Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow

Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism


Introductory Remarks

“Marx’s teaching is all powerful because it is true.” (Lenin)

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Mastery of the fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism requires serious and thoughtful study and, consequently, much work and time. What are the fruits of such a study?

Put briefly, the answer is that it gives us an integral world outlook, the most progressive outlook of our time, one in which the cardinal components of the great teachings of Marx and Lenin are blended in a harmonious, integral system. In this book they are presented in the following order:

·         Marxist-Leninist philosophy, including the materialist conception of history;

·         Marxist-Leninist economic theory;

·         The theory and tactics of the international communist movement, including the Marxist-Leninist appraisal of the most important mass trends in the present-day democratic movement;

·         The theory of socialism and communism.

It need hardly be said that one book cannot encompass all the wealth of Marxism-Leninism. This book deals only with its fundamentals.

There are various kinds of world outlook, whether progressive or reactionary. Some of the latter are based on ancient beliefs and superstitions and seek to persuade religious-minded people that they must remain blindly dependent upon some supernatural being and his vicars and anointed regents on earth. Other philosophies, while not openly asserting the existence of a deity and even avowing faith in science, resort to subtle but false arguments in an effort to destroy man’s conviction of the real existence of the material world.

That is the method used by the exponents of the most fashionable trends in modern idealism. Many of them do not themselves believe in the existence of supernatural forces but, influenced by the traditional conventions and prejudices of bourgeois society, are unwilling to close all doors against belief in the supernatural. New discoveries in science, they say, cast doubt on the materiality of nature. And the theologians and clerics support them, on the assumption that people who can be induced to believe in the non-materiality of nature are capable of believing anything.

Not everything that imitates science is real science, just as not everything that glitters is gold. And particularly in our time many varieties of idealist philosophy eagerly assume a scientific guise in order to conceal their anti-scientific substance. In reality, they fear the weighty evidence of scientific facts and seek to hush up or distort these facts.

Marxism-Leninism has great merits that distinguish it from all other philosophical systems.

It does not recognize the existence of any supernatural forces or creators. It rests squarely on reality, on the real world in which we live. It liberates mankind, once and for all, from superstition and age-old spiritual bondage. It encourages independent, free and consistent thought.

Marxism-Leninism regards the world such as it actually is, without adding an invented hell or paradise. It proceeds from the fact that all nature, including man himself, consists of matter with its different properties.

Nature, as well as all its individual phenomena, is in constant process of development. The laws of that development have not been ordained by God and do not depend on man’s will. They are intrinsic in nature itself and are fully knowable. There are no inherently unknowable things in the world; there are only things which are still unknown, but which man will increasingly get to know.

The Marxist-Leninist world outlook stems from science itself and trusts science, as long as science is not divorced from reality and practice.

Marxism-Leninism teaches that not only the development of nature, but the development of human society too, takes place in accordance with objective laws that are independent of man’s will.

By revealing the basic laws of social development, Marxism raised history to the level of a genuine science capable of explaining the nature of every social system and the development of society from one social system to another. That was a tremendous victory for scientific thought.

Bourgeois sociologists, economists and historians could not refute the materialist conception of history, nor oppose to it a theory acceptable to the majority of bourgeois scientists. Yet many bourgeois scientists obstinately repudiate historical materialism. Why? Because it refutes the “eternity” of the capitalist system. For if the transition of society from one system to another takes place in accordance with objective laws, then it must follow that the capitalist system is bound to give way to another, more progressive social structure. And that is something not only the capitalists, but the scientists dependent on them materially and spiritually find it hard and bitter to acknowledge.

Never in the history of class-society has the ruling class believed in the inevitable doom of its system. The slave-owners felt sure their system would last forever, for had it not been established by divine will? The feudal lords who superseded them likewise believed their system had been established by divine will and for all time. But they were forced to give way to the bourgeoisie, and then it was its turn to seek comfort in the illusion that capitalism was “eternal” and “unassailable”.  And many learned sociologists and historians, reluctant to break with capitalism try in every possible way to refute the fact that the development and change of social systems follow intrinsic laws that do not depend on the will of the ruling classes and their ideologists.

Hence, bourgeois ideologists wage war on the Marxist conception of history not because it is wrong, but precisely because it is true.

By revealing the laws governing the operation and development of the forces of nature and society, genuine science can always foresee the new. The Marxist science of the laws of social development enables us not only to chart a correct path through the labyrinth of social contradictions, but to predict the course events will take the direction of historical progress and the next stages of social advance.

Thus, Marxism-Leninism gives us an instrument with which to look into the future and see the outlines of impending historical changes. This "time telescope" has revealed to us the magnificent future of humanity freed from the yoke of capitalism, from the last exploiting system. But when progressive science invites bourgeois scientists (who claim that "nothing can be predicted”) to apply the Marxist "time telescope”, they simply shut their eyes—they are afraid to look into the future.

But Marxists have no fear of the future. They represent the class to which the future belongs and have no use for illusions, which are shattered the moment they come into contact with the facts, with science.

Headed by Lenin, the Russian Marxists foresaw the socialist revolution in Russia as a task which history had matured. Accordingly, they rallied the working class for decisive struggle against the exploiting system, organised the storming of its bastions and achieved complete victory.

The Marxists-Leninists of the Soviet Union foresaw the possibility of building socialism in their vast country, rallied the working people for the accomplishment of that great task and led them to the victory of socialism.

The Marxists-Leninists of the Soviet Union and other countries foresaw the probability of a second world war being unleashed by fascist Germany. They warned all the nations and predicted Germany’s defeat. During the Second World War, it was chiefly the heroic efforts of the Soviet people and its glorious army that routed the forces of the German aggressor and his allies.

The Marxists-Leninists of the People’s Democracies foresaw the possibility and historic necessity of overthrowing capitalist rule in their countries, of establishing the power of the working people, led by the working class, and carrying out the necessary socialist changes. Alive to these pressing needs of social development, they led the people along the path of building socialism, in which they have already achieved considerable success. Led by the working class and the Communist Party, People’s China has risen to its full gigantic stature, has defeated its external and internal enemies and has coped with the difficult problem of a bourgeois-democratic revolution. It has launched a bold plan of socialist construction and is devoting the utmost energy to its fulfillment.

Crucial developments in the first half of the century thus provide irrefutable proof that the Communists, armed with the Marxist theory, on the whole, correctly predicted the general course of history. The truth of the Marxist-Leninist conception of history has been fully borne out in practice.

But the Marxist-Leninist theory is not a dogma; it is a guide to action. Like life itself, this theory does not stand still but develops and becomes richer as the historical conditions alter and new tasks arise in the struggle of the progressive forces of mankind. Genuine Marxism-Leninism is always living, creative Marxism-Leninism. A powerful contribution to the creative development of Marxism-Leninism is the new Programme of the C.P.S.U. It is the fruit of the collective theoretical work of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and of its Leninist Central Committee.

The Marxist-Leninist theory illumines the path ahead. One has only to know how to apply it correctly. Without the Marxist– Leninist theory, even progressively-minded people have to grope in the dark, without a genuine and profound understanding of the events taking place around them,

Marxist-Leninist theory provides a scientific basis for revolutionary policy. He who bases his policy on subjective desires remains either a futile dreamer or risks being thrust into the background by history. For history does not conform to man’s wishes if these are not in accordance with the laws of history. That is why Lenin emphasised the need for a sober scientific analysis of objective situations and the objective course of evolution as the basis for defining the political line of the Party and for subsequently carrying it out with all revolutionary determination.

Marx said:

“We must take things as they are, that is, uphold the revolutionary cause in a form that corresponds to the changed circumstances.”[1]

The Marxist theory, which has grown out of the revolutionary experience and revolutionary thought of all nations, corresponds to the historical mission of the working class as the vanguard and 19 leader of the great movement for emancipation of all the oppressed and exploited. In the proletariat the Marxist world outlook has found its material weapon, just as the proletariat has found in Marxism its spiritual weapon.

Marxism-Leninism therefore represents a most valuable source of strength for all working people, for every progressive man or woman who wants to acquire a correct understanding of the world, who does not want to be at the mercy of circumstances but a conscious contributor to the events that are unfolding in the world. There are already millions of such men and women, and their number is increasing all the time. Ever wider numbers of ordinary people are coming into motion—they do not want to live without a purpose, they want to be conscious and active participants in historical progress. For them Marxism-Leninism is an inestimable aid and guide. That applies in particular to the young generation—Marxism– Leninism enables them to reach more quickly the political maturity that comes with experience of life and helps them to direct their youthful energies along the correct path of serving mankind.

The Marxist-Leninist world outlook is also a true compass in every sphere of scientific endeavour, not only in the social but also in the natural sciences. For is it not true that a correct understanding of the world and its general laws, interrelations and processes greatly helps the natural scientist in his creative research? That understanding is provided by Marxism-Leninism.

It is no accident that their research experiences are now leading many eminent scientists either fully to accept Marxism, or tacitly to adopt some of its elements, in order to gain a more profound knowledge of the secrets of nature and be in a better position to serve the interests of humanity.

The Marxist-Leninist outlook opens up splendid prospects to workers in the arts and literature. It directs their creative efforts towards a deeper and richer reflection of reality through artistic media. Without the beneficial influence of a clear, progressive world outlook, the work of contemporary writers and artists is at the best anaemic.

 Whereas bourgeois literature is more and more succumbing to moods of hopelessness and unrelieved pessimism, the work of progressive writers and poets is imbued with a life-asserting optimism. Their artistic creation is inspired by faith in a brighter future and calls for the building of that future.

Whereas Western bourgeois ideology is caught in a desperate crisis of disbelief in man and the future of civilisation, the Marxist-Leninist world outlook inspires a desire to work for noble social ideals.

Thorough mastery of Marxism-Leninism gives one a profound conviction not only of the correctness of the workers’ cause, but of the historical inevitability of the coming triumph of socialism 20 throughout the world. Marxism-Leninism is a source of strength, even to the weak; a source of steadfast political principle. It instils the unshakable ideological conviction that enables one to withstand all trials and ordeals.

Millions in every part of the world have already drawn from this rich source the great ideals of their movement, and the boundless energy needed to translate these ideals into life.

Life without a progressive world outlook—can any intelligent person accept that today? Worse still is to depend on wretched substitutes for a world outlook that are satisfactory only to inferior minds.

It is a thousand times better to make the effort necessary for thoroughly mastering the fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism and so acquire the spiritual wealth and superiority needed in the struggle against the dark forces of the imperialist enemies of mankind.

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Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow  


K. Marx, Briefe an Kugelmann, Berlin, 1927, S. 27-28