Menshevizing Idealism

Menshevizing Idealism


a term that was widely used in Soviet and foreign Marxist literature from the 1930’s through the early 1950’s. It referred to the errors committed in philosophy by A. M. Deborin’s group. In the resolution of Jan. 25, 1931, On the Journal Pod znamenem marksizma, the Central Committee of the ACP (Bolshevik) pointed out that on a number of important philosophical questions the Deborin group had descended to “the standpoint of Menshevizing idealism” (Opartiinoi i sovetskoi pechati [a collection of documents], 1954, p. 407).

The word “Menshevizing”signified that the separation of theory from practice by Deborin and his disciples was regarded as the resurrection of a particular Menshevik dogma, and the word “idealism,”that Deborin’s identification of Hegel’s dialectic with Marx’ was considered a retreat into idealism.

Later, the term “Menshevizing idealism”was extended to some theoretical errors in other scholarly disciplines (for example, I. I. Rubin’s mistakes in political economy). Since the late 1950’s some scholars have argued that the term lacks precise theoretical content. However, it still has historical significance.


“O zhurnale Pod znamenem marksizma”1 (an excerpt from the Central Committee resolution). In the collection O partiinoi i sovetskoi pechati. Moscow, 1954.
Istoriia filosofii, vol. 6, book 1. Moscow, 1965. Chapter 1.
Leninskii etap v razvitii filosofii marksizma. Moscow, 1972.