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What Is Revisionism?

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Sep 2006, 22:05
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Post 09 Apr 2012, 01:11
JAM wrote:
There is a lot of people confusing Lenin with revisionism. I'll give examples of revisionism to be more clear: Eurocommunism, Socialism with Chinese characteristics, Social-democracy, Juche, Maoism,etc. Why there is such a theory called marxism-leninism and not marxism-leninisn-maoism?

Since when did Marxism-Leninism-Maoism stop being a real thing? Also nice cherry pick of revisions. Lenin revised the stagist conception of history by agreeing with Trosky's side on the October Revolution. He also revised Marx by constituting Socialism as the DOTP when before socialism and communism meant essentially the same thing. There are a few more, and if you're interested go find a council communist to argue with, but revisionism is a good tool when it's not in the hand of opportunists (like everything else).

JAM wrote:
Because Lenin did not denied any element of the marxist theory but rather complemented it with oriented guidelines for revolutionary action (the main role of the revolutionary party for example), unlike others like Mao for instance who changed major marxist theory elements as the leading revolutionary role of the proletariat.

Which is no bigger a change than Socialism in One Country or Stage-jumping. Mao's problem was Mao not his theory.

JAM wrote:
This is adulterating Marxism, this is revisionism. It's not by chance that socialism was successful with Stalin and unsuccessful with Mao. One followed the marxist-leninist mainlines, the other adulterated. I'm just talking about Mao but i could talk about anyone else who adulterated Marxism and the list is too long.

Careful you're starting to sound like a Trot. Upholding one socialist Leader over all the others, while condemning the others for not living up to your Comrade-of-Choice is just as bad as revisionism. Worse so because it often pidgeon-holes you into supporting Imperialist rhetoric.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 09 Mar 2012, 02:37
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Post 09 Apr 2012, 01:52
Dagoth Ur wrote:
Since when did Marxism-Leninism-Maoism stop being a real thing? Also nice cherry pick of revisions. Lenin revised the stagist conception of history by agreeing with Trosky's side on the October Revolution. He also revised Marx by constituting Socialism as the DOTP when before socialism and communism meant essentially the same thing. There are a few more, and if you're interested go find a council communist to argue with, but revisionism is a good tool when it's not in the hand of opportunists (like everything else).


This is the problem when the same subject is debated in more than one topic. I'll give you the same answer that i gave to a similar question:

You are confusing the Lenin's theory with the position that Lenin took in 1917 aligning himself with Trotsky. Lenin the theoretician knew that a capitalist stage was needed before the DOTP, but Lenin the politician in 1917 wanted to take the power from the provisional government because he believed that the russian people was not capable of supporting the war for much longer, the Kerensky government was tearing apart and the tsarists were on its way to regain the power once again. He felt that a socialist revolution was necessary to meet the people needs at that moment before a new tsarist coup. That is why he altered his position. However, he did not changed any Marxist main element. On the other hand, Trotsky was advocating this in theory since the beginning of the century, and that is why i think he was a revisionist and reality proved he was wrong, like all the other revisionists. USSR still had to go through NEP before the DOTP.

As far as the DOTP is concerned Marx said in the Critique of the Gotha Programme:"Between capitalist and communist society lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutonary dictatorship of the proletariat".

So can you see there is no revisionism by Lenin.

Dagoth Ur wrote:
Which is no bigger a change than Socialism in One Country or Stage-jumping. Mao's problem was Mao not his theory.


Wrong once again. Socialism in One Country was meant to be temporary, just like NEP for instance (and pretty much like saved USSR from the collapse too). Stalin always defended revolutions in other countries and when he got the chance to support it he did it. As far as stage-jumping goes I've already answered above.

Dagoth Ur wrote:
Careful you're starting to sound like a Trot. Upholding one socialist Leader over all the others, while condemning the others for not living up to your Comrade-of-Choice is just as bad as revisionism. Worse so because it often pidgeon-holes you into supporting Imperialist rhetoric.


Did I say any lie? Was he the most successful or not? I'll sound like a Trot when i start to tell lies. Once again i'm gonna repeat what i've said in the other topic since the subject is the same:

Stalin was the socialist leader who applied marxism-leninism more rigorously and it's not by chance that he was by far the most successful one. Stalin was not only the most successful socialist leader of all time but he was also one of the most successful leaders of World History. I don't see anyone in History who changed so much a country like Stalin did. From a backward country to a superpower on it's way to put a man in space? Some people don't realize how much Stalin changed Russia. Russia of today is still the Russia Stalin created. That is why despite all the bad propaganda against him he was voted as the greatest russian of all time but a governmental interference prevented him and Lenin from being number one and number two respectively.

He knew the importance of the marxist theory that is why he was so successful. Do I need to compare USSR before Stalin and USSR after Stalin or you know how much it changed?

The one million dollar question is: If with Stalin it worked so well why the others had to do differently? Why Mao opted to do it differently? Why don't we see it as a successful model as it truly was? Why do we continue to believe in western lies like the ones propagated by Conquest and company? Of course he made mistakes, everybody does it. We can look at those mistakes, try to correct them but never deviating from the main course.
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Post 10 Apr 2012, 06:14
Lukacs is quite right because Marx's thesis are not marxism. They are marxism in the 19th century. But this isn't only about method, because you can't explain everything with the method. Most of the time, revisionism is due to a bourgeois distortion of reality.
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Post 11 Apr 2012, 04:04
OP-Bagration wrote:
Lukacs is quite right because Marx's thesis are not marxism. They are marxism in the 19th century. But this isn't only about method, because you can't explain everything with the method.


Well, as tempting as it may be, Marxism isn't a theory of everything, but it is a way of looking critically at reality. You don't use Marxism for everything, but when you do, it is only with this critical, scientific assessment that you get Marxism, that you are carrying out Marxism.

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Most of the time, revisionism is due to a bourgeois distortion of reality.

Indeed, which is why you need to look at the ideological deformations that spawn any given speech.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Sep 2011, 11:23
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Post 14 Apr 2012, 07:02
I quote a nice text about [the essence of] revisionism, in 5 points, by Georg Lukacs from "Lenin: A Study on the Unity of his Thought. Georg Lukacs 1924
[4. Imperialism: World War and Civil War]
"

What, in short, constitutes the essence of Revisionism?

First, that it tries to overcome the ‘one-sidedness’ of historical materialism – in other words, the interpretation of all socio-historic phenomena exclusively from the class standpoint of the proletariat. Revisionism takes the interests of ‘society as a whole’ as its standpoint. But because such a collective interest has no concrete existence – for what can appear as such an interest is only the temporary result of the interaction of different class forces in mutual struggle – the Revisionist takes an ever-changing product of the historical process as a fixed theoretical starting-point. Thus he stands things theoretically on their head as well. In practice he is always essentially a figure of compromise: necessarily so, because of this theoretical starting-point. Revisionism is always eclectic. Even at a theoretical level it tries to blur and blunt class differences, and to make a unity of classes – an upside-down unity which only exists in its own head – the criterion for judging events.

The Revisionist thus in the second place condemns the dialectic. For the dialectic is no more than the conceptual expression of the fact that the development of society is in reality contradictory, and that these contradictions (class contradictions, the antagonistic character of their economic existence, etc.) are the basis and kernel of all events; for in so far as society is built on class divisions, the idea of its ‘unity’ can only be abstract – a perpetually transitory result of the interaction of these contradictions. But because the dialectic as a method is only the theoretical formulation of the fact that society develops by a process of contradictions, in a state of transformation from one contradiction to another, in other words in a revolutionary fashion, theoretical rejection of it necessarily means an essential break with the whole revolutionary standpoint.

Because the Revisionists thus, thirdly, refuse to recognize the real existence of the dialectic, with its contradictory and thereby permanently creative movement, their thought always lacks historical, concrete and creative dimensions. Their reality is subject to schematic and mechanistic ‘eternal, fixed laws’ which continuously – according to their different properties – produce the same phenomena, to which mankind is fatally subjected as it is to natural laws. For Revisionists it is therefore enough to know these laws once and for all in order to know what the fate of the proletariat will be. They consider it unscientific to suppose that there can be new situations not covered by these laws, or situations whose outcome depends on the will of the proletariat. (Over-emphasis on great men or ethics is only the inevitable obverse of this attitude.)

Fourth, however, these laws are seen as the laws of capitalist development, and the emphasis Revisionists put on their supra-historical, timeless validity means that they regard society as the reality which cannot essentially be changed just as much as the bourgeoisie. They no longer regard bourgeois society as historically created and therefore destined to historical decline. Nor do they regard knowledge as a means of recognizing this period of decline and of working for its acceleration, but – at best – as a means of improving the condition of the proletariat within bourgeois society. For Revisionism, all thought which points in a practical way beyond the horizons of bourgeois society is illusory and Utopian.

Revisionism is therefore – fifth – tied to realpolitik. It always sacrifices the genuine interests of the class as a whole, the consistent representation of which is precisely what it calls Utopian, so as to represent the immediate interests of specific groups.


These few remarks alone are enough to make it clear that Revisionism could only become a real current within the labour movement because the new development of capitalism made it temporarily possible for certain groups among the workers to obtain economic advantages from it, and because the organizational structure of the working-class parties ensured these groups and their intellectual representatives greater influence than the instinctively if confusedly revolutionary broad mass of the proletariat.

The common character of all opportunist currents is that they never regard events from the class standpoint of the proletariat and therefore fall victim to an unhistorical, undialectical, and eclectic realpolitik. [...]

Opportunism differs according to the strata of the bourgeoisie with which it tries to unite and in whose support it attempts to enlist the proletariat.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhQKmixO8MA
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Post 15 Apr 2012, 00:42
Dagoth Ur wrote:
There are a few more, and if you're interested go find a council communist to argue with, but revisionism is a good tool when it's not in the hand of opportunists (like everything else).

And how can you exactly tell the one from the other? Revisionism is not merely chosing a different path than what lenin did, actually adjusting to conditions is the essence of the leninist oraganization which is her self dialectic, both producer and product of herself.

For example the main revisions of m-l from chruschovites was the market turn, the "peaceful coexistance, and the "peaceful development" [or whatever you call it, the parliamentary struggle converting capitalism to socialism.
Was that opportunism also? They say so, and I agree, though that "peaceful development" could be an option at the time that imperialist surround would have turned turn to socialist surround. So for this one maybe it's just a false evaluation.

Another example, people's democracy, as Stalin describes it in the Dimitrov's diaries, is a "non DOTP" form of a transitional phase based on the paris commune, and not in the soviet model which is a product of the russian conditions mostly suitable for them... phhhh... that's a whole lotta revisionisms in one phrase lol, and at the time he considered that he could be described as opportunist.. But he was stalin after all. Besides that the parliamentary non soviet Popular democracy sucked.
He also considered the constitutional monarchy as a possible alternative way to socialism. That's a revision too..

Another more "easy" example is Juche. They obviously aren't opportunists..

Is it good is it bad? whose to tell exactly and by which method? So it';s not that easy as "revisionism is a good tool except the case of..."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhQKmixO8MA
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Post 15 Apr 2012, 15:21
Fellow Comrade wrote:
Lenin was a revisionist by any dictionary definition of the world. It's even fair to say he was a revisionist by that silly definition.

What if the fundamental basis of revolutionary theory turns out to be wrong? The theory behind the Great Leap Forward in China for example? It can be and often is. Anti-revisionism using that definition is inherently unscientific, not mention making use of very ambiguous terminology. I'd go as far to say that any form of Marxism which claims to be anti-revisionist is unscientific.


Well, that's the reason why we use Marxist analysis rather than dictionaries. Dictionaries (and encyclopedias) don't always give the full picture. One can't settle every argument by pulling out a dictionary, because the matters that we discuss often take more than these short definitions.

I'm not arguing for increasing the already massive vocabulary of Marxist shibboleths, but like all lines of work, ours also needs some amount of specialist language that we can all understand without having to argue over for ages. You've been around for some time now, and I think you have at least a vague idea of the fact that when we say "revisionism", it obviously doesn't mean "the commonly accepted dictionary definition".

"Revisionism" also occurs in other fields, for instance: historical revisionism. Imagine if every historical debate looked like this:

A: "Blahblahblah."
B: "Well, I think that's just a load of revisionism."
A: "What, so you think the historical narrative should never be changed, even in light of new discoveries? Lol ur funny and unscientific."
B: "Obviously, I mean historical revisionism, which is what you are engaged in."
A: "Yeah whatever, check out this dictionary definition. It clearly says that revisionism means changing stuff. It's the commonly accepted scientific definition. U fail lol."

I agree though that in Marxism, "revisionism" is a rather inexact term. One cannot make a (pseudo-)scientific list of conditions that Khrushchev or Brezhnev needs to satisfy to qualify them as revisionist and therefore inevitably reactionary. For starters, revisionism isn't done consciously. Nobody self-identifies as revisionist. So I think trying to use "anti-revisionism" as an ideology set in stone is doomed to failure, because you're going to have a massive definition problem. For examples, just look at Maoists and Hoxhaists twisting and turning to explain how when one guy does something, it's revisionism, but when the other guy does it, it's just a tactical retreat. And of course I also agree that it's overused in discussions in general.

So does that mean you can't speak of revisionism at all? I don't think so. It's still a good shorthand that can be used to identify the tendency towards depriving Marxism of all its emancipatory effects and reducing it to caricature. Of course, just pointing and shouting "revisionist" is not enough, and you need deeper analysis. But you can't just close your eyes to revisionism or whatever term is appropriate. I said that "anti-revisionism" is overused, but the same goes for actual revisionism under the guise of "adapting to reality" or "being anti-dogmatic".

Then before you know it, whatever ideology you hold becomes a farcical mishmash of completely contradictory ideas, and you get trainwrecks like this:

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http://return2source.wordpress.com/who- ... tk-banner/

This guy would (as a matter of opposing dogmatic anti-revisionism) still support every "development" in China even if they were to abolish the communist party and officially declare themselves capitalist.
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Post 30 Apr 2012, 11:45
That's an amazingly thorough unmasking of revisionism done by Lukacs up there, especially in its explicit genealogical demostration that it is simply opportunism. Thank you so much for posting it.

I was just thinking about this subject, thinking more about Bernstein, and I can try to explain the most common type of revisionism, as it follows:

One of the central tenets of Marxism is that "life determines consciousness". This is what gives it scientific validity and makes it such a radical conception. What this means is that our social practices, our doing, the creation and reproduction of our world (the procuring of the stuff we need) conditions how we view things, how we value them, what we hold to be right, to be natural, to be fair, etc.

This contrasts with utopian socialism, which holds that capitalism, for example, isn't fair, or is wrong. What this assumes is that there is a "neutral" outside view from which you can judge something as "good" or "bad". If life determines consciousness, then any judgment will be conditioned by our real life, our ideas are derived from what we do, where our interests are.

A Marxist won't say that capitalism is "unfair". He or she might say instead that capitalism is against the interests of the proletariat. That is is "wrong" to me, as a proletariat.

So we get that one class, the bourgeois, will uphold certain values as natural, as good, and will work within this horizon in perfecting things it seems as flaws (for example dishonesty, which goes against the model of a perfect market). Another class, a group of people who carry out different actiivities, will increasingly develop its own values about what seems right, or natural or fair, which will more and more become diametrically opposed to that of the first group. Even though they too carry out activities related to the first group and are dominated by them (which means that they will originally share many of the same values), the opposing values will gain more and more prominence as material circumstances differ.

Adding to this, there is the fact that the values of the first group and the establishing of rules that give birth to these values become more and more of an obstacle for the second group as technology advances.

What necessary follows from this is that it is the second group (proletarians) who will finally abolish the values of the first group because they will become a hindrance to them. This, to me, is a basic conclusion we can derive from the most basic of Marx's theses.

What so many revisionist do is to ignore or modify this basic conclusion, that is, they remove the proletariat as the revolutionary agent.

One variatio is that capitalism transitions by "itself" into something superior (or already has) because of its own development, like Bernstein or the postmodernists believe (and since capitalism is the reign of the bourgeoisie, and it still is -I honestly don't know what world they live in-, this means that the bourgeois are the revolutionary agent). They'll never admit that the bourgeoisie are the revolutonary agent, so they will most likely blame "stuff", like technology, or information, or what have you, instead of the people who dominate and determine how things are done.

Another is that "good" bourgeosie (national) helps the proletariat against the "bad" (comprador) borgeoisie in trascending capitalism.

Yet another is that the intellectuals or the students become the revolutionary agent (the revisionism of the new left, or the Frankfurt School). This one is particularly heinous, because it presents a mechanical view where it isn't that life is determing consciousness, but one where because of their knowledge they gain enlightenment and discover the "true state" of things, like there really was a neutral, true world, behind appearances that is not dependent on our social praxis. Descartes would be proud.

Yet another is that the revolutionary agent simply vanishes. Either they forever uphold have a consciousnesss that is NOT determined by their life (Marcuse or again the Frankfurt school and their belief that bourgeois ideology is all-powerful), or because people are infinitely fractured into different lives, and thus different consciousnesses (again post-modernism and the reduction of everything into identity politics, forgetting that all of these "idea transactions" are only possible because of a MARKET; that is, that they are simply smuggling bourgeois ideology).

Well, at least that's how I understand revisionism, as the tearing out of dialectics, which in Marxist terms (i.e.: not Hegelian) means mainly the relative status of everything regarding to the social perspective that emerges from praxis.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
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Post 30 Apr 2012, 14:41
Let's put the dictionary definition aside for a moment. I can tell you as someone who has done science and studied the philosophy of science that the Marxist definition of revisionism and its rejection of said revisionism is not scientific. When new information which contradicts presently accepted theories becomes available, those theories have to be revised, no matter how central they are to the core ideology. Marxism is skirting a line between being just another philosophical train of thought and a real science. It wants to be scientific and it claims to be scientific, but it's not quite making it. I'm not trying to throw any of Karl Popper's BS at you guys, but I think he might have been right for the wrong reasons.

In science, ALL theories and methods of analysis have to be up for scrutiny and debate. This includes the scientific method itself. There is absolutely nothing in science which can't or shouldn't be revised provided the status quo can be proven wrong to the majority of people in the relevant branch of science. Old ideas get thrown out quite regularly.

Marxism has to abandon any notion of anti-revisionism if it is to be considered scientific. It's fine to say that the specific thing being examined doesn't need revision and support your argument, but to throw out and denounce the revisionist's argument (not to mention the revisionist himself) simply because it is revisionist destroys Marxism's credibility.

I'll come back to this topic later.
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Post 30 Apr 2012, 16:38
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Marxism has to abandon any notion of anti-revisionism if it is to be considered scientific.

Yes, because Physics totally has to abandon every notion of anti-Geocentrism if it is to be considered scientific.
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Post 01 May 2012, 01:43
Quote:
There is absolutely nothing in science which can't or shouldn't be revised provided the status quo can be proven wrong to the majority of people in the relevant branch of science.


There's obviously no evidence which leads biologists to think that the thoery of evolution needs to be abandoned (the specifics of it like natural selection are being revised all the time however) but if such evidence did come to light, it would have to be. Just as Newton's laws are no longer considered sufficient.

The fact reimains that anti-revisionism is inherently unscientific. Revisionism is necessary and desirable provided it can be proven there is a need for it.
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Post 01 May 2012, 02:03
Quote:
There's obviously no evidence which leads biologists to think that the thoery of evolution needs to be abandoned (the specifics of it like natural selection are being revised all the time however) but if such evidence did come to light, it would have to be.

Precisely. We say the same thing for Marxism.
What that has to do with your original point i really can't see though.
Quote:
Let us assume for the sake of argument that recent research had disproved once and for all every one of Marx’s individual theses. Even if this were to be proved, every serious ‘orthodox’ Marxist would still be able to accept all such modern findings without reservation and hence dismiss all of Marx’s theses in toto – without having to renounce his orthodoxy for a single moment. Orthodox Marxism, therefore, does not imply the uncritical acceptance of the results of Marx’s investigations. It is not the ‘belief’ in this or that thesis, nor the exegesis of a ‘sacred’ book. On the contrary, orthodoxy refers exclusively to method. It is the scientific conviction that dialectical materialism is the road to truth and that its methods can be developed, expanded and deepened only along the lines laid down by its founders. It is the conviction, moreover, that all attempts to surpass or ‘improve’ it have led and must lead to over-simplification, triviality and eclecticism.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lukacs/ ... thodox.htm

Quote:
The fact reimains that anti-revisionism is inherently unscientific.

How? Says who?

Quote:
Revisionism is necessary and desirable provided it can be proven there is a need for it.

Yes, no one disagrees with this.
The point is that there was no need for "original thoughts" of gentlemen like Kautsky and Co. Because Marxism, of course, is about changing the world and fighting for Communism.

There's no need to revise Heliocentrism in science, just as there's no need to revise proletarian internationalism and so on in Marxism .
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Post 01 May 2012, 18:52
JAM wrote:
Stalin was the socialist leader who applied marxism-leninism more rigorously and it's not by chance that he was by far the most successful one. Stalin was not only the most successful socialist leader of all time but he was also one of the most successful leaders of World History. I don't see anyone in History who changed so much a country like Stalin did. From a backward country to a superpower on it's way to put a man in space? Some people don't realize how much Stalin changed Russia. Russia of today is still the Russia Stalin created. That is why despite all the bad propaganda against him he was voted as the greatest russian of all time but a governmental interference prevented him and Lenin from being number one and number two respectively.

He knew the importance of the marxist theory that is why he was so successful. Do I need to compare USSR before Stalin and USSR after Stalin or you know how much it changed?

The one million dollar question is: If with Stalin it worked so well why the others had to do differently? Why Mao opted to do it differently? Why don't we see it as a successful model as it truly was? Why do we continue to believe in western lies like the ones propagated by Conquest and company? Of course he made mistakes, everybody does it. We can look at those mistakes, try to correct them but never deviating from the main course.


I've never thought about this in depth before, but that is an excellent point. Even many anti-Soviet theorists regularly comment on Stalin's grasp of Marxism, and of its importance to his decision-making. Even when reading Stalin's interviews with various foreign personalities one gets a sense of a deep understanding of ideology and methodology behind policy. In fact probably most of Stalin's important decisions were based on Marxian methodological analysis, and both his allies and opponents would have been better off had they understood this. Only on a few occasions did Marxist theory lead him astray, the most important of which being the predicted conflict between the United States and the European empires, where the USSR's role would be to wait it out, rebuild and prepare, hopefully strengthened, for a defensive role in the next global war.

...

ckkomel wrote:
For example the main revisions of m-l from chruschovites was the market turn, the "peaceful coexistance


What market turn? The one that can be easily debunked by simple historical analysis of the Kosygin reforms and their failure? Also, I don't see how 'peaceful coexistence' harmed prospects for socialism, given that socialism continued to make great inroads into the 1970s in the Third World, all the while preventing the world's population from becoming a pile of ash. These kinds of criticisms based in the idea of 'revisionism' as a derogatory term annoy me in the extreme. How are these 'revisions' based in 'false evaluation' and 'opportunism'?

...

FC wrote:
In science, ALL theories and methods of analysis have to be up for scrutiny and debate. This includes the scientific method itself. There is absolutely nothing in science which can't or shouldn't be revised provided the status quo can be proven wrong to the majority of people in the relevant branch of science. Old ideas get thrown out quite regularly.

Marxism has to abandon any notion of anti-revisionism if it is to be considered scientific. It's fine to say that the specific thing being examined doesn't need revision and support your argument, but to throw out and denounce the revisionist's argument (not to mention the revisionist himself) simply because it is revisionist destroys Marxism's credibility.


Perhaps I'm not fully comprehending something here, but I think the argument against 'revisionism' is more a political rather than a philosophical one, meaning that it really matters not in an academic environment, but within or among the leadership of socialist states. Academics in the philosophy department can and will continue to argue forever, using Marxism, revising Marxism, rejecting Marxism. What matters is how politicians of socialist states use it, and specifically how they use it to prevent tendencies that are destructive to socialism. Historically I have yet to see a use for the term 'revisionism' which has saved or successfully warned a socialist country about an erroneous trajectory. In fact I would argue that its overuse in the past by politicians out of narrow political or vain personal interests has reduced its power as a warning signal (similar to the boy who cried wolf). Hence when the Chinese press attacked the Soviet Union as 'revisionist', 'social imperialist', etc., Soviet academics, media, artists and politicians looked around, saw that there were few real systemic economic, political or ideological differences between 'real' Stalin-era socialism and what was criticized by the Chinese post-1956, and concluded that 'revisionism' when aimed at themselves was but a form of political demagoguery. They thought that if some small and ultimately fruitless attempts at economic reform, which saw the attempted reordering the position of the always existent profit indicator among Gosplan calculations, meant 'revisionism', it was a hollow term. If seeking to restrain the threat of nuclear incineration was dreaded 'revisionism', 'anti-revisionism' in this case was an insane dogma. Even in China, with the Cultural Revolution and the resultant lost decade of Chinese political, social and economic development, anti-revisionists did not successfully prevent the coming to power of real pragmatist market roaders, and it could be argued quite convincingly that the intensity and dogmatism of the anti-revisionist campaign actively pushed Chinese politics in this direction, with society bending to the pragmatists out of a sense of extreme exhaustion.

Ultimately it can be very difficult to discern a tactical retreat ala Soviet NEP, what's going on in China, or the recent Cuban reforms, from 'revisionism' in the entirely negative sense, such as the successful attempt at actual counterrevolution in the case of Gorbachev's Soviet Union. It's also difficult to criticize policies made in one era and their negative effects in another, given considerations of differing circumstances and individual leaders' decisions. Hence, while one could note that the 1980s liberal intelligentsia were endowed with counterrevolutionary ideas during the cultural thaw of the early 1960s, that does not mean that this thaw was not necessary, or that it did not have many positive effects at the time that it took place. In the 1980s, this section of the intelligentsia needed to be kept in line, rather than given the reins of the media, academia and artistic institutions. Hence the negative effects of a policy made in another epoch were as much or more the result of contemporary choices (i.e. those made in the 1980s by the reformers). Whether 'revisionism' is even the right term here I'm not sure, given its association with ultimately hollow talking points of 1960s-1970s era Maoist China.

One question I have been mulling over is whether Marxist socioeconomic analysis can even be applied to socialist societies. After all, Marx was writing about capitalism, and to this day application of his theories remains possible and the conclusions reached highly relevant. However, I've noticed that when Marxist historians try to apply Marxism to explaining things like the collapse of the USSR, they create rather simplistic, formulaic and presumptuous analyses (for example talking about how managers were powerful players pushing for economic reforms to amass personal wealth, whereas interviews and statistics confirm that most of these managers were disoriented and dispossessed of power, many killed by nascent mafia formations, etc.).
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
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Soviet cogitations: 224
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Sep 2011, 11:23
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
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Post 03 May 2012, 05:08
soviet78 wrote:
What market turn? The one that can be easily debunked by simple historical analysis of the Kosygin reforms and their failure?

Ofcourse, and of trapezhnikov also . The notion that profit and commerce will remain not only during socialist construction but also in communism[!]. Is there any need to expand the analysis of its failure? If you do I think we can see that causes of "collapse" will not present that "simplistic". "Collapse" was actually a counterrevolutionary overthrow by a small degenarated clique within the party. It did not just collapse one misty morning.. How were these people able to gain power within the party since they were not m-l's nor communists? On what social strata were they based upon? On the workers? What were they suggesting in the first place that made them "popular". Degenaration of the subjective revolutionary factor was gradual.

I cannot see what's your objection here however.

Quote:
Also, I don't see how 'peaceful coexistence' harmed prospects for socialism, given that socialism continued to make great inroads into the 1970s in the Third World, all the while preventing the world's population from becoming a pile of ash. These kinds of criticisms based in the idea of 'revisionism' as a derogatory term annoy me in the extreme. How are these 'revisions' based in 'false evaluation' and 'opportunism'?

Peaceful coexistance was connected with peaceful development as well, that actually meant cooperation with social democracy -and other "progressive" powers, to abandon marxism-leninism both in propaganda, in party education, "parlamientary road to socialism" and ofcourse abandonment of revolution.

You cannot have "peaceful coexistence" with aggressive, revolutionary, and openely hostile communist parties in the capitalist block. That harmed and disarmed the proletarian and communist movement, pushed it to dissolve and annex in a greater "progressive" movement whith socialidemos, eurocommunists, anarchists etc, in a time when the power relations was not i favor of the socialist block and socialism.
I can also mention the trade pacts between capitalist countries and the ussr.
Wasn't all these things a drawback, false evaluation, [and opportunism in action in many cases] ?

On the other hand the "thirld world" policy helped the national liberation fronts, and the "national" bourgoise classes there, who in turn, when got stronger, smashed or alienated the workers movement, banned the communist parties of these countries etc. I didn't mention it but since you did
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhQKmixO8MA
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