Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism

—   En - Eo   —


ENCHUFADO
[Spanish term used in contemporary Venezuela which literally means “plugged in”.]
        An unscrupulous individual who uses government connections to enrich themselves at the expense of the people. One common method involves exploiting the system of currency exchange controls in Venezuela. On the very unofficial (but also very widespread) black market a U.S. dollar goes for around 800 bolivares (as of late 2015), but an enchufado can obtain U.S. dollars at the official rate of 6.3 bolivares and then turn around and sell them for the black market price or else use them to buy expensive goods denominated in dollars. According to the Economist magazine [Nov. 21, 2015, p. 37], this has enabled many of these connected individuals to purchase foreign cars and other luxuries while most Venezuelans remain quite poor.
        See also:
BOLIBURGESIA

ENCYCLOPEDISTS
A group of philosophers, natural scientists, and other French intellectuals of the
Enlightenment, who collaborated to produce the great Encyclopédie ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers [Encyclopedia or Explanatory Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts and Professions] (1751-1780). They believed that people were oppressed by ignorance and superstition, and that the solution to this problem lay in the promotion of rationality and knowledge. The 35-volume Encyclopedia strove to be a compendium of all human knowledge discovered up to that time.
        The leader of the Encyclopedists, and editor of the Encyclopedia, was Denis Diderot, and his chief assistant was Jean le Rond d’Alembert. Other contributors and promoters of the project included Paul Henri d’Holbach, Claude Adrien Helvétius, the naturalist George-Louis Buffon, Montesquieu, and Voltaire. Rousseau also contributed to the first volumes.
        The Encyclopedists were ideologists of the rising bourgeoisie and played a very important role in the ideological preparation for the great bourgeois revolution in France which broke out in 1789.

“END OF HISTORY”
An absurd notion, briefly entertained by ideologists of the ruling bourgeoisie in the United States, that ideological development, the evolution of society, and all “history” had come to an end, leaving only capitalism,
bourgeois democracy and bourgeois ideology to continue to exist until the end of time! (Of course they did not state the notion in quite this way.)
        Marx, of course, characterized all of history (since classes first arose in ancient times) as being the story of class struggle, and this “end of history” claim seems to implicitly agree with that as one of its premises. But when the (revisionist) Soviet Union and its dominion collapsed in 1989-1991, the ruling classes in the U.S. and other “Western” capitalist-imperialist countries were overjoyed and thought that their ideology had permanently triumphed over all their enemies. One of these U.S. bourgeois ideologists, Francis Fukuyama, proclaimed that:

“What we are witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or a passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.” —The End of History and the Last Man (1992), an expanded version of his essay “The End of History?”, which appeared in the ruling class journal, the National Interest, in 1989.

Strangely enough, however, the bourgeois ideologists only had a few years to gloat and “history” soon reasserted itself with a vengeance. Capitalist financial crises broke out leading to the major financial panic in 2008 within an overproduction crisis which is already the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s. There is also renewed and expanding class struggle and other forms of struggle around the world. Many people are now justifiably starting to wonder if capitalism will be able to survive this new crisis at all!

“The end of history? — a 1989 essay by the bourgeois social ‘scientist’ Francis Fukuyama, in which he posits that the world is nearing a period in which armed conflicts will end and the world will become homogenized into a liberal-democratic order (preferably with the United States as its guarantor). Fukuyama sees capitalist free enterprise and market systems as a force for stability, peace and prosperity, and claims that these are making alternatives (like Islamist theocracy and Marxist-Leninist socialism) less and less appealing.
        “Like all bourgeois analysts, Fukuyama has severe blind spots about capitalism that are crystallised in this infamous essay, and lacks anything approaching authentic dialectical thinking when it comes to the dynamics and characteristics of capitalism as a system. He assumes, for example, that capitalism will reach some optimal equilibrium (once conditions are just right) that will benefit everyone by lifting living standards and that this state of affairs will continue indefinitely. He fails to see that economic crises are not aberrations but rather necessary features of capitalism, and that these crises will continue to get worse, and that in doing so they will continue to engender resistance to capitalism, as well as having various other effects (feeding into ethnic conflicts, inter-imperialist rivalries, and providing the objective basis for wars and so forth). Fukuyama expresses a very typical liberal bias: the assumption of non-ideology. That is, he sees ideology as belonging to the realm of previous economic and socio-political systems, but assumes that capitalist liberalism is a type of natural state devoid of ideological baggage. The radicalization of the proletariat and peasantry across vast swathes of the world will, unfortunately for Fukuyama, continue to provide plenty of fodder for history! The very demonstrable and even grotesque absurdity of Fukuyama’s thesis makes it too much even for many enthusiastic supporters of capitalist-imperialism to stomach, but it does serve as a fine example of the depths of delusion to which capitalist ideologues can sink, and the essay is interesting for that reason alone. Indeed, the very existence of colossal military spending (which is actually increasing every year) demonstrates that there is more than enough turmoil and instability generated by their wonderful system for them to need to keep a lid on.” —L.C.

ENDS AND MEANS
The relationship between “ends and means”, and the general question of what might justify the means to some good end or goal is a major issue of contention and confusion within bourgeois ethical theory. It arises from the fact that often the only means available to achieve a given desirable end are themselves not good or desirable. (For example, to stop a murderer, it might be necessary to kill him.) So how then can these less than desirable means be justified?
        The answer is actually quite simple. The means are justified on two conditions:
        1) The overall result, including both the means and the end added together, is still on balance good and desirable; and
        2) There is not any obviously better (i.e., more moral) means available to achieve that same end.
        See also:
Philosophical doggerel relevant to this question.

ENEMY, The
[In Marxist, especially Maoist, usage:] The bourgeoisie, its agents, and strata from other classes which support it, in opposition to “the
people”.
        See also: TO BE ATTACKED BY THE ENEMY IS A GOOD THING

“Kindness to the enemy is cruelty to the people. If you do not oppress the exploiting classes, they will oppress you. In advocating ‘no oppression’ China’s Khrushchov [Liu Shaoqi] was in fact trying to abolish the dictatorship of the proletariat.” —Proletarian revolutionaries of the Political Academy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, “The Dictatorship of the Proletariat is Dictatorship by the Masses”, Peking Review, #44, Nov. 1, 1968, p. 15.

ENERGY RETURN ON ENERGY INVESTED (EROEI)
        See also:
PEAK OIL

“Economists rate the quality of a fuel reserve by calculating the Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROEI). This tells you how much usable energy can be gained from a particular deposit relative to all the energy you must expend in mining, refining, and processing it. For example, the first commercially exploited oil fields in Texas in the early 1900s were very easy to harvest and had an EROEI score of around 100—they yielded a hundred times more energy than was consumed in its extraction. Nowadays, as the supplies dwindle, more and more effort must be spent in sucking up (including the hassle of offshore drilling rigs) and processing the remaining drops—the EROEI has dropped to about 10.” —Lewis Dartnell, The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch (2014), p. 106 (footnote).

ENGELS, Frederick   (1820-95)
Co-founder, with Marx, of scientific social theory (Marxism) including its philosophy,
dialectical materialism. Marx and Engels were lifelong friends and comrades. In their conscious division of labor Marx concentrated on political economy while Engels focused on philosophy, science and military questions.
        [Much more to be added.]

“So this volume is finished. It was thanks to you alone that this became possible. Without your self-sacrifice for me I could never possibly have done the enormous work for the three volumes. I embrace you, full of thanks!” —Marx, in a letter to Engels upon the completion of volume I of Capital, August 16, 1867, in Marx-Engels Selected Correspondence (Moscow: 1975), p. 180; with very slight differences in MECW 42:405.

ENLIGHTENMENT, The (or the AGE OF REASON)
The period of European thought (esp. French, but also Scottish, English and German) from the early 17th century to the early 19th century. Thinkers of this period put forward the view that reason should govern people’s ideas and human existence, and that this would lead to the liberation of humanity. Prominent individuals of the Enlightenment include
Voltaire, Rousseau, D’Alembert, Diderot, d’Holbach, Montesquieu, Francis Bacon, Helvétius, Hobbes, Locke, and Leibniz.
        See also: ENCYCLOPEDISTS

“The great men, who in France prepared men’s minds for the coming revolution, were themselves extreme revolutionists. They recognized no external authority of any kind whatever. Religion, natural science, society, political institutions—everything was subjected to the most unsparing criticism; everything must justify its existence before the judgment-seat of reason or give up existence. Reason became the sole measure of everything.” —Engels, Anti-Dühring (1878), MECW 25:16.

“Every form of society and government then existing, every old traditional notion was flung into the lumber-room as irrational; the world had hitherto allowed itself to be led solely by prejudices; everything in the past deserved only pity and contempt. Now, for the first time, appeared the light of day, henceforth superstition, injustice, privilege, oppression, were to be superseded by eternal truth, eternal Right, equality based on nature and the inalienable rights of man.
         “We know today that this kingdom of reason was nothing more than the idealized kingdom of the bourgeoisie; that this eternal Right found its realization in bourgeois justice; that this equality reduced itself to bourgeois equality before the law; that bourgeois property was proclaimed as one of the essential rights of man; and that the government of reason, the Contrat Social [Social Contract] of Rousseau, came into being, and only could come into being, as a democratic bourgeois republic. The great thinkers of the eighteenth century could, no more than their predecessors, go beyond the limits imposed on them by their epoch.” —Engels, Ibid., MECW 25:16-19.

ENTELECHY   [Pronounced: en-TELL-uh-kee]
[Greek: “to have perfection”] A term used in classical
idealist philosophy (especially in Aristotle), to refer to the realization of the potential in a thing, or a stage of development in which the essence of a thing is fully realized. Thus the notion tacitly supposes a teleological point of view. Aristotle thought that all things contain within them an inherent goal or condition toward which they “aim”, which is achieved when their actions or development turns their potential into actuality.
        It should be noted that Aristotle’s view is in some ways a form of primitive dialectics. According to dialectics, the primary forces determining and driving the change and development of a thing are the opposing forces that lie within it (its internal contradictions). In some cases this internal development will lead to a result that might be close to inevitable (see “inevitableism”), and in those cases it might seem that this end result was foreordained “regardless of what else happened”. This is how the teleological perspective can arise in naïve dialectics. It is of course true that many living things have evolved to develop in a certain way under optimum conditions (as for example a seed germinating in moist, rich soil in good weather). But under other conditions (such as extreme drought or cold) this result will not occur. Although the bases for change and development are the contradictions within a thing, external forces can in many circumstances prevent these internal forces from working in the way they evolved to do. This is one of the reasons why it is incorrect (or at least seriously misleading) to talk about the “aim” or “goal” of the seed being to germinate. (Another reason, of course, is that seeds are simply way too primitive a thing to have a mind or any psychological states such as “aims” or “goals” in the first place!)
        The term entelechy has also been used in later idealist philosophy, and virtually always in even worse ways than Aristotle used it. In Leibniz, for example, the “entelechy” is the urge of the monad towards realization of the perfection potentially contained within it. This actually makes no sense at all, since the very concept of a “monad” (as a supposed substance from which both physical and spiritual things arise) is totally incoherent. In general, where the term entelechy appears in later idealist philosophy, it means something like the informing spirit or soul that gives life to something or which leads to movement in material things. (I.e., something like the imaginary élan vital.)
        This ever-more-absurd development of the concept of entelechy in idealist philosophy, from something that sort of half made sense in Aristotle into something absolutely nutty in later idealism, is a good illustration of how idealism and its terminology have developed in general.

ENTREPRENEURIALISM
An entrepreneur is a person who starts a new (capitalist) company. The rate of “entrepreneurialism” in a given country at a given point is the number of new start-up companies minus the number of old companies disappearing (through bankruptcy or for other reasons) during the same time period. The chart at right (from bourgeois economist Robert Reich’s book Saving Capitalism [2015]) shows that in recent decades the rate of new firms being established is more or less steadily falling, while the rate of disappearance of existing firms is roughly constant with a recent increase. And since the beginning of the
Great Recession each year more firms are now disappearing than are being established. In other words, entrepreneurialism in the U.S. is clearly in serious trouble.

ENTROPY
        1. [Physics:] A measure of the unavailability of usable energy in a closed
thermodynamic system, that is also often considered to be a measure of the disorder within that restricted system at the microscopic level.
        The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that for all processes, the entropy of the system involved either remains constant or (far more typically) increases. A good way to first grasp what this law is getting at is the comment that nothing ever works with perfect efficiency. Any motor or engine or other process which converts energy from one form to another will virtually always involve the loss of some energy due to friction, heat loss, etc.
        2. [General usage:] The degree of disorder, randomness or chaos within some system or situation. Worsening disorder or randomness is described as “increasing entropy”.
        3. [Communication theory:] A measure of the information content of a message. The less disordered a message is, the more information content it may contain.

ENTRYISM   [Infiltration]
The tactic of a political group or trend entering en masse into another, usually larger, organization in order to try to influence its policies and actions, or even to take complete control of it. Another motive has sometimes been to enter the larger group just short term, try to win over some of its members to the infiltrating group’s point of view, and then to split again but now with a larger number of people. (Trotskyists call this raiding scheme “having a split perspective”.) Of course entryism is almost always done against the wishes of the target organization, and sometimes with great secrecy and subterfuge to hide the fact that the infiltrators are part of a unified group with ulterior motives. Although all sorts of political trends have at various times and places used the tactic of entryism, or something like it, it is especially associated with the maneuvers of the
Trotskyists.
        Entryism got its start with “the French Turn” proposal of Leon Trotsky himself in June 1934, that the French Trotskyists should dissolve their own tiny middle-class organization and join the French Section of the Workers’ International (SFIO). (The SFIO was the party that was created in 1905 when the French Socialist Party and the Socialist Party of France merged. In 1920 a majority of the SFIO split to form the Communist Party of France (CPF). So by 1934 the remaining SFIO was the right-wing remnant of the original social-democratic party.) After some discord, the French Trotskyists did follow Trotsky’s direction and entered the SFIO in August 1934, forming an essentially independent faction there (in effect, a party within a party). However, in 1936 Trotsky insisted that his followers bolt from the SFIO and form their own separate party again. This was done in a disorganized fashion, and only about 600 people left the SFIO in this split. Some Trots considered this whole “French Turn” to have been a failure while others considered it to be a “success” since they came out of the SFIO with more members than they entered with. However, during this period of political turmoil most political parties gained a lot of strength, and to a far greater degree than the tiny Trotskyist faction or party did. The French Trotskyists played no significant social role during the 1930s and were completely dispersed during World War II. It wasn’t until the 1950s that they began to make a small reappearance.
        Trotskyists have tried entryism in other countries as well. In 1936 the American Trots entered the Socialist Party of America (another middle class social-democratic party!) and formed their own faction around the newspaper Socialist Appeal. But they were expelled in 1937 and then formed their own group, the so-called Socialist Workers Party, in 1938. In Britain the Trotskyists entered the mainline Independent Labour Party and then the Labour Party, but left in 1944 to form their own organization. Somewhat more successfully (from their own perspective) was the longer-term entryist project of the Trotskyist “Militant Tendency” which infiltrated the Labour Party beginning in the 1950s and eventually managed to gain control of its Young Socialists group and the Liverpool Council of the Labour Party—before being expelled in the 1980s. Similar schemes, generally with less persistance and success, have been used by Trots in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland. In general, the question of whether to use “entryism”, or not, has been a highly divisive issue within Trotskyism ever since Trotsky first proposed it in 1934. As a solidly middle-class political trend, Trotskyism has been even more internally divided and sectarian than the “left” in general has been since World War II, and this issue has further amplified their already ultra-strong petty-bourgeois sectarian tendencies.
        In the late 1960s the Progressive Labor Party in the U.S. infiltrated the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). This was not quite a pure form of “entryism” because the PLP itself also continued as a separate party. But they did manage to achieve a majority influence in SDS which then split into two organizations, one of which was completely controlled by PLP. In combination with the already existing internal problems in the old SDS (especially anarchism and ultra-leftism), this “hostile take-over” and splitting of the group, ended up destroying what was once an extremely important revolutionary student organization in the U.S. So while this entryist maneuver was successful from the organizational point of view of the PLP, it was disastrous for the American revolutionary movement. The PLP was nominally “Maoist” at the time, but for a variety of good reasons many actual Maoists considered it (then and now) to be more like a “Trotskyite group without Trotsky”.
        For many years the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), an organization of “left”-liberal reformists, has been attempting to pursue a policy of what amounts to entryism. While it exists as a separate organization, it does not even try to be a real political party. Instead it encourages its members to work within the Democratic Party (one of the two main ruling class parties in the U.S.), rather than trying to establish itself as a viable “third party” within the American electoral system. This is the tactic that Bernie Sanders and some other phony “socialist” politicians have been using. While a few such people have managed to get elected, it makes little difference even when they are. They still defend and support the basic American capitalist-imperialist system. This is an example of how “entryism” can in effect become an excuse for not really opposing capitalism and imperialism at all.
        It is sometimes said that the Chinese Communist Party’s entrance into the Nationalist Party (Guomindang) in the 1920s was an example of “entryism”. However, if so this is far from a typical case and there were a number of important special circumstances involved. Sun Yat-sen and the GMD actually arranged for this CCP participation as part of an agreement to receive help from the Soviet Union to complete the bourgeois revolution in China and unify the country. Still, if this is nevertheless regarded as an example of “entryism”, it must surely be one of the most disastrous cases ever: When the GMD viciously turned on the CCP in 1927 it helped facilitate the massacre of many thousands of Communists.
        Is there ever a truly good reason for actual Marxist-Leninist-Maoists to employ the tactic of entryism? It seems unlikely. However, we should also recall our hostility to Kantian-like absolute principles that hold everywhere and always, and regardless of specific circumstances. Marxism involves the objective analysis of objective conditions, said Lenin. If real Maoists do someday adopt the tactic, we can only hope that it will be done only after very careful consideration of the many dangers and pitfalls involved.

ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM
Racism which is reflected in different environmental conditions and responses by the ruling class. This is just one of the great many aspects of racism in contemporary American society, which is by no means limited to just discrimination in hiring, job promotions, basic education, and day-to-day treatment of “people of color” or minorities. In the graphic here from The Nation (March 7, 2016), a liberal reformist magazine, we see just a few of the ways that racism in American society impacts people even with regard to environmental conditions and policies. This article was inspired by the recent events in Flint, Michigan (which is largely poor and working class, with a large minority population) where for a long while authorities turned a totally blind eye to the lead poisoning of the water supply there. The article quite appropriately argues that environmental racism is nothing new in American society; on the contrary, it has been rampant all along.




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