Violence and Marxism: Marx to Mao


ISBN 9789350023778
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ISBN 9789350023778


The issue of violence in the Marxist revolution has remained a subject of unresolved controversy. The controversy has spanned both the theoretical and the practical fields of the world communist movement. In both these fields, it has been a major divisive issue and has led to the adoption and propagation of conflicting and contradictory strategies and tactics. Yet the question has not received the kind of systematic and comprehensive attention it deserves.

This book explores and examines in detail the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Mao in order to determine the status of violence in the Marxist theory of revolution. It brings out not only the similarities in the views of these thinkers concerning the issue of violence but also the differences and lays out the reasons for those differences.

The book raises and tries to answer questions such as: Is the Marxist revolution necessarily violent? Or have the leading Marxist thinkers admitted the possibility of a peaceful transformation as well? Is the violent or peaceful nature of the revolution determined by the structures of a given society? If so, is it determined solely by the economic structures? Or do political structures too have a role to play? Under what kind of circumstances, economic and/or political, is a violent socialist revolution likely to take place or be successful? Does the level of the development of the capitalist economic and political structures and institutions affect the nature of the revolution, making it violent or peaceful?

The format of the study is primarily historical and chronological. In other words, the book analyses not only the views of these thinkers but also the specific historical conditions under which these views took shape.

Rustam Singh has held various research and editorial positions including the following: assistant editor of Economic and Political Weekly, Bombay; research associate at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi; fellow at Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla; founding editor of Hindi: Language, Discourse, Writing, New Delhi/Wardha; and visiting fellow at Centre for Philosophy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is currently a senior fellow and senior editor at Eklavya, Bhopal.

He is the author of Weeping’ and Other Essays on Being and Writing(2011) and A Story of Political Ideas for Young Readers, Volume 1: Socrates, Plato, Aristole, Machiavelli(2010). He has published three collections of poems in Hindi. His poems have been translated into English, Telugu, Marathi, Swedish, Norwegian and Estonian.


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