Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

John Ericson and Charles Loren

The Anti-Marxist-Leninist Line of Progressive Labor

Bourgeois Idealism and the Errors of the Petty Bourgeois Revolutionaries

The present policy positions of the petty-bourgeois wing of PL (as represented by the majority of the members of the National Committee) flow from a lack of knowledge of the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism. In particular, it can be demonstrated that these positions flow from a rejection of dialectical materialism, in favor of idealism. Infantile leftism, like religion, rejects the realities of the material world in favor of wish fulfillment.

The idealist philosophical position of the petty bourgeois wing is closely related to what on the surface appears to be its strong aversion to theory. Now, these people may disclaim any aversion to theory. In fact, many of these people think their practice is guided by Marxist-Leninist theory. But their estimate of the situation is wrong.


There are two principal variants of the anti-theoretical bias in PL. The most common variant met with is the frank anti-theoretical position. The members of this group are anti-intellectuals, plain and simple. These people tell you plainly that they are against wasting their time reading such stuff. For them the only meaningful activity is agitational[1] (i.e., organizing for and participating in demonstrations or selling newspapers). When confronted for their hostility to theory, particularly Marxist-Leninist theory, they usually reply that everyone whom they know who knew Marxist-Leninist theory turned out to be traitors to the communist movement. The members of the CPUSA and the Trotskyites are usually pointed to as examples of such people. Therefore, the surest way to becoming an enemy of the Marxist-Leninist movement was to learn Marxist-Leninist theory. And conversely, the surest way to become a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary was to become active (in the agitational sense) and to learn as little Marxist-Leninist theory as possible.

The other principal variant is not openly anti-theoretical. The members of this group are usually heard to say that the study of Marxist-Leninist theory has its place. One could study it as long as nothing worthwhile was going on. One cannot engage in agitational work and find time to read from a book during the same week.

This group will generally want to have study groups. Most study groups are now Challenge study groups or other ad hoc projects. However, as already noted, their meetings will be postponed if anything “important” comes up. But when they are held, they are held in a very special way.

The members are asked to read so many chapters in a work in advance of the meeting. But no attempt is made to enforce compliance with the reading schedule. A liberal attitude is adopted in this area. The result is that few people complete the assignment in time (or at all, for that matter). For those few who do the reading, seldom do they read attentively or take notes. A typical statement of this attitude is: “There is no point in going over this stuff page-by-page.” Consequently, almost no one is prepared to discuss the reading in an intelligent manner when the study group meets.

Further, the discussion of the Marxist-Leninist work is not approached directly. Rather, it is discussed “in the context of the organization of Saturday’s picnic” or “in the context of distributing leaflets at the unemployment office.” This means, as a practical matter, that only the picnic or the leafleting is discussed. Thus, the best of all possible worlds is achieved. They have Marxist-Leninist study groups (for show) at the same time as they have little contact with the dreaded concepts, and spend their time talking about what they are really interested in, organizing and participating in agitational activities.

But whichever variant is considered, the result is the same. Very little Marxist-Leninist theory is learned by the membership of the organization. And if the membership of PL learns little Marxist-Leninist theory, does this mean that they do not know much theory, or that their practice is guided by little theory? Most certainly not. Instead, it means that they use the theories (usually petty bourgeois theories) they were taught in capitalist schools when they grew up. But of course, the petty bourgeois revolutionaries do not see it this way.

What does this mean for the movement and for PL? The petty bourgeois revolutionaries give the following answer. “As long as we engage in militant, potentially revolutionary, agitational activity, does it really make much difference whether we know and understand Marxist-Leninist theory? Obviously not! Isn’t it much better to be a Marxist-Leninist in agitational activity and a non-Marxist-Leninist in theory than a Marxist-Leninist in theory and a non-Marxist-Leninist in agitational activity? Very definitely yes!”

There are a number of errors in this answer, the most important one being that they believe it is possible to separate theory and practice. As a matter of fact, it is impossible to separate theory and practice. People act in line with what they believe to be true. This view is embodied in a number of old sayings, such as “You can tell a person’s beliefs by watching what he does rather than listening to what he says,” etc. This means that if a person doesn’t practice what he preaches, then he doesn’t believe what he preaches. All practice is based on some theory or other. People do not act on the basis of what they believe to be false. If a person appears to be a Marxist by the opinions he expresses but does not act in line with them, then he really doesn’t believe these theories to be true. He doesn’t believe these theories to be true because he doesn’t understand them.

Put in another way, all actions, except reflex actions, require reflection and a conscious decision at one time or another. These decisions have to be made on the basis of the person’s view of the world and the person’s place in it. Therefore, all non-reflexive actions are based on theory.

If a person does not base his actions and decisions on Marxist-Leninist theories, then he bases his action on non-Marxist-Leninist theories. And, as previously noted, the petty bourgeois wing of PL has for all practical purposes rejected Marxist-Leninist theory. They have rejected it by refusing to learn it. They have been satisfied to operate with a few conclusions from the Marxist-Leninist arsenal, combined with one or a collection of non-Marxist-Leninist theories. In this country, most non-Marxist-Leninist theories are petty bourgeois.

Therefore, the basic theories that are made use of by the petty bourgeois wing of PL are capitalist theories disseminated by the schools, colleges, the press, and radio-TV. This should be obvious enough. But these people don’t seem to be able to see it. They do not seem to be able to see that if you do not learn Marxist-Leninist theory, then you have to operate with the theory the capitalists give you. It is impossible to operate with no theory.

An example of using a petty bourgeois theory in a supposedly Marxist-Leninist analysis has been provided recently in an article in Challenge. In this article, the writer was attempting an analysis of classes. But in doing so, he made use of a standard petty bourgeois definition of class as disseminated in capitalist colleges. According to this theory, classes are made up of people in various income strata rather than being made up of people who have certain types of relations to other classes of people which is basically determined by their role in, production. Also, capitalist theories accent consumption, not production.

Using this approach the writer succeeds in making a mockery of Marxism-Leninism. By using an income (consumer) definition of class rather than one based on production relations, he is able to obliterate the difference between a peasant and a worker. Looked at from the viewpoint of productive relations (the Marxist-Leninist view) there is a world of difference between a small farmer and a wage and salary earner. They belong to two different and distinct classes (See The Peasant Question and ’New Democracy’” on page 7). The peasant (small farmer) is petty bourgeois, while the wage and salary earner is working class. But according to these people, a peasant, if his income is low, if he is poor, is really almost a worker and can be won directly to socialism. Or (really only a slight variant of the above), if the peasant is a tenant farmer (a share cropper) rather than an owner of the land he works, then he is a worker and can be won directly to socialism.


What are the principal capitalist theories that the petty bourgeois revolutionaries rely on? Naturally, they represent one or another variety of idealism (Freudianism, pragmatism, positivism, etc.). Idealism represents an opposite point of view from dialectical materialism. The traditional distinction between idealism and materialism is given by Engels in his book Ludwig Feuerbach:

The question of the position of thinking in relation to being, a question which, by the way, had played a great part also in the scholasticism of the Middle Ages, the question: which is primary, spirit (ideas) or nature...

The answers which the philosophers gave to this question split them into two great camps. Those who asserted the primacy of spirit (ideas) to nature ... comprised the camp of idealism. The others, who regarded nature as primary, belong to the various schools of materialism. (Frederick Engels, Ludwig Feuerbach, p. 21)

Historically, idealism has always been the philosophy of the defenders of minority ruling class societies. Materialism has usually been the outlook of revolutionary movements.

Thus, according to dialectical materialism, even though there is a necessary interaction between ideas and the rest of the material world, the primary factor is still the material world. Under idealism the primary factor is believed to be ideas. And this is just the position that the petty bourgeois revolutionaries take. Their controversial policy positions (which are, de facto, counterrevolutionary) generally can be shown to be based on idealist preconceptions. Let us take some examples:

First example: The petty bourgeois revolutionaries say that the peasant class (a petty bourgeois class) in predominantly peasant countries can in all cases be won directly to socialism. (This position and its exhibition of a lack of understanding of the basis of economic classes and class consciousness is discussed in “The Peasant Question and ’New Democracy’”.) The ’new democratic’ or petty bourgeois stage can and should be skipped. This position is based on the assumption that ideas are more influential on a person’s outlook than his day-today working experience. The peasant’s day-today working experience leads him to look for individual solutions to his problems (e.g., more land and/or equipment) rather than collective solutions (socialism). The position that ideas can overcome all obstacles, particularly those of class interest, is idealism. It is exactly the same idealist assumption that underlies the Menshevik and social-democratic parties’ positions. They assume that by agitation and propaganda under a capitalist regime they can convince a majority of the people to vote socialist and also convince the capitalist class to accept the results of such an election. For them, class conflict is purely a case of a misunderstanding of where one’s true long-run interests lie. And the preaching of ideas if pursued with sufficient force and will power can overcome the phenomena of economic classes. Lenin devoted a large part of the first chapter of The State and Revolution to an attack on this assumption.

Thus, it can be seen that the same assumption of the primacy of ideas (the idealist position) and its consequent rejection of the class basis of society (which is the dialectical materialist position) underlies both the ballot box socialists and the petty bourgeois revolutionaries, or the infantile leftists as Lenin called them, or the ultra- or extreme-leftists as they like to call themselves. They are both based on the same petty bourgeois theory and outlook. Consequently, it is very easy for a petty bourgeois revolutionary (infantile leftist) to swing over to the ballot box socialist position (and vice versa) since both groups are based on essentially the same view of the nature of society. The jumping back and forth between these positions of various Trotskyite splinter groups is illustrative of this fact.

Second example: The petty bourgeois revolutionaries reject the necessity of a dictatorship of the proletariat. This proposition is demonstrated elsewhere. (See “An Anarchist Campaign Against the Dictatorship of the Proletariat”.) Their position on this comes out strongly in “Road to Revolution III.” The anarchist (a non-class) position is again one that flows from an idealist outlook. It comes not only from the petty bourgeois individualist’s dislike of coercive social organization, which is the source of his hatred for all forms of government and authority, but also from his belief in the power of ideas. To a member of a class which is extremely individualistic and hates all symbols and forms of social authority and responsibility, the temptation to substitute subjective desires (wish fulfillment) for objective reality is very strong. He says to himself and to others, wouldn’t it be peachy if there were classes before and during the revolution, and then once the fighting was over, all the class differences would disappear? Then there would only be “the armed people,” armed against their own government, their own bureaucracy. So once again, we have idealism instead of dialectical materialism, in the form of infantile utopianism instead of awareness of the necessities of a class society.

Many of the policy statements made by the petty bourgeois revolutionaries follow logically from a combination of these first two examples. For instance:

Example three: Wouldn’t it be dandy if the Chinese were to have gone straight to socialism without having gone through the ’New Democratic* stage? They would have been much further along now. This is an idealist position.

Example four: Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if the Soviets had not introduced the NEP (New Economic Policy) in answer to pressure from the peasants? If they could have done that, then socialism could have proceeded faster there too. Again, idealism.

Example five: Wouldn’t it be super if socialist governments or communist parties did not enter into alliances, compromises, or diplomatic relations with governments, parties, or groups whose credentials are unsavory (capitalist or revisionist)?

Yes! Wouldn’t it be super if everything would happen the way we could dream it? Then all our troubles would be over. Then we would be home free. Another case of idealism or of mind over matter.

There are many examples from domestic policy as well. Here is one:

Sixth example: Several years ago it was a basic policy in PL for members to go to work in factories. They were to have normal family relationships (husband, wife, and children), and they were to scrupulously avoid the bohemian life style. They were to build and consolidate a base among their fellow workers. They did not expect necessarily to win a majority of their fellow workers to socialism in a non-revolutionary situation, only a minority. But when a revolutionary situation developed, and a majority of the workers would lose confidence in the capitalist system, then they and their recruits who had been patiently consolidated with propaganda as well as with agitation would be able to provide leadership and lead the majority to revolution and socialism.

However, about a year and a half ago this approach came to be thought too pedestrian, too slow. Why wait for a revolutionary situation? After all, did not Castro, Che Guevara, and Regis Debray say that it was the duty of revolutionaries to make a revolution? So, by the same token, wouldn’t it be Jim dandy if PL’ers could convert in a few years a majority of the blue-collar workers to socialism? That way we could have the revolution right away. We won’t have to waste our time with all that propaganda, agitation, and those study groups with deadly-dull and dangerous Marxist-Leninist theory. Instead, wouldn’t it be peachy keen if we could win them over to socialism by selling them a newspaper a couple of times and teaching them a few catchy agitational slogans? And then, right away, without wasting time doing what they used to call “consolidating your gains,” we could get them all to sell newspapers and teach catchy agitational slogans to more blue-collar workers. And then, lickety-split, before you could say “downtown Cincinnati,” a majority of the population would be for socialism and revolution, and the success of the revolution would be a foregone conclusion.

Ah, the wonders that can be accomplished if you can just let your imagination run free without the restrictions imposed by the realities of life in a class society under a capitalist ruling class. You can forget that in no revolution in history, successful or unsuccessful, has a majority of the population actively or ideologically supported the revolutionaries when they began the revolution. Another case of idealism instead of dialectical materialism!

But such a policy will obviously end in failure and has had two further results already.

(1) Most of the families that went in for long-range base-building and children two or so years ago have been dropped or suspended. Why? For spending too much time on their jobs and their children and not enough time (like the students) on selling newspapers and making new contacts. So the party under the leadership of the petty bourgeois revolutionaries has lost most of its old contacts within the blue-collar field. And

(2) by their failure to consolidate (teach them some Marxist-Leninist theory) their new contacts, and by their efforts to force them to sell newspapers before they were consolidated, they have succeeded in alienating a great majority of the new contacts they did make. Thus, the petty bourgeois revolutionaries have managed to back themselves into an exceedingly sectarian position vis-a-vis blue-collar workers. They have appeal mostly to a certain section of the student movement. A wag with a memory for Veblen and the events of the last two or three years has remarked that “in the beginning PL started out to take over SDS, but in the end SDS took over PL.” Idealism in this case is leading to sectarianism and isolation.

Once the failure of this tactic began to become evident, the petty bourgeois revolutionaries began to jump from a crash program on one project to a crash program on the next with a sort of frantic aimlessness. This follows from the lack of a rational view (Marxism-Leninism) of how society operates. So when one scheme doesn’t work out, then they jump to another, abandoning entirely the previous scheme (e.g., the abandonment of the long-range base building among blue-collar workers when the newspaper-selling scheme started). This jumping from scheme to scheme, from idea to idea, from tactic to tactic shows the lack of basic strategy or basic theory. It bears a very close resemblance to actions of the Soviet revisionists under Khrushchev et. al. once they got into control. They would hop from one scheme to another (such as the virgin lands project) without an underlying strategy, and finally succeeded in sabotaging the growth rate of the U.S.S.R., among other things.

Seventh example: In the petty bourgeois revolutionaries’ latest publication (Road to Revolution III) they have an interesting section on the role of consciousness (ideas). The title of the section is “The Marxist-Leninist Understanding of the Role of Consciousness in Historical Development.” After two quotations from Marx and Engels they bring forward their main point that ideas are independent of the economic base which gave them birth. That is, that ideas are not limited by constraints put on them by the material world. And to prove that this proposition is true and that it is Marxist-Leninist, they quote the nineteenth century idealist Russian philosopher Lavrov. Lavrov and Bakunin were the two most famous leaders of Narodism, a form of Utopian peasant socialism in Russia. They were also anarcho-syndicalist. Bakunin was principally the organizer and Lavrov the philosopher. Specifically, Marx and Bakunin were the leaders of the two principal trends in the First International. Marx was the leader of the scientific socialist, dialectical materialist wing, and Bakunin was the leader of the anarcho-syndicalist, idealist wing. The anarchist forces led to the demise of the First International. It has already been pointed out that in order to be an anarchist or anarcho-syndicalist you must be an idealist.

Lavrov had another value to the petty bourgeois revolutionaries than the theory that ideas are independent of economic restraints. He advocated winning the peasants directly to socialism, which is the position of the petty bourgeois revolutionaries. But Lavrov’s experience has another value to us. His followers, petty bourgeois intellectuals, went out to the village and attempted to win the peasants directly to socialism. Their efforts were a complete and utter failure. They did not even come close to achieving their objective. Lenin administered the final theoretical coup de grace to this movement in the l890’s.

In view of the petty bourgeois revolutionaries’ overall position, their selection of Peter Lavrov as a philosophical spokesman was not an accident. His overall outlook corresponds closely with theirs. Lavrov was a conscious opponent of materialism. As the editor of Lavrov’s Historical Letters points out: “Lavrov was anything but a materialist. He did respect Feuerbach, but he developed his own ’Anthropologism’ in conscious opposition to the philosophical views of Feuerbach’s radical materialist followers in Russia.” (Peter Lavrov, Historical Letters, Berkeley and Los Angeles, Univ. of California Press, 1967, p. 11). The editor is referring to people like Chernyshevsky, Dobrolyubov, and Belinsky, who were succeeded by Plekhanov and Lenin.

Lavrov’s idealism found practical expression in advocacy of “free will” for the individual: “What progress there is depends exclusively upon the critically thinking individuals.” (Ibid., p. 141) Materialists (like Chernyshevsky) set all kinds of limits on the operation of free will. Ideas are implemented by determined and self-sacrificing individuals, who through force of will, remake the world in the way they want. A few quotes (the first by the editor of) Lavrov’s book and three by Lavrov) will illustrate this:

When Lavrov on later occasions expressed his philosophical outlook in schematic outline, he advanced ’the personal principle of freedom’ as the first principle of practical philosophy ...We are aware of our own free transformation of phenomena (desires, the recognition of ideals) into ’the world of real being’ through our action. (Ibid., p. 19)

The supreme dignity of the individual does not reside in physical traits or in intellectual development....But for actual dignity there must be determination, and determination belongs neither to the body, with its impulses, nor to the mind, with its reflections, but to will, which develops into character. ...The supreme dignity of the individual consists in his character. (Ibid., p. 23)

The recognition of the injustice of what had seemed just is the first step. ...This recognition gradually spreads, preparing the ground for individuals who are not only conscious of the new principles, but are endowed with the determination to actualize it. These are the true heroes of humanity...the ’salt of the earth’ to use Mill’s expression. They do not create or discover the new idea, but they are determined to incarnate it, determined to fight what they recognize as unjust. (Ibid., p. 24.)

Man creates beautiful or simply harmonious forms, into which he unconsciously inserts his moral content; harmony and beauty fortify the existence of these forms, leaving them monuments to human activity. Man embodies moral content in life, breaking up and reconstructing the forms in which he embodies it to the extent that they do not satisfy his content. (Ibid., p. 25)

There it is, the almost perfect expression of the philosophical outlook (including the relation between ideas and the material world) of the petty bourgeois revolutionaries. “The critically thinking individuals,” “advancing the personal principle of freedom,” “determined to fight what they recognize as unjust,” “creates beautiful or simply harmonious forms,” and “breaking up and reconstructing the forms in which he embodies it to the extent that they do not satisfy his content.”

In other words, “the critically thinking individuals” create a world (forms) of their own liking (filled with their own moral content). Mind over matter. This theory is not only idealist; it is elitist. A few dedicated individuals abolish injustice for the benefit of the masses. This is the old capitalist theory of the “outside agitator.” This is only a variation of the ’great man theory of history.’ Minority ruling classes have always put forward the theory that agitators create agitation, rather than agitation creates agitators. The only difference is the petty bourgeois revolutonaries consider the outside agitator to be an “angel,” while minority ruling classes regard him as a “devil.”

So we see that the petty bourgeois revolutionaries do not give a Marxist-Leninist interpretation of the consciousness, as they claim, but an anarchist or anarcho-syndicalist (idealist) interpretation of the role of consciousness. They put forward views as Marxist-Leninist which are really the views of one of the major opponents of Marx and Lenin. If the line of reasoning is followed that the true spokesmen of Marxism-Leninism were some of the principal opponents of Marx and Lenin when they were alive, then the principal enemies of the correct interpretation of Marxism-Leninism should be Marx and Lenin themselves. Does this sound like an illegitimate carrying out of the implications of an argument to ridiculous lengths merely to discredit one’s opponents? So it would seem. But in fact this ridiculous conclusion has already been half implemented by the petty bourgeois revolutionaries themselves. In their latest pronouncements (Road to Revolution III) they believe they have identified the person who was principally responsible for the development of revisionism in the Soviet Union, and consequently, responsible for the most powerful undercutting and weakening of the Marxist-Leninist movement. You have already guessed it, I am sure. That person was V. I. Lenin himself, when he introduced and pushed through the NEP in the Soviet Union. Also, Lenin’s attitude to the peasant was wrong (unlike Lavrov’s). Once they carry their research further back, we should not be surprised at all if they identify another saboteur of Marxism-Leninism in the person of Karl Marx (particularly the later Marx). They have already done this indirectly by supporting Bakunin’s theoretical cohort Lavrov. After all, it is impossible to support the anarchist and the Marxist view simultaneously, even though one may call the anarchist position a Marxist one.

Eighth example: It was pointed out earlier that members and new contacts were not consolidated. They were not taught an understanding of the necessity and benefit of socialism; that is, they were not taught basic Marxist-Leninist theory. This being the case, these people’s belief in the efficacy of socialism is based mostly on faith and not intelligence. They have to engage in actions hostile to the capitalist government without understanding why this lies in their long-run interest. Consequently, when the leadership wants these people to participate in some agitational activity, they cannot appeal to intelligent self-interest (class consciousness), but have to resort to the manipulation of emotional states.

For example, people are told that the primary obstacle to meaningful agitational activity is fear. When in fact, fear is not an obstacle to people who understand and identify their personal interests with the interest of the workers and poor peasants of the world. So in the absence of an elementary understanding of the operation of modern societies, resort must be had to semi-Freudian (idealist) techniques.

Another example of the effects of this lack of training in Marxist-Leninist theory of party members is shown by what most people who have dropped out or been dropped from the party have done afterwards. Most of them have dropped out of political activity, saying and feeling that they were just not good enough. This indicates that their connection with the movement was emotional, not intellectual. Or they turn to one of the Trotskyite splinter groups. No one would turn to Trotskyism if he knew very much about Marxism-Leninism.


Now it is time to sum up. The extravagant positions taken by the petty bourgeois revolutionary leadership of PL flow principally from a lack of understanding of basic Marxist-Leninist theory. This lack of understanding has led to a lack of appreciation of the importance of Marxist-Leninist theory and/or, for practical purposes, an outright hostility to Marxist-Leninist theory. Since all activity requires some theory or other to guide it, the petty bourgeois wing of the party makes use of capitalist theories of various kinds. At the present time, these theories are almost all idealist, petty bourgeois, and counterrevolutionary. Most petty bourgeois theories tend to be anarchistic and anti-authoritarian.

This idealism comes out most strongly in their inability to appreciate or understand the limitations placed on their activities by the realities of the material world. According to them, ideas can overcome all obstacles. As a result of this attitude, although they do not realize it, they reject the class nature of society in today’s world, which is the Marxist-Leninist view. It is from this idealist point of view that they reject all alliances and compromises with other classes. There is no need for them to do so, since ideas can overcome all obstacles.

Another result of this idealist outlook is the rejection of dialectics as well as materialism. There is no interaction between ideas and the rest of the material world. Ideas that are used to change the material world do not get changed by the material base. No! Ideas once born from the real world become independent of it (Lavrov), unchanged by it. The material world cannot limit its operation. The interaction is all one way. Ideas change the material world, not the other way around.

The denunciation of Lenin’s two-stage development to socialism, NEP, Mao Tsetung’s New Democracy, China’s having diplomatic relations with all the countries she can, etc., are all the results of thinking that ideas (wishful thinking) can overcome all the obstacles in the material world. Also, their rejection of the dictatorship of the proletariat (though again they do not realize they have done this) flows from the preconception that classes can be abolished at the drop of a hat.

Again it should be pointed out that this type of idealist approach is counterrevolutionary. Not only do the petty bourgeois revolutionaries erroneously expect their wishes to be realized instantly; they actively sabotage revolutionary activity by failing to do what the situation does allow, by preventing a materialist analysis of what can be done and by insisting blindly on their preconceived schemes instead.

Since the petty bourgeois revolutionaries do not really recognize the existence of the material world in the historical sense, they do not and cannot have a long-range perspective. If one idea does not work, and work quickly, then they become discouraged and jump to another idea to which they attach extravagant hopes. This process leads very quickly to demoralization and to a decline in membership.

As Marx said about an earlier and somewhat different variety of petty bourgeois socialism, “Ultimately, when stubborn historical facts had dispersed all intoxicating effects of self-deception, this form of Socialism ended in a miserable fit of the blues.”[2]


[1] There are two basic types of activity related to spreading ideas. The traditional distinction is between agitation and propaganda. Agitation is the spreading of a few ideas among many people; propaganda is the distribution of many ideas among a few persons. These people regard only agitation as activity. Propaganda and most organizational work is not activity. This is the student activist’s view of practice.

[2] Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party (Peking, Foreign Languages Press, 19^5), p. 64