Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism

—   Ag - Ak   —


AGE DEPENDENCY RATIO
The ratio of the number of people of ages which are normally dependent on others (i.e., children and old folks) to the number of people who are of working age. The World Bank generally defines the age dependency ratio as the number of people who are either younger than 15 or older than 64 divided by the number of people whose ages are 15 through 64. Of course not all working age people actually work (since some are disabled, sick or unemployed, for example), and some people outside the 15-64 range actually do work (including not only many older people but also considerable numbers of child laborers), but the ADR nevertheless gives a rough estimate of the relative number of non-workers to workers in a given population.

AGITATION
1. [Wide sense:] Oral, printed and visual political works or activity whose purpose is to influence people’s consciousness and mood, and to motivate them to take political action.
2. [Narrow (Leninist) sense:] As above, but specifically with respect to a single issue.
        See also:
PROPAGANDA

“Those who make nation-wide political agitation the corner-stone of their programme, their tactics, and their organizational work, as Iskra does, stand the least risk of missing the revolution.” —Lenin, “What Is To Be Done?” (1902), LCW 5:513.

AGNOSTICISM — About the Existence of God
Claiming not to know, or the view that one cannot know, whether or not
God exists. Agnosticism in this sense is most commonly a liberal evasion of what in this modern scientific age should be considered common sense materialism, that no such thing as a “disembodied mind” (as gods and ghosts are supposed to be) can possibly exist.

“But this philosophical idealism, openly, ‘seriously’ leading to God, is more honest than modern agnosticism with its hypocrisy and cowardice.” —Lenin, referring to the neo-Platonists, in a note while reading Hegel’s book Lectures on the History of Philosophy (1915), LCW 38:303.

AGNOSTICISM — Epistemological
Philosophical, or epistemological, agnosticism is the view that no one can really know anything about the world, at least with any certainty.
        See also:
RELATIVISM—Epistemological, and Philosophical doggerel about agnosticism.

“Agnosticism (from the Greek words ‘a’ no and ‘gnosis’ knowledge) is a vacillation between materialism and idealism, i.e., in practice it is vacillation between materialist science and clericalism. Among the agnostics are the followers of Kant (the Kantians), Hume (the positivists, realists and others) and the present-day Machists.” —Lenin, “Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the Death of Joseph Dietzgen” (May 5, 1913), LCW 19:80.

AGRARIAN REFORM — China
The policy which developed in the course of the Chinese Revolution in which land taken from rural landlords and the richest peasants was redistributed in a much fairer and more equitable fashion among the peasantry. This began in liberated areas in the late 1920s, became more widespread as the revolutionary wars continued, and was completed in almost all of the rest of the country during the 1950-1952 period. This nationwide land reform movement was carried out by the peasants themselves under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. Note that this entire movement was completed before the collectivization of agriculture occurred during the mid-1950s, which itself developed in stages and led eventually to the People’s Communes.

“Beginning from the winter of 1950, the new liberated areas, one after another, unfolded a large-scale agrarian reform movement. By the winter of 1952 agrarian reform was basically completed, except in some minority nationality areas. In the old and new liberated areas throughout the country, about 300 million landless or or land-deficient peasants received some 700 million mou of land.” —Editorial note 3 to Mao’s article, “Fight for a Fundamental Turn for the Better in the Nation’s Financial and Economic Situation” (June 6, 1950), SW 5:32.

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIVITY
The ratio of agricultural production to the number of workers who produce that production. For a given crop, the production may be measured by volume or by weight, but for agricultural production as a whole it must usually be measured by the money value of all the crops added together. To compare agricultural productivity from one time to another or from one place to another, the money value must be translated into a single currency which is also adjusted for inflation. Even so, there will probably be problems in making such comparisons if the prices of the various crops have significantly changed for non-inflationary reasons (such as because of supply and demand fluctuations).
        However, the overall improvement in agricultural productivity can also be measured by simply dividing the number of farmers and agricultural workers at different times by the total population of the country, as in the following example:

“[Because of technological advances], between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries the British agricultural revolution achieved a substantially greater production of food while simultaneously becoming less labor-intensive, and the fact that a decreasing proportion of farmers and agricultural laborers was needed to feed everyone else enabled greater urbanization. By 1850, Britain had the lowest proportion of farmers of any country in the world, with only one person in five working in the fields to feed the entire nation. By 1880 only one Briton in seven had to work the land, and by 1910 that had fallen to one in eleven. And in developed nations today, which exploit artifical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, as well as enormously labor-efficient technologies like combine harvesters, every agricultural worker grows enough food to feed around fifty others.” —Lewis Dartnell, The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch (2014), p. 77 (footnote).

AHIMSA
The philosophy of nonviolence as promoted by
Mohandas K. Gandhi. He called nonviolent action itself satyagraha.

AI SIQI   [Old style: Ai Ssu-ch’i]   [Pronounced (roughly): eye suh-chuh]   (1910-66)
Well-known Marxist-Leninist philosopher in revolutionary China. Mao often sought him out for philosophical conversations both during the
Yan’an (Yenan) period and in later years. Ai was well-known for his ability to explain and popularize abstract ideas to the masses, using easy to understand examples and ordinary language, and even employing Chinese proverbs and well-known literary allusions. His most famous book was Philosophy for the Masses (c. 1934-36), which—like his other works—has not been translated into English (unfortunately!).
        Ai Siqi was actually a pen name; his original name was Li Shenxuan. As a young man he was educated in philosophy in Japan, and returned to China in the early 1930s. He joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1935, and went to Yan’an in 1937. There he taught both philosophy and Marxist-Leninist theory more generally, in higher party schools. In 1937 he published his book Philosophy and Life, which is said to address the unjustified criticism leveled at Marxism that it has no moral or ethical principles. Besides his own writing, he also translated many foreign works of Marxist philosophy into Chinese, including many Soviet books and articles.
        In 1949 the CCP started an important theoretical journal (Study) and Ai was a frequent contributor. He was an important and influential person in philosophical circles in revolutionary China, and often led in the criticism of bourgeois and reactionary philosophical ideas including those which sometimes arose within the Party. Ai was one of the people in charge of establishing the China Philosophical Society, and was a member of the philosophy and social sciences section of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. But perhaps his most important contribution was that, after Mao himself, for three decades Ai was the most important populizer and polemicist in philosophy in China.

AIIB
See:
ASIAN INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT BANK

AIR POLLUTION
See:
CHINA—Air Pollution In

AIRCRAFT CARRIER
A large naval ship from which war planes may take off and land, which means that carriers can function as moveable airfields allowing their generally imperialist owners to extend their air power to most parts of the world. Aircraft carriers were the most powerful naval ships of World War II and the last half of the 20th century. Today they are very vulnerable to attacks by cruise and ballistic missiles and also from newly developed rocket-propelled torpedoes—for which there are no known countermeasures. These advanced anti-carrier weapons are mostly only available to other imperialist powers, which means that while aircraft carriers are probably no longer of major use in an all-out interimperialist world war they remain of great importance for the imperialists in threatening and attacking
“Third World” countries.
        See also: ANTI-ACCESS/AREA DENIAL,   ASSASSIN’S MACE

AKRASIA
Greek philosophical term which means weakness of the will, lack of self-control, or doing something against one’s own better judgment. The first extensive discussion of this topic was in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, book 7.

AKSELROD
See:
AXELROD




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