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What Is Marxist Theory For?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the respective roles of intellectuals and workers in bringing a politically self-conscious working class as shown by Marxist theory. Lenin saw the unity of intellectuals and workers in a Marxist party as a precondition of a proper unity of theory and practice. We can see what he meant by looking at what happens when each group tries to act alone. A working-class movement without intellectuals is apt to despise theory. Because it despises theory, it has no perspective, no sense of a way forward beyond immediate needs and demands. The whole aim of Marxist theory is to bring the working class to a point of consciousness where successful political action becomes possible. Marxism, therefore, clashes with all those forms of political theory which argue that men cannot understand and guide social change.

Keywords:intellectuals; Lenin; Marxist theory; political theory; politically self-conscious working class



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