chapter  1
Russia and the fate of peasant societies: Marx versus Engels
Pages 28

Avowedly Marxist movements have won power and influence mainly in peasant societies whose industrialization has barely begun and where peasant needs and aspirations should be prime considerations. Yet Marx and Engels were not renowned for respectful solicitude towards peasantries. Their Communist Manifesto (1848) envisaged an ineluctable progression through capitalist industrialization towards a proletarianized society in which 'a considerable part of the population' would be 'rescued' from 'the idiocy of rural life' . Thus the proletariat could 'win the battle of democracy' and 'wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie' and 'centralize all means of production in the hands of the State, i.e. the proletariat organized as the ruling class' . It fiercely criticized 'petit bourgeois socialism' , which feared 'the inevitable ruin of the petit bourgeois and the peasant' and aspired 'either to restore the old means of production and exchange, and hence the old property relations and the old society, or to cramp modern means of production within the framework of the old property relations, which have been inevitably exploded by those means'.