Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of Terms




Teleology means purposive activity directed towards an "End" . Inorganic matter, it is said, is capable of mechanical and chemical, but not purposive activity. Hegel divides the second part of the Doctrine of the Notion, "Objectivity" into three divisions: Mechanism (things), Chemism (processes) and Teleology (purposes), as the basis of The Idea .

The stages of Teleology are “Subjective End” (intention), Means (which must be objective) and “Realised End”.

Further Reading: Hegel on Realised End , Science of Logic , Shorter Logic on "Inner Design" and section in Hegel’s Outline of Logic and Means & End .


Ten Hours bill

The Ten Hours Bill, which applied only to women and children, was passed by the British Parliament on June 8, 1847. Many manufacturers, however, ignored the law in practice.



An aspect of psychological warfare whose aim is to instill fear and intimidation among both civilians and the military/police through the use of limited but concentrated violence. The basis of terrorist actions are a lack of popular support and the need to subjugate the popular will through destructive acts of violence causing widespread fear and terror.

Terrorism has historically been practiced by any class as a weapon in the class struggle. It is typically a reactionary use of force. While terrorism is commonly conducted by individuals or small groups, historical examples of terrorism can also be found in the Spanish Inquisition, and more recently in organizations like the U.S. Ku Klux Klan, and during the latter half of the 19th century terrorism was used by anarchist organizations claiming "propaganda of the deed".

Terrorism is a weapon that has been used by nearly all governments at various times against their opposing classes. Some of the best known examples of this in the 20th-century were Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union under Stalin, the United States during the McCarthy trials, etc. After this, imperialism predominantly exported terrorism to the underdeveloped nation's – U.S. tactics from Guatemala to Iraq, etc.

Terrorism is not necessarily violence against civilians, but if not it is then certainly meant to create psychological terror against civilians through violence against the government, police, military, structures, etc. Some terrorists target the government or the police, just as a guerilla would, but without *local* popular support. As an example, put a Black Panther in a white suburban community who acts exactly as he would in a minority community, and he would be a terrorist (The Black Panthers never did this, and they were not terrorists). The narodiniki were assasins, and believed that attacks on the government would show the masses that the government was bad; they were terrorists because the people loved the czar, and were terrified that something could happen to him. Castro was not a terrorist in his Moncada attack; there was not obvious support for a revolution in that there were no open revolutionary groups nor movements, but his attack expressed the will of the people -- he became an instant hero among Cuba's peasants. The issue of popular local support is thus fundamental to understanding the terrorist. Terrorist ideals may be popular in Afghanistan, for example, but when exported to the US, they are not popular, and when violence is employed, they become terror. A palestinian among his brother and sister civilians who defends herself against an invading Israeli solider is a guerilla, not a terrorist; while those who go into land occupied by Isreali's and carry out attacks against soldiers and/or civilians are terrorists, different only from an invading army as a result of a lack resources; e.g. having a conventional military.

In our eyes, individual terror is inadmissible precisely because it belittles the role of the masses in their own consciousness, reconciles them to their powerlessness, and turns their eyes and hopes towards a great avenger and liberator who some day will come and accomplish his mission. The anarchist prophets of the 'propaganda of the deed' can argue all they want about the elevating and stimulating influence of terrorist acts on the masses. Theoretical considerations and political experience prove otherwise. The more 'effective' the terrorist acts, the greater their impact, the more they reduce the interest of the masses in self-organisation and self-education. But the smoke from the confusion clears away, the panic disappears, the successor of the murdered minister makes his appearance, life again settles into the old rut, the wheel of capitalist exploitation turns as before; only the police repression grows more savage and brazen. And as a result, in place of the kindled hopes and artificially aroused excitement comes disillusionment and apathy.

Leon Trotsky
Why Marxists oppose Individual Terrorism

Governmental Use: In practice, governments have defined terrorism in many different ways to defend themselves with whatever means they deam necessary. After September 11, 2001, the U.S. government created a new definition for domestic terrorism.

Groups or individuals operating entirely inside the US, attempting to influence the US government or population to effect political or social change by engaging in criminal activity.

FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Pamphlet
October, 2002

Needless to say, this means everyone from Civil Rights activists to environmentalists, to anyone who engages in unlawful activity with the intent to influence others to think differently. This definition has little bearing on the history nor meaning of the practice of terrorism.