Thread: A question on totality

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  1. #1
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    Default A question on totality

    Did Lenin have a dialectical inspiration for applying the unity of politics and organization to the relationship between the party and the state (totality)?

    [I ask this because of the "degeneration" of the party into an appendage of the emerging "no-party state," and given Lenin's suggestion for a CC-independent Central Control Commission in 1923.]
    Last edited by Die Neue Zeit; 2nd February 2008 at 18:22.
    "A new centrist project does not have to repeat these mistakes. Nobody in this topic is advocating a carbon copy of the Second International (which again was only partly centrist)." (Tjis, class-struggle anarchist)

    "A centrist strategy is based on patience, and building a movement or party or party-movement through deploying various instruments, which I think should include: workplace organising, housing struggles [...] and social services [...] and a range of other activities such as sports and culture. These are recruitment and retention tools that allow for a platform for political education." (Tim Cornelis, left-communist)
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    Who can say? Lenin's ideas on dialectics make about as much sense as the Jabberwocky:

    `Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

    [FONT=Times New Roman]"Beware the Jabberwock, my son![/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman]The jaws that bite, the claws that catch![/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman]Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun[/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman]The frumious Bandersnatch!"[/FONT]

    [FONT=Times New Roman]He took his vorpal sword in hand:[/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman]Long time the manxome foe he sought --[/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman]So rested he by the Tumtum tree,[/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman]And stood awhile in thought.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Times New Roman]And, as in uffish thought he stood,[/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman]The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,[/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman]Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,[/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman]And burbled as it came![/FONT]

    [FONT=Times New Roman]One, two! One, two! And through and through[/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman]The vorpal blade went snicker-snack![/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman]He left it dead, and with its head[/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman]He went galumphing back.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Times New Roman]"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?[/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman]Come to my arms, my beamish boy![/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman]O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'[/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman]He chortled in his joy.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Times New Roman]`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves[/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman]Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;[/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman]All mimsy were the borogoves,[/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman]And the mome raths outgrabe. [/FONT]
    http://www.jabberwocky.com/carroll/j...bberwocky.html
  3. #3
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    And, I have demolished dialecticians' ideas on the 'Totality' (what few there are) here:

    [FONT=Times New Roman]http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rosa.l/page%2011_01.htm[/FONT]
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    I doubt that there is much to be learnt from reflecting on Lenin's conception of totality in order to understand his 1922-23 views on the programme necessary to reform the workers state.

    I do think that implicit in the idea of the workers inspectorate is a whole model of the NEP state as a forum in which workers would constantly decide the extent to which capital would be allowed to circulate in pursuit of profit and the extent to which the power of the state would be used to contain and control capital.

    I dont think Lenin believed the party could do this, or should do this. In many ways this is implicit in his views in the trade union controversy during which Trotsky's underlying error was to place excessive trust in the capacity of the party to act as a guiding vanguard.
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    ^^^ I don't know what to say, other than:

    1) Whoa (please elaborate more on this, even in the Philosophy forum)!
    2) Do you think this is somewhat related to the material in this other thread regarding the separation of the party from state administration?

    As for Trotsky's "excessive trust" in the party, you're getting me to think about a potentially heavy theoretical rant against Trotsky once my user group gets going.



    In any event, I was actually referring to the integration of the party and the state during the civil war and a possible relationship with the earlier material on political and organizational unity in the party. The 1922-23 stuff that I mentioned was merely an afterthought (if the integration was based on "totality," then Lenin retreated from his "dialectical application" in 1922-23).
    Last edited by Die Neue Zeit; 2nd February 2008 at 18:18.
    "A new centrist project does not have to repeat these mistakes. Nobody in this topic is advocating a carbon copy of the Second International (which again was only partly centrist)." (Tjis, class-struggle anarchist)

    "A centrist strategy is based on patience, and building a movement or party or party-movement through deploying various instruments, which I think should include: workplace organising, housing struggles [...] and social services [...] and a range of other activities such as sports and culture. These are recruitment and retention tools that allow for a platform for political education." (Tim Cornelis, left-communist)
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    What is "dialectical inspiration"?
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    Yeah, as I said, I just dont see the link between this and Lenin's dialectical methodology. One could argue against someone (like Bukharin) who tried to generalise from the War Communism experience into a wrong theory of the workers state that such a person lacked the dialectical methodology which could be used to integrate support for War Communism with support for a very different type of State once the CiviL War was over. (Lenin effectively made such a comment about Bukharin) However, you would have to say that without the slightest consciousness of dialectical methodology one could take exactly the flexible approach Lenin took.
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    In short, dialectics is useless, then...
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    ^^^ I think that gilhyle and I have "lost you," especially one who emphasizes historical materialism.
    "A new centrist project does not have to repeat these mistakes. Nobody in this topic is advocating a carbon copy of the Second International (which again was only partly centrist)." (Tjis, class-struggle anarchist)

    "A centrist strategy is based on patience, and building a movement or party or party-movement through deploying various instruments, which I think should include: workplace organising, housing struggles [...] and social services [...] and a range of other activities such as sports and culture. These are recruitment and retention tools that allow for a platform for political education." (Tim Cornelis, left-communist)
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    Did Lenin have a dialectical inspiration for applying the unity of politics and organization to the relationship between the party and the state (totality)?
    Is that what Totality is?
    Workers of the World Unite.

    Fuck college, go to work and organise!!
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    Who can say? Lenin's ideas on dialectics make about as much sense as the Jabberwocky:


    Not sure wether Lenin took LSD, Rosa.
    Workers of the World Unite.

    Fuck college, go to work and organise!!
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    DJF: No, he merely read Hegel, which is worse...

    Is that what Totality is?
    Nobody knows what it is -- it's like 'god': a mystery.

    [FONT=Times New Roman][FONT='Times New Roman']http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rosa.l/page%2011_01.htm[/FONT][/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman][/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][/FONT]
    Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein; 3rd February 2008 at 18:15.
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    'Totality' is an out-dated (but still semi-useful concept). See Sartre's 'totalization' as a better concept (it is essentially the same understanding of multiplicity but as a process rather than a mere thing). So when we're talking about the 'unity of politics and organization' we're really talking about the process of organizing politics and politicizing organization. So if we're talking about a parallel process in party-state relations then we're talking about partyizing the state and statification of the party.



    Even without the Stalin induced nightmares this would be a scare idea. So even if Lenin was suggesting a correlationary process he must be wrong. But in Lenin's defense he hadn't yet seen the full effect of the partification of the state and was pushing up daises long before the statification of the party. The reason why? The bureaucratic sludge that appears as a by-product of this process rots everything. The bureaucracy is practico-inert, anti-cathartic, what-have-you—simply, they're up to no good!
    "We are now becoming a mass party all at once, changing abruptly to an open organisation, and it is inevitable that we shall be joined by many who are inconsistent (from the Marxist standpoint), perhaps we shall be joined even by some Christian elements, and even by some mystics. We have sound stomachs and we are rock-like Marxists. We shall digest those inconsistent elements. Freedom of thought and freedom of criticism within the Party will never make us forget about the freedom of organising people into those voluntary associations known as parties."
    --Lenin
    Socialist Party (Debs Tendency)
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    But, Hop, no one seems to know what it is -- or whether their own vague ideas about the 'Totality' refer to the same 'Totality' as anyone else's.

    As I noted: this is exactly the same identification problem the world's religions have. Are they referring to the same deity, or not (and how might we decide)?

    That is why those who believe in this 'Totality' are best called mystics.

    Small wonder then that they got this notion from Hegel and mystical Christianity:

    http://www.marxists.org/reference/su...s/en/magee.htm

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=N...with-thumbnail
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    This is what Magee has to say, in the book to which I linked above:

    "Another parallel between Hermeticism and Hegel is the doctrine of internal relations. For the Hermeticists, the cosmos is not a loosely connected, or to use Hegelian language, externally related set of particulars. Rather, everything in the cosmos is internally related, bound up with everything else.... This principle is most clearly expressed in the so-called Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, which begins with the famous lines "As above, so below." This maxim became the central tenet of Western occultism, for it laid the basis for a doctrine of the unity of the cosmos through sympathies and correspondences between its various levels. The most important implication of this doctrine is the idea that man is the[FONT=Trebuchet MS] microcosm, in which the whole of the macrocosm is reflected.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Trebuchet MS]"...The universe is an internally related whole pervaded by cosmic energies." [Magee (2001), p.13.][/FONT]
    Much of this book can be read at Google Books (linked above, too).
    Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein; 3rd February 2008 at 18:56.
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    'Totality' is an out-dated (but still semi-useful concept). See Sartre's 'totalization' as a better concept (it is essentially the same understanding of multiplicity but as a process rather than a mere thing). So when we're talking about the 'unity of politics and organization' we're really talking about the process of organizing politics and politicizing organization. So if we're talking about a parallel process in party-state relations then we're talking about partyizing the state and statification of the party.



    Even without the Stalin induced nightmares this would be a scare idea. So even if Lenin was suggesting a correlationary process he must be wrong. But in Lenin's defense he hadn't yet seen the full effect of the partification of the state and was pushing up daises long before the statification of the party. The reason why? The bureaucratic sludge that appears as a by-product of this process rots everything. The bureaucracy is practico-inert, anti-cathartic, what-have-you—simply, they're up to no good!
    Thanks for the philosophical insight, I guess.

    The problem with Sartre's stuff, though, is that there wasn't any real "partyizing" of the state. Otherwise, Moshe Lewin wouldn't have written about the "no-party state."
    Last edited by Die Neue Zeit; 3rd February 2008 at 19:19.
    "A new centrist project does not have to repeat these mistakes. Nobody in this topic is advocating a carbon copy of the Second International (which again was only partly centrist)." (Tjis, class-struggle anarchist)

    "A centrist strategy is based on patience, and building a movement or party or party-movement through deploying various instruments, which I think should include: workplace organising, housing struggles [...] and social services [...] and a range of other activities such as sports and culture. These are recruitment and retention tools that allow for a platform for political education." (Tim Cornelis, left-communist)
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    whether their own vague ideas about the 'Totality' refer to the same 'Totality' as anyone else's


    But that's a part of all communications — my concept of a 'book' or 'red' is different from yours. Only contextual (language), historical (situational), perspective (ideological) meanings are commutable. Hence 'totality' will only make sense for in certain language, in certain situation, and from a certain perspective.
    "We are now becoming a mass party all at once, changing abruptly to an open organisation, and it is inevitable that we shall be joined by many who are inconsistent (from the Marxist standpoint), perhaps we shall be joined even by some Christian elements, and even by some mystics. We have sound stomachs and we are rock-like Marxists. We shall digest those inconsistent elements. Freedom of thought and freedom of criticism within the Party will never make us forget about the freedom of organising people into those voluntary associations known as parties."
    --Lenin
    Socialist Party (Debs Tendency)
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    Hop:

    But that's a part of all communications — my concept of a 'book' or 'red' is different from yours. Only contextual (language), historical (situational), perspective (ideological) meanings are commutable. Hence 'totality' will only make sense for in certain language, in certain situation, and from a certain perspective.
    Well, we have ways of determining such things, in the open, in a public domain.

    Moreover, if our concepts of 'book' or 'red' were different, then the same would apply to 'different', and your surmise would be empty of all content.

    What ways are there for determining that theroist A means the same as theorist B over their use of the word 'Totality', especially if no one can tell us what it is?
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    gilhyle (PM):



    Jacob

    Could you do me a favour and post the following on the question about totality thread - the system for some reason wont let me post on that thread (logs me out whenever I go into it) at the moment - happened before and Malte told me it was a problem with my computer. But its weird cos it only happens sometimes on some threads:

    "In conceptualising a thing, an object, we are mobilising a range of concepts of the relationships of that 'thing' to its elements and to what is outside it. Those relations are not incidental to the conceptualisation of the thing - without that mobilisation the thing cannot be conceived. And by the same token, without those relations no such thing could exist - hence its relationships are not contingent or incidental but are necessary to it and essential to its existence. Recognising that, we have before us a conception of a thing-in-relationships which is not just a conception of a thing and its external relations. That distinction is captured by the idea of those relations being 'internal' to the thing and amounting - when conceived with the thing - to the totality (or totalities) within which it exists."
    "A new centrist project does not have to repeat these mistakes. Nobody in this topic is advocating a carbon copy of the Second International (which again was only partly centrist)." (Tjis, class-struggle anarchist)

    "A centrist strategy is based on patience, and building a movement or party or party-movement through deploying various instruments, which I think should include: workplace organising, housing struggles [...] and social services [...] and a range of other activities such as sports and culture. These are recruitment and retention tools that allow for a platform for political education." (Tim Cornelis, left-communist)
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    [FONT=Arial]Gil:[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial][/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial]
    "In conceptualising a thing, an object, we are mobilising a range of concepts of the relationships of that 'thing' to its elements and to what is outside it. Those relations are not incidental to the conceptualisation of the thing - without that mobilisation the thing cannot be conceived. And by the same token, without those relations no such thing could exist - hence its relationships are not contingent or incidental but are necessary to it and essential to its existence. Recognising that, we have before us a conception of a thing-in-relationships which is not just a conception of a thing and its external relations. That distinction is captured by the idea of those relations being 'internal' to the thing and amounting - when conceived with the thing - to the totality (or totalities) within which it exists."
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial][/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial]This looks like yet more a priori dogmatics, and something that should be left scientists to find out, not for philosophers to legislate over.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial][/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial]And, if considered philosophically, it confuses the rules we have for the use of certain words, with the alleged targets of those words. It derives super-truths about all of reality for all of time based solely on the conditions we impose on the meaning of our words[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial][/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial]This is to fetishise language, and it collapses into Linguistic Idealism, in that what had once been the product of the social relations among human beings (language) is transformed and fetishised into an expression of what are now taken to be the real relations between things, or as those things themselves.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial][/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial]In this way, discourse is graced with 'magical' powers, and linguistic megalomania is given a licence to practice, since, from the consideration of the alleged meaning of a few words, super-cosmic truths about everything in reality have been 'derived'.[/FONT]

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