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The Revolutionary Forces in Marx’s Theory and Marxism : Development? or Distortion?
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Ota , Yoshiki
1. Diffusion of Marxism and inflation of the concept “proletariat”
The concept of “proletariat” is the central concept of Marxism. However, its content varies according to times and regions. For Marx and Engels, proletarias are workers who work in the capitalist large industries, they overthrow the rule of capitalists through the revolution and are the subjects of the construction of society in the future. Kautsky put workers in small factories and small farmers into the category of proletariat. Lenin overestimated capitalist development in Russia and included farmers without horses into proletariat. In Mao Zedong, agricultural workers, rumpen, handmade workers, peasants, clerks and peddlers are also allowed to participate in the revolution. The concept of proletariat is inflated. As the region moves away from the center of the world system, the scope of participants in the revolution has been expanded.
2. “Proletariat” in Marx’s view on social development
In Marx, proletariat is given a privileged position as a revolutionary subject in the capitalist society. In the “formulation” of historical materialism, modern bourgeois society is given a privileged position in human history. Proletariat is privileged in dual sense. In this formulation, there is no social antagonism in the future society that Marx believes. This future society should be called a “community without law and state”. It is recognized that the development of capitalist production increases the number of workers and the ordinary electoral system increases possibilities of acquiring a working-class regime. Still, Capital insists that the revolution is inevitable. Marx and Engels never abandoned “revolutionism” throughout their lives.
3. Marx’s revolutionary strategy and British working class
For Marx and Engels, England is a typical country of capitalistic development, giving models to other countries.However, the English working class in the mid-19th century was not “revolutionary”. The English labor movement during this period had been internalized under the guidance of the “labor aristocrat”. Working class was integrated as “nation”. While cooperating with the reformists politically, Marx was argueing revolutionism in scientific books. While cooperating with the reformists politically, Marx was advocating revolutionism in Capital. In modern bourgeois society, it is usual that labor classes are integrated into a system as “nation” and labor movement is to become reformistic, but Marx could not analyze this situation as a problem of upper structure of capitalism in general. In England Marx cooperated with the reformist labor movement, but could not abandon his revolutionism.
4. Reform Movement and Revolutionism: German Revisionism Controversy and Russian Party Organization Controversy
At the German Social Democratic Party, there was coexistence of reformistic practice and ideology of revolutionism. Kautsky was a personal expression of this coexistence. He adhered to revolutionism, but acknowledged that socialist consciousness was brought into labor movement from the outside historically. Bernstein claimed that revolutionism is an obstacle to workers’ reform movement. In the controversy concerning the organization of the Russian Social Democratic Party, from the standpoint of revolutionalism, Lenin argued that “external injection” is necessary because the workers’ reform movement and the revolutionary socialist movement are not directly connected. The revolutionary forces are not necessarily the product of the capitalist big industry. Those who have abilities to resist the capitalist system, they can participate in the socialist revolution through the “external injection” of the revolutionary party. It can be said that the logic of “external injection” made it possible to disseminate Marxism to the semi-periphery and periphery.
5. Conclusion
The Marxist revolution theory is understood as the theory of “revolution of developed countryies”. This is because it assumes the proletariat produced by the capitalist big industry as the revolutionary subject. In the case of Marx, its understanding is correct. However, the successful acquisition of the regime by the Marxist was in “backward countries”. It can be said that the key to solving this paradox was in the unreality of the concept of “proletariat” at the core of Marx’s revolutionism. Marx’s “proletariat” has no realities in the working class in center of modern capitalit world system (“developed capitalist countries”). On the other hand, various anti-systemic forces were formed as a revolutionary subject entity or “proletariat” by “external injection” of the revolutionary parties in semi-periphery and periphery (the “backward areas”). Rosa Luxemburg called as “clique management (Cliquenwirtschaft)” the regime that such forces could aquire. Under the “clique management” system, people remained in the object of governance and never became the subject.
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Okayama Economic Review
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The Economic Association of Okayama University
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Copyright © 2019 岡山大学経済学会
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