Revisionism (Marxism) | Wikipedia audio article

Revisionism (Marxism) | Wikipedia audio article


Within the Marxist movement, the word revisionism
is used to refer to various ideas, principles and theories that are based on a significant
revision of fundamental Marxist premises.The term is most often used by those Marxists
who believe that such revisions are unwarranted and represent a “watering down” or abandonment
of Marxism—one such common example is the negation of class struggle. As such, revisionism
often carries pejorative connotations and the term has been used by many different factions.
It is typically applied to others and rarely as a self-description. By extension, people
who view themselves as fighting against revisionism have often self-identified as anti-revisionists.==History==
The term “revisionism” has been used in a number of contexts to refer to different revisions
(or claimed revisions) of Marxist theory.===19th century===
In the late 19th century, revisionism was used to describe democratic socialist writers
such as Eduard Bernstein, who sought to revise Karl Marx’s ideas about the transition to
socialism and claimed that a revolution through force was not necessary to achieve a socialist
society. The views of Bernstein gave rise to reformist theory, which asserts that socialism
can be achieved through gradual peaceful reforms from within a capitalist system.===1920s and 1930s===
In the 1920s and 1930s, the International Left Opposition led by Leon Trotsky, which
had been expelled from the Communist International, accused the leadership of the Comintern and
Soviet Union of revising the internationalist principles of Marxism and Leninism in favor
of the aspirations of an elite bureaucratic caste which had come to power in the Soviet
Union. The Trotskyists saw the nascent Stalinist bureaucracy as a roadblock on the proletariat’s
path to world socialist revolution and to the shifting policies of the Comintern, they
counterposed the Marxist theory of permanent revolution. Meanwhile, the Soviet authorities
labeled the Trotskyists as “revisionists” and eventually expelled them from the Communist
Party of the Soviet Union, whereupon the Trotskyists founded their Fourth International.===1940s and 1950s===
In the 1940s and 1950s within the international communist movement, revisionism was a term
used by Marxist-Leninists to describe communists who focused on consumer goods production instead
of heavy industry; accepted national differences instead of promoting proletarian internationalism;
and encouraged liberal reforms instead of remaining faithful to established doctrine.
Revisionism was also one of the charges leveled at Titoists as punishment for their pursuit
of a relatively independent communist ideology, amidst a series of post-World War II purges
beginning in 1949 in Eastern Europe by the Soviet administration under Stalin. After
Stalin’s death, a more democratic form of socialism briefly became acceptable in Hungary
during Imre Nagy’s government (1953–1955) and in Poland during Władysław Gomułka’s
government, containing ideas that the rest of the Soviet bloc and the Soviet Union itself
variously considered revisionist, although neither Nagy nor Gomułka described themselves
as revisionists, since to do so would have been self-deprecating.
After the 1956 Secret Speech that denounced Stalin, many communist activists, astounded
and disheartened by what they saw as the betrayal of Marxist–Leninist principles by the very
people who had founded them, resigned from western communist parties in protest. These
quitters were sometimes accused of revisionism by those communists who remained in these
parties, although some of these same loyalists also shortly thereafter split from the same
communist parties in the 1960s to become the New Left indicating that they too were disillusioned
by the actions of the Soviet Union by that point in time. Most of those who left in the
1960s started aligning themselves with Mao Zedong as opposed to the Soviet Union. An
example was E. P. Thompson’s New Reasoner.===1960s===
In the early 1960s, Mao Zedong and the Communist Party of China revived the term revisionism
(Chinese: 修正主义 xiūzhèng zhǔyì, “doctrine correction”) to attack Nikita Khrushchev
and the Soviet Union over various ideological and political issues, as part of the Sino-Soviet
split. The Chinese routinely described the Soviets as “modern revisionists” through the
1960s. This usage was copied by the various Maoist groups that split off from communist
parties around the world. In 1978, the Sino-Albanian split occurred, which caused Enver Hoxha,
the General Secretary of Albania, to also condemn Maoism as revisionist. This caused
a split in the Maoist movement, with some following the Albanian Party of Labour’s line,
most notably the Communist Party of New Zealand and the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist–Leninist).==See also==
Eurocommunism Left communism
Opportunism Deng Xiaoping Theory
Khrushchevism==References==

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