[Marxism] RE: Labor Aristocracy

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Sun Oct 2 22:33:22 MDT 2005

Bob Gould writes:

>>It's only human for the various protagonists with differing views to
point to their own contributions, but it's more useful to try to get a full
picture of the issues. In my view, Lenin was the greatest practical
socialist politician of any age, and the one who most tried to inform his
activity in an intelligent way on the basic principles of classical

Then he goes on to offer us 9-10 links to his own undoubtedly profound
writings :-)

Still I agree with the sentiment so here is a brief comment on Lenin.

In the years after August 1914, Lenin was faced with, and shocked by, a
fundamental crisis in the entirely body of Marxist theory and practice. In
a few years he roughed out an impressively integrated theory covering the
reasons for the betrayals of social democracy, imperialism, the need to
smash the state, and Hegel’s dialectics. The “labour aristocracy” theory
was part of the theory of imperialism, and also part of the attempted
explanation for the failures and betrayals of the labour movement and its

Step back and look at it as a whole, and it’s awesome. It’s hard to imagine
how any thinker could have done more to re-orient the entire revolutionary
left and lay a basis for the seizure of power in his own country.

Unfortunately, if you get up close, there are bits that don’t quite add up,
and one of them is the “labour aristocracy”. I agree with Mandel that Rosa
Luxemburg had a better analysis. So did Gramsci. I will even rashly provide
a link to just one of my own efforts relating to this latter point:


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