Skip to Content

V

Value. A social relationship between people which expresses itself as a material relationship between things. The value of a commodity is determined by the quantity of socially necessary abstract labour time needed for its production and reproduction. Price is the monetary expression of value. (See also COMMODITIES; LABOUR THEORY OF VALUE; PRICE OF PRODUCTION.)

Reading

Andrew Kliman, Reclaiming Marx's “Capital”, 2007

 

Vanguard. In the Communist Manifesto (1848), Marx and Engels wrote of the communists’ understanding of ‘the line of march, the conditions and the ultimate results of the proletarian movement’, which they conceived as ‘the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority in the interest of the immense majority’.

This is to be contrasted with Lenin’s view. Although there is more than one version of the party to be found in Lenin’s writings, all of them envisage a centralised vanguard leading the working class. In his What is to be Done? (1902), Lenin argued that class-consciousness had to be brought to the workers ‘from without’ by professional revolutionaries organised as a vanguard, as a body capable of leading the working class to ‘socialism’. Because workers on their own can only develop trade union consciousness, on this view, self-emancipation is impossible.

Hal Draper has argued that Lenin was making explicit what was already implicit in the politics of the Second International generally and Kautsky in particular. If that is the case, then this would mark an important difference between the Socialist Party and the Second International, along with the Socialist Party’s rejection of the Second International’s reformism. (See also BOLSHEVISM; LEADERSHIP; LENINISM; SECOND INTERNATIONAL)

Reading

Hal Draper, The Myth of Lenin's Concept of The Party (online at: www.marxists.org/archive/draper/1990/myth/myth.htm

 

Violence. A new world society of democratic voluntary co-operation can only be established by democratic voluntary co-operation. By its very description, such a society cannot be imposed nor could people be led into it. Unlike Leninist and other left-wing groups who advocate violence because they rely on minority support, socialists rely on the legitimacy conferred by majority understanding, support and participation. And this is why it is reasonable to suppose that this process will be peaceful. However, socialists are not pacifists. Should an anti-democratic minority try to impose its will on a majority-expressed decision for socialism then the majority can defend themselves with force, if necessary. (See also DEMOCRACY.)