[Marxism] Re: The meaning of noveishaia

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Sat Feb 5 20:56:01 MST 2005


Privoskhodno, tovarishchi. We don't get linguistic debates around here
much.

There's no doubt whatsoever about the literal meaning. You'll see it in
names like Novgorod (new town) and Novi Sad (Serbian - new garden).
Barring some quirk of history, it wouldn't derive  from Latin -- instead
both the Russian and the Latin would come from the same Indo-European
root.

But dictionaries don't always resolve debates.  The received view is
that Lenin did, in fact, tend to think imperialism was the "highest"
stage of capitalism. Not in the sense of "finest" but in the sense of
final stage, associated with other notions such as "late capitalism",
"decaying capitalism, "ageing capitalism". The general drift of Lenin's
thinking is consistent with this, or at least not inconsistent. My guess
is that some zealous Comintern translater decided to "improve" Lenin's
title in line with this understanding. But I guess we can't rule out
some particular idiomatic background to Lenin's use of "noveishaia".

That theoretical maverick Michael Kidron was provoked to write an
article called "Imperialism: Highest Stage but One":
http://www.marxists.de/theory/kidron/imperial.htm
Oy, Michael, where was your Russian dictionary?






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