Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism

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MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS   [Capitalist Business]

“The primary product sold by all management consultants – both software developers and strategic organisers – is the theology of capital. This holds that workers are expendable. They can be replaced by machines, or by harder-working employees grateful they weren’t let go in the last round of redundancies. Managers are necessary to the functioning of corporations – or universities, or non-profit organisations – and the more of them the better. Long working hours and bootstrap entrepreneurialism are what give meaning to life. Meritocracies are a real thing. Free trade, laissez-faire capitalism and reduced regulation are necessary stepping stones towards the free market utopia. There is also a faith that this work is helping ‘create positive, enduring change in the world’, as McKinsey’s mission statement puts it.” —Laleh Khalili, “What Does McKinsey Do?”, a review of When McKinsey Comes to Town: The Hidden Influences of the World’s Most Powerful Consulting Firm, by Walt Bogdanich & Michael Forsythe, in The London Review of Books, Vol. 44, #24, Dec. 15, 2022. [The McKinsey Consulting firm referred to here is probably the most well-known, and notorious, management company. —Ed.]

MANAGERS — In Capitalist Corporations

“A boss at a technology company complains at an all-hands meeting that his developers aren’t being innovative enough. So when a new job opens up, one tech worker submits the résumé of a programmer who he knows is innovative.. ‘I think the guy is qualified,’ the hiring manager admits. ‘But I don’t like to hire someone more knowledgeable than me. They keep making suggestions for doing things differently, and I just want someone who will do what I ask them to do.’ The tech worker who recommended the guy said later that ‘I always suspected some managers thought that way—I just never met one who boldly admitted it.’” —Adapted from the “Shark Tank” column, Computerworld, April 12, 2004, p. 46.
         [This is just one of a thousand ways that managers in effect sabotage production under capitalism, and which would get them severely criticized and replaced in a socialist workplace supervised by the workers. —Ed.]

A word in Hindi and related languages meaning “forum” or “platform”.

An informal network of bourgeois political economists in the early 19th century centered in the big industrial city of Manchester, England. Its leaders were Richard Cobden and John Bright. It strongly favored free trade and the abolition of all laws restricting or regulating capitalism, and the Corn Laws in particular. Modern
laissez-faire and neoliberal ideologies are a continuation of this sort of ultra-bourgeois thinking.

See also:

“‘Manchukuo’ was the name given by Japanese imperialism to the puppet regime it set up after invading and occupying Liaoning, Kirin and Heilungkiang Provinces in northeast China in 1931.
        “On September 18, 1931, Japan launched a large-scale attack on northeast China. The traitorous Chiang Kai-shek clique followed a policy of non-resistance. Much of Liaoning, Kirin and Heilungkiang Provinces came under Japanese occupation.
        “To tighten its rule over northeast China, Japanese imperialism concocted a so-called ‘Manchukuo’ in Changchun on February 3, 1932 and installed Pu Yi, the last emperor of the Ching Dynasty, as ‘ruler.’ In March 1934, ‘Manchukuo’ was renamed ‘Manchurian empire.’
        “After overrunning northeast China, the Japanese imperialists, flaunting the banner of ‘Manchukuo,’ savagely slaughtered Chinese patriots and plundered China of its rich resources. Led by the Chinese Communist Party and the Anti-Japanese United Army, the people of northeast China put up courageous resistance by waging a guerrilla war. In 1945, the Chinese people’s War of Resistance Against Japan was crowned with victory and the so-called ‘Manchukuo’ was swept into the dust-bin of history.” —Note in Peking Review, #47, Nov. 18, 1977, p. 27.

An American Cold War propaganda novel, and then movie, which portrayed an ordinary U.S. soldier who was captured by the “evil Chinese” during the Korean War, and who was then
“brainwashed” and “re-programmed” to become an assassin when he was released and returned home to the U.S. The ironic thing is that although China was not attempting to do any such thing, it was the American CIA which was actually attempting to learn how to do this, especially with its quarter-century long secret program code-named MKULTRA which began in 1953. However, it has never yet been possible for anybody—even the CIA—to “brainwash” anyone in this science fiction kind of way, although they destroyed a lot of people’s brains and lives in the attempt to figure out how to do so.

The Manchurian Candidate, the 1959 bestselling thriller by Richard Condon that was later adapted for the screen, dramatized this concept of a flesh-and-blood robot, a man so deeply programmed that he could be turned into a cold-blooded assassin. It was a paranoid fantasy that had its roots in the Korean War, that confusing debacle in a remote Asian land that would continue to haunt the American public until another Asian misadventure came along [the Vietnam War]. During the war, three dozen captured American pilots confessed to dropping biological weapons containing anthrax, cholera, bubonic plague, and other toxins on North Korea and China. The charges were hotly denied by the U.S. government [though they were actually true, as was proven later by an international committee of inquiry—Ed.], and when the airmen returned home after the war, they retracted their charges—under the threat of being tried for treason—alleging that they had been subjected to brainwashing by their Communist captors.
        “The Korean War ‘brainwashing’ story worked its way deeply into America’s dream state, through the aggressive promotional efforts of CIA-sponsored experts like Edward Hunter, who claimed to have coined the term. Writing bestselling books on the alleged Communist technique and testfying dramatically before Congress, Hunter ‘essentially modernized the idea of demonic possession,’ in the words of one observer. The self-described ‘propaganda specialist’ described how all American boys fell victim to an insidious combination of Asian mesmerism and Soviet torture science, which turned each captured pilot into a ‘living puppet—a human robot ... with new beliefs and new thought processes inserted into a captive body.’
        “In the end, the Korean brainwashing story itself—the seedbed of so much creeping, Cold War fantasy—turned out to be largely fictitious. [CIA director Allen] Dulles made much of it in his Hot Springs speech, invoking in outraged tones the image of ‘American boys’ being forced to betray their own country and ‘make open confessions—fake from beginning to end’ about how they had waged germ warfare on China and North Korea. But a study later commissioned by Dulles himself—conducted by two prominent Cornell Medical Center neurologists, including Harold Wolff, a friend of the CIA director—largely debunked the brainwash panic. They rejected reports that the Communists were using esoteric mind control techniques, insisting that there was no evidence of drugs or hypnosis or any involvment by psychiatrists and scientists in the Soviet or Chinese interrogation procedures.” —David Talbot, Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government (2015), pp. 288-290.
         [Talbot is an anti-communist liberal journalist. And actually this CIA “brainwashing” claim against China was not just “largely fictitious”, as he states here—it was entirely fictitious. If there was any actual brainwashing of the American pilots who confessed while captive in China it was what was done to them by the U.S. government once they came home, in order to force them to recant what they had earlier admitted they had really done. —Ed.]

Ironic term used by tech employees of big American corporations who are sometimes required to attend dull business social events (such as a supposedly “enjoyable” corporate party celebrating a new government contract recently won by the corporation). It is to the workers’ credit that they are most often inclined to ridicule the company line about such “celebrations”!


The traits of the character Manilov, who was a sentimental landowner, in Gogol’s Dead Souls. Gogol portrayed him as an idle dreamer and an empty, lazy chatterbox. Lenin frequently used this term to criticize the same characteristics in some of those within the socialist movement.

[From the blend of the words ‘man’ and ‘explaining’.] This is a recent term coined (circa 2008) for someone (usually a man) commenting on or explaining something to someone else (usually a woman) in a way which is (or is deemed to be) condescending, and often with the connotation that the speaker’s explanation itself is inaccurate, oversimplified, or not really responding to the question or point at issue. It is called mansplaining because—while this sort of thing can occur between two people of any sex—it is reasonable to assume that in a male chauvinist society (which all capitalist societies are) it is probably more common in the case of a man speaking to a woman. It hardly needs to be said that condescending or arrogant or even just overconfident speech is not a good thing wherever it occurs.
        However, it is also true that the word mansplaining itself is being over-used, often without any valid evidence for the claim, and even quite unjustly. The Merriam-Webster dictionary website commented recently: “The word’s death knell has been sounded—it’s so broadly applied that some say that any time a man opens his mouth he’s accused of mansplaining—but mansplain is clearly not going to be dropping out of use any time soon.” [
https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/mansplaining-definition-history (Aug. 8, 2018)]
        One of the basic problems often not considered here is that conversation is a complicated and difficult thing, especially with regard to complex, abstract or arcane topics. It is actually rather amazing that we can communicate with each other on such matters as well as we do! But it is very common for every one of us to say things that are misunderstood, and for every one of us to misunderstand others who we are talking to. In addition, we all think we understand things which we really do not, at least not fully so. Furthermore, it is very frequently the case that we do not really know whether something we say to another person is something they already understand. We simply can’t know this all the time.
        What this means is that we have to all cut each other some considerable slack in our conversations. If someone misunderstands you, then clarify what you are saying. Verbal conversation depends upon continuous feedback between speaker and listener. That’s why we nod our heads, interject “uh-huhs”, “right”, “well I don’t know”, “what do you mean?”, and the like, all through the conversation. If somebody writes a letter or an essay then it is entirely up to them to make themselves clear, because the ultimate reader isn’t there to help them out. But in a personal conversation it really is up to both the speaker and the listener to get across what is attempting to be said. Usually this can be done in better ways than by accusing the speaker of “mansplaining”, or by screaming “You’re just not fucking listening to me!”. It’s a very good idea to save extreme reactions for really extreme circumstances.
        Oh, and by the way, dear readers ... if this dictionary entry is itself considered to be an example of “mansplaining” or “Marxist-splaining”, or some such thing, then please criticize it! If anyone thinks that what is said here (or in any other entry in this dictionary) is condescending, overconfident, arrogant, or otherwise wrong, please send us an email. We’ll seriously think about it, and if we agree, we’ll fix it. —S.H.


[Manu:] “An ancient Hindu seer; he wrote the religious text Manusmriti (Laws of Manu), which laid down the social code defining the position of different castes and of women in Hindu society. It advocated extreme discrimination and cruelty towards the lower castes and women, and established the hegemony of the upper castes.” —From the Glossary in Satnam, Jangalnama: Travels in a Maoist Guerrilla Zone (2010), p. 205.

MANUFACTURING — In General and Worldwide
To manufacture something originally meant to make it by hand (from the Latin words for ‘hand’ and ‘to make’). However, tools have always been employed in the process and from the start of the Industrial Revolution machines have been employed in manufacturing in an ever more extensive and important way. Now, in the early 21st century, we are beginning to see some manufacturing being done entirely by machine without any direct human labor involved at all. This trend will certainly continue and become much more common, with the further development of
automation and artificial intelligence.
        For a few centuries the number of manufacturing jobs increased tremendously—even though manufacturing was constantly becoming more efficient. However, for some decades now the number of manufacturing jobs in the world has been declining, and ever more rapidly so. In 2003 there were still around 163 million manufacturing jobs in the world, but by 2040 there is expected to be only a few million such jobs left. [Jeremy Rifkin, The Zero Marginal Cost Society (2014), p. 125.]

Manufacturing has been declining overall in the U.S. for decades, and this rate of decline has increased in the new millennium (despite some short-term secondary ups and downs). The Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages showed there were 398,887 private manufacturing establishments in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2001. By the end of 2010, that number had declined to 342,647, a drop of 56,240 facilities. In 2010 alone, 8,660 factories closed down.
        Manufacturing jobs in the U.S. have declined much more rapidly, because of automation and productivity improvements. This is shown in the graph at the right, which indicates that the number of manufacturing jobs has now dropped nearly to the level at the end of the Great Depression of the 1930s.
        Not only have manufacturing jobs themselves been dropping very fast in recent decades, but this is also leading to the disappearance of huge numbers of other jobs in what was once thriving manufacturing communities, and to the serious decline in wages and other compensation for workers who still have jobs in the surrounding areas. Additional signs of social decay in these areas, such as the opioid addiction crisis rampant in 2018, also seem to be at least partially correlated with the continued collapse of manufacturing jobs. [“The Transformation of Manufacturing and the Decline in U.S. Employment”, by Kerwin Kofi Charles, et al., NBER Working Paper 24468, March 2018.]
        See also:


“Rise like lions after slumber
         In unvanquishable number —
         Shake your chains to earth like dew
         Which in sleep has fallen on you —
         Ye are many — they are few.”
         —Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Mask of Anarchy”, last stanza.
         This poem was written on the occasion of the massacre carried out
         by the British Government at Peterloo, Manchester in 1819.

MANY WORLDS THEORY (of Quantum Mechanics)
Another bizarre idealist philosophical conception of
quantum mechanics that claims that every time a quantum particle event occurs (which is umpteen quintillion times per second) a separate new “parallel universe” is formed! This absurd theory was cooked up by the physicist Hugh Everett III, and amazingly, there are some people who take it seriously.

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