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A reading list on Marxism suggested by Lenin

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Soviet cogitations: 781
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Jan 2008, 19:10
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Post 28 Jan 2019, 02:48
I was looking over an old 1941 scan of a CPGB printing of Plekhanov's book and it advertised itself as "the best exposition of marxist philosophy"- Lenin; and I wanted to track down this quote. And it comes from Lenin's famous biography of Marx, which most M-Ls are probably familiar with. But I never noticed the footnote in which Lenin gives a complete suggested reading list in familarizing oneself with Marxism, most of which are online at MIA. ... t/ch06.htm


On the question of Marxist philosophy and historical materialism the best exposition is given by G. V. Plekhanov, For Twenty Years, St. Petersburg, 1909, 3rd ed.; From Defence to Attack, St. Petersburg, 1910; Fundamental Problems of Marxism, St. Petersburg, 1908; A Critique of Our Critics, St. Petersburg, 1906; The Development of the Monist View of History, St. Petersburg, 1908, and other works. Antonio Labriola, On the Materialist View of History [in Russian], St. Petersburg, 1898; also his Historical Materialism and Philosophy, St. Petersburg, 1906; Franz Mehring, On Historical Materialism [in Russian] (two editions, by Prosveshcheniye and Molot), St. Petersburg, 1906, and The Lessing Legend [in Russian], St. Petersburg, 1908 (Znaniye); see also Charles Andler (non-Marxist), The Communist Manifesto. History, Introduction, Comments [in Russian], St. Petersburg, 1906. See also Historical Materialism, St. Petersburg, 1908, a collection of articles by Engels, Kautsky, Lafargue, and many others; L. Axelrod, Philosophical Sketches. A Reply to Philosophic Critics of Historical Materialism, St. Petersburg, 1906. A special defence of Dietzgen’s unsuccessful deviations from Marxism is contained in E. Untermann’s Die logischen Mängel des engeren Marxismus,[11] Munich, 1910 , 753 pages (an extensive but none too serious work). Hugo Riekes’s Die philosophische Tvurzel des Marxismus, in Zeitschrift für die gesamte Staatswissenschaft, 62. Jahrgang, 1906, 3. Heft, S. 407—32,[12] is an interesting piece of work by an opponent of the Marxist views, showing their philosophical integrity from the viewpoint of materialism. Benno Erdmann’s Die philosophisehen Voraussetzungen der materialist ischen Geschichtsaufiassung, in Jahrbuch für Gesetzgebung, Verwaltung und Volkswirtschaft (Schtnollers Jahrbuch), 1907, 3. Heft, S. 156,[13] is a very useful formulation of some of the basic principles of Marx’s philosophical materialism, and a summary of arguments against it from the current viewpoint of Kantianism, and agnosticism in general. Rudolph Stammier (a Kantian), Wirtschaft und Rechi nach der materialistischen Geschichtsauffassung,[14] 2nd ed., Leipzig, 1906; Woltmann (also a Kantian), Historical Materialism (in a Russian translation, 1901); Vorländer (also a Kantian), Kant and Marx, [in Russian], St. Petersburg, 1909. See also the polemic between A. Bogdanov, V. Bazarov and others, on the one hand, and V. Ilyin,[15] on the other (the views of the former being contained in An Outline of the Philosophy of Marxism, St. Petersburg, 1908; A. Bogdanov, The Downfall of a Great Fetishism, Moscow, 1909, and elsewhere, and the views of the latter, in Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, Moscow, 1909). On the question of historical materialism and ethics: Karl Kautsky, Ethics and the Materialist Conception of History, St. Petersburg, 1906, and numerous other works by Kautsky; Louis Boudin, The Theoretical System of Karl Marx in the Light of Recent Criticism, translated from the English under the editorship of V. Zasulich, St. Petersburg, 1908; Hermann Gorter, Der historische Materialismus,[16] 1909. Of works by opponents to Marxism, we would name Tugan-Baranovsky, The Theoretical Fundamentals of Marxism, St. Petersburg, 1907; S. Prokopovieb, A Critique of Marx, St. Petersburg, 1901; Hammacher, Dasphilosophisch-ökonomische System des Marxismus,[17] Leipzig, 1910 (730 pages, collection of quotations); Werner Sombart, Socialism and the Social-Movement in the Nineteenth Century in Russian], St. Petersburg; Max Adler (a Kantian), Kausalitilt und Teleologie, Vienna, 1909, in Marx-Studien, also Marx als Denker[18] by the same author.

The book of an Hegelian idealist, Giovanni Gentile, La filosofia di Marx,[19] Pisa, 1899, is noteworthy. The author deals with some important aspects of Marx’s materialist dialectics which usually escape the attention of the Kantians, Positivists, etc.. Likewise: Levy, Feuerbach, a work about one of the main philosophical predecessors of Marx. A useful collection of quotations from a number of Marx’s works is contained in Chernyshev’s Notebook of a Marxist, St. Petersburg (Dyelo), 1908. On Marx’s economic doctrine, the following books are outstanding: Karl Kautsky, The Economic Doctrines of Karl Marx (numerous editions in Russian), The Agrarian Question, The Erfurt Programme, and numerous pamphlets. Cf. also: Eduard Bernstein, The Economic Doctrine of Marx. The Third Volume of Capital (Russian translation, 1905); Gabriel Deville, Capital (an exposition of the first volume of Capital, Russian translation, 1907). A representative of so-called revisionism among Marxists, as regards the agrarian question, is Eduard David, Socialism and Agriculture (Russian translation, St. Petersburg, 1902). For a critique of revisionism see V. Ilyin, The Agrarian Question, Part I, St. Petersburg, 1908. See also the following books by V. Ilyin: The Development of Capitalism in Russia, second edition, St. Petersburg, 1908; Economic Essays and Articles, St. Petersburg, 1899; New Data on the Laws of Development of Capitalism in Agriculture, Book 1, 1917. An application of Marx’s views, with some deviations, to the latest data concerning agrarian relations in France can be found in Cornpère-Morel, La question agraire et le socialisme en France,[20] Paris, 1912, 455 pages. For the further development of Marx’s economic views as applied to recent phenomena in economic life see Hilferding’s Finance Capital [in Russian], St. Petersburg, 1911 (outstanding inaccuracies in the author’s views on the theory of value have been corrected by Kautsky in “Gold, Papier und Ware”,—“Gold, Paper Money and Commodities”—in Die Neue Zeit, XXX, 1; 1912, pp. 837 and 886); and V. Ilyin’s Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, 1917. Pyotr Maslov in his Agrarian Question (two volumes) and The Theory of Economic Development, St. Petersburg, 1910, deviates from Marxism on important points. A criticism of some of Maslov’s deviations may be found in Kautsky’s “Malthusianism and Socialism” in Die Neue Zeit, XXIX, 1, 1911.

A criticism of the economic doctrine of Marx, from the point of view of the so-called marginal utility theory that is widespread among bourgeois professors, is contained in the following works: Böhm-Bawerk, Zum Abschluss des Marxschen Systems[21] (Berlin 1896, in Staatswiss. A ibeiten, Fesigabe für K. Knies), Russian translation, St. Petersburg, 1897, The Theory of Marx and Its Criticism, and also his Kapital und Kapitalzins, 2nd ed., two volumes, Innsbruck, 1900-02 (Russian translation, Capital and Profits, St. Petersburg, 1909). See also: Riekes, Wert und Tauschwert (1899)[22]; von Bortkiewicz, Wertrechnung und Preisrechnung im Marxschen System (Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft, 1906—07)[23]; Leo von Buch, Über die Elemente der politisczen Olconomie. I. Th. Die Intensität d. Arbeit, Tvert u. Preis[24] (published also in Russian). For an analysis of Böhm-Bawerk’s critique from a Marxist point of view see Hilferding’s Böhm-Bawerks Marx-Kritik[25] (Marx-Sludien, I. Band, Vienna, 1904), and in shorter articles published in Die Neue Zeit.

On the question of the two main currents in the interpretation and development of Marxism—the “revisionist” and the radical (“orthodox”)—see Eduard Bernstein’s Voraussetzungen des Sozialismus und die Aufgaben der Sozialdemokratie (German original, Stuttgart, 1899; Russian translations: Historical Materialism, St. Petersburg, 1901, and Social Problems, Moscow, 1901); see also his From the History and Theory of Socialism, St. Petersburg, 1902. A reply to Bernstein is contained in Karl Kautsky’s Bernstein und das sozialdemokratische Programm (German original, Stuttgart, 1899; Russian translation in four editions; 1905-06). For French Marxist literature see Jules Guesde’s Quatre ans de lutte des classes, En garde and Questions d’hier et d’aujourd’hui (Paris, 1911)[26]; Paul Lafargue, Le déterminisme économique de K. Marx (Paris, 1909)[27]; Anton Pannokoek, Zwei Tendenzen in der Arbeiterbewegung.[28]

On the question of the Marxist theory of the accumulation of capital there is a new work by Rosa Luxemburg, Die Accumulation des Kapitals (Berlin, 1913),[29] and an analysis of her incorrect interpretation of Marx’s theory by Otto Bauer, Die Accumulation des Kapitals (Die Neue Zeit, XXXI, 1, 1913, §.831 und 862).[30] See also Eckstein in Vorwürtsand Pannekoek in Bremer Bürger-Zeitung for 1913.
Kamran Heiss
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