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 Engels’ reinterpretation  Revisionism (Bernstein) – evolutionary theory  Lenin’s reinterpretation, “vanguard party,” critique of revisionism, theory.

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Presentation on theme: " Engels’ reinterpretation  Revisionism (Bernstein) – evolutionary theory  Lenin’s reinterpretation, “vanguard party,” critique of revisionism, theory."— Presentation transcript:

1  Engels’ reinterpretation  Revisionism (Bernstein) – evolutionary theory  Lenin’s reinterpretation, “vanguard party,” critique of revisionism, theory of imperialism  Stalin’s reinterpretation of Marxism-Leninism  Mao Zedong’s reinterpretation of Marxism- Leninism

2  Marx dies (1883), Engels chief spokesman for Marxist theory  Simplifies, recasts as “deterministic” and “materialist”  Marx’ emphasis = choices and options; Engels’ = necessity and inevitability  Marx = social foundation for material production and social change (“materialist conception of history”); Engels = older, outmoded philosophical “materialism,” reducing social, economic phenomena to “matter in motion”

3  Revisionist Marxists revise, update Marxist theory  Revolution politically unnecessary, morally undesirable  Working class not immiserated  Power of labor unions, socialist parties  workers better off economically, politically  Peaceful political and economic evolution of capitalism  socialism morally preferable  “Evolutionary” Marxism becomes dominant in German socialist circles

4  A.k.a., Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov  Russia unripe for revolution  Workers = agricultural, suspicious, superstitious, religious  “Vanguard” party  educate, enlighten workers about real, true class interests  Small, tightly knit organization  Secretive and conspiratorial  “Democratic centralism” organizing principle  Members free to discuss and disagree until decision made and agreed to  Party of bourgeois intellectuals  knowledge and acumen to inform, educate workers

5  Lenin’s, Imperialism (1916)  WWI, workers (England and Germany) volunteer to fight each other rather joining to fight ruling bourgeoisie  Workers in advanced capitalist countries  share in “super-profits” generated by imperialism (Africa, Latin America, Asia)  Capitalists pay higher wages, raise living standards of workers, put off immiseration  Not Bernstein’s “evolution”  WWI = war among capitalist countries for larger share of super-profits from imperialism

6  Russia enters war against Germany  March 1917, riots break out  Tsar Nicholas orders troops to put down revolt, they refuse  Tsar steps down, replaced by coalition government  Lenin leaves exile in Switzerland  Rallies Bolshevik forces to topple provisional government of non-Bolshevik socialist Alexander Kerensky (October 1917)

7  Lenin premier; Russia withdraws from war  “War communism” -- Bolshevik government seizes mines, mills, farms, and factories; gives land, bread to peasants  Wealthy landowners  “White” counterrevolution against “Reds”  Brief civil war takes heavy toll, Reds victorious  Lenin (1921) institutes New Economic Policy (NEP)  Peasants allowed to farm own land and sell produce for profit  Secret police (Cheka) formed to root out dissidents, potential counterrevolutionaries

8  Lenin dies (1924)  Joseph Stalin  power  Consolidates hold over party (1929)  Mid-1930s, lays groundwork for purge trials (late 1930s), imprisonment, death of leading Bolsheviks, millions of ordinary Soviet citizens

9  Party (like working class) likely to suffer “false consciousness”  Must be led by all-knowing, all-powerful, infallible genius (guess who?)  “Socialism in one country”  Socialism must be consolidated in Soviet Union before being spread elsewhere  Communist parties elsewhere subservient to Soviet Communist Party; national Soviet hegemony  “Scientific socialist” theory of “dialectical materialism”  Crude, reductionist; inspired by Engels

10  Mao attracted to Lenin’s views  China economically underdeveloped  primarily agricultural; mostly peasants, few industrial workers; lacked sizable proletariat  Vanguard party could lead successful revolution against ruling class  Adapted Lenin’s arguments to Chinese conditions  Provided ideological justification for Chinese Revolution and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) (1949)

11  Bypasses urban proletariat, taps reservoir of resentment among peasants  Downplays “objective,” “material” conditions, stresses importance of revolutionary “consciousness” or “will”  Class  covers economic and social strata within China and between nations  U.S. = bourgeois, China = proletarian  China and other proletarian nations surround bourgeois nations  Cut off from resources, cheap labor, vast markets, and super-profits in “proletarian” (“Third World,” developing, Global South) countries, bourgeois nations capitulate

12  Anarcho-communists  Criticize Marx’s revolutionary seizure of state power  State ought to be abolished; oppressive  State power in hands of communists corrupts them, making them new, more oppressive masters  Examples: Bakunin and Kropotkin  Fabian Society (G.B.)  Eschewed revolution altogether, favored peaceful parliamentary path to socialism  View taken by most American socialists (Edward Bellamy  Michael Harrington)

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