KALECKI, Michal (1899-1970)
A Polish semi-Marxist, semi-bourgeois political economist who mostly independently developed theories similar to Keynes. He was a major influence on Paul Sweezy and the Monthly Review School.
The name for Cambodia in the Khmer language spoken there.
A heated sleeping platform made of bricks, once commonplace in peasant homes in China.
KANT, Immanuel (1724-1804)
German idealist philosopher who has historically played an extremely negative role in ethics and philosophy in general, and whose influence has also adversely affected Marxism at times. [More to be added.]
See also entries below, and: philosophical doggerel about Kant.
[To be added...]
There are several strands to Kant’s theory of ethics. He started from the idealist position that there is some inherent “voice of conscience” which establishes the truth about what is right or wrong, where reason cannot. (This is factually completely wrong; we know very well that the consciences of different people can give them very different and opposed views about what is right or wrong, that the conscience is originally programmed for you by the attitudes of your parents and others around you when you are very young, and that the conscience can even be reprogrammed later.) Kant also believed in religious fashion that the world must ultimately be one of freedom and justice, and—seeing that there is much injustice around us—believed that this must mean that there is another life after this in which God can “redress the balance”.
Thus Kant absurdly believed, from religious impulses, that moral principles are a priori knowledge, which are not learned, but which a person knows by instinct. (However, he did allow that a person may learn through experience how to apply these moral principles and how to actually do what is right.)
While perceiving that morality could not be based on individual self-interest, Kant became fixated on the notion of absolute moral laws which must take a universal form. He viewed moral principles as a question of absolute duty which every person must be guided by no matter what the consequences. Ludicrous as it is, he actually believed that moral principles (or moral maxims) must have no exceptions whatsoever. Thus he maintained that lying is always wrong even if someone will be injured or murdered if you tell the truth in some situation. Kant’s famous (notorious?) doctrine of the categorical imperative forms the heart of his theory.
Kant opposed any form of naturalistic ethics which bases morality on human concepts, on our social existence, and on our collective needs and interests. As such, Kantian ethics is profoundly opposed to the Marxist-Leninist Class Interest Theory of Ethics.
See also: DEONTOLOGY
[To be added...]
See also: A PRIORI, DING-AN-SICH
“In my opinion, the essence of the argument is: (1) In Kant, cognition demarcates (divides) nature and man; actually it unites them; (2) In Kant, ‘the empty abstraction’ of the Thing-in-itself instead of living progress, motion, deeper and deeper, of our knowledge about things.” —Lenin,“Conspectus of Hegel’s Book The Science of Logic” (1914), LCW 38:91.
A variety of sorghum (Sorghum nervosum) which is an important cereal plant grown in China and other Asian countries. It has small white or brown grains (used for food) and dry pithy stalks (used for fodder, fuel and thatching). At harvest time fields of kaoliang in China sometimes have a beautiful reddish color.
An irregularly published journal whose subtitle was “Working Papers on the Capitalist State”. The articles were written by academic Marxists and, as that subtitle indicates, they focused on the nature of the state in capitalist society. There were 9 issues in all (two of which were “double” issues). They are available on the Marxist Internet Archive at: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/kapitalistate/index.htm
“The journal Kapitalistate was published between 1973 and 1983. It was edited by editorial collectives in a number of cities, which varied over time. The collective in the San Francisco Bay Area was the most consistent over time, lead [sic] by James O’Connor, but there were also collectives with varying degrees of activity and longevity in: Madison, Wisconsin; Boulder, Colorado; Germany; Italy; the UK; and Canada.” —Introductory note on the Marxist Internet Archive.
Suicide caused by extreme overwork. (See also KAROSHI entry below.)
“Foxconn [the Taiwan-based corporation which manufactures electronic products for multinational corporations, including Apple iPhones and iPads] has been involved in several controversies relating to how it manages employees in China. There has been a history of suicides at its factories blamed on working conditions. In January 2012, about 150 Foxconn employees threatened to commit mass-suicide in protest at their working conditions.” —Wikipedia entry on Foxconn, accessed on June 1, 2016. The news source for the mass suicide threat is: “‘Mass Suicide’ Protest at Apple Manufacturer Foxconn Factory”, The Daily Telegraph, Jan. 11, 2012.
Death from extreme overwork, which has been fairly common in Japan for decades. It is also fairly common in many other capitalist countries, especially where the working class is more viciously exploited and oppressed than usual, such as China and India. There have been many deaths of terribly overworked workers, including numerous suicides, at Foxconn plants in China for example.
“The Japanese are working themselves to death, said Scott North and Rika Morioka. Labor activists have been trying to draw attention to the problem of karoshi, or death from overwork, for decades. The related problem of karojisatsu, or suicide because of overwork, is similarly hard to confirm without a suicide note specifically blaming the job. Unfortunately, the [proposed new] law’s draft isn’t very ambitious. It says nothing about limiting working hours, mandating days off, or punishing employers who flout labor laws. Instead it ‘relies on moral suasion’ by ‘calling upon the government to make karoshi prevention a duty.’ The vagueness means the law will be ‘less a solution to a social problem than official recognition that the problem exists.’” —“Japan: Can death from overwork be prevented?”, in “The Week Presents Confidential Intelligence Briefing”, 2015, p. 5.
“The health effects of overwork
“Researchers have found ‘the clearest proof yet that your job is killing you,’ said Jeff Guo in The Washington Post. For years, the link between job stress and poor health ‘has mostly been correlational.’ But economists at Purdue University and the University of Copenhagen examined ‘what happens when people suddenly get a lot busier at work’ by analyzing the health of Danish workers at manufacturing companies where sales spiked unexpectedly. ‘This kind of study could only be done in a place like Denmark, where the single-payer health-care system keeps track of everyone’s doctor’s visits and drug purchases.’ After sales booms, women were more likely to suffer from severe depression, or be prescribed medication for heart attack or stroke. For men and women, the rate of serious injury increased. Sick days went up dramatically. The results seem clear: ‘Working too hard has health consequences.’” —The Week magazine, July 29, 2016, p. 32.
[Tagalog/Pilipino: “companion”] The term used in the Philippines among those on the left to mean comrade, and most often further abbreviated to just ka, as in: Ka Roger [“Comrade Roger”].
A small U.S. revolutionary group, now defunct, which was centered around the Kasama website (which no longer exists). Mike Ely and friends started the Kasama website in December 2007, and soon developed a regular readership. An initial posting on Kasama, which remained its central and most important document, was Mike Ely’s “9 Letters to Our Comrades”, a fairly extensive critique of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Many of the core people originally associated with the Kasama site were folks who were earlier in or around the RCP. Some critics referred to Kasama as “the RCP without the Avakian cult” or the “RCP-Lite”. However, later on the ideas of the initial group seemed to be changing in various directions, and external political currents such as French academic “Marxist” philosophy were beginning to make inroads. In addition, people from other “left” traditions (including Trotskyists) started gravitated toward Kasama and it seemed to be becoming more politically diverse and ideologically unstable.
In April 2008 the core group formed a communist organization called the Kasama Project. However, for some years the main presence of the group was still the Kasama website, a blog which—though heavily moderated—still was unable to present a fully coherent and unified political line. It remained more of a “left” discussion forum than the voice of any definite political organization.
Several years later the attempt was made to transform the Kasama Project into a cadre organization (more truly along the lines of the RCP organizationally) and at first this seemed to be working. However serious internal differences arose, including around questions of sexism on the part of some leaders, which led to the effective collapse of the organization by the end of 2015.
What were the central reasons for its collapse? We would hope that Mike Ely and those involved in the Kasama leadership might eventually give us some more history and their own views on this. In the meanwhile we can only surmize that: 1) Former longtime members of a political cult like the RCP seem very unlikely to ever start a good and viable political organization; 2) A considerable amount of additional ideological “baggage” from the RCP continued within the Kasama Project, including some of the tendency toward a conspiratorial conception of how to make revolution; 3) A continuing failure to really understand and use the mass line method of “from the masses, to the masses”, even though Kasama itself criticized the RCP on this score; and 4) The larger problem of the petty-bourgeois (or ex-student) background and individualist perspective of many young American revolutionaries which makes forming any good revolutionary proletarian organization so extremely difficult in this most bourgeois of all countries. Our understanding is that instead of trying to combat this last tendency towards a petty-bourgeois membership, Kasama may have actually promoted it—as in the case of one member who described himself as akin to a “sports recruiter” searching for “potential talent” for the organization.
See also: MARTIN, Bill
KAUTSKY, Karl (1854-1938)
German skin-deep socialist theoretician and leader, who after 1909 became a complete renegade from revolutionary Marxism. Kautsky started off much better, and became the leading theoretician of the Social-Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and of the Second International. But he was excessively influenced in his political outlook by a sort of Darwinian gradualist evolutionary thinking, which eventually led him to believe that revolutionary activity by the masses was not really very necessary or appropriate and that if we just wait long enough capitalism will be automatically transformed into socialism. Instead of working toward real socialist revolution Kautsky promoted the strategy of gradual socialist ascendance through parliamentary means and through the growth and class education of the German working class via trade unions and through the socialist press.
Earlier, Kautsky became Engels’ secretary in 1881 and was the literary executor of Marx and Engels’ papers after Engels’ death. He performed very poorly in this role, and was very slow in getting more works by the founders of scientific socialism published. Worse yet, the 3-volume edition of Marx’s very important Theories of Surplus Value (also known as “volume IV of Capital”) which Kautsky edited was corrupted and distorted. It was not until decades later that a proper and reliable edition of TSV in German (and then also in English translation) was published in the Soviet Union.
Kautsky’s full opportunistic nature was not completely exposed until the years leading up to World War I, and until that war itself began. Whereas the true Marxist wing of the SPD, led by great revolutionaries such as Clara Zetkin, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebnecht, totally opposed the build-up to the war and demanded that socialist members of the Reichstag (parliament) vote against all war appropriations, the right-wing of the SPD supported its own bourgeois ruling class and their war. Kautsky tried to take a “centrist” position in between these two trends (in effect a “centrist” position in between right and wrong!) which then served to give “centrism” the bad name it has deserved ever since within the international revolutionary movement. For example Kautsky favored voting for war credits when these could be presented as “only for the purpose” of German “self-defense”.
But the deeper problem was the refusal of Kautsky and the “centrists”, as well as the right-wing of the SPD, to try to make use of the social crisis brought about by the Great War to lead the German proletariat in making revolution and seizing political power. In this he betrayed the revolution, betrayed the German and international working class, and betrayed Marxism.
Theoretically, Kautsky cooked up all sorts of phony theories to try to justify his betrayal. While being forced to admit that imperialism lay behind the war, he tried to claim that imperialism was only a “policy” that the great powers had adopted, that such a policy need not continue permanently, and that a much more peaceful sort of “ultra-imperialism” was likely to come about in the future in which all the imperialist powers would share in their exploitation of the rest of the world.
Lenin, as well as other revolutionary Marxists such as Rosa Luxemburg, was horrified at Kautsky’s betrayal of Marxism, and ferociously attacked him. This was done in numerous articles and pamphlets leading up to and during World War I, including: Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916); The State and Revolution (1917); and The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky (1918). And in light of Kautsky’s turn toward open social chauvinism before and during that war Lenin looked back with a more critical eye at Kautsky’s earlier work and now found more to criticize there as well. For example, even though Kautsky had attacked the open revisionists such as Eduard Bernstein, it was now clearer that Kautsky himself had systematically gravitated “towards opportunism precisely on the question of the state.” [LCW 25:477] The roots of Kautsky’s betrayal of revolution in the World War I years were now much more readily seen in his massive earlier writings.
“Kautsky was the archtype of a doctrinaire, dry and unimaginative German Social Democrat, whose enormous theoretical output and central ideological position influenced the whole socialst movement for decades.” —Entry on Kautsky in Martin van Creveld, ed., The Encyclopedia of Revolutions and Revolutionaries (1996), p. 235.
“I hate and despise Kautsky now more than anyone, with his vile,
dirty self-satisfied hypocrisy. Nothing has happened, so he says, principles have
not been abandoned, everyone was entitled to defend his fatherland. It is
internationalism, if you please, for the workers of all countries to shoot one
another ‘in order to defend their fatherland’.
“Rosa Luxemburg was right when she wrote, long ago, that Kautsky has the ‘subservience of a theoretician’—servility, in plainer language, servility to the majority of the Party [the SDP which was mostly supporting the German ruling class in the war—Ed.], to opportunism. Just now there is nothing in the world more harmful and dangerous for the ideological independence of the proletariat than this rotten self-satisfaction and disgusting hypocrisy of Kautsky...” —Lenin, Letter to A. G. Shlyapnikov, Oct. 27, 1914; LCW 35:167-8.
“In all his writings during the war Kautsky tried to extinguish the revolutionary spirit instead of fostering and fanning it.” —Lenin, The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky (1918), LCW 28:291.
A viewpoint based on the revisionist ideas and theories of Karl Kautsky (see above). Some of the erroneous attitudes which are especially apt to be referenced by this term are:
• Imagining that socialism will evolve out of capitalism automatically and more or less peacefully, without the need for any organized insurrection or revolutionary violence on the part of the working class;
• A failure to view the capitalist state as the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, and the necessity for any revolutionary socialist state to be the dictatorship of the proletariat;
• A failure to view modern imperialism as inherent to capitalism since the last decades of the 19th century, and as the modern stage of capitalism;
• A tendency to believe that capitalism is becoming much more organized, that many contradictions within it are gradually disappearing, that inter-imperialist world war is no longer possible, and that we may soon reach a new era of “ultra-imperialism”, if we have not already done so.
See also: NEO-KAUTSKYISM
“The growing world proletarian revolutionary movement in general, and the Communist movement in particular, cannot dispense with an analysis and exposure of the theoretical errors of ‘Kautskyism.’” —Lenin, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, “Preface to the French and German Editions” (1920), (Peking: FLP, 1975), p. 8.
KAYPAKKAYA, Ibrahim (1949-1973)
A very important leader of the revolutionary Communist movement in Turkey, and founder of the anti-revisionist Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist (TKP/ML) in 1972. Kaypakkaya was captured by the government in January 1973 during a military crackdown on the revolutionary movement. He was tortured for several months, and finally murdered on May 18, 1973, by being shot in the head in the torture dungeons of the notorious Diyarbakir prison. He was only 24 years old.
Despite being horrifically tortured, Kaypakkaya did not reveal any information to his interrogators. He created the tradition for Turkish revolutionaries that “You give your life but not a secret”, a tradition which continues to the present time. Kaypakkaya is revered today as a martyr and symbol of revolutionary resistence to a vicious fascist regime.
The National Intelligence Organization of Turkey viewed Kaypakkaya as the most dangerous revolutionary in the country because of his organizational abilities and his great success in bringing revolutionary ideas to others. Though he was still very young he had already become an important and prominent Marxist theorist in Turkey. He defended the revolutionary ideas of Marx, Lenin and Mao, and applied them creatively to the situation in Turkey. He led in the struggle against modern revisionism in the Soviet Union and against its supporters in Turkey. He took up Maoism and strongly supported the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China. Kaypakkaya shocked many on the nominal “left” in Turkey by exposing and condemning Kemalism as an oppressive bourgeois ideology. And he made an especially important contribution to the correct understanding of the national question in Turkey by strongly supporting the right of the Kurdish people to determine their own future, including complete independence if they so chose. All these positions were of critical importance in establishing a new revolutionary movement in Turkey on a sound ideological basis.
Ibrahim Kaypakkaya is rightfully viewed as a revolutionary hero in Turkey, and around the world.
“Kaypakkaya was communism’s torch and a beacon shining light and
exposing the true nature of Kemalism as fascism, challenging the taboos surrounding
the Kurdish national question, waging an unflinching ideological struggle against
liquidationism, against those who played ‘revolutionaries’ [with a] constitutional
line, and the die-hard so-called Marxists that wished to monopolize the scene....
“Even 40 years after his death, comrade Kaypakkaya, with his time tested views, is still important and indispensable for the TKP/ML. This importance has significant weight not only for our party but also for a successful revolutionary march of the proletariat and the entire revolutionary movement in Turkey.”
—From “His Name is Our Pride, His Party is Our Honor, His Doctrine is Our Guide: On the 40th Anniversary of the Murder of Ibrahim Kaypakkaya” (2013), by the TKP/ML, online at: http://www.bannedthought.net/Turkey/TKP-ML/2013/I-Kaypakkaya-ENG.pdf
The program of “reforms” proposed and partially implemented by Mustafa Kemal “Atatürk” in Turkey, and the continued support for this program after Mustafa Kemal’s death in 1938. Some aspects of this program were actually reforms (such as shutting down religious schools and courts of law and replacing them with secular institutions). But most aspects of this program were very negative “reforms” indeed! The secular political and legal system, for example, was initially modeled on Mussolini’s fascist Italy! And although Kemalism proposed to institute “democracy” it has never actually done so. While Mustafa was alive only his own bourgeois party was legal. After his death multi-party elections began, but no revolutionary parties genuinely representing the interests of the masses are legal. And there is no genuine freedom of speech and of the press in Turkey, even by European bourgeois standards.
In effect, modern Kemalism is a program for the continuation of a fascist bourgeois state, with all its attendant repression and oppression.
“The official version of the history of the Turkish state at this
time bears very little resemblance to the actual events. Not surprisingly, the
authorized version does not interpret events as exploitation, persecution and
massacres. The history of the Turkish republic and the ideas and character of the
leader of the Turkish bourgeoisie, Mustafa Kemal, have been distorted from beginning
“Turkish people are indoctrinated with Kemalist ideas from an early age. The intention is to mesmerize people into thinking that if they love Mustafa Kemal they will go to heaven, and if they don’t, they will go to hell. Kemalism is represented as being the only valid path to follow. Everyone accuses each other of not being a true Kemalist and in inter-party political struggles this is a reason often given in order to denounce someone.
“If we examine Mustafa Kemal and the deeds of his followers, it is easy to discern the true character of Kemalism. Firstly, Kemalism is opposed to all progressive forces. During the country’s years of occupation before 1923, the Kemalists established a good relationship with the Soviet Union, receiving moral, financial and military support from them. This resulted in the occupying imperialists being forced into concessions in the ‘war of liberation.’ As soon as agreement was reached with the occupying forces, the Kemalists took action against all progressives, democrats, revolutionaries and communists.
“Secondly, Kemalism is fascist. The Kemalists did not hesitate in massacring, imprisoning, exiling and hanging these workers, peasants and people who tried to claim their basic rights, such as the right to work, education, distribution of the land and personal freedom....
“Kemalism also embodies extreme nationalism and racism; racism is particularly directed at the Kurdish nation, as well as at other minorities. The Kemalists had promised independence and liberty to the Kurdish people during the years of occupation in order to gain their support during the ‘war of liberation.’ After the war when they asked for their promised demands the answer they received was a most definite no, and there followed the massacres in which tens of thousands of Kurdish people were killed.
“Kemalism played an active role collaborating with the imperialist powers, who were involved in the suppression of anti-fascist and anti-imperialist elements amongst the peoples of the Middle East and elsewhere. Under Kemalist rule, Turkey continued to be exploited by imperialist powers, especially by the USA.”
—From the “What is Kemalism?” section of the article “Historical Background of Turkey” (online at: http://www.bannedthought.net/Turkey/TKP-ML/2000s/HistoricalBackground-Turkey-2002-Eng.pdf), in a collection of articles published by the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist circa 2002.
“Even after the death of Mustafa Kemal and his colleagues, Kemalist
ideology continued to permeate the ideas of people of all political persuasions, and
indeed it was not until the 1970s that anybody was able to analyze its reactionary
and fascist character and to struggle against it. The pioneer of this thinking was
the Communist Party of Turkey / Marxist Leninist (TKP/ML) leader,
Ibrahim Kaypakkaya, who spoke out amidst cries of
derision and shock from the other left-wing parties. Here are the TKP/ML analyses
Kemalism and Kemalist ‘revolution’:
“1) The Kemalist ‘revolution’ was a revolution of the top stratum of the Turkish merchant bourgeoisie, landlords, usurers and a few industrialists. Both the comprador Turkish bourgeoisie, and the middle bourgeoisie of national charaacter took part in the revolution.
“2) The leaders of the ‘revolution,’ starting during the years of the ‘war of liberation,’ set out to collaborate with Allied imperialism in an underhand way. The imperialists took a benevolent stand towards the Kemalists and looked favorably at the possibility of a Kemalist power.
“3) This collaboration became even stronger and continued after the Kemalists signed a peace treaty with the imperialists. The Kemalist movement developed ‘against the peasants and workers, and against the very possibility of an agrarian revolution.’
“4) As a result of the Kemalist movement, the colonial, semi-colonial and semi-feudal structure of Turkey was replaced by a semi-colonial and semi-feudal structure. In other words, the semi-colonial and semi-feudal economic structure remained intact.
“5) In the social field, the new Turkish bourgeoisie which developed from within the middle bourgeoisie of national character and which set out to collaborate with imperialism, plus a section of the old Turkish comprador big bourgeoisie and plus the new bureaucracy took the place of the comprador big bourgeoisie of the national minorities, plus the old bureaucracy and plus the Ottoman intelligentsia. The domination of some of the old landlords, big landowners, usurers and speculating merchants continued, while the rest of them were replaced by new ones. Kemalist power as a whole, does not represent the interests of the middle bourgeoisie of national character but the interests of the above classes and strata.”
KENT STATE MASSACRE
An attack on and murders of unarmed students at Kent State University in Ohio on May 4, 1970, who were protesting the U.S. war in Vietnam and the recent U.S. invasion of Cambodia. The Ohio National Guard fired at the demonstration, killing four students and wounding 9 others, one of whom was permanently paralyzed.
This massacre led to a nation-wide student strike which closed down hundreds of universities, colleges and high schools, involving over 4 million students. This is so far the only national student strike in U.S. history. The massacre also further turned U.S. public opinion against the imperialist U.S. war in Indo-China.
Eight of the National Guard soldiers were later indicted by a grand jury, but the reactionary court system accepted the absurd claim by the soldiers that they fired only because they “feared for their lives”, and all the charges were dropped. The Guardsmen had been firing so indiscriminately that even some people walking by the demonstration, or watching it from afar, were shot. But there was no way the government was going to seriously discipline its own murderous troops, whether in Ohio or southeast Asia.
“As an old saying goes, ‘Once the headrope of a fishing net is pulled up, all its meshes open.’ It is only by taking hold of the key link that everything else will fall into its proper place. The key link means the main theme. The contradiction between socialism and capitalism and the gradual resolution of this contradiction—that is the main theme, the key link. Grasp this key link, and all kinds of political and economic work to help the peasants will fall under it.” —Mao, “Two Talks on Mutual Aid and Co-operation in Agriculture: The Talk of November 4” (Nov. 4, 1953), SW 5:136. [In later years many Chinese leaders, including Deng Xiaoping, talked in terms of the “key link”, but for them it never meant class struggle.]
KEYNES, John Maynard (1883-1946)
A famous liberal British economist and diplomat. He represented the British Treasury in international negotiations during and after both the First and Second World Wars.
Keynes’s most famous work is his General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936), often called the General Theory for short. [More to be added.]
See also below, and: BASTARD KEYNESIANISM, LIQUIDITY TRAP, “MILITARY KEYNESIANISM”, NEO-KEYNESIANISM, NEW KEYNESIAN ECONOMICS, “PRIMING THE PUMP”
“The decadent international but individualistic capitalism, in the hands of which we found ourselves after the [First World] war, is not a success. It is not intelligent, it is not beautiful, it is not just, it is not virtuous—and it doesn’t deliver the goods. In short we dislike it, and we are beginning to despise it. But when we wonder what to put in its place, we are extremely perplexed.” —John Maynard Keynes, “National Self-Sufficiency”, Yale Review, #22, 1933, pp. 760-61.
[To be added...]
“Keynes’s basic conclusion can ... be put very directly. Previously it had been held [by bourgeois economists —S.H.] that the economic system, any capitalist system, found its equilibrium at full employment. Left to itself, it was thus that it came to rest. Keynes showed that the modern economy could as well find its equilibrium with continuing, serious underemployment. Its perfectly normal tendency was to what economists have since come to call an underemployment equilibrium.” —John Kenneth Galbraith, The Age of Uncertainty (1977), p. 216.
KEYNESIAN DEFICIT FINANCING
Keynes rejected the standard bourgeois economic dogma, known as Say’s Law which holds that capitalist production always creates its own markets. (I.e., that it automatically creates a market equal to the full value of all the commodities produced.) However, he thought the failure of capitalism to do this was just a sometime thing, which could be controlled and circumvented by the goverment overseers of the capitalist economy. (He did not at all understand, let alone agree with, the Marxist theory of surplus value and how its very generation ensures that capitalist production is never able to create markets equal to the full value of the commodities produced under this system.)
When “gluts” or overproduction did appear, along with a recession and rising unemployment, Keynes said that one major way to eliminate these problems was to “prime the pump” (i.e., get things working “properly” again) by having the government hire the unemployed and pay them wages from either money borrowed from the rich, or else from money that the government just prints up instead of obtaining it from taxes. He thought (quite erroneously) that once things were running smoothly again, the government could start running surpluses instead of deficits, and—with proper management—over time the deficits and surpluses would even out, and this procedure could be applied indefinitely.
In his General Theory magnum opus Keynes argued that the public works projects were not themselves essential and were merely a side benefit. The real boost to the economy was due to the government budget deficits themselves and the putting of money (in whatever way) into the hands of those who would actually spend it. He even stated (correctly!) that it would work just as well to hire workers to dig useless holes, and then fill them up again! The point was to somehow get money into their hands which they would then spend.
Although “Keynesian deficits” are named after Keynes, he was not the first to come up with the idea. Other bourgeois, and especially social democratic, economists in Germany and Sweden not only came up with the same basic idea before Keynes, but even started using it to good effect before Keynes wrote his General Theory. In Sweden, for example, Gunnar Myrdal talked the government there into applying deficit financing which greatly mitigated the Depression, and a similar thing happened in Germany.
[The Marxist view of Keynesian deficit financing and its limits... To be added.]
See also: “MILITARY KEYNESIANISM”
[Acronym for Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti, or Committee for State Security:] The notorious state police organization in the revisionist Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, in other words during the entire state capitalist era. It was the primary “security” (secret police) organization within the USSR and also the main foreign intelligence and spy agency, thus combining the functions of the FBI and CIA in the United States.
[More to be added...]
See also: NKVD
KHRUSHCHEV, Nikita Sergeyevich (1894-1971)
[Outside of the U.S. his name is often transliterated from Cyrillic as ‘Khrushchov’ rather than ‘Khrushchev’.] Soviet revisionist ruler who led in the complete destruction of socialism in the Soviet Union.
Born near Kursk, as a boy he was a shepherd and later a locksmith. He was almost illiterate until the age of 25. In 1918 he joined the Communist Party [Bolsheviks] and fought in the Civil War. He received most of his education as a Party member and at the same time rose rapidly in the Party organization. In 1939 he was made a full member of the Politburo. During World War II he organized guerrilla warfare in Ukraine against the German invaders, and afterwards was in charge of the economic reconstruction of the region. In 1949 he was in charge of a major reorganization of Soviet agriculture.
When Stalin died in March 1953, Khrushchev became First Secretary of the CPSU. At the 20th Party Congress in 1956 he gave a secret speech (soon leaked) denouncing Stalin and his errors and crimes, but from a bourgeois standpoint, not a Marxist-Leninist one. The next year he demoted his main rivals, Molotov, Kaganovich and Malenkov, and consolidated his personal power. From then on he more and more promoted the process of changing what remained of socialism into state capitalism. He further promoted the expansion of privileges for high-ranking Party members, economic “reforms” that made production more dependent on profits, material bonuses to workers (rather than moral education and rewards), etc.
Internationally Khrushchev’s policies wavered between contention and co-operation with U.S. imperialism. On the one hand he made “peaceful competition” with capitalism his basic program, and the insistence on reformist, electoral policies for all other “Communist” parties not already in power. In line with these policies he tried to cut various deals with U.S. imperialism. On the other hand, after the U.S. installed nuclear missiles in Turkey which were aimed at the USSR, Khrushchev rather recklessly attempted to do the same thing in Cuba. This led to the Cuban Missile Crisis, a game of “nuclear chicken” between U.S. imperialism and Soviet “social-imperialism” (socialism in name, imperialism in deeds) which almost led to World War III. The “liberal” regime of President John Kennedy was quite willing to launch such a war if Khrushchev did not back down, even if it did mean the horrible deaths of hundreds of millions of people! Khrushchev, for all his crimes and faults, at least had sense enough to back down and withdraw the missiles he had en route to Cuba. After that Khrushchev reverted once more to a general policy of appeasement and co-operation with U.S. imperialism, to the detriment of the world revolution.
By cozying up to U.S. imperialism, acting in an imperialist manner himself, and by taking the capitalist road within the Soviet Union, Khrushchev and his fellow revisionists also provoked a split with Mao’s China which was determined to keep to the proletarian revolutionary road.
By 1964 Khrushchev’s fellow revisionists in the leadership of the Soviet Union were becoming weary of him and his economic and political failures, and forced him from power.
How is it possible that a man of peasant/proletarian origins, who was educated and developed by the Communist party of Lenin and Stalin, and who provided service to the socialist cause for decades became the leader in the destruction of genuine socialism? The fundamental lesson here seems to be that no matter what one’s class origins, no matter what one’s education, no matter what one’s prior contributions, a person can change his class stand and ideology, especially if he is in a society that is quite conducive to that. The Soviet socialist system as it developed under Stalin was largely top-down and paternalistic, with the masses having little power to directly control their own lives and little ability to supervise the leadership of the Party and government. Though Stalin did not intend to create a new bourgeoisie within the higher ranks of the Party, this is what happened, in part because Stalin himself promoted the special privileges and rewards for what later came to be called the nomenklatura. In effect, people like Khrushchev were educated early on by the Party as communists, and then “re-educated” later on as revisionists. Once people like that achieved full power themselves, socialism was soon demolished.
See also: FIVE REQUIREMENTS FOR SUCCESSORS TO THE REVOLUTIONARY CAUSE OF THE PROLETARIAT
“To realize the professed goal of ‘advancing to communism,’ he [Khruschchev] declared that certain ‘reforms’ are needed: ‘We must elevate the importance of profit and profitability.’ He predicted that through maximizing profits in the shortest time, the USSR by 1980 would be a fully communist, classless society. To insure that the new regimen for broadening commodity-money relations got off to a strong start, he abolished the central planning ministries. This threw enterprise managers into the profitability vortex of getting desired raw materials at the lowest price and selling finished products at the highest price. In order to increase ‘production,’ another ‘reform’ divided the Soviet party into industrial and agricultural branches and tied the salaries of local party officials to the ‘economic success indicators’ of the factories and farms they supervised. This thrust party officials into the profitability race, as well as pitted workers and farmers against each other.” —Ira Gollobin, Dialectical Materialism: Its Laws, Categories, and Practice (1986), pp. 470-471.
KIBBUTZ [Plural: KIBBUTZIM]
Utopian socialist communities established by Zionist Jewish immigrants in Palestine, most (or all) of which are now within the official borders of Israel. While these communities were created by people who possessed partially socialist or communist ideals, they were also built as armed communities for the purpose of stealing land from the Palestinians and expanding the Zionist state. This shows just how reactionary utopian socialism can really be at times!
In recent decades most kibbutzim have transformed themselves internally from socialist, cooperative communities into ordinary capitalist corporations. By 2007 about 70% of Israel’s 265 kibbutzim were at least partially privatized capitalist operations.
The second of two important international socialist conferences held in Switzerland in the early years of World War I, and which attempted to address the question of what socialists should do about the War.
See also: ZIMMERWALD CONFERENCE
“The Second International Socialist Conference met at Kienthal
(April 24-30, 1916). The Left wing was more solidly united and stronger than at
Zimmerwald. Lenin secured the adoption of a resolution critizing social-pacifism and the
opportunistic activities of the International Socialist Bureau. The Kienthal Manifesto
and resolutions represented a further step toward an international movement against the
“Zimmerwald and Kienthal helped to crystallize and unite the internationalist elements, but both Conferences failed to take a consistent internationalist stand, and did not accept the basic principles of the Bolshevik policy: conversion of the imperialist war into a civil war, defeat of one’s own imperialist government in the war, and the organization of a Third International.” —Note 333, Lenin, SW I (1967).
KIM Il-sung (....-1994)
[To be added...]
KIM Jong-il (c. 1941-2011)
[To be added...]
KIM Jong-un (....- )
[To be added...]
KING, Martin Luther, Jr. (1929-1968)
African-American clergyman who became one of the most prominent leaders of the Black civil rights movement of the 1960s. He espoused Gandhian non-violence, but was nonetheless hounded and attacked by the U.S. white racist ruling class, and ultimately murdered by them.
See also: “FIELD SLAVES, HOUSE SLAVES”
[To be added... ]
See also below and: AGNOSTICISM, HUMAN KNOWLEDGE, REFLECTION THEORY, THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE
KNOWLEDGE — Certain
[To be added... ]
See also: AGNOSTICISM, and the essay “Do We Know For Certain That the Earth Goes Around the Sun?”
“But are there any truths which are so securely based that any doubt
of them seems to us to be tantamount to insanity? That twice two makes four, that the
three angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles, that Paris is in France, that
a man who gets no food dies of hunger, and so forth? Are there then nevertheless
eternal truths, final and ultimate truths?
“Certainly there are.... If it gives anyone any pleasure to use mighty words for very simple things, it can be asserted that certain results obtained by these sciences [mathematics, astronomy, mechanics, physics and chemistry] are eternal truths, final and ultimate truths; for which reason these sciences are known as the exact sciences. But very far from all their results have this validity.” —Engels, Anti-Dühring (1878), MECW 25:81. [Note that of course Engels’ comment that the sum of the three angles of a triangle equal two right angles is only valid in Euclidian geometry. —S.H.]
“Truth and error, like all thought-concepts which move in polar opposites, have absolute validity only in an extremely limited field..., and as even Herr Dühring would realize if he had any acquaintance with the first elements of dialectics, which deal precisely with the inadequacy of all polar opposites.” —Engels, Anti-Dühring (1878), MECW 25:84.
KNOWLEDGE — “Impossible”
See: COMTE, Auguste [quote by Timothy Ferris]
The very large city in India whose name was distorted by the British imperialists into “Calcutta”. This city is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal, and is one of the most important economic centers in east India.
KOLKHOZ (Plural: KOLKHOZY)
A collective farm in the Soviet Union; a cooperative of multiple peasant families who were paid on the basis of the quantity and quality of the labor contributed. After 1929, when the rapid collectivization of Soviet agriculture began, the kolkhoz became the dominant form of agricultural enterprise. During the pre-World War II period a kolkhoz included an average of about 75 households, but starting in 1949 many kolkhozy were merged together and by 1960 each one included about 340 households. Although the chairman of each kolkhoz was nominally elected, in practice they were usually appointed by the regional government authorities.
Soviet agriculture also had separate “Machine Tractor Stations” which provided mechanical farming equipment services to the collective farms, but these were merged with the enlarged kolkhozy in 1958. By 1961 each collective farm had production quotas negotiated with the State Procurement Committee, as determined by centrally planned agricultural production goals for each region, and sold their products to the state agencies at contracted prices. Production in excess of those quotas, and from small garden plots operated by individual families, was sold on the kolkhoz market at prevailing market prices.
See also: SOVKHOZ (State Farm)
KONDRATIEV, Nikolai D. (Also spelled: Kondratieff) (1892-1938)
Russian semi-Marxist proponent of the existence of long-term economic waves, often called Kondratiev Waves after him. (See below.) In the early 1920s he engaged in a theoretical dispute with Leon Trotsky over this issue, in which both his and Trotsky’s arguments left more than a little to be desired.
Kondratiev was a member of the peasant-based Socialist-Revolutionary Party before the October Revolution, and briefly a member of the last Kerensky government. After the Revolution he focused on academic research, and in 1920 founded the Institute of Conjuncture. (Modern advocates of “conjuncture theories” please note!) He was a proponent of the Soviet New Economic Policy (NEP) and argued for the primacy of agriculture and consumer goods rather than heavy industry in order to develop the Russian economy. By 1927 he no longer had any influence on Soviet economic policy.
While it is no doubt true to say that Kondratiev was not really much of a Marxist, his treatment by the Stalin regime was quite outrageous. According to the Wikipedia, he was arrested in July 1930 and accused of being a member of an illegal and proably non-existent “Peasants’ Labor Party”. In August 1930 Stalin wrote a letter to Molotov asking for Kondratiev’s execution. However he was first imprisoned for a term of 8 years. In 1938 he was re-tried and condemned to another 10 years in prison, but was executed on the same day the edict was issued, as part of Stalin’s Great Purge.
Long-term economic “waves” or cycles postulated by Nikolai Kondratiev from an empirical study of 19th century European economic history. While there were definitely periods of economic activity above average and below average during that century, Kondratiev could give no convincing reason for thinking that there was some internal governing mechanism for these changes which would justify calling them “waves” or cycles. Furthermore, his empirical evidence was so weak that he variously claimed that these long waves had a period of 45, 50 or 60 years.
Ironically, there may be good reasons for postulating long-term economic waves during the capitalist-imperialist era! (See my work in progress, “An Introduction to Capitalist Economic Crises”, at http://www.massline.org/PolitEcon/crises/index.htm, especially chapters 4 and 5, for more on this. —S.H.)
KOREA — North and South
[Intro to be added...]
From an economic standpoint the regime in North Korea has been a dismal total failure. When the two countries were established the North had more industrial development than the South, though it is true that most of that in the North was obliterated by the massive U.S. bombing during the Korean War. Still, even as late as the early 1970s the per capita GDP of the two countries was virtually the same. Since then, however, the South, with the aid of the U.S. and Japan, has zoomed upward, while the North has stagnated and even declined despite aid from the Soviet Union and China. Per capita GDP in the North is now apparently less than 5% of that in the South. (See the chart at the right which was posted on a Washington Post blog on 12/19/11. We can’t vouch for its total accuracy, but it certainly reflects at least the approximate situation.) One commentator noted that “Each year the dollar value of South Korea’s GDP expansion equals the entire North Korean economy.”
In agriculture the situation has been even worse in the North, where major famines have led to the deaths of possibly more than one million people and the serious malnutrition of many more millions. And that is despite food aid from China and extensive U.N. emergency food aid.
In our view these differences between South Korea and North Korea by no means reflect any supposed superiority of capitalism to socialism, because the North has not really been a socialist country at all (let alone a “communist” country as it is called in the West). It is not even what Marx derided as “barracks socialism”; instead, it is the world’s worst example of state capitalism, in effect “one big corporation” running (and totally mismanaging) the economy to the colossal detriment of the people, and for the benefit of a tiny few at the top.
See also: MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE
“Over two million North Korean civilians were killed [by the United States
in the Korean War]. And what General Curtis LeMay—a real-life Dr. Strangelove—later said
about bombing Vietnam ‘back to the stone age’ actually was inflicted by the US on North
“The North’s industry and infrastructure was totally destroyed. It’s impossible to understand the actions of the leadership in Pyongyang over these past decades without considering how this human and physical destruction is still very much alive in their minds.” —Covert Geopolitics website, Aug. 1, 2017, online at: https://geopolitics.co/2017/08/01/when-in-doubt-nuke-china/
“Kristallnacht”, or the night of broken glass, was a pogrom or coordinated wave of vicious attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on the night of November 9/10, 1938. It was carried out by the Nazi SA paramilitary forces and by anti-Semitic civilians. German police authorities looked on and made no effort to stop it. The name comes from all the broken glass that littered the streets after Jewish-owned stores, businesses and synogogues had their windows smashed. At least 91 Jews were killed in the attacks (some sources say many more), and 30,000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Jewish homes, hospitals and schools were ransacked, and many buildings were demolished with sledgehammers. Over 1,000 synagogues were burned and over 7,000 Jewish businesses were damaged or destroyed. The pretext for the attacks was the assassination in Paris of a German diplomat by a German-born Polish Jew who was resident there. Kristallnacht marked a major escalation of the racist Nazi policies toward the Jews, and the beginning of what they later called the “Final Solution to the Jewish question”, the massive genocide against Jews which led to the murder of around six million European Jews by the end of World War II. [Most of the information here is from the Kristallnacht entry in the Wikipedia.]
KROPOTKIN, Peter [Pyotr Alexeyevich] (1842-1921)
Russian prince and anarchist. Though opposed to Marxism, his writings on ethics and related topics have considerable interest, especially Mutual Aid as a Factor of Evolution (1902) and Ethics (1922). Though weak in class perspective and revolutionary political theory, he showed considerable insight into questions of the evolution of cooperation and the social nature of ethics.
“For [Herbert] Spencer, Darwinian natural selection provided the
explanation for why laissez-faire liberalism required a brutal ‘struggle for existence’.
Darwin, despite regarding Spencer’s work as speculative, later adopted the term—and
even later regretted having done so. Had he instead adopted the Russian anarchist and
biologist Prince Peter Kropotkin’s ‘struggle for life’ in which mutual aid, not mere
existence, was a driving force in evolution, the naturalizing gloom of Darwinism might
have been averted. The proposition that it is not only competition but cooperation—both
within and between species—which has been a major driving force in evolution, has run
like a subterranean heresy through most of the evolutionary theorizing of the last
century. Only now ... has it re-emerged into the daylight of mainstream thinking.”
—Hilary & Steven Rose, Genes, Cells and Brains: The Promethean Promises of the New Biology (2013), p. 61.
[Kropotkin is indeed to be commended for the considerable stress he put on the role of cooperation in evolution and nature, but others—including Engels—held this same view before him. See: COOPERATION IN NATURE ]
KRUPSKAYA, Nadezhda (Nadezhda Konstantinovna “Nadya” Krupskaya) (1869-1939)
A Russian Marxist and Bolshevik revolutionary. She married Vladimir Lenin in 1898, and they remained devoted to each other. Krupskaya focused her efforts especially on education, not only on questions of literacy and libraries, but particularly on socialist education. She was Deputy Minister of Education in the Soviet Union from 1929-1939. She is now best known for her very interesting and useful biography, Reminiscences of Lenin, published in the USSR in 1933, and first published in English in Britain in 1960.
“In the summer of 1930, on the eve of the Sixteenth Party Congress, the
Moscow district Party conferences were held. Lenin’s widow, N. K. Krupskaya, spoke at the
Bauman district branch against the methods that Stalin was using in the collectivization
drive, declaring that this programme had nothing in common with Lenin’s co-operative
scheme. She accused the Party Central Committee of ignorance of the peasants’ mood and
of refusing to consult the people. ‘It is pointless to blame the local organizations for
all the mistakes made by the Central Committee itself,’ she declared.
“While Krupskaya was making her speech, the district committee chiefs got word to [Lazar] Kaganovich, who came round to the platform when Krupskaya had finished and subjected her speech to coarse and scathing abuse. He repudiated her argument and added that as a member of the Central Committee she had no right to utter her criticism from the platform of a district Party conference. ‘N. K. Krupskaya should not imagine’, he declared, ‘that she has the monopoly on Leninism because she was Lenin’s wife.’” —Roy Medvedev, All Stalin’s Men (1984), pp. 118-9. [Medvedev was a revisionist, but this report rings true. It demonstrates Krupskaya’s commitment to using something more like the mass line, and the total rejection of that method by Stalin and one of his top lieutenants Kaganovich. Krupskaya, like any Party member, should indeed have had the right to speak out on the line of the Party, especially in a period leading up to a Party Congress. And there is no reason to believe Kaganovich’s ridiculous charge that Krupskaya viewed herself as having a “monopoly on Leninism”. —S.H.]
KUGELMANN, Ludwig (1828-1902)
German physician who participated in the 1848-49 revolution in Germany and was a member of the International. He was a delegate to the Lausanne (1867) and Hague (1872) Congresses of the International, a friend of Marx and Engels, and a regular correspondent of Marx’s. Though he revered and admired Marx and considered himself a disciple of Marx, he did not approve of violent proletarian revolution, and actually was a reformist.
KUHN, Thomas S. [Surname pronounced: coon] (1922-1996)
American bourgeois philosopher and historian of science, best known for his very influential (and deeply flawed) 1962 book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn challenged the notion—which almost nobody other than school kids really believes anyway—that scientific progress is entirely cumulative, unidirectional and without any subjective errors or missteps. Instead he put forth the theory of “paradigm shifts” to portray how science really develops; that is by sudden leaps, often in unexpected directions. This fits well with the Marxist dialectical idea of qualitative leaps. However, Kuhn grossly exaggerates the extent to which older ideas in science must be thrown out when a new paradigm replaces an old one. At times he even seems to suggest that new paradigms are in general no better than old ones, and pushes an ultra-skeptical or even epistemological agnostic view about the supposed inability of humanity to ever discover any actual scientific truth.
“In the sciences there need not be progress of another sort. We may,
to be more precise, have to relinquish the notion, explicit or implicit, that changes of
paradigm carry scientists and those who learn from them closer and closer to the truth.”
—Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Second Edition (1970), p.
[It of course does occasionally happen in science that what is first viewed as an advance (or better new “paradigm”) is not actually closer to the truth than the previous “paradigm”; it might even be less close! But in general science does advance and scientific theory does get closer to the truth about how the world works. We know this because we can do things today that we could not do previously, such as building bridges over wide rivers, manufacturing and using automobiles, airplanes, radios, TVs, computers, etc. So yes, there “need not” be progress in any particular change in scientific theory, but overall there definitely is such progress! Suggesting otherwise is simply foolishness of the “postmodern” variety! —Ed.]
A Russian term which originally meant a “grasping”, well-off peasant, but which was later defined to mean a peasant who employed labor, and who thus exploited poor and often landless peasants. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union appropriately targetted the kulaks, and sought to eliminate them as a social class. Unfortunately, this was to a large degree not accomplished by the most appropriate means of turning the kulaks into first ordinary peasants and then rural proletarians. Instead, during the collectivization campaign of 1930-33, directed by Stalin, millions of peasants who were officially classified as kulaks were either shipped off to forced labor camps or else died of starvation. Moreover, it seems that many of these were actually middle peasants, and not “kulaks” at all.
“One problem keenly debated in party circles was the question what to do with the kulak, or the peasant labelled as such by the authorities, the peasant who commonly farmed the largest and best plots of land in the village, was best equipped with animals and machines, produced and held the largest surpluses of grain, and offered the strongest opposition to Soviet policies, including the policy of collectivization. Opinons were sharply divided. If the kulak, together with his land and inventory, were incorporated in the Kolkhoz, he would—so some party members argued—make an important contribution to its production and efficiency. But he would also—as others reasonably predicted—exercise a dominating influence over it, and guide it in directions hostile to the purposes of the party and the state. If, however, he were excluded from the Kolkhoz, what was to become of him? He could not be allowed to retain his land and possessions, and constitute an independent unit of production side by side with the Kolkhoz. He would have to be evicted and expelled from the region; and this was a harsh measure which few at first were ready to contemplate. No acceptable solution could be found.” —E.H. Carr, The Russian Revolution from Lenin to Stalin: 1917-1929 (1979), ch. 16. [Carr was a bourgeois historian, somewhat sympathetic to the Russian Revolution.]
The German system of dealing with recessions and slowdowns in industry by having all the affected workers put in shorter hours rather than having some work full time and others be laid off entirely. This is therefore a means of somewhat equalizing one of the forms of pain endemic to the capitalist system. This program began in a limited fashion in 1910 in the fertilizer industry and was introduced in a major way in 1924 at a time when German unemployment had reached 11%. In the 2008-2010 period of the “Great Recession” it is estimated that this Short-Work system saved about 500,000 jobs. Of course the capitalists would rather just lay off some of the workers, so the government program in effect bribes the companies not to do so. In other words, it is as much a form of government subsidy for corporations as it is a method of spreading the lack of work among the proletariat. And despite the existence of this program, German unemployment rates have still been fairly high during the past couple decades.
KUTIEN CONFERENCE [of the CCP]
The Ninth Party Congress of the Fourth Army of the Chinese Red Army held in the village of Kutien, Shanghang County, Fukien Province, in December 1929. This Conference was held under the leadership of Mao Zedong and adopted the resolution On Correcting Mistaken Ideas in the Party, which was written by Mao. “This resolution laid down for the Red Army the proletarian line of building the army politically and based the building of the Red Army on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. With the elimination of all the influences of the old armies, the Red Army became a genuine people’s army.” [Note in Peking Review, #32, Aug. 6, 1969, p. 11.]
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