Russian Studies                                                                                                                   11/01/07



Treadgold’s 20th Century Russia : Reading Guide : Chapter 2


The Revolutionary Movement


1.      Relearn? the stuff in paragraphs one & two. (p 25)


2.      Explain 2 reasons why Russian revolutionaries were receptive to the ideas of Marx.





The Development of Marx’s Thought


  1. Write out in your words the two main ideas that Marx took from Hegel. (p 27)





  1. Write out in your own words the idea that Marx took from Feuerbach’s critique of Hegel.





  1. Write out in your own words the idea that Marx took from Saint-Simon & Proudhon that stood Hegel on his head.






  1. Define in your own words the key elements of Marxism as contained in Marx’s Communist Manifesto of 1847.

Historical materialism


Mode of Production


Class Struggle


Exploiter & Exploited


4 Stages of History


Marx and Russia


  1. Why was nationalism a problem for Marxists?




  1. What was Marx’s solution to the problem of the peasants (who were neither workers nor capitalists)?




  1. What was Marx’s solution to the problem that underdeveloped Russia was theoretically quite unready for a socialist revolution?




Marx’s Later Years


Why did Marx turn to the idea that it was possible that the worldwide revolution might begin in Russia?




The Teachings of Marxism


  1. Figure out what the following jargon means –

Interpenetration of opposites


Quantitative changes become qualitative


The antithesis of a thesis is itself denied


[We will decode Marx’s own words in class]


Material productive forces determine productive relationships


A class…is a function of the mode of production


History is the history of class struggles


All questions …can be answered…by tracing them to “who exploits whom”


History…as a political and military plan of campaign




The Politics of Marxism


  1. What sketchy details about post-revolutionary developments did Marx provide?




  1. What seems to be Treadgold’s assessment of the efficacy of early Marxist organizations?




  1. Describe the principal features of Bernstein’s style of revisionism.




  1. Assess the power of the Marxist movement in the decades after Marx’s death.




Marx, Russia, and the “Asiatic Mode of Production”


  1. Just what is this Asiatic Mode of Production that Marx ascribed to Russia?




  1. Why did Plekhanov and Lenin think that despotism (and, therefore, the mir) was worse than capitalism?



  1. In what ways were nationalism and the peasantry difficult for the Marxists?




(Can you find the place where Treadgold plagiarizes himself)




Bolsheviks and Mensheviks


  1. Describe the origin and ideology of the Socialist Revolutionary party.




  1. Describe the issues that divided Bolsheviks and Mensheviks at the Second Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party.



  1. Describe Lenin’s “imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism” theory.





  1. Describe the conflicting attitude of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks toward “bourgeois revolution” and “bourgeois liberals”.




  1. Describe Trotsky’s alternative to the Bolshevik or Menshevik line.




  1. Why were the Bolshevik-Menshevik debates before 1917 mostly of little consequence?




Lenin and Leninism


  1. Note how much of Lenin’s early life steered him toward revolutionary activity.



  1. Note the evidence of Lenin’s single-mindedness.



  1. What is Treadgold’s assessment of the relationship between Marx’s thought and Lenin’s contributions to the Marxist tradition?



  1. What are the consequences of Lenin’s revolutionary pessimism (in comparison with Marx’s)?



  1. Describe the reasons why Lenin accepted Marx’s idea of the necessity of  a dictatorship of the proletariat.”



  1. Why did the “dictatorship of the proletariat” trump Lenin’s expectation that a socialist revolution would lead to democracy?



  1. Describe the creed to which all “progressive” Russians subscribed as the 20th century began.