Mark Mitin and Pavel Yudin 1932

Struggle on Two Fronts in Philosophy:
Against Mechanism and Menshevik Idealism

Authors: Mark Mitin and Pavel Yudin;
Written: 1930-32;
First published: 1933, as Борьба на два фронта в философии, chapter VI of Диалектический материализм: Маркс, Энгельс, Ленин, Сталин (Dialectical Materialism: Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin), Partizdat, Moscow;
Translated: by Anton P.

The mechanistic revision of dialectical materialism – The Mechanists’ Denial of Marxist Philosophy

The mechanist S. K. Minin, holding the typical view of the mechanists in rejecting all philosophy in favor of “science” and polemicizing against the characterization of Marxism as a philosophy, writes the following:

“Partly out of habit to the common language, partly under the influence of our class enemies, we usually mean by philosophy nothing more than the most general, integral and harmonious view of the world, as something very wise, lofty, beautiful, etc., of course, we state that there is also the so-called “bourgeois philosophy,” but that this philosophy is false, “not scientific,” but a real, scientific, authentic philosophy, this is Marxism, this is the “philosophy of the proletariat.” And we create “philosophical” circles, “philosophical” journals, departments of philosophy, etc.

In fact, one cannot talk about some kind of scientific, revolutionary, communist, etc. philosophy, because there is no such philosophy and cannot be, just as there can not be a communist, scientific, etc. religion, because philosophy is not simply some kind of general concept for a single, integral, harmonious worldview, but a specific and very definite concept of the bourgeois outlook on the world, on human society and on cognition. Every philosophy, like every religion, is to one degree or another hostile to the proletariat and communism.

Philosophy is a semi-belief in a semi-personal God (“absolute idea,” “higher reason,” “world will,” etc.) and this is a semi-science about a semi-material world (these are the main types of new philosophy, “metaphysical materialism” of the 18th century and “dialectical idealism” of the XIX century).

If the expression “religion of socialism” cannot be understood otherwise than as “wooden iron,” then confusing science and philosophy or calling Marxism a philosophy is about the same as not distinguishing iron from iron ore or calling gold gold mines.

Marxism is a science. That’s all. Isn’t that enough? And philosophy must be overcome and liquidated in the same way as we have overcome and liquidate religion.

K. Marx in the XI thesis on Feuerbach wrote: “Philosophers have only interpreted the world in one way or another, but the point is to change it.” That is: Marx and Engels are not philosophers. And they could not have been, as the founders of science in the true sense of the word. Lenin, like Plekhanov, uses an outdated terminology: “philosophy of Marxism,” “philosophical conclusions of natural science,” etc. like everything that Lenin wrote, is nothing more than, firstly, a merciless and crushing struggle not only against religion, but also against philosophy in all its forms and forms, and, secondly, this is the most fruitful development of that very science, the full foundation of which was laid for the first time in history by Marx and Engels.

And nevertheless, in spite of the clear essence of the matter, contrary to the clear instructions of the founders of Marxism, there are communists who at all costs are trying to resurrect philosophy, disinfect it and prop up Marxism with it. But philosophy, not only as a system, but even as a term, as a “synonym” or “symbol,” is defamed and scandalized no less than “social democracy,” and therefore it fully deserves to be discarded as contaminated linen.” (Minin, Journal “Under the banner of Marxism” No. 11 – 12 for 1922, pp. 185 – 187, 195).

Another mechanist, Stepanov, says:

“Historical materialism continues the work which, in one part, has been accomplished by philosophical materialism, or, to use a clearer and more direct expression, has been accomplished by modern natural science; for Marxists there is no area of some kind of “philosophizing” separate and distinct from science: materialistic philosophy for Marxists is the last and most general conclusions of modern science.” (Stepanov, Historical Materialism and Contemporary Natural Science, pp. 56 – 57, Gosizdat, 1924)

Denial of the philosophical understanding of matter by mechanists

Stepanov continues:

“...Now we cannot agree with Engels, who wrote that “matter as such is a pure creation of thought and abstraction.” In the same way, I directly admitted that we can no longer follow Engels, who has great doubts about the desire of natural science to find a single matter as such and to reduce qualitative differences to only quantitative differences in the composition of identical tiny particles.” In contrast to this, I wrote that at present “natural science does not seek to find a single matter as such: it already finds it ... Matter as such sensually exists for us as negative electrons and positive nuclei.” (Stepanov, Dialectical Materialism and the Deborin School, pp. 39 – 40, Gosizdat, 1928)

Engels and Lenin on the philosophical concept of matter

“Materialism and idealism differ in one way or another in the solution of the question of the source of our knowledge, of the relation of knowledge (and the “mental” in general) to the physical world, and the question of the structure of matter, atoms and electrons is a question that concerns only this “physical world.” When physicists say: “Matter disappears,” they want to say that until now natural science has led all its investigations of the physical world to the last three concepts – matter, electricity, ether; now only the last two, because matter can be reduced to electricity, the atom can be explained as a semblance of an infinitely small solar system, inside which negative electrons move with a certain (and immensely enormous, as we have seen) speed around a positive electron. Instead of tens of elements, it is possible, therefore, to reduce the physical world to two or three (since the positive and negative electrons make up “two matters, essentially different,” as the physicist Pell says. Natural science leads, therefore, to the “unity of matter” – this is the real content of that phrase about the disappearance of matter, about the replacement of matter by electricity, etc., which confuses so many. “Matter disappears” – this means that the limit to which we knew matter until now disappears, our knowledge goes deeper; such properties of matter disappear, which previously seemed absolute, unchanging, initial (impenetrability, inertia, mass, etc.) and which are now revealed as relative, inherent only in certain states of matter. For the only “property” of matter, with the recognition of which philosophical materialism is associated, is the property of being an objective reality, to exist outside of our consciousness.” (Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism (1908), Works, v. XIII, p. 213, ed. 3rd.)

“All the philosophers we have cited, some directly, some with a grimace, replace the main philosophical line of materialism (from being to thinking, from matter to sensation) with the reverse line of idealism. The denial of matter by them is a long-known solution of theoretical and cognitive issues in the sense of denying the external, objective source of our sensations, objective reality corresponding to our sensations. And, conversely, the recognition of the philosophical line that idealists and agnostics reject is expressed by definitions: matter is that which, acting on our senses, produces sensation; matter is an objective reality given to us in sensation, etc.” (Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, Works, vol. XIII, p. 119)

“We know what an hour, a meter is, but we do not know what time and space are! Precisely time is something other than the sum of hours, and space is something other than the sum of cubic meters! Of course, both forms of the existence of matter without this matter represent nothing, only an empty idea, an abstraction that exists only in our head. But we are not able to know what matter and motion are. Of course, they are not capable, because no one has yet seen or experienced matter as such and motion as such: people deal only with various really existing matters and forms of motion. Substance, matter is nothing more than the totality of all sensibly perceived forms of motion; words like “matter” and “motion” are just abbreviations, in which we summarize, according to their general properties, various sensually perceived things. Therefore, matter and motion can be cognized only by studying individual forms of matter and motion; insofar as we know the latter, in so far as we know matter and motion as such. Therefore, when Negeli says that we do not know what time, space, movement, cause and effect are, then he only asserts that with the help of our head we first compose abstractions for ourselves, distracting them from the real world, and then – not able to cognize these abstractions that we have composed, for they are mental, not sensible things, while all knowledge is a sensory dimension... This is exactly like the difficulty encountered by Hegel, that we are able to eat cherries, plums, but are not able to eat the fruit, because no one has yet eaten the fruit as such.” (Engels, Anti-Dühring, p. 253)

Mechanistic interpretation of movement

Bukharin, prominent among the mechanists, writes:

“Marx, as we know, freed dialectics from the mystical shell, stating that dialectics as a mental category is a reflection of dialectics in the process of real, material becoming, for the “ideal” is only material translated into a specific language in the human brain. However, up to now – and, moreover, to an increasing degree – attempts are being made to divorce the thought process from the material process – attempts to turn dialectics into an exclusively mental structure, into a certain method, which does not correspond to any reality whatsoever. Typical in this respect is “Austro-Marxism” with Max Adler at its head. How to deal with this perversion of Marxism – a perversion that is clearly anti-materialist? It is quite obvious that it is necessary to reveal the material root of dialectics, that is, to find in the forms of moving matter what “corresponds” to Hegel’s dialectical formula. The incessant collision of forces, the disintegration, growth of systems, the formation of new ones and their own movement – in other words, the process of constant disturbance of equilibrium, its restoration on a different basis; a new violation, etc. – that is what actually corresponds to the Hegelian triad formula. What does this interpretation bring “new"? It is essentially the same thing. But here they point to a material process and to the movement of a material form. In other words, here is the dialectic of material becoming, ideally expressed by the Hegelian triad. The reproach for the mechanical nature of such a formulation is completely wrong. It is wrong because it is impossible to oppose modern mechanics to dialectics. If mechanics is non-dialectic, that is, the whole movement is non-dialectical, then what remains of dialectics? Vice versa. Movement constitutes, so to speak, the material soul of the dialectical method and its objective basis.” (Bukharin, Theory of Historical Materialism, pp. 361 – 362, Gosizdat, 1929)

And Stepanov continues:

“...It is not about how to somehow “partially” adopt physical and chemical methods of explaining the phenomena of life, and that these methods already gave such brilliant results, to recognize the “only scientific” explanation for taking life, that, in order to put the methods of explaining life on a scientific level in general. The dispute between us has long been resolved by practice, by the entire practice of scientific biology ... We have every reason to recognize the consistent application of physicochemical methods, using the expression of Marx and Lenin, as the “only scientific” method of explaining life. Any attempt to supplement them will lead to helpless eclecticism. All the previous development of scientific biology does not provide any grounds for faint-hearted betrayal of the methods of reducing the life of an organism to physicochemical processes.” (Stepanov, Dialectical Materialism and the Deborin School, pp. 14, 18, Gosizdat, 1928)

Stepanov also touches upon the struggle in biology as the mechanists see it:

“In biology, until now, only two main currents have fought and are still fighting: the idealistic, called vitalism and rejecting the reducibility of the phenomena of life to physicochemical processes, and the materialistic, affirming this reducibility and still brilliantly demonstrating this reducibility by practice, experiment. It does not hurt to note that this is the only materialistic trend in biology long ago called mechanistic.” (Stepanov, Dialectical Materialism and the Deborin School, p. 52, Gosizdat, 1928)

Engels’s interpretation of movement

“Calling physics the mechanics of molecules, chemistry – the physics of atoms and further biology – the chemistry of proteins ... I want to express by this the transition of one of these sciences to the other and, therefore, the connection, continuity, as well as the difference, the gap between the two areas. To go beyond this, to call chemistry a kind of mechanics, in my opinion, is irrational. Mechanics – in a broader or narrower sense of the word – knows only quantities; it operates with speeds and masses and, at best, volumes. Where quality stands in its way – such as in hydrostatics and aerostatics -it cannot arrive at satisfactory results without going into the consideration of molecular states and molecular motion; it is itself only a simple auxiliary science, the premise of physics. But in physics, and even more so in chemistry, not only is there a constant qualitative change as a result of a quantitative change, not only is there a transition from quantity to quality, but it is also necessary to consider many changes in quality, in relation to which it has not been proven at all that they are caused by quantitative changes. We can readily agree that modern science is moving in this direction, but this does not at all prove that this direction is the only correct one, that, following this path, we will exhaustto the end of physics and chemistry. Every movement involves mechanical movement and movement of large or smallest pieces of matter; to know these mechanical movements is the firsttask of science, but only the first. This mechanical movement itself does not at all exhaust movement in general. Movement is not at all a simple movement, a simple change of place, in the supra-mechanical areas it is also a change in quality. “Thinking is also movement.” The discovery that heat is molecular motion marked an era in science. But if I have nothing else to say about heat, except that it represents a certain movement of molecules, then it is better for me to shut up. Chemistry is on the verge of explaining a number of chemical and physical properties of elements from the ratio of atomic volumes to atomic weights. But not a single chemist would dare to assert that all the properties of an element are expressed in an exhaustive way by its position on the Lothar Meyer curve, which, for example, are determined by this one. specific properties of carbon, making it the main carrier of organic life, or the need for phosphorus in the brain. The mechanical concept, however, boils down precisely to this; it explains all changes from place changes, all qualitative differences from quantitative ones, and does not notice that the relationship between quality and quantity is mutual, that quality also passes into quantity, as quantity into quality, that there is interaction here. If we must reduce all differences and changes in quality to quantitative differences and changes, to mechanical displacements, then we inevitably come to the position that all matter consists of it explains all changes from place changes, all qualitative differences from quantitative ones, and does not notice that the relationship between quality and quantity is mutual, that quality also passes into quantity, as quantity into quality, that there is interaction here. If we must reduce all differences and changes in quality to quantitative differences and changes, to mechanical displacements, then we inevitably come to the position that all matter consists of it explains all changes from place changes, all qualitative differences from quantitative ones, and does not notice that the relationship between quality and quantity is mutual, that quality also passes into quantity, as quantity into quality, that there is interaction here. If we must reduce all differences and changes in quality to quantitative differences and changes, to mechanical displacements, then we inevitably come to the position that all matter consists ofidentical smallest particles and that all qualitative differences in the chemical elements of matter are caused by quantitative differences in the number and spatial grouping of these smallest particles when they are combined into atoms. But we are still far from that.

Only the unfamiliarity of modern natural scientists with a philosophy other than that ordinary vulgar philosophy that is now flourishing in German universities allows them to operate in such a way with expressions like “mechanical,” and they do not realize and do not even guess what the necessary conclusions follow from this. The theory of absolute qualitative identity of matter has its adherents; it cannot be empirically refuted as it cannot be proved. But if you ask people who want to explain everything “mechanically” whether they are aware of the inevitability of this conclusion and whether they recognize the identity of matter, then what are the different answers obtained!

The most comical thing is that Hegel, who wanted to humiliate materialism with the epithet “mechanical,” has the equalization of the “materialistic” and the “mechanical.” But the fact is that the materialism criticized by Hegel – French materialism of the 18th century – was really exclusively mechanical, and for the simple reason that physics, chemistry and biology were still in their infancy, far from being the basis of a general worldview.” (Engels, Dialectics of Nature, pp. 80 – 81)

Mechanistic convergence theory

The same mechanist, Stepanov, in his “Historical Materialism and Contemporary Natural Science,” writes:

“By its general nature, modern science is a consistent continuer of the scientific views of the 18th century. Strictly critical observation and experience (experiment) are in her eyes the only means of knowing the world. To understand any group of phenomena means for her to interpret it as a continuously flowing process in which one stage or step (considered as a cause ) inevitably gives rise to another (which is a consequence ). Thus, to explain any group of phenomena means to reveal the causal relationship between them. At the same time, we must dismember, break down complex phenomena and descend from them to simpler ones, reduce them to these simpler phenomena.... So, for example, science stopped in complete bewilderment before the process of life, before the processes taking place in living matter, until it began to reduce them to simpler phenomena occurring in dead, mineral matter and constituting the subject of the study of physics and chemistry. Science is confidently moving in the direction of revealing the transformation of some forms of energy into others under mental processes and to reduce them to such simple phenomena as reflexes, the mechanism and forms of which become more complicated with the development and complication of the neuro-cerebral system. Despite all its complications, reflexes also and in the same sense remain the main element of mental life, including the most complex manifestations, just as a cell is the main element of all tissues that make up the human body.

The mechanistic understanding of nature, revealing that even the field of mental life does not give exceptions to the law of conservation of energy, goes to its completion and at the same time to the greatest triumph ...

Each step in the development of the world and its elements, its dead and living forms, is a necessary consequence of the previous step and, with a strict causal necessity, knowing no exceptions, exceptions and gaps, determines the next step. Modern science is steadily moving in the direction of interpreting all this unfolding of the world as the development of relatively simple physical and chemical processes.” (Stepanov, Historical Materialism and Contemporary Natural Science, pp. 24-25 and 67-68, Gosizdat, 1924)

Another mechanist, Sarabyanov, in “In Defense of the Philosophy of Marxism” has written the following:

“Our task is to turn random phenomena by revealing their causality into necessary phenomena. In natural science, our task is to reveal the physicochemical nature of all processes and thereby tear the mystery out of them. Why do we, as it were, stop halfway, without successively reaching the mechanical nature of all processes? Only because the mechanics of the old time, explaining everything by impact, pressure, friction, cohesion of unchanging bodies that do not change in the order of “self-movement,” suffered a fiasco and was forced to state the presence of mechanics as well as an internal system.

Mechanics has taken the right path, speaking not only about mutual collisions, pressures, etc. of particles, but also about the processes of friction, attraction, repulsion in each of the latter, but this area has been developed by chemistry. Sciences are constantly transforming one into another, merging, differentiating. Chemistry is already absorbed by physics, in which we personally see the triumph of mechanics, which has risen to physics. Explaining the world physically means explaining it from the point of view of mechanics, which has outgrown itself and is forced to become physics. They may, of course, say that we are thereby rejecting mechanics, which exists in the form of an independent science.

No, we do not reject it, but we consider what is now called mechanics, mechanics in the narrow sense of the word, the mechanics of gravity, friction, cohesion, etc. of bodies, from the self-motion of which it is distracted, considering it, however, existing. To reduce a thing or process to physical processes means to explain this thing in all its manifestations by the motion of the last self-propelled particles known to us, of which it consists.” (Sarabyanov, In Defense of the Philosophy of Marxism, pp. 153 – 154, Gosizdat, 1929)

Criticism of the theory ofreductionby Engels

“Simple and composite categories, which also lose their meaning already in organic nature, are inapplicable here. Neither the mechanical addition of bones, blood, cartilage, muscles, tissues, etc., nor the chemical composition of the elements still constitutes an animal (Hegel. Encyclopedia, p. 256). The organism is neither simple nor composite, however complex it may be.” (Engels, Dialectics of Nature, p. 10, 3rd ed., 1930)

And further:

“Naturalists always understand movement as mechanical movement, displacement. This is inherited from the pre-chemical 18th century and greatly complicates the clear understanding of things. Motion, as applied to matter, is change in general.... From the same misunderstanding follows a fierce desire to reduce everything to mechanical motion – already Grove “is strongly inclined to think that other properties of matter are modes of motion and will ultimately be reduced to them” (p. 16), which blurts out the specific character of other forms of motion ... This does not deny at all that each of the higher forms of motion is always connected in a necessary way with real mechanical (external or molecular) motion, just as the higher forms of motion simultaneously produce other types of motion, chemical action is impossible without changes in temperature and electricity, organic life is impossible without mechanical, molecular, chemical, thermal, electrical, etc. changes. But the presence of these secondary forms does not exhaust the essence of the main form in every case. We are undoubtedly Someday we will “reduce” thinking in an experimental way to molecular and chemical movements in the brain; but does this exhaust the essence of thinking?” (Engels, Dialectics of Nature, p. 18, ed. 3rd, 1930)

Mechanists replace materialist dialectics with equilibrium theory

Again from Bukharin:

“Marx and Engels freed dialectics from its mystical husk in action, that is, materialistically applying the dialectical method in the study of various areas of nature and society. We are now talking about a theoretical-systematic presentation of this method and its same theoretical-systematic foundation. This is what is given by the theory of equilibrium. In addition, the theory of equilibrium has one more important argument for itself: it frees the worldview from the teleological flavor, inevitably associated with the Hegelian formulation, which rests on the self-development of the “spirit.” Instead of evolution (development), and only evolution, it also allows us to see cases of destruction of material forms. Thus, it is both a more general formulation of the laws of moving material systems and a formulation of the laws of moving material systems, cleared of idealistic elements. (Bukharin, TIM, p. 362, Gosizdat, 1929)

Lenin and Stalin on Bukharin’s perversions in philosophy

They say that Comrade Bukharin is a theoretician of our Party. He is, of course, a theoretician, and a considerable theoretician. But the fact is that his theory is not all right. This is evident if only from the fact that he has piled up a whole bunch of mistakes on the issues of party politics just described. It cannot be that these mistakes, mistakes along the line of the Comintern, mistakes on questions of the class struggle, the sharpening of the class struggle, about the peasantry, about NEP, about new forms of the bond – it cannot be that all these mistakes have appeared in him by chance. No, these mistakes are not accidental. These mistakes of Comrade Bukharin, emerged from his incorrect attitude, from his theoretical flaws. Yes, Comrade Bukharin is a theoretician, but he is, according to Lenin, not a completely Marxist theoretician, a theoretician who still has to finish his studies in order to become a completely Marxist theoretician.

Reference is made to the well-known letter from Comrade Lenin about Bukharin as a theoretician. Lenin had written in this letter (read by Stalin in the July 1926 plenum):

Lenin says:

“Of the young members of the Central Committee, I want to say a few words about Bukharin and Pyatakov. These are, in my opinion, the most outstanding forces (of the youngest forces), and the following should be borne in mind regarding them: Bukharin is not only the most valuable and greatest theoretician of the party, he is also rightfully considered the favorite of the whole party, but his theoretical views are very much doubts can be attributed to the completely Marxist, because there is something scholastic in him (he never studied and, I think, never fully understood dialectics).” (Transcript of the July 1926 plenum, issue IV, p. 66)

And Stalin continues in the line of Lenin on this issue:

“A theoretician without dialectics is a scholastic theoretician. A theoretician whose “theoretical views with very great doubt can be attributed to completely Marxist.” Such is Lenin’s characterization of the theoretical physiognomy of Comrade Bukharin. We understand that such a theoretician has yet to finish his studies. And if Comrade Bukharin understood that he is not yet fully finished theorist, that he needs to complete his studies, that he is a theoretician who has not yet fully mastered dialectics, and dialectics is the soul of Marxism, if he understood this, then he would have been more modest, and the party would only benefit from this.” (Stalin, Questions of Leninism, pp. 415 – 416, 9th ed.)

The MechanistsDenial of the Leninist Stage in the Development of Marxist Philosophy


“Here I must dwell on one thing so that there is no misunderstanding. What can we mean by Marxism? By it one can mean two things: either we have before us a methodology – a system of methods for studying social phenomena, or it is a certain amount of ideas; – for example, we include here the theory of historical materialism, the doctrine of the development of capitalist relations, etc., and in addition we include a number of specific provisions, that is, we take Marxism not only as a method or theoretically formulated methodology, but we take a number of specific applications this method, the whole amount of ideas that came out as a result of this application. From the latter point of view, it is quite clear that Lenin’s Marxism is a field much broader than Marx’s Marxism. It is clear why. Because to the sum of ideas that was then, a new sum of concrete propositions was added as a result of the analysis of completely new phenomena, a completely new historical strip. In this conventional sense, Leninism is a deduction from the border of Marxism. But if we mean by Marxism not the sum of ideas, as it was in Marx, but the tool, the methodology that is embedded in Marxism, then it goes without saying that Leninism is not something that modifies or revises the methodology of Marx’s doctrine. On the contrary, in this sense Leninism is a complete return to that Marxism, which was formulated by Marx and Engels themselves.” (Bukharin, Collection “Attack,” p. 255, Gosizdat, 2nd ed.)

And again Bukharin:

“...The greatest that Comrade Lenin brought to the theoretical and practical treasury of Marxism can be formulated as follows: Marx had mainly the algebra of capitalist development and revolutionary practice, while Lenin also has this algebra and the algebra of new phenomena (of a destructive and positive order), and their arithmetic, that is, the decoding of an algebraic formula from a more concrete and even more practical angle of view.” (Bukharin, Collection “Attack,” p. 258, Gosizdat, 2nd ed. )

The mechanist Sarabyanov attacked Deborin for “idealism” from a mechanistic position:

“Over the past several years, Comrade Deborin and his school have been waging an offensive against orthodox Marxism. As befits revisionism, this offensive is being waged in the name of the classics of Marxism. But history repeats itself not only in this, but also in the following extremely indicative fact: the Deborins are forced to oppose some classics of dialectical materialism to others.

Just as the revisionists of the Second International opposed Engels to Marx, just as Bogdanov and other empirio-criticists opposed Engels to Plekhanov, so now the Deborinists are doing the same procedure with Plekhanov and Lenin. Needless to say, there is absolutely no disagreement between Lenin and Plekhanov, as well as their teachers, on the essence of the question, on all the basic problems of Marxist philosophy. Needless to say, they all solve the theory of knowledge in the same way, just as they solve all the central problems of materialist dialectics in the same way. If Lenin had disagreed with Plekhanov on the merits, he would not have recommended the latter’s philosophical works as the best in Marxist literature.” (Sarabyanov, In Defense of the Philosophy of Marxism, Foreword, p. V, Gosizdat, 1929)

Mechanismthe philosophical basis of the right deviation

Stalin in “Foundations of Leninism” discusses Bukharin’s mistakes regarding economic issues:

“Comrade Bukharin’s fourth mistake concerns the question of NEP. Comrade Bukharin’s mistake here is that he does not see the two-sidedness of NEP, he sees only one side of NEP. When we introduced NEP in 1921, we then directed its spearhead against War Communism, against a regime and order that exclude any freedom of trade. We believed and still believe that NEP means a certain freedom of trade. Comrade Bukharin remembered this aspect of the matter. And this is very good. But Comrade Bukharin is mistaken in assuming that this aspect of the matter exhausts NEP. Comrade Bukharin forgets that NEP still has another side. The point is that NEP does not at all mean complete freedom of trade, free play of prices in the market. NEP is freedom of trade in the famouslimits, in known ranks, while ensuring the regulatory role of the state and its role in the market. This is precisely the second side of NEP. Moreover, this side of NEP is no less, if not more, important than its first side. We do not have a free play of prices on the market, as is usually the case in capitalist countries. We mainly determine the prices of bread. We determine prices for manufactured goods. We are trying to pursue a policy of reducing production costs and reducing prices for manufactured goods, striving to maintain the stability of prices for agricultural products. Is it not clear that such special and specific orders on the market do not exist in general in capitalist countries. It follows from this that as long as there is NEP, both sides of it must be preserved: the first side, directed against the regime of war communism and has as its goal to ensure a certain freedom of trade, and the second side, directed against complete freedom of trade and has as its purpose the provision of regulatory the role of the state in the market. Destroy one of these sides, and you will have no NEP.” (Stalin, Questions of Leninism, pp. 404 – 405, 9th ed)

And further (from the same work of Stalin):

“Let us pass on to the second prejudice in political economy, to the second theory of the bourgeois type. I mean the theory of “spontaneous flow” in socialist construction, a theory that has nothing in common with Marxism, but is diligently preached by our comrades from the right camp. The authors of this theory state approximately the following. We had capitalism, industry developed on a capitalist basis, and the countryside followed the capitalist city spontaneously, by gravity, transforming itself in the image and likeness of a capitalist city. If so what happened under capitalism, why can’t the same thing happen under the Soviet economy, why can’t the countryside, small-peasant economy, follow the path of its own accord after the socialist city, spontaneously transforming itself in the image and likeness of a socialist city? The authors of this theory argue on this basis that the countryside can follow the socialist city in a spontaneous order. Hence the question: should we get excited about the formation of state and collective farms, should we break spears if the countryside can follow the socialist city anyway? Here is another theory for you, which objectively has as its goal to put a new weapon in the hands of the capitalist elements in the countryside in their struggle against the collective farms. The anti-Marxist essence of this theory is beyond doubt. Isn’t it strange that our theorists have not yet bothered to uncover this strange theory that clogs the heads of our collective farmer practitioners?

There is no doubt that the leading role of the socialist city in relation to the small-peasant countryside is great and invaluable. It is on this that the transformative role of industry in relation to agriculture is built. But is this factor sufficient for the small-peasant countryside to go out of town on its own in the matter of socialist construction? No, not enough. Under capitalism, the countryside went spontaneously outside the city, because the capitalist economy of the city and the small-scale commodity economy of the peasant are basically the same type.economy. Of course, a small-peasant commodity economy is not yet a capitalist economy. But it is basically of the same type as the capitalist economy, since it relies on private ownership of the means of production. Lenin is a thousand times right when he speaks in his notes on Comrade Bukharin’s book on “The Economy of the Transition Period” about the “commodity- capitalist tendency of the peasantry” as opposed to the socialist tendency of the proletariat [Lenin’s italics. – I. St.]. This explains precisely the fact that “small-scale production gives birth to capitalism and the bourgeoisie constantly, annually, hourly, spontaneously and on a mass scale” (Lenin). Can it therefore be said that small-scale peasant farming is fundamentally of the same type with socialist production in the city? Obviously, this cannot be said without breaking with Marxism. Otherwise Lenin would not have said that “as long as we live in a small peasant country, there is a more solid economic basis for capitalism in Russia than for communism.” Consequently, the theory of spontaneity in the matter of socialist construction is a rotten, anti-Leninist theory. Therefore, in order for the small-peasant countryside to follow the socialist city, it is necessary, among other things, to plant large socialist farms in the countryside in the form of state farms and collective farms, as the bases of socialism, capable of leading the bulk of the peasantry led by the socialist city. The point is clear. The theory of “spontaneous flow” in socialist construction is an anti-Marxist theory. The socialist city must lead the small-peasant countryside, planting collective and state farms in the countryside and transforming the countryside in a new, socialist way.” (Stalin, Questions of Leninism, pp. 445 – 447, 9th ed.)

In the same work, Stalin has also addressed the so-called “theory of spontaneity” admired by the mechanists:

“...The “theory” of spontaneity is the theory of opportunism, the theory of admiration for the spontaneity of the labor movement, the theory of the actual denial of the leading role of the vanguard of the working class, the party of the working class. The theory of admiration for spontaneity is resolutely against the revolutionary character of the labor movement, it is against the movement to be directed along the line of struggle against the foundations of capitalism – it is for the movement to proceed exclusively along the line of “feasible,” “acceptable” for capitalism demands, it is entirely for “line of least resistance.” The theory of spontaneity is the ideology of trade unionism. The theory of admiration for spontaneity is resolutely opposed to imparting a conscious, planned character to a spontaneous movement; it is opposed to the party going ahead of the working class, to raising the masses to the level of consciousness, to the party leading the movement – it is in favor of the conscious elements of the movement did not prevent the movement from going its own way; it was in favor of the party only listening to the spontaneous movement and dragging along behind it. The theory of spontaneity is the theory of diminishing the role of the conscious element in the movement, the ideology of “tailing,” the logical basis of all opportunism.

In practice, this theory, which appeared on the scene even before the first revolution in Russia, led to the fact that its followers, the so-called “economists,” denied the need for an independent workers’ party in Russia, opposed the revolutionary struggle of the working class for the overthrow of tsarism, politics in the movement and, in general, placed the labor movement under the hegemony of the liberal bourgeoisie. The struggle of the old Iskra and the brilliant criticism of the theory of “tailing” given in Lenin’s pamphlet “What is to be done?” Without this struggle, there was nothing to think about creating an independent workers’ party in Russia and about its leading role in the revolution.

But the theory of admiration for spontaneity is not only a Russian phenomenon. It has the widest distribution, albeit in a slightly different form, in all parties of the Second International without exception. I mean the so-called theory of “productive forces” vulgarized by the leaders of the Second International, which justifies everything and reconciles everyone, which states the facts and explains them after everyone is tired of them, and, stating, settles on this. Marx said that the materialist theory cannot limit itself to explaining the world, that it must still change it. But Kautsky and those around him don’t care about that, they prefer to stay with the first part of Marx’s formula. Here is one of many examples of the application of this “theory.” It is said that before the imperialist war, the parties of the Second International threatened to declare “war on war” if the imperialists went to war. It is said that just before the outbreak of the war, these parties shelled the slogan “war against war” and put into practice the opposite slogan of “war for the imperialist fatherland.” It is said that the result of this change of slogan was millions of worker casualties. But it would be a mistake to think that there are guilty persons here, that someone has betrayed the working class or betrayed it. Not at all! Everything happened the way it should have happened. First, because the International is an “instrument of peace” and not of war. Secondly, because given the “level of productive forces” that existed at that time, nothing else could be done. The “productive forces” are “to blame.” Mr. Kautsky’s “theory of the productive forces” explains this “to us” exactly. And who does not believe in this “theory” is not a Marxist. The role of parties? Their meaning in motion? But what can the party do with such a decisive factor as the “level of productive forces"? ..

A whole bunch of such examples of falsification of Marxism could be cited. It scarcely needs proof that this falsified “Marxism” designed to cover up the nakedness of opportunism is only a European modification of the very theory of “khvostism” with which Lenin fought even before the first Russian revolution.” (Stalin, Questions of Leninism, pp. 17 – 19, ed. 9th)

The opposition of the methodological foundations of Bolshevism and Menshevism

Before the revolution Comrade Stalin had already stressed that:

“There are two groups of Marxists. Both of them work under the flag of Marxism, consider themselves “truly” Marxist. And yet they are far from identical. Moreover, there is a whole gulf between them, because their methods of work are diametrically opposed.

The first group is usually limited to external recognition of Marxism, its solemn proclamation. Unable or unwilling to grasp the essence of Marxism, unable or unwilling to put it into practice, it transforms the living and revolutionary principles of Marxism into dead formulas that say nothing. She bases her activity not on experience, not on taking into account practical work, but on quotations from Marx. She draws instructions and directives not from the analysis of living reality, but from the analogies of historical parallels. The discrepancy between word and deed is the main disease of this group. Hence the disappointment and eternal dissatisfaction with fate, which often brings her down, leaves her “with her nose.” The name of this group is Menshevism (in Russia), opportunism (in Europe). Comrade Tyshko (Leo Jogiches) at the London Congress quite aptly characterized this group, saying that it is not worth it, but lies with the point of view of Marxism.

The second group, on the contrary, shifts the center of gravity of the issue from external recognition of Marxism to its implementation, to its implementation. Outlining the ways and means of realizing Marxism, corresponding to the situation, changing these ways and means when the situation changes – this is what this group mainly turns its attention to. This group draws its directives and instructions not from historical analogies and parallels, but from the study of the surrounding conditions. In her activities, she does not rely on quotations and sayings, but on practical experience, checking her every step by experience, learning from her mistakes and teaching others to build a new life. This, in fact, explains that in the activity of this group the word does not diverge from the deed, and the teaching of Marx retains its full living revolutionary force. The words of Marx are quite suitable for this group, by virtue of which Marxists cannot stop at explaining the world, but must go further in order to change it. The name of this group is Bolshevism, Communism. The organizer and leader of this group is V.I.Lenin.” (Stalin, On Lenin, pp. 3 – 4)

The Idealistic Understanding of Philosophy by Menshevik Idealists

Academician A. M. Deborin, chief among the group calling itself the “Dialecticians” (in fact Menshevizing idealists) supposed to be the “opposite” of the Mechanists, writes:

“The liberation or separation of logical categories from a specific objective content makes it possible to transform logic into an independent science. Logic is the science of thinking ... Logic underlies all sciences, constituting their foundation and foundation. It has as its object not any definite sensory and empirical objects, but those general logical categories that underlie all sciences.” (Deborin, Collected Works “Philosophy and Marxism,” pp. 270 and 272, Gosizdat, 1930)

Restoration and canonization of Hegel among the Menshevik idealists

Gonikman, a pupil of Deborin, writes:

“The system of dialectics of our time can arise only as the revealed essence of all our knowledge, that is, encyclopedic knowledge is a prerequisite for its creation ... What do we, to be honest, have to say about our powers? True, we are not starting from scratch. We have an ingenious system of Hegelian dialectics and scattered “allusions” to the theory of materialist dialectics from our classics. Hegel’s system of dialectics is idealistic – it must be translated into materialistic language. But such a translation can at best be a materialistic commentary or an exposition of the dialectic of Hegelian times. We must begin with this – this is only the beginning. The Hegelian system of dialectics is the system of its time. It must be translated into the language of modern materialism.” (Gonikman, journal “Problems of Marxism” No. 2, 1932, pp. 22 – 23)

And Deborin himself is always ready to “Marxify” Hegel:

“Hegel in the dialectic of concepts guessed the dialectic of things. Contrary to his idealism, Hegel himself was already groping for the materialistic roots of dialectics, for he sought it not in the mind, but in the “idea,” that is, in objective reality. Hegel synthesized into one whole the theory of knowledge, dialectics and logic. Hegel correctly solved, at least theoretically, the question of the relationship between theory and practice, which made it possible for Marx to introduce the criterion of practice into the theory of knowledge.

In Hegel we find the beginnings of historical materialism, insofar as he gropes for the role of tools of labor (and technology in general) in the production process. Hegel discovered in “Logic” the basic laws of dialectics and outlined them, albeit in an idealistic way, but in a systematic form. The order in which the categories are arranged, in the main, must be recognized as correct and corresponding to the actual course of development of human cognition.” (Deborin, Preface to “Lenin’s collection” IX, p. 19)

Deborin elsewhere:

“Since ideas constitute only a “reflection” of the real world in our heads, since, therefore, objective existence is not inherent in the idea, then Hegel’s entire teaching on the concept and the idea, as developed especially in the last part of Logic, is subject to radical processing in in accordance with the materialistic understanding of the world. It does not follow from this, however, that the views expressed by Hegel in this part of the Logic do not in themselves deserve the most serious attention ... As for the doctrine of being and essence, it seems to us that these two sections do not need radical revision in the sense of eliminating certain separate parts. We can only talk about their materialistic interpretation and about certain additions (it is necessary to include time and space in the doctrine of being), about a certain regrouping of categories and about their greater concretization ...

Together with Hegel, we must begin logic from the categories of being as from directly existing definitions of a real principle, that is, from material substance. At this first stage, matter, of course, appears only as an indefinite substrate, which, as it moves forward, is enriched with more and more concrete definitions. One often comes across the opinion that Hegel did wrong, taking quality as the first stage of being. He would have to start with quantity, or even measure. We think these arguments are erroneous. First of all, there is no doubt that the structure of Hegel’s logic, insofar as it concerns the mutual relationship of being and essence, in general, should be recognized as fully consistent with the actual course of the process of cognition.” (Deborin, Introductory article to Volume I of Hegel’s opus, pp. LXVIII – LXIX)

Also Deborin:

“The main idea of Hegel in his criticism of criticism and any theory of knowledge boils down to the fact that criticism of thought, that is, the study of its abilities, must go hand in hand with the activity of thought. Hegel solves the problem of cognition in the light of the world-historical practice of mankind. The dualism of subject and object, cognition and object is overcome not through contemplation, so to speak, of these opposites, but as a result of the struggle between the subject and the object, their mutual comparison and comparison in the process of the historical life of mankind. “You cannot learn to swim without going into the water.” The history of human knowledge gives us the key to understanding and correctly solving the problem of knowledge itself.... Various forms of thought and cognition correspond to various historical stages in the development of life in all its manifestations, in the process of the historical formation of mankind. Hegel was the first to understand the need to apply the historical method to the very process of knowledge. Both forms of knowledge are the product of historical development, and it itself rests on those lower forms from which it originated by overcoming them. Hegel showed that the consciousness of humanity has its own history and that the history of this consciousness of humanity coincides with the history of all other forms of life with which it constitutes one integral truth.” (Deborin, Philosophy and Marxism, p. 238, Gosizdat, 1930)

“It is in fact highly characteristic for Hegel that he assigns such an honorable place to practice, seeing in it a necessary link in the process of cognition. Moreover, in the system of categories, practice stands immediately after a theoretical idea and before objective truth, which should mean that practice is a criterion of cognition and a transition to objective truth. “Reconciliation between subject and object,” says Hegel, “is that the will returns to the assumption of knowledge, that is, it recognizes the unity of the theoretical idea with the practical.” Thus, the problem of the unity of subject and object also gets the correct permission on the basis of the unity of theory and practice.” (Deborin, Preface to “Lenin’s collection” IX, pp. 16 – 17)

“Lenin considered the Hegelian construction to be basically correct, which is expressed in the movement of our cognition (as well as the historical process of the development of human cognition and, together with it, of all science in general) from immediate being (quality, quantity, measure) to essence, concept and absolute idea, which Lenin understands it as a complete truth. Developing further his thoughts on the question of the Hegelian structure of Logic, that is, the dialectic of scientific knowledge, Lenin writes the following: “First impressions flash, then something stands out, then the concepts of quality (definition of a thing or phenomenon) and quantity are developed.... Then study and reflection direct thought to the cognition of identity – difference – basis – essence versus phenomenon, causality, etc. All these moments (steps, steps, processes) of cognition are directed from the subject to the object, being tested by practice and coming through this test to the truth (= the absolute idea). “ Consequently, from this reasoning of Lenin follows his agreement with Hegel on the question of the general course of the development of human knowledge and, therefore, also on the question of the structure of logic.” (Deborin, Preface to Lenin Collection IX, pp. 6 – 7)

For the Hegelian Deborin, Marx and Engels were “better Hegelians than Hegel”:

“If Marx and Engels, borrowing from Hegel the foundations of his method, rejected his system, then we can say that they turned out to be better and more consistent Hegelians than Hegel himself. The theory of knowledge, as it will be explained in another connection, is absorbed by methodology. Criticism of the faculties of reason dissolves into their history, for their true meaning is contained in their development and in the fact that they are the result of this development. Subject and object are historical categories, not metaphysical entities – this is the starting point of Marx, who is directly adjacent in this respect to Hegelian dialectics. For a correct understanding of Marxism, this position is of fundamental importance.” (Deborin, “Philosophy and Marxism,” pp. 245 – 246, Gosizdat, 1930)

Lenin on the relation of Marxism to Hegel’s idealist dialectic

“...Arguments on the topic that Marxism is associated with Hegelianism [I am talking, of course, not about the historical origin of Marxism, but about its modern content], With faith in triads, in abstract dogmas and schemes that do not require verification by facts, for each country to go through the phase of capitalism, etc., turn out to be empty chatter. Marxism sees its criterion in the formulation and in the theoretical explanation of the struggle of social classes and economic interests going on before our eyes.” (Lenin, The Economic Content of Populism (1894), Works, vol. I, p. 282)

“Hegel’s logic cannot be applied in its given form: it cannot be taken as given. It is necessary to choose logical (epistemological) shades from it, clearing ideas from mysticism; that’s even more work.” (Lenin Collection XII, p. 205)

“Marx says that his method is “directly opposite” to Hegel’s. According to Hegel, the development of an idea, according to the dialectical laws of the triad, determines the development of reality. Only in this case, of course, can one talk about the meaning of the triads, about the indisputability of the dialectical process. In my opinion – on the contrary, – says Marx: “The ideal is only a reflection of the material.” And the whole thing thus comes down to a “positive understanding of the present and its necessary development”: there is no other place for the triads but the role of the lid and the husk (“I flirted with Hegel’s language” – says Marx in the same Afterword), which some are able to be interested in philistines.” (Lenin, Who are the “friends of the people” (1894), Works, vol. I, p. 86)

“In general, I try to read Hegel materialistically: Hegel is materialism put on its head (according to Engels) – that is, I mostly discard God, the absolute, the pure idea, etc.” (Lenin Collection IX, p. 59)

Denial by the Menshevik idealists of the Leninist stage in the development of philosophy

Deborin considers Plekhanov to be the greatest theoretician of his age, while Lenin is only a mere “practitioner”:

“Lenin in philosophy, of course, is a “disciple” of Plekhanov, as he himself has repeatedly stated. But the fact that he studied under Plekhanov did not prevent Lenin from independently approaching a whole series of questions and correcting Plekhanov on some essential points. Both of these thinkers complement each other in a sense. Plekhanov is above all a theoretician, while Lenin, above all, is a practitioner, politician, leader ... Lenin was the greatest practical materialist, that is, the philosopher of the practical struggle to change reality, while relying on the theory of materialism, on the philosophy that proceeds from the materialist understanding of human nature and history ... Lenin foresaw the future better than anyone else. In order for the foresight to come true, it was necessary to act in the direction in which life developed, in which the process of life proceeded. This is what Lenin did. He was mainly a practical philosopher ... Lenin is a brilliant student and follower of Marx. Undoubtedly, Lenin’s entire strength consisted, in addition to his personal genius, in the correct application of Marxism in practice, in its implementation ... Marx is a great, brilliant theoretician, a colossal mind that sees hundreds of years ahead. The bourgeoisie could never have such thinkers. She had, of course, many great, brilliant minds; they built comprehensive philosophical systems; they have done a lot for science in general. But their systems bore the stamp of “academicism.” These thinkers and scientists got to the most distant celestial bodies, to the depths of the atom. But for the science of social history they have done comparatively very little. Here they were crude empiricists, for history is against them. They had to stop and limit the course of historical development. The entire spiritual power of proletarian revolutionary thinkers was concentrated on mastering human society, on restructuring it, on cognizing its driving forces. Marx also raised the social sciences to an unattainable height, to the height of exact science.Marxism turned politics into a science. Lenin was a genius politician of that school [Italics of the compilers.]. For him, the theoretical basis of scientific policy was Marxism. Therefore, one should not oppose Leninism – Marxist politics and tactics – to Marxism as a philosophical, historical and economic theory on which Lenin’s policies and tactics were based, but see in it the application and further development of Marxism.” (Deborin, Lenin as a thinker, pp. 7, 12 and 26, Gosizdat, 1929, 3rd ed)

“Vladimir Ilyich began to study Hegel closely in 1914, apparently intending to write a special work on materialist dialectics. He managed to work out the main works of Hegel, Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Lassalle’s two-volume work on Heraclitus the Dark, a number of works by old and new authors on Hegel’s philosophy and, in this regard, various works on the theory and history of natural science... In his philosophical notebooks we find a list of books scheduled for further elaboration in connection with the study of Hegel. Unfortunately, Lenin did not succeed in processing all this material and presenting the results of his research in a systematic form, since the relative political “lull” that gave Lenin the opportunity during this period of “respite” to engage in serious scientific work soon ceased, and he was forced to abandon their scholarly pursuits. There is no doubt that if he managed to bring the work started to the end, he would give a serious impetus to the further development of dialectical materialism, raising it to a higher level.” (Deborin, Preface to IX “Lenin Collection,” p. 3)

The coincidence of the Menshevik idealists and Trotskyistsassessments of Lenin as a theoretician

Let’s see what L. D. Trotsky’s assessment of Lenin is:

“Lenin reflects the working class not only in its proletarian present, but also in its still fresh peasant past. This most indisputable of the leaders of the proletariat has not only a peasant appearance, but also a strong peasant background. Before Smolny stands a monument to another great man of the world proletariat: Marx on a stone, in a black frock coat. Of course, this is a trifle, but Lenin, even mentally, cannot be dressed in a black frock coat. In some portraits, Marx is depicted with a starchy shirt front wide open, on which something like a monocle dangles. That Marx was not inclined to flirtatiousness is all too clear to those who have an idea of the spirit of Marx. But Marx was born and raised on a different national and cultural soil, breathed a different atmosphere, just as the upper ranks of the German working class do not have their roots in the peasant village, The very style of Marx is rich and beautiful, the combination of strength and flexibility, anger and irony, austerity and sophistication carries with it the literary and aesthetic accumulations of all previous socio-political German literature, from the Reformation and earlier. Lenin’s literary and oratorical style is terribly simple, utilitarian, ascetic, like his whole way of life. But in this mighty asceticism there is not even a shadow of moralism. This is not a principle, not a far-fetched system, and certainly not a show, it is just an external expression of the inner concentration of forces for action. This is the master’s peasant efficiency – only on a grand scale. Marx is all in the Communist Manifesto, in the preface to his Critique, in Capital. If he had not even been the founder of the First International, he would have remained forever what he is now. On the contrary, Lenin is entirely in revolutionary action. His scientific works are only preparation for action. If he had not published a single book in the past, he would have gone down in history forever as he is now: the leader of the proletarian revolution, the founder of the Third International ... The fact that the working class raised such two figures as Marx and Lenin on the two ridges of its stream is a colossal plus of the revolution. Marx is a prophet with tablets, and Lenin is the greatest executor of behests, teaching not the proletarian aristocracy, like Marx, but classes, peoples by experience, acting in the most difficult circumstances, maneuvering and winning.” (Trotsky, On Lenin, pp. 147 – 148 and 160, Gosizdat, 2nd ed.)

Results of the discussion on the philosophical sector of the theoretical front (From the resolution of the general meeting of the IKP cell of philosophy and natural science)

1. The modern period of socialist construction is the best test of the combat effectiveness of all sectors of our theoretical front. In a period of heightened class struggle, intense work on the socialist reorganization of the country, all fundamental political and theoretical questions are posed bluntly: in the process of the struggle, the party reveals everything that not only in economics and politics, but also in all theoretical sectors is an expression of resistance to the developed and the victorious offensive of socialism. He mercilessly exposes everything rotten, opportunistic, everything non-Bolshevik, anti-Leninist in theory, everything that is, in one form or another, an expression of bourgeois or petty-bourgeois influence on the ideology of the proletariat, no matter how carefully it may be veiled and hidden.

2. The recovery period in the development of our country was accompanied by a certain growth of capitalist elements, which inevitably gave rise to and revived in a number of theoretical areas various forms of manifestation of the Menshevik theories of the Second International, under all sorts of disguises revising the theory of Marxism-Leninism.

These essentially Menshevik, revisionist theories and “theories,” for a number of reasons and circumstances, are firmly nestled in separate theoretical areas. The counter-revolutionary ideology of Trotskyism, the Menshevik ideology of Rubinism (associated with economist Isaak Illich Rubin), which is essentially the economic theory of the Second International, which, despite the direct instructions of the Central Committee of the Party, is still completely insufficiently criticized and exposed, the Bogdanovist-mechanistic theories of Bukharin and others in political economy, the Menshevik-Struvist concept, Pereverzevism (the vulgar-sociological views of literary critic Valerian Pereverzev and his school on literary history), Voronism (the views of literary critic Alexander Voronsky and the literary journal Krasnaya Nov’), etc. in literary criticism, the criticism of which has not yet been raised to an appropriate theoretical level, a bloc of mechanistic revision of materialist dialectics with an openly Menshevik, positivist-Kantian revision of Marxism (Sarabyanov, Varyash, Timiryazev).

3. The successful struggle for the general line of the party with all sorts of anti-Bolshevik deviations and trends, the exposure of the anti-Marxist, anti-Leninist essence of Trotskyism and right-wing opportunism took place on the basis of the development of direct implementation of Lenin’s teachings. Leninism as Marxism in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolutions represents a new stage of development in decisively all areas of Marxist theory. Over the past period, we have seen the penetration of the Marxist-Leninist theory into the millions of the proletariat and working people, as well as a significant growth and training of truly Bolshevik theoretical cadres.

All these circumstances lead to an intensified struggle on the most important sectors of the ideological front. The main meaning and significance of this struggle lies in the unfolding offensive of the Marxist-Leninist theory in all sectors of ideology and the final overcoming of all anti-Marxist, anti-Leninist theories, all manifestations of quasi-Marxism of the era of the Second International in theory.

4. The party organization of the IKP Philosophy and Natural Science correctly understood the instructions of Comrade Stalin at the conference of the agrarian Marxists on the need to quickly eliminate the unacceptable lag of theory behind the practical successes of socialist construction and the extreme necessity that followed from these instructions to raise these questions in full breadth and depth as applied to the situation on the philosophical front. In the course of the philosophical discussion, the main lines of disagreement were completely correctly identified: about the necessity and nature of a turn on the philosophical front, about the partisanship of philosophy, natural science and all theory in general, about Leninism in philosophy as a new stage in the development of dialectical materialism, about the need for an unfolded struggle on two fronts. in philosophy and natural science,

5. The discussion showed the correctness of the basic principles of the Bureau in criticizing the positions of the so-called philosophical leadership.

6. Taking into account the experience and lessons of the discussion, the entire depth of political and philosophical disagreements with the Deborin group, the meaning and significance of which were especially clearly defined in the instructions of Comrade Stalin, given by him in an interview with the bureau of the party cell of the IKP philosophy and natural science, the meeting considers that the qualification of views the so-called philosophical leadership, given in the resolution of the Bureau of October 14 (Bolshevik No. 19 – 20) as a formalistic deviation, is academic, not clear enough and must be clarified and strengthened, for the formalistic distortion of materialist dialectics is essentially an idealist revision of Marxism.

The entire set of theoretical and political views of the Deborin group is, in fact, essentially Menshevik idealism, which is based on non-Marxist, non-Leninist methodology, which expresses the form of manifestation of petty-bourgeois ideology and pressure on the proletariat by the hostile class forces surrounding it. This is an extremely subtle form of the idealist revision of Marxism, extremely carefully veiled, covered by materialist Marxist phraseology, often dressed up in Marxist-Leninist clothes, which itself often appears in a very harsh form not only against the frank, priestly counter-revolutionary idealism of Aleksei Losev’s type, but even against idealistic Hegelians like Georg Lukács.

Fighting against Leninism in philosophy and against a turn on the philosophical front, the group of Deborin, Karev, Sten, and others took the path of a direct and open struggle against dialectical materialism, the path of anti-Marxism.

7. The meeting of the IKP Philosophy and Natural Science also considers it necessary to change the following formulations, which give an assessment of the line of work at the last stage of the so-called philosophical leadership, in the resolution of the bureau of the cell on October 14:

1) “that the work in the past period in a number of areas was carried out, in general, in the direction indicated by Lenin,” and 2) “at the last stage of development, the line of philosophical leadership was basically correct” – as not corresponding to reality, as well as given above characterizing the essence of the views of the Deborin group ... The Menshevik traditions of Comrade Deborin, the strong influence of a number of erroneous aspects of Plekhanov’s political and philosophical views, criticized by Lenin, from which Comrade Deborin has not completely freed himself up to now, as well as the party inconsistency of the cadres surrounding him (Karev, Sten, etc.), – all this created material from the Deborin group that was easily exposed to the influence of the petty-bourgeois environment, and could not but be reflected in the most dramatic way on its theoretical work.

The Deborin group not only failed to come to the realization of the basic instructions of Lenin in his article “On the Meaning of Militant Materialism,” but, on the contrary, to a large extent perverted them, conducting their theoretical work not in the spirit of consistent dialectical materialism, but in the spirit of essentially idealistic revision of it ... In the fight against the Mechanists, the Deborin group played a certain positive role. It should be borne in mind, however, that this group did not criticize the Mechanists from an orthodox Marxist standpoint. Basically and in essence, the Hegelian, idealistic-dialectical attitudes of the Deborin group in the most important questions of methodology made it possible to a certain extent to criticize and expose the complete misunderstanding by the mechanists of the essence of philosophy in general and dialectics in particular, their thoroughly metaphysical methodology, their crude, vulgar materialism and positivism, and thereby fulfill known positive role. At one time, Lenin remarked very aptly: “Hegel beats all materialism except dialectical.” [Lenin Collection XII, p. 235].

However, the criticism of the Deborin group did not provide a consistent, up to the end revelation of the mechanistic methodology. On the contrary, the idealistic essence and eclecticism of the writings of this group actually led its representatives to actual agreement on a number of issues with the mechanists (for example, the agreement of Comrades Deborin and Luppol with Sarabyanov on the question of the alleged terminological nature of Plekhanov’s mistakes, of hieroglyphs, of the relationship between Lenin and Plekhanov as Marxist philosophers, Luppol’s agreement with Sarabyanov on the issue of Locke’s theory of primary and secondary qualities, etc.).

8. The anti-Marxist essence of the views of the Deborin group found its expression:

a) in isolation of theory from practice, philosophy from politics, etc., which actually resurrected “one of the harmful features and dogmas of the Second International” (Stalin);

b) in a complete rejection of the application, as well as in a distortion of the Leninist principle of partisanship in philosophy, which most clearly expresses the class character of our philosophy, for the best in the working class is its vanguard – the Communist Party. The group of Deborin, Karev, Sten ignored this Leninist principle, for it necessarily includes the demand to defend the general line of the party and to fight all deviations from it;

c) in underestimating, finally, Lenin as a theoretician in general, and especially as a Marxist philosopher, in ignoring, not recognizing Leninism in philosophy as a new stage in the development of dialectical materialism, in repeating and deepening a number of Plekhanov’s mistakes in the field of philosophy and historical materialism. The underestimation of the philosophical and, in general, the theoretical significance of Lenin’s works is undoubtedly in connection with the guidelines in the research work carried out by the Institute of Marx and Engels.

9. This essence also found expression not only in the lack of understanding on the part of the Deborin group of Leninism in philosophy, but also in the organically related lack of understanding of the most important problems of Leninism in general, in the biggest mistakes made on these issues. These include: the Kautskian type of errors in the interpretation of imperialism, a completely abstract formulation of the problems of the dictatorship of the proletariat, democracy and dictatorship (Deborin), right-wing opportunist views on issues of culture and the cultural revolution (Luppol, Karev, Bobrovnikov), abstract Bogdanovist opposition of individualism and collectivism, posing a number of problems of communist society in the spirit of the old, Bogdanov-Bazarov “philosophy of collectivism,” with a large admixture of Feuerbachianism, “collectivization of feelings,” etc. (Deborin, Building Socialism and Our Tasks on the Theoretical Front, “Under the Banner of Marxism” No. 5, 1930), the Menshevik-Sukhanov interpretation of the problem of productive forces and production relations (“productive forces are an active principle, production relations are a passive consequence.” (Gonikman), Kautskian mistakes in morality (Deborin), – finally, the Trotskyist, and essentially Menshevik, social-democratic positions of Karev on the question of the classes of the transitional period, the impossibility of building socialism in our country, the half-Trotskyist mistakes of Comrade Sten, one of the “ideological” inspirers of the right-wing “leftist” bloc, and the general extreme abstractness of the issues of classes and class struggle in those cases when representatives of the Deborin group in one way or another concerned them.

10. The inability to actually overcome Hegel’s idealism, the perception without materialistic restructuring of the most important points of his philosophy were expressed in the form of a whole system of idealistic views in philosophical issues proper, starting with a general interpretation and definition of matter and ending with the question of the structure of logic. The study of Hegel’s dialectics, the need for which Lenin emphasizes in a very sharp form, since in the works of Deborin’s group did not rely on the materialist dialectics of Marx, Engels, Lenin, on the practice of socialist construction, etc., turned into its opposite. Instead of elaborating and developing dialectical materialism, such a “study” of Hegel led to an idealistic perversion of materialist dialectics.

11. This perversion found its expression in errors associated with incorrect definitions of matter falling into idealism. For example: the definition of matter as an infinite set of mediations, relations, connections (Deborin), from which the real bearer of these relations fell out; a completely idealistic understanding of matter as a synthesis of space and time (Hesse); the Machian thesis that “living reality, reality, the object receives only in the process of interaction with the subject” (Hesse); idealistic rationalism in all the most important questions of philosophy (Tymyansky, Introduction to Dialectical Materialism), etc.

The following are organically linked to incorrect definitions of matter: a completely incorrect understanding of materialist dialectics itself, which is supposedly a “general methodology that introduces an internal connection into a specific content” (Deborin); errors in understanding the theory of dialectics as supposedly only “a general theory, treating categories “abstractly,” abstracting from how they are applied in certain special cases, giving a general logical analysis of them (Deborin); sustained in the spirit of Hegel’s idealism, the requirement for the need for a “closed system of dialectical categories” (Gonikman), etc., etc.

12. The “methodologization” in the works of Deborin’s group was essentially expressed in the idealistic rupture of method and worldview, dialectics and materialism, dialectics and the theory of knowledge, dialectics and historical materialism.

Deborin oddly combines, on the one hand, the opposition of the theory of knowledge to dialectics, on the other hand, the view that “the theory of knowledge is absorbed by methodology. The posing of the question of the absorption of the theory of knowledge by methodology has only one meaning – scholastic-idealistic theorizing over “pure” methodology, over “dialectics” divorced from materialism.

The main feature of all these errors is that the specified group in their theoretical works failed to correctly resolve the issue of the relationship between theory and practice, distorted the Marxist-Leninist doctrine of the law of the unity of opposites, was unable to materialistically rework the Hegelian doctrine of the unity of the general, the particular, and the individual. failed to cope with these major problems of materialist dialectics. As a result, its representatives got a gap between empirical and rational moments in cognition, between sensation and thinking, between historical and logical, between form and content. The categories of dialectics turned out to be only abstract, “general,” divorced from the concrete, particular and individual, categories of thinking, in which there was supposedly not an atom of empiricism, purely logical categories.

13. The situation on the natural science front is also closely connected with the situation on the philosophical front. A number of leading comrades in the field of natural science fully supported the position of the Deborin group (Agol, Levin, Levit, Gessen), or treated it conciliatorily, essentially defending it (Otto Yulyevich Schmidt). This group of natural scientists, in addition, in special questions of natural science took an incorrect – essentially anti-Marxist – position (the apolitical distortion of Comrade Stalin’s instructions on the relationship between theory and practice, separation of theory from practice, opposition to self-criticism, ignorance of Lenin’s role in natural science, revision of Engels’ methodological attitudes in natural science, in particular in biology, misunderstanding of the meaning and significance of Engels’ works for modern natural science, identification of the achievements of theoretical biology with Marxism, substitution of materialistic dialectics as a methodology of natural science with genetics, transition to the position of autogenesis, Machian statements in the field of physics and mathematics, essentially anti-Marxist content of the natural science department of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia conducted by representatives of the Deborin group). The struggle against the mechanists was completely inadequate, purely formal, in essence there is a junction with the mechanists in individual attitudes (the relationship between Marxism and natural science, the problem of internal and external, etc.). Mechanistic concepts in the field of medicine (Obukh’s group) remained completely out of sight.

14. In connection with all of the above, the task arises to revise, turn over everything written in philosophy by the representatives of Comrade Deborin’s group and subject to the most severe criticism everything anti-Marxist, anti-Leninist in their writings. At the same time, this revision should aim not only not to weaken the struggle against the mechanistic revision of dialectical materialism, but, on the contrary, should lead to an intensification of the struggle against it, to the final exposure of the mechanists.

The mechanists’ denial of Marxist-Leninist philosophy, the struggle against materialist dialectics under the banner of the struggle against the Hegelianism of the Deborin group, the tailor’s attitude to the “latest conclusions of modern natural science,” allegedly replacing the philosophy of Marxism-Leninism, the theory of “reduction” leading to discrediting social sciences, Mensheviks the theory of leaps, the defense of the “hieroglyphic” theory of knowledge and Locke’s theory of primary and secondary qualities, the Kantian-agnostic distortion of Lenin’s doctrine of objective, relative and absolute truth, the defense of the Menshevik-Kantian theory of morality, etc., etc., – All this testifies to the fact that in the person of the unprincipled block of mechanists we have an openly revisionist, anti-Marxist, anti-Leninist philosophical trend.

15. The decisive and consistent struggle on two fronts in the field of philosophy is now acquiring special importance. The main danger in modern conditions remains the mechanistic revision of dialectical materialism (Comrades Bukharin, Perov, Varyash, Sarabyanov, Timiryazev, Axelrod, etc.), the Bogdanov-mechanistic revision of historical materialism (Bukharin, etc.), for it is basically a theoretical basis frankly opportunist Right deviation, agents of the kulaks in the party, for it has deep social roots in the country in the conditions of the reconstruction period and the unfolded offensive of socialism along the entire front.

At the same time, the greatest vigilance is needed, special attention to those who have embarked on the path of anti-Marxism – the idealist revision of materialist dialectics, to the Menshevik idealism of the Deborin group (Deborin, Karev, Sten, Podvolotsky, Levit, Agol, etc.), for this danger has been exposed to a very small extent, is still completely insufficiently subjected to theoretical and political criticism, for it, in turn, feeds the main danger.

It is necessary to wage a decisive struggle against all kinds of conciliation, both to the mechanists (for example, Vasiliev and others) and to the idealist revision of Marxism by the Deborin group (for example, Stolyarov and others).

After exposing the essence of the views of the Deborin group as Menshevik idealism, open defense of their views or an openly conciliatory attitude towards them is extremely difficult. Therefore, special attention is required in relation to the formal recognition of these basic principles and a decisive struggle against the unwillingness to carry them out in all both theoretical and practical work, for such formal recognition will be one of the worst types of conciliation.

Along with this, the meeting of the IKP cell of philosophy and natural science considers it necessary to point out the danger of a simplistic understanding of Menshevik idealism. Such ideas try to reduce the whole essence of Menshevik idealism only and exclusively to Deborin’s Menshevik past and to essentially limit themselves to this in their critical work, they do not understand the social roots that the idealist revision of Marxism-Leninism has under the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Objectively, such views are directed against the task set above to turn over everything written by Deborin and his colleagues in philosophy.

16. The party meeting of the IKP Philosophy and Natural Science considers it necessary to note an attempt to forge a bloc between mechanists and representatives of the idealist revision of Marxism, which took place, for example, during a discussion on philosophical issues in Baku between the semi-mechanist comrade Vasilyev and an active Deborinist, an accomplice in the “leftist” views of Sten and Karev on the IKP – Comrade Garber.

17. The workers of the theoretical front are faced with the exceptional importance and complexity of the task of raising to new heights of all theoretical work in philosophy on the basis of a real study and development of Lenin’s richest legacy in the field of materialist dialectics, on the basis of a critical overcoming, on the one hand, of crude, vulgar, mechanistic materialism with its creeping empiricism, misunderstanding and vulgarization of the basic laws of dialectics, with its positivism, with its theory of “information,” the theory of equilibrium, etc., and on the other hand, abstract scholastic theorizing, the separation of theory from practice, the transformation of philosophy into an end in itself, scholastic operation with “mental entities,” exclusively and purely logical analysis of the categories of dialectics, etc.

We are faced with the task of actually working out the theory of materialist dialectics, the particular urgency of which is put forward by the entire course and successes of socialist construction.

In connection with the major demands made by the practice of socialist construction, the stubborn struggle of the party to complete the construction of the foundation of the socialist economy in front of all sectors of the theoretical front, it is necessary to quickly close the gap that exists between these tasks and the work of the Communist Academy.

The meeting poses before the Communist Academy, the Institute of Philosophy, as well as the board of the Department of Internal Affairs, the question of the need for a complete revision of the agenda of the philosophical conference and ensuring its convocation in the second half of 1931, as well as the need for a complete revision of the prepared material of the “Philosophical Encyclopedia” in order to ensure publication in the light of a truly Marxist-Leninist encyclopedia of philosophy, as well as the philosophical department of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia.