Thread: Should we allow philosophy to destroy our faith in the revolution?

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    Default Should we allow philosophy to destroy our faith in the revolution?

    In another thread in the philosophy forum:

    http://www.revleft.com/vb/showpost.p...6&postcount=24

    Rosa appears to take objection to dialectics on the basis that it helps to sustain our revolutionary optimism.

    Is she correct in stating that it is adherence to dialectics which sustains our optimism or are their other sources?

    Meanwhile, what is the alternative to "faith in humanity and its socialist future," apart from just throwing in the towel?

    Discuss.
    "Events have their own logic, even when human beings do not." - Rosa Luxemburg

    "There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen." - Lenin

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    Keep in mind I don't 100% understand dialectical materialism.

    There is evidence to suggest humans are fairly malleable. Individuals can change according to reason and circumstance. Obviously, communism won't appear unless we can appeal to individual rationality or establish it dictatorially, which I wouldn't advocate and is a contradiction, as I see it. Socialism is arguably quasi-dictatorial, but the idea there is that "most" people will realize communism is beneficial, and the minority will need to see the results to believe.

    Communism is desirable. Revolution is necessary. Assuming we believe this are truths, why assume people are too unreasonable to believe it? It's not a faith in humanity. It's an observation that people are capable of learning things if they are - in fact - true. I realize that religion, in particular, seems to deny this hypothesis. However, there are ways to approach individual cases. I've no reason to suspect an individual simply "can't" be rational. I am rational. Other people are rational. I induce that rationality is a human characteristic. I've never seen a religious person who simply can't perform minimally rational tasks.

    As for dialectical materialism, I like some of the general ideas. However, optimism based on deductive "inevitability" is impractical. Scientific fact is available to humanity, but certain discoveries, right under our noses, have taken considerably long to discover. If we think communism is true, and people can discover this, will they eventually discover it? Not necessarily. If existence is infinite, it might reach the conclusion at infinity. Perhaps we can reason out something that, given that knowledge is exponential, truths will be reached 99.9% at time t. We can rationally assume revolution will be accepted.

    Material changes don't work in a thesis, antithesis, synthesis manner given all circumstances, though. If a murderer wants to murder, and you disagree, society establishes law preventing his actions. He had a preference for murder that nobody else shares. It was simply power relations that prevented his choice from becoming the adopted standard. He had no common truth that we synthesized into a new proposition. We just dominated him.

    No I don't think the general idea of Marx, that revolution "will" happen, is necessarily false. It's just not a deductive claim. It's an assumption like society "will slowly erase pay differences between genders." I have reason to believe the latter, based on evidence previously presented, but I haven't proven it.

    Marx thought revolution was inevitable based on reasons accessible to us. It's simply probable. However, what access do we have to such probabilities? Let me go against my original argument.

    We think communism is beneficial. Many people don't.
    We think revolution is necessary. Many people don't.

    In the first case, communism might not benefit those who hold power. In the long run, it's implied that even "the capitalist" will prefer communism, but is that true? Maybe. However, perhaps those with power prefer domination. Is communism better than being a dictator? Probably not. Is it better than being an oligarchy? Maybe not. Why does it suddenly stop being better to dominate at "capitalist." That's a question not answered by dialectical materialism.

    Why revolution is necessary, though, is that "good or not" capitalists won't give up their domination. Maybe they are addicted to power, or maybe they logically suffer from communist implementation. Who knows. So we have to overthrown them to achieve a result, and we will overthrow them.

    Revolution relies on power. Robert Nozrick pointed out that if half the world wants communism, and half the world wants capitalism, the capitalist offers 1% more than the communist can offer them (because the capitalist has the resources). Obviously, communism is supposed to offer something "more," but this needs to be qualified by Marx.

    Furthermore, assume the majority dislikes capitalism. Revolution is risky. It has historically been during periods of hardship. People are unhappy, see injustice, and fight against it. Are people in Western nations really unhappy now? The Middle Class does fairly well. How to facilitate a revolution isn't exactly revealed by Marx, especially since our political climate wasn't present when he wrote. I have my won suspicions, however.

    Dialectical materialism assumes that if X is true, and X is just and desired by the majority, it will happen. Grant the first points, but is it inevitable? Power relations are more than population. Capitalists could conceivably creating 1984, with citizens brainwashed entirely. We've seen propaganda work.

    What guarantees that, if communism is desired, citizens will have the means to utilize their power and achieve that end? Nothing guarantees it, which is why we should be constantly trying to solidify our power.

    I'm not sure where I stand on voting, but I've seen individuals advocate voting for the worst candidate - to facilitate anti-government sentiment and ignite a revolution. Giving individuals more power so you resent them is ridiculous unless you're somehow sure that resentment will achieve your result, which it hasn't.

    I suspect that society becomes more egalitarian over time. This is I believe truth is eventually found, but assuming it is "always found" is a big generalization.
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    In another thread in the philosophy forum:

    http://www.revleft.com/vb/showpost.p...6&postcount=24

    Rosa appears to take objection to dialectics on the basis that it helps to sustain our revolutionary optimism.

    Is she correct in stating that it is adherence to dialectics which sustains our optimism or are their other sources?

    Meanwhile, what is the alternative to "faith in humanity and its socialist future," apart from just throwing in the towel?

    Discuss.
    Dialectics was the particular method Marx used to analyse human history and society. His actual conclusions don't rest on dialectics, only on the scientific historical method. The discovery that the character of the relations of production always tend to conform to the character of the productive forces makes a socialist future inevitable, so the only question is how soon we want to make it happen. It requires no more faith to be a Marxist than to be a scientist, faith neither in Dialectics nor in humanity. Again, the only personal consideration is, to possibly hasten the end of capitalism through your efforts, or to probably prolong the duration of the crime that is capitalism by doing nothing.
    "We stand with great emotion before the millions who gave their lives for the world communist movement, the invincible revolutionaries of the heroic proletarian history, before the uprisings of working men and women and poor farmers – the mass creators of history.

    Their example vindicates human existence."

    - from 'Statement of the Central Committee of the KKE (On the 90th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia 1917)'
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    Cummanach:

    Dialectics was the particular method Marx used to analyse human history and society. His actual conclusions don't rest on dialectics, only on the scientific historical method. The discovery that the character of the relations of production always tend to conform to the character of the productive forces makes a socialist future inevitable, so the only question is how soon we want to make it happen. It requires no more faith to be a Marxist than to be a scientist, faith neither in Dialectics nor in humanity. Again, the only personal consideration is, to possibly hasten the end of capitalism through your efforts, or to probably prolong the duration of the crime that is capitalism by doing nothing.
    i) As I have shown, Marx abandoned 'the dialectic' as you mystics understand it, in Das Kapital:

    http://www.revleft.com/vb/scrapping-...34/index4.html

    http://www.revleft.com/vb/showpost.p...4&postcount=73

    http://www.revleft.com/vb/showpost.p...6&postcount=75

    http://www.revleft.com/vb/showpost.p...&postcount=114

    http://www.revleft.com/vb/showpost.p...&postcount=124

    ii) As I have also shown, if dialectics were true, change would be impossible:

    Quotes:

    http://www.revleft.com/vb/showpost.p...0&postcount=76

    Argument:

    http://www.revleft.com/vb/showpost.p...1&postcount=77

    iii) Since dialectics makes not one ounce of sense, it cannot be used to help understand, and thus change, the world.

    iv) Hence, the only reason you mystics cling onto this 'theory' is because it provdes you with a form of consolation for the long-term failure of DM.

    Here is what I have posted elsewhere on this:

    There are several reasons why dialectics is deleterious to Marxism:

    (1) It is easy to show it makes no sense, and so cannot be used to change the world (but it does succeed in confusing comrades).

    (2) It has undeniable roots in ruling-class thought, and thus represents a non-working class view of the world (hence its other faults; see below).

    (3) Because it makes a virtue out of 'contradiction', it can be, and has been used to defend all manner or counter-revolutionary and anti-Marxist political doctrines, and their opposites, sometimes 24 hours later.

    (4) It insulates militant minds from the facts (thus preventing the scientific development of Marxism). For example, because it teaches that surface 'appearances' 'contradict' underlying reality, it prevents dialectically-distracted comrades from acknowledging the long-term failure of Dialectical Marxism. In many cases, because it encourages comrades to see failure as its opposite, its 'contradictory', 'success' (or 'success' about to happen any day soon), they refuse to admit (they won't even countenance the possibility) that their core theory (dialectics) has anything to do with the failure of Dialectical Marxism (even if they admit it has failed, which many do not)!

    So, even though dialectics teaches that everything is interconnected, apparently the only two things in the entire universe that are not linked in any way at all are: a) the long-term decline of Dialectical Marxism and b) its core theory!

    That is how much this 'theory' confuses otherwise alert miltant minds!

    (5) It exacerbates (but does not cause) sectarianism.

    (6) Because it is a source of consolation for the long-term failure of Dialectical Marxism (for reasons outlined in (4) above), its acolytes cling on to it like grim death, and become highly irrational and emotive in its defence. [Watch how they reply to this post!]

    There are other reasons why this mystical creed is deleterious to Marxism, but these will do for now.

    More details here:

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rosa.l/page%2009_02.htm

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rosa.l/page%20010_01.htm

    George Novack records the following meeting with Trotsky in Mexico, in 1937:

    "[O]ur discussion glided into the subject of philosophy.... We talked about the best ways of studying dialectical materialism, about Lenin's Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, and about the theoretical backwardness of American radicalism. Trotsky brought forward the name of Max Eastman, who in various works had polemicized against dialectics as a worthless idealist hangover from the Hegelian heritage of Marxism.

    "He became tense and agitated. 'Upon going back to the States,' he urged, 'you comrades must at once take up the struggle against Eastman's distortion and repudiation of dialectical materialism. There is nothing more important than this….'

    "I was somewhat surprised at the vehemence of his argumentation on this matter at such a moment. As the principal defendant in absentia in the Moscow trials, and because of the dramatic circumstances of his voyage in exile, Trotsky then stood in the centre of international attention. He was fighting for his reputation, liberty, and life against the powerful government of Stalin, bent on his defamation and death. After having been imprisoned and gagged for months by the Norwegian authorities, he had been kept incommunicado for weeks aboard their tanker.

    "Yet on the first day after reunion with his cothinkers, he spent more than an hour explaining how important it was for a Marxist movement to have a correct philosophical method and to defend dialectical materialism against its opponents! "[Novack (1978), pp.169-70. Bold emphases added. Spelling changed to conform to UK English.]
    Given the mystical nature of this theory, and the emotional attachment to it displayed by DM-fans -- and Marx's own words about religious alienation and the need for consolation (see below) --, Trotsky's semi-religious fervour, his emotional attachment to the dialectic, and his irrationalism become much easier to understand.

    The accuracy of Novack's memory is supported by the following comment of Trotsky's:

    "...It would not be amiss, therefore, to refer to the fact that my first serious conversation with comrades Shachtman and Warde, in the train immediately after my arrival in Mexico in January 1937, was devoted to the necessity of persistently propagating dialectic materialism. After our American section split from the Socialist Party I insisted most strongly on the earliest possible publication of a theoretical organ, having again in mind the need to educate the party, first and foremost its new members, in the spirit of dialectic materialism. In the United States, I wrote at that time, where the bourgeoisie systematically in stills (sic) vulgar empiricism in the workers, more than anywhere else is it necessary to speed the elevation of the movement to a proper theoretical level. On January 20, 1939, I wrote to comrade Shachtman concerning his joint article with comrade Burnham, 'Intellectuals in Retreat':

    'The section on the dialectic is the greatest blow that you, personally, as the editor of the New International could have delivered to Marxist theory.... Good. We will speak about it publicly.'

    "Thus a year ago I gave open notice in advance to Shachtman that I intended to wage a public struggle against his eclectic tendencies. At that time there was no talk whatever of the coming opposition; in any case furthest from my mind was the supposition that the philosophic bloc against Marxism prepared the ground for a political bloc against the program of the Fourth International." [Trotsky (1971), p.142. Bold emphases added.]
    And further support comes from Max Eastman's testimony:

    "Like many great men I have met he [Trotsky] does not seem altogether robust. There is apt to be a frailty associated with great intellect. At any rate, Trotsky, especially in our heated arguments concerning the 'dialectic' in which he becomes excited and wrathful to the point of losing his breath, seems to me at times almost weak. He cannot laugh at my attacks on his philosophy, or be curious about them -- as I imagine Lenin would -- because in that field he is not secure....

    "...Yesterday we reached a point of tension in our argument about dialectics that was extreme. Trotsky's throat was throbbing and his face was red; he was in a rage...." [Eastman (1942), p.113.]
    Anyone who has discussed dialectics face-to-face with certain leading comrades alive today (whose names I will not divulge, to save their blushes), or on the internet (say at RevLeft) and who has challenged this 'theory', will no doubt recognise in the above something all too familiar: the highly emotive and irrational response one gets from dialecticians when the source of their 'opiate' is attacked. [This follows my own experience, recorded elsewhere at my site.]

    However, Eastman is surely wrong about Lenin; anyone who reads Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, for example, can see how irrational he, too, was in this area. [On this see, Essay Thirteen Part One.]

    Faith in this theory is not confined to the past; here is part of the Preface to the new edition of RIRE [Reason In Revolt, published in the summer of 2007]:

    "Ted Grant was an incorrigible optimist all his life. Marxists are optimistic by their very nature because of two things: the philosophy of dialectical materialism, and our faith in the working class and the socialist future of humanity. Most people look only at the surface of the events that shape their lives and determine their destiny. Dialectics teaches one to look beyond the immediate, to penetrate beyond the appearance of stability and calm, and to see the seething contradictions and ceaseless movement that lies beneath the surface. The idea of constant change, in which sooner or later everything changes into its opposite enables a Marxist to rise above the immediate situation and to see the broader picture." [Rob Sewell, quoted from here. Bold emphases added.]
    It looks, therefore, like this rather low grade opiate is continuing to do its job, finding new pushers and yet more junkies by the week.

    Nevertheless, for all their differences, Trotsky and Stalin both loved the 'dialectic'.

    Ethan Pollock records a revealing incident in the Kremlin just after the end of World War Two:

    "In late December 1946 Joseph Stalin called a meeting of high-level Communist Party personnel.... The opening salvos of the Cold War had already been launched. Earlier in the year Winston Churchill had warned of an iron curtain dividing Europe. Disputes about the political future of Germany, the presence of Soviet troops in Iran, and proposals to control atomic weapons had all contributed to growing tensions between the United States and the USSR. Inside the Soviet Union the devastating effects of the Second World War were painfully obvious: cities remained bombed out and unreconstructed; famine laid waste to the countryside, with millions dying of starvation and many millions more malnourished. All this makes one of the agenda items for the Kremlin meeting surprising: Stalin wanted to discuss the recent prizewinning book History of Western European Philosophy [by Georgii Aleksandrov -- RL]. [Pollock (2006), p.15. Bold emphasis added.]
    Pollock then outlines the problems Aleksandrov had experienced over his interpretation of the foreign (i.e., German) roots of DM in an earlier work, and how he had been criticised for not emphasising the "reactionary and bourgeois" nature of the work of German Philosophers like Kant, Fichte and Hegel --, in view of the fight against Fascism (when, of course, during the Hitler-Stalin pact a few years earlier, the opposite line had been peddled). Pollock also describes the detailed and lengthy discussions the Central Committee devoted to Aleksandrov's previous work years earlier at the height of the war against the Nazis!

    It is revealing, therefore, to note that Stalin and his henchmen considered DM to be so important that other more pressing matters could be shelved or delayed in order to make way for discussion about it. In this, of course, Stalin was in total agreement with Trotsky and other leading Dialectical Marxists.

    Once more, Marx's comments about religious consolation (see below) make abundantly clear why this is so.

    We can see something similar occurring in the case of Nikolai Bukharin. Anyone who reads Philosophical Arabesques [Bukharin (2005)] will be struck by the semi-religious fervour with which he defends dialectics. In view of Bukharin's serious predicament, this is hardly surprising. But it is nonetheless revealing, since it confirms much of the above: this theory holds the dialectical personality together even in the face of death.

    The old saying, "There are no atheists in a foxhole", may be incorrect, but it looks like there might not have been many anti-dialecticians in the Lubyanka waiting on Stalin's mercy. Even hard-headed dialecticians need some form of consolation.

    As Helena Sheehan notes in her introduction:

    "Perhaps the most remarkable thing about his text is that it was written at all. Condemned not by an enemy but by his own comrades, seeing what had been so magnificently created being so catastrophically destroyed, undergoing shattering interrogations, how was he not totally debilitated by despair? Where did this author get the strength, the composure, the faith in the future that was necessary to write this treatise of Philosophy, this passionate defense of the intellectual tradition of Marxism and the political project of socialist construction?

    "Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin was a tragic true believer...." [Sheehan (2005), pp.7-8. Bold emphases added.]
    Once again, Marx, I think, had the answer:

    "Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again.... Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d'honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification....

    "...Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions...." [Bold emphases added.]
    [Substitute "dialectics" for "religion" in the above to see the point.]

    The fact that this doomed comrade chose to spend his last weeks and days expounding and defending this Hermetic theory (albeit, one that had been given a bogus materialist flip) -- pleading with Stalin not to destroy this work --, just about says it all.
    References and more details here:

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rosa.l/page%2009_02.htm
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    BTB:

    Rosa appears to take objection to dialectics on the basis that it helps to sustain our revolutionary optimism.

    Is she correct in stating that it is adherence to dialectics which sustains our optimism or are their other sources?

    Meanwhile, what is the alternative to "faith in humanity and its socialist future," apart from just throwing in the towel?
    There is nothing wrong with 'faith in humanity'; the problem you mystics have is that you need faith in a mysterious process that not one of you can explain, as a substitute.

    This creed also helps separate you all from humanity (since they plainly do not 'understand' dialectics, even if they have ever heard of it), because it helps 'confirm' your allegedly central role in history, and thus your presumed superiority (as philosophical prophets) over the mass of the dialectically-ignorant, thus providing the ideological 'justification' for substitutionism. [In fact, dialectics is the ideology of substitutionist layers in revolutionary socialism -- hence its appeal to petty-bourgeois theorists like Engels, Lenin and Trotsky.]

    And, as with theologians, anyone who disagrees is simply said not to 'understand dialectics'.

    But, since no one understands this dogma (and just like the Christian Trinity, which also arose from ancient Greek Neo-Platonist swamp as 'the dialectic'), this accusation can be thrown at anyone and everyone. So, when it comes down to specifics, you all disagree among yourselves. The Stalinists and Maoists accuse each other of 'not understanding' the dialectic, and they accuse us Trots of the same 'crime'. We accuse them in return, just as each of the many hundreds of Trotskyists sects accuse one another of not 'understanding' the dialectic.

    Proof of all this can be found here:

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rosa.l/page%2009_02.htm

    [Use the 'Quick Links' to go to section (7): Case Studies. Most of the evidence can be found in the End Notes.]
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    R:
    There is nothing wrong with 'faith in humanity'; the problem you mystics have is that you need faith in a mysterious process that not one of you can explain, as a substitute.
    Not at all. There is no mysterious process. If a belief in the dialectical view of history sustains our optimism it has nothing to do with Engels 3 laws or any of Hegel's tortuous logic.

    The dialectic view of history establishes two scientific truths:

    1. That all modes of production are historically transient.

    2. That human societies change on the basis of human praxis.

    These are the two insights which give us hope that whatever reversals we face in the present, as long as the proletariat continues to exist, the overthrow of this rotten system is always possible in the future.
    "Events have their own logic, even when human beings do not." - Rosa Luxemburg

    "There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen." - Lenin

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    BTB:

    Not at all. There is no mysterious process. If a belief in the dialectical view of history sustains our optimism it has nothing to do with Engels 3 laws or any of Hegel's tortuous logic.
    In that case, you must reject the use of 'contradiction', 'unity of opposites' and 'negation of the negation' -- all of which appear in Das Kapital

    Let's see you get this 'Revisionist' view of yours past your fellow members of the 'Dialectical Materialist' group.

    [And before you say it, I reject these terms anyway; but it would be interesting to see if you do.]

    The dialectic view of history establishes two scientific truths:

    1. That all modes of production are historically transient.

    2. That human societies change on the basis of human praxis.
    This is Historical Materialism, not 'Materialist Dialectics', and it is certainly not what Engels, Lenin or Trotsky meant by 'dialectics'.

    These are the two insights which give us hope that whatever reversals we face in the present, as long as the proletariat continues to exist, the overthrow of this rotten system is always possible in the future.
    Maybe so, but it still ain't 'dialectics'.
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    R:
    In that case, you must reject the use of 'contradiction', 'unity of opposites' and 'negation of the negation' -- all of which appear in Das Kapital
    No, I'm merely arguing that it is not the formulae proffered to capture general patterns of change which is the component which sustains our optimism, but the general spirit of the dialectical view.

    Meanwhile, no I don't reject the concept of contradiction driving social change which we find all over Das Kapital; I merely restrict its usage to the social.

    This is Historical Materialism, not 'Materialist Dialectics', and it is certainly not what Engels, Lenin or Trotsky meant by 'dialectics'.
    It most certainly is.
    "Events have their own logic, even when human beings do not." - Rosa Luxemburg

    "There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen." - Lenin

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    BTB:

    No, I'm merely arguing that it is not the formulae proffered to capture general patterns of change which is the component which sustains our optimism, but the general spirit of the dialectical view.
    What 'general spirit' of 'the dialectical view' are you talking about? Without change through 'internal contradiction' (but see below), based on the 'unity and interpenetration of polar opposites', guided by the 'negation of the negation' and the transformation of 'quantity into quality' (all of which terms appear in Das Kapital, which jargon I claim Marx's was using non-seriously, to which allegation you took great exception), there is no 'dialectic' as the 'great dialecticians' (including Tony Cliff) understood this 'theory'.

    Now, it's all the same to me if you have resiled from your earlier unwise acceptance of this mystical creed under my relentless attack, but at least have the decency to admit that your 'spirit of the dialectic' is little more than a ghostly apparition hovering over what is left of its dead and decaying corpse.

    Meanwhile, no I don't reject the concept of contradiction driving social change which we find all over Das Kapital; I merely restrict its usage to the social.
    In that case, you must reject the 'unity and interpenetration of polar opposites' (and thus the thesis that the proletariat is the dialectical 'opposite' of the capitalist class), the 'negation of the negation' (a term that also appears in Das Kapital) and the alleged transformation of 'quantity into quality' (ditto).

    Unless, like me, you think that Marx was using these obscure terms non-seriously.

    If so, on what basis do you think he was using 'contradiction' in a non-'coquettish' manner?

    It strikes me that you are uncomfortably like those theologians who look at the miracles of the Bible (and the rest of the rubbish that book contains), and then at modern science, shrug their shoulders and just appeal to the 'spirit' of the 'good book', cherry-picking which bits they find acceptable, not realising that in adopting such an intellectually bankrupt compromise, the game is up.

    As I said, try running your 'revisionist' ghost of a theory past your fellow coven-hounds in the Dialectical Materialist Group. You will soon be subject to the same sort of abuse and emotive response that has been directed at yours truly.

    It most certainly is.
    Indeed, but it is not 'dialectics' as Engels, Plekhanov, Lenin, Trotsky, Tony Cliff, Chris Harman, Alex Callinicos..., understand it.

    In fact, it is about as accurate to describe your ghostly theory as 'dialectics' as it is to call Tony Blair a 'socialist'.
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    What 'general spirit' of 'the dialectical view' are you talking about?
    I'm referring to the "spirit" rather than the "letter". I'm referring to the rational kernel which lies at the heart of the methodological approach used by Marxists. And just because I appeal to the "spirit" does not mean I necessarily reject the "letter" so the rest of your post, which is an attempt to put words in my mouth and force me into a corner is irrelevant.

    Meanwhile, why don't you answer the question of this thread: if a sin of dialectics is that it maintains our revolutionary optimism, what would be your corrective?
    "Events have their own logic, even when human beings do not." - Rosa Luxemburg

    "There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen." - Lenin

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    BTB (after a half-dozen reminders):

    I'm referring to the "spirit" rather than the "letter". I'm referring to the rational kernel which lies at the heart of the methodological approach used by Marxists. And just because I appeal to the "spirit" does not mean I necessarily reject the "letter" so the rest of your post, which is an attempt to put words in my mouth and force me into a corner is irrelevant.
    But, your 'spirit' resembles dialectics about as much as Blair resembles a socialist, as I pointed out. It certainly bears no relation to dialectics as Engels, Plekhanov, Lenin, Trotsky, Cliff (whom you called a great dialectician), Harman, Callinicos..., understand it, nor to this 'theory' as it is accepted by the members of your coven -- the DM group.

    In fact, if you run your 'spirit of the dialectic' past them, you'll get the same sort of abuse I get.

    Meanwhile, why don't you answer the question of this thread: if a sin of dialectics is that it maintains our revolutionary optimism, what would be your corrective?
    Nothing at all. If you need something to 'keep you going', then you are always going to be ripe for this:

    Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again.... Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d'honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification....

    ...Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions.... [Bold emphases added.]
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    Rosa, you keep moving the goal posts- what ACCORDING TO YOU is a concise summary of the dialectics shared by Marx, Engels, Lenin and the majority of Marxists that endorse dialectics?
    "We stand with great emotion before the millions who gave their lives for the world communist movement, the invincible revolutionaries of the heroic proletarian history, before the uprisings of working men and women and poor farmers – the mass creators of history.

    Their example vindicates human existence."

    - from 'Statement of the Central Committee of the KKE (On the 90th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia 1917)'
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    Cummanach:

    Rosa, you keep moving the goal posts-
    You've no room to talk. For example, I quoted a whole page of passages from the dialectical classics that showed that the dialectical prophets believed that things changed into their opposites and also struggled with them, in order to show that this 'theory' makes change impossible -- but you re-interpreted/sanitised the awkward passages as 'metaphorical;' and then introduced a new word of your own, 'overwhelmed'.

    what ACCORDING TO YOU is a concise summary of the dialectics shared by Marx, Engels, Lenin and the majority of Marxists that endorse dialectics?
    You can find several in the bibliography I prepared for Random Precision, over at the Dialectical Coven:

    http://www.revleft.com/vb/group.php?...cussionid=1172

    [Except, of course, that Marx rejected this Hermetic 'theory'.]
  16. #14
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    In another thread in the philosophy forum:

    http://www.revleft.com/vb/showpost.p...6&postcount=24

    Rosa appears to take objection to dialectics on the basis that it helps to sustain our revolutionary optimism.

    Is she correct in stating that it is adherence to dialectics which sustains our optimism or are their other sources?
    Like religion, dialectics is used to sustain one feeling or another. No one is claiming that it is the sole source, but it certainly plays a large role.

    Meanwhile, what is the alternative to "faith in humanity and its socialist future," apart from just throwing in the towel?

    Discuss.
    Abandoning dialectics is by no stretch of the imagination "throwing in the towel," though it may appear that way to a dialectician. In fact, abandoning dialectics appears to be a honing of one's understanding, a 'making sharper the blade' by removing excess and unnecessary components. There may be aspects of those components which we enjoy and find encouraging, but true courage comes from being able to shed that which is not necessary.

    As a historical materialist, shedding unnecessary theoretical baggage is of up-most importance when we consider that it is our responsibility to communicate revolutionary leftism to the working class - we should like it to be as simple and coherent as possible, no?

    - August
    If we have no business with the construction of the future or with organizing it for all time, there can still be no doubt about the task confronting us at present: the ruthless criticism of the existing order, ruthless in that it will shrink neither from its own discoveries, nor from conflict with the powers that be.
    - Karl Marx
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  18. #15
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    What revolution?
    It'll never fucking happen because the masses are happy and always will be with western goverment. That is my opinion because you cannot rely on the masses when the masses couldnt give two fucks about a thing.
    However, that does not mean there can't be a revolutionary movement or change of some kind, and in my oppinon that can only be taken in 'baby steps'. You cant run a revolution if you cant walk a change (sounds cheesey, sorry).
    How many years have you lefties (no offence) been chatting away about this revolution? what the fuck has changed?
    I beleive in somthing along the lines of a seperate society inside this one, through open houses, communes, squatting and the like, and eventually, once people see our movement prosper, it will spread, and the people left behind can live their pointless bullshit lives with their heads up their arse.
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    What revolution?
    It'll never fucking happen because the masses are happy and always will be with western goverment. That is my opinion because you cannot rely on the masses when the masses couldnt give two fucks about a thing.
    However, that does not mean there can't be a revolutionary movement or change of some kind, and in my oppinon that can only be taken in 'baby steps'. You cant run a revolution if you cant walk a change (sounds cheesey, sorry).
    How many years have you lefties (no offence) been chatting away about this revolution? what the fuck has changed?
    I beleive in somthing along the lines of a seperate society inside this one, through open houses, communes, squatting and the like, and eventually, once people see our movement prosper, it will spread, and the people left behind can live their pointless bullshit lives with their heads up their arse.
    Cool story bro.
  20. #17
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    What revolution?
    It'll never fucking happen because the masses are happy and always will be with western goverment. That is my opinion because you cannot rely on the masses when the masses couldnt give two fucks about a thing.
    You have no idea what you are talking about, history and the situation in greece and a couple of other countries is in total disagreement with you.

    However, that does not mean there can't be a revolutionary movement or change of some kind, and in my oppinon that can only be taken in 'baby steps'. You cant run a revolution if you cant walk a change (sounds cheesey, sorry).
    um ok..

    How many years have you lefties (no offence) been chatting away about this revolution? what the fuck has changed?
    I beleive in somthing along the lines of a seperate society inside this one, through open houses, communes, squatting and the like, and eventually, once people see our movement prosper, it will spread, and the people left behind can live their pointless bullshit lives with their heads up their arse.
    Fraid not.
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  22. #18
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    You have no idea what you are talking about, history and the situation in greece and a couple of other countries is in total disagreement with you.
    Im afriad i do. I do agree the greek people and the french people no how to stand up and say 'fuck off'.... but in the UK? We even dont care when coppers kill innocent people, Jean Charles De Menezes? Ian Thomlinson? amongst countless others? I still see no change. They say 'dont smoke' and we dont smoke in pubs. They raise taxes and give banks more millions? I see no change? And dont say G20 protests because it changed nothing.
    Where i live is PRIME EXAMPLE of how soft as shit we are, there is OBVIOUS corruption in local politics, and the amount of yuppy flats built without planning permission (well fixed permission, but 100% local opposition), did anyone do anything? no... and fuck me the amount of RACISTS FUCKERS there are about, still in this day and age. People are to scared, and if you dont see that, where the fuck is your head?
    You rely on these people who couldnt give to fucks? whats up with you?

    um ok..
    Yea it is ok, because i want no part of this sick society.

    Fraid not.
    Fraid so, what have you done to further revolution? What have any of us done?
    Are we all meeting up to discuss tactics? Are we putting funds together to get the infomation out there? Any pirate radio stations, or tv stations to let the truth be known?
    Where's all that? Anywhere? NO! Cos its 'talk talk talk talk talk', no action.
    Go ahead, deny it. In the UK, and US, what is there? Except the odd small action.
    Even iff all of us here, and all the other like minded people across UK and US stood up, it would be a fart in the wind. Because WE ARE MINORITIES!
    So either carry on down the road to no where, or just opt out of it and tell the system and the supporters of the system to bollocks.
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    Im afriad i do. I do agree the greek people and the french people no how to stand up and say 'fuck off'.... but in the UK? We even dont care when coppers kill innocent people, Jean Charles De Menezes? Ian Thomlinson? amongst countless others? I still see no change. They say 'dont smoke' and we dont smoke in pubs. They raise taxes and give banks more millions? I see no change? And dont say G20 protests because it changed nothing.
    Where i live is PRIME EXAMPLE of how soft as shit we are, there is OBVIOUS corruption in local politics, and the amount of yuppy flats built without planning permission (well fixed permission, but 100% local opposition), did anyone do anything? no... and fuck me the amount of RACISTS FUCKERS there are about, still in this day and age. People are to scared, and if you dont see that, where the fuck is your head?
    You rely on these people who couldnt give to fucks? whats up with you?
    You really seem to complain a lot.


    Yea it is ok, because i want no part of this sick society.
    Neither does anyone else, yet is impossible to change society by alienating yourself from it. So too bad.


    Fraid so, what have you done to further revolution? What have any of us done?
    Are we all meeting up to discuss tactics? Are we putting funds together to get the infomation out there? Any pirate radio stations, or tv stations to let the truth be known?
    Where's all that? Anywhere? NO! Cos its 'talk talk talk talk talk', no action.
    Go ahead, deny it. In the UK, and US, what is there? Except the odd small action.
    Even iff all of us here, and all the other like minded people across UK and US stood up, it would be a fart in the wind. Because WE ARE MINORITIES!
    So either carry on down the road to no where, or just opt out of it and tell the system and the supporters of the system to bollocks.
    What the fuck are you on about? Who are you to accuse anyone else of not doing anything?

    Frankly, you sound like an idiot who is fed up with society, but doesn't know how, or doesn't want to change it. Maybe if you were to offer your opinions on how to work towards socialism (instead of ranting on about pirate radio stations) then you could get somewhere.
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    Like religion, dialectics is used to sustain one feeling or another.
    - August
    Aesthetic theory, or any normative theory, is used to sustain one feeling or another. This does not mean it is reducible to the status of a religion. So what is your point, except to damn dialectics, by association with religion, as inherently irrational, in place of providing a substantive argument to that effect (and thereby reproducing Rosa's intent and tactic)?

    No one is claiming that it is the sole source, but it certainly plays a large role.
    The question is what that role is. Rosa implies that it is through fostering illusion, hence her association with religious consolation.

    I've already stated that if dialectics provides us with a source for sustaining revolutionary optimism it is through a number of normative assumptions about the social world which are open to evidential analysis. In other words, it is not sustained through illusion or through 'faith', but through analysis of the facts. Is this how religious consolation is produced within theistic systems?

    Abandoning dialectics is by no stretch of the imagination "throwing in the towel," though it may appear that way to a dialectician.
    The question I posed is based on Rosa's apparent disregard for having a means of sustaining revolutionary optimism - again because she views it as having roots in a mystical view and therefore "revolutionary optimism" becomes, in her eyes, as degraded as "religious consolation".

    In fact, abandoning dialectics appears to be a honing of one's understanding, a 'making sharper the blade' by removing excess and unnecessary components.
    It may appear that way to an anti-dialectician.

    There may be aspects of those components which we enjoy and find encouraging, but true courage comes from being able to shed that which is not necessary.
    I agree. The question I would ask is how we decide what is necessary from what is unnecessary. From my point of view, as I understand dialectics, to deny that the social world is dialectical is to deny that it is historically emergent and develops through the unfolding of necessary and primary relations which give it a certain logic. In other words, it is to deny the key arguments of Das Kapital. So from that point of view, I think dialectics is very necessary.

    As a historical materialist, shedding unnecessary theoretical baggage is of up-most importance when we consider that it is our responsibility to communicate revolutionary leftism to the working class - we should like it to be as simple and coherent as possible, no?
    Well, comrade, I'm not too sure how much real world activity you have experienced amongst Marxists, but the quaint scenario that we spend our time talking to workers about dialectics is a polemical fantasy conjured up by Rosa Lichtenstein. You may also have noticed that the majority times dialectics is discussed on RevLeft is when she incites it.
    "Events have their own logic, even when human beings do not." - Rosa Luxemburg

    "There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen." - Lenin

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