Blog of the AMM

Rosa Luxemburg: Professor Egg Head’s Puzzle

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“There were amongst others Professor Kablukov, Professor Manuilov, Professor Issayev, Professor Skvortsov, Vladimir Ilyuin [i.e. Lenin], Peter v. Struve, Bulgakov, and Professor Tugan Baranovski. In the course of further investigation we shall, however, confine ourselves to the last three of these, since every one of them furnished a more or less finished critique of this theory on the point with which we are here concerned [i.e. Narodnik scepticism about the possibility of capitalist development in Russia]. This battle of wits, brilliant in parts, which kept the socialist intelligentsia spellbound in the [eighteen]nineties and was only brought to an end by the walkover of the Marxist school, officially inaugurated the infiltration into Russian thought of Marxism as an economico-historical theory. ‘Legalist’ Marxism at that time publicly took possession of the Universities, the Reviews and the economic book market in Rusia — with all the disadvantages of such a position. Ten years later, when the revolutionary risings of the proletariat demonstrated in the streets the darker side of this optimism about capitalist development, none of this Pleïad of Marxist optimists, with but a single exception, was to be found in the camp of the proletariat.”

Rosa Luxemburg, The Accumulation of Capital, 1913; tr. Agnes Schwarzschild, 1951; NY and London: Modern Reader Paperbacks, 1968, p. 275.


  • Out to Lunch says:

    And people still complain we're "anti-academic". Lordy lord, don't you know ANY history??

  • Jacob says:

    The trouble being that occasionally the anti-academic sentiment echoes not Luxemburg but Zinoviev: "If we get more of these professors [Korsch and Lukács] spinning out their Marxist theories, we shall be lost. We cannot tolerate theoretical revisionism of this kind in our Communist International."

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