MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of Terms




The “Other” became a fashionable philosophical category mainly as result of Simone de Beauvoir’s definition of the position of women in patriarchal society as being the “other of men.” (See The Second Sex) The idea has its originals in Hegel’s Logic, in which Being is determined simply as in distinction from its Other, Nothing. (See Science of Logic) In “Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient” (1978), Edward Said showed how European culture defined “the East” in radically different ways according, not to its knowledge of Asia or any of the various cultures outside Europe, but rather simply as the opposite of its concept of itself. This established “the Other” as a central concept for “post-colonial studies.”

The irony is that although the term originates with Hegel, Hegel himself saw history as the unfolding of a single world-spirit, culminating in European culture, and leaving very little place for anything that did not fit into that single line of development.

Subsequently, the term “other” has come to be used very loosely to indicate a subject’s attitude to anything foreign or unknown to it.



The Russian pre- and post Civil War phenomenon of the seasonal departure of peasants to the cities in search of work. This mass exodus reappeared after the Civil War with the onset of the NEP. It eventually grew to a stream of several million otkodniki per year. The towns felt the pressure as their unemployment rates increased. On the other hand, this migration helped the peasant to eek out a living and provided the cities with an increased labour force to tackle various difficult tasks.

The otkhodnik, who was a product of rural overpopulation, was an intermediary between the farmer and urban worker. It contained some of the most literate and capable elements of the peasantry.

The attempt at the end of the NEP (1928) to crush kulaks had an adverse effect on agriculture in general and the economic activity of these otkhodniki dwindled.




From the Russian word otozvat = “recall”.

In the wake of the defeat of the 1905 Revolution, Russia entered a period of deep reaction accompanied by severe repression of all workers’ organisaiton. “Otzovists” was the name given to a group of the Bolsheviks (Bogdanov, Pokrovsky, Lunacharsky, Bubnov and others), who demanded that the Social-Democratic deputies in the Third Duma should be recalled and that work in the legal organisations should be stopped. In 1908, the otzovists formed a group of their own in opposition to Lenin. They refused to sit in the Duma or work in the legal trade unions, co-operative societies and other mass legal and semi-legal organisations of the workers. They advocated the use illegal organisation alone, arguing that working in legal organisations was both dangerous and out of tune with the needs of the masses at that time.