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‘Orthodox’ pedantry (1903)

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Chapter Summary

In this discourse, it is observed how Plekhanov was outraged by Ryazanov's critique and interpreted it as a personal insult. Giving the title '"Orthodox" Pedantry' to his response, Plekhanov contemptuously dismissed Ryazanov in an essay that was as condescending as Ryazanov's was insightful. Plekhanov saw in Ryazanov's critique of the Iskra programme an echo of Narodnik utopianism. Ryazanov expressed a clear respect for the Narodnik revolutionaries, notwithstanding their populist limitations, that contradicted the new view that the Social-Democratic Party should be promoting the advance of rural capitalism. If Marxism can really be called the algebra of revolution, then a programme that is true to the spirit of Marxism must be a revolutionary programme from beginning to end. But, in a revolutionary programme, each separate demand is judged in terms of how it promotes the success of the revolutionary movement.

Keywords: "Orthodox" Pedantry; Marxism; Narodnik revolutionaries; Plekhanov; rural capitalism; Ryazanov



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