Marxism, Revisionism, and Leninism: Explication, Assessment, and Commentary

Marxism, Revisionism, and Leninism: Explication, Assessment, and Commentary

Marxism, Revisionism, and Leninism: Explication, Assessment, and Commentary

Marxism, Revisionism, and Leninism: Explication, Assessment, and Commentary

Synopsis

Hamilton provides an interdisciplinary explication and assessment of Marxism, of Marxist revisionism, and of Leninism, and delineates the major propositions of the three theories. Because the propositions cover a wide range of subjects, including the growth of cities and large factories, the changing quality of work, declining real incomes, economic crises, working-class organizations, and revolutions, Hamilton assesses them from the viewpoints of urban and industrial sociology, economic and political history, and social movements. Hamilton concludes that little empirical support is found for the claims of Marxism and Leninism, while modest support is found for the revisionist claims. Where other texts fail to provide serious reviews of evidence or references to critical studies or to relevant appropriate sources, this book remedies those deficiencies in a brief, clear, and thoroughly documented format.

Excerpt

This volume will provide explications and assessments of three major social theories central to the understanding of 20th-century events: Marxism, revisionist Marxism, and Leninism. These theories, directly or indirectly, are responses to the claims of still another theory, liberalism. It too, accordingly, must be given some consideration. Some commentary and consideration of the wider implications of these assessments will also be provided.

As used here, the word theory refers to a set of general statements purporting to describe and explain a complex reality. in social affairs, one is dealing with an infinitude of fact. Finite minds cannot handle such quantity. All thought, therefore, whether one recognizes it or not, involves some arrangement for simplification; that is, some theory or theories.

For most persons, including academics and educated citizens, knowledge of those theories will ordinarily be rather limited. Apart from a small number of experts (those who teach social, political, or economic theories, or those dealing with intellectual history), that knowledge will be rough, approximate, incomplete, a "shadowy outline" rather than a comprehensive understanding. References to liberalism occur frequently in everyday discussion, but few educated persons are likely to have an adequate understanding of its meaning. Not many would know its intellectual history.

One could have a detailed and accurate knowledge of a theory's major claims but at the same time know nothing about the empirical status of those claims. One could, in other words, know the major propositions but know next to nothing of their validity. Many people . . .

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