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Issue #1936      12th October, 2020

Communist Party and the Intellectuals

The relation of the Communist Party and the labour movement generally, to the intellectuals, that is, those engaged in mental work as distinct from physical labour, is a matter around which there arise time to time some confused notions.

Some workers regard intellectuals with suspicion and have a narrow approach towards them, while many intellectuals have a contemptuous attitude to the working class and consequently cannot see the working class as the most revolutionary class destined to lead all the toiling masses in the fight for the victory of socialism and communism. Marxism-Leninism rejects both these harmful standpoints and the Communist Parties resolutely combat them everywhere.

The intellectuals do not constitute a separate or decisive class but are part of, or serve the major classes, in socialist society, the working class; in capitalist society, the majority serve the capitalist class. The latter, in the main, come from bourgeois and middle-class environments, only a minute number from the proletarian ranks in capitalist society.

Intellectuals joining our Party renounce previous class standpoints and accept the proletarian outlook as did Marx and Engels themselves.

Intellectuals become disillusioned with capitalism not only for material reasons – some of them are quite rich – but they realise its decadence, its degradation of culture, perversion of science and the crisis it has created in education and consequently move towards socialism.

There are today numbers of mental workers, scientists, writers and cultural workers, active in the labour movement in the struggle for socialism, or actively supporting it in one form or another.

Marx and Engels were “bourgeois intellectuals” (Lenin) who placed themselves at the service of the international working class and provided it with scientific and revolutionary principles upon which is based its struggle for liberation from capitalist wage slavery and for the construction of the new socialist society.

Lenin also was an intellectual and all know his gigantic contributions to the storehouse of Marxist theory, and as the leader of the first socialist revolution in history.

Innumerable other examples can be cited of intellectuals who have rendered great services after discarding bourgeois ideology and embracing the Marxist-Leninist materialist world outlook.

The world knows of the care bestowed upon the intellectuals, the scientists, cultural workers and technologists, in the Soviet Union and the socialist countries. In fact a variation of the attack upon the Soviet Union is the equally false cry that these strata constitute a “new ruling class” in the USSR.

What is their class position? They own no factories, mines or banks, no means of production, but are salaried employees of the Soviet State, rewarded according to the value of the contribution they make to the construction of socialism and communism in the same way as all other Soviet workers are serving the interests of the working class.

They have given the world outstanding examples of their abilities in all spheres of science, of art, of culture.

It is well-known that the Soviet Union produces more “intellectuals” than the leading capitalist countries taken together.

Of 8,250,000 members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union no less than 2,300,000 are engaged in scientific, art and cultural activities, in technology and in running the national economy.

So much for the nonsense about communists despising intellectuals.

Today, the overwhelming majority of Soviet intellectuals no longer come from bourgeois or middle-class families and environments but are of worker-peasant origins as well as Soviet “intellectual” families.

The Soviet intellectuals do not serve the capitalist monopolies, but the working class and the people. Rejecting capitalism, they are building the new socialist order of society.

In our own Party here in Australia intellectuals and “white collar” workers are members of the Central Committee and other leading Party bodies. And the same rule applies in all other Communist Parties.

They are elected to these committees on the same basis as any other Party member; that is, how their membership estimates their ability to be leaders and the value of their services to the working class and the Party.

For long, the propaganda of the class enemy declared that the scientists and artists in the socialist countries were being “stifled” by the Party leadership and “Marxist ideology” and their creative ability was being destroyed. But the Sputniks and innumerable other scientific achievements destroyed that myth.

For example, the capitalist world cannot match the Oistrakh and a whole galaxy of talent in the world of music, it has nothing to compare with the Bolshoi Ballet or the Moiseyev Ensemble that recently toured the United States. This can be said about most other things from science and culture, to chess, gymnastics and athletics.

In the People’s Republic of China, in art, science and culture, Mao Tse-Tung’s statement on let a “thousand flowers bloom” and contend with each other, indicates the Chinese Communist Party’s confidence, indeed, certainty, that in the end materialism will defeat idealism in all fields.

Of course, imperialist propaganda misrepresents the present position; Mao Tse-Tung never said that counter-revolution would be allowed to “bloom.” Nor would the rightists and revisionists who were politically defeated in an ideological struggle of the nation-wide proportions, be exempt from criticism and refutation of their anti-socialist views.

As yet, in China, the working people have not created their own intelligentsia, the majority of them being, no doubt, of bourgeois, landlord and even semi-feudal origin.

Hence, they have to be remoulded in an ideological struggle, “let the flowers bloom,” the aim of this struggle being the victory of Marxist materialism over bourgeois idealist ideologies and approaches to the problems of science and in cultural fields.

In the Soviet Union Pavlov’s materialist psychology has ousted such false bourgeois-idealist psychology as that of Freud, well-remembered is the struggle of Academician Lysenko, recently awarded the Order of Lenin, against the bourgeois-idealist genetics of Morgan, Weissman, and Mendel. Lysenko, defending materialist biology, was basically correct though mistakes were made in the handling of the discussion.

What the revisionists demand, however is that the class approach to the intellectuals be abandoned.

Of course, these renegades raise the same demand in all other fields, that is, the Marxist-Leninist class approach be repudiated.

They wail that they are “sick of the intellectuals being divided into goodies and baddies.”

What of intellectuals, the majority under capitalism necessarily, who serve the monopolies and armament kings, directly or indirectly, who have written thousands of books and pseudo-scientific works extolling capitalism and cursing socialism and the labour movement, works full of slanders and misrepresentation of Marxist-Leninism?

These are class enemies, their interests are tied up with the ruling class, they are scions of capitalist families, sharing their class outlook, they are the ideological defenders of capitalism, imperialism, and war.

As Marx himself so aptly put it, they are “hired intellectual prizefighters of capitalism.” And Engels referred to them as “educated clowns.”

Can the working class accept these as other than class enemies? Of course not!

There are plenty of non-Marxist intellectuals who have a liberal and democratic outlook with whom we can and do co-operate in the struggle for peace, against imperialism, for the civil liberties and the like.

It is also true that some middle-class elements who join the Communist Party are often subject to vacillations.

They work in the petty bourgeois environments, on higher salaries than the wages of the workers, and are constantly subjected to bourgeois and petty-bourgeois influences. Marxism-Leninism has long since analysed all this and there is no need to repeat it here.

In the wave of revisionism of recent times, based on the somewhat lengthy period of capitalist relative prosperity, it was noticeable that those of middle-class origin, and among the intellectuals, in the various Communist Parties, were mostly affected by revisionist ideas, renounced Marxism-Leninism (many of them never really understood it), became renegades and enemies or left the Party. In face of facts, they averred that capitalism is prosperous and will not have crises in future.

In our own Party, let it be said, the big majority of comrades of non-proletarian class origins stood loyal to the Party and the working class. In other Parties, however, the situation appeared to be more serious.

The fact that non-proletarian elements are liable to vacillations and loss of confidence in the socialist revolution in no way means that the Communist Party looks upon all “middle” elements with suspicion. The majority who remained loyal are among our most valued and respected comrades. In our current Party-building campaign we will strive to recruit as many as are ready to join us and place their services at the disposal of the labour movement.

Marx himself pointed out that such comrades do bring to the working class movement elements of education and knowledge, because of their superior training, which are of great value to the labour movement.

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