Excerpts from F. V. Konstantinov, ed., Filosofskaia
Entsiklopediia [Philosophical Encyclopedia],
Soviet Encyclopedia Publishers, 1963, vol. 1, p. 70.
Contradiction: One of the forms of
contradiction, specifically between modes of production and all social relations
in societies with exploiting classes, which is resolved by means of social
Antagonistic contradictions express
the irreconcilability of the interests of oppressors and oppressed, of
exploiters and exploited. In contemporary conditions, antagonistic
contradictions are contradictions between the working class and capitalists.
They can only disappear when the capitalist class will, by peaceful or
non-peaceful means, lose political power, the means of production, and its
ability to exploit workers. A number of antagonistic contradictions also
concern contradictions between imperialist countries, which already often lead
to war, but conceal this possibility until war happens. These concern
contradictions between one imperialist mother country and another sides, both
with colonial and dependent peoples and with others, which necessarily lead to
development of national liberation movements with colonial and dependent
nations, to a whole series of revolutions of oppressed and exploited nations.
The result of these movements is the breakup of the colonial system of
imperialism, the way out for colonial and dependent nations in the path of
independent development—a process which more and more arises and grows in the
present epoch. Antagonistic contradictions between nations can only disappear
completely, however, with imperialism itself. Antagonism encompasses all states of the material and
spiritual life of capitalist society, which is woven out of antagonistic contradictions.
Denying the antagonistic nature of class contradictions of exploitative society inevitably leads to the
reformist views of the “reconciliation” of class contradictions, of capitalism
“growing into” socialism.
On the other side, identifying
antagonistic contradictions with contradictions in general, forgetting that
antagonistic contradictions are only one form of the development of
contradictions (moreover, that form which impedes free development of
contradictions and then produces an inevitable explosion) is equivalent to
extending antagonism even to socialist society. With the point of view of the
practical-political identification of antagonistic contradictions with
contradictions in general means lack of comprehension of the nature of the
socialist system, of its fundamental difference from the nature of all
antagonistic social-economic formations. “Antagonism and contradiction are not
at all one in the same,” wrote Lenin. “Under socialism, the former will
disappear, but the latter will remain.” (Lenin Miscellany, vol. XI, 1929, p.