Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism

—   Ed - Ek   —

Editorial cartoons can be very powerful, which is why they are tightly controlled in the bourgeois press. Indeed, some newspapers, such as the New York Times, have banned them entirely! But even the other bourgeois newspapers keep a tight rein on who they allow to draw editorial cartoons, and even fire cartoonists who do not follow their political line closely enough. They especially fear any cartoons which expose capitalist-imperialism or its top leadership.
        The early cartoonist, Thomas Nast, was allowed to publish his 1871 cartoon showing Boss Tweed of Tammany Hall with his head replaced by the bag of cash with which he was bribed, but only because the publisher was from a different ruling class political trend. The Canadian editorial cartoonist, Michael de Adder, on the other hand, was fired from the Brunswick News in June 2019 for drawing the other cartoon here which sardonically exposes U.S. President Donald Trump’s complete indifference to the terrible plight of immigrants from Central American seeking asylum in America, including the recent case of a man and his infant daughter who both drown attempting to swim cross the Rio Grande. Even in Canada, exposing the capitalist-imperialist U.S. government in such a powerful way is apparently forbidden.

“I don’t care so much what the papers write—my constituents can’t read ... It’s them damn pictures.” —Boss Tweed, of the Tammany Hall political machine in New York, complaining about hostile editorial cartoons, such as the one at the right.

        See below, and:

“Our educational policy must enable everyone who receives an education to develop morally, intellectually and physically and become a worker with both socialist consciousness and culture.” —Mao, “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People” (Feb. 27, 1957), SW 5:405.

EDUCATION — Analogical Essence Of

“The unfortunate but widespread conflation of austere formal definitions with the psychological reality of concepts in human minds has had worrisome repercussions in education. One consequence is that it tends to make the educational establishment lose sight of what ought to be its primary goal—the construction of useful, reliable categories. Another consequence is that it tends to favor teaching methods based on prickly formalisms and rigorous deductions rather than methods that use analogies to build up suitable families of [conceptual] categories in intuative ways.
        “Our view is very different from one in which logic is seen as central. Indeed, as we stressed [earlier], expertise builds up as categories are acquired and organized. Rather than depending on formal perceptions of situation, people have the ability to treat novel situations as if they were familiar, thanks to categorization. To acquire knowledge in a domain is to build up relevant categories. Analogical thinking is the key to understanding new situations and to building up new concepts, and this holds at all levels, ranging from the shakiest beginner to the most fluent expert. The difference between those two is not their style of thinking—logical for the expert and analogical for the beginner—but the repertoire of categories that they have at their disposition, and the way those categories are organized.” —Douglas Hofstadter & Emmanuel Sander, Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking (2013), p. 393. [See the entries
CATEGORIES and CATEGORIZATION for some further explanation of what they are saying here. —Ed.]

EDUCATION — As a Dialogue
Throughout history many wise people have recognized that education is a dialogue between between student and teacher, and the better this dialogue is, the more effective is the instruction.
        Education may also be viewed as a dialogue in another sense; as a continuing interplay between different and competing views. There is some considerable truth here too. For example, to really understand and fully accept a correct idea you must also come to deeply understand why competing or conflicting ideas are incorrect.
        However, some people have tried to extend this second view in ways which apparently support the notion that there are no truly correct views at all! For them education amounts to no more than getting a small “taste” of different views about each and every issue without ever settling on one view in each case as being correct. This approach, akin to
postmodernism, has become more and more common in the so-called “social sciences” in modern universities.

“Education is a kind of continuing dialogue, and a dialogue assumes, in the nature of the case, different points of view.” —Robert M. Hutchins, former president of the University of Chicago.
        [The reactionary liberal interpretation of this—which is likely the way it was meant—is that all points of view have validity, all are worthy of more or less equal consideration, and we can never really be completely sure of the truth.
        The Marxist dialectical interpretation of this remark would be that while one side of an argument is almost invariably superior to the other—and thus basically correct—there may still be something to the other side which is also worth considering as an amendment to that basic truth.
        Is this just a difference in emphasis? No, it is a whole lot more than that! It is a fundamentally different approach, based in part on the recognition of the dialectical interpenetration of opposites. —S.H.]

EDUCATION — As a Supposed Solution to Unemployment Caused by Automation
        See also:

“Increased robot density [i.e. the increased use of industrial robots] does not seem to raise employment among any group of workers, even those with university education.” —“Free Exchange”, the Economist magazine, April 1, 2017, p. 70.

EDUCATION — As Correcting Deficiencies

“It doesn’t require any money to have an attitude change. That’s why it is so hard. We don’t grow things, we fix them. So our idea about education is that children are defective adults—they have to be ‘fixed’ in school—whereas more enlightened people like [Jean] Piaget and Jerome Brunner think of children as something you grow. They’re all right the way they are. What we try to do is grow them in a certain direction. But there’s nothing deficient about them. And the difference between those two attitudes is huge.” —Alan Kay, a bourgeois computer scientist, Byte magazine, Sept. 1990, p. 232.
        [Of course there is some truth to that, especially with respect to younger children.
        But Kay forgets that much present “education” is mis-education. Thus even if children are born “ok”, the adults they become are corrupted by a bourgeois society, to varying degrees. Therefore in many respects people do become deficient and in dire need of “fixing”. It is not wrong to recognize that we must fix both a deficient system and a deficient humanity that is the product of this deficient system; in fact it is crucial to understand this! And we must also fix that which is deficient in ourselves—as we (or others!) come to understand that—as well as for us to help others understand and fix what is deficient in them. Our standard of deficiency? It is simply any attitude or action which goes against the real collective
interests of the working class (and thus ultimately of humanity as a whole).
        An essential point here is that fixing a deficient humanity and fixing the present horrendous capitalist society, including its ghastly “educational system”, are interpenetrating processes, neither of which can occur in the absence of the other.
        A second point (in direct contrast to Kay’s view) is that one important means of growth and development lies precisely in the correction of present deficiencies. This is true in general and certainly in human society.
        The third point to emphasize here is that—to the extent that “fixing deficiencies” is a matter of contradictions among the people—this changing of attitudes and mutual re-education must be entirely voluntary and democratic. —S.H.]

EDUCATION — Positive and Negative

“A revolutionary party and the revolutionary people must repeatedly undergo both positive and negative education. Through comparison and contrast, they become tempered and mature, thus making sure of victory. To belittle the role of the negative teacher is not to be a thorough dialectical materialist.” —Mao, Nov. 6, 1967; SW 9:420.

EDUCATION — United States — 19th Century
Education by governments has a social purpose, and as society changes that social purpose also changes. In the 1800s American education for the masses was designed to make them efficient and content farmers and workers, who would cause no problems for the ruling class. And this same basic purpose has continued ever since, except that the number of farmers has now dwindled to tiny levels.

“Mass education was designed to turn independent farmers into docile, passive tools of production. That was its primary purpose. And don’t think people didn’t know it. They knew it and they fought against it. There was a lot of resistance to mass education for exactly that reason. It was also understood by the elites. Emerson once said something about how we’re educating them to keep them from our throats. If you don’t educate them, what we call ‘education,’ they’re going to take control—‘they’ being what Alexander Hamilton called the ‘great beast,’ namely the people. The anti-democratic thrust of opinion in what are called democratic societies is really ferocious. And for good reasons. Because the freer the society gets, the more dangerous the great beast becomes and the more you have to be careful to cage it somehow.”   —Noam Chomsky, Class Warfare (Common Courage Press, 1996), p. 30.

EDUCATION — United States — Deterioration Of
In the capitalist-imperialist era, and especially over recent decades, education in the United States has deteriorated alarmingly. The ruling class no longer seems to care whether most children and young people receive much of a real education at all, though the need to “socialize”, indoctrinate and pacify the population is more important than ever.
        See also the 3-page letter “College the Easy Way”, by Scott Harrison, commenting on the dumbing down of a college education in the U.S., and on the decline of American education in general, at:
https://www.massline.org/Politics/ScottH/CollegeTheEasyWay-110305.pdf, and GRADE POINT INFLATION,   HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING—U.S.

“The National Assessment of Educational Progress, the gold-standard federal test of fourth and eighth graders across the country, found that only one-third of students were proficient readers.” —New York Times, Dec. 28, 2019.

Demand for goods and services along with the ability to pay for those goods and services. A destitute starving person may strongly desire food, and may even demand it from passers-by or from the government; but this is not effective demand because the person has no money to actually go out and buy food. This term is especially common in Keynesian economics, but is also used by other economists including sometimes by Marxists.

1. The absurd bourgeois theory that capitalist “free markets” are maximally efficient from an economic point of view (i.e., with respect to the appropriate allocation of goods and services) since those who buy and sell are totally rational agents, and since the market incorporates all the relevent information about both supply & demand and relevant risks which goes to determine the appropriate prices.
2. The application of this theory to the stock market and similar sorts of gambling, where it claims that the prices of shares on the stock market are the best available estimates of their real value in light of their real levels of risk. Obviously this theory (at least in its strong form) discounts the possibility of widespread inside information; the possibility that some gamblers may have a better general sense than others of the real general direction of the economy at a given moment; and so forth.

“By the 1970s the Efficient Market Hypothesis had become conventional wisdom, preached from academic pulpits at the University of Chicago and elsewhere.
         “However, not everyone bought into it. A popular joke among economists neatly captures its logical absurdities. An economist and his friend are walking down the street when they come across a hundred-dollar bill lying on the ground. The friend bends down to pick it up, but the economist stops him, saying, ‘Don’t bother—if it were a real hundred-dollar bill, someone would have already picked it up.’” —Nouriel Roubini & Stephen Mihm, Crisis Economics (2010), p. 41.

“I’d be a bum on the street with a tin cup if markets were always efficient.” —Warren Buffett, billionaire stock market investor. Quoted in the Wikipedia entry on the “Efficient Market Hypothesis”.

EGO   [In Freudian Theory]

        1. The view that an individual’s self-interest is (or should be) the only determiner of one’s actions.
        2. The ethical theory that morality is (or should be) based on individual self-interest.
Ayn Rand was one of the foremost proponents of this quintessentially bourgeois theory of ethics.

See also below, and:

EGYPT — Oppression of Women

“A United Nations study in 2013 found that 99 percent of women in Egypt had experienced sexual harassment or violence.” —New York Times, “The 22-Year-Old Force Behind Egypt’s #MeToo”, Oct. 3, 2020, National Edition, p. 3.

The “Eight Immortals” (or in a more literal translation, the “Eight Great Eminent Officials”) were the leading Chinese capitalist-roaders, or revisionists, who from 1977 into the 1990s completed the transformation of China from a socialist country back into a capitalist country. (The phrase “Eight Immortals” is actually an allusion to a group of Taoist deities known by that name, and is sometimes viewed as being sarcastic in this context.) These despicable individuals are all now dead, and good riddance to the lot of them! The members of what to us Maoist revolutionaries were a very notorious group of traitors to the proletariat were:
Deng Xiaoping (1904–1997), the ring-leader, or “Paramount Leader”, Politburo Standing Committee member 1977–1987, Political Consultative Conference chairman 1978–1983, Central Military Commission Chairman 1980–1989, and Central Advisory Commission chairman 1982–1987;
        Chen Yun (1905–1995), Politburo Standing Committee member 1977–1987, Central Advisory Committee Chairman 1987–1992, Central Discipline Inspection Commission first secretary 1979-1987;
        Li Xiannian (1909–1992), Politburo Standing Committee member 1977–1987, President of the PRC 1983–1988, then Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference chairman;
        Peng Zhen (1902–1997), National People’s Congress Chairman 1983–1988;
        Yang Shangkun (1907–1998), President of the PRC 1988–1993;
        Bo Yibo (1908–2007), Central Advisory Committee Vice Chairman;
        Wang Zhen (1908–1993), Central Advisory Committee Vice Chairman;
        Song Renqiong (1909–2005), CAC Vice Chairman.
        It is said that under Deng Xiaoping’s “paramount leadership” all important Chinese government and CPP decisions were made in Deng’s own home by this group of eight leading revisionists.
        In today’s capitalist-imperialist regime in China those known as privileged and powerful “Princelings” are primarily descendants of these “Eight Immortals”. In the fashion of any feudal/bourgeois nobility, they are presumed to outrank other individuals within the now bourgeois “Communist” Party of China and have amassed huge family fortunes (as has been reported in detail by news sources such as the New York Times and Bloomberg). The families of the “Eight Immortals” are now the core of the capitalist class dictatorship in China.

A highly stylized and formal type of writing which was demanded of officials during the Ming and Qing dynasties in China. Mastery of this ultra-formal style of writing was required in order to pass government exams and become a government official. Even in the 19th century reformers were condemning this sylized writing based on knowledge of the Confucian classics rather than the selection of officials on the basis of their knowledge of science, technology and modern languages. Although the “Eight-Legged Essay” itself pretty much died out with abolition of traditional civil service exams in 1905 (even before the fall of the Qing dynasty), Mao and others have criticized other stilted and poor writing styles of comrades by comparing them to Eight-Legged Essays.
        For further information see the entry:

“EIGHT REVOLUTIONARY MODEL PLAYS”   [Chinese: Ba ge ge ming yang ban xi]
This refers to eight revolutionary model plays produced under the direction of
Jiang Qing during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, consisting of six Beijing (or Peking) Operas: The Red Lantern, Raid on the White Tiger Regiment, Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy, The Dock, Ode to the Dragon River, and The Azalea Hill; and two ballets: The Red Detachment of Women, and The White-Haired Girl.


EINSTEIN, Albert   (1879-1955)
A very important German-Swiss-American mathematical physicist who was probably the most famous scientist of the 20th century. In physics he is usually ranked in importance with
Galileo and Newton, and is best known for his creation of the theories of special and general relativity. With his 1905 theory explaining Brownian Motion he finally established the correctness of the theory of atoms and molecules beyond any further rational doubt. He was also one of the early pioneers of quantum mechanics. Einstein strongly resisted the growing trend by bourgeois scientists to interpret quantum mechanics in a philosophical idealist manner, and was perhaps the most materialist in his views of all the major physicists of his era.
        Politically Einstein was a socialist and it is said that he was an admirer of Lenin. He did not, however, play an active role in the world revolutionary movement.

A famous
thought experiment in physics originated in 1935 in an article in Physical Review by Albert Einstein and two co-authors, entitled “Can Quantum-Mechanical Description of Physical Reality be Considered Complete?”. According to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle quantum states of particles (e.g., their precise momentum or position) are supposed to be indeterminate until they are measured. At the same time, it is postulated in quantum mechanics that two particles can be “entangled” so that when one is measured the status of the other in the relevant respect will also be determined. But suppose, the EPR thought experiment proposes, we separate the two entangled particles so that in measuring the property of one there is no time for communication from that particle to its complement to occur even at the speed of light! In that case, the only way to make sense of the situation is to assume that both particles did in fact have determinate complementary states before the measurement, even though we had no way of knowing what those states were before the measurement. In short, the initial premise of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, of indeterminate states until measurement must be wrong.
        This conclusion, though pretty straight forward, has caused endless consternation among idealist physicists like Heisenberg, and a huge literature has developed to try to show that the EPR thought experiment does not prove what it appears to prove. However, it seems pretty clear that the “indeterminateness” of particles is not really an aspect of reality itself, but only a limitation on what can be known according to the mathematics of quantum mechanics before measurements are made.

Members of the Social-Democratic Workers’ Party of Germany, founded in 1869 at the Eisenach Congress.

“The leaders of the Eisenachers were August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebnecht, who were under the ideological influence of Marx and Engels. The Eisenach programme stated that the Social-Democratic Workers’ Party of Germany consdered itself ‘a section of the International Working Men’s Association and shared its aspirations’. Thanks to the regular advice and criticism of Marx and Engels, the Eisenachers pursued a more consistent revolutionary policy than did Lassalle’s General Association of German Workers; in particular, on the question of German reunification, they followed ‘the democratic and proletarian road, struggling against the slightest concession to Prussianism, Bismarckism, and nationalism’ [Lenin, “August Bebel”, LCW 19:298]. Under the influence of the growing working-class movement and of increased government repressions, the two parties united at the Gotha Congress in 1875 to form the Socialist Workers’ Party of Germany, of which the Lassalleans formed the opportunist wing.” —Note 140, LCW 5:559.

The anti-working class and imperialist activities of U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his administration, from 1953 to 1961.

“After shifting the CIA’s focus from an attempt to penetrate the Soviet bloc, which had failed badly, to controlling the emerging nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, which succeeded all too brilliantly, Eisenhower authorized 170 major covert operations in forty-eight nations during his eight-year term. In effect, clandestine manipulation became Washington’s preferred mode of exercising old-fashioned imperial hegemony in a new world of nominally sovereign nations. In industrial societies, the agency cultivated allies with electoral cash, cultural suasion, and media manipulation, thereby building long-term alliances with the Christian Democrats in Italy, the Socialist Party in France, and above all the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in Japan, recipient of ‘millions of dollars in covert C.I.A. support.’ In the developing world, the agency brought compliant leaders to power through a string of coups from Iran in 1953 to the Congo and Laos in 1960. Under the Eisenhower administration’s Overseas Internal Security Program, the CIA also served as lead agency in strengthening the repressive capacity of Washington’s Third World allies, creating secret police units for a dozen such states and, in 1958 alone, training 504,000 police officers in twenty-five nations.” —Alfred W. McCoy, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power (2017), p. 54. [In light of the current (2017-2018) uproar over Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections, it is worth noting that all imperialists routinely meddle in much more serious ways in other countries, and U.S. imperialism itself has by far the worst record of all in this regard. —Ed.]

“The Eisenhower-Dulles era was a Pax Americana enforced by terror. The administration ensured U.S. postwar global dominance by threatening enemies with nuclear annihilation or with coups and assassinations. It was empire on the cheap, a product of Ike’s desire to avoid another large-scale shooting war as well as the imperial burdens that had bankrupted Great Britain. By leveraging the U.S. military’s near monopoly on nuclear firepower, the president hoped to make war an unthinkable proposition for any and all American adversaries. And by utilizing the CIA’s dark sleight of hand, the commander in chief aimed to render it unnecessary for the Marines to go crashing ashore in far-flung locales where unfriendly governments had taken office.” —David Talbot, a liberal bourgeois writer, Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government (2015), pp. 241-2.


“[T]he Eisenhower administration remained a reactionary bastion. The president and his top advisers were convinced that the African people were not ready to take responsibility for their own affairs, and that any revolutionary mischief on the continent would only play into Communist hands. At one National Security Council meeting, Vice President Nixon observed, ‘Some of the peoples of Africa have been out of trees for only about 50 years,’ to which Budget Director Maurice Stans (who would later serve as President Nixon’s commerce secretary) replied that he ‘had the impression that many Africans still belonged in trees.’ The president did nothing to elevate the discussion, remarking with assurance that in Africa ‘man’s emotions still have control over his intelligence.’ On other occasions, Eisenhower expressed resentment when he had to invite ‘those niggers’—by which he meant African dignitaries—to diplomatic receptions.” —David Talbot, Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government (2015), p. 364.

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