On Anti-Intellectualism

The Shawarma Bolshevik
8 min readAug 17, 2021


F. Anton Drozdov

Comrades, the lies of the anti-theorists have continued to pound at the doors of the scientific socialists. The rots of their insistence remain ever looming, breathing down the backs of the necks of the revolutionaries. We must not give way to these cowardly forces, but rather crush them. We must not pay attention to their opportunist distortions of the text they denounce as unnecessary, but rather we must annihilate them. The destruction of these forces shall ensure our victory, its permanence, and the dissolution of the infantile particulates of the world.

The times have never truly changed the factions at war, but rather their prevalence in numbers. In the modern age we have seen the anti-intellectual forces multiply, and the influence of their loudest voices become more widespread. With that I echo the sentiments of Chairman Mao: “No investigation, no right to speak!” It is not an unreasonable request to make, for within the scope of any other field of study, the lack of investigation renders one illegitimate in their criticisms and observations, for they lack any basis of understanding on which to build these criticisms and observations. The anti-intellectuals have tossed aside the necessity of qualification, and replaced it with “inclusion” and “unity”. They have insisted upon the rejection of arduous text, claiming it keeps out the curious minds that may not desire the study of such texts. This is a true fallacy of revolutionary movement, and serves only the utopian fantasy of a revolution built with the absence of a revolutionary guard. Let us observe.

The anti-intellectuals have inadvertently aligned themselves with the utopians, the anti-scientific “anti-authoritarians” and anarchists, intentionally or not. There even exist the anti-intellectual “Marxists”, who have determined their competence not through the strict study of materialist dialectics, but through observation of the world. However, the scientific Marxists understand quite clearly observation is not alone the deciding factor in comprehension of historical materialism, but rather a façade of intellectualism. We have heard many times from the anti-intellectuals that one does not need text to observe the exploitation of the capitalist mode of production. This is no doubt true, however the scientific theory does not tell us of the existence of exploitation, but rather why such exploitation exists, where it came from, and how it moves and breathes. Theory presents the burning questions regarding exploitation, and provides the methods to answer them. Observation alone cannot do this.

The anti-intellectuals have insisted that the comprehension of revolutionary theory as a base for the communists serves to alienate the common working class. This in itself is an elitist lie, for it has universally assumed on behalf of the proletariat that they cannot comprehend the complex text before them. The proletariat possesses the power to do this, and insinuating otherwise serves anti-Marxist rots of anti-proletarianism. The proletariat is the most revolutionary strata of the working class, and must therefore enforce study of the texts necessary to build the revolution. Supporting them in their efforts is revolutionary solidarity, and shall maintain the momentum of the construction of the proletarian revolution.

What makes the anti-intellectuals differ in their beliefs from the scientific socialists (for the purpose of my analysis, I shall place these individuals under the same categorical assignment as the anarchists and utopians, for they inadvertently push back on revolution, whether through a long or short path)? It is good to imagine the construction of a house in this scenario:

The scientific socialist has determined that the house is to be built using the sound instruction of the blueprint, which shall guide them in their process through exact measurements, tools and materials. What the anti-intellectual has determined is that the blueprint is not necessary, that the instructional guides are irrelevant to the construction of the house. They have concluded that so long as one may imagine the home as the final product, they may reach it by any means necessary. The scientific socialist understands that in the circumstances presented, the home must be built as accurately as possible using the blueprints to ensure longevity and permanence, to prevent collapse and constructional pitfalls. The anti-intellectual believes that the intermediary steps to reaching the final product of the home are irrelevant. The scientific socialist understands that the intermediary steps determine the strength of the house.

The intermediary steps themselves, in the case of the construction of the house, determine whether or not the builder has accounted for localized problems, and worked to eliminate them. Take for example the termite. There may be a high prevalence of termite populations surrounding the home. The scientific socialist, in working through the intermediary steps, shall work to identify the locations of these pests and remove them by force. The anti-intellectual shall be surprised by their presence, caught off guard, for they have not studied the conditions upon which to construct the house, but rather only imagined it in this location.

Above all else, the anti-intellectuals are anti-materialist. Their historical analyses are thus inevitably flawed and dangerously simplified to linear progression. Their understanding of the state, where it emerged from and where it shall go, is thus incomplete, and lacks the necessary base from which to build a revolutionary movement to transitionally dismantle the state apparatus. In their omission of revolutionary theory and history, they have determined that there is no need to understand the current power structures of the bourgeoisie, nor where they emerged from, and thus their revolutionary action shall be petty destruction, meaningless violence built on no foundation of organization. The scientific socialists are dialecticians, studied Marxists who have taken the time to further understand the progression of the state throughout history, as well as the social forces that shall destroy the current state apparatus, the proletariat. The scientific socialists understand that revolution must be built, that it is no spontaneous ordeal, but rather a period built off of the immaculate organization of the masses into a revolutionary guard, an entity made up of the most class conscious proletarians that shall lead the masses into the war through periods of violence and eventually seizure of the state. The anti-intellectuals, on the other hand, have time and time again relied on the disasters and crises of capitalism to “spark” revolution. They have inconsequentially determined that the path to revolution shall be paved not in the revolutionary tenets of struggle (the party, the army and the front), but rather in the violent reaction to crisis. The populists of pre-Soviet Russia were no different. Their belief in the spontaneity of revolution had in itself no impact on the building of socialism.

The anti-intellectuals claim the upholding of the revolution, and yet their resistance to basic revolutionary knowledge has unsurprisingly rendered them inept in their understanding of revolution itself. This too has resulted from their anti-materialist analysis of history. They have equated the proletarian and bourgeois revolutions, upholding both state and revolution as dogma. How can we take the anti-intellectuals seriously, comrades? How does one regard violence against the state as a dogmatic concept?

Comrade Stalin has already echoed before to us the difference between the proletarian and bourgeois revolutions, cementing the necessary anti-dogmatic analyses of the scientific socialists:

The bourgeois revolution is consummated with the seizure of state power, of the state apparatus. In this case, feudal society has prepared the capitalist system, such that bourgeoisie need only use it endlessly. The proletarian revolution is not consummated with seizure of power rather, the seizure of power is merely the first step, under which capitalism has not prepared the socialist system.

In omitting the study of revolutionary theory, the anti-intellectuals have thus ignored this glaring distinction between bourgeois and proletarian revolution, and in this process they shall too ignore the steps following the seizure of state power, either destroying it completely (leaving the social forces for its creation intact), or misusing it in a way that either a new hierarchy forms, or the regression to capitalism becomes inevitable.

The anti-intellectuals have similarly treated the state as a dogma. As their analyses lack a materialist approach, their understanding of the state is merely that it came into being spontaneously, that its appearance thus cleaved society into class. They have determined that class exists because of the state. However, a materialist analysis reveals quite the opposite, that the state exists because of class; that, in the cleavage of society into distinct classes, the antagonisms that arose between these classes was dealt with through the creation of a guard of the ruling class, coalescing into what would be known as the state, the vehicle of suppression of the subordinate classes by the ruling class. With this lack of understanding, the anti-intellectuals have thus determined that, rather than the abolition of class, the abolition of the state shall suffice in bringing humanity to a just society.

This glaring misunderstanding has once before shown its hand in the creation of the autonomous zones in Catalonia and Rojava, both of which have inevitably proven to be failures in their refusal to abolish the social forces that give rise to the state, both on the domestic and foreign scales. In the case of Catalonia, the inability to address the fascist rule of Spain resulted in its dissolve back into the mainland. In the case of Rojava, its development into an oppressive ethnostate, as well as its cooption to the will of the imperialist forces, have rendered it yet another proletarian betrayal. The anti-intellectuals have long applauded these projects, despite their failures, as heroic. Perhaps they were in their construction, but their refusal to suppress and combat the bourgeoisie has shown their hand. The scientific socialists have long understood the necessity of this suppression, as the materialist analysis of the state has more intricately revealed its origin, its current synthesis, and its necessary future syntheses until its absolute disappearance, through its obsolescence. In treating the state as dogma, the anti-intellectuals have refused to distinguish between the feudal, capitalist and socialist states. This shall prove fatal.

Comrades, if we are to build our house, should it not be structurally sound? Should it not possess the powerful foundation to allow it to stand for a thousand years, more? If we are to build our house, should it not accommodate our most vulnerable of comrades, so as to bring together the proletariat as one? If we are to build our house, should it not be prepared to defend its residents from the forces that would have it destroyed?

Reject anti-intellectualism, comrades. The time has never been riper to organize through the proletariat, to coalesce our revolutionism into the highest form of expression, the revolutionary guard. Anti-intellectualism shall handicap us; it shall insist on our ineptitude, assure us that to build our house, we do not need the blueprints necessary to do so. We must be precise, calculated, and as such we must reject the opportunist voices of the anti-intellectuals, the distorters of Marx and Engels, the self-lauded “intellectuals”. Embrace the scientific approach, for it alone can ensure our victory and its permanence.