Literature of Revolution: Essays on Marxism - Barnes & Noble
Literature of Revolution : Essays on Marxism
The Communist movement in Western Europe began, as a movementfor the violent overthrow of capitalism, and degenerated within afew years into an instrument of Russian foreign policy. This wasprobably inevitable when this revolutionary ferment that followedthe Great War had died down. So far as I know, the onlycomprehensive history of this subject in English is FranzBorkenau's book, THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL. What Borkenau's factseven more than his deductions make clear is that Communism couldnever have developed along its present lines if any revolutionaryfeeling had existed in the industrialized countries. In England,for instance, it is obvious that no such feeling has existed foryears past. The pathetic membership figures of all extremistparties show this clearly. It is, only natural, therefore, that theEnglish Communist movement should be controlled by people who arementally subservient to Russia and have no real aim except tomanipulate British foreign policy in the Russian interest. Ofcourse such an aim cannot be openly admitted, and it is this factthat gives the Communist Party its very peculiar character. Themore vocal kind of Communist is in effect a Russian publicity agentposing as an international socialist. It is a pose that is easilykept up at normal times, but becomes difficult in moments ofcrisis, because of the fact that the U.S.S.R. is no more scrupulousin its foreign policy than the rest of the Great Powers. Alliances,changes of front etc., which only make sense as part of the game ofpower politics have to be explained and justified in terms ofinternational socialism. Every time Stalin swaps partners,'Marxism' has to be hammered into a new shape. This entails suddenand violent changes of 'line', purges, denunciations, systematicdestruction of party literature, etc., etc. Every Communist is infact liable at any moment to have to alter his most fundamentalconvictions, or leave the party. The unquestionable dogma of Mondaymay become the damnable heresy of Tuesday, and so on. This hashappened at least three times during the past ten years. It followsthat in any Western country a Communist Party is always unstableand usually very small. Its long-term membership really consists ofan inner ring of intellectuals who have identified with the Russianbureaucracy, and a slightly larger body of working-class people whofeel a loyalty towards Soviet Russia without necessarilyunderstanding its policies. Otherwise there is only a shiftingmembership, one lot coming and another going with each change of'line'.
Literature Of Revolution Essays On Marxism
Marx asserts that "...stable societies develop sites of resistance: contradictions build into the social system that ultimately lead to social revolution and the development of a new society upon the old" (1088). This cycle of contradiction, tension, and revolution must continue: there will always be conflict between the upper, middle, and lower (working) classes and this conflict will be reflected in literature and other forms of expression - art, music, movies, etc.