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International Socialism, Winter 1987/88


Paul Kellogg

Defending the Orthodoxy


First published in International Socialism 2 : 37, Winter 1987/88, pp. 118–130.
Transcribed by Camilla Royle.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


A review of Ernesto Laclau & Chantal Mouffe, Hegemony & Socialist Strategy

Recent issues of this journal have seen a debate between Alex Callinicos and Ellen Meiksins Wood on the arguments contained in her Retreat from Class. [1] While agreeing with Callinicos’s criticisms of Wood, it is necessary to emphasise that Wood has produced the only book-length defence of ‘orthodox Marxism’ against the ‘new revisionism’ [2] that is currently making the rounds in academic Marxist and ex-Marxist circles. A polemic with Wood requires a settling of accounts with these new revisionists. With them, we have more than comradely differences. What they are offering is a wholesale abandonment of the working class.

This ‘new revisionism’ has found no more eloquent advocates than Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe in their Hegemony & Socialist Strategy. [3] A critique of this book can serve in some ways as a critique of the whole ‘school’. This article, then, will examine Laclau and Mouffe’s deconstruction of ‘orthodox’ Marxism. It will try to show the target of that deconstruction is a straw man. Hegemony conveniently focuses on a ‘Marxist Vulgate’ based to a large extent on citations from Kautsky and Plekhanov and skirts the question of the position of the more prominent representatives of orthodox Marxism – Lenin, Trotsky, Engels and Marx himself. Laclau and Mouffe are engaged in a polemic, but it is not with these four. Laclau and Mouffe’s claims about what constitutes Marxist orthodoxy will be contrasted with what these four actually argued.

Central to Hegemony’s deconstruction of the Marxist Vulgate are observations on the lack of ‘unity’ inside the working class. It is with this issue that the article will conclude. There is sectionalism in the workers’ movement. There is a drift to the right in ideas. There has been a ‘socialist impasse’. With such observations, this review and Hegemony will be in complete agreement. But these are all phenomena quite amenable to a Marxist analysis, an analysis which continues to posit the centrality of class and socialism to any project of liberation. Central to this is to show that for ‘orthodox’ Marxism, nothing is more crucial than an understanding of the indeterminate nature of the struggle for socialism. It is only in extremely vulgar versions of Marxism that class is seen as automatically determined and that the role of parties and politics in class formation is ignored.

Through a brief examination of, in particular, the works of Lenin, the article will suggest that this view of Marxism – while widespread – is wrong, and that in many ways, the question of the role of politics in class formation and the struggle for socialism is the key to a proper defence of ‘orthodox’ Marxism from the critiques of Hegemony and other representatives of the new revisionism.

Deconstructing a straw man

Two points must be made before we begin an examination of Hegemony. First, we are limiting ourselves to the first half of the arguments in Hegemony on the premise that if its reconstruction of a project for liberation is based on a faulty analysis of Marxism, then this alone calls the latter part of their book into question. Second, most references used here in defence of Marxism will come from sources they do not use. Kautsky and Plekhanov have their share of detractors, and there is no question that some of what their detractors say is plausible – a tendency to collapse Marxism into a type of Darwinian evolutionism being the most obvious. (It would be useful, however, to argue that the authors of the Foundations of Christianity, an The Development of the Monist View of History [4] – two interesting, subtle, scholarly works – have perhaps been done an injustice by Laclau, Mouffe and a host of ‘anti-determinist’ modern radical scholars. But that is for another day.) The argument here is that Hegemony is launching a fundamental assault on the main precepts of Marxism. To properly defend these precepts we need recourse to the major figures in the construction of this orthodoxy – Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky.

Hegemony claims that we are now in a ‘post-Marxist terrain’. This terrain is defined by the failure of Marxist categories to capture the essence of history, and to posit a role in the unfolding historical process to a universal class – the proletariat (p. 4). Through an examination of the political theories of Rosa Luxemburg, we get an insight into the dilemmas posed by the Second International Marxism. Considerable space is then devoted to a reconstruction of this Second International Marxism – principally through an examination of Kautsky and Plekhanov, and two more responses to it – Bernstein’s revisionism and Sorel’s revolutionary syndicalism. The deconstruction of this Marxist orthodoxy takes full flight in the next chapter, where their criticism of orthodox Marxism appears fully-formed.

Paraphrased (necessary if one is to get behind the sometimes obscure renderings of the book), their criticisms are as follows. Second International Marxism had a teleological, determinist analysis of capitalism. Economically, it posited the existence of laws which pointed to the concentration of the forces of production in fewer and fewer hands and the concentration of the proletariat in larger and larger workplaces. These economic laws were inextricably linked to social and political laws – the proletariat created through the development of the economy would develop political muscle in direct proportion to its concentration. The system itself tended towards crisis and economic collapse. The proletariat would gradually and inexorably grow into the greatest power in the land, and eventually, socialism would become inevitable. Critics of this orthodoxy emerged from both the left and the right, critics. Who were motivated, according to Laclau and Mouffe, by the inability of the orthodoxy to explain the manifest disunity of the proletariat. However valuable some of these criticisms may be, Hegemony argues, they remain locked inside the overall framework of the old orthodoxy.

Luxemburg agreed that the proletariat was divided, that its sectional economic struggles were not automatically revolutionary in nature and that in the course of these struggles the proletariat had created a conservative layer inside the workers’ parties and the trade unions whose interests were not in socialist revolution but in the everyday drudgery of economic reforms. Her solution to this was the mass strike, the inevitable catastrophic crisis of capitalism and the inevitable mass response of the proletariat. Its economic strikes against this crisis – when mass – would grow over into political strikes, raising the consciousness of the masses and sweeping the conservative party and union bureaucracies out of the way (pp. 8–14).

The approach of revolutionary syndicalism is similar. Unlike Luxemburg, however, the need for a party and an ultimately political struggle is discarded. According to the syndicalists, the crisis of capitalism would create the conditions necessary for a general strike of the entire class, a general strike which, in itself, could be a revolution. Through its agency alone, without recourse to parties and an explicitly political struggle, capitalism could be overthrown (pp. 36–42). Finally Bernstein – whom Laclau and Mouffe treat with much more respect than either Luxemburg or Sorel – denied the inevitability of a crisis of capitalism. Capitalism’s economy was developing, he argued, in such a way that a peaceful, gradual transition to socialism was possible. There would be no economic crisis. There would also be no proletarian revolutionary unity reconstituted through the fire of that crisis. But such proletarian unity was not necessary. Simply through the slow, steady process of pushing for reforms the system could be gradually transformed into its opposite (pp. 29–36).

All these critics of the old orthodoxy, according to Hegemony, accept the overall framework of that orthodoxy. All accept that history necessarily passes through certain developmental stages. All accept the supremacy of the economic – as the base goes, so goes the superstructure. All tend to simplify society into two classes, ignoring the reality of life beyond the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. All (except Bernstein) argue that while proletarian unity may not exist in the present, it will in the future, and this is assured by an examination of the laws of capitalism. Let us look at these claims in turn.

First, let us examine the claim of stages. Does Marxism argue that ‘the sense of the present is revealed through its location in an a priori succession of stages’ (p.  21)? The most powerful refutation of this charge of stageism comes from an examination of the writings of Leon Trotsky. In his theories of uneven and combined development and permanent revolution, Trotsky was the orthodox Marxist who, more than anyone, devoted his life to arguing how it was possible for economically backward societies to ‘skip stages’ and move directly to the struggle for socialism. [5] But he was not alone in this as the entire body of thought influenced by Stalinism claims. Lenin also refuted the conception of necessary and rigid stages governing historical development.

All nations will arrive at socialism ... but all will do so in not exactly the same way, each will contribute something of its own to some form of democracy, ... to the varying rate of socialist transformations in the different aspects of social life. There is nothing more primitive from the viewpoint of theory, or more ridiculous from that of practice, than to paint, ‘in the name of historical materialism’, this aspect of the future in a monotonous grey. [6]

History might, in a very general sense, incorporate certain stages but each stage has to be analysed on its own terms according to the concrete material and historical conditions. Lenin, for instance, used the term ‘bourgeois revolution’ to denote the English and French Revolutions, and the Russian Revolution he was organising. But there were very real differences in the way this ‘stage’ was to be arrived at. In England and France, the bourgeois revolution had been led by the bourgeoisie. For Lenin, the bourgeois revolution in Russia would have to be led by the proletariat. ‘A liberation movement that is bourgeois in social and economic content is not such because of its motive forces. The motive force may be, not the bourgeoisie, but the proletariat and the peasantry.’ [7]

We can find ample evidence that a stageist approach was foreign to the founder of Marxism. Towards the end of his life, Marx engaged in a fascinating correspondence with Vera Zasulich and other Russian revolutionaries about the prospects for socialism in that semi-feudal land. A debate was raging inside the Russian left, one part of which concerned precisely the question of stageism. There was, there, what Laclau and Mouffe would no doubt call a ‘Marxist Vulgate’ which argued that Russia was doomed to pass through the stage of the expropriation of the peasantry, the creation of a landless proletariat, the transition to large-scale industry, etc. Russia had to travel the English road before socialism was even on the agenda. In the Russian context, this ‘stageism’ was a necessary preliminary theorisation of Russian development to ‘bend the stick’ against the dominant form of revolutionism – peasant-based voluntarism à la the Narodniks. Even if such a theorisation did present history as a succession of ‘stages’, it did – by seeing the development of industry as crucial to a liberation project – posit the industrial working class as the central class in society, providing a theoretical underpinning for a working-class revolution. In the context of a left that was essentially blind to the applicability of Marxism in Russia, such an emphasis was understandable, possibly unavoidable.

In opposition to this view another wing of the Russian movement argued that it was conceivable that the remnants of communal living practised by the peasantry in the countryside could serve as a basis for the transition to socialism and the skipping of the stage of Britain’s ‘primitive accumulation’. This view was proved wrong by subsequent development. The emphasis on the ‘communal living’ of the peasantry was essentially utopian, blind to the inevitable creation of large-scale industry and an industrial working class. Interestingly enough, in the fragments of correspondence which are available, Marx tended to side more with the latter view. This is not because he was abandoning the centrality of the working class, but rather because he was arguing against a mechanical, formalistic historical materialism. The key thing in applying the Marxist method was to conceptualise Russia as part of a larger, capitalist world.

If Russia were isolated in the world, it would have to develop on its own account the economic conquests which Western Europe only acquired through a long series of evolutions from its primitive communities to the present situation. There would then be no doubt whatsoever, at least in my mind, that Russia’s communities are fated to perish with the development of Russian society.

But Russia was not isolated.

However, the situation of the Russian commune is absolutely different from that of the primitive communities in the West [in Western Europe]. Russia is the only European country in which communal property has maintained itself on a vast, nationwide scale. But at the same time, Russia exists in a modem historical context: it is contemporaneous with a higher culture, and it is linked to a world market in which capitalist production is predominant.

What follows is strikingly similar to Trotsky’s theory of uneven and combined development.

Thus, in appropriating the positive results of this mode of production, it is able to develop and transform the still archaic form of its rural commune, instead of destroying it ... If the admirers of the capitalist system in Russia deny that such a combination is possible, let them prove that Russia had to undergo an incubation period of mechanical production in order to make use of machinery! Let them explain to me how they managed, in just a few days as it were, to introduce the machinery of exchange (banks, credit companies, etc.) which was the work of centuries in the West. [8]

Now it is not surprising that these insights remained fragmentary. The world had not developed sufficiently for Marx’s analysis to be fleshed out. While of course wrong that the communes could be a focal point for a ‘skipping of stages’, Marx was pointing in the right direction, understanding that because of the international nature of the capitalist system Russia would not have to reinvent the wheel and follow 300 years of British history in order to put socialism on the agenda. Hindsight shows that the communes could not provide the focal point for skipping stages. But with the development of large-scale industry in a still predominantly peasant Russia, the vehicle for implementing such a stage-skipping was in place. By the late nineteenth century, Western imperialism had financed the construction of massive, concentrated, industrial workplaces which provided precisely the vehicle for permanent revolution so brilliantly outlined by Trotsky. This argument against stageism was not the most crucial aspect of the debate when it occurred. But for the argument being developed here it is central. Orthodox Marxism, as understood by Lenin, Marx and Trotsky, was decisively anti-stageist.

The second unexamined assumption of the orthodoxy imputed to all these theorists, is the absolute supremacy of the economic moment. Because the development of capitalism refused to conform to a rigid succession of stages governed by knowable laws, Marxist theory was confronted with the necessity of breaking ‘with the rigid base/superstructure distinction that had prevented any conception of the autonomy of the political’ (p. 31). This is a hoary old charge – Marxism as economic determinism denying a role to the superstructure, seeing it as solely reflective of changes in the base. All of Marx’s political writings refute this claim, including most obviously the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, which is concerned precisely with the political moment in historical development.

Of course there is a terrain of struggle that is objective and beyond the power of human will. These are the ‘conditions not of our choosing’. But, nonetheless, humans do make their own history. [9] The concern Marx and Engels displayed for proletarian forms of organisations, the declaration in the Communist Manifesto that the history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles (notice, not the struggles of machinery, but the struggles of human beings, organised in classes) and countless other examples refute this quite common charge of ‘economic determinism’. In the realm of historical analysis the charge is equally groundless.

It is useful to cite an example from Frederick Engels, who, more often than Marx, is labelled an economic determinist. Religion was a lifelong fascination for Engels, and late in life he wrote an obituary for Bruno Bauer, an intellectual opponent of Marx and Engels but one they respected. Bauer had been an influential German historian who had attempted a path-breaking materialist explanation of the rise of Christianity. In his obituary of Bauer, Engels summaises the transformation of social relations that the imperial conquests of the Roman Empire brought to their colonies at the time of the rise of Christianity. Engels identified three levers by which the old social relations of the colonies were transformed. The main one was taxation policy of the Roman state. The transformation of the social relations was carried out:

... mainly by exacting a tribute in the name of the Roman state. If under the empire a limit was set as far as possible in the interest of the state to the governors’ thirst for wealth, that thirst was replaced by ever more effective and oppressive taxation for the benefit of the state treasury, the effect of which was terribly destructive ... Social relations [consequently] in the provinces came nearer and nearer to those obtaining in the capital and in Italy. [10]

There are dozens of other such examples from the writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky. Of course they argued that the objective terrain was, in general terms, knowable and governed by laws. But the history played out on that terrain had players who were real human beings, organised in classes. Often the determining element in the victory or defeat of these classes was precisely their morale, their degree of organisation, their leadership, their ideology – in short their politics. The charge often levelled at orthodox Marxism of denying an independent role to the political is simply groundless.

Third is the charge that orthodox Marxism ignores the role of classes other than the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Perhaps Kautsky did. Hegemony quotes him as saying ‘because capitalism leads to the proletarianisation of the middle classes and the peasantry, we can ignore these and concentrate our strategy on the conflict between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat’ (p. 21). It would be useful to examine this quote in context to see the entirety of Kautsky’s argument. However, regardless of Kautsky’s guilt or innocence on this matter, as a general charge against orthodox Marxism, it is clearly wrong. Once again, the Eighteenth Brumaire is a useful starting point. The whole purpose of the work was to examine ‘how the class struggle in France created circumstances and relationships that made it possible for a grotesque mediocrity to play a hero’s part.’ [11] Here, crucial to Marx’s entire analysis, is the role of the non-proletarian urban masses inthe city and the peasantry in the countryside as being indispensable in providing Bonaparte with a mass base. The whole analysis is predicated on the assumption that the world is incomprehensible if it is reduced to the two main classes. Of course, Marx identified tendencies towards the polarisation of classes. But tendencies are different from empirical and historical reality. A class that in the 1980s is hardly the central player in French politics (the peasantry) was, for several decades in the mid-nineteenth century, all-important. The whole analysis of bonapartism as a phenomenon rests on this understanding. The two major classes were both incapable of asserting their domination of the state, and a ‘bonapartist’ regime, based on the petty-bourgeois, ruling in the interests of capitalism, but to some extent excluding its representatives from government – filled the vacuum until one class or the other could win a decisive victory. That decisive victory was won by the French bourgeoisie in the bloody suppression of the French Commune in 1871.

And what of Lenin, whose overwhelming concern in the Russian Revolution was the question of the peasantry? Surely Lenin is a good representative of orthodox Marxism. Surely a series of charges against that orthodoxy, having as a central claim blindness to the ‘middle classes’, would have to take Lenin into account. Laclau and Mouffe do not. ‘To imagine that social revolution’ writes Lenin:

... is conceivable without revolts by small nations in the colonies and in Europe, without revolutionary outbursts by a section of the petty bourgeoisie with all its prejudices, without a movement of the politically non-conscious proletarian and semi-proletarian masses against oppression by the land owners, the church, and the monarchy, against national oppression, etc. – to imagine all this is to repudiate social revolution. So one army lines up in one place and says, ‘We are for socialism’, and another, somewhere else and says, ‘We are for imperialism’, and that will be a social revolution! ... Whoever expects a ‘pure’ social revolution will never live to see it ... The socialist revolution in Europe cannot be anything other than an outburst of mass struggle on the part of all and sundry oppressed and discontented elements. Inevitably, sections of the petty bourgeoisie and of the backward workers will participate in it – without such participation, mass struggle is impossible. [12]

At the height of the revolutionary wave of 1905, Lenin jotted down a sketch of a future revolutionary government. In it, he cryptically described and evaluated the various classes it would have to take into consideration. The penultimate class considered was: ‘The petty-bourgeois and peasant section. Tens of millions. The “people” par excellence ... Their plight most desperate, they have most to gain directly from the revolution.’ [13] Reducing social change to a purified combat between bourgeois and proletariat was not a problem for this orthodox Marxist.


On three of the four counts used to convict orthodox Marxism of various crimes we have seen that the most orthodox of Marxists are to be found ‘not guilty’. The fourth count we have left unexamined – Laclau and Mouffe’s analysis of how proletarian unity is seen as constituted by orthodox Marxism. An examination of this provides a useful place to conclude this article.

Hegemony argues that the concept of the proletariat as a universal class is a shibboleth maintained for ideological reasons. In the face of the manifest divisions and sectionalism of the working class in advanced capitalist countries, hanging onto the shibboleth of the universal class – and the possibility of reconstituting its unity at a later date – firmly ties Marxists to an untenable stageism. ‘The condition for the maintenance of working-class unity and identity ... is accepting] the terrain of economist stageism – the only terrain capable of constituting it as a “universal class”.’ (p. 57)

A difficult tension and contradiction exists in the Marxist Vulgate, brought to light by the indifference of the world to the predictions of its orthodoxy. The orthodoxy held that the laws governing the inevitable transition of society from one economic stage to another would, over time, constitute the proletariat as a universal class, a class with radical chains, a class that when fighting in its own class interests fought in the interests of all humanity. This vision of the universal class was maintained even when the manifest divisions inside the working class made it increasingly difficult to see its struggles as any more than sectional struggles by isolated groups within that class that had – in themselves – little to do with the liberation of all humanity. Maintaining a vision of these struggles growing over into the struggles of a universal class necessitated the maintenance of some version of economic stageism, arguing that if capitalism was not at this moment going into crisis in such a way as to provoke a generalised, class-wide response, it would in the future because of the ineluctable working out of its laws of motion.

But just as the stageism imputed to Marxist orthodoxy is a straw man, so is this notion of the automatic development of proletarian unity necessarily resulting from the working of the economy. For Marx and Lenin struggle, politics and ideas were essential elements not just of proletarian unity but, to some extent, of the constitution of the proletariat as a class. In the Eighteenth Brumaire Marx makes it clear that economic laws by themselves are insufficient guarantors of the existence of a particular class. He argues that the French peasantry are, from the standpoint of abstract economic analysis (class-in-itself), a class – but, from the standpoint of their lived experience, they are not (class-for-itself).

Insofar as millions of families live under economic conditions of existence that separate their mode of life, their interests and their culture from those of the other classes, and put them in hostile opposition to the latter, they form a class. Insofar as there is merely a local interconnection among these small-holding peasants, and the identity of their interests begets no community, no national bond and no political organisation among them, they do not form a class. [14]

In the German Ideology Marx and Engels argue that division inside the class is the natural mode of existence for the proletariat until a revolutionary struggle is on the agenda. In the ‘normal’ periods of capitalist development:

Competition separates individuals from one another, not only the bourgeois but still more the workers, in spite of the fact that it brings them together. Hence it is a long time before these individuals can unite, apart from the fact that for the purpose of this union – if it is not to be merely local – the necessary means, the big industrial cities and cheap and quick communications, have first to be produced by large-scale industry. Hence every organised power standing over against these isolated individuals, who live in conditions daily reproducing this isolation, can only be overcome after long struggles. To demand the opposite would be tantamount to demanding that competition should not exist in this definite epoch of history, or that the individuals should banish from their minds conditions over which in their isolation they have no control. [15]

The laws of capitalist development point towards the creation of large-scale industry which is the precondition for the unity of the proletariat. But as well as uniting the workers large-scale industry separates them because of the competition between individual members of the class for jobs. Far from automatically guaranteeing proletarian unity, the laws of capitalism only create its preconditions. Disunity can only be overcome through long struggles. Further, Marx and Engels go on to argue that until this unity is achieved through struggle the proletariat is not yet a ‘class-for-itself’.

The separate individuals fonn a cktss only insofar as they have to carry on a common battle against another class; in other respects they are on hostile terms with each other as competitors. [16]

Without a national bond and political organisation, the peasants, in a certain sense, do not form a class. The ‘inevitable’ development of large-scale industry ‘inevitably’ creates the conditions for the unity of the proletariat, but at the same time, left to itself, it creates and perpetuates their disunity through competition within the class. Proletarian unity is not inevitably constituted by the laws of capitalism or by inevitable stages of development. In their analysis of both the peasantry and the proletariat Marx and Engels do not link class formation – let alone class unity - solely to economic development The role of political struggle is crucial.

The same was true for Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Lenin often cited Marx and Engels on this question. ‘Call to mind the Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels, which speaks of the transformation of the proletariat into a class in keeping with the growth not only of its unity, but also of its political consciousness.’ [17] Here, both unity and consciousness are seen as crucial preconditions to the formation of the proletariat into a class. The simple working out of the laws of capitalism is insufficient. Describing the process of class formation in pre-capitalist Russia, Lenin argued that ‘it is the consciousness of the idea of hegemony and its implementation through their own activities that converts the guilds as a whole into a class.’ [18] Describing capitalist Russia, he argued: ‘The year 1905 saw the birth of a revolutionary class in Russia, the proletariat.’ [19] Lenin is not arguing that there was no working class until 1905. Of course there was, but that there is a necessary distinction between an objective analysis of the existence of classes based upon the extraction of surplus-value (class-in-itself) and a subjective analysis of a class that is aspiring to be, not the object of history, but the subject, a class becoming conscious of its power to alter exploitation.

Class is inevitably constituted through the development of the laws of capitalism. But class consciousness is also dependent on struggle and the intervention into that struggle of the ideas of scientific socialism.

Under normal capitalist conditions the proletariat is riven with divisions. Lenin’s party opposed reactionary laws against abortion and divorce because they divided the working class. The party demanded ‘the unconditional annulment of all laws against abortions’ and ‘against the distribution of medical literature on contraceptive measures.’ [20] ‘One cannot be a democrat and socialist without demanding full freedom of divorce now, because the lack of such freedom is additional oppression of the oppressed sex’. [21] Similarly, they argued – against Luxemburg – for the right of oppressed nations to self-determination, precisely because they saw the need to fight to unify the proletariat. ‘Let us consider the position of an oppressor nation,’ wrote Lenin.

Can a nation be free if it oppresses other nations? It cannot. The interests of the freedom of the Great-Russian population require a struggle against such oppression. The long, centuries-old history of the suppression of the movements of the oppressed nations, and the systematic propaganda in favour of such suppression coming from the ‘upper’ classes have created enormous obstacles to the cause of freedom of the Great-Russian people itself, in the form of prejudices, etc. [22]

This last charge, then, of the automatically-determined nature of proletarian unity à la orthodox Marxism is, again, a straw man.

Hegemony is an eloquent textbook of the new revisionism but is completely dishonest in its method. It erects straw men in order to rip them down and avoids a direct argument with the giants of the revolutionary tradition in order to construct and defend its idealist universe.


1. Ellen Meiksins Wood, The Retreat from Class (London: Verso, 1986). In this journal, see Alex Callinicos, Looking for alternatives to reformism (Series 2 : 34, Winter 1987); Ellen Meiksins Wood, A reply to Looking for Alternatives to reformism (Series 2 : 35, Summer 1987); and Callinicos, A rejoinder to Wood (Series 2 : 35,Summer 1987).

2. A term coined by Ralph Miliband in The New Revisionism in Britain, in New Left Review 150, 1985.

3. Ernesto Laclau & Chantal Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (London: Verso, 1985), hereafter referred to as Hegemony.

4. Karl Kautsky, Foundations of Christianity (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1972). Georgi Plekhanov, The Development of the Monist View of History, in Plekhanov, Selected Philosophical Works, vol. I (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1974). Almost single-handedly, with the support of no mass following and no state institutions, Plekhanov created a school of Marxism in an exceedingly hostile environment in Czarist Russia. He was the necessary precursor to Lenin. Further, quite apart from an appraisal of his political activity, he was a true scholar. His philosophical works display a breadth of knowledge of the entire history of thought which few today can match. While Plekhanov has enjoyed a bit of rehabilitation through the presses of Progress Publishers (Lenin did, after all, continue to praise Plekhanov’s role as a Marxist philosopher long after Plekhanov had joined the forces opposed to Bolshevism), Kautsky has been virtually ignored. Abandoned by the Comintem after his reactionary role during World War One, his legacy of writings is far too explicitly Marxist to be taken up by social-democracy. A reading of the text cited here, among others, shows that ignorance of his writings is undeserved. Lenin leaned on the pre-war Kautsky for many of his most important polemics, including the debate on the national question with Luxemburg, and the debate On party-building best-summarised in What is to be Done?

5. See Leon Trotsky, History of the Russian Revolution, vol. 1 (London: Sphere Books Limited, 1967), especially chapter 1.

6. V.I. Lenin, A Caricature of Marxism, in Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 23, (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1981), p. 68.

7. Lenin, The Agrarian Question and the Forces of Revolution, in Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 12, op. cit., p. 335.

8. Quoted in Teodor Shanin, ed., Late Marx and the Russian Road (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1983), pp. 130–1.

9. Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, in Marx and Engels, Collected Works, vol. 11 (New York: International Publishers, 1979).

10. Frederick Engels, Bruno Bauer and Early Christianity, in Marx and Engels, On Religion (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975), p. 174.

11. Cited in Colin Gumbrell, Karl Marx (London: Evergreen Lives, 1983), p. 64.

12. Lenin, The Discussion on Self-Determination Summed Up, in Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 22, op. cit., pp. 355–6.

13. Lenin, Sketch of a Provisional Revolutionary Government, in Collected Works, vol. 8, op. cit., p. 536.

14. Marx, Eighteenth Brumaire, op. cit., p. 187.

15. Marx and Engels, The German Ideology, op. cit., p. 745.

16. Ibid., p. 77.

17. Lenin, Learn From the Enemy, in Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 10, op. cit., p. 60.

18. Lenin, Marxism and Nasha Zarya, in Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 17, op. cit., p. 58.

19. Lenin, The Peasant Reform, in ibid., p. 120.

20. Lenin, The Working Class and Neomalthusianism, in Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 19, op. cit., p. 237.

21. Lenin, A Caricature of Marxism, op. cit., p. 72.

22. Lenin, The Right of Nations to Self-Determination, in Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 20, op. cit., p. 423.

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