Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism

—   Uo - Uz   —


UPPER PALEOLITHIC (LATE PALEOLITHIC)
The European pre-historical period from about 35,000 to 11,000 years ago. The Upper Paleolithic and first part of the
Neolithic are generally divided into six principle cultural periods (which overlap somewhat): The Chatelperonian (35,000-30,000 years ago); the Aurignacian (34,000-30,000); the Gravettian (30,000-22,000); the Solutrean (22,000-18,000); the Magdelenian (18,000-11,000); and the Azilian (11,000-9,000). [Roger Lewin, In the Age of Mankind (1988), pp. 145-6.]
        See also: PALEOLITHIC

URBAN GUERRILLA WARFARE
The scheme of attempting to bring about social revolution through small scale hit-and-run guerrilla warfare within the cities and urban areas of a country, by forces with little or no connection to the masses and their struggles. This has sometimes been an attempt to apply something like Che
Guevara’sfoco” strategy in an urban setting (as by the Tupamaros in Uruguay in the 1960s and early 1970s), and at other times a gross distortion of the Maoist strategy of people’s war, the revolutionary strategy developed by Mao for China in the 1930s and similar Third World countries with huge populations of peasants and weak central governments. In no country have any attempts at urban guerrilla warfare made any significant progress toward actual social revolution and the seizure of power by the revolutionary proletariat.
        For an exposure of many of the fallacies involved in the theory of, and attempts at, urban guerrilla warfare, see: “The False Path of the W. European ‘Urban Guerrilla’”, by P. Becker, A World to Win, #4, 1985, 16 pages, posted at: http://www.bannedthought.net/International/RIM/AWTW/1985-4/AWTW-04-UrbanGuerrilla.pdf [PDF: 2,288 KB]
        See also: VENCEREMOS ORGANIZATION,   WEATHER UNDERGROUND ORGANIZATION

USE VALUE
[Sometimes with a hyphen.] 1. An item which is useful or meets a need or satisfies a desire that someone has. (Marx generally uses the term in this sense.)
2. The characteristic(s) of an item that makes it useful or allows it to meet a need.
        “Whatever its social form may be, wealth always consists of use-values...” —Marx, CCPE, pp. 27-8. “The use-value of a commodity is the basis of its exchange-value and thus of its value.” —Marx, Capital, vol. III, Part VI, Ch. 37: (International, p. 636; Penguin, p. 774.)
        See also:
VALUE,   EXCHANGE VALUE

USSR
See: SOVIET UNION

UTILITARIANISM
1. Any of a large number of ethical theories, most of which are now varieties of
hedonism, and therefore focus on “happiness” and “pain”.
2. [Originally, and logically:] The ethical theory that goodness and morality derive from utility or usefulness. Marxist-Leninist Class Interest Ethics has developed from these roots. (See next entry below.)
        See also: Philosophical Doggerel on utilitarianism.

UTILITARIANISM AND MARXISM
[Intro to be added... ]

“Is this attitude of ours utilitarian? Materialists do not oppose utilitarianism in general but the utilitarianism of the feudal, bourgeois and petty-bourgeois classes; they oppose those hypocrites who attack utilitarianism in words but in deeds embrace the most selfish and short-sighted utilitarianism. There is no ‘ism’ in the world that transcends utilitarian considerations; in class society there can be only the utilitarianism of this or that class. We are proletarian revolutionary utilitarians and take as our point of departure the unity of the present and future interests of the broadest masses, who constitute over 90 per cent of the population; hence we are revolutionary utilitarians aiming for the broadest and most long-range objectives, not narrow utilitarians concerned only with the partial and the immediate. If, for instance, you reproach the masses for their utilitarianism and yet for your own utility, or that of a narrow clique, force on the market and propagandize among the masses a work which pleases only the few but is useless or even harmful to the majority, then you are not only insulting the masses but also revealing your own lack of self-knowledge. A thing is good only when it brings real benefit to the masses of the people.” —Mao, “Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art” (May 1942), SW 3:85.

UTOPIAN COMMUNE (or COMMUNITY)
A small community of utopian socialists who come together to equalize their labor and share the wealth that they collectively produce. Some of the most notable of these communities were established by the early 19th century utopian socialists such as
Robert Owen. Many utopian communes were set up by various religious sects. In modern times utopian communes are few and far between, and are very small and essentially inconsequential as far as participating in any way in the progressive social transformation of society as a whole.
        The most extensive and economically successful (for a time) system of utopian communes has been the kibbutzim in Israel, which were set up from both collectivist impulses and in order to more effectively steal the land away from the Palestinian people. This shows just how terribly reactionary a programme of creating utopian communes can sometimes be.

UTOPIAN SOCIALISM
The belief that the social ownership of the means of production can be achieved by appealing to the rich and powerful who presently own it to voluntarily and peacefully relinquish that ownership and control.

“It is natural that utopian theories, which before the era of materialistic critical socialism contained the rudiments of the latter within itself, can now, coming belatedly, only be silly, stale, and basically reactionary.” —Marx, Letter to Friedrich Adolph Sorge, Oct. 19, 1877, Marx-Engels: Selected Correspondence (Moscow: Progress, 1975), p. 291. [In a slightly different translation in MECW 45:284.]

“Utopian socialists are always trying to persuade the bourgeoisie to be charitable. This won’t work, it is necessary to rely on the class struggle of the proletariat.” —Mao, “Talk on Questions of Philosophy” (Aug. 18, 1964), SW 9:125.

UTOPIANISM
Any of the endless programs, schemes or ideas to change the world for the better which are inherently totally unrealizable, and therefore which amount to foolish fantasies. Although there are still a tiny number of utopians who think they can change the world by setting up
utopian communes, and even perhaps one or two utopian socialists left who still want to try appealing to the capitalists to voluntarily and peacefully turn over their factories to the people, in the world today by far the most dominant form of utopianism is liberal reformism: the notion that capitalism can be reformed and regulated into a society that actually works to benefit everybody. Tens or hundreds of millions of people around the world still subscribe to this utterly impossible dream.

“Liberals are hopelessly foolish utopians!” —Scott’s Deep Truth About Capitalist Society, number 1.




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