at the Center for Intercultural Management
and International Communications (CIMIC)
2800 Mechelen, Belgium
: Basic Principles and Historical Development of Marxism
Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Former Associate Professor, Center of Asian
Studies, University of the Philippines; General Consultant,
International League of Peoples’ Struggle; and Founding
Chairman, Communist Party of the Philippines
Outline of Subject
Introduction: Marx and Engels laid down the
basic principles of Marxism in the Communist Manifesto of
1848. Since then, the theory and practice of Marxism has gone
through three stages.
Stage of Marxism: laying the
theoretical foundation of scientific socialism
condition: era of free competition capitalism, the rise of
industrial capital and labor and the class struggle
between the two.
components of Marxism
philosophy: Hegel and Feuerbach. Proceeded to
dialectical materialism. Marx and Engels put dialectics
on material basis and presented the law of contradiction
in objective reality and in consciousness.
political economy: Adam Smith and David Ricardo.
Proceeded to critique of capitalist political economy
through the theory of surplus value in the study of the
commodity. Marx and Engels elaborated on the labor
theory of value and presented surplus value or unpaid
labor as the source of profits, the accumulation of
capital and the crisis of overproduction.
science: revolutionary democrats and utopian socialists.
Proceeded to theory of scientific socialism. Material
conditions created by industrial capitalism provide the
objective basis for socialism and generate the class
struggle for the proletariat to establish the class
dictatorship of the proletariat and replace private
ownership with the public ownership of the means of
achievements of Marx and Engels
Workingmen’s League. Marx and Engels inspired and
guided this as the First International of the
proletariat and promoted scientific socialism among
several other trends in the working class movement.
lessons from the Paris Commune of 1871. Marx analyzed
the Paris Commune and hailed it as a prototype of
proletarian dictatorship. He identified positive and
International from 1889 onwards and Marxism as the main
trend in the European working class movement from the
last decade of the l9th century. When Bernstein became
revisionist, Kautsky opposed him. When Kautsky also
became revisionist, Lenin would oppose him in the Second
Marxism-Leninism: theory and practice of proletarian
condition: free competition capitalism had evolved into
monopoly capitalism or imperialism at the beginning of the
20th century and thus ushered the era of
imperialism and proletarian internationalism.
development of the theory of Marxism
philosophy, materialism versus empirio-criticism. Lenin
further developed materialist dialectics as he opposed
subjectivist and empiricist trends among bourgeois
thinkers who presented themselves as Marxist or
economy, critique of monopoly capitalism or imperialism
as the highest and final stage of capitalist
development. Lenin presented the five features of
imperialism. He criticized it as moribund capitalism,
prone to economic crisis, political repression and wars
of aggression. He put forward the theory of uneven
development to assert that proletarian revolution is
more likely to occur in the weakest links in the chain
of imperialist domination.
science, the critique of classical revisionism, building
the revolutionary party of the proletariat and upholding
proletarian dictatorship, socialist construction and
socialist culture. Lenin upheld the Marxist theory of
state and revolution and the principles of class
struggle and class dictatorship of the proletariat.
achievements of Lenin and Stalin
socialist country in one-sixth of the world after World
War I. Lenin defined the general line of socialist
revolution and construction. But it would be Stalin who
would carry it out vigorously. From the transitional
measures of the New Economic Policy, Stalin would carry
out socialist industrialization, collectivization and
mechanization of agriculture, the education of great
numbers of scientists and technologists and raising the
standard of living.
fascism and war as the most brutal weapon of monopoly
capitalism. The Soviet Union made the greatest
sacrifices and broke the backbone of fascism in World
several socialist countries and national liberation
movements after World War II. One third of humanity came
under the governments of people’s democracies or
socialism. Countries won their national independence
through armed revolution or else the imperialist
countries were compelled to "grant"
Marxism-Leninism-Maoism: posing and confronting the problem
of modern revisionism.
conditions: The U.S. became the No. 1 imperialist power
and No. 1 enemy of the people of the world. It was
possible for the combination of the socialist and national
liberation movements to isolate weaken and defeat US
imperialism. But the emergence of revisionists in power in
socialist countries and the common adoption of
neocolonialism by the two superpowers undermined the
socialist and national liberation movements.
development of the theory of Marxism-Leninism
philosophy, the unity of opposites as the single basic
law of contradictions. To this day, after Lenin, Mao’s
contributions to Marxist philosophy stand out as the
latest, most original and most significant. They take
issue with some philosophical views of Stalin.
economy, measures to improve on and surpass the Soviet
model. Mao pursued the line of developing heavy and
basic industries as the leading factor in the economy,
agriculture as the basis and light industry as the
bridging factor. He emphasized the primacy of the
socialist relations of production in the course of
socialist revolution against the theory of productive
forces and in turn the primacy of the socialist
superstructure over the mode of production.
science, the theory of continuing revolution under the
dictatorship of the proletariat to combat revisionism,
prevent the restoration of capitalism and consolidate
socialism. Principles, policies and measures were laid
down to stress that socialism would take a whole
historical epoch, to grasp the class struggle as the key
link in every social endeavor, to ensure the leading
role of the proletariat in every aspect of society, to
put revolutionary politics in command of production, to
put the superstructure in basic correspondence with the
socialist base, to maintain close links among the
cadres, the masses and experts and to train the youth as
achievements of Mao
a quarter of humanity in China (in effect bringing
one-third of humanity under socialism). Mao elaborated
on the new democratic and socialist stages of revolution
in semicolonial and semifeudal countries. He proved that
protracted people’s war is feasible in said countries
because these, together with imperialism, are in chronic
socialism and seeking to improve on the Soviet model.
Mao successfully carried socialist revolution and
construction. He criticized and repudiated modern
revisionism centered in the Soviet Union. He studied and
exposed such causes in Soviet history and current
circumstances as the premature declaration in the Soviet
Constitution of l936 that there was no more class
struggle in the Soviet Union, except the one between the
Soviet people and the imperialists, and the rise of
bourgeoisified bureaucrats in the ruling party, state,
economic enterprises and cultural organizations.
repudiation of modern revisionism up to 1976 in China.
The greatest achievement of Mao is in putting forward
the theory and practice of continuing revolution under
proletarian dictatorship. The cultural revolution
succeeded only untill976. But important lessons can be
learned from the positive and negative experiences.
Situation: bankruptcy of "free market"
globalization and the new world disorder
rulers opted in 1989-91 for the full and undisguised
restoration of capitalism. The revisionist regimes
collapsed and Soviet Union no less disintegrated. It came
out as the big loser in the Cold War. Since then, the US
has stood as the sole superpower and has further pushed
"free market" globalization and wars of
"free market" globalization and "new world
order", rapidly worsening economic and political
conditions: crisis of overproduction, financial crisis,
reactionary trends and wars.
In the third
world and the NIC’s. The vast majority that produces
raw materials for export are the most devastated. Also
devastated are the few NIC producing some basic
In the former
Soviet-bloc countries. Continuing are
de-industrialization and compradorization, the unbridled
plunder by the imperialists and the new bourgeoisie.
imperialist countries. The US benefited from funds
flowing from Japan and Western Europe. Now, the US
itself is in dire crisis after the bursting of the
"new economy" bubble. The crisis of
overproduction has extended to high tech goods.
- Prospects for the resurgence of the anti-imperialist and
anti-imperialist and socialist movements is bound to surge
forward again as a result of the worsening of basic
contradictions between the imperialist powers and
oppressed peoples, among the imperialist powers and
between capital and labor. Imperialist crisis and war are
inciting the people to wage revolution, nations to fight
for liberation and countries for independence.
revolutionary movements can become stronger than their
predecessors could in the 20th century if they
learn how to counter opportunism and revisionism as well
as imperialism neocolonialism and all reaction.
revolutionary movements can make advances by taking
advantage of new conditions, including the unprecedented
worsening of the basic contradictions of the world and the
exceedingly high level of technology for production,
distribution, communication and warfare.
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