Jamaica LANDS
Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism

Anti-Idealism Reading List



These are writings that aim to counter puritanism and idealism by focusing on reality and the complexity of the struggles that we face.

Against Avakianism
(Read freely online)

This is a criticism of the Revolutionary Communist Party in the USA, an ultra-Left organisation that is sometimes even described as a cult. They claim to be "Maoist" but grossly misrepresent Maoism.

China: A Revolutionary Present
(Read freely online)

This is an article which aims to answer the question of whether China is Socialist or not. It includes citations of Fidel Castro.

Class Suicide
(Read freely online)

This is an article on Amilcar Cabral's theory of Class Suicide, where it is outlined that some countries do not have the same social or class structure as European countries, therefore "the proletariat" is not necessarily the class that leads or exercises class struggle.

In this piece, Mao emphasised the importance of avoiding dogmatism in understandings of class struggle. It follows the understanding of class that he expresses in his writing On New Democracy.

Criticism of the RIM
(Read freely online)

This was a criticism of the puritanical and idealistic tendencies of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, an ultra-Left organisation that had a lack of touch with reality.

This was Kim Il-sung's criticism of persons who took a dogmatic approach to ideological work, where they copy and repeat ideas instead of developing them to be applied to their own material conditions and national context.

This is a piece by Michael Parenti, criticising idealist Western scholars for their unfair bashing of actually-existing Socialism. 

This is the summary of conclusions in Lenin's piece, "Left-Wing" Communism: an Infantile Disorder. It attacks idealism, adventurism, and doctrinairism. 

The New Economic Policy
(Read freely online)

Vladimir Lenin explained why the USSR had to adopt a policy of State Capitalism. He says that they made mistakes by taking things for granted, mistakenly assuming that there could be a swift change “from the old Russian economy to state production and distribution on communist lines” but had to adapt to the country’s material realities.

No Compromises?
(Read freely online)

This is a criticism of ultra-Leftists who were completely against any form of compromise; Lenin said that such an attitude was childish.

Oppose Book Worship
(Read freely online)

This was a criticism of idealism and dogmatism. Mao said "Many who have read Marxist books have become renegades from the revolution, whereas illiterate workers often grasp Marxism very well. Of course we should study Marxist books, but this study must be integrated with our country's actual conditions.

People's Power, No Dictator
(Read freely online)

In his rant against the Burnham government, Walter Rodney spoke of a movement of national unity in Guyana, which would include even the manufacturers and businessmen. While this is odd coming from a Marxist, it was a necessary stance to take in an underdeveloped country like Guyana.

On Practice
(Read freely online)

In this piece, Mao asserted that theory has no value without practice. It included critiques of armchair activists, who sit in their scholarly spaces and theorise without attempting to engage in any praxis.

On Puritanical Socialism
(Read freely online)

This is a criticism of puritanism and orthodoxy in the Left. It expresses frustration with dogmatic understandings of class relations and liberation struggles, and calls for greater understanding of the complexities of material conditions, especially in the Third World.

Reform Our Study
(Read freely online)

In this piece, Mao criticises the separation of theory from practice, and calls for studying the material conditions of the present time instead of relying on outdated dogma.