Machajski Movement

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Machajski Movement


a petit bourgeois anarchist trend advocating hostility toward the intelligentsia, and especially toward the revolutionary intelligentsia.

The leader of the Machajski movement was the Polish socialist W. K. Machajski (1867-1926; pseudonym, A. Wolski). His book The Intellectual Worker, written in the late 1890’s when he was in exile in Yakutsk and published fully in three parts in Geneva (1904-05), borrowed from Marxism the theory of the class structure of society and the idea of class struggle. It defined classes not by their relation to the means of production but by their mode of receiving income. Machajski advanced the proposition that the intelligentsia, too, is a parasitic class that “has a monopoly on knowledge,” lives at the expense of workers’ labor, and prepares for its “future world domination.” The theory of scientific communism was declared “a monstrous deception of the workers” by the intelligentsia. In the opinion of the movement’s adherents, the main social base of the revolution is declasse elements, since skilled workers allegedly have an interest in the preservation of their privileged position and the masses of workers are under the influence of socialist propaganda.

The Machajski movement diverted workers from revolutionary struggle and called upon them to struggle to satisfy their “concrete everyday needs,” thus following in the path of the Economists. The tendency was not influential among the workers. The first public action by the movement’s followers, a 1902 May Day proclamation in Irkutsk, was discredited as a provocation by reactionary elements. From 1901 to 1907, there were groups of the movement’s followers in Biatystok, Ekaterinoslav, Odessa, Warsaw, and St. Petersburg. The Communist Party always led a decisive struggle against the Machajski movement and its various manifestations in the years of socialist construction.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.