Marxist Sociology by Tom Bottomore

By Tom Bottomore

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14. 1 2 46 shall discuss the whole question of theory and practice in the next chapter, but it will be useful at this point to bring together some of the issues that emerge from the preceding discussion. R. (which also justified itself by appealing to Marxism as a 'scientific theory') and its later extension to other societies in Eastern Europe. In a more general way we can say that Marxism as a more or less deterministic theory of social development obviously had a greater appeal when the trend of events actually appeared to be leading towards socialism and it could be confidently asserted that 'history is on our side'.

56 some of the fundamental propositions of Marxist theory - concerning the development of the working-class movement, its engagement in political action, and the nature of the transition from capitalist to socialist society- need to be subjected to both scientific and ethical criticism. Repeatedly, from the time of Bernstein to the present day, someone has emerged to declare that he is defending the 'revolutionary core' of Marxism against revisionism and reformism; but this is a meaningless declaration unless it is accompanied by a real analysis of the political forces at work in specific forms of modem society (and especially the presence or absence, whether as constituted realities or as historical tendencies, of revolutionary classes), and by an evaluation of the 'progressive' or 'liberating' character of revolutionary movements and regimes.

203-6. 2 Ibid. p. 202. 8 Much later Lukacs himself recognised this, when he noted in his preface to the new edition of History and Class Consciousness (Neuwied: Luchterhand Verlag, 1967) that the 'ultimate philo- 52 Knowledge provides, evidently, an infallible guide to practical activity (as Cieszkowski thought) and the Marxist thinker either as an individual, or else, as Lucacs seems generally to have supposed, in a collective form as the Communist Party - is able, by his possession of it, to determine unerringly what is the correct outlook and political activity of the working class in each historical phase of its development.

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