Marxism and Leninism, Not Marxism-Leninism: An Essay in the Sociology of Knowledge

Marxism and Leninism, Not Marxism-Leninism: An Essay in the Sociology of Knowledge

Marxism and Leninism, Not Marxism-Leninism: An Essay in the Sociology of Knowledge

Marxism and Leninism, Not Marxism-Leninism: An Essay in the Sociology of Knowledge

Synopsis

This work challenges the view that there is such a thing as Marxism-Leninism, arguing that the two have always been two distinct ideologies, despite the employment of a common vocabulary. Differences in attitudes to labour and revolutionary movements, and other matters, are highlighted.

Excerpt

In this essay, I develop the argument that Marxism and Leninism are two quite different ideologies and counterpose this view to the commonly accepted one of Leninism as simply one form that Marxism took in the course of its evolution. That latter conception has led to much misunderstanding of both Marxism and Leninism and has been responsible for great confusion in the realms of both politics and scholarship.

My effort to bring clarity into this area rests on my conception of ideology. For the purpose of analyzing politics, that is, conflict among groupings of people with different interests and values, it seems to me appropriate to define an ideology with reference to the interests and values it expresses. I develop my conception of ideology, and of the role of words in it, as well as the defining characteristics of Marxism and Leninism that follow from it in chapter 1.

In chapters 2 and 3, employing a sociology-of-knowledge approach, I try to explain the appeal and the different meanings of the Marxian vocabulary, as it was used by Marxists and by Leninists, with reference to the position of labor in turn-of-the-century industrial Europe and of modernizing intellectuals in underdeveloped countries, beginning with turn-of-the-century Russia. As Marx was explicitly concerned with problems of industrialism rather than with those of underdevelopment, it is far less difficult to understand the appeal of his vocabulary in industrialized countries, like Germany and Austria, than in underdeveloped countries, like Russia and China. I shall therefore have to devote much less space to my analysis of Marxism than to that of Leninism and its non-Marxian policies clothed in Marxian words.

In chapter 4, I point out that in industrialized countries, notably in . . .

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