Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism

—   Tu - Tz   —

TUITION — College — U.S.
College tuition in the U.S. has been zooming up very rapidly for many years. But this rate of increase has accelerated even more since the U.S. and world capitalist economic crisis took a turn for the worse in 2008. The chart at the right is from the report
“Recent Deep State Higher Education Cuts May Harm Students and the Economy for Years to Come”, by Phil Oliff, et al., of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (March 19, 2013).
        The graph at the left, from that same report, shows how more and more of the burden of higher education is being shifted onto the backs of the students and their families. In effect public higher education in the United States is in the process of being converted into another form of private education, making it harder and harder for anyone but the children of the rich to get a college education at all.

“62% of Americans support making tuition free at public colleges and universities, while 35% are opposed. Support is highest among people ages 18 to 29—77%—and drops to 49% among people older than 50.” —From the publication Bankrate, as reported in The Week magazine, Aug. 12, 2016, p. 19. [The 62% figure is a large majority, but of course the U.S. is not really a democracy, and what the majority want is mostly irrelevant. —Ed.]

A wild speculative
asset bubble that developed in Holland from 1636-37 with regard to rare tulip bulbs. At the peak of the madness, one single rare “Viceroy” tulip bulb was sold for two very large measures of wheat and four of rye, eight pigs, a dozen sheep, two oxheads of wine, four tons of butter, a thousand pounds of cheese, a bed, some clothing, and a silver beaker! [Charles Kindleberger, Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises, 3rd ed. (1996), p. 101.]

TUNG Chung-shu   (179-104 BCE)
DONG Zhongshu

SHAKUR, Tupac Amaru

TURATI, Filippo   (1857-1932)
Reformist leader of the Italian working-class movement. He was one of the organizers of the Italian Socialist Party in 1892, and the leader of its Right wing. He put forth a policy of class collaboration between the proletariat and bourgeoisie, and supported the Italian bourgeoisie during World War I.

TURING, Alan   (1912-1954)
English mathematician and computer scientist.

A mathematical model (not a physical machine!) which describes at an abstract level the functioning of any possible digital computer system. This model was put forward in Alan Turing’s famous 1937 mathematics paper On Computable Numbers.

A behaviorist sort of test of artificial intelligence proposed by Alan Turing in 1950, in which a computer is deemed to have achieved a high level of intelligence if humans, when putting questions to it, cannot tell if the answers are coming from a computer or from a human being. This sort of test is now considered rather naïve and much less profound than it was originally assumed to be.



An arrangement in bourgeois society wherein a single social class rules through not just a single political party, but rather through two primary parties which both represent that same class. These two parties work co-operatively in a “bi-partisan” way when their overall class interests are at issue, but divide and contend when it comes to matters on which the ruling capitalist class is itself divided. Ruling in this way also makes it easier for the bourgeoisie to fool the masses into thinking that they actually control society through a democratic process. Actually, however, the “democracy” is real only with regard to questions on which the bourgeoisie is itself split. In the U.S., for example, the masses are still under the complete control of the exploiting capitalist class whether the Democratic or Republican party wins an election.
        See also:

“America’s two major political parties differ rhetorically on plenty of issues, and they are each quick to accuse the other of every manner of atrociousness. Yet the Republicans and Democrats are remarkably collaborative when it comes to gaming the system. ‘Our giving is very equal between parties across the country,’ Walmart’s Brooke Buchanan says of corporate political action committee donations that in 2012 split 51 percent Republican and 49 percent Democratic—and who prove the maxim ‘the rich get richer’ no matter which party is in power.” —Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols, People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy (2016), p. 142. [This admission, by two social-democrats is rather ironic, given that they still promote the fantasy that the people can “regain” democratic control of the country under the present capitalist system. —Ed.]

“There is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I can do or say.” —W.E.B. Du Bois, on refusing to vote in the 1956 U.S. presidential election, quoted in The Nation, in October 1956 and again in the issue of Feb. 29, 2016, p. 11.

Important work by Lenin written during the 1905 Revolution in Russia and contrasting the tactics of the Bolsheviks versus the Mensheviks in that Revolution. (Keep in mind, however, that Lenin used the word ‘tactics’ to include what we now call both strategy and tactics.) This work is in LCW 9:15-140, and is available online at:

“This book, which appeared in July 1905, lays down the tactical line of the Bolsheviks in the 1905 Revolution in opposition to the line of the Mensheviks. It deals with the role of the working class in taking the lead in the bourgeois revolution and passing from the bourgeois revolution to the socialist revolution.
        “In order to understand this book and the tactical line of the Bolsheviks in the 1905 Revolution, the reader should consult the History of the C.P.S.U.(B), Chapter III, Section 3, where the tactical differences between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks and the revolutionary policy of the Bolsheviks are fully explained.
        “The Revolution of 1905 in Russia was essentially a bourgeois democratic revolution. Its task was not to overthrow capitalist rule and establish socialism, but to smash Tsarist absolutism and establish the fullest democracy. The fulfilment of this democratic task was a necessary stage in the advance to the socialist revolution.
        “On the eve of the 1905 Revolution two opposed lines were put forward in the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party:—
        “The Bolsheviks held that the revolution must be led by the workers in alliance with the peasants. They called for an armed rising to overthrow the Tsarist Government and set up a provisional revolutionary government in which the workers would participate. The liberal bourgeoisie, said the Bolsheviks, aimed at a compromise with the Tsar at the expense of the people, and it was necessary to isolate them.
        “The Mensheviks, on the other hand, held that the liberal bourgeoisie must be the leader of the bourgeois revolution; that the workers should establish close relations, not with the peasantry, but with the liberal bourgeoisie; and that if it proved possible to set up a provisional revolutionary government, this must be a government of the Liberals, and the workers should not participate in it.
        “The fundamental tactical principles expounded by Lenin in Two Tactics of Social Democracy are as follows:
        “1.   The main tactical principle which runs through the whole book is that the working class must win the leadership of the bourgeois democratic revolution. In order to carry through the revolution, the working class must find an ally, namely, the peasants, and must isolate the liberal bourgeoisie who did not aim at the overthrow of Tsarism but at a compromise.
        “Here Lenin advanced a new conception of the role of the working class in the bourgeois democratic revolution. In the previous history of bourgeois revolutions, it had been the bourgeoisie which had played the leading part; in the new historical situation, Lenin showed that the working class must become the leading and guiding force of the bourgeois revolution.
        “2.   Lenin showed that the most effective means of overthrowing Tsarism and achieving a democratic republic was a people’s uprising. The aim must be an uprising which would overthrow Tsarism and set up a provisional revolutionary government. This government would be the revolutionary democratic dictatorship of the workers and peasants. It would not yet be a socialist government, but the workers should not hesitate to participate in it. Its task would be to crush the counter-revolution and to institute in a revolutionary way such democratic measures as the eight-hour day in the towns and the re-distribution of land in the countryside.
        “3.   Having achieved the democratic republic, the revolutionary movement would not come to a stop but the workers must then carry the revolution forward to the socialist revolution. Having overthrown autocracy and established a democratic republic in alliance with the whole of the peasantry, the working class would go forward with the mass of the poor peasantry to defeat the bourgeoisie and establish the proletarian dictatorship and socialism.”
         —Maurice Cornforth, ed., Readers’ Guide to the Marxist Classics (1953), pp. 61-62.


A distinction helpful in clarifying the relationship between different kinds of abstractions. Consider, for example, the sentence: “The bourgeoisie is the enemy.” In one sense there are 5 words in this sentence, but in another sense there are only 4 different words, since the word ‘the’ appears twice. In type/token terminology, there are two tokens of the type ‘the’ in that sentence, and just one token each for the other word types. Thinking of things as types and tokens can sometimes clear up confusions that people have, and resolve “philosophical” questions. (See
AESTHETIC OBJECT for one example.)

Most of those who talk about the “tyranny of the majority” are fearful that if true and complete democracy is allowed, the majority may oppress or even (gasp!) appropriate the wealth, of the tiny rich minority. Thus most of those who worry about the “tyranny of the majority” represent the views of the oligarchic ruling class who are deeply fearful of the masses and of any real democracy.
        This was completely obvious for the founding fathers of the United States, as Woodrow Wilson discusses in the quotation below. But it is also completely characteristic even of modern
bourgeois democracies, which are far more concerned to limit and restrict any real democracy than they are to promote it. In centuries past, methods such as requiring property ownership or paying a poll tax were used to restrict voting, and even then only free white males were qualified. Today slavery has (mostly) disappeared and women can now vote, but new more sophisticated methods of restricting bourgeois democracy and making it more or less meaningless have been developed (as far as the key interests of the working class are concerned). These new or intensified methods include much more extensive and intensive ideological conditioning of the masses through bourgeois control of education and the media; making elections extremely expensive, so that it almost impossible for candidates who are neither rich nor backed by the rich to get nominated and elected; more and more restrictions on the rights of free speech and to protest; stronger laws against mass associations and more state efforts to control or destroy labor unions; and so forth. Bourgeois democracy itself is the perfection of mostly polite methods which insure the tyranny of the one percent in place of any feared “tyranny of the majority” which gives the rich nightmares.

“The [U.S.] government was not by intention a democratic government. In plan and structure it was meant to check the sweep and power of popular majorities. The Senate, it was believed, would be a strong-hold of conservativism, if not of aristocracy and wealth. The President, it was expected, would be the choice of representative men acting in the electoral college, and not of the people. The federal Judiciary was looked to, with its virtually permanent membership, to hold the entire structure of national politics in nice balance against all disturbing influences, whether of popular impulse or of official overbearance. Only in the House of Representatives were the people to be accorded an immediate audience and a direct means of making their will effective in affairs. The government had, in fact, been originated and organized upon the initiative and primarily in the interest of the mercantile and wealthy classes. Originally conceived in an effort to resolve commercial disputes between the States, it had been urged to adoption by a minority, under the concerted and aggressive leadership of able men representing a ruling class." —Woodrow Wilson, the historian and future U.S. President, describing how the U.S. Constitution and U.S. government were created right from the start in order to prevent any “tyranny of the majority”, Division and Reunion, 1829-1889 (NY: 1893), pp. 12-13.

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