SOVIET MARXISM: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS, by Herbert Marcuse Columbia University Press, New York History written from the viewpoint of victorious. An original and interesting critical essay on Soviet Marxist theory, though by no means easy to read. The author's method of by Herbert Marcuse Reviewed by. Soviet Marxism. A Critical Analysis. Herbert Marcuse. Columbia University Press. Soviet Marxism. Google Preview. Pub Date: July ISBN:


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This brief outline of the notion of objective historical laws may serve to show the ateleological character of the hypothesis. In applying the hypothesis to the interpretation of Soviet Marxism, one qualification imposes itself from the beginning.

It seems that the determining trend cannot be defined merely in terms of the structure of Soviet society, but that it must be defined in terms of the interaction between Soviet and Western society.

Even the most cursory survey of Soviet Marxism is confronted with the fact that at almost every turn in the development Soviet theory and Soviet policy reacts to a corresponding Western development soviet marxism herbert marcuse vice versa. This seems self-evident and hardly worth mentioning were it not for the fact that it is usually taken too lightly, taken soviet marxism herbert marcuse account merely with respect to diplomacy and propaganda, or understood as arrangements of expediency, short-term adjustments, and so on.

However, the interaction seems to soviet marxism herbert marcuse much further and to express an essential link between the two conflicting systems, thus affecting the very structure of Soviet society.

In its most visible form, the link is in the technical-economic basis common to both systems, i. As against this common technical-economic denominator stands the very different institutional structure — private enterprise here, nationalized enterprise there. Will the common technical-economic basis eventually assert itself over and against the different social institutions, or will the latter continue to widen the difference in the utilization of the productive forces in the two social systems?

Herbert Marcuse and Marxism

In Soviet Marxist language everytliing is short soviet marxism herbert marcuse if compared with the final event of world communism. Viewed in this context, coexistence is perhaps the most singular feature of the contemporary era, namely, the meeting of two antagonistic forms of industrial civilization, challenging soviet marxism herbert marcuse other in the same international arena, neither one strong enough to replace the other.

In Western industrial society, the weakness derives from the constant danger of overproduction in a narrowing world market and grave social and economic dislocations, a danger necessitating constant political countermeasures, which in turn limit the economic and cultural growth of the system.


On the other side, the Soviet system still suffers from the plague of underproduction, perpetuated by its military and political commitments against the advanced Western world. The implications of this dynamic will soviet marxism herbert marcuse traced in the following chapters.

Soviet Marxism

This does not mean that the policies such as the Stalinist industrialization which decided the fundamental trend of Soviet society were an inexorable necessity.

The outcome soviet marxism herbert marcuse decided in this struggle; it was decided in Europe by about ; and the Soviet soviet marxism herbert marcuse did not make this decision though it contributed to it at that time probably to a lesser degree than is usually assumed.

If these propositions can be corroborated, the question as to whether or not the Soviet leadership is guided by Marxist principles is without relevance; once Incorporated into the foundational institutions and objectives of the new society, Marxism becomes subject to a historical dynamic which surpasses the intentions of the leadership and to which the manipulators themselves succumb.

An immanent discussion of Soviet Marxism may help to identify this historical dynamic to which the leadership itself is subjected — no matter how autonomous and totalitarian it may be. Thus, in examining Soviet Marxism and the theoretical situation from which it originated, we are not concerned with abstract-dogmatic validity but with concrete political and economic trends, which may also provide a soviet marxism herbert marcuse for anticipating prospective developments.

A few words must be said in justification of such an approach.

Marxian theory purports to be an essentially new philosophy, substantially different from the main tradition of Western philosophy. Marxism claims to fulfill this soviet marxism herbert marcuse by passing from ideology to reality, from philosophical interpretation to political action.

For this purpose, Marxism redefines not only soviet marxism herbert marcuse main categories and modes of thought, but also the dimension of their verification; their validity is to be determined by the historical situation and the action of the proletariat.

There is theoretical continuity from the early Marxian notion of the Proletariat as the objectified truth of capitalist society to the Soviet Marxist concept partinost partisanship.

Soviet Marxism: A Critical Analysis - Wikipedia

Under these circumstances, a critique which merely applies the traditional criteria of philosophical truth to Soviet Marxism does not, in a strict soviet marxism herbert marcuse, reach its objective. Such a critique, no matter how strong and well founded it may be, is easily blunted by the argument that its conceptual foundations have been undermined by the Marxist transition into a different area of historical and theoretical verification.

The Marxist dimension itself thus soviet marxism herbert marcuse to remain intact because it remains outside the argument. But if the critique enters that very dimension, by examining the development and use of the Marxist categories in terms of their own claim and content, it may be able to penetrate the real content beneath the ideological and political form in which it appears.

The first alternative seems to beg the question as to what is meant seriously in Soviet Marxism and on what grounds the distinction is made.

Treated in this manner, as items in the history of philosophical or sociological thought, the articles of the Concise Philosophical Dictionary, for example, or the logic discussion ofare totally irrelevant — their philosophical faults are obvious to any scholar; their function is not the academic formulation of generally valid categories and techniques of thought but soviet marxism herbert marcuse definition of their relation to the political reality.

The approach suggested here shifts the emphasis of the critique from the spectacular public controversies, such as the Aleksandrov debate or the logic and linguistic discussion, to basic trends in Soviet Marxism and uses the former only by way of illustration of the latter.

The immanent critique proceeds under the assumption that Marxian theory plays a decisive part in the formulation and execution of Soviet policy, and that from the Soviet use of Marxian soviet marxism herbert marcuse inferences may be drawn for the national and international development of the Soviet state.

The fact is that the Bolshevik Party and the Bolshevik Revolution were, to a considerable degree, developed according to Marxist principles, and that the Stalinist reconstruction of Soviet society based itself on Leninism, which was a specific interpretation of Marxian theory and practice.