See also: “NOBODY CARES”
[Greek: boundless] A term in pre-Socratic Greek philosophy, introduced by the materialist Ionian philosopher Anaximander. It refers to the boundless, originally formless, ever-moving flux of nature, from which all worlds and physical objects as we know them today have arisen. It seems that this was an early attempt to form something like the conception that Marx and Engels referred to as “matter in motion”, though it is perhaps meant to be more like the original or primitive matter in motion.
Anaximander thought that there needed to be some principle (or peras) of order to render this original apeiron into the worlds and objects that we see today. He called this primary principle the arché. Apparently he considered the essence of this principle to be that of the struggle of opposites, since that is how Anaximander viewed the world and its objects as having arisen from the apeiron.
This is the jargon being used in the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA for the following mouthful: “The culture of appreciation, promotion, and popularization around the leadership, the body of work and the method and approach of Bob Avakian.” AP&P is thus a short-hand reference to what most people would simply call the ghastly personality cult which the RCP has created around its leader Bob Avakian.
[Greek: doubt, perplexity] A problem or difficulty arising from an awareness of opposing or incompatible views on the same theoretical matter, especially one which gives rise to philosophical conundrums. Although this is not a common word in ordinary English, it is sometimes useful in discussing dialectical contradictions. Zeno’s “paradoxes of motion” are appropriately discribed as aporias, at least for those who do not understand how such puzzles can be correctly resolved.
1. [In religion:] Renunciation of religious faith.
2. [In intellectual or political matters:] The renuciation or abandonment of a previous intellectual or political viewpoint, or defection to an opposing viewpoint.
A person who renounces their previous faith or viewpoint is called an apostate.
“... every philosophy of the past without exception was accused by the theologians of apostasy...” —Marx, leading article in the Kölnische Zeitung, # 179, 1842. [Marx’s point being that religion opposed all philosophical thought and progress.]
APPEAL TO REASON
An important newspaper of the American Socialist movement which was founded in Kansas in 1895. During World War I it took up an internationalist position which brought it under government attack. It ceased publication in 1919.
APPEARANCE AND ESSENCE
See also: SUPERFICIAL
“We should draw a lesson here: Don’t be misled by false appearances. Some of our comrades are easily misled by them. There is contradiction between appearance and essence in everything. It is by analyzing and studying the appearance of a thing that people come to know its essence. Hence the need for science. Otherwise, if one could get at the essence of a thing by intuition, what would be the use of science? What would be the use of study? Study is called for precisely because there is contradiction between appearance and essence. There is a difference, though, between the appearance and the false appearance of a thing, because the latter is false. Hence we draw the lesson: Try as far as possible not to be misled by false appearances.” —Mao, “Speeches at the National Conference of the Communist Party of China: Concluding Speech” (March 31, 1955), SW 5:165-6.
See: CORPORATIONS—Extravagances Of, KAROJISATSU
The recognition and sensitive awareness of the aesthetic values in a work of art or other thing (such as a natural phenomenon).
An increase in price or exchange value.
“APRIL DAYS” [Russia, 1917]
After the overthrow of the Tsar in the “February Revolution” in 1917, the new Provisional Government continued Russian participation in World War I. The masses were already long weary of the war, and as the months went by there were more and more calls for peace. But the Provisional Government consisting of bourgeois and phony “socialist” parties was determined to pursue the war until the final and complete victory over the Central Powers (Germany and its allies). On April 18, the “Milyukov note”, a document by the Foreign Minister P. N. Milyukov, was published which brought out the Provisional Government’s continuing commitment to the total destruction of Austria-Hungary and punative reparations against Germany, rather than any early peace on less demanding terms. This triggered public demonstrations known as the “April Days”. One military unit, the Kexholm Guards, demonstrated against Milyukov in front of the Maryinsky Palace on April 20. They were dispersed, and a counter-demonstration was led by the Cadets (Constitutional Democrats, Milyukov’s bourgeois party). But this in turn resulted in a Bolshevik-led Red Guards mass mutiny. The Provisional Government was, however, quickly able to regain control, though Milyukov himself was forced out and the government was reshuffled.
“APRIL THESES” [Lenin]
The ideas and programme summed up historically as Lenin’s “April Theses” consisted of the article “The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution” (April 10, 1917), online at: https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/apr/04.htm, along with several related articles from the same period, including: “Letters on Tactics”, and “Political Parties in Russia and the Tasks of the Proletariat”, all in Lenin: Collected Works, 4th English ed., vol. 24. Basically, in these articles Lenin reoriented the ongoing Russian revolution from being merely an anti-feudal, anti-Tsarist, bourgeois democratic revolution into becoming a socialist revolution. See the summary below for the major points included in these theses.
“LENIN: The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution; The April
Theses; The April Conference
“On arrival in Russia on April 5, 1917, Lenin presented his famous April Theses, in which he summed up the tasks of the revolution. The April Theses were ten in number and may be summarized as follows:
“1. It is impossible to end the war by a just democratic peace without the overthrow of capitalism.
“2. There is taking place a transition from the first stage of the revolution, which placed power in the hands of the bourgeoisie, to the second stage, which must place power in the hands of the proletariat and poor peasants.
“3. No support for the Provisional Government.
“4. The Bolsheviks must work for a majority in the soviets and to transfer state power to the soviets.
“5. Not a parliamentary, but a soviet republic.
“6. Confiscation of landed estates and nationalization of the land.
“7. A single national bank controlled by the soviets.
“8. Control of all production and distribution by the soviets.
“9. A party congress.
“10. A new International.
“In his pamphlet The Tasks of Proletariat in our Revolution, published in April 1917, Lenin explained in a popular form the fundamental ideas of the April Theses. The bourgeoisie, he says, has developed in history two methods of rule, (a) by violence and (b) by deception. The Provisional Government is at present using the second method, and the immediate task is to develop a campaign of patient explanation of the real situation to the people.
“In discussing the future transfer of power to the soviets and the soviet republic, Lenin declares that what is required is a new type of state, ‘a state of the Paris Commune type,’ in which the masses directly participate in the ‘democratic upbuilding of their own state life from top to bottom.’
“Lenin calls for an agrarian programme in the interest of the peasants, the nationalization of the land and the confiscation of estates. The peasants, he says, must be urged to confiscate the landlords’ lands on their own initiative. All the banks must be amalgamated into one national bank under the control of the soviets, and the capitalist trusts and combines must be nationalized.
“In his speeches at the April Conference of the Bolsheviks, which took place at the end of April (or beginning of May new style) and which are published in the volume The April Conference, Lenin again works over the line of the April Theses.”
—Readers’ Guide to the Marxist Classics, prepared and edited by Maurice Cornforth, (London: 1952), pp. 69-70.
“When ... Lenin set out to re-define the character of the revolution in his famous ‘April theses’, his diagnosis was both perceptive and prescient. He described what had happened as a revolution in transition from a first stage which had given power to the bourgeoisie, to a second stage which would transfer power to the workers and the poor peasants. The Provisional Government and the Soviets were not allies but antagonists, representing different classes. The end in view was not a parliamentary republic, but ‘a republic of Soviets of Workers’, Poor Peasants’ and Peasants’ Deputies all over the country, growing up from below’. Socialism could not indeed be introduced immediately. But as a first step the Soviets should take control of ‘social production and distribution’. Throughout the vicissitudes of the summer of 1917 Lenin gradually secured the adherence of his party followers to this programme.” —E. H. Carr, The Russian Revolution from Lenin to Stalin: 1917-1929, (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2004 (1979)), p. 4.
APTHEKER, Herbert (1915-2003)
A historian specializing in African-American history, and a long-time leader of the revisionist Communist Party, USA. His book American Negro Slave Revolts (1943) was pathbreaking and important, but it seems he was never really a revolutionary Marxist.
Aptheker joined the CPUSA in 1939, and remained loyal to it until 1991, when at around the time of the collapse of the revisionist Soviet Union he left with the social-democratic breakaway group, the Committees of Correspondence. He strongly defended Soviet social-imperialism in 1956 when it invaded Hungary, and again in 1968 when it invaded Czechoslovakia.
After the death of Aptheker and his wife, his daughter Bettina wrote a book [Intimate Politics (2006)] in which she claimed that her father had repeatedly sexually molested her from the age of 4 until the age of 13—but that she had not remembered this until writing that book! We may not know what to believe about that accusation, but we can be very sure that Herbert Aptheker was definitely a revisionist.
An underground supply of water in permeable rock, sand or gravel. One of the outrageous things about capitalist society is that in the pursuit of short-term profits it is using up or destroying many of the natural products and features of the world without regard to the future needs of humanity. And this includes the rapid depletion and pollution of aquifers much faster than natural forces can replace or purify them.
The map at the right shows the huge natural Ogallala Aquifer in the Great Plains states of the U.S. It has a surface area of 174,000 square miles, which is double the size of all the Great Lakes combined (although the aquifer is fairly shallow and the Great Lakes are deep). About 30 percent of the aquifer’s water has already been pumped out of the ground and an additional 39 percent is expected to be gone in the next 50 years. Nature would require millennia to replenish it. The colored areas show the huge regions which have already been pumped completely dry, or which will be so in coming decades. This is yet further proof that capitalism simply cannot be trusted to maintain the world in a livable condition for the benefit of the people.
AQUINAS, Thomas (1225-74)
The most important Scholastic philosopher and theologian of the Roman Catholic Church, which after his death declared him to be a “saint”. The religious philosophy school of thought deriving mainly from his doctrines is called “Thomism”. In its only very slightly revised form (“Neo-Thomism”) this remains the idealist philosophical dogma of the Church, even after almost 800 years!
See also: Philosophical doggerel about Aquinas.
Dictionary Home Page and Letter Index
MASSLINE.ORG Home Page