Thread: New materialism: dynamic materialism???

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    Default New materialism: dynamic materialism???

    Maybe it's just my "habit" with words as usual, but I've always found both historical and dialectical materialism at least somewhat deficient.

    With historical materialism, certain aspects of analyzing modern class struggle and modern capitalism cannot be derived from past examples unless there is a direct or indirect appeal to the concept of "totality" (by "indirect," I include even the unintended "totality" appeals of anti-dialectics HM-ists like Rosa). With dialectical materialism, there is the fetish for reductionist binary thinking using fancy words that don't connect with "ordinary workers" to make the thinking sound not so binary.

    Is it time for both of these to be superseded by the "synthetic" dynamic materialism? Notwithstanding the benefit of having less syllables, dynamic-materialist (or dyna-mat, which sounds like "dynamite" ) analysis: surpasses the limits of the "historical" paradigm; explores dynamic relationships, processes, and phenomena (like synergy) beyond the limits of the binary "dialectical" paradigm; and uses words that connect with "ordinary workers."

    Thoughts?
    "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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    I would say that it's not necessary. You don't have to be schooled in dialectics to utilise it's ideas.
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    Maybe it's just my "habit" with words as usual, but I've always found both historical and dialectical materialism at least somewhat deficient.

    With historical materialism, certain aspects of analyzing modern class struggle and modern capitalism cannot be derived from past examples unless there is a direct or indirect appeal to the concept of "totality" (by "indirect," I include even the unintended "totality" appeals of anti-dialectics HM-ists like Rosa). With dialectical materialism, there is the fetish for reductionist binary thinking using fancy words that don't connect with "ordinary workers" to make the thinking sound not so binary.

    Is it time for both of these to be superseded by the "synthetic" dynamic materialism? Notwithstanding the benefit of having less syllables, dynamic-materialist (or dyna-mat, which sounds like "dynamite" ) analysis: surpasses the limits of the "historical" paradigm; explores dynamic relationships, processes, and phenomena (like synergy) beyond the limits of the "dialectical" paradigm; and uses words that connect with "ordinary workers."

    Thoughts?
    Sorry, but I’m completely at a loss as to what you’re getting at.

    You’re using “totality” with quotation marks around it, that doesn’t make it an clearer than talking about totality without the quote marks. So, what do you mean by “totality” (with or without the quotes)?

    Also, once you’ve defined that, why is it that historical materialism cannot explain modern class struggle without reference to this totality?

    While you’re at it, I’m at as much of a loss as to what you mean by “synergy”? As well, how is it that historical materialism cannot explain dynamic (by this I’m assuming you mean changing) relationships, processes, and phenomenon?
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    Sounds interesting, but I am far from comvinced that historical materialism, with a few minor tweakings, can't handle things.
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    thinking using fancy words that don't connect with "ordinary workers"
    and

    I would say that it's not necessary. You don't have to be schooled in dialectics to utilise it's ideas.
    seem linked,

    although i don't posess great knowledge on the subject personally i think Jacob's theory would be a useful way to easily enlighten mass groups of people, when i joined the board i didn't know what DM was although i knew it in all but theory, and had to read up on it,

    'Dyna-mat' (it is fun to use) sounds like a plan if it could be both refined and simplified in terminology, after all the sucess of Lenin ( disregarding the sucesses of those like Trotsky) was in his ability to simply convey complex issues
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    personally i think Jacob's theory would be a useful way to easily enlighten mass groups of people,
    So far, Jacob hasn't come up with a theory, just another one of his neologisms.
    "Events have their own logic, even when human beings do not." - Rosa Luxemburg

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    So far, Jacob hasn't come up with a theory, just another one of his neologisms.
    I, for one, am not for neologisms. Marxism has enough already.
    Eppur si muove -- Galileo Galilei


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    Trivas:

    Marxism has enough already.
    I agree, 'dialectics' being the worst.
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    I agree, 'dialectics' being the worst.
    But 'dialectics' precedes Marx; it isn't a neologism at all.

    With historical materialism, certain aspects of analyzing modern class struggle and modern capitalism cannot be derived from past examples unless there is a direct or indirect appeal to the concept of "totality" (by "indirect," I include even the unintended "totality" appeals of anti-dialectics HM-ists like Rosa).
    But "deriving from past examples" this isn't the essence of analyzing dialectically. Properly understood HM is multisidedly dynamic. Read Marx.

    With dialectical materialism, there is the fetish for reductionist binary thinking using fancy words that don't connect with "ordinary workers" to make the thinking sound not so binary.
    This is true but need not be if understood correctly.
    Last edited by trivas7; 12th June 2008 at 01:02.
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    Trivas:

    But "deriving from past examples" this isn't the essence of analyzing dialectically.
    Indeed, and we know the reason why: there is no such thing as 'analysing dialectically' -- except in so far as comrades weave together incomprehensible jargon, which they then refuse to, or cannot, explain.
    Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein; 5th July 2008 at 05:07.
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    Sorry, but I’m completely at a loss as to what you’re getting at.
    Dia-mat and histo-mat are separate ideas. Apparently, trivas the dialectician said that dia-mat is used for the overall hista-mat analysis.

    Dyna-mat combines aspects of both, and is used for its own overall analysis.

    You’re using “totality” with quotation marks around it, that doesn’t make it an clearer than talking about totality without the quote marks. So, what do you mean by “totality” (with or without the quotes)?
    What is the relationship between a past class struggle and a particular class struggle in the present?

    According to the Hegelian mumbo-jumbo (correct me if I'm wrong, Rosa), "totality" is the sum of all relationships between EVERYTHING, right down to the relationship between Napoleon's hair and Michaelangelo's Last Judgment painting in the Sistine Chapel.

    The problem with the Hegelian concept is that the particular relationship I explained above isn't exactly dynamic, since it deals with mere objects (you'd have to REALLY stretch out your thinking to beyond rational limits, and venture into the world of idealism).

    In dyna-mat, the "totality" is limited to more rational relationships, such as the relationship between a past class struggle and a particular class struggle in the present.

    Case in point: the relationships between the relative lack of class struggle during the formation of the SPD in Germany (the excitement over German unification under Prussian control) and the relative lack of class struggle today.

    This means that the 1912 Bolshevik organizational model is NOT SUITABLE for Marxist organization in the developed world UNTIL a revolutionary situation (otherwise it becomes SECTARIAN), and that something akin to - but not exactly like - the organizational model of the international proletariat's first vanguard party - the SPD - is more appropriate (ie, working with democratic socialists but NOT "social-democrats" within the same organization).

    Also, once you’ve defined that, why is it that historical materialism cannot explain modern class struggle without reference to this totality?

    While you’re at it, I’m at as much of a loss as to what you mean by “synergy”? As well, how is it that historical materialism cannot explain dynamic (by this I’m assuming you mean changing) relationships, processes, and phenomenon?
    http://www.revleft.com/vb/business-a...429/index.html

    "Quantity into quality" isn't the best term to describe this dynamic phenomenon in the business world which affects shareholder value; "synergy" is.

    Because histo-mat, from my POV, looks only at similarities between time-separated relationships, process, and phenomena (I'm not sure if "similarity" applies to the class struggle example I mentioned above, because there is no "unification" process that trumps class struggle in the US at the moment). The dynamic analysis comes in with the differences between such.
    "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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    JR, I don't think even Hegel could tell you if you are right about what he meant by 'Totality', so steeped in Hermetic jargon was his 'Logic'.

    As Glenn Magee notes in his book on this:

    "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 microcosm, in which the whole of the macrocosm is reflected.

    "...The universe is an internally related whole pervaded by cosmic energies." [Magee (2001), p.13.]
    More on that here:

    http://www.marxists.org/reference/su...s/en/magee.htm
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    ^^^ Since you're a defender of histo-mat, please define it briefly for the rest of the readers here.

    It has been argued that the theoretical framework of Sociobiology explains certain facts better than does 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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    Dia-mat and histo-mat are separate ideas. Apparently, trivas the dialectician said that dia-mat is used for the overall hista-mat analysis.

    Dyna-mat combines aspects of both, and is used for its own overall analysis.
    Well, I’ll agree with you that historical materialism and dialectical materialism (sic) are distinct ideas (in as much as the confused ramblings that passes for dialectics can be called an “idea”).

    But my alarm bells start ringing when you talk about combining the two. Since, as you well know, I consider dialectics to be nonsense, I fail to see how combining dialectical materialism and historical materialism would result in an improvement of the latter.

    Perhaps you can state what features of dialectical materialism you consider useful, and explain as well how these features would improve historical materialism.

    What is the relationship between a past class struggle and a particular class struggle in the present?

    According to the Hegelian mumbo-jumbo (correct me if I'm wrong, Rosa), "totality" is the sum of all relationships between EVERYTHING, right down to the relationship between Napoleon's hair and Michaelangelo's Last Judgment painting in the Sistine Chapel.

    The problem with the Hegelian concept is that the particular relationship I explained above isn't exactly dynamic (you'd have to REALLY stretch out your thinking to beyond rational limits, and venture into the world of idealism).

    In dyna-mat, the "totality" is limited to more rational relationships, such as the relationship between a past class struggle and a particular class struggle in the present.
    Alright, if I’m following you correct, I agree with what you say. But to me this doesn’t seem to be anything new or profound, you’re stating the obvious fact that not everything is relevant to a particular analysis (though it might be obvious, it is still worth repeating).

    I think historical materialism, like any science, already does what you suggest. That is, in order to study anything you first need to have a clear demarcation between objects of your study, and those extraneous to your study. In the case of analysing class struggle we can see the clear relevance of looking at past class struggles and their impact on present class struggle. Whereas we cannot do the same with, say, Napoleon’s hairbrush and present class struggle.


    "Quantity into quality" isn't the best term to describe this dynamic phenomenon in the business world; "synergy" is.
    What phenomenon are you talking about here?

    Because histo-mat, from my POV, looks only at similarities between time-separated relationships, process, and phenomena. The dynamic analysis comes in with the differences between such.
    I think that you have a incorrect view of historical materialism. In any science, just as in historical materialism, when you are analyzing data, you not only look for the similarities between things, you also examine the differences, this is what it means to compare something (the expression “compare and contrast” is, in a way, redundant). Marx, when he did engage in historical materialist analysis, very careful not only to discuss similarities between historical events (and from said similarities extrapolate general trends), but, moreover, he placed even greater emphasis on the differences. He paid very careful attention to, for example, the differences between France, the UK, and Germany, and used these differences to account for the differences in the development of capitalism (and the worker’s movement) in said countries.

    In short, I think that historical materialism already does what you are suggesting.
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    ^^^ Since you're a defender of histo-mat, please define it briefly for the rest of the readers here.
    "The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness."—Karl Marx, A Contriution to the Critique of Political Economy

    That, to me, sums up well the central component of historical materialism.
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    Sorry, JR -- no will do.

    1) I do not like short 'definitions' of such complex issues.

    2) It has already largely been done -- for example in Jerry Cohen's book (if you ignore the techological determinism, functionalism, and poor logic), and by Alex Callinicos (with whom I largely agree on this).
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    "The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness."—Karl Marx, A Contriution to the Critique of Political Economy
    What do you think Marx meant by "social existence" here?

    How is this "the central component to historical materialism"?
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    "The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness."—Karl Marx, A Contriution to the Critique of Political Economy

    That, to me, sums up well the central component of historical materialism.
    Yeah, while it is the central component of "the materialist conception of history it is the central component of what I parrot-call "the materialist conception of dynamics."

    Perhaps you can state what features of dialectical materialism you consider useful, and explain as well how these features would improve historical materialism.
    1) Totality (again, within the dynamic constraints I stated above)
    2) The relationship between quantity and quality (but beyond the Hegelian limits and mumbo-jumbo)
    3) The notion of "synthesis" (although in dyna-mat this is a variant of the dyna-mat version of #2)

    Furthermore, stuff like Maslow's hierarchy of needs - which BADLY needs to be integrated into Marxist analysis in the First World countries (you, know, actualization and what not) - can't be covered by either dia-mat or histo-mat.
    "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 do you think Marx meant by "social existence" here?

    How is this "the central component to historical materialism"?
    I’ll put it in plain language: the way people live determines how and what they think. (Of course, Marx, I think, was exercising some poetic licence here, it isn’t quite that simple, there is a feedback look between social existence and how and what people think, since the latter tends to reinforce the former; it should most properly said that historical materialism gives priority to material conditions of people’s livelihood.)

    This is central to historical materialism since it is a rejection of historical idealism, that history is determined by what people think, and that history can be shaped simply by changing people’s minds.
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    It has already largely been done -- for example in Jerry Cohen's book (if you ignore the techological determinism, functionalism, and poor logic), and by Alex Callinicos (with whom I largely agree on this).
    I’m familiar with Cohen, but not Callinicos; can you perhaps recommend something from the latter?

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