Marxism's 'Communicative Crisis'? Mapping Debates over Leninist Print-Media Practices in the 20th Century.

  • Herbert F. Pimlott Wilfrid Laurier University


Despite the scholarly neglect of Marxism’s ‘communicative crisis’, it was a topic of concern that was addressed, debated and negotiated over by party leaders, intellectuals and activists on a continuous basis throughout the 20th century. These concerns revolved around three areas: first, the primary means of print communication, the party paper; second, the specialization of production, particularly around the role of writers and journalists; and third, the search for a popular rhetoric and writing style, which would appeal to the general public. This paper maps out the ‘communicative crisis’ of Marxism in the 20th century through an examination of key intersections of disputes over the correct approach to its practices of print communication, as a starting point for an historical analysis of the failures and successes of Marxist political praxis.