Chapter 2

The "New Class"

From 1903 to 1906, when the revolution in Russia permitted him to live briefly in St. Petersburg, Machajski remained in Switzerland. Now married to a Russian woman who went by the name of Vera and had been a fellow exile in Siberia, Machajski devoted himself mainly to elaborating the theoretical foundations of Makhaevism. At the beginning of 1904, he turned for financial assistance to his old friend Stefan Zeromski, who had now achieved fame as a novelist. They had not been in contact for thirteen years. In a letter of February 24, written from Geneva, Machajski described himself as destitute. Not surprisingly, his views on the intelligentsia had alienated all political groups both in Russia and in Poland: "Here in emigration I have not counted, nor can I count, on any co-operation at all from the Polish and Russian intelligentsia." He had found some occasional work as a translator from German into Russian and as a type-setter at one of the Russian presses, but now even these odd jobs were no longer available to him. He seemed less concerned with subsistence, however, than with the publication of his writings, including one which he described as "a comparison of my own views with the latest currents." Among other money-making projects which he had in mind, he asked whether Zeromski might commission him to translate one of his works into Russian, providing an advance large enough to enable him to survive and to print a book some two hundred pages in length.In subsequent letters he told Zeromski that he had worked as a house-painter and again as a typesetter. He also tried giving lectures in Geneva and Bern, and, through Russian émigré' circles, in Berlin as well, but few paid to come and hear him.

Although the translation project did not come to pass, Zeromski on more than one occasion did supply financial assistance. Another source, however, casts some doubt on the degree of deprivation Machajski was suffering. Max Nomad met Machajski in Geneva in 1905 and for several years was an adherent of his views and an activist in Makhaevist groups. As Nomad describes him, Machajski had a compelling physical presence: "He was thirty-eight at that time, but looked at least fifty. His ascetic face reminded me of the pictures of John the Baptist." According to Nomad, however, while Machajski and his wife were in Geneva their living expenses and the printing of Machajski's writings were financed by "a rich convert." This was a young woman named Janina Berson, the daughter of a Petersburg banker. Having been won over to Machajski's views by Vera Machajska, Berson contributed a large part of her allowance to the Makhaevist cause. Like the Bolsheviks and other Russian revolutionaries, Machajski was able to find at least one wealthy "angel" willing to back the destruction of her own class.

By one means or another, Machajski succeeded in getting his writings into print. The work in progress that he mentioned to Zeromski was probably part 3 of The Intellectual Worker, comprising two sections entitled "Socialism and the Labour Movement" and "Socialist Science As a New Religion." They joined the two Siberian essays, "The Evolution of Social Democracy" and "Scientific Socialism," which, respectively, formed parts 1 and 2. All three parts of The Intellectual Worker, the major theoretical exposition of Makhaevism, appeared in Geneva in 1904-1905.Also in Geneva in 1905, Machajski published two shorter works: The Bourgeois Revolution and the Workers' Cause (Burzhuaznaia revoliutsiia i rabochee delo), which was reprinted in St. Petersburg in the following year, and The Bankruptcy of Nineteenth-Century Socialism (Bankrotstvo sotsializma XIX stoletiia). Two other works round out his theoretical writings. In 1906, he published in St. Petersburg a translation of excerpts from Marx's The Holy Family, with extensive notes by the translator. Finally, there is an unpublished manuscript, written in Polish in 1910-1911 and subsequently translated into Russian by Vera Machajska. Two journals, each of which appeared in only a single issue, complete the corpus of Machajski's writings: Rabochii zagovor (The Workers' Conspiracy) of 1908, devoted mainly to revolutionary tactics, and Rabochaia revoliutsiia (The Workers' Revolution), Machajski's response to the Bolshevik seizure of power, dating from 1918.

Thus, around the time of the 1905 revolution, Machajski's writings began to circulate in print, both within Russia and in emigration. For the most part, however, all of his subsequent writings amounted to restatements and minor amplifications of the basic positions he had worked out in Siberia. For an analysis of the theoretical bases of Makhaevism, therefore, his body of writings is best taken as different expressions of the same fundamental set of ideas rather than as a chronological progression.

His views did undergo one major shift, however, as he was writing his very first essay, "The Evolution of Social Democracy." The question that preoccupied him in Siberia was why Marxism, particularly in Germany, seemed to have lost its revolutionary impetus. The essay was devoted to this subject, beginning with a lengthy analysis of the German party and then proceeding to consideration of the PPS, the Bund (the General Jewish Workers' Union in Russia and Poland), and the Russian Social-Democratic party. All these parties, according to Machajski, had succumbed to the fatal preoccupation with winning political freedom that Marx himself had introduced into the movement. In the Communist Manifesto, Marx had urged the communists to "labour everywhere for the union and agreement of the democratic parties of all countries," and, as the first step of the proletarian revolution, "to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to win the battle of democracy." Machajski maintained that only a revolutionary, economic struggle could further the workers' cause, not a democratic, political one. It was utopian to believe that the proletariat could utilise legal institutions, howsoever democratic, to attack the property structure of capitalist society. "The economic foundations of the bourgeoisie's exploitation and domination can be destroyed only by the domination of the proletariat, only by its 'despotic attack on the right of property,"' as he felt the Communist Manifesto had much more accurately phrased it in another passage.

Machajski claimed that Marx had formulated just such a policy in his militant Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League of 1850.That statement had urged the German communists to break with the democratic parties rather than to make common cause with them, and it contained the famous reference to "permanent" revolution. Here, Machajski declared, the communists had no thought of trying to use the legal rights and institutions of the class state to express the will of the proletariat. But the tactics outlined in the Manifesto rather than the positions taken in the Address had determined the future policy of Social Democracy. That policy was expressed in the formula: "the proletariat can fight for its emancipation only by using the political rights of the democratic state." Its adoption by the First International had been the source of the Bakuninist opposition to Marx. The workers who supported that opposition were not protesting against the centralization that Marx had imposed on the International, as Bakunin and his anarchist followers claimed, but against the fact that this centralization lacked revolutionary content. It arose not because the General Council, the leadership of the International which Marx controlled, consisted of 'jacobins" who were plotting their own dictatorship on the morrow of the revolution, but because it did not consist of revolutionaries.

The emphasis on politics had led the International to concentrate on separate national revolutions. The Communist Manifesto made the first step in the workers' revolution nationalist in form: the proletariat of each country must contend with its own bourgeoisie. The International had continued this policy of encouraging the proletariat to participate in the political life of individual countries. But the seizure of power by the proletariat must be an international act; it could result only in reformism if confined within national limits.Whether the objective was a parliamentary majority, as in the case of German Social Democracy, a constitutional replacement for autocracy in the case of Russian Social Democracy, political independence for Poland or equal rights for the Jews, such a pursuit inevitably led to a compromise between the cause of the proletariat and the cause of the liberal and radical bourgeoisie. The results of such political compromises were necessarily fatal for social revolution. Only the Polish Proletariat party - to which Machajski himself, of course, had belonged - won his praise as a "party of revolutionary Marxism," for it had devoted itself not to gaining the independence of Poland but to immediate economic revolution. (He also had a good word to say for Rosa Luxemburg as a critic of opportunism within the German Social-Democratic party.) The workers themselves would respond eagerly if Social Democracy changed its ways and pursued truly revolutionary objectives, Machajski argued, as the Lodz May Day strike of 1892 had clearly demonstrated.

Machajski began this first essay as a Marxist revolutionary, an impatient but loyal critic of Social Democracy. His critique reflected the experiences and preoccupation's of his Polish period: his rejection of the increasingly nationalist orientation of the Polish socialist movement, the impression made on him by the 1892 Lodz strike. It was not a particularly unusual or original critique. The Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League, which Marx composed at a moment when his expectations of revolution were at a high point, was a favourite text for Marxist militants opposed to the political pragmatism of other Marxists.Machajski's essay assumed that the "opportunism" of the Marxist parties in Germany and the Russian Empire was merely an ideological or tactical error which could be corrected; his purpose was to persuade them to renounce their absorption in legal tactics and political goals and return to their true Marxist labour of overthrowing the economic and social system of capitalism. It was an objective many of Machajski's Social-Democratic readers in Siberia, such as Trotsky, shared, and they could welcome his essay as a useful salvo in the battle against Revisionism. There was little in it that was distinctively "Makhaevist."

By the time he reached the conclusion of his essay, however, Machajski had become convinced that persuasion was useless, for Social Democracy's turn to "opportunism" stemmed from a more fundamental source of corruption than mere tactical errors or loss of nerve. In a newly written preface to the Geneva edition of this essay, he warned his readers that he had worked out his point of view only in the course of writing the work and had expressed it clearly only in the conclusion. The earlier parts of the essay, he conceded, displayed a serious defect: "the author kept trying to find a way to turn Marxism away from its errors and onto the true revolutionary path, an effort which later investigation showed was completely utopian." Only in the conclusion had he realised that the evolution of Social Democracy revealed the presence within the movement of "forces which, by their very nature, cannot wish the abolition of the capitalist contradiction." The doctrines of Marxism permitted the "continual penetration of non-proletarian elements into the revolutionary army of the proletariat, elements which hinder its development and its definitive attack on the bourgeois order."

In the course of the essay Machajski had made some passing references to these elements but had not singled them out for special attention. He had referred to "the ruling bourgeois classes" as comprising "not only the owners of industrial and commercial capital, but also the privileged employees of the capitalist state:politicians, journalists, scholars, and all the 'noble' professions."In regard to the June Days of Paris in 1848, he argued that the Suppression of the workers by the newly established republic "showed the proletariat that its enemy was not just the owners of capital . . . but the whole mass of privileged employees of the capitalist state: lawyers, journalists, scholars." Finally, however, he realised that he had made a fundamental discovery: socialism, and particularly Marxism, represented the class interests not of the workers but of a rising new class - the intelligentsia, or, as he termed them, the "intellectual workers," who sought a profitable accommodation for themselves with the capitalist order rather than its definitive overthrow. This now became the core idea of Makhaevism, the doctrine which gave it its unique character and distinguished it from other revolutionary currents in the Russian Empire.

The key that unlocked the true nature of Social Democracy for Machajski was a series of articles which Karl Kautsky had published in Die Neue Zeit in 1894-1395. Under the conditions of capitalist production, the German Social-Democratic theorist wrote, "intellectual work becomes the special function of a particular class, which as a rule does not directly - nor, by its nature, necessarily-have an interest in capitalist exploitation: the so-called intelligentsia [Intelligenz], which makes its living from the sale of its special knowledge and talents."To some extent, the intelligentsia provided a refuge for ruined small property- owners: "A new, very numerous, and continually growing middle class is formed in this way," masking to some degree "the decline of the middle class as a whole."The end result was a significant new socio-economic formation: "in the intelligentsia a new middle class is arising, growing in part because of the requirements of the capitalist process of production, in part through the decline of small business, a middle class whose size and significance in relation to the petty bourgeoisie is steadily increasing, but which is also more and more depressed by the mounting oversupply of labour and thereby is permanently discontented."Both the power of the intelligentsia and the power of its discontent merited the attention of Social Democracy.

Having identified this "new middle class" and its growing numbers, Kautsky proceeded to deny it any independent significance. The intelligentsia was a very heterogeneous group, composed of many different strata; it had no specific class interest of its own, only professional interests within a particular speciality. An actor and a clergyman, a doctor and an attorney, a chemist and an editorial writer could have neither intellectual nor economic interests in common.What distinguished the intelligentsia from the proletariat was a kind of caste or guild mentality, a sense of the intelligentsia's privileged position as the "aristocracy of the spirit," and a desire to maintain that exclusiveness by limiting entry into the intelligentsia.A good part of the intelligentsia, Kautsky felt, could be won over to the side of the proletariat. Excepted were those groups whose work required them to justify the bourgeoisie and share its sentiments: certain kinds of teachers and journalists, legal and administrative officials, direct participants in the extraction of surplus labour from the workers (Kautsky seems to have had managers in mind here). By and large, however, the intelligentsia was a potential ally of the proletariat by virtue of its role as a bystander in the process of capitalist exploitation, its lack of a homogeneous class interest, and its broader intellectual horizon, which gave it a greater capacity than any other part of the population for rising above its own interests and looking at the needs of society as a whole.

Machajski viewed the position of the intelligentsia in an entirely different light. He maintained that Kautsky had revealed the existence of a new class of exploiters but had refused to draw the appropriate conclusions. The doctrines of Social Democracy denied the possibility of the growth of the middle classes and insisted that the fruits of capitalism were being usurped only by a small number of capitalists and large landowners.

Meanwhile, the evolution of capitalism displays the indisputable growth of bourgeois society. Even if small enterprises inevitably perish, the middle classes of bourgeois society, in the form of the continually growing number of privileged employees of capital, increase all the same, and so "all the advantages of the gigantic growth of productive forces are monopolised" not by a "handful" of plutocrats alone, but by the continually growing bourgeois society.
Here was the real enemy of the proletariat: "the privileged employees of the capitalist order, . . . the 'intelligentsia,' the army of intellectual workers,"no less interested than the capitalists themselves in the continued exploitation of the manual workers. In Marxism, the crucial factor determining class relationships is ownership of the means of production. Machajski, however, denied the central importance of property ownership. The intelligentsia owned neither factories nor land, and yet, he observed, it bore the same relationship to the workers as the property owners did.

In every country, in every state, there exists a huge class of people who have neither industrial nor commercial capital, yet live like real masters. They own neither land nor factories nor workshops, but they enjoy a robber's income no smaller than that of the middling and large capitalists. They do not have their own enterprises, but they are "white-hands" just like the capitalists. They too spend their whole lives free from manual labour, and if they do participate in production, then it is only as managers, directors, engineers. That is, in relation to the workers, to the slaves of manual labour, they are commanders and masters just as much as the capitalist proprietors .
Although the intelligentsia did not own the means of production, it did possess and exploit a special form of "property," namely, education.

A larger and larger part of bourgeois society receives the funds for its parasitical existence as an intelligentsia, an army of intellectual workers which does not personally possess the means of production but continually increases and multiplies its income, which it obtains as the hereditary owner of all knowledge, culture, and civilization.
Hence the fundamental class conflict in contemporary capitalist society was not the antagonism between the owners and nonowners of the means of production: it was the larger conflict between those who did manual labour and those who did not, between the uneducated and the educated. As Machajski summarised his position several years later, the intelligentsia consisted of all those who had any sort of higher education, in short, of everyone with a diploma. Each year the secondary and higher educational institutions of every country turned out tens of thousands of people who would occupy a privileged position in society, free from the yoke of manual labour. Only a small minority were capitalists; the vast majority, the "professional intelligentsia," received not a return on their own capital but a comfortable income in the form of a "salary" or "fee." "Some of the more able or more cunning of those equipped with diplomas, in state administration or industry, in public or literary careers, attain such high posts that they live in no less luxury and wealth than any big capitalist."Throughout the world, "knowledge, just as much as land or capital, furnishes the means for the parasitic lordly existence of the present-day robbers."

Kautsky was wrong, Machajski declared, in claiming that the various components of the intelligentsia did not share a common class interest. The class interest of the intelligentsia was the preservation of its hereditary monopoly on education, the source of which was the economic exploitation of the proletariat. Marxism regarded the higher income of nonmanual workers as a just reward for their "skilled labour power." Machajski maintained a much stricter interpretation of the labour theory of value and refused to admit that nonmanual workers could create value. Such workers lived on "net national profit," the total national sum of the proletariat's surplus labour. This fund constituted the hereditary property of bourgeois families and enabled successive generations of intelligenty to educate themselves. Then, in the form of payment for their skilled labour, they too acquired the right to appropriate the unpaid labour of the proletariat. "Bourgeois society passes on to its offspring surplus value appropriated under the guise of a reward for labour 'of a higher quality,' and the greatest riches of mankind - knowledge, science - become the hereditary monopoly of a privileged minority."

The position of the European proletariat as a whole had not significantly altered in the half-century of Social Democracy's existence, according to Machajski; the contradictions of capitalism were no weaker than before. The evolution of Social Democracy, therefore, must reflect something else: the changing composition of "bourgeois society" itself, namely, the rise of the "intellectual workers" and their growing stake in the capitalist order. The task of a truly revolutionary socialism was not to deny the rise of this new class but to declare it "the new enemy of the proletariat."

In developing his theory that the intelligentsia was a rising new class of "intellectual workers" using socialism to pursue its own interests at the expense of the workers, Machajski utilised basic Marxist principles of social analysis. He adhered to Marx's economic materialism and class theory, broadening and adapting them somewhat and turning them against the Marxists themselves. Nor did he have to go outside the Marxist movement itself to find inspiration for his initial criticism of Social-Democratic policies. He could draw, for example, on the revolt of the so-called Jungen (the Young Ones), or Independents, within the German Social-Democratic party in the early 18905.40 The Jungen were young intellectuals of a radical bent whose criticism of the party leadership broke into the open with the party's decision in 180 to reject a general walkout of the German workers on May 1 and to limit observance to after-work meetings and peaceful festivities. This alone would have been enough to attract Machajski's attention. The celebration of May Day played a particularly important role in early Polish socialism,and Machajski himself placed great emphasis on May Day strikes and demonstrations as a way of mobilising the working class. The controversy regarding May Day brought to the surface deeper frustrations over the German party's seeming loss of revolutionary spirit, and the Jungen erupted with accusations that the socialist movement and its leadership had been corrupted by the preoccupation with parliamentary practices. The Jungen voiced their criticism at the Halle Party Con-gress of 1890 and the Erfurt Congress of 1891, where they were read out of the party. Machajski had become familiar with their views while living in Zurich before his arrest and sympathized with their position. He referred approvingly to them in the early pages of his first essay.

His ultimate rejection of Marxism itself, however, raises the complex issue of just how much Makhaevism owed to anarchism. Machajski's unyielding opposition to political activity strongly echoed the central tenet of anarchism, while his emphasis on the general strike as an instrument of working-class action was closely reminiscent of anarchosyndicalism. His preoccupation with the intelligentsia, however, was not present in the same form, or to the same degree, in anarchism, and this was enough to give Makhaevism a distinctive profile. For his part, Machajski never considered himself an anarchist, and he denounced anarchism in much the same terms that he applied to Marxism. Nevertheless, not only was there a considerable degree of doctrinal similarity, but when Makhaevism as an organised movement got under way there was a good deal of exchange of personnel between Makhaevist groups and anarchist groups. Of particular interest is the question of Machajski's familiarity with the writings of Michael Bakunin. Though Marxism formed the starting point of Makhaevism, its general tone and a number of its specific features seem to have been inspired by, if not directly borrowed from, Bakunin. Machajski admitted no indebtedness to Bakunin and rarely mentions him at all in his writings (though even when he wrote his first essay he displayed some familiarity with Bakunin's criticism of Marx in the First International). Nevertheless, Bakunin appears to have been the main intellectual precursor of Makhaevism. Most notably, it was Bakunin who first raised the issue of a connection between the personal interests of the intellectuals and the ultimate objectives of Marxism. In a number of scattered but trenchant passages in his writings, he adumbrated much of what Machajski was later to develop.

One significant theme that was to figure prominently in Makhaevism appeared in a series of articles that Bakunin wrote on the subject of education for the Swiss socialist newspaper L'egalite in 1869. Here he argued that educational inequality contributed to the exploitation of the workers, and that unequal knowledge could of itself generate class inequality.

One who knows more will naturally dominate one who knows less; and should there exist at first between two classes only this one difference of instruction and education, this difference in a little while would produce all the rest. The human world would find itself back where it is now, i.e., it would be divided anew into a mass of slaves and a small number of rulers, the former working as they do now for the latter.
Instead of just more education for the workers, Bakunin demanded complete equality of educational opportunity, "integral and complete education" for the proletariat, so that "there may no longer exist above it, to protect it and direct it, that is to say, to exploit it, any class superior by virtue of its knowledge, any aristocracy of intelligence."

The present domination of the bourgeoisie, according to Bakunin, was in large part a result of its educational superiority. All the inventions of science, and all their applications to social life, had profited only the privileged classes and increased the power of the state apparatus through which they ruled.

By what force do the privileged classes maintain themselves today against the legitimate indignation of the masses? Is it by an inherent force? No, it is solely by the force of the state, in which, moreover, their children occupy today, as they always have, all the ruling posts and even all the middle and lower posts, minus those of worker and soldier. And what is it that today chiefly constitutes the power of states? It is science.
Since the existing social structure enabled only the bourgeoisie to receive an education, it alone was able to participate in the march of civilization; the proletariat was condemned to ignorance, just as the progress of industry and commerce condemned it to poverty. Intellectual progress and material progress contributed equally to the workers' enslavement. Therefore, Bakunin concluded, the destruction of the existing social order was necessary in order to make both cultural and material wealth the patrimony of all men.

When Bakunin spoke of "knowledge" and "education" he usually had in mind not technical or professional expertise but an abstract, theoretical comprehension of social and political principles. He defined "the man who knows more" as the man "whose spirit [has been] enlarged by science, and who, having better understood the associations of natural and social facts, or what are called the laws of nature and society," can more easily understand the character of his environment.For all his respect for such knowledge, a recurrent theme in his writings toward the end of his life was a rejection of all claims to power based on scientific understanding. On this count he vigorously criticized the followers of Auguste Comte, rejecting the elitist pretensions of "savants" who claimed superior sociological insight. As his struggle with Marx in the International intensified, he began to criticise the "scientific socialists" in the same terms. "The government of science," he wrote in an essay that was to achieve wide circulation, "and of men of science, whether they call themselves positivists, disciples of Auguste Comte, or even disciples of the doctrinaire School of German Communism, can only be impotent, ridiculous, inhuman, cruel, oppressive, exploitative, and malicious."Although he valued the liberating effect on the individual of knowing "the laws of nature and of society," he held that any attempt to force a society to conform to such laws would result in the sacrifice of the individual to bloodless abstractions. The liberty of man consisted in obeying natural and social laws because he recognised their legitimate authority, and not because they were forced on him by another's will."Monopolists of science" formed a distinct caste, he declared, and they were interested not in individuals, not in "Peter or James," but in abstractions; they regarded living individuals merely as the flesh of intellectual and social development. True to form as the arch-rebel of his age, Bakunin preached "the revolt of life against science, or, rather, against the government of science. "

As he continued his attack on the Marxists, he began to use the term "new class" in regard to them, warning that those who claimed to possess scientific socialism" might use this claim to assert political power. Bakunin may well have been the first to apply the phrase "new class" in this now familiar fashion. In an unpublished fragment of the work just cited, he wrote: "The partisans of the communist state, as their name alone indicates, are partisans of collective, communal property, administered and exploited by the state for the benefit of all the workers." The result, even if based on universal suffrage, would necessarily be a new form of tutelage, "the creation of a new political class, the representative of the domination of the state."In another such fragment, written in 1872 but published only decades later, Bakunin was even more explicit.

In the popular state of Mr. Marx, we are told, there will be no privileged class. Everyone will be equal, not only from the legal and political but also the economic point of view. At least, that is what they promise, though I doubt very much that their promise can ever be kept, given the path they wish to follow. There will be no classes, but a government, and, mind you, an extremely complex one, which will not content itself with governing and administering the masses politically, as all governments do today, but will also administer them economically, concentrating in its hands the production and the just distribution of wealth, the cultivation of the earth, the establishment and development of factories, the organisation and direction of commerce, and, finally, the application of capital to production by the sole banker the state. All this will require immense knowledge. . . . There will be a new class, a new hierarchy of real and fictitious savants, and the world will be divided into a minority ruling in the name of science and an immense ignorant majority.
Bakunin gathered together his charges against the Marxists in somewhat more systematic fashion in an important work entitled Statism and Anarchy (Gosudarstvennost' i anarkhiia), which he published in 1873 in the aftermath of his defeat by Marx in the International. In the disorderly but sometimes strikingly penetrating manner characteristic of his writings, he made the bold prophecy that the triumph of Marxism would produce a scientific" and technological elite to rule over the workers.

Because they believed that thought precedes life and that sociology must therefore be the starting point of all social reform, idealists, metaphysicians, positivists, and "doctrinaire revolutionaries" - Bakunin's term for the Marxists - considered the state a necessity. The small minority possessing scientific theory must direct the reconstruction of society after the revolution, representing their dictatorial regime as the will of the people.

Now it is clear why the doctrinaire revolutionaries, who have as their objective the overthrow of the existing governments and regimes in order to found their own dictatorship on the ruins, have never been and will never be enemies of the state. . . . They are enemies only of the existing authorities, because they want to take their place, enemies of the existing political institutions because these preclude the possibility of their own dictatorship. But at the same time they are the warmest friends of state power, for if it were not retained the revolution, once it had truly liberated the masses, would deprive this pseudo-revolutionary minority of all hope of putting them in a new harness and conferring on them the benefits of its own governmental decrees.
Adding a reference in the next paragraph to "the doctrinaire revolutionaries under the leadership of Mr. Marx," Bakunin left no doubt as to the specific target of these accusations. Some pages later, Bakunin raised the question of the real meaning of Marx's concept of the "dictatorship of the proletariat." Marx had spoken of raising the proletariat "to the level of a ruling class." But retention of the state - instead of its immediate abolition, as Bakunin advocated - would necessarily mean government of the people by a new elite, even if that elite consisted of workers.

Yes, of former workers, perhaps, who as soon as they become rulers or representatives of the people will cease to be workers and will start viewing the labourer's world from the heights of the state; they will no longer represent the people, only themselves and their pretensions to rule the people. Anyone who doubts this is just not familiar with the nature of man.
Nor would the commitment of these new rulers to socialism have any significance. Marxist terms such as "scientific socialism" only indicated all the more that the new order would be "a highly despotic rule of the masses by a new and highly restricted aristocracy of real or pretended scholars." Since the people lacked learning, they would be relieved of the difficult burdens of government. Up to this point, Bakunin had painted a picture of the Marxists imposing their dictatorial will on the masses in order to realise their abstract schemes of social reorganisation. Now he added to his prophecy the vision of a technological elite taking firm control of the economic forces of society, militarising the workers, and concentrating on the development of the national economy as well as the consolidation of its own privileged position. According to Marx's theory, Bakunin wrote, the proletariat must seize the state and then hand it over to its guardians and teachers, "the communist party chiefs, in a word, Mr. Marx and his friends." The latter would then proceed to 'liberate" the workers in their own fashion.

They will gather up the reins of government in a strong hand because the ignorant people need strong guardians; they will establish a single state bank, concentrating in their own hands all commercial and industrial, agricultural, and even scientific production; and they will divide the mass of the people into two armies, one industrial and one agrarian, under the direct command of state engineers, who will form a new privileged scientific-political caste.
In typical fashion, Bakunin failed to pursue this particular line of criticism of the Marxists, and his book veered off in another direction. In linking the "men of science" with "state engineers," however, Bakunin foreshadowed the connection Machajski was to draw between the socialists and the "intellectual workers." Machajski by no means adopted the whole of Bakunin's position. Most important, he did not share the anarchist conviction that immediate abolition of the state would be sufficient to prevent the rise of a new form of oppression. But much of what Bakunin had hinted at, implied, and touched upon fleetingly, reappeared in Makhaevism, now placed within the framework of a Marxian class analysis. The result was the first systematic theory of socialism as the ideology not of the proletariat but of a new class of aspiring rulers. Throughout his attack on the new class, Machajski used the terms intelligentsia and intellectual workers interchangeably. In the Russian context, however, such usage was fraught with contradiction and confusion. The subject of the intelligentsia was of enormous importance in Russia because of its crucial position in the country's cultural and social life as well as in the revolutionary movement. For all its importance, however, there was great uncertainty about how to define it or even whom to include among its members. This uncertainty could be measured in sheer bibliographical terms, for the question "'What is the intelligentsia?" generated a distinct literature of ever-expanding magnitude.Machajski entered the discussion at a time when both the concept and the social reality of the Russian intelligentsia were undergoing far-reaching changes. Makhaevism did not resolve the ambiguities of this term; rather, it embodied them and sought to exploit them. Machajski's usage, therefore, needs to be set against the broader background of the intelligentsia's role in early twentieth-century Russian life.

By the turn of the century, the term intelligentsia had come to be used in at least three major ways that are of relevance here (though they by no means exhaust contemporary applications of the word). The broadest connotation was a cultural one, referring loosely to Russia's Western-educated minority. In this sense the intelligentsia traced its origins at least as far back as Peter the Great and his imposition of Westernising reforms on a back-ward-or, as we would term it today, underdeveloped-Russia. Under Russian conditions, the result was the emergence of "two cultures," an elite which had more or less assimilated Western culture and modern habits of life and thought, and the bulk of the population which still lived in many respects according to the precepts and practices of medieval Muscovy.The term intelligentsia came to designate the Russian "public," or "public opinion" (obshchestvo), the "conscious," more or less culturally Westernised segment of the population. It is in this way that an Okhrana official, reporting on the political atmosphere in the Russian countryside on the eve of the 1917 revolution, employs the term: "According to insurance agents, teachers, tradesmen and other representatives of the village intelligentsia, everybody is impatiently awaiting the end of this 'accursed war."'

Used in this way, the word inevitably carried an association with social privilege. Throughout the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth, Western education and cultural exposure was virtually the monopoly of the court and the nobility. Even as educational opportunities began to open up to segments of the population lower down the social scale after the emancipation of the serfs, a university or even secondary-school education was still enough to place its recipient worlds apart from the ordinary Russian peasant or worker. To the latter, the educated individual was simply another beloruchka, or "white-hand," a representative of the privileged classes. Strikingly, however, it was intelligenty themselves who decried in the most vehement terms the privileged status of the educated. Over and over again, Russia's foremost writers and molders of public opinion gave vent to eloquent outbursts of guilt that the higher consciousness and cultural development they enjoyed had been achieved in an exploitative, parasitic fashion, wrung from the labour and sufferings of the downtrodden. As early as 1848, Alexander Herzen wrote: "All our education, our literary and scientific development, our love of beauty, our occupations, presuppose an environment constantly swept and tended by others, prepared by others; somebody's labour is essential in order to provide us with the leisure necessary for our mental development." Another example, which had an enormous impact on the young populists of the 1870s, was Peter Lavrov's Historical Letters (Istoricheskie pis'ma), which referred to "the long line of generations who have toiled" to support the members of the educated minority, and "the capital in blood and labour which has been lavished on their cultivation."The "repentant nobleman" who became a familiar figure in the nineteenth century was at the same time, and even more so, a "repentant intelligent," more conscience-stricken over his cultural and intellectual advantages than his material privileges.

A second, somewhat narrower definition of the intelligentsia viewed it more in ideological than in cultural terms. In this sense the intelligentsia consisted of those people who were haunted by the contradiction between the ideals and models their Western education offered them and the Russian conditions in which they lived, and demanded that those conditions be changed - whether the change be liberal, radical, or, ultimately, revolutionary. Beginning with individuals such as Alexander Radishchev at the end of the eighteenth century, through the Decembrists who attempted the rebellion of 1825, to the intellectual circles of Moscow and Petersburg in the reign of Nicholas I, the tension between Western ideals and Russian reality generated an increasingly frustrated and radicalised set of individuals steeped in various Western-inspired ideological systems. By the second half of the nineteenth century, this intelligentsia had come to regard itself as the essential impetus to change and betterment against a selfish and stagnant establishment; to use Lavrov's popular term, they were the "critically thinking individuals" who were essential for progress and enlightenment. This phrase was particularly associated with the populist movement, and the populist revolutionaries of the sixties and seventies saw their mission in precisely these terms.

It was the populist critic and historian Ivanov-Razumnik who provided one of the most influential, albeit idealised, formulations of the intelligentsia's role in Russian life, in the introduction to his History of Russian Social Thought (histonia russkoi obshchest-vennoi mysli). He asserted the disinterested, nonclass character of the intelligentsia: since the eighteenth century it had stood outside of any estate or class "in its tasks, objectives, and ideals," and, he maintained, since the 1860's, in its social origins as well.Ideologically, it was dedicated to the emancipation and development of the individual personality. Sociologically classless and ethically a defender of individualism, the intelligentsia was "the organ of national consciousness and aggregate of the people's vital forces."It was as the selfless defenders of progress, enlightenment, and liberation against the forces of injustice and obscurantism that most intelligenty saw themselves and their mission in Russian life.

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, two developments occurred which began to alter this image of the intelligentsia. One was the rise of Marxism, which was now challenging populism as the dominant form of socialism in Russia, and, as part of that challenge, rejected the populist conception of the intelligentsia. With their economic definition of classes, Russian Marxists denied the independent significance of the intelligentsia as a special ideological or "spiritual" force transcending the class divisions of society. Like Kautsky, they held that economic classes alone had social significance, and the intelligentsia was merely a subordinate element of the class structure. Peter Struve, one of the foremost "legal Marxists" of the 1890's, succinctly expressed the Marxist view of the intelligentsia: "If social classes are the expression of the economic differentiation of a given social milieu, and if all social groups represent a real force only to the extent that they have such a character, i.e., either they coincide with social classes or belong to them, then it is obvious that a 'classless intelligentsia' is not a real social force."Referring to the populist faith in ethical individualism, Struve in a phrase that became famous declared that "idealists," from a sociological point of view, were a quantite negligeable: for all their intellectual and moral significance, their actions could "create nothing solid in defiance of what is being advanced by the elemental historical process."

Although the phenomenon of intelligenty who defended the interests of classes other than their own might seem to contradict the economic determinism of their doctrines, Marxists attached little theoretical importance to it. These were merely individual exceptions, like Marx and Engels themselves, not evidence of a classless intelligentsia espousing transcendent ideals. Following Marx, the Russian Marxists used the term "ideologists" (ideologi) to designate such individuals, maintaining that the ideals they adopted were class ideals determined by the class structure of society. If they had abandoned the ideals of their own class and adopted those of the proletariat, it was because they had perceived that the latter were the wave of the future.

A second development, the evolution of Russian society in the latter nineteenth century, seemed to support the Marxist view of the intelligentsia's significance (or lack thereof). This period saw the rapid growth of professional, technical, and managerial personnel, a product of the social reforms and industrial growth that followed the emancipation of the serfs.Whatever the Russian intelligentsia might have been in the past, increasingly, it appeared, it was being drawn into the economic structure of a modernising country and was turning into the kind of new middle class Kautsky had described as a feature of capitalist development. As a result, Russian Marxists anticipated that with further economic progress the intelligentsia would be fully absorbed into the primary classes of the capitalist system, its upper strata assimilated into the bourgeoisie and its lower ranks falling into the proletariat.

The elusive Russian intelligentsia, however, continued to evade the various theoretical formulations that attempted to pin it down. In their debates with each other - and, as Makhaevism began to make its contribution to the question "What is the intelligentsia?", with the Makhaevists as well - neither populists nor Marxists were able to maintain their position with much consistency. The problem the populists faced was that the intelligentsia as a social force was no longer confined to the narrow stratum of disaffected intellectuals that it had been in the sixties and seventies; to continue to identify it as a disinterested, "critically thinking" element of Russian society seemed increasingly obsolete and remote from reality. Vasilii Vorontsov, one of the leading populist writers of the latter nineteenth century, provides an example of the contradictions that could result.

As early as 1884, Vorontsov recognised the growing importance of the professions in Russia and devoted an entire article to the "representatives of intellectual labour." Entitled "Capitalism and the Russian Intelligentsia" ("Kapitalizm i russkaia intelli-gentsiia"), it took as its subject "the fate of those persons who belong to the so-called free professions, i.e., those persons who derive their means of subsistence from their work in the fields of medicine, law, teaching, engineering, etc."For the purposes of this article, at least, these were the people Vorontsov meant when he referred to the intelligentsia, sometimes modifying it to the "working intelligentsia."

Vorontsov's purpose was to persuade Russia's professional men that their own economic interest, even apart from moral considerations, should impel them to support the populist program of national development. Reflecting the familiar populist position that capitalism was an artificial implant in Russia which could not thrive on such alien soil, he argued that improvement of the peasant economy offered the intelligentsia greater opportunities for employment than capitalism could generate. Now that the major governmental reforms of the post emancipation period had been completed, he predicted that the state's demand for professional personnel would decline. "Two competitors remain-the zemstvo and capitalism, or, rather, the people and the bourgeoisie. . . Which of the two will be the Russian intelligentsia's breadwinner?"Maintaining that Russian industry was progressively reducing its need for the services of professional specialists, Vorontsov tried to convince them that the growth of peasant prosperity offered them better job prospects and economic security.

Although Marxists drew precisely the opposite conclusion in regard to Russia's economic future, they could hardly have objected to Vorontsov's discussion of the intelligentsia as a group of persons with definite economic interests and motivations. Elsewhere, however, this same author reverted to the more traditional, but quite different, conception of the intelligentsia as selfless idealists moved by ethical considerations. He allowed that an intelligentsia is the product of a definite class, and a privileged one at that, and that its social thought may therefore reflect its class origins. In contrast to developments in the West, however, the Russian intelligentsia was notably free of this disability. The class from which it sprang, the service nobility, was a servant of the state and had neither political and economic independence nor an independent ideology. It was unable to represent the aspirations of the nation, and therefore the educated Russian had quickly abandoned the class which produced him. 'As soon as enlightenment began to take root in Russian soil and the intelligentsia became differentiated into an independent social stratum, it immediately came in conflict with some of the existing forms, not in defense of the interests of some privileged minority but in the name of the ideas of justice and humanism."Vorontsov presented the intelligentsia here not as a socio-economic group but as an intellectual and moral entity. Its impact on society stemmed from its role as a teacher, as the bearer of enlightened and progressive ideas.

Marxist-inspired efforts to reduce the intelligentsia to a strictly socio-economic category were even less consistent. Inevitably, they had to confront the fact that the Russian intelligentsia had played, and continued to play, an ideological role distinct from, and even in contradiction to, its economic position. An example is the article "The Intelligentsia As a Social Group" ("Intelligentsiia, kak sotsial'naia gruppa"), published in 1904 by A. S. Izgoev, a legal Marxist in the nineties and now a liberal journalist. Izgoev began by rejecting as "subjective" and sentimental Mikhailovskii's definition of the intelligentsia as those whose "hearts and minds" were "with the people."For an objective sociological definition of the intelligentsia, one must turn to the material foundations of society, to the sphere of socio-economic relations. Its spiritual life aside, the intelligentsia consisted of people who must engage in economic activity in order to make a living. This raised the question of whether the intelligentsia constituted a distinct class; to answer it, a precise understanding of the term class was required.

Turning to Marx, Izgoev (like Machajski) found his division of classes inadequate for resolving the issue. At the end of the third volume of Capital, he wrote, Marx had set out to define the concept of class, but there the manuscript broke off. Among other things, Marx had failed to clarify the position of such individuals as doctors and officials within the threefold class division of landowners, capitalists, and proletarians. Were they members of these classes, or something separate? Marx's confusion,Izgoev decided, stemmed from the fact that he had identified the entire fabric of social life with the process of material production alone. A broader view of socio-economic life was needed in order to yield an adequate definition of class.

Izgoev identified four ways in which people enter into economic relations with each other: landowning, the possession of capital, physical labour, and intellectual work. Corresponding to these functions were four distinct classes. "Contemporary society, in contrast to what Marx supposed, is divided into not three but four great classes: landowners, capitalists, physical labourers, and intellectual workers."

But in fact the class of "intellectual workers" was not the intelligentsia. Izgoev now proceeded to distinguish from the intellectual workers "that social group which can be called the 'intelligentsia."

The feature which allows us to differentiate a certain number of individuals from the class of intellectual workers and unite them into a special social group, the intelligentsia, is the element of the didactic /uchitel'stva], in the broad sense of the word, which is inherent in the professional activities of these persons, the transmission of information and accumulated knowledge with the goal of instruction. It is a fully objective feature, which explains the material bases of the "intelligentsia's" existence without including such subjective requirements as the demand that the "heart and mind" of a representative of the intelligentsia be "with the people."
it was not the transmission of information or expertise that lzgoev had in mind as the intelligentsia's most important function, however, but the struggle for individual and social freedom. In order to pursue its task of spreading knowledge, the intelligentsia came to demand self-respect and conditions of spiritual freedom. "The intelligentsia's feeling of its own dignity forces it to demand freedom, to defend its own independence and, even more, to defend freedom for hostile opinions, for its own opponents." Hence, Izgoev concluded, under conditions of political repression the intelligentsia comes to play a leading role in society, representing the nation's demand for emancipation of the individual and freedom of the human spirit.For all Izgoev's efforts to apply a precise socio-economic class analysis, by the end of his article the protean intelligentsia had once again turned into something suspiciously resembling the classless "critically thinking individuals" who marched through populist literature.

After the 1905 revolution, as Machajski's views became better known, both Marxists and populists tried to clarify their own positions on the question of the intelligentsia by criticising Makhaevism. At this point it is necessary to introduce another con-tributor to the history of Makhaevism, Evgenii Lozinskii. He was instrumental in making Machajski's views a subject of discussion in the Russian press. A prolific writer and intellectual dilettante, Lozinskii mirrored a number of the political and cultural fads of the Russian extreme left in the years before 1917. He had some ties to the revolutionary underground, but he also turned out an array of non-political works on subjects ranging from educational theory to vegetarianism. Most important, he served as what might be termed the chief "legal Makhaevist"; like the so-called legal populists and legal Marxists of the 1890s, he popularised Machajski's views in legally published books and articles. Their publication was underwritten by the same banker's daughter who had financed the printing of Machajski's works in Geneva.Although Lozinskii was Machajski's best-known disciple, relations between them were frosty. Machajski, in fact, barely acknowledged Lozinskii's existence - perhaps because Lozinskii scarcely mentioned Machajski in his major writings and fafied to give him proper credit for the views he was elaborating. Most of Lozinskii's readers, however, seem to have been well aware of the source of his views. Lozinskii added little to Makhaevism and toned down its revolutionary rhetoric for purposes of publication, but he conveyed its main doctrines accurately and succeeded in disseminating them to a wider readership than they had reached previously. Although the first two parts of Machajski's The Intellectual Worker and one of his shorter works were reprinted in St. Petersburg in 1906, most of his writings were available in printed form only in obscure émigré' editions. In the years between the 1905 and 1917 revolutions, therefore, Makhaevism as discussed in Russian publications often meant Machajski's basic positions as they had been reformulated and spelled out in Lozinskii's writings.

Lozinskii's principal Makhaevist work was a book entitled What, Then, Is the Intelligentsia? (Chto zhe takoe, nakonets, intelligentsiia?), which appeared in 1907.81 Dissatisfied with what he considered to be Machajski's lack of precision in defining the intelligentsia as a class, Lozinskii tried to work out a more rigorous "scientific" definition. Accepting, like Machajski, the Marxist doctrine of class struggle - class interest was "the lever that moves and makes history" - he distinguished five economic classes in contemporary society: landowners, capitalists, petty proprietors, intellectual workers, and manual workers.This was very close to Izgoev's fourfold class division, which may well have been Lozinskii's starting point - he even used Izgoev's term umstvennye rabotniki for "intellectual workers" rather than Machajski's umstvennye rabochie. (Perhaps he felt that rabotnik had less of a proletarian connotation than did rabochii.) He acknowledged that Izgoev, unlike other Marxists, distinguished the intellectual work-ers as a separate class but complained that he had then proceeded "despite all logic" to single out the intelligentsia as a special group and surround it with "a halo of ideological holiness."To Lozinskii, the intellectual workers were the intelligentsia, at the basis of whose existence lay "intellectual labour, knowledge, the arts and sciences, accumulated over the centuries and concentrated in its hands."The salary or fee received by the intellectual worker constituted a return on the "capital" which he had invested in his long years of education and practical training. That "capital," in turn, was a product of the exploitation of the manual workers, despite the contention of the Social Democrats that the intelligent, like the proletarian, lived solely by his own labour.Thus the intelligentsia constituted a class, owning property of a special kind (knowledge, diplomas) which provided its owners with a privileged and parasitic economic status.

In the following year, a critique of Makhaevism in traditional Marxist terms appeared, D. Zaitsev's "Marxism and Makhaevism." Admitting that there was some disagreement among the Marxists themselves on the question of the intelligentsia, Zaitsev held that this did not invalidate the Marxist concept of class but merely demonstrated the failure of some Marxists to understand it correctly. He pointed out that Marx's definition of class was based on the principle of production, not distribution. Hence there could be only two classes in capitalist society: the proletariat, consisting of both manual and intellectual workers, and the bourgeoisie, including both landowners and capitalists. Lozinskii, however, had distinguished classes according to source of income, that is, on the principle of distribution rather than production of goods; therefore his conclusions, in Zaitsev's opinion, were scientifically unsound.

Furthermore, it was impossible to draw a firm dividing line, as the Makhaevists tried to do, between physical and intellectual work, between transport workers and telegraphers, on the one hand, and, say, teachers and nurses on the other. The latter often received less pay than the average factory worker, and their working day was no shorter. Like those proletarians who continued to own plots of land in the villages, highly skilled workers occupied two class positions at the same time: they were both sellers of labour and owners of means of production. (Zaitsev here seemed to imply acceptance of Machajski's contention that knowledge was a form of capital.) Their role in the contemporary class structure did present analytical difficulties, but the Makhaevists' way of resolving them was in no way justified.

The intelligentsia was not a separate class, Zaitsev maintained, but a heterogeneous collection of representatives of the existing social classes. It consisted of the conscious strata of the various groups which belonged to the bourgeoisie and the proletariat respectively, and it was therefore divided into a "bourgeois intelligentsia" and a "proletarian intelligentsia."The intelligent was simply a "conscious" member, a spokesman, of the group or class to which he belonged by virtue of his relationship to the means of production.

But how was one to classify the intelligent who defended the interests of a class or group to which he did not belong, in particular the revolutionary socialist? Zaitsev reverted to the familiar concept of the "ideologist." Both intelligenty and ideologists were characterised by a consciousness of certain class interests. But not all intelligenty were ideologists. The intelligent belonged to a definite social group and served as a spokesman for it. The ideologist, however, had abandoned his own social group and identified himself with another one; he was a man who had forgotten his origins.The rise of ideologists followed the same laws as the rise of geniuses - but unfortunately, Zaitsev conceded, contemporary science was as yet unable to explain these laws. Nevertheless, Russia had witnessed numerous examples of people who had renounced the interests of their own class to take up those of another. And foremost among them were the adherents of Marxism, the ideology of the proletariat.

It was precisely at this point, the populist Ivanov-Razumnik objected, that any socio-economic analysis of the intelligentsia severely contradicted itself. In his study of Makhaevism, he investigated the efforts of the Marxists and the Makhaevists to define the Russian intelligentsia in class terms and concluded that both were futile. In trying to take the Marxist approach to the intelligentsia to its logical conclusion, Makhaevism had succeeded only in reducing it to a logical absurdity.

This approach broke down whenever those intelligenty who applied it to the rest of the intelligentsia came to speak about themselves. They were forced to regard themselves as exceptions to the rule, as the sole

who had managed to surmount their class background and sincerely adopt the interests of the workers. There were Marxists who maintained that the intelligentsia on the whole belonged to the bourgeoisie, but then exempted from this dictum the "ideologists of the protelariat."Now the Makhaevists came along, claiming that the intelligentsia constituted a separate class of exploiters. But what of the Makhaevists themselves? According to Lozinskii, they were a "rare exception," the very few intelligenty who were able to overcome their "wolf-like nature" and become the true friends of the proletariat. Like the Marxists, the Makhaevists tried to escape from the logical implications of their socio-economic definition of the intelligentsia by making a "dizzy leap" to an ethical, or ideological definition.

Ivanov-Razumnik concluded that the intelligentsia had always been, and remained, an ideological group to which the criteria of an economic class did not apply. Even if everything else the Makhaevists said were irrefutable, they would have proved only that the "intellectual workers" - but not the intelligentsia - formed a separate class. Anyone could belong to the intelligentsia, he affirmed, both the manual worker and the intellectual worker, the half-literate labourer and the professor, as long as he held certain views and shared a certain outlook.

The debate over the nature of the intelligentsia had now come full circle. Despite the quantities of ink and intellectual energy expended on the issue, no satisfactory resolution proved forthcoming. The intelligentsia itself, whether populist, Marxist, or Makhaevist, typically sought a single "scientific" key that would unlock the puzzle of the intelligentsia's place in Russian history and resolve its contradictions. To borrow Isaiah Berlin's well-known characterisation of Tolstoy in The Hedgehog and the Fox, the intelligentsia knew many things about itself but wanted to know one big thing. This eluded its grasp, for the question of the intelligentsia would not admit of a single, unambiguous answer. It was not merely a semantic debate over definitions, although the highly elastic usage of the term certainly contributed to the problem. It was the actual historical role of the intelligentsia in Russia that was so contradictory and open to such a broad range of evaluations. Under the conditions of relative backwardness that characterised Russia in the modern era, the intelligentsia (whether identified as the Western-educated stratum or as a certain part of it) played a number of different historical roles; it had no direct counterpart in the countries of Western Europe. Depending on how those roles were perceived, the intelligentsia could mean very different things to different people. It was the cutting edge of Western influence, which some viewed as a beneficent source of progress and others as a menacing force; it was the creator and mainstay of the socialist parties and the revolutionary movement against the autocracy, though, as such, it seemed to be acting contrary to its own material interests; it had sprung originally from the privileged, serf-owning segments of pre-reform Russia and was now becoming a well-paid instrument of Russia's industrial development - thus serving as an agent of economic progress or as a "tool of capitalism," depending on one's point of view.

Because the intelligentsia was such a distinctively Russian phenomenon, at the risk of irritating the reader with the repeated use of a foreign word this study consistently refers to members of the intelligentsia by the Russian term intelligenty (singular: intelligent) rather than as "intellectuals," the usual English translation. The term intellectuals is misleading in the Russian context in two respects. First, it is much more restricted in its English meaning than the term intelligenty is in Russian, for it refers to "thinkers, people who spend their time engaged in creative thought and writing about intellectual matters. A modicum of Western education and a more or less radical perspective, which generally sufficed to qualify Russians as intelligenty, hardly made them intellectuals (although, of course, some of them were). Secondly, the anti-intelligentsia sentiment which was so widespread in the lower reaches of Russian society, and which gave Makhaevism much of its social and political resonance, did not stem from hostility to intellectuals. Few Russian workers, much less peasants, had enough contact with intellectuals or their work to dislike or resent them as intellectuals. Their anti-intelligentsia sentiment stemmed from the broader associations which the word intelligentsia carried in Russia and which intellectuals cannot convey: association with a foreign, or at least alien and perhaps threatening culture; social and economic privilege; a sense of superiority to the masses and perhaps a desire to dominate them. These were the associations that brought teachers and university students, doctors, lawyers, and engineers, revolutionary propagandists and labour organisers together under the rubric of intelligentsia.

This was the context within which Machajski formulated his answer to the question "'What is the intelligentsia" He denied that there were any contradictions or ambiguities in the intelligentsia's social role: the intelligentsia was a rising new class of "intellectual workers" which enjoyed a privileged position under capitalism. Furthermore, and of crucial significance, the intelligentsia was not merely a socio-economic phenomenon whose role in the class structure of capitalism could be endlessly debated, but a growing political force, manipulating the socialist movement not to liberate the workers from economic bondage but to secure and perpetuate its own advantages.

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