MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of Terms




See Also: Sexism, Women's Liberation Movement.

Further Reading: Women and Marxism Archive.


Genetic Exposition

The Genetic Exposition (i.e. genesis) of a Notion means showing how a Notion comes into being or into consciousness through the objective movement of the subject matter itself. (See: Hegel's development of the notion.) Genetic Exposition differs both from the deduction of the Notion, and the further development of the Notion which begins with the simple notion and elaborates its implications, including a reconstruction of the concrete reality which has been exhibited in the genetic exposition. The genetic exposition, which is a necessary part of logic, differs also however from historical exposition, where the exposition confines itself to the strictly ‘narrative’ history (See Hegel's explanation). As Marx explains, the sequence of exposition is the sequence determined by the object itself (though in the passage just referred to Marx, of course, sharply differentiates himself from Hegel’s idealistic formulation of this idea).

Further Reading: Hegel's metaphor for the Notion as a "germ", Geoff Pilling's explanation of the genesis of the notion of capital and Ilyenkov’s On the Difference Between the Logical and the Historical Methods of Inquiry.


Gentlemen of June 3

The term "gentlemen of June 3" applies to the bourgeois and landowner parties (Right-wing, Octobrist and Cadet) which won a vast superiority in the Third and Fourth Dumas under the counter-revolutionary electoral law passed by the tsarist government on June 3 (16), 1907. The law curtailed the already limited suffrage of the workers and peasants.

The June 3 parties periodically held so-called private meetings of Deputies to the Fourth Duma. One of these meetings took place on June 3 (16), 1917, that is, the day the All-Russia Congress of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies was convened. This was not mere coincidence, for the counter revolutionary parties of the Russian bourgeoisie and landowners were trying to exert political pressure on the petty-bourgeois conciliators, the Mensheviks and S.R.s, who commanded a majority at the Congress.

Among the items, the meeting discussed foreign policy matters. It was addressed by V.A. Maklakov, P. N. Milyukov, V. V. Shulgin and other Octobrist and Cadet leaders. They insisted on the vigorous fulfilment of commitments in respect of the Allies and on putting an end to the revolution. The resolution adopted by the meeting said as much.


Genus [or Kind]

Genus is a concept usually identified with biology, but also important in Hegel’s Logic as part of the development of the Idea, where he develops the dialectic opposition between the life of the living individual and the life of the Genus.

The dialectic of the cell and the whole living organism, or the individual and the whole social organism of which they are a part is an important part of the dialectical approach to processes. For dialectics, the Genus is not defined (as it is for positivistic sociology, for example) as those individuals who possess a common attribute, but by a dialectic in which the whole genus exists only in and through the life and death of individuals, while the individuals live only in and through their connection with the Genus, like the cells of a living organism.

An important illustration of this approach is how we understand class consciousness. “Consciousness” is something that can only be an attribute of individuals (unless you believe in Jung’s collective unconscious!), but the content of class consciousness is the whole history, experience, solidarity and organisation of the class, which no individual can create. Thus we can only understand class consciousness as a dialectic connecting the individual and the class (or Genus).

Further Reading: See Hegels definition of Genus, and the living individual; and his statement Genus “in the kind the individual animal has its notion.”


German Catholicism

A religous movment that arose in 1844 directed against extreme manifestations of mysticism and hypocrisy in the Catholic Church. The German Catholics rejected the supremacy of the Pope and many Catholic dogmas and rites.



Gestalt is a common German word meaning ‘form’ or ‘figure’ as in ‘what a fine figure of a man’, but has special connotations which Goethe explained in this way:

“The Germans have a word for the complex of existence presented by a physical organism: Gestalt. With this expression they exclude what is changeable and assume that an interrelated whole is identified, defined, and fixed in character.

“But if we look at all these Gestalten, especially the organic ones, we will discover that nothing in them is permanent, nothing is at rest or defined – everything is in a flux of continual motion. This is why German frequently and fittingly makes use of the word Bildung to describe the end product and what is in process of production as well.

“Thus in setting forth a morphology we should not speak of Gestalt, or if we use the term we should at least do so only in reference to the idea, the concept, or to an empirical element held fast for a mere moment of time.”

Goethe was interested in the perception of Gestalten, and not only as an artist and critic, but as a natural scientist. Goethe saw Nature as a Gestalt (including its human observers) and particular complex phenomena, such as plant life, he also saw as Gestalten, every individual of which was an instance of the whole. The unique and original approach he devised for the conception of a Gestalt, he called the Urphänomen, or archetypal phenomenon.

By Urphänomen, Goethe understood the simplest possible unit of the complex whole, which exhibited all the essential properties of the Gestalt, but lacked any contingent attributes. In this way he could grasp the Gestalt both as a concept and as an appearance, so that the process could be understood viscerally and immediately, rather than by means of some force or principle which lies beyond perception.

Hegel appropriated Goethe’s conception of Gestalten des Bewußtsein, or ‘formation of consciousness’ (social formation for Marx), and transformed it into the Concept (Begriff), the key concept of his philosophy, each circle of the Encyclopaedia beginning from a Concept of its subject matter. Marx also appropriated Goethe’s idea of Urphänomen and Gestalt in his use of the commodity relation as the cell of bourgeois society, and the starting point for his analysis of Capital.