MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of Terms




“Arena” or “arena of struggle” is an alternative conception of institutions and social formations which offers a useful alternative to the view of institutions are being instruments (such as seeing unions as organs of defence for the working class or the state as an instrument of the ruling class) which recognises that no institution is wholly an simply the tool of any individual or social class or group – it is instead an “arena of struggle,” in which different classes, groups and individuals compete for control or conduct struggles for various other ends.

From this standpoint, it is clear why abstention from participation in state institutions may be wrong, since it entails abstention from an arena of struggle; the bourgeoisie does not have the capacity to wield parliament, the army etc., self-consciously, for its own ends, without encountering contradictions and resistance; communists should participate for their own ends.

Likewise, it is clearly wrong to abandon a trade union simply because it seems tied toparliamentarism and economic reforms; trade unions provide an excellent arena of struggle for communists, in which important gains can be made without total victory.

See also Field, Community, Forum, Party and Network.

public sphere

One example of the concept of an arena is Habermas’s concept of the “public sphere.”



First established in November 1969, APANET was the first computer network where computers communicated with one another via exchanging packets of information, instead of circuit switching, as had first been done in 1965. By 1990, ARPANET was decommissioned in favour of networks such as NFS that supported the TCP/IP protocol. APANET was the precursor to the Internet.



Russian unit of measurement:

1 arshin = 71 centimetres
3 arshin = 1 sazhen



Cooperative and semi-formal associations for fishing, mining, commerce, of loaders, loggers, thieves, beggars, etc. Often artels worked far from home and lived as a commune. Payment for job done was distributed according to verbal agreements, quite often in equal shares. Often artels were seasonal. Over time, formalized types of artel emerged, with internal hierarchy and legal agreements.

See Engels on artels On Social Relations in Russia.


Article 58

A law created in the R.S.F.S.R. during the Civil War (1918-1922) that made counter-revolutionary activities illegal. Individual punishment for this law was typically imprisonment or a drumhead execution. Mass punishments of white army regiments was typically deportation or imprisonment.

Stalin kept the Article as law, and used it against all who were in opposition to the government. The punishments for breach of this law was death by execution, officially or not.