Marxism and Philosophy in the Twentieth Century: A Defense of Vulgar Marxism

Marxism and Philosophy in the Twentieth Century: A Defense of Vulgar Marxism

Marxism and Philosophy in the Twentieth Century: A Defense of Vulgar Marxism

Marxism and Philosophy in the Twentieth Century: A Defense of Vulgar Marxism

Synopsis

This book provides a guide to fundamental issues in 20th-century Marxist thought. Outlining the two distinct and incompatible critiques of "vulgar Marxism"--Marxist-Leninist and humanistic Marxism--that gained prominence in the aftermath of World War I, this book presents both an historical overview of these two dominant traditions and a critical analysis of their philosophical roots. With a careful critique of these prevailing views the author presents his own view which while receptive to the social scientific work of current analytical Marxism deemphasizes the importance of philosophy in the study of Marxism.

Excerpt

With the collapse of the Second International in the face of World War I, the international Marxist movement split into a variety of currents, each marked by its own subdivisions and crosscurrents. Of primary importance was the emergence of Marxist-Leninism as a coherent political and philosophical position. Because of the success of the revolution in Russia and the consequent admiration of the Bolsheviks outside of Russia, Marxist-Leninism gained a position of prominence. Activists throughout the world turned to Lenin for political leadership. They also turned to him for philosophical guidance.

Lenin argued that the Second International had been corrupted by bourgeois philosophy and that this philosophical corruption was largely responsible for the political failure of the Marxist parties in response to the war. The inroads of bourgeois thought were particularly clear in the position of Eduard Bernstein and other revisionists. Yet, Lenin argued, it would be wrong to think that Bernstein alone was responsible for the failure of the Social Democrats. After all, Bernstein's influence was mainly felt within the German Party, and even here his position was officially rejected. Yet the collapse of the Second International was an international phenomenon. Not only in Germany, but also in nearly all other European countries, Social Democrats abandoned Marxist internationalism in favor of social patriotism.

Restoration of the international Marxist movement required a thoroughgoing philosophical struggle to expose the sources of weakness and corruption in the Second International and to build the Third International on solid philosophical . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.