Mastering Marxism Independently

We believe that to master the theory of Marxism properly, it is necessary to go through several stages of training.

The first stage is to free your head from all sorts of delusions and myths introduced by bourgeois propaganda that has been going on in the country for more than 25 years (speaking of the exUSSR states). That is why on our site there is a section “Questions and Answers“, where the editors of the site try to clarify and refute all the most important bourgeois myths that exist in our society. This section will be constantly updated with new answers, as all kinds of questions from  workers keep coming  to the site’s editorial board and we answer them publicly so that as many workers as possible could read these answers.

Other materials on the WW website will also greatly benefit the comrades who are mastering Marxism on their own. Despite the fact that some of the materials are intended for a prepared reader, they will be interesting to beginners, even if they cannot fully understand everything written in them. The latter case is no problem: the education process is gradual. Scientific knowledge is not absorbed by a person right away; it takes time and a lot of self-refining work, long reflections and comprehension of what one has read, so that to wrap one’s mind around what one has learnt from books and articles. With the accumulation of knowledge and a greater understanding of these fundamentals, which are not fully comprehensible on first reading, it makes sense to re-read it again (you may have to do this more than once) in order to fully understand what the author meant to say.

The materials of the WW site are no less useful, as they give a  clear classwise outlook on the true essence of the events taking place in Russia and in other countries of the world in a popular and comprehensible language.

The second stage: it is necessary to master the Marxist language, to understand the essence and meaning of the fundamental Marxist terms, getting the first idea of the main principles of the Marxist theory.

WW believes that the best tutorials to use for the purpose are textbooks of the 20-30s of the twentieth century. The Bolshevik Party at that time was facing a task of tremendous importance: as quickly as possible to give workers and peasants who did not have a decent education, the basics of scientific political knowledge, without which it was impossible to talk about building socialism in the country. And this task was successfully accomplished by the Bolsheviks – socialism was built in the USSR! The great achievements of the Soviet Union in the economy, politics, in the defense of their country, in the social sphere are excellent proof of the fact.

Today, after a 25-year intensive brainwashing by bourgeois propaganda and three decades of Menshevism that dominated the CPSU since the mid-50s, the Russian communists have a similar task: to give Russian workers, representatives of the advanced intelligentsia and other layers of the working population of our country the basics of scientific knowledge, indispensable for successfully fighting the bourgeoisie and restoring socialism in our country.

Here is a sample list of references for those comrades who are eager to master Marxism-Leninism and put it into practice in their work with the proletarian masses:

ML Сourse (beginner level):

The third stage is the study of the main course of Marxism-Leninism, including, above all, the works of the classics of Marxism.

It is vital not to get lost here and to choose the most important things to begin with – something without which no effective practical work in modern conditions is  possible at all. We believe that  it is works by V.I. Lenin that should be taken for the basis of training as he was a great revolutionary theorist and practitioner, and what is more, acting in Russia. Works by K. Marx and F. Engels, for all their importance and significance, are less important at this stage, they can be left for futher study, for the next stage – the advanced training stage carried out in parallel with practical work with the masses.

What, among other things, makes Lenin’s works so good? The fact that they are a kind of squeeze from  Marx’s works, with the most important points of  his doctrine revised and adapted to the conditions of imperialism, in which we are now staying.  Lenin’s works  are also very important from a purely practical point of view. Answers to the question of how is the working class to create a real communist party, how to wage agitation and  propaganda, how to understand and, therefore, treat certain situations — Lenin has all the cues. But perhaps the most important thing is that it is with examples of Lenin’s decisions and explanations to them that one can learn the most essential thing in Marxism — the ability to apply the Marxist method (materialistic dialectics) in practice, without which the victory of the working class over the bourgeoisie is impossible.

Also very important are works by Joseph Stalin, without them it is impossible to understand the processes taking place in the USSR. And it is extremely necessary to do this, because today the death of Soviet socialism, incomprehensible to the working masses, is in many ways the brake that holds back the whole struggle for socialism in our country.

ML Basic Сourse:

  • Plekhanov “On the Development of the Monistic Conception of History”
  • Engels  The Development of Socialism from Utopia to Science
  • К.Маркс “A Contribution to the Critiqueof Political Economy”
  • Engels  “The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State
  • Engels  “Anti-Dühring” Collected Works,, v.20
  • Engels  “Dialectics of Nature”
  • I. Lenin “Karl Marx” Collected Works, v.26 — interesting because it summarizes the essence of Marxism
  • I. Lenin “Where to begin”, Collected Works, v.5
  • I. Lenin “What is to Be Done” Collected Works, v.6
  • I. Lenin ”Apropos of the ‘PROFESSION DE FOI’” Collected Works, v.4 — what is the political struggle and what are the tasks of the communists
  • I. Lenin “Political Agitation and ‘The Class Point of View’”, Collected Works, т.6
  • I. Lenin “A Letter to a Comrade on our Organisational Tasks”, Collected Works, т.7
  • I. Lenin “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back“ Collected Works, v.8 — a very useful work by Lenin, because it allows us to understand exactly what is happening in our left and communist movement
  • V.I. Lenin “What the “Friends of the People” Are and How They Fight the Social-Democrats?” Collected Works, v.1 — a most important book for understanding the essence of Marxism and the Marxist method!
  • V.I. Lenin “Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution” Collected Works, v.11 — an abstract of the theory of the development of a bourgeois-democratic revolution into a socialist one
  • I. Lenin «Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism» Collected Works, v.27- the characteristic is given of the modern stage of capitalism, in which we are now
  • I. Lenin «The State and Revolution» Collected Works, v.33 — what is socialism and communism, what is the dictatorship of the proletariat and why it is  needed
  • I. Lenin “”Left-Wing” Communism: An Infantile Disorder”. Collected Works, v.41
  • I. Lenin “”Left-Wing” Childishness and the Petty-Bourgeois Mentality”, Collected Works, v.36
  • I. Lenin “The Right of Nations to Self-Determination” Collected Works, v.25
  • + All the rest of V.I. Lenin’s works and speeches would not hurt!
  • V. Stalin “The Foundations of Leninism” Collected Works, v.6
  • V. Stalin “Concerning Questions of Leninism” Collected Works, v.8
  • + All the rest of I.V. Stalin’s works and speeches would not hurt!
  • V. Ostrovityanov. et al. Political Economy, 1954 — the only textbook of Marxist political economy, which outlines the basics of the political economy of socialis (see Part 2).
  • К.Marx “The Capital”
  • V. Stalin “The Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR”

+ obligatory materials of party congresses – from the 2nd congress of the RSDLP to the 19th congress of the AUCPB!

+ materials of Comintern and Profintern!

+ literature on the history of the labor and communist movement in the world.

 A few tips for those who is studying independently:

  1. The texts of the works of the classics are now available on the Internet, they are posted on many sites, but we still strongly advise you to buy them in paper if possible. This can well be done with local second-hand booksellers, who happen to give Marxist literature for pennies, or through second-hand bookshops sites where you can place an order for books by cash on delivery.
  2. The books by the classics of Marxism are not fiction. One should read them thoughtfully, trying to understand every phrase, every idea of the author. It is necessary to constantly analyze what you have read, trying to understand whether the phenomena in question are present in today’s reality.
  3. It is a good practice to carefully read the references, footnotes and notes in the works and textbooks, explanations can help to better understand the thoughts of the classics and the essence of the events described.
  4. Try to take notes of the literature studied. This will help to highlight the main and important thoughts, and to remember them. Mind that Lenin, while studying the works by Marx and Engels, did not disdain to do so, and those notes often helped him in practical revolutionary work.
  5. Make notes in the texts of the literature you are studying – they will then help you find the places to be re-read and reconsidered.
  6. When studying the works of the classics of the ML, do not miss the places where they criticize someone they knew at that time, even if you have never heard of the persons mentioned. Exactly the opposite, try to thoroughly grasp the essence of the controversial issue and understand WHY and WHAT FOR Lenin or Marx scold the views and outlooks of this or that comrade, think about their arguments, put forward your objections against the ones criticized, and then compare your criticism with the criticism of the founders of Marxism. In today’s Russia, there are quite a few among our leftists whose position is close to that of those who were chastised by Lenin, Marx or Stalin 100 or 150 years ago. Opportunism is thriving now, so it is extremely important to learn to recognize it, to see its mistakes, distortions and juggling.
  7. Note that the above list of references gives the necessary minimum! It will give a general idea of what Marxism is all about and what the ideology of the working class really is.

One should not think that reading these works makes one a real Marxist-Leninist. Rather, you still have to become one. For it is not enough to know the laws of social development, it is important to master them, learn to put them into practice! It is necessary to learn how to think in a Marxist way, act in a Marxist way — it is necessary to radically change your outlook. And this does not come at once, given that for many years an antiscientific understanding of nature and society was purposefully implanted in your consciousness.

Your work with the above literature is only the first steps for you to acquire a truly scientific view of the world around you.

You have to realise that in order to know the ropes in practical matters, to see the right way to solve those or other problems of reality that life itself keeps putting forth, you need to learn CONSTANTLY!!!

It is the duty of every communist bolshevik, if he is a bolshevik.

Notes:

V.I. Lenin’s works can be found on this site (Collected Works, edition 5)

The works by I.V. Stalin are laid out here (there are even  audio versions of some volumes!)

The works by K. Marx and F. Engels (Collected Works, edition 2) are here.

 

 

 

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