The Power and Impotence of the Marxian Idea of Communism

  • Michael Brie
Part of the Marx, Engels, and Marxisms book series (MAENMA)


The strategy of the Bolshevik government was not all that changed after the shift from War Communism to the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1921–1922. The relationship of many bourgeois forces and Russian intellectuals to the Soviet power also shifted. As Part 3 illustrates, the Soviet government adopted various liberal measures both economic and cultural. On the other side, as mentioned above, punitive law was tightened on Lenin’s direct orders and many intellectuals were expelled from Russia. The Communist Party was concerned with maintaining its ideological and political monopoly. The latter appeared all the more threatened given that NEP increased the government’s dependence not only on the cooperation of the peasantry—a sector which had grown aware of its own interests and power—but also on the ‘bourgeois specialists’ and their professional expertise. Moreover, in an attempt to rebuild the economy, the support of relevant foreign actors was also to be pursued. To many this shift of policies seemed to be a distortion of Marx’s ideas on socialism and communism. The following chapter analysis these ideas in the form they influenced the Second International and looks back on Marx’s own search for a communist solution for the contradictions of complex bourgeois societies.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Brie
    • 1
  1. 1.Rosa Luxemburg StiftungInstitute for Critical Social AnalysisBerlinGermany

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