When Marxism first came into existence, most of its opponents were people of different philosophical leanings. Most of the attacks on Marxism, therefore, were directly hostile to it and tried to repudiate Marxism completely. But over time as Marxism started to take hold among the masses and started to spread as the revolutionary theory of the working class, the attacks on Marxism changed. The criticisms of Marxism now were not coming from outside the Marxist camp, but from inside the socialist camp.
“Why did Russia, of all countries, become the home of Leninism, the birthpalce of the theory and tactics of the proletarian revolution?
The Socialist Party of Great Britain, a party whose “socialism” consists of such dialectical positions as “opposing every single government” and “every single war,” published an article by Richard Montague in its newspaper Socialist Standard contrasting the chasms between Marx and Lenin. The article itself is quite old, published in 2001, but it was brought to our attention recently in an attempt to “explode tankies.” We thought it would be a great idea to refute the horrid liberalism that drips throughout the article while also clarifying some of the common misconceptions about the differences between Marx and Lenin that are used either to paint Vladimir as the man who vulgarized Marxism for eternity or to turn Marx into a common liberal.
As strange as the question in the title sounds given the obvious answer, it is the opinion of some “leftists”, especially anarchists and some left-communists, that “dialectical materialism” is a made up “political ideology,” dreamt up by Stalin to justify the supposed atrocities of the Soviet Union. Even someone as well-read as Noam Chomsky is shaky on this, to say the least.
Anti-Dühring is to Engels what Capital is to Marx. As Engels wrote to Marx, it was an attempt “to produce an encyclopaedic survey of our conception of the philosophical, natural-science and historical problems.” Aside from being the book that contains the most sarcastic insults that Herr Eugen Dühring perhaps had to endure in his life, it is also a wonderful exposition of Marxism. The following excerpt is Engels discussing “eternal truths,” which Dühring had claimed existed in “the world of morals” as they existed “just as much” in the world of general knowledge:
… [W]hat is most important, that which constitutes the very gist, the living soul, of Marxism—is a concrete analysis of a concrete situation
— Vladimir Lenin
Socialism, as was developed by Marx and Engels in its scientific form after the break from the utopian socialists and Proudhon’s petty-bourgeois mutualism, was never defined as “workers controlling the means of production” but rather as the lower phase of communist society, the transitional stage between capitalist and communist society.