, consti-
rentiers (people who earn income from property or secu- tutional, or humanitarian reasons but instead because they
rities) would generate socially negative wealth that fos- thought that an imperialist policy ran counter to the polit-
tered imperialism and protectionism.* [6]* [7] ical doctrines of the Declaration of Independence, Wash-
ington's Farewell Address, and Lincoln's Gettysburg Ad-
dress”.* [13]* [14]* [15]
2.1.2 Political movement
As a self-conscious political movement, anti-imperialism 2.1.4 Marxism, Leninism, and anti-
originated in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th cen- imperialism
turies, in opposition to the growing European colonial
empires and the US control of the Philippines after
1898.* [8] However, it reached its highest level of popular
support in the colonies themselves, where it formed the
basis for a wide variety of national liberation movements
during the mid-20th century and later. These movements,
and their anti-imperialist ideas, were instrumental in the
decolonization process of the 1950s and 1960s, which
saw most European colonies in Asia and Africa achiev-
ing their independence.* [9]

2.1.3 Anti-Imperialist League

An early use of the term “anti-imperialist”occurred
after the United States entered the Spanish–American
War in 1898.* [10] Most activists supported the war itself
but opposed the annexation of new territory, especially
the Philippines.* [11] The Anti-Imperialist League was
founded on June 15, 1898 in Boston, in opposition of the
acquisition of the Philippines, which happened anyway.
The anti-imperialists opposed the expansion because they
believed imperialism violated the credo of republican-
ism, especially the need for “consent of the governed.”
Appalled by American imperialism, the Anti-Imperialist
League, which included famous citizens such as Andrew
Carnegie and William James, formed a platform which To the Latin-American revolutionary Ché Guevara, imperialism
stated was a geopolitical system of control and repression, which must
be understood as such in order to be defeated.
We hold that the policy known as imperial-
ism is hostile to liberty and tends toward mili- About the nature of imperialism, and how to oppose and
tarism, an evil from which it has been our glory defeat it, the revolutionary Ché Guevara said:
to be free. We regret that it has become neces-
sary in the land of Washington and Lincoln to We must bear in mind that imperialism is
reaffirm that all men, of whatever race or color, a world system, the last stage of capitalism—
are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of and it must be defeated in a world confronta-
happiness. We maintain that governments de- tion. The strategic end of this struggle should
rive their just powers from the consent of the be the destruction of imperialism. Our share,
governed. We insist that the subjugation of any the responsibility of the exploited and underde-
people is“criminal aggression”and open dis- veloped of the world, is to eliminate the foun-
loyalty to the distinctive principles of our Gov- dations of imperialism: our oppressed nations,

from where they extract capitals, raw materials, acteristic of colonial and neo-colonial empires, as used in
technicians, and cheap labor, and to which they the realm of international relations.* [19]* [20]
export new capitals—instruments of domina- In Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1917),
tion—arms and all kinds of articles; thus sub- Lenin outlined the five features of capitalist development
merging us in an absolute dependence. that lead to imperialism:
—Che Guevara, Message to the Triconti-
nental, 1967 * [16]
1. Concentration of production and capital leading to
the dominance of national and multinational monop-
olies and cartels.

2. Industrial capital as the dominant form of capital has

been replaced by finance capital, with the industrial
capitalists increasingly reliant on capital provided
by monopolistic financial institutions; “Again and
again, the final word in the development of banking
is monopoly.”

3. The export of the aforementioned finance capital is

emphasized over the export of goods;

4. The economic division of the world by between

multinational cartels;

5. The political division of the world into colonies by

the great powers, in which the great powers monop-
olise investment.* [21]

Generally, the relationship among Marxists and radi-

cal, left-wing organisations who are anti-war, often in-
volves persuading such political activists to progress from
pacifism to anti-imperialism—that is, to progress from
the opposition of war, in general, to the condemnation of
the capitalist economic system, in particular.* [22]
In the 20th century, the USSR represented themselves
To the Russian revolutionary Lenin, imperialism was the highest, as the foremost enemy of imperialism, and thus politi-
but degenerate, stage of capitalism. cally and materially supported Third World revolutionary
organisations who fought for national independence; as
In the mid-19th century, in Das Kapital (1867–94), Karl such the USSR sent military advisors to Ethiopia, Angola,
Marx mentioned imperialism to be part of the prehistory Egypt, and Afghanistan. Nonetheless, the USSR be-
of the capitalist mode of production. Much more impor- haved as an imperialist power, when it asserted sphere-of-
tant was Lenin, who defined imperialism as “the high- influence dominance upon Afghanistan (1979–89); and
est stage of capitalism”, the economic stage in which dominated the countries of Eastern Europe, the Baltic
monopoly finance capital becomes the dominant applica- states, and the Caucasus, as accorded in the Yalta Agree-
tion of capital.* [17] As such, said financial and economic ment (4–11 February 1945) during the Second World
circumstances impelled national governments and private War (1939–45).
business corporations to world-wide competition for con- Such imperialist behaviour, ideologically discredited the
trol of natural resources and human labour by means of USSR for not abiding the principles of Marxism; alterna-
colonialism.* [18] tively anarchists presented such Soviet imperialism as ev-
The Leninist views of imperialism, and related theo- idence that the philosophy of Marxism would not resolve
ries, such as dependency theory, address the economic and eliminate imperialism. Notably, Mao Zedong devel-
dominance and exploitation of a country, rather than the oped the theory that the USSR was a "social-imperialist"
military and the political dominance of a people, their nation, a socialist people with tendencies to imperial-
country, and its natural resources. Hence, the primary ism, an important aspect of Maoist analysis of the his-
purpose of imperialism is economic exploitation, rather tory of the USSR.* [23] Contemporarily, the term Anti-
than mere control of either a country or of a region. The imperialism is most commonly applied by Marxists, and
Marxist and the Leninist denotation thus differs from the political organisations of like ideologic bent, who pro-
usual political-science denotation of imperialism as the pose anti-capitalism, present a class analysis of society,
direct control (intervention, occupation, and rule) char- et cetera.* [24]

2.1.5 Right-wing anti-imperialism [3] Mark F. Proudman, “Words for Scholars: The Seman-
tics of 'Imperialism'". Journal of the Historical Society,
Right-wing nationalists and religious fundamentalist September 2008, Vol. 8 Issue 3, p395-433
movements that have emerged in reaction to alleged im-
[4] D. K. Fieldhouse, “Imperialism": An Historiographical
perialism might also fall within this category; for exam- Revision”, South African Journal Of Economic History,
ple, Khomeinism historically derived much of its popu- March 1992, Vol. 7 Issue 1, pp 45-72
larity from its appeal to widespread anger at American
intervention or influence in Iran and the Middle East. [5] G.K. Peatling, “Globalism, Hegemonism and British
Power: J. A. Hobson and Alfred Zimmern Reconsidered”
The Indian Jamaat-e-Islami Hind launched a 10-day Na- , History, July 2004, Vol. 89 Issue 295, pp. 381–98
tionwide campaign titled Anti-Imperialism Campaign in
December 2009.* [25] [6] P. J. Cain, “Capitalism, Aristocracy and Empire: Some
'Classical' Theories of Imperialism Revisited”, Journal of
Imperial and Commonwealth History, March 2007, Vol.
2.1.6 Criticism 35 Issue 1, pp 25-47

[7] G.K. Peatling, “Globalism, Hegemonism and British

Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt assert that traditional Power: J. A. Hobson and Alfred Zimmern Reconsidered”
anti-imperialism is no longer relevant. In the book Em- , History, July 2004, Vol. 89 Issue 295, pp 381-398
pire,* [26] Negri and Hardt argue that imperialism is no
longer the practice or domain of any one nation or state. [8] Harrington, 1935
Rather, they claim, the “Empire”is a conglomeration
[9] Richard Koebner and Helmut Schmidt, Imperialism: The
of all states, nations, corporations, media, popular and in- Story and Significance of a Political Word, 1840-1960
tellectual culture and so forth, and thus, traditional anti- (2010)
imperialist methods and strategies can no longer be ap-
plied against them. [10] Robert L. Beisner, Twelve against Empire: The Anti-
Imperialists, 1898–1900 (1968)
French philosopher and author Bernard-Henri Lévy also
argues in his book Left in Dark Times* [27] that modern [11] Julius Pratt, Expansionists of 1898: The Acquisition of
anti-imperialism is nothing more than thinly disguised Hawaii and the Spanish Islands (1936) pp 266–78
anti-Americanism and has been too commonly evoked by
[12] “Platform of the American Antilmperialist League,
Third World dictators and extremist movements to dis- 1899”. Fordham University. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
tract their audiences from their own crimes and abuses of
power. [13] Harrington, 1935, pp 211–12

[14] Richard E. Welch, Jr., Response to Imperialism: The

2.1.7 See also United States and the Philippine-American War, 1899–
1902 (1978)
• Empire-building [15] E. Berkeley Tompkins, Anti-Imperialism in the United
• Colonialism States: The Great Debate, 1890–1920. (1970)

• National liberation wars [16] Che Guevara: Message to the Tricontinental Spring of
• National self-determination
[17]“Imperialism”, The Penguin Dictionary of International
• Historiography of the British Empire Relations (1998), by Graham Evans and Jeffrey Newn-
ham. p. 244.
• Anti-Americanism
[18]“Colonialism”, The Penguin Dictionary of International
• Anti-Imperialist Camp Relations (1998) Graham Evans and Jeffrey Newnham, p.
• League against Imperialism
[19]“Imperialism”, The Penguin Dictionary of International
• Antimilitarism Relations (1998) Graham Evans and Jeffrey Newnham, p.
2.1.8 References [20]“Colonialism”, The Penguin Dictionary of International
Relations (1998) Graham Evans and Jeffrey Newnham, p.
[1] Imperialism: The Story and Significance of a Political 79.
Word, 1840–1960 (2010), by Richard Koebner and Hel-
mut Schmidt. [21] “Lenin: Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism”.
Retrieved 2011-02-13.
[2] Richard Koebner and Helmut Schmidt, Imperialism: The
Story and Significance of a Political Word, 1840-1960 [22]
(2010) //

[23] Battling Western Imperialism: Mao, Stalin, and the United • Cullinane, Michael Patrick. Liberty and American
States (1997), by Michael M. Sheng. p.00. Anti-Imperialism, 1898-1909. New York: Palgrave
Macmillan, 2012.
[24] Marxist Theories of Imperialism: A Critical Survey (1990),
by Anthony Brewer. p. 293. • Ferguson, Niall. Empire: The Rise and Demise of
the British World Order and the Lessons for Global
Power (2002), excerpt and text search
[26] Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt, Empire, Harvard Uni- • Hamilton, Richard. President McKinley, War, and
versity Press (2001) ISBN 0-674-00671-2
Empire (2006).
[27] Bernard Henri Levy, Left in Dark Times, A Stand Against • Hardt, Michael, and Antonio Negri. Empire (2001),
the New Barbarism, Random House; Tra edition. (2008)
influential statement from the left
ISBN 1-4000-6435-X
• Herman, Arthur. Gandhi & Churchill: The Epic Ri-
valry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age
Bibliography (2009) [excerpt and text search]
• Griffiths, Martin, and Terry O'Callaghan, and • Hobson, J.A. Imperialism: A Study (1905) except
Steven C. Roach 2008. International Relations: The and text search 2010 edition
Key Concepts. Second Edition. New York: Rout-
ledge. • James, Lawrence. The Rise and Fall of the British
Empire (1997).
• Heywood, C. 2004. Political Theory: An Introduc-
tion New York: Palgrave MacMillan • Karsh, Efraim. Islamic Imperialism: A History
(2007) excerpt and text search
• Harrington, Fred H. “The Anti-Imperialist Move-
• Olson, James S. et al., eds. Historical Dictionary of
ment in the United States, 1898-1900”, Mississippi
European Imperialism (1991) online edition
Valley Historical Review, Vol. 22, No. 2 (Sep.,
1935), pp. 211–230 in JSTOR • Owen, Nicholas. The British Left and India:
Metropolitan Anti-Imperialism, 1885-1947 (2008)
• Proudman, Mark F..“Words for Scholars: The Se- excerpt and text search
mantics of 'Imperialism'". Journal of the Historical
Society, September 2008, Vol. 8 Issue 3, p395-433 • Polsgrove, Carol. Ending British Rule in Africa:
Writers in a Common Cause (2009)

2.1.9 Further reading • Sagromoso, Domitilla, James Gow, and Rachel

Kerr. Russian Imperialism Revisited: Neo-Empire,
• Ali, Tariq et al. Anti-Imperialism: A Guide for the State Interests and Hegemonic Power (2010)
Movement ISBN 1-898876-96-7 • Tompkins, E. Berkeley, ed. Anti-Imperialism in
the United States: The Great Debate, 1890 —
• Boittin, Jennifer Anne. Colonial Metropolis: The
1920. (1970) excerpts from primary and secondary
Urban Grounds of Anti-Imperialism and Feminism
in Interwar Paris (2010)
• Wang, Jianwei. “The Chinese interpretation of the
• Brendon, Piers.“A Moral Audit of the British Em- concept of imperialism in the anti-imperialist con-
pire.”History Today, (Oct 2007), Vol. 57 Issue 10, text of the 1920s.,”Journal of Modern Chinese His-
pp 44–47, online at EBSCO tory (2012) 6#2 pp 164–181.
• Brendon, Piers. The Decline and Fall of the British
Empire, 1781-1997 (2008) excerpt and text search 2.1.10 External links
• Cain, P. J. and A.G. Hopkins. British Imperialism,
• The Anti-Imperialists, A Web based guide to Amer-
1688-2000 (2nd ed. 2001), 739pp, detailed eco-
ican Anti-Imperialism
nomic history that presents the new “gentlemanly
capitalists”thesis excerpt and text search • CWIHP at the Wilson Center for Scholars: Pri-
mary Document Collection on Anti-Imperialism in
• Castro, Daniel, Walter D.Mignolo, and Irene Sil- the Cold War
verblatt. Another Face of Empire: Bartolomé de
Las Casas, Indigenous Rights, and Ecclesiastical Im- • Pacific Northwest Antiwar and Radical History
perialism (2007) excerpt and text search, Spanish Project, multimedia collection of photographs,
colonies video, oral histories and essays.

• Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism by socialist states, while paying lip service to the primacy of
V.I. Lenin Full text at ideological change in individuals to sustain a communist
society, actually put productive forces first, and ideologi-
• How Imperialist 'Aid' Blocks Development in Africa cal change second.
by Thomas Sankara, The Militant, April 13, 2009
The theory of the productive forces is encapsulated in the
• Daniel Jakopovich, In the Belly of the Beast: Chal- following quote from The German Ideology:
lenging US Imperialism and the Politics of the Offen-
sive " is only possible to achieve real liber-
ation in the real world... by employing real
• The M and S Collection at the Library of Congress
means... slavery cannot be abolished without
contains materials on anti-imperialism.
the steam-engine and the mule and spinning-
jenny, serfdom cannot be abolished without
improved agriculture, and... in general, people
2.2 Theory of the productive forces cannot be liberated as long as they are unable to
obtain food and drink, housing and clothing in
The“theory of the productive forces”should not adequate quality and quantity. “Liberation”
be confused with the Marxist analysis of pro- is a historical and not a mental act, and it is
ductive forces. brought about by historical conditions, the de-
velopment of industry, commerce, agriculture,
The theory of the productive forces (sometimes re- the conditions of intercourse [Verkehr]...
ferred to as productive force determinism) is a widely —1
disseminated variation of historical materialism and
Marxism that places primary emphasis on technical ad- Socialist states
vances as the basis for advances and changes in the social
structure and culture of a given civilization. The relative Based on the theory of the productive forces and re-
strength assigned to the role of technical (or technologi- lated perspectives, the economic systems of the former
cal) progress in impacting society and social advancement Eastern bloc and the present-day socialist states the state
differs among different schools of Marxist thinkers. A accumulated capital through forcible extraction of sur-
related concept is technological determinism. pluses from the population for the purpose of rapidly
On a prescriptive level, this view places a strong empha- modernizing and industrializing their countries, because
sis on the necessity of strengthening the productive forces these countries were not technologically advanced to a
of the economy as a precondition for the realization of point where an actual socialist economy was technically
socialism, and within a nominally socialist economy, es- possible,* [1] or were a socialist state tried to reach the
sential to achieving communism. This theory was held by communist mode of production. The philosophical per-
many Orthodox Marxists as well as Marxist-Leninists; as spective behind the modernizing zeal of the Soviet Union
a result, it played a crucial role in informing the economic and People's Republic of China was based on the desire
policies of current and former socialist states. to industrialize their countries.* [2]

2.2.1 Empirical support 2.2.2 External links

The most influential philosophical defence of this idea •

has been promulgated by Gerald Cohen in his book Karl 1845/german-ideology/ch01b.htm#b1
Marx's Theory of History: A Defence. According to this •
view, technical change can beget social change; in other harman.htm
words, changes in the means (and intensity) of produc-
tion causes changes in the relations of production, i.e., in •
people's ideology and culture, their interactions with one 1847/poverty-philosophy/ch02.htm
another, and their social relationship to the wider world.
This view point is a foundation of Orthodox Marxism.
2.2.3 See also
In this view, actual socialism, being based on social own-
ership and a wide distribution of an abundant surplus • Technological determinism
product, cannot come to pass until that society's ability to
produce wealth is built up enough to satisfy its whole pop- • Economic determinism
ulation and to support socialist production methods. Us- • Historical materialism
ing this theory as a basis for their practical programmes
meant that communist theoreticians and leaders in most • Information revolution

• Mode of production on collective-decision making and disaggregated infor-

mation, to centralized systems of planning conducted by
• Socialism (Marxism) technical experts who use aggregated information to for-
mulate plans of production. In a fully developed socialist
economy, engineers and technical specialists, overseen or
2.2.4 References appointed in a democratic manner, would coordinate the
economy in terms of physical units without any need or
[1] Bertrand Badie; Dirk Berg-Schlosser; Leonardo Mor- use for financial-based calculation. The economy of the
lino (2011). International Encyclopedia of Political Sci- Soviet Union never reached this stage of development,
ence. SAGE Publications, Inc. p. 2459. ISBN 978- so planned its economy in financial terms throughout the
1412959636. The repressive state apparatus is in fact act- duration of its existence.* [5] Nonetheless, a number of
ing as an instrument of state capitalism to carry out the
alternative metrics were developed for assessing the per-
process of capital accumulation through forcible extrac-
tion of surplus from the working class and peasantry
formance of non-financial economies in terms of physical
output (i.e.: net material product versus gross domestic
[2] Chan (2001). Mao's crusade: politics and policy imple- product).
mentation in China's great leap forward. ISBN 978-0-19- In general, the various models of socialist economic plan-
ning exist as theoretical constructs that have not been im-
plemented fully by any economy, partially because they
depend on vast changes on a global scale (see: mode of
2.3 Economic planning production). In the context of mainstream economics
and the field of comparative economic systems, “social-
Economic planning is a mechanism for economic co- ist planning”usually refers to the Soviet-type command
ordination contrasted with the market mechanism. There economy, regardless of whether or not this economic sys-
are various types of planning procedures and ways of con- tem actually constituted a type of socialism or state cap-
ducting economic planning. As a coordinating mecha- italism or a third, non-socialist and non-capitalist type of
nism for socialism and an alternative to the market, plan- system.
ning is defined as a direct allocation of resources and is In some models of socialism, economic planning com-
contrasted with the indirect allocation of the market.* [1] pletely substitutes the market mechanism, supposedly
The level of centralization in decision-making in planning rendering monetary relations and the price system obso-
depends on the specific type of planning mechanism em- lete. In other models, planning is utilized as a comple-
ployed. As such, one can distinguish between central- ment to markets.
ized planning and decentralized planning.* [2] An econ-
omy primarily based on central planning is referred to
as a planned economy. In a centrally planned economy Concept of socialist planning
the allocation of resources is determined by a compre-
hensive plan of production which specifies output require- The classical conception of socialist economic planning
ments.* [3] Planning may also take the form of directive held by Marxists involved an economic system where
planning or indicative planning. goods and services were valued, demanded and produced
directly for their use-value, as opposed to being produced
Most modern economies are mixed economies incorpo-
as a by-product of the pursuit of profit by business enter-
rating various degrees of markets and planning.
prises. This idea of“production for use”is a fundamental
A distinction can be made between physical planning (as aspect of a socialist economy. This involves social control
in pure socialism) and financial planning (as practiced over the allocation of the surplus product, and in its most
by governments and private firms in capitalism). Phys- extensive theoretical form, calculation-in-kind in place of
ical planning involves economic planning and coordina- financial calculation. For Marxists in particular, planning
tion conducted in terms of disaggregated physical units; entails control of the surplus product (profit) by the asso-
whereas financial planning involves plans formulated in ciated producers in a democratic manner.* [6] This differs
terms of financial units.* [4] from planning within the framework of capitalism, which
is based on the planned accumulation of capital in order
to either stabilize the business cycle (when undertaken by
2.3.1 Socialist economic planning governments) or to maximize profits (when undertaken
by firms), as opposed to the socialist concept of planned
See also: Socialist economics production for use.
In such a socialist society based on economic planning,
Different forms of economic planning have been fea- the primary function of the state apparatus changes from
tured in various models of socialism. These range one of political rule over people (via the creation and
from decentralized-planning systems, which are based enforcement of laws) into a technical administration of

production, distribution and organization; that is the state emerged in a haphazard manner during the collectivi-
would become a coordinating economic entity rather than sation drive under Joseph Stalin, and emphasized rapid
a mechanism of political and class-based control, thereby growth and industrialization over efficiency. Eventually
ceasing to be a state in the traditional sense.* [7] this method became an established part of the Soviet con-
ception of“socialism”in the post-war period, and other
Socialist states emulated it in the latter half of the 20th
Planning versus Command century. Material balancing involves a planning agency
(Gosplan in the case of the USSR) taking a survey of
The concept of a command economy is differentiated available inputs and raw materials, using a balance-sheet
from the concept of a planned economy (or economic to balance them with output targets specified by industry,
planning), especially by socialists and Marxists, who liken thereby achieving a balance of supply and demand.* [11]
command economies (such as that of the former Soviet
Union) to that of a single capitalist firm, organized in a
top-down administrative fashion based on bureaucratic Lange-Lerner-Taylor model
organization akin to that of a capitalist corporation.* [8]
See also: Lange model
Economic analysts have argued that the economy of the
former Soviet Union actually represented an administered
or command economy as opposed to a planned economy The economic models developed in the 1920s and 1930s
because planning did not play an operational role in the al- by American economists Fred M. Taylor and Abba
location of resources among productive units in the econ- Lerner, and by Polish economist Oskar Lange, involved
omy; in actuality, the main allocation mechanism was a a form of planning based on marginal cost pricing. In
system of command-and-control. As a result, the phrase Lange's model, a central planning board would set prices
administrative command economy gained currency as a for producer goods through a trial-and-error method, ad-
more accurate descriptor of Soviet-type economies.* [9] justing until the price matched the marginal cost, with
the aim of achieving Pareto-efficient outcomes. Although
these models were often described as“market socialism”
Decentralized planning , they actually represented a form of“market simulation”
See also: Decentralized planning (economics)
2.3.2 Planning in capitalism
Decentralized economic planning is a planning process
that starts at the user-level in a bottom-up flow of infor- Intra-firm and intra-industry planning
mation. As such, decentralized planning often appears
as a complement to the idea of socialist self-management See also: Enterprise resource planning
(most notably by libertarian socialists and democratic so-
cialists). Large corporations use planning to allocate resources in-
The theoretical postulates for models of decentralized ternally among its divisions and subsidiaries. Many mod-
socialist planning stem from the thought of Karl Kaut- ern firms also utilize regression analysis to measure mar-
sky, Rosa Luxemburg, Nikolai Bukharin and Oskar ket demand in order to adjust prices and to decide upon
Lange.* [10] This model involves economic decision- the optimal quantities of output to be supplied. Planned
making based on self-governance from the bottom-up (by obsolescence is often cited as a form of economic plan-
employees and consumers) without any directing central ning employed by large firms to increase demand for
authority. This often contrasts with the doctrine of or- future products by deliberately limiting the operational
thodox Marxist-Leninism, which advocates directive ad- lifespan of its products.
ministrative planning where directives are passed down The internal structures of corporations have been de-
from higher authorities (planning agencies) to agents (en- scribed as centralized command economies that employ
terprise managers), who in turn give orders to workers. both planning and hierarchical organization and manage-
Two contemporary models of decentralized planning are ment. According to J. Bradford DeLong, a significant
Participatory economics, developed by the economist portion of transactions in Western economies do not pass
Michael Albert; and negotiated coordination, developed through anything resembling a market. Many transac-
by the economist Pat Devine. tions are actually movements of value among different
branches and divisions within corporations, companies
and agencies. Furthermore, a significant portion of eco-
Material balances nomic activity is planned in a centralized manner by man-
agers within firms in the form of production planning and
Material balance planning was the type of economic plan- marketing management where consumer demand is esti-
ning employed by Soviet-type economies. This system mated, targeted and included in the firm's overall plan;

and in the form of production planning.* [12] mote economic growth in market-based economies. This
In The New Industrial State, the American economist involves the use of monetary policy, industrial policy
John Kenneth Galbraith posited that large firms manage and fiscal policy to “steer”the market toward targeted
both their prices and consumer demand for their prod- outcomes. Industrial policy includes government taking
ucts through sophisticated statistical methods. Galbraith measures “aimed at improving the competitiveness and
also pointed out that, because of the increasingly complex capabilities of domestic firms and promoting structural
nature of technology and specialization of knowledge, transformation.”* [16]
management had become increasingly specialized and In contrast to socialist planning, state development plan-
bureaucratized. The internal structures of corporations ning does not replace the market mechanism and does
and companies had been transformed into what he called not eliminate the use of money in production. It only ap-
a "technostructure", where specialized groups and com- plies to privately owned and publicly owned firms in the
mittees are the primary decision-makers, and specialized strategic sectors of the economy and seeks to coordinate
managers, directors and financial advisers operate under their activities through indirect means and market-based
formal bureaucratic procedures, replacing the individual incentives (such as tax breaks or subsidies).
entrepreneur's role (see also: Intrapreneurship). He states
that both the obsolete notion of “entrepreneurial capi-
talism”and democratic socialism (defined as democratic 2.3.3 Economic planning in practice
management) are impossible organizational forms for
managing a modern industrial system.* [13] Soviet Union
Joseph Schumpeter, an economist associated with the
Austrian school and Institutional school of economics, Main articles: Analysis of Soviet-type economic plan-
argued that the changing nature of economic activity – ning and Economy of the Soviet Union
specifically the increasing bureaucratization and special-
ization required in production and management – was the The Soviet model of economic planning is an economic
major reason for why capitalism would eventually evolve system where decisions regarding production and invest-
into socialism. The role of the businessman was increas- ment are embodied in a plan formulated by Gosplan
ingly bureaucratic, and specific functions within the firm (State planning agency) through the process of material
required increasingly specialized knowledge which could balances. Economic information, including consumer de-
just as easily be supplied by state functionaries in publicly
mand and enterprise resource requirements, are aggre-
owned enterprises. gated and used to balance supply (from available resource
In the first volume of Capital, Karl Marx identified the inventories) with demand (based on requirements for in-
process of capital accumulation as central to the law of dividual economic units and enterprises) through a sys-
motion of capitalism. Increased industrial capacity from tem of iterations.
increasing returns to scale further socializes production. The Soviet economy operated in a centralized and hierar-
Capitalism eventually socializes labor and production to chical manner where directives were issued to lower-level
a point where the traditional notions of private owner- organizations. As a result, the Soviet economic model
ship and commodity production become increasingly in- was often referred to as a command economy or an admin-
sufficient for further expanding the productive capaci- istered economy because plan directives were enforced
ties of society,* [14] necessitating the emergence of a so- through inducements in a vertical power-structure, where
cialist economy where the means of production are so- planning played little functional role in the allocation of
cially owned and the surplus value is controlled by the resources.* [9]
workforce.* [15] Many socialists viewed these tendencies,
specifically the increasing trend toward economic plan-
ning in capitalist firms, as evidence of the increasing ob- United States
solescence of capitalism and inapplicability of ideals like
perfect competition to the economy; with the next stage The United States utilized economic planning during the
of evolution being the application of society-wide eco- First World War. The Federal Government supplemented
nomic planning. the price system with centralized resource allocation and
created a number of new agencies to direct important
economic sectors; notably the Food Administration, Fuel
State development planning
Administration, Railroad Administration and War Indus-
tries Board.* [17] During the Second World War, the
See also: Industrial policy and Developmental state economy experienced staggering growth under a similar
system of planning. In the postwar period, US govern-
State development planning or national planning refers ments utilized such measures as the Economic Stabiliza-
to macroeconomic policies and financial planning con- tion Program to directly intervene in the economy to con-
ducted by governments to stabilize the market or pro- trol prices, wages, etc. in different economic sectors.

From the start of the Cold War and up until the present The most notable critique of economic planning came
day, the United States Federal Government directs a from Austrian economists Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig
significant amount of investment and funding into re- von Mises. Hayek argued that central planners could
search and development (R&D), often initially through not possibly accrue the necessary information to formu-
the Department of Defense. The government performs late an effective plan for production because they are not
50% of all R&D in the United States,* [18] with a dy- exposed to the rapid changes in the particular time and
namic state-directed public-sector developing most of the place that take place in an economy, and are unfamiliar
technology that later becomes the basis of the private sec- with these circumstances. The process of transmitting all
tor economy. As a result, Noam Chomsky has referred to the necessary information to planners is therefore ineffi-
the United States economic model as a form of State Capi- cient.* [21]
talism.* [19] Examples include laser technology, the inter-
Proponents of de-centralized economic planning have
net, nanotechnology, telecommunications and comput- also criticized central economic planning. For example,
ers, with most basic research and downstream commer-
Leon Trotsky believed that central planners, regardless of
cialization financed by the public sector. This includes their intellectual capacity, operated without the input and
research in other fields including healthcare and energy,
participation of the millions of people who participate in
with 75% of most innovative drugs financed through the the economy, and would therefore be unable to respond to
National Institutes of Health.* [20] local conditions quickly enough to effectively coordinate
all economic activity.* [22]
East Asian Tigers

See also: State-sponsored capitalism 2.3.5 See also

• Calculation in kind
The development models of the East Asian Tiger
economies involved varying degrees of economic plan- • Council democracy
ning and state-directed investment in a model sometimes
described as "state development capitalism" or the“East • Cybernetics
Asian Model”.
• Decentralized planning (economics)
The governments of Malaysia and South Korea instituted
a series of macroeconomic plans (First Malaysia Plan and • Dirigisme
Five-Year Plans of South Korea) to rapidly develop and
industrialize their mixed economies. • Economic democracy

The economy of Singapore was partially based on eco- • Econometrics

nomic planning involving an active government industrial
policy and high levels of state-owned industry in a free- • Enterprise resource planning
market economy.
• Indicative planning

France • Industrial policy

• Input-output planning
See also: Dirigisme
• Material Product System
Under dirigisme, France utilized indicative planning and
established a number of state-owned enterprises in strate- • Material balance planning
gic sectors of the economy. The concept behind indica- • Mixed economy
tive planning is the early identification of oversupply, bot-
tlenecks and shortages so that state investment behavior • Nonmarket forces
can be modified in a timely fashion to reduce the inci-
dence of market disequilibrium, with the goal of sustain- • Participatory planning
ing stable economic development and growth. Under this
system France experienced its "Trente Glorieuses" period • Peer-to-peer economy
of economic prosperity.
• Planned economy

• Socialist calculation debate

2.3.4 Criticisms
• Socialization (economics)
See also: Economic calculation problem
• Socialist economics

2.3.6 Notes overview of the Soviet experience, see Myant, Martin;

Jan Drahokoupil (2010). Transition Economies: Politi-
[1] Mandel, Ernest (1986). “In Defense of Socialist Plan- cal Economy in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia.
ning” (PDF). New Left Review: 5–37. Planning is not Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 1–46. ISBN
equivalent to‘perfect’allocation of resources, nor‘sci- 978-0-470-59619-7.
entific’allocation, nor even ‘more humane’allocation.
It simply means ‘direct’allocation, ex ante. As such, it [9] Wilhelm, John Howard (1985).“The Soviet Union Has an
is the opposite of market allocation, which is ex post. Administered, Not a Planned, Economy”. Soviet Studies
37 (1): 118–130. doi:10.1080/09668138508411571.
[2] Gregory, Paul R.; Stuart, Robert C. (2003). Comparing
Economic Systems in the Twenty-First Century. Boston: [10] Dowlah, Abu F. (1992). “Theoretical Exposi-
Houghton Mifflin. pp. 23–24. ISBN 0-618-26181-8. tions of Centralized versus Decentralized Strands
Centralization is commonly identified with plan and de- of Socialist Economic Systems”. International
centralization with market, but there is no simple rela- Journal of Social Economics 19 (7/8/9): 210–258.
tionship between the level of decision making and the use doi:10.1108/EUM0000000000497.
of market or plan as a coordinating mechanism. In some
economies, it is possible to combine a considerable con- [11] Montias, J. M. (1959).“Planning with Material Balances
centration of decision-making authority and information in Soviet-Type Economies”. American Economic Review
in a few large corporations with substantial state involve- 49 (5): 963–985. JSTOR 1813077.
ment and yet to have no system of planning as such...To
[12] J. Bradford DeLong (1997).“The Corporation as a Com-
identify an economy as planned does not necessarily re-
mand Economy” (PDF). UC Berkeley and National Bu-
veal the prevalent coordinating mechanism, or for that
reau of Economic Research. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
matter, the degree of centralization in decision making.
Both depend on the type of planning mechanism. [13] John Kenneth Galbraith – Part I: The History and Nature
of the New Industrial State, 1972
[3] Alec Nove (1987), “planned economy”, The New Pal-
grave: A Dictionary of Economics, v. 3, pp. 879-80. [14] Marx and Engels Selected Works, Lawrence and Wishart,
[4] Ellman, Michael (1989). Socialist Planning. Cambridge 1968, p. 40. Capitalist property relations put a “fetter”
University Press. p. 25. ISBN 0-521-35866-3. Planning on the productive forces.
in the traditional model is primarily an activity that takes [15] Capital, Volume 1, by Marx, Karl. From “Chapter 32:
place in physical terms. That is, it is concerned with allo- Historical Tendency of Capitalist Accumulation": “Self-
cating tonnes of this, cubic metres of that, etc. rather than earned private property, that is based, so to say, on the
being concerned with allocating financial flows. fusing together of the isolated, independent laboring-
[5] Bockman, Johanna (2011). Markets in the Name of So- individual with the conditions of his labor, is supplanted
cialism: The Left-Wing Origins of Neoliberalism. Stanford by capitalistic private property, which rests on exploitation
University Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-8047-7566-3. of the nominally free labor of others, i.e., on wage-labor.
As soon as this process of transformation has sufficiently
[6] Schweickart, David; Lawler, James; Ticktin, Hillel; Oll- decomposed the old society from top to bottom, as soon
man, Bertell (1998). “Definitions of Market and Social- as the laborers are turned into proletarians, their means of
ism”. Market Socialism: The Debate Among Socialists. labor into capital, as soon as the capitalist mode of produc-
New York: Routledge. pp. 58–59. ISBN 0-415-91967-3. tion stands on its own feet, then the further socialization
For an Anti-Stalinist Marxist, socialism is defined by the of labor and further transformation of the land and other
degree to which the society is planned. Planning here is means of production into socially exploited and, therefore,
understood as the conscious regulation of society by the common means of production, as well as the further ex-
associated producers themselves. Put it differently, the propriation of private proprietors, takes a new form. That
control over the surplus product rests with the majority of which is now to be expropriated is no longer the laborer
the population through a resolutely democratic process... working for himself, but the capitalist exploiting many la-
The sale of labour power is abolished and labour neces- borers.”
sarily becomes creative. Everyone participates in running
their institutions and society as a whole. No one controls [16] UNCTAD & UNIDO 2011, p. 34.
anyone else.
[17] Hugh Rockoff – U.S. Economy in World War I, 2010
[7] “Socialism: Utopian and Scientific”. In
1816, he declares that politics is the science of production, [18] Herbert J. Zeh – The Federal Funding of R&D: Who Gets
and foretells the complete absorption of politics by eco- the Patent Rights?
nomics. The knowledge that economic conditions are the [19] Noam Chomsky – State and Corp., 2005
basis of political institutions appears here only in embryo.
Yet what is here already very plainly expressed is the idea [20] Mariana Mazzucato (June 25, 2013). “The Myth of the
of the future conversion of political rule over men into an “Meddling”State”. Public Finance International. Re-
administration of things and a direction of processes of trieved January 5, 2014.
[8]“Command Economy”, Glossary of Terms: For an [22] Writings 1932-33, P.96, Leon Trotsky.

2.4 Commanding heights of the

The Commanding heights of the economy is a
Marxist–Leninist phrase first used during Vladimir
Lenin's New Economic Policy in the Soviet Union.* [1]
It meant that the Communist Party held monopoly over
political power, while retaining control of large enter-
prises, foreign trade, means of transportation, banks, en-
ergy, communications and heavy industry among oth- Map of countries that declared themselves to be socialist states
ers.* [1] Private ownership was allowed everywhere else, under the Marxist–Leninist or Maoist definition - that is to say,
including agriculture and trade.* [1] According to Yevgeni “Communist states”- between 1979 and 1983. This period
Preobrazhensky, a Bolshevik economist, control over the marked the greatest territorial extent of Communist states.
“commanding heights of the economy”would ensure
“primitive socialist accumulation”.* [2]
the left; according to many communist and Marxist ten-
Deng Xiaoping, the leader who along with Chen Yun in- dencies, the system in use in the Soviet Union and the
troduced the Chinese economic reforms, was inspired by states modeled after it (i.e.,“communist states”) - which
this concept, and he (and the Communist Party of China) claimed to have reached socialism, not communism - was
still believes to this day that the state needs to control the not socialism but rather state capitalism.* [2]
economy's commanding heights.
These states did not use the term “communist state”
to refer to themselves, since they did not claim to have
2.4.1 References achieved communism. Instead, they frequently called
themselves socialist states, because they claimed to have
[1] Wesson 1978, p. 111. established or to aim at establishing a socialist society,
[2] Bonner 2013, p. 86.
i.e., a society based on the principles of scientific social-

2.4.2 Bibliography
2.5.1 Communist party as the leader of the
• Bonner, Stephen Eric (2013). Socialism Unbound:
Principles, Practices, and Prospects. Columbia Uni-
versity Press. ISBN 0231527357.
In the theories of German philosopher Karl Marx, a state
• Wesson, Robert G. (1978). Lenin's Legacy: The in any society is an instrument of oppression by one social
Story of the CPSU. Stanford, Calif: Hoover Press. class over another, historically a minority exploiter class
ISBN 978-0817969226. ruling over a majority exploited class. Marx saw that in
his contemporary time, the new nation states were charac-
terized by increasingly intensified class contradiction be-
2.5 Communist state tween the capitalist class and the working class it ruled
over. He predicted that if the class contradictions of
the capitalist system continue to intensify, that the work-
This article is about sovereign states governed by Com- ing class will ultimately become conscious of itself as
munist parties. For the social movement and political an exploited collective and will overthrow the capitalists
ideology, see Communism. For the hypothetical system and establish collective ownership over the means of pro-
postulated in Marxism, see Communist society. duction, therein arriving at a new phase of development
called Socialism (in Marxist understanding). The state
Communist state is a term used by historians and po- ruled by the working class during the transition into class-
litical scientists to refer to a state that aims to achieve less society is called the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.
socialism and then communism, usually with a professed Vladimir Lenin created revolutionary vanguard theory in
allegiance to Marxism–Leninism as the guiding ideology an attempt to expand on the concept. Lenin saw that sci-
of the state. Most communist states have been states ence is something that is initially practicable by only a mi-
with a form of government characterized by single-party nority of society who happen to be in a position free from
rule or a dominant-party system. None of these states distraction so that they may contemplate it, and believed
achieved communist societies, and the term is used no that scientific socialism was no exception. He therefore
matter to what degree that state or the movement asso- advocated that the Communist party should be structured
ciated with it actually follows communism, if at all.* [1] as a vanguard of those who have achieved full class con-
The label is the source of controversy, especially among sciousness to be at the forefront of the class struggle and

lead the workers to expand class consciousness and re- applied to an entire state, democratic centralism creates
place the capitalist class as the ruling class, therein estab- a one-party system.* [5]
lishing the Proletarian state. The constitutions of most socialist states describe their
political system as a form of democracy.* [6] Thus, they
recognize the sovereignty of the people as embodied in a
2.5.2 Development of communist states series of representative parliamentary institutions. Such
states do not have a separation of powers; instead, they
During the 20th century, the world's first constitution- have one national legislative body (such as the Supreme
ally socialist state was in Russia in 1917. In 1922, it Soviet in the Soviet Union) which is considered the high-
joined other former territories of the empire to become est organ of state power and which is legally superior to
the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. After the Second the executive and judicial branches of government.* [7]
World War, the Soviet Army occupied much of Eastern
Such national legislative politics in socialist states often
Europe and thus helped establish Communist states in
have a similar structure to the parliaments that exist in
these countries. Most Communist states in Eastern Eu-
liberal republics, with two significant differences: first,
rope were allied with the USSR, except for Yugoslavia
the deputies elected to these national legislative bodies
which declared itself non-aligned. In 1949, after a war
are not expected to represent the interests of any particu-
against Japanese occupation and a civil war resulting in
lar constituency, but the long-term interests of the people
a Communist victory, the People's Republic of China
as a whole; second, against Marx's advice, the legislative
was established. Communist states were also established
bodies of socialist states are not in permanent session.
in Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. A Commu-
Rather, they convene once or several times per year in
nist state was established in North Korea, although it
sessions which usually last only a few days.* [8]
later withdrew from the Communist movement. In 1989,
the Communist states in Eastern Europe collapsed under When the national legislative body is not in session, its
public pressure during a wave of non-violent movements powers are transferred to a smaller council (often called
which led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. a presidium) which combines legislative and executive
Today, the existing Communist states in the world are in power, and, in some socialist states (such as the Soviet
China, Laos, Vietnam, and Cuba. Union before 1990), acts as a collective head of state. In
some systems, the presidium is composed of important
These communist states often do not claim to have
communist party members who vote the resolutions of
achieved socialism or communism in their countries;
the communist party into law.
rather, they claim to be building and working toward the
establishment of socialism in their countries. For exam-
ple, the preamble to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam's
State social institutions
constitution states that Vietnam only entered a transition
stage between capitalism and socialism after the country
A feature of socialist states is the existence of numer-
was re-unified under the Communist party in 1976,* [3]
ous state-sponsored social organizations (trade unions,
and the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Cuba states
youth organizations, women's organizations, associations
that the role of the Communist Party is to “guide the
of teachers, writers, journalists and other professionals,
common effort toward the goals and construction of so-
consumer cooperatives, sports clubs, etc.) which are in-
cialism”.* [4]
tegrated into the political system.
In some socialist states, representatives of these organi-
2.5.3 State institutions in Communist zations are guaranteed a certain number of seats on the
national legislative bodies. In socialist states, the social
organizations are expected to promote social unity and
cohesion, to serve as a link between the government and
Communist states share similar institutions, which are or-
society, and to provide a forum for recruitment of new
ganized on the premise that the Communist party is a
communist party members.* [9]
vanguard of the proletariat and represents the long-term
interests of the people. The doctrine of democratic cen-
tralism, which was developed by Vladimir Lenin as a set Political power
of principles to be used in the internal affairs of the com-
munist party, is extended to society at large.* [5] Historically, the political organization of many socialist
According to democratic centralism, all leaders must be states has been dominated by a single-party monopoly.
elected by the people and all proposals must be debated Some communist governments, such as North Korea,
openly, but, once a decision has been reached, all people East Germany or the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
have a duty to obey that decision and all debate should have or had more than one political party, but all minor
end. When used within a political party, democratic cen- parties are or were required to follow the leadership of the
tralism is meant to prevent factionalism and splits. When communist party. In socialist states, the government may

not tolerate criticism of policies that have already been of Marxism-Leninism in particular and as such repre-
implemented in the past or are being implemented in the sent a particular ideology that many communists may not
present.* [10] share. They are listed here together with the year of their
Nevertheless, communist parties have won elections and founding and their respective ruling parties: [19]
governed in the context of multi-party democracies, with-
out seeking to establish a one-party state. Examples in- North Korea
clude San Marino, Republic of Nicaragua,* [11] Moldova,
Nepal (presently), Cyprus,* [12] and the Indian states of • Democratic People's Republic of Korea (since
Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura.* [13] However, for the 1948) asserts that its system is socialist although
purposes of this article, these entities do not fall under the the government's official ideology is now the Juche
definition of socialist state. policy of Kim Il-sung, as opposed to traditional
Marxism–Leninism. In 2009, the constitution of
the DPRK was quietly amended so that not only did
2.5.4 Critiques
it disavow all Marxist-Leninist references present
in the first draft, but it also dropped all reference
Main article: Criticisms of communist party rule
to 'Communism'.* [20] Similar to officially Marxist-
Leninist states, the Workers' Party governs the coun-
Communist states were criticized as one-party dictator- try as a single-party state although it hasn't been ver-
ships, with totalitarian control of the economy and so- ified that the country's actual working-class governs.
ciety and repression of civil liberties,* [14] economic fo-
cus on heavy industry at the expense of consumer goods,
sometimes resulting in shortages of vital products or even Multi-party states with governing communist parties
famine,* [15] and militarism and propaganda to cover up
the mistakes of the government .* [16] Some historians ar- There are multi-party states with communist parties lead-
gued that economic systems of communist states actually ing the government. Such states are not considered to be
represented state capitalism rather than socialism.* [2] communist states as the countries themselves allow for
multiple parties, and do not provide a constitutional role
In his critique of states run under Marxist-Leninist ideol-
for their communist parties.
ogy, economist Michael Ellman of the University of Am-
sterdam notes that such states compared favorably with
Western states in some health indicators such as infant • Guyana: The Guyanese democratically-elected
mortality and life expectancy.* [17] Similarly, Amartya People's Progressive Party claims to be Marxist-
Sen's own analysis of international comparisons of life Leninist* [21] but seemingly continues following
expectancy found that several Marxist-Leninist states capitalist characteristics. It was in power most re-
made significant gains, and commented“one thought that cently between 1992 and 2015, but is not part of the
is bound to occur is that communism is good for poverty Government of Guyana as of the 2015 general elec-
removal.”* [18] tion.

2.5.5 Modern period 2.5.6 See also

• Capitalist state

• Communist society

• Criticisms of communist party rule

• List of anti-capitalist and communist parties with

national parliamentary representation

• List of communist parties

A map of states claiming to be communist as of 2012
• List of socialist countries, which includes a list of
current and former socialist states.
List of current states claiming to be communist • People's democracy (Marxism–Leninism)
The following countries are one-party states in which the • Socialist state
institutions of the ruling communist party and the state
have become intertwined. They are generally adherents • Socialism in one country

2.5.7 References [17] Michael Ellman. Socialist Planning. Cambridge Univer-

sity Press, 2014. ISBN 1107427320 p. 372.
[1] Steele, David (1992). From Marx to Mises: Post-
Capitalist Society and the Challenge of Economic Calcu- [18] Richard G. Wilkinson. Unhealthy Societies: The Afflic-
lation. Open Court Publishing Company. p. 45. ISBN tions of Inequality. Routledge, November 1996. ISBN
978-0875484495. Among Western journalists the term 0415092353. p. 122
‘Communist’came to refer exclusively to regimes and
movements associated with the Communist International [19] Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook: FIELD
and its offspring: regimes which insisted that they were LISTING :: GOVERNMENT TYPE
not communist but socialist, and movements which were
barely communist in any sense at all [20] “DPRK has quietly amended its Constitution”. Leonid
[2] “State capitalism”in the Soviet Union, M.C. Howard and
J.E. King [21] “Contribution of Peoples’Progressive Party of Guyana”
[3] VN Embassy - Constitution of 1992 Full Text. From
the Preamble: “On 2 July 1976, the National Assem-
bly of reunified Vietnam decided to change the country's
name to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; the country 2.6 Democratic centralism
entered a period of transition to socialism, strove for na-
tional construction, and unyieldingly defended its frontiers
Democratic centralism is the name given to the
while fulfilling its internationalist duty.”
deontological principles of internal organization used by
[4] Cubanet - Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, 1992 Full Leninist political parties, and the term is sometimes used
Text. From Article 5: “The Communist Party of Cuba, as a synonym for any Leninist policy inside a politi-
a follower of Martí’s ideas and of Marxism-Leninism, cal party. The democratic aspect of this organizational
and the organized vanguard of the Cuban nation, is the method describes the freedom of members of the politi-
highest leading force of society and of the state, which cal party to discuss and debate matters of policy and di-
organizes and guides the common effort toward the goals
rection, but once the decision of the party is made by
of the construction of socialism and the progress toward a
majority vote, all members are expected to uphold that
communist society,”
decision. This latter aspect represents the centralism. As
[5] Furtak, Robert K. The political systems of the socialist Lenin described it, democratic centralism consisted of
states, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1986, pp. 8-9. “freedom of discussion, unity of action.”* [1]
[6] Furtak, Robert K. The political systems of the socialist
states, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1986, p. 12.
2.6.1 Before Stalin
[7] Furtak, Robert K. The political systems of the socialist
states, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1987, p. 13. The Sixth Party Congress of the Russian Social-
Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviks) held at Petrograd
[8] Furtak, Robert K. The political systems of the socialist
states, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1986, p. 14.
between July 26 and August 3, 1917 defined democratic
centralism as follows:
[9] Furtak, Robert K. The political systems of the socialist
states, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1986, p. 16-17.
1. That all directing bodies of the Party, from top to
[10] Furtak, Robert K. The political systems of the socialist bottom, shall be elected;
states, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1986, p. 18-19.
2. That Party bodies shall give periodical accounts of
[11] Kinzer, Stephen (15 January 1987). “NICARAGUA'S their activities to their respective Party organiza-
The New York Times.

[12] “Cyprus elects its first communist president”, The 3. That there shall be strict Party discipline and the sub-
Guardian, 25 February 2008. ordination of the minority to the majority;

[13] Kerala Assembly Elections-- 2006 4. That all decisions of higher bodies shall be abso-
lutely binding on lower bodies and on all Party mem-
[14] “Assemblée parlementaire du Conseil de l'Europe”.
bers.* [2]

[15] The Economics of Soviet Agriculture by Leonard E. Hub- The text What Is to Be Done? from 1902 is popularly
bard, p. 117-18
seen as the founding text of democratic centralism. At
[16] Kenez, Peter (1985). The Birth of the Propaganda State: this time, democratic centralism was generally viewed as
Soviet Methods of Mass Mobilization, 1917-1929. Cam- a set of principles for the organizing of a revolutionary
bridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-31398-8. workers' party. However, Lenin's model for such a party,

which he repeatedly discussed as being“democratic cen- 2.6.3 In China

tralist”, was the German Social Democratic Party, in-
spired by remarks made by the social-democrat Jean Bap- Democratic centralism is also stated in Article 3 of the
tista von Schweitzer. present Constitution of the People's Republic of China:
The doctrine of democratic centralism served as one of
the sources of the split between the Bolsheviks and the Article 3. The state organs of the Peo-
Mensheviks. The Mensheviks supported a looser party ple's Republic of China apply the principle of
discipline within the Russian Social Democratic Labour democratic centralism. The National People's
Party in 1903, as did Leon Trotsky, in Our Political Congress and the local people's congresses at
Tasks,* [3] although Trotsky joined ranks with the Bol- different levels are instituted through demo-
sheviks in 1917. cratic election. They are responsible to the
people and subject to their supervision. All ad-
After the successful consolidation of power by the Com- ministrative, judicial and procuratorial organs
munist Party following the Russian Revolution of 1917 of the state are created by the people's con-
and the Russian Civil War, the Bolshevik leadership, in- gresses to which they are responsible and under
cluding Lenin, instituted a ban on factions in the Rus- whose supervision they operate. The division
sian Communist Party as Resolution No. 12 of the 10th of functions and powers between the central
Party Congress in 1921. It was passed in the morning and local state organs is guided by the principle
session on March 16, 1921.* [4] Supporters of Trotsky of giving full play to the initiative and enthusi-
sometimes claim that this ban was intended to be tem- asm of the local authorities under the unified
porary. But there is no language in the discussion at the leadership of the central authorities.* [8]
10th Party Congress suggesting that it was intended to be
temporary.* [5]
Its principal practice exists as the supremacy of the“Na-
The Group of Democratic Centralism was a group in the tional People's Congress,”which represents the people
Soviet Communist Party who advocated different con- and exercises legislative authority on their behalf. Other
cepts of party democracy. powers, including the power to appoint the head of state
and head of government, are also vested in this body.

2.6.4 See also

2.6.2 In the Soviet Union
• 21 Conditions given in 1920 by the Third Interna-
tional to all socialist parties
During Joseph Stalin's time, the principle of democratic
centralism had evolved to the point that the Supreme So- • Cabinet collective responsibility, a similar concept
viet, while nominally vested with great legislative powers, in parliamentary government
did little more than approve decisions already made at the
highest levels of the Communist Party. This de facto ar- • Eastern Bloc politics
rangement soon became the norm in nearly all Commu- • One party state
nist states.
• Spontaneism
By the Leonid Brezhnev period democratic centralism
was described, in the 1977 Soviet Constitution, as a prin- • Autonomy
ciple for organizing the state: “The Soviet state is orga-
nized and functions on the principle of democratic cen- • Federalism
tralism, namely the electiveness of all bodies of state au-
thority from the lowest to the highest, their accountability
to the people, and the obligation of lower bodies to ob- 2.6.5 References
serve the decisions of higher ones.”Democratic central-
[1] Lenin, V. (1906). “Report on the Unity Congress of the
ism combines central leadership with local initiative and R.S.D.L.P.”. Retrieved 2008-08-09.
creative activity and with the responsibility of each state
body and official for the work entrusted to them. [2] History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bol-
sheviks). Short Course. New York: International Publish-
The democratic centralist principle extended to elections. ers, 1939, p. 198
All Communist countries were —either de jure or de facto
—single-party states. In most cases, the voters were pre- [3] Leon Trotsky (1904). “Our Political Tasks”. Retrieved
sented with a single list, which usually won 90 percent 2008-08-09.
or more of the vote. In some countries, those who voted
[4] Protokoly 1933 ed. 585–7; 1963 ed. 571–3
against the lone candidate on the ballot could face serious
reprisals.* [6]* [7] [5] Protokoly 1933 ed. 523–548

[6] Sebetsyen, Victor (2009). Revolution 1989: The Fall of 2.7.1 Influence of Feuerbach and Left
the Soviet Empire. New York City: Pantheon Books. Hegelians
ISBN 0-375-42532-2.
Marx, from the earliest times in his career, had been
[7] Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data heavily involved in debates surrounding the philosophy
handbook, p457 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
of religion in early-19th century Germany. Bitter con-
troversies surrounding the proper interpretation of the
[8] English-language text of Constitution of the People's Re-
Hegelian philosophical legacy greatly formed Marx’s
public of China, adopted 4 December 1982, Chapter 1,
Article 3. Accessed 29 December 2014 thinking about religion. The Hegelians considered phi-
losophy as an enterprise meant to serve the insights of
religious comprehension, and Hegel had rationalized the
fundamentals of the Christian faith in his elaborate phi-
2.6.6 External links losophy of spirit. Hegel, while being critical of contem-
porary dogmatic religion, retained an intellectual interest
• 10-iy s"ezd RKP(b). Protokoly. Transcript of 10th in the ontological and epistemological beliefs of Chris-
Party Congress, 1933 edition (in Russian) tianity.* [8] His philosophy was compatible with theologi-
cal views, and religious explanations of the deepest ques-
• Transcript of 10th Party Congress, 1963 edition (in tions of being were considered unquestionably valuable
Russian). by him, but needing additional clarification, systemati-
zation and argumentative justification.* [9] His philoso-
• On Democratic-Centralism & The Regime Leon phy worked as a conceptual enterprise based upon the
Trotsky. truths of his faith. His legacy was debated after his death
in 1831 between the ‘Young Hegelians’and material-
• Notes on democratic centralism Tony Cliff, June ist atheists, including especially the German philosopher
1968. Ludwig Feuerbach. Marx sided with the materialist athe-
ists in his rejection of all forms of religious philosophy,
• Bolshevism, Fraudulent Practice Of Democratic including the most liberal forms of such, and Feuerbach
Centralism Albert Weisbord, 1976. greatly influenced him. Feuerbach wanted to separate
philosophy from religion and to give philosophers intel-
• On Democratic Centralism PL Magazine, 1982. lectual autonomy from religion in their interpretation of
reality. Feuerbach objected to Hegel’s philosophical no-
• On democratic centralism Mick Armstrong, 2000. tions that he believed were based on his religious views.
Feuerbach attacked the conceptual foundations of theol-
• Democratic Centralism Glossary of Terms on http:
ogy and wanted to undermine religion by introducing a
new religion of humanity by redirecting fundamental hu-
man concerns of dignity, the meaning of life, morality
and purpose of existence within an invented atheistic reli-
2.7 Marxist–Leninist atheism gion that did not hold belief in anything supernatural, but
which would serve as an answer to these concerns. Feuer-
bach considered that the antithesis of human and divine
Marxist–Leninist atheism (Russian: Марксистско-
was based on an antithesis between human nature gener-
ленинский атеизм) is a part of the wider Marxist–
ally and individual humans,* [10] and came to the conclu-
Leninist philosophy (the type of Marxist philosophy
sion that humanity as a species (but just not as individu-
found in the Soviet Union), which rejects religion* [1]* [2]
als) possessed within itself all the attributes that merited
and clergymen as well as advocates a materialist under-
worship and that people had created God as a reflection
standing of nature.* [3] Marxism–Leninism holds that re-
of these attributes.* [11] He wrote:
ligion is the opium of the people, in the sense of pro-
moting passive acceptance of suffering on Earth in the
But the idea of deity coincides with the idea
hope of eternal reward. Therefore, Marxism–Leninism
of humanity. All divine attributes, all the at-
advocates the abolition of religion and the acceptance of
tributes which make God God, are attributes of
atheism.* [4]* [5] Marxist–Leninist atheism has its roots
the species – attributes which in the individual
in the philosophy of Ludwig Feuerbach, G.W.F. Hegel,
are limited, but the limits of which are abol-
Karl Marx, and Vladimir Lenin.* [6]
ished in the essence of the species, and even
Some non-Soviet Marxists opposed this antireligious in its existence, in so far as it has its complete
stance, and in certain forms of Marxist thinking, such existence only in all men taken together.* [12]
as the liberation theology movements in Latin America
among others, Marxist–Leninist atheism was rejected en- Feuerbach wanted to destroy all religious commitments
tirely.* [7] and to encourage an intensive hatred towards the old God.

All religious institutions needed to be eradicated from their liberation, the state can and must go as
the earth and from the memory of coming generations, far as the abolition of religion, the destruction
so that they would never again find power over people’ of religion. But it can do so only in the same
s minds through their deception and promotion of fear way that it proceeds to the abolition of private
from the mystical forces of God.* [13] It was this think- property, to the maximum, to confiscation, to
ing that the young Karl Marx was deeply attracted by, progressive taxation, just as it goes as far as the
and Marx adopted much of Feuerbach’s thought into abolition of life, the guillotine. At times of spe-
his own philosophical worldview. Marx considered that cial self-confidence, political life seeks to sup-
the higher goals of humanity would justify any radical- press its prerequisite, civil society and the el-
ism, both intellectual as well as social/political radicalism ements composing this society, and to consti-
in order to achieve its ends.* [14]* [15] tute itself as the real species-life of man, de-
void of contradictions. But, it can achieve this
only by coming into violent contradiction with
2.7.2 Marx its own conditions of life, only by declaring the
revolution to be permanent, and, therefore, the
In his rejection of all religious thought, Marx consid- political drama necessarily ends with the re-
ered the contributions of religion over the centuries to establishment of religion, private property, and
be unimportant and irrelevant to the future of human- all elements of civil society, just as war ends
ity.* [16]* [17] The autonomy of humanity from the realm with peace.* [19]
of supernatural forces was considered by Marx as an
axiomatic ontological truth that had been developed since Marx came to see that religion was determined by the
ancient times, and he considered it to have an even more economic superstructure and therefore he believed abol-
respectable tradition than Christianity. He argued that re- ishing class society would lead to an end to religion. He
ligious belief had been invented as a reaction against the wrote much about these things before he had much devel-
suffering and injustice of the world. In Marx's view, the oped his ideas concerning the abolition of private prop-
poor and oppressed were the original creators of religion, erty and communism. Hostility towards religion was in
and they used it as a way to reassure themselves that they fact the beginning of Marx’s philosophical career and it
would have a better life in the future, after death. Thus, preceded dialectic materialism. It became critically fused
it served as a kind of “opium,”or a way to escape the with his economic and social ideas in his claim that reli-
harsh realities of the world. gion, along with all other forms of thought, was the prod-
uct of material conditions and the distribution of prop-
Religious suffering is, at one and the same erty. When the economic structures that created religion
time, the expression of real suffering and a were destroyed, religion assumedly would disappear with
protest against real suffering. Religion is the it. He therefore believed that religion needed to be com-
sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a bated through a pragmatic approach of attacking the eco-
heartless world, and the soul of soulless condi- nomic base of religion and to attack the causes of re-
tions. It is the opium of the people.* [18] ligion. He considered that religion was an opiate that
people needed in order to support themselves in harsh
Furthermore, in his view, atheistic philosophy had liber- conditions of life, and he furthermore held the view that
ated human beings from suppressing their natural poten- these harsh conditions were kept in place with the sup-
tial and allowed for people to realize that they, rather than port of religion. In order to eliminate religion, he there-
any supernatural force that required obedience, were the fore held that he needed to eliminate the harsh conditions
masters of reality. Marx’s opposition to religion was that caused people to hold illusory superstitions that com-
based especially upon this view in that he believed reli- forted them, and in order to eliminate these conditions he
gion alienated humans from reality and held them back concluded that religion, since it supported the existence
from their true potential. He therefore considered that of such conditions, therefore needed to be eliminated.
religion needed to be removed from society.
The abolition of religion as the illusory
The decomposition of man into Jew and happiness of the people is the demand for their
citizen, Protestant and citizen, religious man real happiness. To call on them to give up their
and citizen, is neither a deception directed illusions about their condition is to call on them
against citizenhood, nor is it a circumvention to give up a condition that requires illusions.
of political emancipation, it is political eman- The criticism of religion is, therefore, in em-
cipation itself, the political method of emanci- bryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which
pating oneself from religion. Of course, in pe- religion is the halo.* [20]
riods when the political state as such is born vi-
olently out of civil society, when political liber- In this way he transformed Feuerbach’s attack on reli-
ation is the form in which men strive to achieve gion from a mainly philosophical critique into a call for

physical action. He therefore held that atheism was the the isolated individual, the image of very em-
philosophical foundation stone of his ideology, but in it- pirical fetters and limitations, within which the
self was insufficient. mode of production of life and the form of in-
tercourse coupled with it move.* [23]
Communism begins from the outset
(Owen) with atheism; but atheism is at first far The Christian religion had begun as spiritual protests
from being communism; indeed, that atheism against the conditions of life, wherein lower classes be-
is still mostly an abstraction.* [21] lieved that they were supernaturally favoured over the
richer ruling classes. However, it had deteriorated from
its original goals into a kind of false consolation for peo-
The intellectual atheism held by Feuerbach and others of
ple who accepted their subjection. This degeneration was
his time, was transformed by Marx into a more sophis-
viewed negatively in the later Marxist–Leninist tradition,
ticated consideration and critique of material conditions
as a kind of perversion of the original noble goals of reli-
responsible for religion.
gion by the social and cultural elite. This view that Chris-
tianity had been perverted by the elite partly justified rev-
Feuerbach starts out from the fact of reli- olutionary action in order to abolish it and replace it with
gious self-alienation, of the atheism.* [24]
duplication of the world into a religious
world and a secular one. His work consists in Marx’s hostility towards religion lessened in his later ca-
resolving the religious world into its secular ba- reer when he wrote less about the subject and showed less
sis. But that the secular basis detaches itself enthusiasm about combating religious belief. He came
from itself and establishes itself as an indepen- to consider later in his life that religion would disappear
dent realm in the clouds can only be explained naturally through the richness of ideas that would emerge
by the cleavages and self-contradictions within from a rationalized order of communistic social life. This
this secular basis. The latter must, therefore, idea, however, would later be attacked by Lenin and the
in itself be both understood in its contradic- succeeding Soviet establishment even to the point of vi-
tion and revolutionized in practice. Thus, for olence and purges directed at proponents of this ‘right-
instance, after the earthly family is discovered ist’or ‘mechanicist’idea of religion disappearing on
to be the secret of the holy family, the former its own.* [25]
must then itself be destroyed in theory and in In his later life he wrote only about a need to separate
practice. religion from the state, but he was still hostile to religious
Feuerbach, consequently, does not see that belief. He believed that belief in the existence of God
the“religious sentiment”is itself a social prod- was immoral and anti-human.
uct, and that the abstract individual whom he
Near the end of his life, Marx adopted the views that
analyses belongs to a particular form of soci-
Christians offered human sacrifices and consumed hu-
ety.* [22]
man blood and flesh.* [26]* [27] He believed that knowl-
edge of these practices had dealt a deathblow to Chris-
Dialectical materialism had the task of offering itself as tianity.
an alternative to religious views of creation. Human be-
The atheistic element of Communism would be intensi-
ings were the natural products of the interplay of mate-
fied in some Marxist movements after his death.
rial forces and there was no room for supernatural inter-
ference in human destiny. Religion had originally come
about, according to Marx, as a kind of escape of the ex- 2.7.3 Engels
ploited classes from the harsh realities of existence and an
illusion that comforted one in the hope of a future reward. Friedrich Engels wrote, independently of Marx, on con-
Although this was its origin with the oppressed classes, temporary issues, including religious controversies. In his
the ruling classes had taken control of religion and used works‘Anti-Dühring’and‘Ludwig Feuerbach and the
it as a tool of emotional and intellectual control of the End of Classical German Ideology’, he engaged in criti-
masses. Marx considered Christianity to have been like cism on the idealistic worldview in general, including re-
this, in its origin as a religion for slaves hoping for a re- ligious outlooks on reality. He considered that religion
ward after their harsh existence, but in later becoming a was a fantastic reflection in the mind of the powers which
kind of deceptive ideology that the ruling classes used to caused miserable conditions in earlier stages of history.
maintain the status quo. He believed that increasing humanity’s control over its
existence, would eliminate these fantasies that were pro-
It is self-evident, moreover, that “spec- duced as a result of humanity’s desperation with the
tres,”“bonds,”“the higher being,”“con- world it lived in. Since belief in God came about as a re-
cept,”“scruple,”are merely the idealistic, spir- sult of a need in people for there to be some control over
itual expression, the conception apparently of their existence, he therefore reasoned that by eliminat-

ing this need, religion (the reflection of this need) would scientific rather than being a philosophy apart from the
gradually disappear. sciences.

And when this act has been accomplished, This modern materialism, the negation of
when society, by taking possession of all means the negation, is not the mere re-establishment
of production and using them on a planned ba- of the old, but adds to the permanent founda-
sis, has freed itself and all its members from tions of this old materialism the whole thought-
the bondage in which they are now held by content of two thousand years of development
these means of production which they them- of philosophy and natural science, as well as of
selves have produced but which confront them the history of these two thousand years. It is no
as an irresistible alien force, when therefore longer a philosophy at all, but simply a world
man no longer merely proposes, but also dis- outlook which has to establish its validity and
poses —only then will the last alien force which be applied not in a science of sciences stand-
is still reflected in religion vanish; and with it ing apart, but in the real sciences. Philosophy
will also vanish the religious reflection itself, is therefore“sublated”here, that is,“both over-
for the simple reason that then there will be come and preserved”{D. K. G. 503}; over-
nothing left to reflect.* [28] come as regards its form, and preserved as re-
gards its real content.* [32]
Engels considered religion as a false consciousness, and
incompatible with communism. Engels, in his lifelong Engels’views on the need for scientific education and the
contacts with leaders of Social Democratic and Commu- need for materialistic atheism to rely on science, spread
nist parties in Europe as well as the founders of the First widely among Communists and it would later become a
International (the 19th century political union of com- fundamental position of Soviet education, which was hos-
munist movements), urged them to disseminate and cul- tile to religious belief.
tivate atheism.* [29] He also called for scientific educa-
tion on a massive scale in order to overcome the fears
and illusions of people who required a religious expla- 2.7.4 Lenin
nation for the world around them. He believed that sci-
ence would provide an explanation for things that people Vladimir Lenin followed this tradition, and considered
had formerly required religious concepts to fulfill, and by religion as an opiate that must be always combated by
providing this explanation, people would no longer feel a true socialists.* [33] He adapted the ideological ideas of
need to have religion for this purpose. He wrote much Marx and Engels to the particular context of Russia and
about contemporary great scientific discoveries and used his interpretation of Marxism and its anti-religious doc-
them to support the principles of dialectical materialism trine was influenced by the intellectual tradition of his
in all his popular works intended for the ordinary masses own country. Lenin considered that religion in Russia
in the Communist movements. These included discover- was the chief ideological tool of the ruling classes to ex-
ies in biology, physics, chemistry, anthropology and psy- ploit the masses in that it taught subjects to be submissive
chology, all of which Engels used to argue against a need to their exploiters and it assisted the conscience of the ex-
for religious explanations of the world.* [30] He believed ploiters to believe that acts of charity would merit eternal
that science would make humanity confident of its own life.
self and to embrace its proper lordship over reality. It
would give humanity the ability to control the world he
lived in and therefore to overcome the harsh conditions
that produced a need in people to believe in a God who
controlled the universe. In his view scientific advance-
ment in his time was justifying the materialist and atheis-
tic outlook on the world that dialectical materialism held.
Speculative philosophy and rational theology became ob-
solete in light of scientific advancement.

The real unity of the world consists in its

materiality, and this is proved not by a few
juggled phrases, but by a long and wearisome
development of philosophy and natural sci-
ence.* [31]
Boris Kustodiev's 1920 painting “Bolshevik,”depicting a rev-
olutionary with the red flag, glaring at an Orthodox Christian
He also believed that scientific advancement required church.
atheistic materialism to be changed as well and to become

Religion is one of the forms of spiritual op- Lenin had no tolerance for any trace of idealism in the
pression which everywhere weighs down heav- views of either his opponents or his collaborators, and
ily upon the masses of the people, over bur- considered that anything short of a fully atheistic mate-
dened by their perpetual work for others, by rialist outlook was a concession to the ideological dom-
want and isolation. Impotence of the exploited inance of the ruling classes and their religious beliefs.
classes in their struggle against the exploiters He considered religion to be political by nature and the
just as inevitably gives rise to the belief in a bet- primary target of ideological attacks. Lenin considered
ter life after death as impotence of the savage militant atheism to be so critical to his faction that he
in his battle with nature gives rise to belief in went beyond the Russian atheist tradition of Belinsky,
gods, devils, miracles, and the like. Those who Herzen, and Pisarev and organized a systematic, aggres-
toil and live in want all their lives are taught sive and uncompromising movement of antireligious ag-
by religion to be submissive and patient while itation. He founded a whole institution of professional
here on earth, and to take comfort in the hope atheist propagandists in the USSR who spread all over
of a heavenly reward. But those who live by the the country after 1917 and who were the ‘foot-soldiers’
labour of others are taught by religion to prac- of the antireligious campaigns meant to eliminate religion
tise charity while on earth, thus offering them so as to make the populace atheists.
a very cheap way of justifying their entire exis- Lenin’s unequivocal hostile intolerance towards religious
tence as exploiters and selling them at a moder- belief became a distinctive feature of ideological Soviet
ate price tickets to well-being in heaven. Reli- atheism, which was contrasted with milder antireligious
gion is opium for the people. Religion is a sort views of Marxists outside the USSR. His hostility to reli-
of spiritual booze, in which the slaves of capi- gion allowed no compromises, such that it even alienated
tal drown their human image, their demand for leftist religious believers who sympathised with the Bol-
a life more or less worthy of man.* [34] sheviks. It even alienated some leftist atheists who were
willing to accommodate religious beliefs.* [36] Attacking
religion became far more important for Lenin than it had
been for Marx.
Since religion was the ideological tool that kept the sys-
tem in place, Lenin believed atheistic propaganda to be A prominent Bolshevik leader and later USSR Com-
of critical necessity. To this effect, before the revolution missar for Enlightenment, Anatoli Lunacharsky, was at-
Lenin’s faction devoted a significant portion of their tacked by Lenin for attempting to accommodate pseudo-
meagre resources to antireligious propaganda, and even religious sentiments in the world-view of Communism.
during the civil war, Lenin devoted much of his personal Lunacharsky had carried ideas similar to Feuerbach’s
energy towards the anti-religious campaign. The influ- notion of replacing religion with a new atheistic reli-
ence of the Orthodox Church especially needed to be gion that had a place for the sentiments, ceremonies and
weakened in order to undermine the Tsarist régime. The meanings of religion, but which was compatible with sci-
populace also needed to be prepared in order to make a ence and possessed no supernatural beliefs (see: God-
transition from religious beliefs to atheism, as Commu- Building). Lunacharsky considered that while religion
nism would require of them.* [35] was false and was used as a tool of exploitation, it still cul-
tivated emotion, moral values and desires among masses
Lenin considered atheism and theoretical ideas, not as im- of people, which the Bolsheviks should take over and
portant in themselves, but as weapons to use in the class manipulate rather than abolish. These products of reli-
struggle in order to overthrow the ruling classes that sup- gion should have been transformed into humanistic val-
ported themselves with religion. For this reason he con- ues of a communist morality rather than abolished, when
sidered it important to maintain an intellectually enlight- they formed the basis of the psychological and moral
ened Party that did not hold religious superstitions, and he integrity of masses of people. By replacing traditional
considered that a true socialist must be an atheist. The- religion with a new atheistic religion wherein humanity
oretical debates and abstract philosophical or theological was worshiped rather than God, socialism would achieve
ideas could not be understood in isolation from the ma- much better success, according to Lunacharsky. He be-
terial conditions of society. Lenin did not believe in the lieved this would have less confrontation and abuse of
existence of objective and neutral academic research, be- the culture and historical tradition of European civiliza-
cause he considered, in the tradition of historical mate- tion.* [37]
rialism, that all intellectual activity was perpetrated and
maintained by class interests. He believed that philo- Lenin was enraged with this idea of Lunacharsky, how-
sophical debates were always partisan, and his 1909 work ever, because he considered it a concession to reli-
‘Materialism and Empirio-criticism’was written from gious belief, and therefore harmful in the extreme. He
this perspective and he also kept extensive notes from claimed it ignored the fact that religion was an ideologi-
the works of Aristotle, Descartes, Kant and Hegel, in cal tool of suppression of the masses, and he claimed that
which he believed questions concerning the ideological Lunacharsky’s ideas were a dangerous and unnecessary
class struggle could be answered.* [36] compromise with the reactionary forces of the Russian

Empire. Militant atheism became the testing principle of history, to the domain of the social sciences.
of sincerity of Marxist commitment to Lenin, and it was We must combat religion —that is the ABC
a violation of the principles of socialism to compromise of all materialism, and consequently of Marx-
even in this way, wherein no supernatural beliefs were in- ism. But Marxism is not a materialism which
voked, with religious ideas.* [37] has stopped at the ABC. Marxism goes fur-
Marx had earlier rejected Feuerbach’s proposal for an ther. It says: We must know how to combat
atheistic religion, and Lenin looked to Marx as his exam- religion, and in order to do so we must ex-
ple. He believed that even the slightest compromise with plain the source of faith and religion among
the masses in a materialist way. The combating
religious belief would degenerate under intense political
pressure into a betrayal of the cause of Communism al- of religion cannot be confined to abstract ide-
ological preaching, and it must not be reduced
together.* [38] A true communist had to be an atheist ac-
cording to Lenin.* [39] to such preaching. It must be linked up with
the concrete practice of the class movement,
which aims at eliminating the social roots of
2.7.5 Soviet Union religion.* [33]

Marxism as interpreted by Lenin and his successors re-

quired changes in social consciousness and the redirec-
tion of people’s beliefs. Soviet Marxism was considered
incompatible with belief in the Supernatural. Commu-
nism required a conscious rejection of religion or else it
could not be established.* [43] This was not a secondary
priority of the system, nor was it a hostility developed to-
wards religion as a competing or rival system of thought,
but it was a core and fundamental teaching of the philo-
sophical doctrine of the Communist Party of the Soviet
Union.* [44] Marxist philosophy traditionally involved a
thorough scientific critique of religion and an attempt to
‘demystify’religious belief.

The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow during its 1931


The policy that began with Lenin and continued for the
course of Soviet history was that religion was to be tol-
erated by the state, but the Party was to do whatever it
deemed necessary in order to gradually remove it from
society.* [40]* [41] Thus, the Soviet state and the Com-
munist Party - which were two separate institutions - were
supposed to have two different attitudes towards reli-
gion, with the first being neutral and the second being
hostile to it. However, since the USSR was a one-party
state, the distinction between Party and state became very
blurred over time, with the result that religion was some-
times repressed and sometimes tolerated, to varying de-
grees.* [42] When writing about the Party's anti-religious
stance, Lenin did not see the replacement of religion with
atheism as an end to itself, but wrote that it needed to be
accompanied by a materialist world-view.

Marxism is materialism. As such, it is

as relentlessly hostile to religion as was the
materialism of the eighteenth-century Ency-
clopaedists or the materialism of Feuerbach.
This is beyond doubt. But the dialectical ma-
terialism of Marx and Engels goes further than
the Encyclopaedists and Feuerbach, for it ap- The membership card of the League of Militant Atheists (Soyuz
plies the materialist philosophy to the domain Voinstvuyushchikh Bezbozhnikov) in the USSR

According to Marxist theory, religion was a product of • USSR anti-religious campaign (1921–28)
material conditions and the organization of private prop-
erty. Working with this premise, the militant atheism • USSR anti-religious campaign (1928–41)
of the Soviet leadership initially considered that religion
would disappear on its own through the coming of the • USSR anti-religious campaign (1958–64)
socialist system. Therefore after the revolution, initially
the Bolsheviks gave tolerance to religion, with the excep- • USSR anti-religious campaign (1970s–87)
tion of Orthodoxy (which was subject to persecutions due
to its links with Tsarism). When it became clear after the
USSR was established that religion was not dying away 2.7.7 References
on its own, the USSR began general antireligious cam-
paigns.* [45] [1] Василий Михайлович Лендьел (1965). Современ-
ное христианство и коммунизм (in Russian). Мысль.
Combating religious beliefs was considered an absolute Марксистско-ленинский атеизм является системой
duty by Lenin.* [46] The campaigns involved extensive материалистических иаучно обоснованных взглядов,
amounts of antireligious propaganda, antireligious legis- отвергающих веру ...
lation, atheistic education, antireligious discrimination,
harassment, arrests and also campaigns of violent ter- [2] Институт научного атеизма (Академия общественных
ror.* [47] Soviet leaders, propagandists and other militant наук) (1981). Вопросы научного атеизма (in Rus-
atheists debated for years over the question of what ap- sian). Изд-во "Мысл". марксистско-ленинский атеизм
proach was most pragmatic in order to eliminate religion. всем своим содержанием «аправлен на развитие
способностей личности. Религия лишает человека его
The state recruited millions of people, spent billions of
собственного «я», раздваивает сознание, создает для
roubles, and made incredible efforts towards this end, al- него условия ...
though it ultimately failed to achieve their goal.
The pragmatic nature of the militant atheism of the [3] Анатолий Агапеевич Круглов (1983). Осно-
USSR, meant that some cooperation and tolerance could вы научного атеизма (in Russian). Беларусь.
exist between the régime and religion when it was deemed Высшей формой является марксистско-ленинский
атеизм *. Он опирается на материалистическое
to be in the best interests of the state or it was found that
понимание не только природы (что было свойственно
certain antireligious tactics would deal more harm than и домарксистскому атеизму) , но и общества.
good towards the goal of eliminating religion (e.g. hard- Последнее позволило на ...
ening believers’religious feelings). These forms of co-
operation and tolerance by no means meant that religion [4] Vladimir Lenin, in Novaya Zhizn No. 28, December 3,
did not need to be eliminated ultimately.* [44] Militant 1905, as quoted in Marxists Internet Archive. “Religion
atheism was a profound and fundamental philosophical is one of the forms of spiritual oppression which every-
commitment of the ideology, and not simply the personal where weighs down heavily upon the masses of the peo-
convictions of those who ran the regime.* [48] ple, over burdened by their perpetual work for others, by
want and isolation... Those who toil and live in want all
their lives are taught by religion to be submissive and pa-
2.7.6 See also tient while here on earth, and to take comfort in the hope
of a heavenly reward... Religion is opium for the people.
• God-Building Religion is a sort of spiritual booze, in which the slaves of
capital drown their human image, their demand for a life
• Marxism and religion more or less worthy of man.”

• Opium of the people [5] Brad Olsen. Sacred Places Europe. CCC Publishing.
p117. “Soviet policy toward religion was based on the
• Persecution of Christians in the Eastern Bloc ideology of Marxism-Leninism, which promoted atheism
as the official doctrine of the Soviet Union. Marxism-
• Persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union
Leninism consistently advocated the control, suppression,
• Persecution of Muslims in the former USSR and, ultimately, the elimination of all religious doctrines.”

• Polish anti-religious campaign [6] Slovak Studies, Volume 21. The Slovak Institute in North
America. p231.“The origin of Marxist-Leninist atheism
• Red Terror as understood in the USSR, is linked with the development
of the German philosophy of Hegel and Feuerbach.”
• Religion in the Soviet Union
[7] Richard L. Rubenstein, John K. Roth (1988). The Poli-
• Religious persecution in Communist Romania
tics of Latin American Liberation Theology. Washington
• State atheism Institute Press. ISBN 0-88702-040-2. There were, how-
ever, Marxist voices that pointed out the disadvantages of
• Soviet anti-religious legislation such antireligious policies.

[8] Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Poli-
Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of cies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 12 " Obvi-
Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Poli- ously Marx began his own theory of reality with an in-
cies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 9 complete intellectual disdain for everything that religious
thought, represented, theoretically, practically or emo-
[9] Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in tionally. The cultural contributions of religion over the
Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of centuries were dismissed as unimportant and irrelevant to
Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Poli- the well-being of the human mind.”
cies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 9–10
[17] Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in
[10] L. Feuerbach, Essence of Christianity (New York: Harper Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of
Torch Books, 1957) pp. 13–14. Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Poli-
cies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 12 “The
[11] L. Feuerbach, Essence of Christianity (New York: Harper cultural contributions of religion over the centuries were
Torch Books, 1957) pp. 152. dismissed as unimportant and irrelevant to the well-being
of the human mind.”
[12] Ludwig Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity, chapter
16 found at: [18] Marx, K. 1976. Introduction to A Contribution to the Cri-
feuerbach/works/essence/index.htm tique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. Collected Works,
v. 3. New York.
[13] Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in
Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History [19] Karl Marx, On the Jewish Question, http://www.marxists.
of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious org/archive/marx/works/1844/jewish-question/
Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 11 "…
religious commitments should be intellectually and emo- [20] Karl Marx. A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’
tionally destroyed …the catharsis of an intensive hatred s Philosophy of Right: Introduction, December 1843
towards the old God …All previous religious institutions – January 1844, Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, 7 &
should be ruthlessly eradicated from the face of the earth 10 February 1844, found at:
and from the face of the earth and from the memory of archive/marx/works/1843/critique-hpr/intro.htm
coming generations, so that they could never regain power [21] Karl Marx. Private Property and Communism, found
over people's minds through deception and the promotion at:
of fear from the mystical forces of the Heaven.” manuscripts/comm.htm
[14] Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in [22] Marx, Theses on Feuerbach,
Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of 1845-feuerbach.theses.txt
Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Poli-
cies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 13 “It was [23] Marx, The German Ideology,
obvious at this point that reading Feuerhach was not the archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch01a.htm
only source of inspiration for Marx's atheism. The fasci-
[24] Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in
nation with Feuerbach's war against Christianity was for
Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History
young Marx nothing more than an expression of his own
of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious
readiness to pursue in an antireligious struggle all the so-
Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 23 " It
cial and political extremes that materialistic determina-
had been taken over, however, by the ruling classes, says
tion required in principle. Yet, as David Aikman, in his
Marx, and gradually turned into a tool for the intellectual
most profound and erudite study of Marx and Marxism,
and emotional control of the masses. Marx insists on per-
notes, the clue to Marx's passionate and violent atheism,
ceiving the history of Christianity as an enterprise for the
or rather anti-theism, cannot be found in an intellectual
preservation of the status quo, as an elaborate …"
tradition alone. He traces Marx's anti-theism to the young
Marx's preoccupation with the Promethean cult of 'Satan [25] Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in
as a destroyer " Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of
Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Poli-
[15] Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in
cies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 24
Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of
Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Poli- [26] Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in
cies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 11 “At this Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of
point young Marx was completely fascinated by Feuer- Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Poli-
bach's 'humanistic zest', and he adopted Feuerbach's open cies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 25
rebellion against the powerful tradition of Christianity un-
conditionally as an intellectual revelation. Very early in [27] The Damascus Affair, by Jonathan Frankel. Cambridge
his career, Marx bought the seductive idea that the higher University Press, 1997. Page 413. 'Daumer, Geheimnisse
goals of humanity would justify any radicalism, not only des christlichen Altertums. The 1923 edition included a
the intellectual kind but the social and political as well.” speech delivered on 30 November 1847 by Karl Marx who
said, inter alial:“We know that human sacrifice holds the
[16] Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in highest place in Christianity. Daumer demonstrated that
Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of the Christians in actual reality slaughtered human beings,

they consumed human flesh and human blood in the Eu- uses 'the means of ideological influence to educate people
charist”(p. v).' in the spirit of scientific materialism and to overcome re-
ligious prejudices..' Thus it is the goal of the C.P.S.U. and
[28] Anti-Dühring, Friedrich Engels, http://www.marxists. thereby also of the Soviet state, for which it is after all the
org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/ch27.htm 'guiding cell', gradually to liquidate the religious commu-
[29] Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in nities.”
Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of
[41] Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in
Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Poli-
Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of
cies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 16
Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Poli-
[30] Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in cies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 34
Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of
[42] James Thrower. Marxist-Leninist 'Scientific Atheism' and
Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Poli-
the Study of Religion and Atheism in the U. S. S. R., Wal-
cies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 17
ter de Gruyter & Co., Berlin (1983) pg 118“Many of the
[31] Friedrich Engels, Anti-Dühring, http://www.marxists. previous - and often tactical - restraints upon the Party's
org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/index.htm anti-religious stance disappeared, and as time went by,
the distinction which Lenin had earlier drawn, between
[32] Friedrich Engels, Anti-Dühring, 1,13, Negation of a the attitude of the Party and the attitude of the State to-
Negation, ward religion, became meaningless as the structures of the
1877/anti-duhring/index.htm Party and the structures of the State increasingly began to
coincide. Whilst the original constitution of the Russian
[33] Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, The Attitude of the Workers' Party
Federal Republic guaranteed freedom of conscience and
to Religion. Proletary, No. 45, May 13 (26), 1909.
included the right to both religious and anti-religious pro-
Found at:
paganda, this in reality meant freedom from religion - as
was evidence when the decree proclaiming the new consti-
[34] Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Socialism and Religion Found tution forbade all private religious instruction for children
at: under the age of eighteen, and when, shortly afterwards,
dec/03.htm Lenin ordered all religious literature which had been pre-
viously published - along with all pornographic literature
[35] Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in to be destroyed. Eventually - in the Stalin constitution of
Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of 1936 - the provision for religious propaganda, other than
Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Poli- religious worship, was withdrawn.”
cies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 18
[43] Douglas Arnold Hyde. Communism Today, University of
[36] Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Notre Dame Press, South Bend (1973) pg 74 “The con-
Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of scious rejection of religion is necessary in order for com-
Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Poli- munism to be established.”
cies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 18–19
[44] Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in
[37] Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in
Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of
Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of
Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Poli-
Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Poli-
cies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 8
cies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 20
[45] Sabrina Petra Ramet, Ed., Religious Policy in the Soviet
[38] Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in
Union. Cambridge University Press (1993). P 4
Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of
Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Poli- [46] Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, On the Significance of Militant
cies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 21 Materialism, March 12, 1922. Found at: http://www.
[39] Essays in Russian and Soviet History: In Honor of Geroid
Tanquary Robinson, by John Shelton Curtiss. Brill
[47] De James Thrower (1983). Marxist-Leninist Scientific
Archive, 1965. Page 173.
Atheism and the Study of Religion and Atheism in the USSR.
[40] Gerhard Simon. Church, State, and Opposition in the Walter de Gruyter. p. 135. ISBN 90-279-3060-0.
U.S.S.R., University of California Press, Berkeley and
Los Angeles (1974) pg 64 “The political situation of the [48] Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in
Russian Orthodox Church and of all other religious groups Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of
in the Soviet Union is governed by two principles which Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Poli-
are logically contradictory. On the one hand the Soviet cies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 8–9
Constitution of 5 December 1936, Article 124, guaran-
tees 'freedom to hold religious services'. On the other
hand the Communist Party has never made any secret of 2.7.8 Further reading
the fact, either before or after 1917, that it regards 'mili-
tant atheism' as an integral part of its ideology and will re- • Husband, William.“Godless communists": atheism
gard 'religion as by no means a private matter'. It therefore and society in Soviet Russia, 1917-1932 Northern

Illinois University Press. 2002. ISBN 0-87580-595- 2.8.1 Marx and Engels
Proletarian internationalism is summed up in the slogan
• Marsh, Christopher. Religion and the State in Rus- coined by Marx and Engels, Workers of all countries,
sia and China: Suppression, Survival, and Revival. unite!, the last line of The Communist Manifesto, pub-
Continuum International Publishing Group. 2011. lished in 1848. However, Marx and Engels' approach to
ISBN 1-4411-1247-2. the national question was also shaped by tactical consid-
erations in their pursuit of a long-term revolutionary strat-
• Pospielovsky, Dimitry. A History of Marxist–
egy. In 1848, the proletariat was a small minority in all
Leninist atheism and Soviet antireligious policies.
but a handful of countries. Political and economic condi-
Macmillan. 1987. ISBN 0-333-42326-7.
tions needed to ripen in order to advance the possibility
• Thrower, James. Marxist–Leninist scientific athe- of proletarian revolution.
ism and the study of religion and atheism in the Thus, for example, Marx and Engels supported the emer-
USSR. Walter de Gruyter. 1983. ISBN 90-279- gence of an independent and democratic Poland, which
3060-0. at the time was divided between Germany, Russia and
Austria-Hungary. Rosa Luxemburg's biographer Peter
Nettl writes,“In general, Marx and Engels' conception of
2.7.9 External links the national-geographical rearrangement of Europe was
based on four criteria: the development of progress, the
• Theomachy of Leninism - Православие.Ru
creation of large-scale economic units, the weighting of
• Marxist-Leninist Scientific Atheism - Thomas J. approval and disapproval in accordance with revolution-
Blakeley ary possibilities, and their specific enmity to Russia.”* [3]
Russia was seen as the heartland of European reaction at
• Марксисткий теизм:Атеизм основоположников the time.
марксизма (in Russian)

• University of Cambridge: Marxist–Leninist atheism 2.8.2 First International

• Militant Atheist Objects: Anti-Religion Museums in
The trade unionists who formed the International Work-
the Soviet Union (Present Pasts, Vol. 1, 2009, 61-
ingmen's Association (IWA), sometimes called the First
76, doi:10.5334/pp.13)
International, recognised that the working class was an
international class which had to link its struggle on an
international scale. By joining together across national
2.8 Proletarian internationalism borders, the workers would gain greater bargaining power
and political influence.
“International socialism”redirects here. For the journal Founded in 1864, the IWA was the first mass movement
of the same name, see International Socialism (journal). with a specifically international focus. At its peak, the
IWA had 5 million members, according to police reports
Proletarian internationalism, sometimes referred to from the various countries in which it had a significant
as international socialism, is a socialist form of presence.* [4] Repression in Europe and internal divisions
internationalism, based on the view that capitalism is a between the anarchist and Marxist currents led eventually
global system, and therefore the working class must act as to its dissolution in 1876. Shortly thereafter, the Marx-
a global class if it is to defeat it in class conflict. Workers ist and revolutionary socialist tendencies continued the
thus should struggle in solidarity with their fellow workers internationalist strategy of the IWA through the succes-
in other countries on the basis of a common class interest, sor organisation of the Second International, though with-
to avoid continued subjugation via divide and rule. out the inclusion of the anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist
Proletarian internationalism is closely linked to goals
of world revolution, to be achieved through successive
or simultaneous communist revolutions in all nations. 2.8.3 Second International
Marxist theory argues that world revolution would lead
to world communism, and later still, stateless commu- Proletarian internationalism was perhaps best expressed
nism.* [1]* [2] Workers of all countries, unite! thus be- in the resolution sponsored by Lenin and Rosa Luxem-
came a Marxist cry. burg at the Seventh Congress of the Second International
Marxists regard proletarian internationalism as the at Stuttgart in 1907. This asserted that:
antonym of bourgeois nationalism but the term has been
subjected to different interpretations by various currents “Wars between capitalist states are, as a
of Marxist thoughts. rule, the outcome of their competition on the

world market, for each state seeks not only to contrast, Luxemburg broke with the mainstream Polish
secure its existing markets, but also to conquer Socialist Party (PPS) in 1893 on the national question.
new ones. In this, the subjugation of foreign Luxemburg argued in that the nature of Russia had
peoples and countries plays a prominent role. changed since Marx’s day. Russia was now fast devel-
These wars result furthermore from the inces- oping as a major capitalist nation, while the Polish bour-
sant race for armaments by militarism, one of geoisie now had its interests linked to Russian capitalism.
the chief instruments of bourgeois class rule This had opened the possibility of a class alliance between
and of the economic and political subjugation the Polish and Russian working class.
of the working class.
In the event the leading party of the Second International,
the SPD, voted overwhelmingly in support of Germany's
“Wars are favored by the national prej-
entry into the First World War by approving war cred-
udices which are systematically cultivated
its on 4 August 1914. Many other member parties of
among civilized peoples in the interest of the
the Second International followed suit by supporting na-
ruling classes for the purpose of distracting the
tional governments and the Second International was dis-
proletarian masses from their own class tasks
solved in 1916. Proletarian internationalists character-
as well as from their duties of international sol-
ized the combination of social democracy and national-
ism as social chauvinism.

“Wars, therefore, are part of the very na-

ture of capitalism; they will cease only when
the capitalist system is abolished or when the
enormous sacrifices in men and money re-
2.8.4 First World War
quired by the advance in military technique
and the indignation called forth by armaments, The hopes of internationalists such as Lenin, Karl
drive the peoples to abolish this system.” Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg were dashed by the ini-
tial enthusiasm for war. Lenin tried to re-establish social-
ist unity against the war at the Zimmerwald conference
The resolution concluded that:
but the majority of delegates took a pacifist rather than a
revolutionary position.
“If a war threatens to break out, it is the
duty of the working classes and their parlia- In prison, Luxemburg deepened her analysis with the Ju-
mentary representatives in the countries in- nius Pamphlet of 1915. In this document she specifi-
volved, supported by the coordinating activity cally rejects the notion of oppressor and oppressed states:
of the International Socialist Bureau, to exert “Imperialism is not the creation of one or any group of
every effort in order to prevent the outbreak of states. It is the product of a particular stage of ripeness
war by the means they consider most effective, in the world development of capital, an innately interna-
which naturally vary according to the sharpen- tional condition, an indivisible whole, that is recognisable
ing of the class struggle and the sharpening of only in all its relations, and from which no nation can hold
the general political situation. aloof at will.”* [7]
Proletarian internationalists now argued that the alliances
“In case war should break out anyway, it of the First World War had proved that socialism and
is their duty to intervene in favor of its speedy nationalism were incompatible in the imperialist era,
termination and with all their powers to utilize that the concept of national self-determination had be-
the economic and political crisis created by the come outdated, and in particular, that nationalism would
war to rouse the masses and thereby to hasten prove to be an obstacle to proletarian unity. Anarcho-
the downfall of capitalist class rule.”* [5] syndicalism was a further working class political current
that characterised the war as imperialist on all sides, find-
In fact, Luxemburg and Lenin had very different inter- ing organisational expression in the Industrial Workers of
pretations of the national question. Lenin and the Bol- the World.
sheviks opposed imperialism and chauvinism by advocat- The internationalist perspective influenced the revolu-
ing a policy of national self-determination, including the tionary wave towards the end of the First World War, no-
right of oppressed nations to secede from Russia. They tably with Russia's withdrawal from the conflict follow-
believed this would help to create the conditions for unity ing the Bolshevik revolution and the revolt in Germany
between the workers in both oppressing and oppressed beginning in the naval ports of Kiel and Wilhelmshaven
nations. Specifically, Lenin claimed “The bourgeois na- that brought the war to an end in November 1918. How-
tionalism of any oppressed nation has a general demo- ever, once this revolutionary wave had receded in the
cratic content that is directed against oppression and it early 1920s, proletarian internationalism was no longer
is this content that we unconditionally support.”* [6] By mainstream in working class politics.

2.8.5 Third International: Leninism ver- 2.8.8 Leftist opposition to proletarian in-
sus Left Communism ternationalism

Following the First World War the international social- In contrast, some socialists have pointed out that social
ist movement was irreconcilably split into two hostile realities such as local loyalties and cultural barriers mil-
factions: on the one side, the social democrats, who itate against proletarian internationalism. For example,
broadly supported their national governments during the George Orwell believed that “in all countries the poor
conflict; and on the other side Leninists and their allies are more national than the rich.”* [10] To this, Marx-
who formed the new Communist Parties that were organ- ists might counter that while the rich may have histori-
ised into the Third International, which was established cally had the awareness and education to recognize cross-
in March 1919. However, during the Russian Civil War national interest of class, the poor of those same nations
Lenin and Trotsky more firmly embraced the concept of likely have not had this advantage, making them more
national self-determination for tactical reasons. In the susceptible to what Marxists would describe as the false
Third International the national question became a ma- ideology of patriotism. Marxists assert that patriotism
jor bone of contention between mainstream Leninists and and nationalism serve precisely to obscure opposing class
"left communists". However the latter soon became an interests that would otherwise pose a threat to the ruling
isolated minority, either falling into line or leaving the class order.
Marxists would also point out that in times of intense rev-
By the time the Second World War broke out in 1939 only olutionary struggle (the most evident being the revolu-
a few prominent communists such as the Italian Marx- tionary periods of 1848-9, 1917–1923 and 1968) inter-
ist Amadeo Bordiga and the Dutch council communist nationalism within the proletariat can overtake petty na-
Anton Pannekoek remained opponents of Russia's use of tionalisms as intense class struggles break out in multiple
the tactics of national self-determination. But in 1943, nations at the same time and the workers of those nations
following the collapse of the Mussolini regime in Italy, discover that they have more in common with other work-
Bordigists regrouped and founded the Internationalist ers than with their own bourgeoisie.
Communist Party (PCInt). The first edition of the party
organ, Prometeo (Prometheus) proclaimed: “Workers! On the question of imperialism and national determina-
Against the slogan of a national war which arms Italian tion, proponents of third worldism argue that workers in
workers against English and German proletarians, oppose “oppressor”nations (such as the USA or Israel) must first
the slogan of the communist revolution, which unites the support national liberation movements in“oppressed”na-
workers of the world against their common enemy —cap- tions (such as Afghanistan or Palestine) before there can
italism.”* [8] The PCInt took the view that Luxemburg, be any basis for proletarian internationalism. For exam-
not Lenin, had been right on the national question. ple, Tony Cliff, a leading figure of the British Socialist
Workers Party, denied the possibility of solidarity be-
tween Palestinians and Israelis in the current Middle East
situation, writing “Israel is not a colony suppressed by
imperialism, but a settler’s citadel, a launching pad of
2.8.6 Socialist internationalism imperialism. It is a tragedy that some of the very people
who had been persecuted and massacred in such bestial
fashion should themselves be driven into a chauvinistic,
Socialist internationalism allegedly regulated relationship
* militaristic fervour, and become the blind tool of imperi-
between socialist countries. [9] In reality Soviet Union
alism in subjugating the Arab masses.”* [11]
controlled smaller countries using the Warsaw Pact and
Comecon, invading Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia Trotskyists argue that there must be a permanent revolu-
in 1968. The Sino-Soviet split in 1950s and 1960s pro- tion in third world countries, in which a bourgeoisie rev-
duced two groups of socialist countries. olution will inevitably lead to a worker's revolution with
an international scope. We may see this in the Bolshevik
Revolution before the movement was stopped by Stalin,
a proponent of Socialism in One Country. Because of
this threat, the bourgeoisie in third world countries will
2.8.7 Proletarian internationalism today willingly subjugate themselves to national and capitalist
interests in order to prevent a proletarian uprising.
Some political groupings such as the International Com- Internationalists would respond that capitalism has
munist Party, the International Communist Current and proved itself incapable of resolving the competing claims
the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party of different nationalisms, and that the working class (of
(which includes the PCInt) follow the Luxemburgist and all countries) is oppressed by capitalism, not by other
Bordigist interpretations of proletarian internationalism, workers. Moreover, the global nature of capitalism and
as do some libertarian communists. international finance make “national liberation”an im-

possibility.* [12] For internationalists, all national libera- 2.8.11 References and external links
tion movements, whatever their“progressive”gloss, are
therefore obstacles to the communist goal of world revo- • Internationalism and Nationalism by Liu Shaoqi
• Marxism and Nationalism by Tom Lewis

• The Importance of Ideas in Party Building Marry

2.8.9 See also Scully discusses proletarian internationalism

• Without anti-capitalist theory and practice no anti-

• Marxism
capitalist victory is possible Ernest Mandel discusses
proletarian internationalism
• Communism
• Dan Jakopovich, In the Belly of the Beast: Challeng-
• Global Citizens Movement ing US Imperialism and the Politics of the Offensive'

• Socialist International • The Proletariat and War by the International Com-

munist Current
• Social Patriotism

2.9 Socialist patriotism

2.8.10 Footnotes
Socialist patriotism refers to a form of civic patriotism
[1] N.I. Bukharin, Marx's Teaching and its Historical Impor- promoted by Marxist–Leninist movements. [1] Socialist
tance, Chapter 4: The Theory of Proletarian Dictatorship patriotism promotes people living within Marxist-
and Scientific Communism in Nikolai Bukharin and Oth- Leninist countries to adopt a “boundless love for
ers, Marxism and Modern Thought (George Routledge & the socialist homeland, a commitment to the revolu-
Sons Ltd., 1935), page 1-90. tionary transformation of society [and] the cause of
communism".* [2] Socialist patriotism is supposedly not
[2] Vladimir Lenin, The State and Revolution: The Marxist connected with nationalism, as Marxists and Marxist-
Theory of the State & the Tasks of the Proletariat in the Leninists denounce nationalism as a bourgeois ideology
Revolution (1918), Chapter V: The Economic Basis of the
developed under capitalism that sets workers against each
Withering Away of the State, Collected Works, Volume
other.* [3] Socialist patriotism is commonly advocated di-
25, p. 381-492
rectly alongside proletarian internationalism, with com-
[3] J.P Nettl, “Rosa Luxemburg”, Oxford University Press
munist parties regarding the two concepts as compatible
1969. Nettl is quoting Hans-Ulrich Wehler's study, with each other. [4] The concept has been attributed *
“Sozialdemokratie and Nationalstaat”(Würzburg, 1962) Soviet writers to Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. [1]
Lenin separated patriotism into what he defined as
[4] Payne, Robert.“Marx: A Biography”. Simon and Schus- proletarian, socialist patriotism from bourgeois nation-
ter. New York, 1968. p372 alism.* [5] Lenin promoted the right of all nations to
self-determination and the right to unity of all workers
[5] International Socialist Congress at Stuttgart, August 18– within nations, however he also condemned chauvinism
24, 1907 Vorwärts Publishers, Berlin, 1907, pp. 64-66.
and claimed there were both justified and unjustified feel-
ings of national pride.* [6] Lenin believed that nations
[6] Lenin, The Right of Nations to Self-Determination.
subjected to imperial rule had the right to seek national
liberation from imperial rule.* [7]
[7] Rosa Luxemburg, “The Junius Pamphlet”1915.

[8] Prometeo, 1 November 1943. 2.9.1 Countries' variants

[9] Soviet Union

[10] George Orwell, Collected Essays, "The Lion and the Uni- Main article: Soviet socialist patriotism

Socialist patriotism was promoted by Joseph Stalin,

[11] Israeli society: no possibility of change, Socialist Worker,
2 February 2009. Stalinists claimed that socialist patriotism would serve
both national interest and international socialist inter-
[12] International Communist Current,“Nation of Class”2nd est. [8] While promoting socialist patriotism for the So-
English edition, 1977 viet Union as a whole, Stalin repressed nationalist senti-

ments in fifteen republics of the Soviet Union.* [9] How- Ethiopia

ever, Soviet patriotism had in practice Russian nationalist
overtones. * [10] The Derg and the People's Democratic Republic of
Ethiopia under Mengistu Haile Mariam advocated social-
ist patriotism.* [17]* [18] The Derg declared that “so-
China cialist patriotism”meant “true love for one's mother-
land...[and][dom] from all forms of chauvinism and
racialism".* [18]

North Korea

National Day celebrations in Tianamen Square, Beijing in 2004.

The Communist Party of China and the government of

China advocate socialist patriotism.* [11]* [12] The Com-
munist Party of China describes the policy of socialist pa-
Arirang Festival mass games display in Pyongyang, they take
triotism as the following: “Socialist patriotism has three
place each year on Kim Il-sung's birthday.
levels. At the first level, individuals should subordinate
their personal interests to the interests of the state. At
the second level, individuals should subordinate their per- Kim Il-sung promoted socialist patriotism while he con-
sonal destiny to the destiny of our socialist system. At the demned nationalism in claiming that it destroyed fraternal
third level, individuals should subordinate their personal relations between people because of its exclusivism.* [19]
future to the future of our communist cause.”* [11] The In North Korea, socialist patriotism has been described as
PRC portrays the Communist government as the embod- an ideology meant to serve its own people, be faithful to
iment of the will of the Chinese people.* [11] their working class, and to be loyal to their own (commu-
nist) party.* [19]
Mao Zedong spoke of a Chinese nation, but specified
that the Chinese are a civic-based nation of multiple eth-
nic groups, and explicitly condemned Han ethnocentrism, Patriotism is not an empty concept. Educa-
that Mao called Han chauvinism that he claimed had tion in patriotism cannot be conducted simply
become widespread in China.* [13] The constitution of by erecting the slogan, “Let us arm ourselves
China states that China is a multi-ethnic society and that with the spirit of socialist patriotism!" Educat-
the state is opposed to national chauvinism and specifies ing people in the spirit of patriotism must be-
Han chauvinism in particular.* [14] gin with fostering the idea of caring for every
tree planted on the road side, for the chairs and
desks in the school... There is no doubt that a
person who has formed the habit of cherishing
East Germany common property from childhood will grow up
to be a valuable patriot.* [20]
The Socialist Unity Party of Germany officially had so- —Kim Il Sung
cialist patriotism within its party statutes.* [15] The SED
expanded on this by emphasizing a “socialist national
consciousness”involving a “love for the GDR and Vietnam
pride in the achievements of socialism.* [16] However the
GDR claimed that socialist patriotism was compatible The Communist Party of Vietnam and the govern-
with proletarian internationalism and stated that it should ment of Vietnam advocate “socialist patriotism”of the
not be confused with nationalism that it associated with Vietnamese people.* [21] Vietnamese Communist leader
chauvinism and xenophobia.* [16] Ho Chi Minh emphasized the role of socialist patriotism

• Anti-nationalism

• Marxism-Leninism

• National liberation (Marxism)

• Patriotism

• Proletarian internationalism

2.9.3 References
[1] Robert A. Jones. The Soviet concept of “limited
sovereignty”from Lenin to Gorbachev: the Brezhnev Doc-
trine. MacMillan, 1990. Pp. 133.
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
[2] Stephen White. Russia's new politics: the management of a
postcommunist society. Fourth edition. Cambridge, Eng-
to Vietnamese communism, and emphasized the impor- land, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Pp. 182.
tance of patriotism, saying:“In the beginning it was patri-
[3] Stephen White. Understanding Russian Politics. Cam-
otism and not communism which impelled me to believe bridge, England, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
in Lenin and the Third International.”* [22] Pp. 220.
After the collapse of the Indochinese Communist Party
[4] William B. Simons, Stephen White. The Party statutes
in 1941, the Vietnamese Communist movement since of the Communist world. BRILL, 1984. Advocacy of
the 1940s fused the policies of proletarian internation- socialist patriotism alongside proletarian internationalism
alism and Vietnamese patriotism together.* [23] Viet- shown on Pp. 180 (Czechoslovakia), Pp. 123 (Cuba), Pp.
namese Communist Party leader Ho Chi Minh was re- 192 (German Democratic Republic).
sponsible for the incorporation of Vietnamese patrio-
tism into the Party, he had been born into a family with [5] The Current digest of the Soviet press , Volume 39, Issues 1-
26. American Association for the Advancement of Slavic
strong anticolonial political views towards French rule in
* Studies, 1987. Pp. 7.
Vietnam. [23] The incorporation of Vietnamese patrio-
tism into the Communist Party's agenda fit in with the [6] Christopher Read. Lenin: a revolutionary life. Digital
longstanding Vietnamese struggle against French colonial Printing Edition. Oxon, England, UK; New York, New
rule.* [24] Through Ho opposed French colonial rule in York, USA: Routledge, 2006. Pp. 115.
Vietnam, he harboured no dislike of France as a whole,
[7] Terry Eagleton. Why Marx Was Right. Yale University
he claimed that French colonial rule was“cruel and inhu-
Press, 2011. Pp. 217.
mane”but that the French people at home were good peo-
ple.* [24] He had studied in France as a youth where he [8] Sabrina P. Ramet. Religion and nationalism in Soviet and
became an adherent to Marxism-Leninism, and he per- East European politics. Duke University Press, 1989. Pp.
sonally admired the French Revolutionary motto of“lib- 294.
erty, equality, fraternity”. [24] He witnessed the Treaty
[9] Gi-Wook Shin. Ethnic nationalism in Korea: genealogy,
of Versailles that applied the principles of Woodrow politics, and legacy. Stanford, California, USA: Stanford
Wilson's Fourteen Points that advocated national self- University Press, 2006. Pp. 82.
determination, resulting in the end of imperial rule over
many peoples in Europe.* [25] He was inspired by the [10] Motyl, Alexander J. (2001). Encyclopedia of Nationalism,
Wilsonian concept of national self-determination* [25] Volume II. Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-227230-7.

[11] Suisheng Zhao. A nation-state by construction: dynam-

ics of modern Chinese nationalism. Stanford, California,
Yugoslavia USA: Stanford University Press, 2004. Pp. 28.

Main article: Yugoslavism [12] Jan-Ingvar Löfstedt. Chinese educational policy: changes
and contradictions, 1949-79. Almqvist & Wiksell Inter-
national, 1980. Pp. 25.
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia endorsed
socialist patriotism.* [26] [13] Li, Gucheng (1995). A Glossary of Political Terms of The
People's Republic of China. Chinese University Press. pp.
2.9.2 See also [14] Ghai, Yash (2000). Autonomy and Ethnicity: Negotiat-
ing Competing Claims in Multi-Ethnic States. Cambridge
• Anti-imperialism University Press. p. 77.

[15] William B. Simons, Stephen White. The Party statutes of allows (at least nominally) democratic multiparty elec-
the Communist world. BRILL, 1984. Pp. 192. tions, but the existing practices or balance of political
power effectively prevent the opposition from winning
[16] Paul Cooke. East German distinctiveness in a unified Ger-
the elections.
many. Birmingham, England UK: University of Birming-
ham, 2002. Pp. 18.

[17] Edmond Joseph Keller. Revolutionary Ethiopia: from em- 2.10.1 Concept
pire to people's republic. Indiana University Press, 1988.
Pp. 212.
Single-party states justify themselves through various
[18] Edward Kissi. Revolution and genocide in Ethiopia and methods. Most often, proponents of a single-party state
Cambodia. Lanham, Maryland, USA; Oxford, England, argue that the existence of separate parties runs counter
UK: Lexington Books, 2006. Pp. 58. to national unity. Others argue that the single party is
the vanguard of the people, and therefore its right to rule
[19] Dae-Sook Suh. Kim Il Sung: the North Korean leader. cannot be legitimately questioned. The Marxist theory
New York, New York, USA: West Sussex, England, UK:
states that political parties represent the interests, most
Columbia University Press, 1988. Pp. 309.
of which, in a liberal system, respond to the economic
[20] Joel H. Spring. Pedagogies of globalization: the rise of power and are part of the system (the superstructure)
the educational security state. Mahwah, New Jersey, USA: where whoever wins there will be no substantial changes,
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 2006. Pp. 186. once abolished class distinctions no place for the struggle
for multiparty own economic interests, however, an or-
[21] Mark Moyar. Triumph forsaken: the Vietnam war, 1954- ganization that is able to formulate national policies and
1965. New York, New York, USA: Cambridge University
manage their reins to ensure the development of socialism
Press, 2006. Pp. 437.
is necessary, this organization is the only party to be the
[22] William Warbey. Ho Chi Minh and the struggle for an only existing single social class and the common interest
independent Vietnam. Merlin Press, 1972. of progress.

[23] Kim Khánh Huỳnh. Vietnamese Communism, 1925-1945. Some single party states only outlaw opposition parties,
Ithaca, New York, USA: Cornell University Press, 1982. while allowing subordinate allied parties to exist as part
Pp. 58 of a permanent coalition such as a popular front. Exam-
ples of this are the People's Republic of China under the
[24] Kim Khánh Huỳnh. Vietnamese Communism, 1925-1945. United Front, or the National Front in former East Ger-
Ithaca, New York, USA: Cornell University Press, 1982. many. Others may allow non-party members to run for
Pp. 59 legislative seats, as was the case with Taiwan's Tangwai
[25] Kim Khánh Huỳnh. Vietnamese Communism, 1925-1945. movement in the 1970s and 1980s.
Ithaca, New York, USA: Cornell University Press, 1982. Within their own countries, dominant parties ruling over
Pp. 60 single-party states are often referred to simply as the
Party. For example, in reference to the Soviet Union, the
[26] Teresa Rakowska-Harmstone. Communism in Eastern
Europe. Indiana University Press, 1984. Manchester, Party meant the Communist Party of the Soviet Union;
England, UK: Manchester University Press ND, 1984. in reference to the former People's Republic of Poland it
Pp. 267. referred to the Polish United Workers' Party.
Most single-party states have been ruled either by par-
ties following the ideology of Marxism-Leninism and
2.10 Single-party state international solidarity (such as the Soviet Union for most
of its existence), or by parties following some type of
This article is about single-party political states. For nationalist or fascist ideology (such as Italy under Benito
telephone recording laws and notification requirements, Mussolini), or by parties that came to power in the wake
see Telephone recording laws#One-party notification of independence from colonial rule. One-party systems
states. often arise from decolonization because one party has had
an overwhelmingly dominant role in liberation or in inde-
pendence struggles.
A single-party state, one-party state, one-party sys-
tem, or single-party system is a type of state in which Single-party states are often, but not always, considered
a single political party has the right to form the govern- to be authoritarian or totalitarian. However, not all au-
ment, usually based on the existing constitution. All other thoritarian or totalitarian states operate based on single-
parties are either outlawed or allowed to take only a lim- party rule. Some, especially absolute monarchies and cer-
ited and controlled participation in elections. Sometimes tain military dictatorships, have made all political parties
the term de facto single-party state is used to describe a illegal.
dominant-party system that, unlike the single-party state, The term "communist state" is often used in the west to

apply to states in which the ruling party subscribes to a • Benin (People's Revolutionary Party of
form of Marxism-Leninism. However, such states do not Benin) 1975-1990
use that term themselves, seeing communism as a phase
to develop after the full maturation of socialism, and in- • Upper Volta (African Democratic Rally)
stead often use the titles of "people's republic", "socialist 1960–1966
republic", or "democratic republic". One peculiar ex- • Burundi (Union for National Progress)
ample is Cuba, where the role of the Communist Party 1966-1992
is enshrined in the constitution, and no party is permit- • Cameroon (Cameroon National Union)
ted to campaign or run candidates for election, including 1966-1985, (Cameroon People's Democratic
the Communist party. Candidates are elected on an in- Movement) 1985-1990
dividual referendum basis without formal party involve-
ment, though elected assemblies predominantly consist of • Cape Verde (African Party for the Inde-
members of the dominant party alongside non-affiliated pendence of Guinea and Cape Verde) 1975-
candidates.* [1] 1981, (African Party for the Independence of
Cape Verde) 1981-1990
• Central African Republic (Movement for
2.10.2 Examples
the Social Evolution of Black Africa) 1962-
1980, (Central African Democratic Union)
1980-1981, (Central African Democratic
Rally) 1987-1991
• Chad (Chadian Progressive Party) 1962-
1973, (National Movement for the Cultural
and Social Revolution) 1973-1975, (National
Union for Independence and Revolution)
• Comoros (Comorian Union for Progress)
Countries by their form of government. Current single-party • Congo-Brazzaville (Congolese Party of
states are marked in brown.
Labour) 1969-1990
The True Whig Party of Liberia is considered the founder • Zaire (Popular Movement of the Revolu-
of the first single-party state in the world, as despite op- tion) 1970–1990
position parties never being outlawed, it completely dom-
inated Liberian politics from 1878 until 1980.* [2] The • Djibouti (People's Rally for Progress)
party was conceived by the original Black American set- 1977-1992
tlers and their descendants who referred to themselves as • Equatorial Guinea (Worker's National
Americo-Liberians. Initially, its ideology was heavily in- United Party) 1970-1979, (Democratic Party
fluenced by that of the Whig Party in the United States. of Equatorial Guinea) 1987-1991
Over time it developed into a powerful Masonic Order
• Ethiopia (Workers' Party of Ethiopia)
that ruled every aspect of Liberian society for well over a
century until it was overthrown in 1980. While the True
Whig Party still exists today, its influence has substan- • Gabon (Gabonese Democratic Party)
tially declined. 1968-1990
• Ghana (Convention People's Party) 1964-
Current single-party states 1966
• Guinea (Democratic Party of Guinea –
As of 2013 the following countries are legally constituted African Democratic Rally) 1958-1984
as single-party states and the name of the single party in • Guinea-Bissau (African Party for the In-
power: dependence of Guinea and Cape Verde) 1974-
Former single-party states • Ivory Coast (Democratic Party of Côte
d'Ivoire – African Democratic Rally) 1960–
• Most states in Sub-Saharan Africa after indepen- 1990
dence, although all except Eritrea have eventually
• Kenya (Kenya African National Union)
converted to a de jure multi-party system;
• Angola (MPLA) 1975-1991 • Liberia (True Whig Party) 1878-1980

• Madagascar (National Front for the De- • Iran (Rastakhiz Party) 1975-1978,
fense of the Revolution) 1976-1989 (Islamic Republican Party) 1981-1987
• Malawi (Malawi Congress Party) 1964- • Iraq (Iraqi Arab Socialist Union) 1964-
1993 1968, (Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party – Iraq Re-
• Mali (Sudanese Union – African Demo- gion led the National Progressive Front) 1968-
cratic Rally) 1960-1968, (Democratic Union 2003
of the Malian People) 1976-1991 • Libya (Arab Socialist Union) 1971-1977
• Mauritania (Mauritanian People's Party) • North Yemen (General People's
1961-1978 Congress) 1982-1988
• Mozambique (FRELIMO) 1975-1990 • South Yemen (Yemeni Socialist Party)
• Niger (Nigerien Progressive Party – 1978-1990
African Democratic Rally) 1960-1974, • Syria (Arab Liberation Movement) 1953-
(National Movement for the Development of 1954, (Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party – Syria Re-
Society) 1989-1991 gion led the National Progressive Front) 1963-
• Rwanda (Parmehutu) 1965-1973,
(National Republican Movement for Democ- • Tunisia (Neo Destour) 1963-1964,
racy and Development) 1975-1991 (Socialist Destourian Party) 1964-1981
• São Tomé and Príncipe (Movement • Turkey (Republican People's Party)
for the Liberation of São Tomé and 1934-1950
Príncipe/Social Democratic Party) 1975-
• United Arab Republic (National Union)
• Senegal (Socialist Party of Senegal)
1966-1974 • One state in Central Asia;
• Seychelles (Seychelles People's Progres- • Turkmenistan (Democratic Party of
sive Front) 1977-1991 Turkmenistan) 1991-2012
• Sierra Leone (All People's Congress)
1978-1991 • One state in South Asia;

• Somalia (Somali Revolutionary Socialist • Bangladesh (Bangladesh Krishak Sramik

Party) 1976-1991 Awami League) 1974-1975
• Sudan (Sudanese Socialist Union) 1971- • Two states in Southeast Asia;
1985, (National Congress Party) 1989-2005
• Burma (now known as Myanmar) (Burma
• Tanzania (Chama Cha Mapinduzi) 1977-
Socialist Programme Party) 1964-1988
• Tanganyika (Tanganyika African • Indonesia (Indonesian National Party)
National Union) 1961-1977 August 18 - September 1, 1945
• Zanzibar (Afro-Shirazi Party) 1964- • The former Soviet Union, Warsaw Pact-States and
1977 other Communist states;
• Togo (Party of Togolese Unity) 1962-
• Afghanistan (People's Democratic Party
1963, (Rally of the Togolese People) 1969-
of Afghanistan led the National Front) 1978-
• Uganda (Uganda People's Congress)
• Albania (Party of Labour of Albania led
the Democratic Front) 1944-1991
• Zambia (United National Independence
Party) 1972-1990 • Bulgaria (Bulgarian Communist Party led
the Fatherland Front) 1946-1990
• Some Middle Eastern and North African states;
• Cambodia (Communist Party of Kam-
• Algeria (National Liberation Front) puchea) 1975-1979, (Kampuchean People's
1962-1989 Revolutionary Party) 1979-1993
• Egypt (National Union) 1956-1958 and • Czechoslovakia (Communist Party of
1961-1962, (Arab Socialist Union) 1962- Czechoslovakia led the National Front) 1948-
1976 1989

• East Germany (Socialist Unity Party of • San Marino (Sammarinese Fascist Party)
Germany led the National Front) 1949-1989 1926-1943, (Republican Fascio of San
• Grenada (New Jewel Movement) 1979- Marino) 1944
1983 • Slovakia (Slovak People's Party) 1939-
• Hungary (Hungarian Working Peo- 1945
ple's Party) 1948-1956, (Hungarian Socialist • Spain (Spanish Patriotic Union) 1924-
Workers' Party) 1956-1989 1930 Francos and Landesma Ramoes and Jose
• Mongolia (Mongolian People's Revolu- Antonio de Rivera Falanga (in fascist version)
tionary Party) 1921-1990 1937-1945
• North Vietnam (Workers' Party of Viet-
nam) 1945-1976 Bulgaria 1937-1944

• Poland (Polish United Workers' Party led

the Patriotic Movement for National Rebirth) 2.10.3 See also
• Romania (Romanian Communist Party) • Ban on factions in the Communist Party of the So-
1947-1989 viet Union
• Soviet Union (Communist Party of the • Political organisation
Soviet Union) 1922-1990
• Yugoslavia (League of Communists of • Dominant-party system
Yugoslavia led the Socialist Alliance of Work- • Political factionalism
ing People of Yugoslavia) 1945-1990
• Outline of democracy
• Several nationalist and fascist states;
• Multi-party system
• Afghanistan (National Revolutionary
Party of Afghanistan) 1974-1978 • Two-party system
• Austria (Fatherland's Front) 1934-1938
• Republic of China (Kuomintang) 1928- 2.10.4 Notes
[1] Cuba: Elections and Events 1991-2001 Latin American
• NDH (Ustaša) 1941-1945
Election Statistics Home
• Dominican Republic (Dominican Party)
[2] Liberia Country Study: The True Whig Ascendancy
Global Security
• Nazi Germany (Nazi Party) 1933-1945
• Haiti (National Unity Party) 1957-1985
• Hungary (Arrow Cross Party) 1944-1945
2.10.5 External links

• Italy (National Fascist Party) 1922-1943 • Map of One Party States, 1945-95
and Italian Social Republic (Republican
• Single party states in Africa
Fascist Party) 1943-1945
• Japan (Imperial Rule Assistance Associ- • List of One-Party Regimes
ation) 1940-1945
• Manchukuo (Concordia Association)
2.11 Socialist state
• Norway (National Gathering) 1942-1945
The term socialist state or socialist republic usually
• Paraguay (Colorado Party) 1947-1962 refers to any state that is constitutionally dedicated to the
• Philippines (KALIBAPI) 1943-1945 construction of a socialist society. It is closely related to
the political ideology of state socialism, the view that so-
• Portugal (National Union) 1933-45, cialism can be established through the existing state or
1948–1974 by government policies. Alternatively, the term Work-
• Romania (National Renaissance Front) ers' State is used to describe a state where the work-
1938-1940, (National Legionary State) 1940- ing class controls the machinery of government but has
1944 not yet established a socialist economic system. Both of

these concepts are distinguished from a socialist govern- would have to take control of the state apparatus and ma-
ment, which generally refers to a liberal democratic state chinery of government in order to transition out of cap-
governed by an elected majority socialist party or social italism and to socialism. This transitional stage would
democratic party which need not pursue the development involve working-class interests dominating the govern-
of socialism - in any case, the distinguishing feature be- ment policy (the "Dictatorship of the proletariat"), in the
tween a socialist state and a socialist government is that in
same manner that capitalist-class interests dominate gov-
the latter the state apparatus is not constitutionally boundernment policy under capitalism. Fredrick Engels argued
to the construction of a socialist system. that the state under socialism is not a “government of
people, but the administration of things”, and thus would
A variety of non-state socialist positions, such as social
anarchism, libertarian socialism, and council commu- not be a state in the traditional sense of the term.
nism reject the concept of a “socialist state" altogether, One of the most influential modern visions of a social-
believing that the modern state is a byproduct of capital- ist state was based on the Paris Commune, in which the
ism and cannot be used for the establishment of a socialist workers and poor took control of the city of Paris in 1871
system. They reason that a “socialist state”is antithet- in reaction to the Franco-Prussian War. Karl Marx de-
ical to socialism, and that socialism will emerge sponta- scribed the Paris Commune as the prototype for a rev-
neously from the grass-roots level in an evolutionary man- olutionary government of the future, “the form at last
ner, developing its own unique political and economic in- discovered”for the emancipation of the proletariat.* [6]
stitutions for a highly organized stateless society. Friedrich Engels noted that “all officials, high or low,
The phrase Socialist state, or Communist state in the West, were paid only the wages received by other workers...
is widely used by Leninists and Marxist–Leninists in ref- In this way an effective barrier to place-hunting and ca-
erence to a state under the control of a vanguard party that reerism was set up”.* [7]
is organizing the economic, social, and political affairs of
Commenting on the nature of the state, Engels continued:
said state toward the construction of socialism. This often “From the outset the Commune was compelled to recog-
includes at least the“commanding heights”of the econ-
nize that the working class, once come to power, could
omy to be nationalised, usually operated according to a not manage with the old state machine”.
plan of production, at least in the major production and
social spheres.* [1] Under the Leninist definition, the so- In order not to be overthrown once having conquered
cialist state presides over a state capitalist economy struc- power, Engels argues, the working class“must, on the one
tured upon state-directed accumulation of capital, with hand, do away with all the old repressive machinery pre-
the goal of building up the country's productive forces and viously used against it itself, and, on the other, safeguard
promoting worldwide socialist revolution, with the even- itself against its own deputies and officials, by declaring
tual long-term goal of building a socialist economy.* [2] them all, without exception, subject to recall at any mo-
ment.”* [8]
Most theories assume widespread democracy, and some
assume workers' democratic participation at every level Such a state would be a temporary affair, Engels argued.
of economic and state administration, while varying in A new generation, he suggested, brought up in“new and
the degree to which economic planning decisions are del- free social conditions”, will be able to“throw the entire
egated to public officials and administrative specialists. lumber of the state on the scrap-heap.”
States where democracy is lacking, yet the economy is
largely in the hands of the state, are termed by orthodox
Trotskyist theories as “workers' states”but not socialist Leninist conception of a socialist state
states,* [3] using the terms "degenerated" or "deformed"
workers' states. The Leninist conception of a socialist state is tied to
Vladimir Lenin's theory of the revolutionary party and
democratic centralism. The objective of Marxism is to
2.11.1 Marxist concept of a socialist state build a mass workers' movement which can smash the
capitalist state, replace it with a revolutionary socialist
Henri de Saint-Simon, a pre-Marxian socialist, under- workers' state based on workers councils, and bring pro-
stood that the nature of the state would change under so- duction under control by the workers and peasants. Ac-
cialism from that of political rule (via coercion) over peo- cording to Lenin's April Theses, the goal of the revo-
ple to a scientific administration of things and a direction lution and vanguard party is not the introduction of so-
of processes of production; specifically, the state would cialism, which could only be established on a worldwide
become a coordinating entity for production as opposed scale, but to bring production and the state under the con-
to a mechanism for political control.* [4]* [5] trol of the Soviets of Workers' Deputies. Following the
Karl Marx understood the state to be an instrument of the October revolution in Russia, the Bolsheviks consolidated
class rule, dominated by the interests of the ruling class in their power and sought to control and direct the social and
any mode of production. Although Marx never referred economic affairs of the state and broader Russian society
to a “socialist state”, he argued that the working-class in order to safeguard against counterrevolutionary insur-

rection, foreign invasion, and to promote socialist con- well-known example is the People's Republic of China,
sciousness among the Russian population. which proclaims itself to be a“socialist state”in its 1982
These ideas were adopted by Vladimir Lenin in 1917 Constitution of the People's Republic of China. In the
just prior to the October Revolution in Russia and pub- West, such states are commonly known as "communist
lished in The State and Revolution, a central text for many states" (though they do not use this term to refer to them-
Marxists. With the failure of the worldwide revolution selves).
envisaged by Lenin and Trotsky, the Civil War, and fi- These “Communist states”often don't claim to have
nally Lenin's death, war measures that were deemed to achieved socialism in their countries; rather, they claim to
be temporary, such as forced requisition of food and the be building and working toward the establishment of so-
lack of democratic control, became permanent and a tool cialism (and the development towards communism there-
to boost Stalin's power , leading to the emergence of after) in their countries. For example, the preamble to the
Marxism–Leninism and Stalinism, as well as the notion Socialist Republic of Vietnam's constitution states that
that socialism can be created and exist in a single state. Vietnam only entered a transition stage between capital-
Vladimir Lenin argued that as socialism is replaced by ism and socialism after the country was re-unified under
communism, the state would“wither away”* [9] as strong the Communist party in 1976,* [10] and the 1992 Consti-
centralized control progressively reduces as local com- tution of the Republic of Cuba states that the role of the
munities gain more empowerment. As he put succinctly: Communist Party is to“guide the common effort toward
“So long as the state exists there is no freedom. When the goals and construction of socialism (and the progress
there is freedom, there will be no state.” toward a communist society)".* [11]
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Ko-
rea) used to be a Marxist–Leninist state. In 1972, the
Marxist–Leninist states country adopted a new constitution, which changed the
official state ideology to "Juche".* [12]
Main article: Communist state
States run by Communist parties that adhere to
2.11.2 Non-Leninist countries
Countries such as Portugal (which states that one of the
primary roles of the Constituent Assembly is to open the
way to socialist society),* [13] India and Algeria have used
the term “socialist”in their official name or constitu-
tion without claiming to follow Communism or any of its
In such cases, the intended meaning of “socialism”can
vary widely, and sometimes the constitutional references
to socialism are left over from a previous period in the
country's history. In the case of many Middle-Eastern
states, “socialism”was often used in reference to an
Arab-socialist/nationalist philosophy adopted by specific
regimes, such as that of Gamal Abdel Nasser and that of
the various Ba'ath Parties.
Examples of countries using the word“socialist”in a non-
communist sense in their names include the Democratic
Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Countries with non-
Leninist/communist references to socialism in their con-
stitutions include India* [14] and Portugal.

Post-war European countries

Symbolics on the banknotes of socialist states (V.I.Lenin in the In the post-war period, when nationalisation of large in-
Soviet note and “a worker with a female co-operative farmer”
dustries was relatively widespread, it was not uncommon
on the Czechoslovak one).
for commentators to describe some European countries
Marxism–Leninism, or some variation thereof, refer to as socialist states seeking to move their countries toward
themselves as socialist states. The Soviet Union was the a socialist economy.
first to proclaim itself a“socialist state”in its 1936 Con- In 1956, for example, leading British Labour Party politi-
stitution and a subsequent 1977 Constitution. Another cian and author Anthony Crosland claimed that capital-

ism had been abolished in Britain, although others, such Proletarians

as Welshman Aneurin Bevan, Minister of Health in the
first post-war Labour government, disputed the claim that
Britain was a socialist state.* [15]* [16] For Crosland and However, on the other hand, in the orthodox Marxist
others who supported his views, Britain was a socialist conception, these battles of the workers reach a point at
state. For Bevan, Britain had a socialist National Health which a revolutionary movement arises. A revolutionary
Service which stood in opposition to the hedonism of movement is required, in the view of Marxists, to sweep
Britain's capitalist society. He stated: away the capitalist state, which must be smashed, so as to
begin to construct a socialist society:
The National Health service and the
Welfare State have come to be used as in- “In depicting the most general phases of
terchangeable terms, and in the mouths of the development of the proletariat, we traced
some people as terms of reproach. Why this the more or less veiled civil war, raging within
is so it is not difficult to understand, if you existing society, up to the point where that war
view everything from the angle of a strictly breaks out into open revolution, and where the
individualistic competitive society. A free violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie lays the
health service is pure Socialism and as such foundation for the sway of the proletariat.”
it is opposed to the hedonism of capitalist —Marx and Engels, Manifesto of the Com-
society. munist Party, Chapter I. Bourgeois and
—Aneurin Bevan, In Place of Fear, p. 106 Proletarians

When the Socialist Party was in power in France in the

In this view, only in this way can a socialist state be es-
post-war period, some commentators claimed that France
was a socialist country, although, as in the rest of Europe,
the laws of capitalism still operated fully and private en-
terprises dominated their economy. Mitterrand Govern- 2.11.4 Controversy with the term
ment scheduled to nationalize all banks but this attempt
faced opposition of the European Economic Community. Within the socialist movement, a number of criticisms are
maintained towards the use of the term“socialist states”
in relation to countries such as China and previously of
2.11.3 Establishing a socialist state by re-
Soviet Union and Eastern and Central European states be-
formism or revolution fore what some term the 'collapse of Stalinism' in 1989.
Democratic Socialists, left communists,* [18] Anarchists
Reformist socialists, exemplified by Eduard Bernstein, and some Trotskyists* [19] claim that the so-called “so-
take the view that a socialist state will evolve out of polit- cialist states”or“people's states”actually presided over
ical reforms won by the struggle of the socialists. “The state capitalist economies and thus cannot be called“so-
socialist movement is everything to me while what peo- cialist”.
ple commonly call the goal of Socialism is nothing.”
[17] These views are considered a“revision”of Marxist Other Trotskyists, while agreeing that these states could
thought. not be described as socialist, deny that they were
state capitalist.* [20] They support Trotsky's analysis of
Revolutionary Marxists, following Marx, take the view (pre-restoration) USSR as a workers' state that had
that, on the one hand, the working class grows stronger degenerated into a “monstrous”bureaucratic dictator-
through its battle for reforms, (such as, in Marx's time, ship which rested on a largely nationalised industry run
the ten-hours bill): according to a plan of production, and claimed that the
former “Stalinist”states of Central and Eastern Europe
“Now and then the workers are victorious, were deformed workers' states based on the same rela-
but only for a time. The real fruit of their tions of production as USSR.
battles lies, not in the immediate result, but in
the ever expanding union of the workers... it
ever rises up again, stronger, firmer, mightier. 2.11.5 See also
It compels legislative recognition of particular
interests of the workers, by taking advantage • Bureaucratic collectivism
of the divisions among the bourgeoisie itself.
Thus, the ten-hours’bill in England was • Communist state
carried.” • Soviet republic
—Marx and Engels, Manifesto of the Com-
munist Party, Chapter I. Bourgeois and • Democratic centralism

• List of socialist states [9] Lenin, Vladimir, The State and Revolution, p70, cf,
Chapter V, The economic basis for the withering away of
• Legislatures in communist states the state.

• Leninism [10] VN Embassy - Constitution of 1992 Full Text. From

the Preamble: “On 2 July 1976, the National Assem-
• Deformed workers' state bly of reunified Vietnam decided to change the country's
name to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; the country
• Degenerated workers' state entered a period of transition to socialism, strove for na-
tional construction, and unyieldingly defended its frontiers
• Dictatorship of the proletariat
while fulfilling its internationalist duty.”
• Reformism [11] Cubanet - Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, 1992 Full
Text. From Article 5: “The Communist Party of Cuba,
• Socialism in one country
a follower of Martí’s ideas and of Marxism–Leninism,
• State capitalism and the organized vanguard of the Cuban nation, is the
highest leading force of society and of the state, which
• State socialism organizes and guides the common effort toward the goals
of the construction of socialism and the progress toward a
communist society,”
2.11.6 References [12] http://www.freemediaproductions.
[1] C.J. Atkins, 'The Problem of Transition: Development,
Socialism and Lenin's NEP', Political Affairs Maga-
zine, April 2009, [13] The Preamble to the 1976 Constitution of Portugal stated:
articleview/8331/ accessed 30/7/09 “The Constituent Assembly affirms the Portuguese peo-
ple's decision to defend their national independence, safe-
[2] Lenin's Collected Works Vol. 27, p. 293, quoted by guard the fundamental rights of citizens, establish the ba-
Aufheben sic principles of democracy, secure the primacy of the rule
[3] Leon Trotsky, The Workers’State, Thermidor and Bona- of law in a democratic state, and open the way to socialist
partism, (February 1935), New International (New York), society.”
Vol.2 No.4, July 1935, ppp.116-122. Trotsky argues [14] The Preamble of the Constitution of India reads : “We,
that the Soviet Union was, at that time, a “deformed the people of India, having solemnly resolved to consti-
workers' state”or degenerated workers' state, and not tute India into a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic,
a socialist republic or state, because the “bureaucracy republic...”See Preamble to the Constitution of India.
wrested the power from the hands of mass organizations,”
thereby necessitating only political revolution rather than [15] “The Socialist Party of Great Britain”. Retrieved 31
a completely new social revolution, for workers' politi- October 2013.
cal control (i.e. state democracy) to be reclaimed. He
argued that it remained, at base, a workers' state be- [16] Crosland, Anthony, The Future of Socialism, pp.9, 89.
cause the capitalists and landlords had been expropri- Constable (2006); Bevan, Aneurin, In place of Fear.
ated. [17] Steger, Manfred. Selected Writings Of Eduard Bernstein,
ws-therm-bon.htm accessed 30/7/09 1920-1921. New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1996.
[4] Encyclopædia Britannica, Saint Simon; Socialism [18] STATE CAPITALISM | International Communist Cur-
[5] Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, on [19] Tony Cliff, for example. See: Tony Cliff's Internet
soc-utop/ch01.htm: “In 1816, he declares that politics Archive
is the science of production, and foretells the complete
absorption of politics by economics. The knowledge that [20] For instance, Peter Taaffe: “The Soviet bureaucracy and
economic conditions are the basis of political institutions Western capitalism rested on mutually antagonistic social
appears here only in embryo. Yet what is here already systems”, The Rise of Militant, Chapter 34, Russia, Trot-
very plainly expressed is the idea of the future conversion sky and the collapse of Stalinism
of political rule over men into an administration of things
and a direction of processes of production.”

[6] Marx, The Civil War in France (1871) 2.12 Vanguardism

[7] Marx, The Civil War in France (1871), 1891 Introduction In the context of the theory of Marxist revolutionary
by Frederick Engels, 'On the 20th Anniversary of the Paris
struggle, vanguardism is a strategy whereby the most
class-conscious and politically advanced sections of the
[8] proletariat or working class, described as the revolution-
civil-war-france/postscript.htm ary vanguard, form organizations in order to draw larger

sections of the working class towards revolutionary pol- Our task is not to champion the degrading
itics and serve as manifestations of proletarian political of the revolutionary to the level of an amateur,
power against its class enemies. but to raise the amateurs to the level of revolu-
In theory, the revolutionary vanguard is not intended to tionaries. * [3]
be an organization separate from the working class that
attempts to place itself at the center of the movement and If the party is successful in this goal, on the eve of revolu-
steer it in a direction consistent with its own ideology. It tion, a critical mass of the working class population would
is instead intended to be an organic part of the working be prepared to usher forth the transformation of society.
class that comes to socialist consciousness as a result of Furthermore, a great number of them, namely their most
the dialectic of class struggle. dedicated members, would belong to the party cadres as
Vanguardism may also more generally refer to cooper- professional revolutionaries and would be elected to lead-
ation between avant-garde individuals advancing in any ership positions by the mass party membership. Thus
field. Innovative writers and artists are often described as the organization would quickly include the entire work-
being in the vanguard of development of new forms and ing class.* [4]
styles of art. Once the proletariat gained class consciousness and thus
was prepared to revolt against the ruling classes, the van-
guard party would serve another purpose. The party
2.12.1 Foundations would coordinate the proletariat through its revolution by
acting as a military command hub of sorts. This is, ac-
Vladimir Lenin popularized political vanguardism as cording to Leninists, a vital function as mass revolutions
conceptualized by Karl Kautsky, detailing his thoughts can sometimes be easily crushed by the disciplined mili-
in one of his earlier works, What is to be done?. Lenin tary of the ruling classes. The vanguards would serve as
argued that Marxism's complexity and the hostility of commanders of the revolt, chosen to their positions by
the establishment (the autocratic, semi-feudal state of “democratic natural selection”.
Imperial Russia,) required a close-knit group of individ-
uals pulled from the working class vanguard to safeguard In Lenin's view, after the revolution the working class
the revolutionary ideology within the particular circum- would implement the dictatorship of the proletariat to rule
stances presented by the Tsarist régime at the time. While the new worker's state through the first phase of commu-
Lenin allegedly wished for a revolutionary organization nism, socialism. Here it can be said that the vanguard
akin to the contemporary Social Democratic Party of disappears, as all of society now consists of revolutionar-
Germany, which was open to the public and more demo- ies.
cratic in organization, the Russian autocracy prevented
Leninists argue that Lenin's ideal vanguard party would 2.12.2 Current use
be one where membership is completely open: “The
members of the Party are they who accept the principles Vanguardism continues to be used as a political strategy
of the Party programme and render the Party all possible by Leninist parties of just about all varieties.
support.”* [1] This party could, in theory, be completely Although anarchists and radical libertarians reject party
transparent: the “entire political arena is as open to the vanguardism in principle as inherently authoritarian, the
public view as is a theater stage to the audience.”* [2] practices of some anarchist groups have been criti-
A party that supposedly implemented democracy to such cized by their peers for constituting vanguardism of
an extent that“the general control (in the literal sense of the intellectual, if not organizational, variety. Van-
the term) exercised over every act of a party man in the guardism is in fact an intrinsic element of anarcho-
political field brings into existence an automatically oper- syndicalism and revolutionary syndicalism. Theorists
ating mechanism which produces what in biology is called such as Georges Sorel and vanguard groups such as the
the“survival of the fittest”.”This party would be com- Spanish Federación Anarquista Ibérica viewed the ordi-
pletely open to the public eye as it conducted its business nary worker as being too complacent to revolt sponta-
which would mainly consist of educating the proletariat neously, due to his having been 'brainwashed' by capital-
to remove the false consciousness that had been instilled ism and reformism, and it was thus seen to be the duty of
in them.* [3] the 'enlightened' anarchist to prepare a revolutionary sit-
In its first phase, the vanguard party would exist for two uation in which spontaneous mass rebellion could erupt.
reasons. Firstly, it would protect Marxism from outside At times, this even led to an ostensibly elitist anarchism:
corruption from other ideas as well as advance its con- the French CGT's reformist majority was excluded from
cepts. Secondly, it would educate the proletariat in Marx- input in the pivotal 1906 Amiens Congress, as the Union's
ism in order to cleanse them of their “false individual anarchosyndicalist leaders considered moderate workers
consciousness”and instill the revolutionary "class con- to be unqualified to decide policy for a Union whose di-
sciousness" in them. rection was to be revolutionary.

2.12.3 Political party society), which featured the decisive revolutionary lead-
ership of the Bolshevik vanguard party.
A vanguard party is a political party at the fore of a mass-
action political movement and of a revolution. In the
praxis of political science, the concept of the vanguard Marxist/Leninist
party, composed of professional revolutionaries, was first
effected by the Bolshevik Party in the Russian Revolu- As he surveyed the European milieu in the late 1890s,
tion of 1917. Lenin (Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov), the first Lenin found several theoretic problems with the Marxism
leader of the Bolsheviks, coined the term vanguard party, of the late 19th century. Contrary to what Karl Marx had
and argued that such a party was necessary in order to predicted, capitalism had become stronger in the last third
provide the practical and political leadership that would of the 19th century. In Western Europe, the working
impel the proletariat to achieve a communist revolution. class had become poorer, rather than becoming politi-
Hence, as a political-science concept and term, vanguard cally progressive, thinking people; hence, the workers and
party most often is associated with Leninism; however, their trade unions, although they had continued to militate
similar concepts (under different names) also are present for better wages and working conditions, had failed to de-
in other revolutionary ideologies. velop a revolutionary class consciousness, as predicted by
Marx. To explain that undeveloped political awareness,
Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx presented the concept of Lenin said that the division of labour in a bourgeois cap-
the vanguard party as solely qualified to politically lead italist society prevented the emergence of a proletarian
the proletariat in revolution; in Chapter II: “Proletarians class consciousness, because of the ten-to-twelve-hour
and Communists”of The Communist Manifesto (1848), workdays that the workers laboured in factories, and so
they said: had no time to learn and apply the philosophic complexi-
ties of Marxist theory. Finally, in trying to effect a revolu-
The Communists, therefore, are, on the tion in Tsarist Imperial Russia (1721–1917), Lenin faced
one hand, practically the most advanced and the problem of an autocratic régime that had outlawed
resolute section of the working-class parties of almost all political activity. Although the Tsarist autoc-
every country, that section which pushes for- racy could not enforce a ban on political ideas, until 1905
ward all others; on the other hand, theoreti- —when Tsar Nicholas II (1894–1917) agreed to the for-
cally, they have over the great mass of the pro- mation of a national duma —the Okhrana, the Tsarist
letariat the advantage of clearly understanding secret police, suppressed every political group seeking so-
the lines of march, the conditions, and the ul- cial and political changes, including those with a demo-
timate general results of the proletarian move- cratic program.
ment. The immediate aim of the Communists To counter such political conditions, Lenin said that a
is the same as that of all other proletarian par- professional revolutionary organisation was necessary to
ties: Formation of the proletariat into a class, organise and lead the most class-conscious workers into a
overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, con- politically coherent movement. About the Russian class
quest of political power by the proletariat. struggle, in the book What Is to Be Done? (1902), against
the “economist”trend of the socialist parties (who pro-
According to Vladimir Lenin, the purpose of the van- posed that the working class would develop a revolution-
guard party is to establish a dictatorship of the proletariat; ary consciousness from demanding solely economic im-
supported by the working class. The change of ruling provements), Lenin said that the “history of all coun-
class, from the bourgeoisie to the proletariat, makes pos- tries bears out the fact that, through their own powers
sible the full development of socialism. In early 20th cen- alone, the working class can develop only a trade-union
tury Russia, Lenin argued that the vanguard party would consciousness”; and that under reformist, trade-union
lead the revolution to depose the incumbent Tsarist gov- leadership, the working class could only engage sponta-
ernment, and transfer government power to the working neous local rebellions to improve their political position
class.* [5] In the pamphlet What is to be Done? (1902), within the capitalist system, and that revolutionary con-
Lenin said that a revolutionary vanguard party, mostly sciousness developed unevenly. Nonetheless, optimistic
recruited from the working class, should lead the po- about the working class’s ability to develop a revolution-
litical campaign, because it was the only way that the ary class consciousness, Lenin said that the missing ele-
proletariat could successfully achieve a revolution; un- ment for escalating the class struggle to revolution was a
like the economist campaign of trade union struggle ad- political organisation that could relate to the radicalism of
vocated by other socialist political parties and later by political vanguard of the working class, who then would
the anarcho-syndicalists. Like Karl Marx, Lenin distin- attract many workers from the middling policies of the
guished between the two aspects of a revolution, the eco- reformist leaders of the trade unions.
nomic campaign (labour strikes for increased wages and It is often believed that Lenin thought the bearers of
work concessions), which featured diffused plural lead- class consciousness were the common intellectuals who
ership; and the political campaign (socialist changes to made it their vocation to conspire against the capitalist

system, educate the public in revolutionary theory, and countries of the world. Although the Fourth International
prepare the workers for the proletarian revolution and faded from the public upon the death of Trotsky, there
the dictatorship of the proletariat that would follow. Yet, continued some efforts to revive the concept of an inter-
unlike his Menshevik rivals, Lenin distinguished himself national vanguard party.
by his hostility towards the bourgeois intelligentsia, and
was routinely criticised for placing too much trust in the
intellectual ability of the working class to transform soci- Other uses
ety through its own political struggles.
Although Lenin honed the idea in terms of a class lead-
Like other political organisations that sought to change ership forged out of a proletarian vanguard specifically
Imperial Russian society, Lenin's Bolshevik Party re- to describe Marxist-Leninist parties,* [6] the term is also
sorted to conspiracy, and operated in the political un- used for many kinds of movement conceiving themselves
derground. Against Tsarist repression, Lenin argued for as initially guided by a small elite. Theodor Herzl, the
the necessity of confining membership to people who theorist of Zionism, thought legitimation from the ma-
were professionally trained to combat the Okhrana secret jority would only hinder from the outset his movement,
police; however, at its core, the Bolshevik Party was and therefore advised that:
an exceptionally flexible organisation who pragmatically
adapted policy to changing political situations. After the
Revolution of 1905, Lenin proposed that the Bolshevik 'we cannot all be of one mind; the gestor
Party“open its gates”to the militant working class, who will therefore simply take the leadership into
were rapidly becoming political radicals, in order for the his hands and march in the van.'
Party to become a mass-action political party with gen-
uine roots in the working class movement. This principle antedated by some years the Leninist idea
of Bolshevism as the vanguard of the revolution by char-
The concept of a vanguard party was used by the Bol-
acterizing the 'Zionist movement as a vanguard of the
sheviks to justify their suppression of other parties. They
Jewish people.'* [7] The Youth Guard at the forefront of
took the line that since they were the vanguard of the pro-
Zionist mobilization in the Yishuv likewise conceived of
letariat, their right to rule could not be legitimately ques-
itself as a revolutionary vanguard,* [8] and the kibbutz
tioned. Hence, opposition parties could not be permitted
movement itself is said to have thought of itself as a 'self-
to exist. From 1936 onward, Communist-inspired state
less vanguard'.* [9] It is occasionally used with of certain
constitutions enshrined this concept by giving the Com-
Islamist parties. Writers Abul Ala Maududi and Sayyid
munist parties a “leading role”in society—a provision
Qutb both urged the formation of an Islamic vanguard to
that was interpreted to either ban other parties altogether
restore Islamic society. Qutb talked of an Islamist van-
or force them to accept the Communists' guaranteed right
guard in his book Ma'alim fi al-Tariq (Milestones)* [10]
to rule as a condition of being allowed to exist.
and Maududi formed the radical Islamist party Jamaat-
In the 20th century, the Communist Party of the Soviet e-Islami* [11] in Pakistan whose goal was to establish a
Union (CPSU) continued regarding itself as the institu- pan-Ummah worldwide Islamist ideological state start-
tionalization of Marxist-Leninist political consciousness ing from Pakistan, administered for God solely by Mus-
in the Soviet Union; therein lay the justification for its lims“whose whole life is devoted to the observance and
political control of Soviet society. Article 6 of the 1977 enforcement”of Islamic law (Shari'ah), leading to the
Soviet Constitution refers to the CPSU as the “leading world becoming the House of Islam. The party mem-
and guiding force of Soviet society, and the nucleus of bers formed an elite group (called arkan) with“affiliates”
its political system, of all state organizations and public (mutaffiq) and then “sympathisers”(hamdard) beneath
organizations”. The CPSU, precisely because it was the them.* [11] Today, the JI has spread wings to other South
bearer of Marxist-Leninist ideology, determined the gen- Asian countries with large Muslim populations, such as
eral development of society, directed domestic and for- Afghanistan, Bangladesh and India.
eign policy, and“imparts a planned, systematic, and the-
Another elite or vanguard Islamist party is Hizb ut-Tahrir,
oretically substantiated character”to the struggle of the
which seeks to take power for a pan-Islamic state not by
Soviet people for the victory of Communism.
a vanguard-led armed struggle, but by a Coup d'état. The
Nonetheless, the political role of the vanguard party, as party seeks to obtains“support from army generals, lead-
outlined by Lenin, is disputed among the contemporary ers, and other influential figures or bodies to facilitate the
communist movement. Lenin's contemporary in the Bol- change of the government.”* [12] According to Roger
shevik Party, Leon Trotsky, further developed and es- Eatwell, some fascist parties have also operated in ways
tablished the vanguard party with the creation of the similar to the concept of a vanguard party.* [13]
Fourth International. Trotsky, who believed in worldwide
permanent revolution, proposed that a vanguard party
must be an international political party who organised 2.12.4 See also
the most militant activists of the working classes of the
• Antonio Gramsci
2.13. LENINISM 131

• Blanquism • Bakunin, Mikhail. “Letter to Albert Richard”.

August 1870. Reprinted in Bakunin on Anarchy,
• Democratic centralism translated and edited by Sam Dolgoff. A. A. Knopf,
1st edition, 1972. ISBN 0-394-41601-5. Retrieved
May 17, 2005.
2.12.5 References
• Mandel, Ernest. “Trotsky’s conception of self-
[1] Vladimir Lenin, What is to be Done? ch.IV, quoting
organisation and the vanguard party”. Originally
Clause 1 of the Rules of the German Social-Democratic
published in French in Quatrième Internationale,
No.36, pp. 35–49. November 1989. Translated by
[2] Vladimir Lenin, What is to be Done? ch.IV Mike Murray, marked up by Einde O’Callaghan
for the Marxists’Internet Archive. Retrieved May
[3] Vladimir Lenin, What is to be Done?
24, 2005.
[4] Vladimir Lenin, What is to be Done?
• Mitchell, Roxanne and Frank Weiss. Two, Three,
[5] Townson, D. The New Penguin Dictionary of Modern His- Many Parties of a New Type? Against the Ultra-Left
tory: 1789–1945 London:1994 pp. 462–464 Line. Publisher: United Labor Press. 1977. Re-