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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(1) Membership in a political party.

(2) Party spirit, or partisanship. In a world view, philosophy, social science, literature, or art, the ideological tendency expressing the interests of particular classes or social groups and manifested both in the social orientation of scientific and artistic creativity and in the individual viewpoints of scientists, scholars, philosophers, writers, and artists. In a broad sense, party spirit is a principle of human behavior and of the operation of organizations and institutions, as well as an instrument of political and ideological struggle.

Every social class and every substantial social group has its own economic and political interests and its own spiritual values —moral norms and principles, traditions and customs, goals and ideals. These values and interests are defended, supported, justified, and developed in one way or another by ideologists, scholars, and cultural figures. V. I. Lenin wrote that “no living person can help taking the side of one class or another (once he has understood their interrelationships), can help rejoicing at the successes of that class and being disappointed by its failures, can help being angered by those who are hostile to that class, who hamper its development by disseminating backward views” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 2, pp. 547–48). Partiinost’ is the highest expression of the class character of social science, philosophy, literature, and art. Not all scientists or artists are distinctly aware of the class character of scientific or artistic creativity, including their own. The class content of a work may be expressed in the vaguely formulated sympathies and antipathies of its creator or in a commitment to spiritual values that are somehow linked with class aspirations. Only partiinost ‘is the result and the political expression of fully developed class antagonisms (ibid., vol. 13, p. 274). The very concept of partiinost’ is inseparably connected with the activity of a political party, which clearly expresses the interests of a class or social group and assumes the task of directing its political struggle. Therefore, partiinost’ is characterized by a high level of awareness of class interests and a high degree of commitment to the political line of a party. “The more politically developed and enlightened the given population or given class is, the higher, as a general rule, is its party organization [partiinost’]” (ibid., vol. 32, p. 190).

Throughout the history of antagonistic class society, social thought has been characterized by party spirit (partiinost’). In slaveholding society and in feudal society, before the emergence of political parties in their modern form, the interests of various strata of the ruling classes were expressed by political groupings and by various trends in philosophical and sociopolitical thought. The interests of the oppressed classes were reflected in the ideological struggle, a vivid example being the rise and development of utopian socialism. Depending on whether a particular political grouping expressed the interests of a progressive or a reactionary class, the party spirit of that grouping might play a progressive or a reactionary role in the development of society. With the rise of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, party spirit took on a qualitatively different character. It began to play a more significant role in the class struggle and in the ideological and political life of society. A number of factors made it possible to juxtapose the interests of the working class and of all the toiling people, and the interests of the capitalists and other exploiting classes, not only in politics but also in philosophy, sociology, and scientific and artistic creative work. Among these factors were the emergence of the proletariat as a revolutionary force, with a stake in the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the capacity to conquer political power; the emergence of Marxism-Leninism, the scientific ideology that consistently expresses the interests of the proletariat; and the organization of political parties of the working class. The principle of party spirit has become a universal principle for the analysis and evaluation of social phenomena, scientific concepts, and political programs and slogans. It has become possible to take a sharp look at the history of society, of science, and of culture from the point of view of party spirit.

In Marxist-Leninist doctrine the principle of Communist partiinost’ organically combines a genuinely scientific analysis of reality with a consistent defense of the interests of the proletariat. This fusion of science with the interests of a social class becomes possible only in the epoch of the communist transformation of the world. The proletariat, which has an interest in the knowledge of realistic ways of carrying out this transformation, needs a scientific and objective disclosure of the picture of the world, of the laws and paths by which society moves from capitalism to communism. In other words, the objective course of world history and the class interests of the proletariat coincide, and Marxist-Leninist theory, which scientifically depicts the transition to communism, also functions as the ideology that expresses the interests of the proletariat and of all the toiling people. For this reason, there is no real foundation for all the speculative attempts by the enemies of socialism to juxtapose true scientific method to the proletarian partiinost’ of Marxist-Leninist theory.

As the historically rising class whose interests coincide with those of all the toiling people, the proletariat openly proclaims its goal, the victory of communism. The Communist Party consistently upholds the principle of partiinost’. Defending and substantiating the goals and tasks of the working class and the policies of the Communist Party, Marxist-Leninist theory mercilessly criticizes the exploiters’ system, its politics, and its ideology. Naturally, this theory cannot fail to recognize the element of partiinost’ in all politics and ideology. The position of the Communists was stated from the very beginning by K. Marx: “Without parties there is no development; without demarcation there is no progress” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 1, p. 113). By contrast, the bourgeoisie, whose interests conflict with those of the majority, is forced to hide its self-seeking aspirations, to pretend that its economic and political aims are those of society as a whole, and to wrap itself in the toga of nonpartisanship. This prompts the ideologists and politicians of the bourgeoisie to oppose the principle of partiinost’ and try to establish in the minds of the masses the idea that public life is apolitical and should be free of ideology. Thus, partiinost’ is a proletarian idea, and nonpartisan objectivity, a bourgeois idea. Today, bourgeois ideologists are making even stronger attempts to spread the nonpartisan point of view.

The strengthening of the world socialist system, as well as the increasingly obvious demonstration of its historical superiority over capitalism, has increased the authority and appeal of communist ideas and helped the toiling masses to move away from bourgeois ideology and toward the ideological standpoint of communism. Imperialist propaganda uses every means, including slander, misinformation, and subversive activity, to compromise the socialist way of life. Furthermore, it tries to popularize the idea that the age of the scientific and technological revolution is witnessing an automatic convergence of the forms of social life under socialism and capitalism and that ideological principles and ideological differences are becoming less important. In other words, imperialist propaganda claims that public life is being stripped of ideology and that partisan principles are merely being superimposed on it. However, practical experience shows that as long as antagonistic classes and the exploitation of man by man persist, and as long as there is a conflict between the interests of monopoly capital and those of the working class and all the toiling people, the class struggle of the toilers for social emancipation and against the economic and political domination of the monopolies will continue.

Some people are sincerely guided by a desire to “avoid extremes,” to avoid taking a sharply partisan position. They prefer some sort of “calm” intermediate position. In principle, however, there is essentially no difference in the objective consequences, whether the idea of nonpartisanship is cultivated consciously as a hypocritical disguise for the selfish interests of the bourgeoisie, or whether the idea of nonpartisanship is the result of confusion, or finally, whether it grows out of a cowardly desire to avoid the complexities of reality, to refrain from a definite political choice. Under the conditions of intense conflict between the forces of socialism and capitalism, there is as real and urgent a necessity as ever for a partisan class approach to the analysis and evaluation of social phenomena in the world arena and in every country. Consequently, the Central Committee of the CPSU has indicated that it is necessary “to pursue a consistent class line in questions of training and education; to maintain sharp and clear ideological positions; to increase revolutionary vigilance; to consistently combat apolitical and property-minded vestiges of the past, philistine attitudes, and nihilistic views toward the gains of socialism; and to combat the penetration of bourgeois and revisionist views” (K 100-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia V. I. Lenina: Tezisy TsK KPSS, 1970, p. 60).

The principle of partiinost’ is specifically expressed in the social sciences, in philosophy, and in literature and art. In the social sciences, partiinost’ develops because the object of investigation is social phenomena, which cannot be explained without describing the interests of classes and social groups. The way in which these interests are treated, and consequently, the extent to which the essence of social phenomena is revealed, depends on the scholar’s social orientation, which is shaped by the influence of the social group to which he belongs or toward which he is oriented. Lenin pointed out that “there can be no ‘impartial’ social science in a society based on class struggle.... To expect science to be impartial in a wage-slave society is as foolishly naïve as to expect impartiality from manufacturers on the question of whether workers’ wages ought not to be increased by decreasing the profits of capital” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 23, p. 40).

In contrast to this clear-cut Marxist view, many bourgeois scholars cultivate the idea of objectivism in science, equating objectivism with the scientific method. Lenin demonstrated the untenability of this view when he wrote: “The objectivist speaks of the necessity of a given historical process; the materialist gives an exact picture of the given social-economic formation and of the antagonistic relations to which it gives rise. When demonstrating the necessity for a given series of facts, the objectivist always runs the risk of becoming an apologist for these facts: the materialist discloses the class contradictions and in so doing defines his standpoint…. Thus, on the one hand, the materialist is more consistent than the objectivist, and gives profounder and fuller effect to his objectivism. … On the other hand, materialism includes partisanship, so to speak, and enjoins the direct and open adoption of the standpoint of a definite social group in any assessment of events” (ibid., vol. 1, pp. 418–19).

Partiinost’ in philosophy, as well as in the social sciences, is associated with the cognition of a true picture of the world and with the development of progressive ideas whose exponents were, as a rule, representatives of the rising classes. In philosophy the movement of human knowledge toward a scientific model of the world is reflected in the development of the materialist conception of the world and in the formation of dialectical ways of looking at processes in nature and society. Partiinost’ in philosophy consists in different approaches toward an integral explanation of the world (the relation between spirit and matter, between consciousness and being), of the place of human beings in the world, of human attitudes toward ethical and aesthetic values, and so forth. The philosophy of Marxism—dialectical and historical materialism—emerged as a theoretical system expressing the world outlook of the working class and providing a methodological basis for the revolutionary transformation of reality and for scientific investigation. As a genuinely scientific and revolutionary philosophy of the modern world, Marxist-Leninist theory serves as a weapon of the Communist Party against the various schools and tendencies of idealism, both objective and subjective. The concept of partiinost’ —that is, the defense of the interests of the proletariat—is indispensable to the scientific character of Marxist philosophy. Lenin wrote: “Recent philosophy is as partisan as was philosophy two thousand years ago” (ibid., vol. 18, p. 380).

In literature and art, partiinost’ is manifested in the ideological purposefulness of a writer’s, painter’s, performer’s, or musician’s work. Artists are as incapable of avoiding specific treatment of the social views and aspirations of the characters they depict as they are incapable of avoiding the expression of their own sympathies and antipathies. Every human being is bound by countless ties to the interests and spiritual values of particular classes and social groups, and by those interests and values he is oriented. Although some kind of ideological bent has always existed in literature and art, the principle of partiinost’ in creative work was first clearly formulated by Lenin. In the article “Party Organization and Party Literature” (1905) he showed the hypocrisy of arguing that there is absolute freedom in the creative arts. “The freedom of the bourgeois writer, artist, or actress is simply masked (or hypocritically masked) dependence on the money bag, on corruption, on prostitution” (ibid., vol. 12, p. 104). Talk of absolute freedom is only a disguise, “a bourgeois or an anarchist phrase (since, as a world outlook, anarchism is bourgeois philosophy turned inside out)” (ibid., p. 104). Even at that time, Lenin set the task of countering the hypocritical pretense of a free literature (a literature actually bound to the bourgeoisie) with a genuinely free literature openly linked with the proletariat. Lenin emphasized that because of the specific characteristics of the creative arts, they require “greater scope for personal initiative, individual inclination, thought and fantasy, form and content” (ibid., p. 101).

Based on the principle of partiinost’, socialist literature and art have demonstrated, as Lenin predicted, that true freedom consists in serving not “the upper ten thousand” but the millions and tens of millions of toiling people—the flower of the country, its strength and its future. The Communist Party, which guides and directs literature and art, has continually stressed the need to develop the principle of partiinost’, which it views as the condition for a profound penetration of the essence of social processes, as well as for the vivid and convincing reflection of new human personalities, new social relations, and problems in building communist society.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Various principles were promoted as constituting an authentically Soviet science: its class nature, its applied character, and the role of "party spirit" (partiinost').
Partiinost, or correspondence to the spirit of the Party, its program and ideology, remained in direct contradiction to the principles of creative work and freedom (Philipov 1954).
The Soviet version of this threat came in the form of Partiinost, the expectation that all economic, intellectual and other pursuits conducted by faculty and students were carried out with the spirit and ideology of the Party.
The New Soviet ideal combined the physical characteristics of a strong youthful body, impeccable health, and beauty with the mental and moral prowess to achieve the highest levels of patriotism and partiinost' (party-mindedness).
Partiinost, propagating the ideology of the party, was the order of the day, and collection decisions had to be approved by the government.
What had such a prodigality of personality and talent to do with party cells, cadre perks, city soviets, farm collectives, lapdog writers' unions, bought psychiatrists, secret policemen, technocrats on the pig-iron front, informers, apparatchiks or the three elements of Socialist Realism--narodnost (national character), ideinost (ideological expression) and partiinost (party spirit)--not to wonder why a Stalin would even be interested, much less suspicious (and of what?), with his love for Charlie Chaplin, his hatred of everyone else, his bad teeth and not very interesting Georgian inferiority complex, such a mensch for all the bloody seasons, but especially a Great Terror?
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Not surprisingly, it eventually attracted critics attacking the lack of partiinost" in social-scientific scholarship.
Certainly, as he concedes, evidence for her "opportunism, her partiinost', her sacrifice of scholarly for organizational achievement, her naivete about breakthroughs in the old ways of the Party" can easily be found.
Socialist Realism was a notoriously vague concept, although partiinost' was less so.