Soviet-Empire.com U.S.S.R. and communism historical discussion.
[ Active ]
[ Login ]
Log-in to remove these advertisements.

A critique of Lenin's imperialism (long)

POST REPLY
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 06 Oct 2015, 23:04
Although regarded as something of a sacred cow among Marxists of the Leninist variety, I feel this text needs a bit of an update considering it is nearly 100 years since it was published and many of its predictions and analyses did not bear out in the face of the history of the 20th century and beyond. Naturally Lenin could only analyse the world at the time of writing and many of his observations were perfectly valid for 1917. But if we are to continue seeing the value in this text, I think we should recognise its shortcomings, correct them as we see fit, and therefore see all the more clearer the elements that remained sound in his analysis.

I will go through the various sections and analyse what I feel Lenin’s shortcomings are thanks to the benefit of 100 years of hindsight. First is the preface to the French and German editions. Here Lenin claims that WW1 was an imperialist war as it was fought for plunder, annexation and division of the colonies and resources of the world. While this was true I think it is important to distinguish this from what we have called imperialist wars since then (apart from WW2). WW1 and 2 were fought between the various imperialist powers (i.e. inter-imperialist wars), whereas imperialist wars of the 20th and 21st centuries were fought between imperialist powers and non-imperialist powers (e.g. Vietnam War, Iraq Wars, etc.).

Lenin says that revolutionary sentiment is growing in the world because of the huge destruction wrought by WW1. He also says that ‘imperialist wars are absolutely inevitable under such an economic system, as long as private property in the means of production exists.’ While this is true of imperialist wars (as I have just described), it is not so true of inter-imperialist wars. There have only been two inter-imperialist wars and they both proved to be so devastating that a third has never looked likely. The existence and spread of nuclear weapons and mutually assured destruction has meant that inter-imperialist wars are just not worth the risk anymore. And since Lenin is referring to an inter-imperialist war as creating the damage and destruction necessary to spark a revolutionary movement, the fact that only regular imperialist wars continue means that they are doing nothing to advance or provoke the revolutionary cause in the future.

Another element of this section is Lenin’s theory of the labour aristocracy. Many Leninists highlight this theory as if it were a key part of his analysis, yet it is only ever mentioned here, in the preface to the French and German editions. Hardly a focal point for a key theory! Was it irrelevant to other countries? Anyway, his theory is that the leaders of the labour movements in the imperialist countries are bribed by their bourgeoisies thanks to superprofits extracted from the colonies. Although Lenin claims ‘they are bribing them in a thousand different ways, direct and indirect, overt and covert’ he provides no evidence for such bribery, or details of the many ways in which it allegedly takes place. While certain workers did earn more than others at this time, this is a result of wages and salaries rising in certain specific areas of work, and such rises are a result of market forces of supply and demand, not any bourgeois conspiracy.

Some in the Marxist movement (especially Third Worldists and Impossiblists) argue that such first world luxuries such as unemployment benefit, council housing, free healthcare and education, state pensions etc. are all paid for out of imperialist superprofits and therefore help stunt the revolutionary fervour of the working class (they are the bribes so to speak). If so, this means that the aristocracy of labour the imperialist countries comprises the entire working class as all of these things are available to everyone in the imperialist countries. If the labour aristocracy is therefore everyone, how can it truly exist?

Lenin continues somewhat along this line in the chapter on parasitism and the decay of capitalism where he cites Engels’ observations over the 19th century of the British proletariat becoming more bourgeois thanks to the British colonial policy. While this may well be true, Lenin ignores an important point: can we really blame the British proletariat for wanting an improvement in their living conditions? In the 19th century and beyond workers all over the world would unite and fight for things like pay rises, social housing, pensions, healthcare, etc. These are considered noble fights by the working class and victories for them in the face of bourgeois hostility. However, when Lenin sees victories such as these being funded by imperialist superprofits, he has no time for them! He would clearly rather see the British proletariat suffer in poverty than risk winning victories in the labour movement. Lenin also provides no solution to this predicament.

A further development that Lenin did not anticipate is the continuation of imperialism combined with the collapse of colonial empires. Today the imperialist powers have lost all their overseas colonies in the sense of direct control, but nonetheless retain economic influence and privilege in many of their old holdings (e.g. Francafrique). This has reduced the possibility of inter-imperialist wars as the old colonies are all politically independent thus meaning clashes between imperialist powers over colonies have become very unlikely. This also shows the resistance and flexibility of imperialism to survive both decolonisation and the loss of many foreign markets following their “socialist” revolutions in the 20th century (Russia, China, etc.). Japan’s post-war boom despite suffering huge home damage and the loss of all its colonies is testament to this.

This ends up giving far more credibility to Lenin’s main bête-noir: Kautsky’s theory of ultra-imperialism. This claims that imperialist countries will ally and unite to ensure the mutual survival of their own overseas interests. Lenin said this could not work since all these countries were in competition with each other and the only way to fight this competition was through (inter-imperialist) war. While he was perhaps correct at the time, the experiences of WW2 and the subsequent emergence of the USA as the only truly global imperialist power showed that the faded European powers and Japan were happy to enter into a system of mutual peaceful imperialism under US protection. Inter-imperialist wars were no longer feasible, especially as colonies became independent, and today the imperialist countries all invest in developing countries in Asia and Africa rather than militarily compete for direct control over them. Of course the US maintains a huge army as it sees rivalries in Russia and China but all sides know after the experience of WW1 and WW2 that another (nuclear) inter-imperialist war is just not worth it.

The conclusion of this is that since it is only inter-imperialist wars which cause enough devastation to spark revolutions (in imperialist countries), the lack of any foreseeable third world war on the horizon means that there won’t be any revolutions any time soon. On the contrary, the continued existence of imperialism (which has proven to be far more resilient than Lenin anticipated) has only helped make the imperialist working classes far more bourgeois in outlook than ever before. And this includes the entire class, not just some fictitious “labour aristocracy”.
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 2293
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 23 Oct 2015, 21:48
Quote:
Lenin says that revolutionary sentiment is growing in the world because of the huge destruction wrought by WW1. He also says that ‘imperialist wars are absolutely inevitable under such an economic system, as long as private property in the means of production exists.’ While this is true of imperialist wars (as I have just described), it is not so true of inter-imperialist wars. There have only been two inter-imperialist wars and they both proved to be so devastating that a third has never looked likely. The existence and spread of nuclear weapons and mutually assured destruction has meant that inter-imperialist wars are just not worth the risk anymore. And since Lenin is referring to an inter-imperialist war as creating the damage and destruction necessary to spark a revolutionary movement, the fact that only regular imperialist wars continue means that they are doing nothing to advance or provoke the revolutionary cause in the future.

This is false and stupid.
1. The world came extremely close to a general nuclear war in 1983 after a US military exercise. A third world war was more than a mere possibility.
2. It's not because imperialist powers don't attack each other directly that they don't attack each other indirectly. The war in Syria for example is an inter-imperialist war (a war between imperialist powers).

Quote:
Another element of this section is Lenin’s theory of the labour aristocracy. Many Leninists highlight this theory as if it were a key part of his analysis, yet it is only ever mentioned here, in the preface to the French and German editions. Hardly a focal point for a key theory!

This statement proves that even after a few years you are still unable to understand Lenin or haven't bothered reading seriously.

In his article "Imperialism and the Split in Socialism" (1916), Lenin said that the "connection between imperialism and the monstrous and disgusting victory opportunism" was the "fundamental question of modern socialism". He then proceeded to prove how this relation between imperialism and opportunism was already explained by Marx and Engels. There is no such thing as "Lenin's theory of labour aristocracy". This idea comes directly from Engels and even the expression itself.

You are also lying when you say that this is only mentioned "in the preface to the French and German editions" of "Imperialism". In the final chapter, Lenin writes:

"The receipt of high monopoly profits by the capitalists in one of the numerous branches of industry, in one of the numerous countries, etc., makes it economically possible for them to bribe certain sections of the workers."

In chapter VIII, he also writes: "And I shall add that the economic possibility of such bribery, whatever its form may be, requires high monopolist profits."

So you haven't read the book and you dare criticize it. You should be ashamed.

The theory in Lenin's book, which is Marx's and Engels' theory, is simple: Imperialism creates "high monopoly profits". High monopoly profits make possible to bribe the working class (the whole working class or, more likely, only a small strata), and since it's possible, the bourgeoisie do it. They do it because they can. There is no need for further explanation.

Lenin's theory is still 100% true and anyone with a bit of experience in life knows what Lenin is talking about. Do we have imperialism and war? Yes, right in front of our eyes. Do we have high monopoly profits? Yes, of course! Are high monopoly profits and imperialism connected? Yes, of course! Do they bribe the working class? Of course they do! Look at Tsipras! European imperialism directly bribed Tsipras.
Image

"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
"I am one of the better read Marxists on this site" Gred
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 24 Oct 2015, 15:30
Quote:
This is false and stupid.
1. The world came extremely close to a general nuclear war in 1983 after a US military exercise. A third world war was more than a mere possibility.


The Cold War was an exception as it was between two competing ideologies. If you think this was the possibility of an inter-imperialist war then you clearly believe that the USSR was an imperialist country. Do you?

The point I was making is that no imperialist countries have come close to fighting each other after WW2. There has never been the chance of a war involving the USA, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, etc. against each other after 1945.

Quote:
2. It's not because imperialist powers don't attack each other directly that they don't attack each other indirectly. The war in Syria for example is an inter-imperialist war (a war between imperialist powers).


Proxy wars don't result in either of the imperialist powers involved suffering direct damage like they did in WW1 and 2. The American people aren't suffering because Russia is bombing Syrian rebels.

Quote:
In his article "Imperialism and the Split in Socialism" (1916), Lenin said that the "connection between imperialism and the monstrous and disgusting victory opportunism" was the "fundamental question of modern socialism". He then proceeded to prove how this relation between imperialism and opportunism was already explained by Marx and Engels. There is no such thing as "Lenin's theory of labour aristocracy". This idea comes directly from Engels and even the expression itself.


It is a vague theory that neither Lenin nor Engels provided evidence to support. The idea that a certain section of the working class is "bribed" needs to have evidence to support it. What are these bribes - high salaries/wages? But we know that the price of labour is determined by supply and demand, not some evil super-villains deciding to pay a segment of people a bit more money than they should. Social security and public services such as free healthcare and education? These would technically count as bribes but how are they a bad thing? And how do they apply to only a small minority of the working class?

Quote:
You are also lying when you say that this is only mentioned "in the preface to the French and German editions" of "Imperialism". In the final chapter, Lenin writes:


I was referring to the phrase 'labour aristocracy' which is so often touted as a Leninist theory.

Quote:
"The receipt of high monopoly profits by the capitalists in one of the numerous branches of industry, in one of the numerous countries, etc., makes it economically possible for them to bribe certain sections of the workers."


Did they decide to bribe the working class or did they simply respond to the working class agitating for improved conditions through class struggle? This makes working class victories such as social security or pay rises sound reactionary.

Quote:
So you haven't read the book and you dare criticize it. You should be ashamed.


Yawn. You sound like you are from a religious cult.

Quote:
The theory in Lenin's book, which is Marx's and Engels' theory, is simple: Imperialism creates "high monopoly profits". High monopoly profits make possible to bribe the working class (the whole working class or, more likely, only a small strata), and since it's possible, the bourgeoisie do it. They do it because they can. There is no need for further explanation.


Yeah, who needs evidence to back up all these claims?


Quote:
Lenin's theory is still 100% true and anyone with a bit of experience in life knows what Lenin is talking about.


Lenin's theory is validated by life experience? Ok well let's see. Hmm, capitalism is still around while Leninist socialism died. Imperialism is still around and has proven to be anything but capitalism in transition or decay. Capitalism has gone through two huge crises since Lenin died (1929 and 2008) yet it (and imperialism) still exist. The working class in the west are richer than they were in Lenin's time and are as a whole less revolutionary and less eager to engage in class struggle. Yep 100% true.


Quote:
Do we have imperialism and war? Yes, right in front of our eyes.


I never said we didn't. Just not inter-imperialist wars.

Quote:
Do we have high monopoly profits? Yes, of course!


We have high profits but how much of that is down to monopoly? You have completely failed to address my point that European imperialism no longer has its old empires. Britain no longer has a monopoly on India and France doesn't have a monopoly in west Africa etc. Instead these countries are exploited by multiple imperialist powers who do not see the need to go to war over them. India in fact is a growing power thanks to imperialist investment.

Quote:
Are high monopoly profits and imperialism connected? Yes, of course! Do they bribe the working class? Of course they do! Look at Tsipras! European imperialism directly bribed Tsipras.


What does Europe have a monopoly over? How much did "European imperialism" (who/what constitutes that by the way?) bribe Tsipras with?
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 2293
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 24 Oct 2015, 23:52
Quote:
Yeah, who needs evidence to back up all these claims?

Exactly. You don't need evidence for what you have witnessed.

Quote:
The Cold War was an exception as it was between two competing ideologies. If you think this was the possibility of an inter-imperialist war then you clearly believe that the USSR was an imperialist country. Do you?

I was answering to your point about the likeliness of a global nuclear war. It doesn't matter whether an imperialist power is opposed to another imperialist power or to an anti-imperialist power as long as they have the possibility to destroy each other in a nuclear war.

Also regarding ideology, the Cold War was certainly not an exception. WWII was also a war between two competing ideologies (democracy and fascism), and you will find ideology in all wars, without any exception (e.g. French liberal ideas during the Napoleonic Wars, transubstantiation in the European wars of religion...). What truly matters is the existence of different interests, something that can exist even when two countries have the same economic system (e.g. 'democratic' USA vs Nazi Germany).

Quote:
The point I was making is that no imperialist countries have come close to fighting each other after WW2. There has never been the chance of a war involving the USA, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, etc. against each other after 1945.

If that's your list of imperialist countries, that's a short list. You forgot the Falklands and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus (Greece and Turkey are now 2 NATO members), and you also dismiss the fact that India and Pakistan came quite close to war. As for the other imperialist countries, they were in the same military alliance (NATO) or almost directly controlled by the USA (Japan). Why would they fight each other when they had a common enemy? You are just stating the obvious, so I don't understand what you are trying to prove.


Quote:
It is a vague theory that neither Lenin nor Engels provided evidence to support. The idea that a certain section of the working class is "bribed" needs to have evidence to support it

As I said, when you have some political experience and culture, you don't need "evidence". You just know how your enemy behave. If you want an evidence, I guess that the creation and funding of the French worker union "Force Ouvrière" by the CIA at the beginning of the Cold War is quite enough. You won't find a better example of bribery.

The Marshall Plan was also a way to bribe the whole European Working Class, which proved quite successful.


Quote:
Did they decide to bribe the working class or did they simply respond to the working class agitating for improved conditions through class struggle? This makes working class victories such as social security or pay rises sound reactionary.

It's obvious that they wouldn't need to bribe the working class if there wasn't some revolutionary elements amongst the working class (but not necessarily amongst bribed people). But Lenin's point is that this bribery would be hardly possible if there wasn't important monopoly profits. Bribery is hardly a victory of the working class, it's a mean used by the bourgeoisie to defeat the working class.

For example, during the 1970's, French reactionary leader, mayor of Bordeaux, Jacques Chaban-Delmas, had bribed the dockers of his town, so they voted for him and supported him. Although his action was directed against the working class as a whole, Chaban managed to create his own worker aristocracy.

Quote:
Yawn. You sound like you are from a religious cult.

If I'm from a religious cult, what are you? It's obvious that one shouldn't attack someone's book when one hasn't bothered reading it. This has nothing to do with religion, unless common sense became a religion.

Quote:
Lenin's theory is validated by life experience? Ok well let's see. Hmm, capitalism is still around while Leninist socialism died. Imperialism is still around and has proven to be anything but capitalism in transition or decay. Capitalism has gone through two huge crises since Lenin died (1929 and 2008) yet it (and imperialism) still exist. The working class in the west are richer than they were in Lenin's time and are as a whole less revolutionary and less eager to engage in class struggle. Yep 100% true.

This, however, is religion. You read Marx and Lenin like a monk, and since your "faith" in socialism was (apparently) broken, you decided that the faith was wrong.

But Marxism isn't a religion.

Marx and Lenin's idea was indeed validated by life. In 1848 (Communist Manifesto), Communism was nothing more than a mere idea. Marx predicted that the working class would rise up, and a century after that, at least half of the world was influenced by socialist ideas. Marx predicted that the world would be divided between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, and it was indeed divided between two opposing blocs.

Lenin described imperialism as decaying capitalism and he was right: WWI led to the glorious October Revolution, and WWII led to the creation of the socialist bloc and of many wars of decolonization. It was, indeed, the end of a world.

Only a monk, though, could pretend to foresee when capitalism would disappear and when communism would overcome. And yet, that's the kind of pretension that you saw in Marx' and Lenin's work. You are a monk.

Quote:
I never said we didn't. Just not inter-imperialist wars.

A proxy war is still an inter-imperialist war (a war between imperialist countries).

Quote:
We have high profits but how much of that is down to monopoly? You have completely failed to address my point that European imperialism no longer has its old empires. Britain no longer has a monopoly on India and France doesn't have a monopoly in west Africa etc. Instead these countries are exploited by multiple imperialist powers who do not see the need to go to war over them. India in fact is a growing power thanks to imperialist investment.

You are just thinking like a 19th century social-democrat and trying to analyze the world with the same ideas. You should just live, read, inform yourself, about what is happening around you instead of trying to compare the EU to the old colonial empires, which is not a "point", but the most stupid comparison.

Costas Lapavitsas has proven (read IMF papers) that the whole EU is built on a core-periphery system where the core (mostly Germany and France) exploits the periphery, which led to the Greek crisis as German trade monopoly dumped Greek exports. That's a form of imperialism organized by capitalist monopolies.

Quote:
What does Europe have a monopoly over? How much did "European imperialism" (who/what constitutes that by the way?) bribe Tsipras with?

Do you even read newspapers? I'm not against a discussion but I'm not your teacher either.
Image

"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
"I am one of the better read Marxists on this site" Gred
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 25 Oct 2015, 17:07
Quote:
Exactly. You don't need evidence for what you have witnessed.


I was being sarcastic. How can you witness high monopoly profits? If you have examples of these figures just post them on here. How are we to be sure they are a result of monopoly?

Also you said:

'High monopoly profits make possible to bribe the working class (the whole working class or, more likely, only a small strata), and since it's possible, the bourgeoisie do it.'

Even you are unsure of the theory! Is it the whole working class or just a small strata?

Quote:
I was answering to your point about the likeliness of a global nuclear war. It doesn't matter whether an imperialist power is opposed to another imperialist power or to an anti-imperialist power as long as they have the possibility to destroy each other in a nuclear war.


It matters in terms of inter-imperialist wars (which is what Lenin was talking about, though he referred to them as imperialist wars). Lenin argues that the destruction brought about by (inter-) imperialist wars can spark the revolutionary consciousness among the proletariats of these countries. Since WW2 no imperialist powers have come close to fighting wars between themselves as the risk of things like a nuclear holocaust means it isn't worth it (among other reasons). The Cold War was an exception as I have said because it was ideological. Finally I should point out that nuclear war HAS NEVER HAPPENED (after WW2). Therefore no proletariat (in the imperialist countries) has experienced the loss and destruction caused by an inter-imperialist war to cause them to overthrow capitalism and imperialism. My point stands.

Quote:
Also regarding ideology, the Cold War was certainly not an exception. WWII was also a war between two competing ideologies (democracy and fascism), and you will find ideology in all wars, without any exception (e.g. French liberal ideas during the Napoleonic Wars, transubstantiation in the European wars of religion...). What truly matters is the existence of different interests, something that can exist even when two countries have the same economic system (e.g. 'democratic' USA vs Nazi Germany).


Yes ideology is part of all wars, but Germany, Japan and Italy were all imperialist countries as well. The point Lenin was making was that it was wars between imperialist powers that would bring about capitalism's decline. Yet we have only seen two of these wars and are unlikely to see a third (too risky for all sides). And the first two didn't result in capitalism being overthrown in imperialist countries.

Quote:
If that's your list of imperialist countries, that's a short list. You forgot the Falklands and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus (Greece and Turkey are now 2 NATO members), and you also dismiss the fact that India and Pakistan came quite close to war. As for the other imperialist countries, they were in the same military alliance (NATO) or almost directly controlled by the USA (Japan). Why would they fight each other when they had a common enemy? You are just stating the obvious, so I don't understand what you are trying to prove.


I said 'etc.' indicating it wasn't an exhaustive list. And are India, Pakistan, Cyprus and Argentina all imperialist? That's debatable. As for you pointing out NATO and US influence - that is my whole point! We aren't going to see the major imperialist powers fighting each other because they are all allied in NATO! Imperialism didn't fight each other as Lenin predicted, it united with each other!

Quote:
As I said, when you have some political experience and culture, you don't need "evidence".


If you want people to take you seriously, you need evidence to back up your claims. These are basic debate skills and something you have long needed to work on. You can't make grand claims and then say that they are proven by such vague notions such as 'political experience and culture'.

Quote:
You just know how your enemy behave. If you want an evidence, I guess that the creation and funding of the French worker union "Force Ouvrière" by the CIA at the beginning of the Cold War is quite enough. You won't find a better example of bribery.

The Marshall Plan was also a way to bribe the whole European Working Class, which proved quite successful.


I'll give you Force Ouvrière. As for the Marshall Plan this could count as bribery of the entire European working class - but since this money was often spent on building things beneficial to them (housing, schools, hospitals etc.), how was that not a good thing? If you hate this bribery so much then surely you hate the fact that the European working class was given money after WW2? You therefore would have wanted them to live in poverty and misery?

Also where did the USA Marshall money come from if it didn't have any colonies from which to exploit superprofits?

Finally, as you yourself point out, this has been successful in influencing the working class leading us to question how Lenin's theory is correct given that he predicts that imperialism heralds the end of capitalism. So far imperialism has been very good at keeping the working class down.

Quote:
It's obvious that they wouldn't need to bribe the working class if there wasn't some revolutionary elements amongst the working class (but not necessarily amongst bribed people). But Lenin's point is that this bribery would be hardly possible if there wasn't important monopoly profits.


Why is it only possible with monopoly profits? Why can't it be achieved with normal profits?

Quote:
Bribery is hardly a victory of the working class, it's a mean used by the bourgeoisie to defeat the working class.


But these bribes are things the workers already want. Say the workers are agitating for pay rises. The bourgeoisie come in and "bribe" them with pay rises and the workers are happy and content with capitalism. To the bourgeoisie it appears as bribery; to the workers it appears as a victorious class struggle. If you as a Marxist see it as bribery (as the bourgeoisie see it) then you end up opposing on principle any sort of improvement in the material lives of the workers.

See Impossibilism.

Quote:
For example, during the 1970's, French reactionary leader, mayor of Bordeaux, Jacques Chaban-Delmas, had bribed the dockers of his town, so they voted for him and supported him. Although his action was directed against the working class as a whole, Chaban managed to create his own worker aristocracy.


What did he bribe them with? It must have been something they wanted otherwise it wouldn't have worked.

Quote:
This, however, is religion. You read Marx and Lenin like a monk, and since your "faith" in socialism was (apparently) broken, you decided that the faith was wrong.

But Marxism isn't a religion.


I am able to question dogma. You on the other hand are utterly incapable of thinking that Marx or Lenin ever said anything that might not be true or that times have changed so as to make some of their work irrelevant now. I have never seen you say anything even remotely critical of Marx or Lenin implying that you view their words as Absolute Truth and that they must be infallible. Anyone with half a brain would know this could not be the case as they were human just like anyone else. You seem to think the world is no different to how it was in 1917.

Quote:
Marx and Lenin's idea was indeed validated by life. In 1848 (Communist Manifesto), Communism was nothing more than a mere idea. Marx predicted that the working class would rise up, and a century after that, at least half of the world was influenced by socialist ideas. Marx predicted that the world would be divided between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, and it was indeed divided between two opposing blocs.


Except these uprisings weren't so much in countries with developed and organised proletariats (i.e. Europe and America), but in undeveloped countries which were mostly peasants. Russia, China, Vietnam were countries which all had a majority of peasants, not proletarians.

Quote:
Lenin described imperialism as decaying capitalism and he was right:


Apart from the fact that capitalism hasn't decayed and is stronger than ever right now.

Quote:
WWI led to the glorious October Revolution, and WWII led to the creation of the socialist bloc and of many wars of decolonization. It was, indeed, the end of a world.


Apart from the fact that the socialist regimes collapsed and capitalism remains the dominant force of production in the world today. Also you should be asking how imperialism managed to survive despite all the old European colonies gaining independence.

Quote:
Only a monk, though, could pretend to foresee when capitalism would disappear and when communism would overcome. And yet, that's the kind of pretension that you saw in Marx' and Lenin's work. You are a monk.


Well Lenin was saying that imperialism is decaying capitalism and capitalism on the eve of the socialist revolution.

Quote:
A proxy war is still an inter-imperialist war (a war between imperialist countries).


Maybe but the fact that it is proxy means that the proletariat in the imperialist countries won't suffer any damage as a result of the war. Therefore they aren't going to suffer enough to warrant an uprising against capitalism.

Quote:
You are just thinking like a 19th century social-democrat and trying to analyze the world with the same ideas. You should just live, read, inform yourself, about what is happening around you instead of trying to compare the EU to the old colonial empires, which is not a "point", but the most stupid comparison.


What are you talking about? I never even mentioned the EU! And you still avoid my question. How come imperialism is still alive and well if the old European colonial empires are no more? Lenin specifically states that one of the key features of imperialism is the dividing up of the world into colonies and spheres of influence. The fact that this has changed since 1917 can't have evaded you. Another inconvenient truth for you.

Quote:
Costas Lapavitsas has proven (read IMF papers) that the whole EU is built on a core-periphery system where the core (mostly Germany and France) exploits the periphery, which led to the Greek crisis as German trade monopoly dumped Greek exports. That's a form of imperialism organized by capitalist monopolies.


Some uncited IMF papers? Nice source. So is Greece a non-imperialist country now? A moment ago you said 'If that's your list of imperialist countries, that's a short list. You forgot the Falklands and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus (Greece and Turkey are now 2 NATO members).' Now you are implying it is a victim of imperialism. Which is it?

Quote:
Do you even read newspapers? I'm not against a discussion but I'm not your teacher either.


Not articles about leftist groups in Greece who are ultimately doomed to compromise with global capital if they want to stay in power. If it was a bribe just say how much it was.
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 2293
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 26 Oct 2015, 00:40
Quote:
Even you are unsure of the theory! Is it the whole working class or just a small strata?

It depends on the country of course.

Quote:
Since WW2 no imperialist powers have come close to fighting wars between themselves as the risk of things like a nuclear holocaust means it isn't worth it (among other reasons).

Imperialist countries are getting closer to a war everyday. Indeed, the NATO military alliance has expanded in eastern Europe where it has set up an antimissile shield with the aim of weakening Russian defense capabilities. As they tried to expand in Ukraine, Russia had to retaliate and invaded Crimea. As they tried to break Syria, Russia had to send a few troops and spent a lot of money to support the government. Everyone is talking about the huge risk of war:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/a ... ports-says


Quote:
Yes ideology is part of all wars, but Germany, Japan and Italy were all imperialist countries as well. The point Lenin was making was that it was wars between imperialist powers that would bring about capitalism's decline. Yet we have only seen two of these wars and are unlikely to see a third (too risky for all sides). And the first two didn't result in capitalism being overthrown in imperialist countries.


insult removed
Russia was an imperialist country and it became communist. Germany was an imperialist country and half of it became communist. Moreover communist parties were much stronger in Italy and France after WWII than they were before. So of course history has proven that imperialist wars weaken imperialist countries, and you don't need a world war or a nuclear war for that. War in Syria for example is greatly weakening Saudi Arabia which has important budget problems.

Quote:
I said 'etc.' indicating it wasn't an exhaustive list. And are India, Pakistan, Cyprus and Argentina all imperialist? That's debatable. As for you pointing out NATO and US influence - that is my whole point! We aren't going to see the major imperialist powers fighting each other because they are all allied in NATO! Imperialism didn't fight each other as Lenin predicted, it united with each other!

Where did Lenin "predicted" that imperialist countries would fight each other instead of allying against the Soviet Union? He never did as he couldn't know that. You are indeed like a monk trying to find "predictions" in Lenin's works. History has proven that imperialist countries did both. They fought against each other (WWII) and then allied against the Socialist bloc (Cold War), and now they are struggling against each other once again (Russia vs US, China vs US, Japan and Vietnam - if we admit that China is an imperialist country).

Quote:
If you want people to take you seriously, you need evidence to back up your claims. These are basic debate skills and something you have long needed to work on. You can't make grand claims and then say that they are proven by such vague notions such as 'political experience and culture'.

Can we debate with children? No, because they don't know shit. We can only teach them, and you are like a child, asking: 'why this? Why that? Please write a whole book because I didn't bother reading myself.'

Quote:
If you hate this bribery so much then surely you hate the fact that the European working class was given money after WW2? You therefore would have wanted them to live in poverty and misery?

You are talking like an imperialist dog. What is the point of bribery? Is it to make the working class stronger or to make it weaker? The point of bribery is to weaken the working class, and therefore, to spread misery. If you let them bribe you, you will become their slave. The point of the Marshall plan was to bribe the European working class in order to spread opportunism, to break the communist parties, and to export US goods in Europe, which would have resulted in a weaker European industry and a US-controlled economy. If I give 10 bucks to a tramp to do some silly job, I bribed him, but does that mean that he will get out of his misery? Of course not.

You must learn to think as a Marxist, because your way of thinking isn't dialectical. You still don't understand dialectics.

Quote:
Also where did the USA Marshall money come from if it didn't have any colonies from which to exploit superprofits?

Finally, as you yourself point out, this has been successful in influencing the working class leading us to question how Lenin's theory is correct given that he predicts that imperialism heralds the end of capitalism. So far imperialism has been very good at keeping the working class down.

Lenin's theory is that imperialism is decaying capitalism because the rate of profits is decreasing. This theory is true. Life is proving once again that this theory is true in our present situation: development of more monopoly capitalism, in the form of finance capital, has led to an important economic crisis which provoked Arab uprisings and the wars in Libya, Syria, and other countries, including Ukraine, and already resulted in important global changes. Now whether capitalism will be defeated by the next revolutionary wave, or the one after it, we cannot tell. Capitalism as the dominant mode of production is young. It's only 200-300 years old, maybe even less. It could survive 200 years, or disappear in 50 years. We cannot tell. But it will be eventually defeated, there is no other way.

Quote:
Why is it only possible with monopoly profits? Why can't it be achieved with normal profits?

It can be achieved with all kind of profits, but monopoly profits just make it easier. Indeed, if you want to make normal profits, you must exploit your workers. If you need to exploit them, you can't bribe them on large scale. Marx's and Engels' theory was that the British empire managed to bribe its whole working class thanks to its colonies (and therefore thanks to the work and natural resources plundered from other countries).

Quote:
But these bribes are things the workers already want. Say the workers are agitating for pay rises. The bourgeoisie come in and "bribe" them with pay rises and the workers are happy and content with capitalism. To the bourgeoisie it appears as bribery; to the workers it appears as a victorious class struggle. If you as a Marxist see it as bribery (as the bourgeoisie see it) then you end up opposing on principle any sort of improvement in the material lives of the workers.

Why would a bribery appear as a victorious class struggle? If you are the leader of a good worker union, you will tell them the truth, that they are being bribed, that the bourgeoisie is trying to deceive them. However, if you are the leader of an opportunist worker union, you will indeed tell them that this bribery is their victory, and that they should go back to work.

Quote:
What did he bribe them with? It must have been something they wanted otherwise it wouldn't have worked.

Of course. You can't bribe people with something that they don't want. In this situation, he was trying to divide the working class. Some will fall in this trap and accept the bribery, but if the working class is divided, everyone will suffer. Now the dockers have gone, they lost their job.

Quote:
I am able to question dogma. You on the other hand are utterly incapable of thinking that Marx or Lenin ever said anything that might not be true or that times have changed so as to make some of their work irrelevant now. I have never seen you say anything even remotely critical of Marx or Lenin implying that you view their words as Absolute Truth and that they must be infallible. Anyone with half a brain would know this could not be the case as they were human just like anyone else. You seem to think the world is no different to how it was in 1917.

Marx, Engels and Lenin were not "just like anyone else". They were far above the average man. Lenin was a genius, maybe even an autistic genius according to many evidences. Marx's ideas have changed somehow throughout his life, and he actually became a Marxist after the epistemological break (Althusser). Thus, one can't read Marx's works as if it was the Bible. It's not, it's something evolving. But we have a Marxist doctrine, simple, true and elegant, and I totally agree with this doctrine.

You haven't seen me criticize Lenin and that's true. I read a lot from Lenin, and I never disagreed with him, not even on a single sentence, not as far as I can remember. Deal with it.


Quote:
Except these uprisings weren't so much in countries with developed and organised proletariats (i.e. Europe and America), but in undeveloped countries which were mostly peasants. Russia, China, Vietnam were countries which all had a majority of peasants, not proletarians.

What's the point there? If your point is to say that Marx was wrong, then I must repeat, once again, that you are ignorant of Marx's work, for Marx started learning Russian at the end of his life, not only in order to be able to read Chernichevsky, but also because he understood that something was happening in Russia. Once again, you mustn't read Marx as if you were a monk. The revolutions in Russia and the third world countries were very closely related to the revolutionary movements in industrialized countries: For example Lenin was inspired by the French Revolution and the Paris Commune, Ho Chi Minh was a founder of the French Communist Party. It's true that Russia was a peasant country, but at the beginning of the 20th century, France was still a peasant country. There was only 2 big industrialized countries: Britain and Germany. The second country completely broke after WWI. Unfortunately the revolt was crushed, but that was probably very important for the survival of the Russian revolution. Although Russia was backward, it was nonetheless an industrialized country with important industries in the main cities. Marx's theory was by and large true.



Quote:
Apart from the fact that the socialist regimes collapsed and capitalism remains the dominant force of production in the world today. Also you should be asking how imperialism managed to survive despite all the old European colonies gaining independence.

A child would ask that but I'm not a child. Lenin never said that colonialism is the only form of imperialism. Switzerland is an imperialist country, don't you know that? The problem is that you don't even have a basic understanding of the concepts commonly used by Marxists.

For example when we talk about "decaying" capitalism you understand that capitalism is becoming weaker and weaker everyday and that it cannot revive itself for some time. This is dogmatic and non-dialectical. Life isn't simple, it's dialectical. Capitalism is obviously decaying on the long range, and it still continues to decay. But that doesn't mean that there can be no "leap" or that the complete victory of socialism should have been unavoidable.




Quote:
Maybe but the fact that it is proxy means that the proletariat in the imperialist countries won't suffer any damage as a result of the war. Therefore they aren't going to suffer enough to warrant an uprising against capitalism.

What is enough for an uprising? France wasn't at war in 1789. A lot of things can cause an uprising.




Quote:
Some uncited IMF papers? Nice source.

I mispelled it, I meant RMF (Research on Money and Finance). If you had read about Costas Lapavitsas, you would have found that.

Quote:
So is Greece a non-imperialist country now? A moment ago you said 'If that's your list of imperialist countries, that's a short list. You forgot the Falklands and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus (Greece and Turkey are now 2 NATO members).' Now you are implying it is a victim of imperialism. Which is it?

I don't understand how being a "victim" of imperialism could prevent you from being imperialist yourself. Do you believe that the world is divided between victims and tormentors? Greece is a victim of EU imperialism, that's a fact. That doesn't mean that Greece isn't imperialist itself.

No name calling!
Praxicoide
Image

"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
"I am one of the better read Marxists on this site" Gred
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 26 Oct 2015, 20:30
Quote:
It depends on the country of course.


Why? Which countries? If the whole working class of a country becomes 'labour aristocracy' then how can we hope for a revolution to occur there?

Quote:
Imperialist countries are getting closer to a war everyday. Indeed, the NATO military alliance has expanded in eastern Europe where it has set up an antimissile shield with the aim of weakening Russian defense capabilities. As they tried to expand in Ukraine, Russia had to retaliate and invaded Crimea. As they tried to break Syria, Russia had to send a few troops and spent a lot of money to support the government. Everyone is talking about the huge risk of war:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/a ... ports-says


So by 'everyone' you mean 1 think tank. We all know that Russia and NATO aren't going to go into direct war with each other as it is too risky for all sides. No-one can win from an all-out nuclear war between Russia and America. Both sides have too much to lose. There may be proxy wars in nearby countries but that is not the same as an inter-imperialist war.

Quote:
Russia was an imperialist country and it became communist.


Russia was the only one and rather a unique case as Lenin pointed out.
Quote:
...among the six countries mentioned we see, firstly, young capitalist countries (America, Germany, Japan) whose progress has been extraordinarily rapid; secondly, countries with an old capitalist development (France and Great Britain), whose progress lately has been much slower than that of the previously mentioned countries, and thirdly, a country most backward economically (Russia), where modern capitalist imperialism is enmeshed, so to speak, in a particularly close network of pre-capitalist relations.


https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/ ... c/ch06.htm

The fact that only one country out of all of the imperialist countries had a workers' revolution does not make this theory appear universally applicable.

Quote:
Germany was an imperialist country and half of it became communist.


Only because the USSR set up a socialist regime there. East Germany was not the result of a German revolution, same with all the other satellite states.

Quote:
Moreover communist parties were much stronger in Italy and France after WWII than they were before. So of course history has proven that imperialist wars weaken imperialist countries, and you don't need a world war or a nuclear war for that.


And now they aren't as strong and the imperialist countries are just as strong if not stronger than they were after WW2. America is the most powerful country in the world and considered to be the most imperialistic! How has imperialism weakened America since WW1 and WW2? WW1 and WW2 helped make America into the super-power it is today!

Quote:
Where did Lenin "predicted" that imperialist countries would fight each other instead of allying against the Soviet Union? He never did as he couldn't know that. You are indeed like a monk trying to find "predictions" in Lenin's works. History has proven that imperialist countries did both. They fought against each other (WWII) and then allied against the Socialist bloc (Cold War), and now they are struggling against each other once again (Russia vs US, China vs US, Japan and Vietnam - if we admit that China is an imperialist country).


I never said he claimed they would ally against the Soviet Union. But they have united in the form of NATO and there is no indication of that alliance collapsing, even after the collapse of the USSR. As for Russia and China (if we are to assume they are imperialist) they are rivals because they have come late to the party, so to speak, and have not been willing to play under NATO's imperialist rules. But the fact of the matter is that all the old imperialist powers who fought each other during WW1 and 2 (barring Russia and China) are now all allies. The chance of war between NATO members is 0.

Quote:
Can we debate with children? No, because they don't know shit. We can only teach them, and you are like a child, asking: 'why this? Why that? Please write a whole book because I didn't bother reading myself.'


I'm afraid I'm the one who needs to teach you since you think 'political experience and culture' are substitutes for evidence. You still have much to learn, young padawan.

Quote:
You are talking like an imperialist dog. What is the point of bribery? Is it to make the working class stronger or to make it weaker? The point of bribery is to weaken the working class, and therefore, to spread misery. If you let them bribe you, you will become their slave.


So why did they let themselves be bribed? Also, look at what Marshall Aid was spent on: food, fuel, production, commodities, infrastructure etc. Why on Earth would the European workers not want this stuff? Why would they want to choose to live in poverty and misery after having endured the deadliest and most destructive war ever?

Quote:
If I give 10 bucks to a tramp to do some silly job, I bribed him, but does that mean that he will get out of his misery? Of course not.


No, it wouldn't get him out of his misery, but I bet he would still take the 10 bucks.

Quote:
You must learn to think as a Marxist, because your way of thinking isn't dialectical. You still don't understand dialectics.


Ah, the classic line of the dialectician. Rosa demolishes Hegelian dialectics here: http://www.anti-dialectics.co.uk/#Essays

I recommend. (Hint: you can't understand dialectics as it is nonsense.)

Quote:
Lenin's theory is that imperialism is decaying capitalism because the rate of profits is decreasing. This theory is true.


No, he says it is decaying because of monopoly.
Quote:
Nevertheless, like all monopoly, it inevitably engenders a tendency of stagnation and decay. Since monopoly prices are established, even temporarily, the motive cause of technical and, consequently, of all other progress disappears to a certain extent and, further, the economic possibility arises of deliberately retarding technical progress.


https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/ ... c/ch08.htm

Quote:
Life is proving once again that this theory is true in our present situation: development of more monopoly capitalism, in the form of finance capital, has led to an important economic crisis which provoked Arab uprisings and the wars in Libya, Syria, and other countries, including Ukraine, and already resulted in important global changes.


So you are saying that the economic crisis provoked the Arab Spring, wars in Ukraine, Syria and Libya? Can you prove this or is this just you making another grand claim without a shred of evidence to support it? And even if we assume this is true, how come it hasn't resulted in proletarian revolutions and how come there have been no revolutionary uprisings in the imperialist countries themselves? Just saying that there has been some general upheavals in the world doesn't validate Lenin's theory.

Quote:
It can be achieved with all kind of profits, but monopoly profits just make it easier. Indeed, if you want to make normal profits, you must exploit your workers. If you need to exploit them, you can't bribe them on large scale. Marx's and Engels' theory was that the British empire managed to bribe its whole working class thanks to its colonies (and therefore thanks to the work and natural resources plundered from other countries).


And yet Britain has lost all of its old colonies but can still afford to "bribe" its workers. So your argument makes no sense.

Quote:
Why would a bribery appear as a victorious class struggle?


Because it involves giving workers what they want. If workers are saying "we want a pay rise" and the capitalists give it to them. Is this a bribe or a victory for the workers? To the capitalist it is a bribe; to the workers it is a victory.

Quote:
Thus, one can't read Marx's works as if it was the Bible.


And yet you fully admit this is how you read Lenin!

Quote:
You haven't seen me criticize Lenin and that's true. I read a lot from Lenin, and I never disagreed with him, not even on a single sentence, not as far as I can remember. Deal with it.


Because you a dogmatist and therefore unable to engage in critical thinking. You do realise this is how monks read the Bible, right?

Quote:
What's the point there? If your point is to say that Marx was wrong, then I must repeat, once again, that you are ignorant of Marx's work, for Marx started learning Russian at the end of his life, not only in order to be able to read Chernichevsky, but also because he understood that something was happening in Russia.


I'm saying that Marx's predictions may well be right but that the idea of them happening any time soon is remote. I think that capitalism needs to develop fully all over the world before a world revolution can occur.

Quote:
Marx's theory was by and large true.


Apart from the fact that no other industrialised country has had a revolution (as Marx predicted they would).

Quote:
A child would ask that but I'm not a child. Lenin never said that colonialism is the only form of imperialism. Switzerland is an imperialist country, don't you know that? The problem is that you don't even have a basic understanding of the concepts commonly used by Marxists.


The whole reason I made this post was to say that Lenin's thesis needs to be updated for the present day (it was written nearly 100 years ago and yet you seem to think the world hasn't changed at all). Lenin clearly points out that colonies are a distinctive feature of imperialism. Nowadays you don't need to be blind to see that the colonies have all gone and yet imperialism still remains. This clearly needs updating.

Quote:
For example when we talk about "decaying" capitalism you understand that capitalism is becoming weaker and weaker everyday and that it cannot revive itself for some time.


How is it becoming weaker and weaker? By what are you measuring it? We've just had the biggest capitalist crisis since 1929 and capitalism is now beginning to recover and the workers' response to it has been nothing!

Quote:
What is enough for an uprising? France wasn't at war in 1789. A lot of things can cause an uprising.


The workers and bourgeoisie in France in 1789 lived under much harsher living conditions than most people in the developed world do today. And anyway, the whole point of bribery as you call it to keep the workers content enough so that they don't rise up. And guess what: it works!
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 2293
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 27 Oct 2015, 06:34
Quote:
I'm afraid I'm the one who needs to teach you since you think 'political experience and culture' are substitutes for evidence. You still have much to learn, young padawan.

Ok, so let me explain again: In a discussion between normal people, you need some basic knowledge and cultural references, otherwise no discussion is possible. If I discuss with someone I can't just spend my time trying to explain all the words and concepts that I use, otherwise that's a class, not a discussion. So yes there are a lot of things that I'm not supposed to explain or "prove". For example if I say that 1 + 1 = 2, I don't need to explain or "prove" that. Political experience and culture are not "substitutes" for evidence, they are not there to replace evidence, they just make evidence unnecessary. For example if I witnessed that Beria killed Stalin, and if Praxicoid witnessed it too, and if we had a discussion about Stalin's death, we wouldn't need any evidence. If I discussed with another Marxist about religion, I wouldn't need to prove that God doesn't exist as we have a common culture and the same philosophical background. Culture also eases discussion in general.

For example, when you write: "And yet Britain has lost all of its old colonies but can still afford to "bribe" its workers. So your argument makes no sense." You are replying to my assertion: "Marx's and Engels' theory was that the British empire managed to bribe its whole working class." Someone with a bit of understanding would have noticed that I used the past, and therefore he wouldn't talk about Britain today. Indeed, I'm not Marx, and Marx died a long time ago.

Quote:
Apart from the fact that no other industrialized country has had a revolution (as Marx predicted they would).

Once again you are trying to find "predictions" in Marx's works, as if Marx was Nostradamus. Marx made a scientific hypothesis which is that the next mode of production will be established by the domination of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie. When Marx stated that, the socialist movement was only starting to grow. A few decades after that, there was a socialist mode of production in many countries, which proves that Marx had indeed correctly analyzed the situation of his time. There is nothing more to see in Marx's work. Only a monk could actually believe that the whole proletariat of each industrialized country would suddenly and at the same time everywhere overthrow the bourgeoisie. That didn't happen for the feudal mode of production, that didn't happen for capitalism, why would that happen for socialism?

Marx made many assumptions, but an assumption isn't a prediction. If someone says that Marx "predicted" that the revolution would necessarily start in Britain or Germany, then he hasn't read Marx and he is certainly not a Marxist. In 1882, Marx and Engels wrote in a new preface to the Communist Manifesto: "If the Russian Revolution becomes the signal for a proletarian revolution in the West, so that both complement each other, the present Russian common ownership of land may serve as the starting point for a communist development."

Making "predictions" on how socialism will be brought in a country is stupid as well.

Quote:
The whole reason I made this post was to say that Lenin's thesis needs to be updated for the present day (it was written nearly 100 years ago and yet you seem to think the world hasn't changed at all). Lenin clearly points out that colonies are a distinctive feature of imperialism. Nowadays you don't need to be blind to see that the colonies have all gone and yet imperialism still remains. This clearly needs updating.

Switzerland had no colonies and Germany had no colonies either Of course imperialism has evolved since then, but that doesn't mean that Lenin's definition of imperialism was wrong. Colonies were only one of the different forms of imperialism. Imperialism in Switzerland was obviously not base on colonies.

Quote:

Ah, the classic line of the dialectician. Rosa demolishes Hegelian dialectics here: http://www.anti-dialectics.co.uk/#Essays

I recommend. (Hint: you can't understand dialectics as it is nonsense.)

At least you admit that you don't understand dialectics.

Quote:
No, he says it is decaying because of monopoly.

Lol. He says that monopolies are developing because of the tendency of profits to decrease. You are not actually contradicting what I said, which proves that you didn't even understand what I said.

Quote:
]So you are saying that the economic crisis provoked the Arab Spring, wars in Ukraine, Syria and Libya? Can you prove this or is this just you making another grand claim without a shred of evidence to support it? And even if we assume this is true, how come it hasn't resulted in proletarian revolutions and how come there have been no revolutionary uprisings in the imperialist countries themselves? Just saying that there has been some general upheavals in the world doesn't validate Lenin's theory.

Am I supposed to understand that you believe that, according to Lenin, there should be a revolution in the West for each war in the East?


Quote:
And yet you fully admit this is how you read Lenin!

I read Lenin as I would read any other theoretician. This has nothing to do with religion. I don't see why I shouldn't agree with Lenin.
Image

"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
"I am one of the better read Marxists on this site" Gred
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 27 Oct 2015, 20:19
Quote:
For example, when you write: "And yet Britain has lost all of its old colonies but can still afford to "bribe" its workers. So your argument makes no sense." You are replying to my assertion: "Marx's and Engels' theory was that the British empire managed to bribe its whole working class." Someone with a bit of understanding would have noticed that I used the past, and therefore he wouldn't talk about Britain today. Indeed, I'm not Marx, and Marx died a long time ago.


So you're saying that Britain no longer bribes its workers? If so then that is a major feature of imperialism that is no longer applicable!

Quote:
Once again you are trying to find "predictions" in Marx's works, as if Marx was Nostradamus. Marx made a scientific hypothesis which is that the next mode of production will be established by the domination of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie.


Haha! You lecture me on predictions and yet in your last post you said 'Capitalism as the dominant mode of production is young. It's only 200-300 years old, maybe even less. It could survive 200 years, or disappear in 50 years. We cannot tell. But it will be eventually defeated, there is no other way.'

Quote:
A few decades after that, there was a socialist mode of production in many countries, which proves that Marx had indeed correctly analyzed the situation of his time.


Marx thought there would be proletarian revolutions - i.e. revolutions in countries where the proletariat were the biggest class (i.e. western Europe and the USA). The countries that did end up having revolutions were countries in which peasants were the biggest class. Also I dispute how fully socialist any of these countries actually were since the party had absolute control over society and production in the USSR, China, etc. and never allowed the workers (or peasants) to actually exercise power. But I'd rather not get into that on this thread. If you really want to debate that point then start a new thread.

Quote:
Only a monk could actually believe that the whole proletariat of each industrialized country would suddenly and at the same time everywhere overthrow the bourgeoisie. That didn't happen for the feudal mode of production, that didn't happen for capitalism, why would that happen for socialism?


I never said they would all happen at once.

Quote:
Switzerland had no colonies and Germany had no colonies either


Germany had a colonial empire. Look it up. As for Switzerland, did Lenin consider it to be imperialist in 1917? He cites Schilder's opinion that 'five industrial states have become “definitely pronounced creditor countries”: Great Britain, France, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland' but this doesn't mean he necessarily agrees with him. He also cites Sartorius von Walterhausen who 'cites Holland as the model “rentier state” and points out that Great Britain and France are now becoming such.' Yet he then immediately cites Schilder again saying '[Schilder] does not include Holland in this list simply because she is “industrially little developed”.' So just because Lenin cites other writers how imply Switzerland may be an imperialist country does not mean Lenin agreed with them.

Quote:
At least you admit that you don't understand dialectics.


And I'm also saying that you don't understand it since it cannot be understood. I'll happily debate this with you.

Quote:
Am I supposed to understand that you believe that, according to Lenin, there should be a revolution in the West for each war in the East?


Not at all. I'm saying that various uprisings in Ukraine and the Middle East (which aren't even proletarian uprisings) are not proof of Lenin's theory of imperialism.

Quote:
I read Lenin as I would read any other theoretician. This has nothing to do with religion. I don't see why I shouldn't agree with Lenin.


Because his writings are 100 years old and the world has changed a lot since then in many ways he couldn't possibly have imagined. Therefore it is futile to slavishly believe every word he said still retains absolute relevance to this day and age. Has a lot of what he said remained relevant? Yes. But like all writers some of his views and theories are inevitably no longer applicable today. Therefore it is important we read through his works (especially one such as Imperialism...) and separate that which is relevant and that which is no longer relevant.

Finally, let me ask you a simple question:

A group of workers are agitating for a pay rise and safer working conditions by threatening to strike, protest, etc. The capitalists don't want to give them this for obvious reasons. After months of negotiations, however, a deal is reached and they get a pay rise and safer conditions in their factory. The capitalists can afford to pay for these concessions because they make large profits selling the factory's goods in foreign countries. As a result the workers do not go on strike and they become content with their situation being employed by the capitalists at the factory.

Is this deal a bribe or a victory for the workers?
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 2293
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 28 Oct 2015, 02:40
Quote:
So you're saying that Britain no longer bribes its workers? If so then that is a major feature of imperialism that is no longer applicable!

Marx thought that Britain bribed its whole proletariat thanks to the colonies. Since the colonial empire has mostly disappeared, it seems reasonable to believe that Britain can't do that anymore. However, does that mean that they can't bribe a small strata of their working class, like all imperialist powers do? Of course not.

Quote:
Haha! You lecture me on predictions and yet in your last post you said 'Capitalism as the dominant mode of production is young. It's only 200-300 years old, maybe even less. It could survive 200 years, or disappear in 50 years. We cannot tell. But it will be eventually defeated, there is no other way.'

That's not what I meant by prediction. I guess that I wasn't clear enough. You can make assumptions about the future, but you must be cautious. The idea that capitalism will be defeated is not exactly a prediction because everything must come to an end (nothing is eternal). I'm just stating the obvious. Now, how will capitalism disappear? Marx thought that capitalism would disappear with a proletarian revolution. Now we can see many other reasons that could cause the end of capitalism:
- Climate change: the consequences on humanity will be terrible according to most scientific reports. For example some said recently that no life would be possible in Saudi Arabia (God is Great).
- New scientific discoveries: Artificial Intelligence, prolonged lifetime. All of this would make capitalism hardly sustainable.
- The end of human civilization or even life itself.
All of this could happen in only a few decades.
But that doesn't mean that Marx's theory would be wrong, as it's quite likely that climate change or major scientific discoveries would be combined with important political instability.
Those are assumptions, not predictions.

Quote:
Also I dispute how fully socialist any of these countries actually were since the party had absolute control over society and production in the USSR, China, etc. and never allowed the workers (or peasants) to actually exercise power. But I'd rather not get into that on this thread. If you really want to debate that point then start a new thread.

That doesn't really matter. Since Marx was not Nostradamus, we mustn't see Marx as someone who made "predictions" but as someone who tried to analyze the capitalist system with a scientific method. Marx's main idea is that a socialist society - i.e. a society built on social principles - would be built over the ruins of capitalism. Then Marx made a few assumptions about socialism. Engels developed this even further. Then, life has made socialism a reality: The Paris Commune, USSR, Cuba, Vietnam, even North Korea, all those societies are/were, without any kind of doubt, socialist societies. This is what history has decided and Marx's ideas don't matter anymore. Those societies didn't correspond exactly to what Marx had expected or hoped, but Marx wasn't a priest, he never pretended to say: "This is socialism". He never did.
Of course, it's very well possible that in a few years a new society will arise, that will correspond even more to Marx's assumptions about socialism, and to his own personal dreams, but we do not know. It's also possible that the history of socialism will end up there.
The same thing happened for capitalism. Cromwell made a bourgeois revolution in the 17th century. He was overthrown. Then the French made a bourgeois revolution in 1789. They were overthrown. Those revolutions were very different, they both failed, they were both completely shaped by the old society and both very far from the high ideals that they upheld, but they were bourgeois nonetheless. And since then, we have never seen any "perfect" bourgeois revolution, because that can't exist. Yet, the French revolution was certainly closer to the "perfect" bourgeois revolution than Cromwell's failed attempt. It was stronger and more effective, but it happened more than a century later.

Quote:
Germany had a colonial empire. Look it up.

Germany acquired a few colonies very late (nothing that could be compared with the French and British empires), and then the country lost all of it after WWI. That's what I wanted to point out, but I hadn't finished my sentence. So yes, for quite some time, Germany was an imperialist power without colonies.

Quote:
As for Switzerland, did Lenin consider it to be imperialist in 1917? He cites Schilder's opinion that 'five industrial states have become “definitely pronounced creditor countries”: Great Britain, France, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland' but this doesn't mean he necessarily agrees with him. He also cites Sartorius von Walterhausen who 'cites Holland as the model “rentier state” and points out that Great Britain and France are now becoming such.' Yet he then immediately cites Schilder again saying '[Schilder] does not include Holland in this list simply because she is “industrially little developed”.' So just because Lenin cites other writers how imply Switzerland may be an imperialist country does not mean Lenin agreed with them.

When Lenin cites someone without criticizing him, he agrees with him. Lenin especially likes to quote some clever sentences from someone, and then he starts attacking the guy because he is unable to establish a correct conclusion from the facts that he has himself acknowledged. In this case, of course, Lenin completely agrees with the idea that Switzerland is one of the "pronounced creditor countries." In another article, he says:

"The Swiss “bourgeois government”, because of the numerous ties of Swiss banking capital, is not merely a “bourgeois government”, but an imperialist bourgeois government."

This is quite clear. Lenin has also explained that Swiss imperialism is based on finance, but I don't remember where he said that exactly. So yes, in Lenin's theory, you can be an imperialist country without taking active part in wars, without invading other countries and establishing colonies. The only thing you need is finance.


Quote:
And I'm also saying that you don't understand it since it cannot be understood. I'll happily debate this with you.

Of course. An object never exists in itself or in an unchanging state. This is dialectics. Water boils at 100 degrees, which is a transformation of quantity into quality. Dialectics. Newton's third law is called "action-reaction": "When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body." Dialectics. As we understand dialectics, we manage to transform the world around us. For example, we can build incredible buildings and machines. Marx believed that understanding human dialectics would also help us build a better form of society.


Quote:
Not at all. I'm saying that various uprisings in Ukraine and the Middle East (which aren't even proletarian uprisings) are not proof of Lenin's theory of imperialism.

I don't care about the shitty uprising in Ukraine. Of course it wasn't proletarian. I was talking about the conflict.

Quote:
Because his writings are 100 years old and the world has changed a lot since then in many ways he couldn't possibly have imagined. Therefore it is futile to slavishly believe every word he said still retains absolute relevance to this day and age.

Do you know that even the Muslisms (most of them) don't read the Curan as if it didn't had a context? So what you are saying is that you are unable to read Lenin in a context (although almost all works from Lenin talk about current events)! It's obvious that, when someone says that he agrees with Lenin, he says that he agrees with what Lenin says in the context in which he is writing. For example if Lenin writes: "We shall start the uprising tomorrow", I could totally agree with Lenin (i.e. believing that it was a good idea to begin the uprising) without believing that I, today, should do the same.
This is just common sense you know?

But there are some ideas that don't need a context. For example the philosophical aspect of the doctrine (e.g. Lenin's Materialism and Empiriocriticism) don't need a context as it concerns general ideas. The definitions established by Lenin don't need a context either, as a definition isn't a description or a stack of observed characteristics. For example, Marx's definition of capitalism is still 100% true, even though capitalism has evolved. This has nothing to do with time. 100, 200, 300 years could past without altering the definition. If we read Plato, we could agree with a lot of ideas, even though 2500 years have passed. We will also agree with Archimedes' principle.

So the fact that we are 100 years after Lenin don't mean that Lenin is wrong in any way. It's true that the world has changed, and that means that many texts from Lenin are outdated. But that doesn't mean that Lenin became wrong! Of course not. For example I don't give a shit about Lenin's speech on the increase of production of steel in Ukraine, but does that mean that I should disagree with Lenin? Of course not.

Quote:
A group of workers are agitating for a pay rise and safer working conditions by threatening to strike, protest, etc. The capitalists don't want to give them this for obvious reasons. After months of negotiations, however, a deal is reached and they get a pay rise and safer conditions in their factory. The capitalists can afford to pay for these concessions because they make large profits selling the factory's goods in foreign countries. As a result the workers do not go on strike and they become content with their situation being employed by the capitalists at the factory.

Is this deal a bribe or a victory for the workers?

A bribe without any doubt. There would be a victory if the capitalists had lost the battle. But in this situation, they won the battle. The bribe that they paid isn't much compared to the social peace that they acquired. Thus, it's obvious that, had they actually gone into battle, they would have obtained even more.
Apparently in the situation that you describe your "group of workers" is led by opportunist leaders. They got bribed, and so they stopped the struggle and went back to work. End of the story, the bribe is a success.
Revolutionary workers wouldn't have stopped there. They wouldn't be "content with their situation". They would see their victory in negotiation as a sign of weakness from their bosses. They would have explained to the other workers that this proves that you can obtain more when you struggle, and thus they would use their victory to prepare the next battle.

This is common sense.

But your workers are "satisfied"? I find your example surprising and I believe that, in your opinion, it's ok to be a factory worker as long as you are ok with your wage. This idea isn't surprising in itself, but it's rather surprising on Soviet-Empire.

So, what are you exactly? How do you define yourself? I'm a Communist, Marxist, Leninist. What are you?
Image

"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
"I am one of the better read Marxists on this site" Gred
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 28 Oct 2015, 20:56
Quote:
Marx thought that Britain bribed its whole proletariat thanks to the colonies. Since the colonial empire has mostly disappeared, it seems reasonable to believe that Britain can't do that anymore. However, does that mean that they can't bribe a small strata of their working class, like all imperialist powers do? Of course not.


And yet British workers have it better now than they ever did during Marx's time or even at the height of the British Empire. They now have a national health service, safer working conditions, better pay, free education to 18, votes for women, social housing, pensions, unemployment benefit, etc. And yet the colonies have all gone.

Quote:
Marx thought that capitalism would disappear with a proletarian revolution. Now we can see many other reasons that could cause the end of capitalism:
- Climate change: the consequences on humanity will be terrible according to most scientific reports. For example some said recently that no life would be possible in Saudi Arabia (God is Great).
- New scientific discoveries: Artificial Intelligence, prolonged lifetime. All of this would make capitalism hardly sustainable.
- The end of human civilization or even life itself.
All of this could happen in only a few decades.
But that doesn't mean that Marx's theory would be wrong, as it's quite likely that climate change or major scientific discoveries would be combined with important political instability.
Those are assumptions, not predictions.


Those examples aren't just the end of capitalism; they are the end of human society. Marx on the other hand saw the end of capitalism as capitalism being replaced by communism (not the end of human society at all). And Marx came to this conclusion as a logical result of the class struggle between proletariat and bourgeoisie. So a prediction.

Quote:
That doesn't really matter. Since Marx was not Nostradamus, we mustn't see Marx as someone who made "predictions" but as someone who tried to analyze the capitalist system with a scientific method. Marx's main idea is that a socialist society - i.e. a society built on social principles - would be built over the ruins of capitalism.


You are confusing 'prediction' with 'prophecy'. Marx was no prophet but it is safe to say he certainly predicted the demise of capitalism and what would come later. He never said it was 100% guaranteed to happen (as a prophecy does) but he still made predictions about the future of human society.

Quote:
Of course. An object never exists in itself or in an unchanging state. This is dialectics.


Of course change can happen; it just cannot be explained with dialectics.

Quote:
Water boils at 100 degrees, which is a transformation of quantity into quality. Dialectics.


This is not a transformation of quantity into quality as the quantity of water remains the same. The only thing you are increasing the quantity of is the temperature (and that isn't really a quantity as temperature is not an object). And yet the thing that undergoes the qualitative change is the water (which has undergone no quantitative change).

Let's see how this works out with exchange value and use value. Marx declared these to be opposites in the appendix to the German edition of Capital, 1867 - 'The product of labour in its natural form brings with it into the world the form of a use-value. Therefore it requires further only the value-form in order for it to possess the commodity-form, i.e. for it to appear as a unity of the opposites use-value and exchange-value.' https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/w ... pendix.htm

If we take a quantity of exchange value and increase it, does it ever turn into its opposite use value?

The answer is no. No matter how much you increase the quantity of exchange value ad infinitum it never undergoes a 'qualitative change' and turn into its opposite, use value. There are no 'leaps' or 'nodal points' or any other Hegelian jargon.

Quote:
"When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body." Dialectics.


Or "Newtonianism" as any actual scientist would call it.

Quote:
Dialectics. As we understand dialectics, we manage to transform the world around us. For example, we can build incredible buildings and machines.


I'm pretty sure most if not all inventors and architects didn't use Hegelian dialectics to build their machines and buildings.

Quote:
Marx believed that understanding human dialectics would also help us build a better form of society.


So how come he didn't publish anything on dialectics? How come even his personal and unpublished writings tended to veer away from dialectics by the 1860s? In 1858 (when he he was still a Hegelian) Marx wrote to Engels saying 'In the method of treatment the fact that by mere accident I again glanced through Hegel's Logic has been of great service to me... If there should ever be the time for such work again, I would greatly like to make accessible to the ordinary human intelligence, in two or three printer's sheets, what is rational in the method which Hegel discovered.' http://www.academia.edu/3035453/MARXISM ... G.A._Cohen

And yet he never for the rest of his life wrote these 'two or three sheets' on his supposedly crucial method! How vital could his Hegelian dialectical method have been in his later years if he couldn't even be bothered to publish a two-three page summary of it? There's no evidence that he even prepared it in draft but was unable to get it published!

Quote:
So the fact that we are 100 years after Lenin don't mean that Lenin is wrong in any way. It's true that the world has changed, and that means that many texts from Lenin are outdated. But that doesn't mean that Lenin became wrong! Of course not.


I never said he was wrong, but that his theory needs to be updated for the present day. Since you claim that you never disagreed with a single sentence of Lenin this implies you don't recognise where some of what he wrote 100 years ago is no longer applicable.

Quote:
A bribe without any doubt. There would be a victory if the capitalists had lost the battle. But in this situation, they won the battle. The bribe that they paid isn't much compared to the social peace that they acquired. Thus, it's obvious that, had they actually gone into battle, they would have obtained even more.
Apparently in the situation that you describe your "group of workers" is led by opportunist leaders. They got bribed, and so they stopped the struggle and went back to work. End of the story, the bribe is a success.
Revolutionary workers wouldn't have stopped there. They wouldn't be "content with their situation". They would see their victory in negotiation as a sign of weakness from their bosses. They would have explained to the other workers that this proves that you can obtain more when you struggle, and thus they would use their victory to prepare the next battle.


But workers are hardly ever revolutionary. This is what Lenin pointed out when he talked about the trade union consciousness. 'We have said that there could not have been Social-Democratic consciousness among the workers. It would have to be brought to them from without. The history of all countries shows that the working class, exclusively by its own effort, is able to develop only trade union consciousness, i.e., the conviction that it is necessary to combine in unions, fight the employers, and strive to compel the government to pass necessary labour legislation, etc.' https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/ ... tbd/ii.htm

Since workers almost never have revolutionary demands all their class war victories count as bribes (in your eyes) - this would make the whole class struggle in fact counter-revolutionary as every victory would only serve to dampen revolutionary enthusiasm among the workers (back to Impossibilism again).

Quote:
But your workers are "satisfied"? I find your example surprising and I believe that, in your opinion, it's ok to be a factory worker as long as you are ok with your wage. This idea isn't surprising in itself, but it's rather surprising on Soviet-Empire.


It was just a hypothetical example. As for real life factory workers, it doesn't matter what you or I think, the fact is that many of them are currently satisfied with wage labour that they don't want to agitate for revolution. Whether this is because they have fought for good enough wages etc. or have been bribed these by the bourgeoisie (two sides of the same coin), this is the reason that they won't overthrow capitalism any time soon. What is the solution to this? I don't know!

Quote:
So, what are you exactly? How do you define yourself? I'm a Communist, Marxist, Leninist. What are you?


Marxist
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 2293
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 28 Oct 2015, 22:21
Quote:
And yet British workers have it better now than they ever did during Marx's time or even at the height of the British Empire. They now have a national health service, safer working conditions, better pay, free education to 18, votes for women, social housing, pensions, unemployment benefit, etc. And yet the colonies have all gone.

The colonies are gone, but not imperialism. There are many ways to exploit a country. The USA for example never had actual colonies, and yet they objectively colonized the whole American subcontinent during the 20th century thanks to capitalist monopolies like the United Fruit Company. Some historians have even challenged the idea that colonies were profitable for a nation (which doesn't mean that they were not profitable for some companies, for a few people, and in terms of geostrategy).

Also we never said that it's impossible for capitalism to improve living conditions, and I don't think that capitalists are unable to share their profits, i.e. to give the workers more than what they would need to survive and reproduce their workforce. This principle existed when Marx was alive and it was called the Babbage principle. In The Capital Marx criticized it and after him Keynes helped the capitalists to abandon this idea. Capitalism entered in a new era of state intervention and state-controlled monopolies which was called "Keynesianism", but started even before Keynes' ideas were acknowledged, under Hoover and Roosevelt.

Quote:
But workers are hardly ever revolutionary.

Exactly. That's why they are bribed and that's why we must work to improve their class consciousness.

Quote:
all their class war victories count as bribes (in your eyes)

If it's a bribe, it's not a victory but a defeat. That's common sense.

Quote:
Of course change can happen; it just cannot be explained with dialectics.

Is that supposed to mean something? Change is an important concept of dialectics.

Quote:
This is not a transformation of quantity into quality as the quantity of water remains the same. The only thing you are increasing the quantity of is the temperature (and that isn't really a quantity as temperature is not an object). And yet the thing that undergoes the qualitative change is the water (which has undergone no quantitative change).

This is pure nonsense. As you said heat isn't an object, so it's water itself that accumulates heat. Heat is one of the properties of water, not something separates. So indeed, water accumulates heat without boiling, until it reaches 100 degrees. This is clearly a transformation of quantity into quality.

Quote:
The answer is no. No matter how much you increase the quantity of exchange value ad infinitum it never undergoes a 'qualitative change' and turn into its opposite, use value. There are no 'leaps' or 'nodal points' or any other Hegelian jargon.

Once again it's clear that you don't understand dialectics. Dialectical materialism never said that everything is necessarily supposed to transform into its contrary, or even in something else, because of quantitative change. One of the laws of dialectics is precisely called "unity of opposites".

In the case of water, water starts boiling at 100 degrees because this is a law of nature, a property of water in certain atmospheric conditions. Before 100 degrees, and after 100 degrees, quantity still grows, and yet you won't find a change in quality.

In the case of exchange value, if you accumulate enough exchange value ("dead labor", i.e. capital) , you can start creating a capitalist monopoly. This is a transformation of quantity into quality, a qualitative change of capitalism.

If you want to learn more about dialectics, I suggest that you read Georges Politzer or Uncle Mao.

Quote:
Marxist

I have yet to understand how one can pretend to be a Marxist when one don't even agree with one of the basis of Marxism: dialectics. And I'm not even talking about dialectical materialism and historical materialism.
Image

"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
"I am one of the better read Marxists on this site" Gred
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 29 Oct 2015, 00:54
Quote:
The colonies are gone, but not imperialism. There are many ways to exploit a country. The USA for example never had actual colonies, and yet they objectively colonized the whole American subcontinent during the 20th century thanks to capitalist monopolies like the United Fruit Company. Some historians have even challenged the idea that colonies were profitable for a nation (which doesn't mean that they were not profitable for some companies, for a few people, and in terms of geostrategy).


Right, so we need to revise Lenin's theories on colonies so that they suit the modern day. This is what I mean about revising Lenin's work so that they reflect the world as it is now, not the world as it was in 1917.

Quote:
Exactly. That's why they are bribed and that's why we must work to improve their class consciousness.


But how can we improve their class consciousness when the whole point of the bribe is to weaken their class consciousness? What do we have to offer that can counter the effectiveness of the bribe?

Quote:
If it's a bribe, it's not a victory but a defeat. That's common sense.


But the workers themselves won't see it that way and they sure as hell won't want to give them up just so they can deliberately stay in poverty. What workers are going to refuse a pay rise or insist that social services are cut?

Quote:
Is that supposed to mean something? Change is an important concept of dialectics.


It means what it says. I am acknowledging that change can occur in the world but that dialectics cannot be used to explain it.

Quote:
This is pure nonsense. As you said heat isn't an object, so it's water itself that accumulates heat. Heat is one of the properties of water, not something separates. So indeed, water accumulates heat without boiling, until it reaches 100 degrees. This is clearly a transformation of quantity into quality.


How is it a transformation of quantity into quality? There has been no increase in the quantity of anything. As we both agree, heat isn't an object so it cannot actually be a quantity. Temperature is simply a measure so any increase in temperature isn't an increase in quantity as such, just a rise in the measure of temperature. The physical quantity of an object hasn't increased. Therefore the same quantity of water has changed in quality without any quantitative change whatsoever.

Quote:
Once again it's clear that you don't understand dialectics. Dialectical materialism never said that everything is necessarily supposed to transform into its contrary, or even in something else, because of quantitative change. One of the laws of dialectics is precisely called "unity of opposites".


You claim to understand dialectics? Account for the following:

Engels:

'As soon as we apply the antithesis between truth and error outside of that narrow field which has been referred to above it becomes relative and therefore unserviceable for exact scientific modes of expression, and if we attempt to apply it as absolutely valid outside that field we really find ourselves altogether beaten: both poles of the antithesis become transformed into their opposites, truth becomes error and error truth.'

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/w ... g/ch07.htm

Dialectics as the science of universal inter-connection. Main laws: transformation of quantity and quality – mutual penetration of polar opposites and transformation into each other when carried to extremes-development through contradiction or negation of the negation – spiral form of development.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/w ... endix2.htm

Plekhanov

'And so every phenomenon, by the action of those same forces which condition its existence, sooner or later, but inevitably, is transformed into its own opposite.'

https://www.marxists.org/archive/plekha ... t/ch04.htm

Lenin

'not only the unity of opposites, but the transitions of every determination, quality, feature, side, property into every other [into its
opposite?].'


https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/ ... ummary.htm

Now read this

Quote:
In the case of water, water starts boiling at 100 degrees because this is a law of nature, a property of water in certain atmospheric conditions. Before 100 degrees, and after 100 degrees, quantity still grows, and yet you won't find a change in quality.


The quantity of the water has not grown, it has remained the same.

Quote:
In the case of exchange value, if you accumulate enough exchange value ("dead labor", i.e. capital) , you can start creating a capitalist monopoly.


This does not correlate with your water example. In your water example the water undergoes a qualitative change at 100 degrees regardless of any human's desire. With exchange value the accumulation can keep growing and growing without it ever becoming use value if a person chooses simply to hoard it. Exchange value turns into use value only through the process of exchange and this does not require a specific quantity in order for it to occur. In this way you can accumulate exchange value up to the value of $10 million or more and it remains exchange value. Yet you can also accumulate it to the value of $5 and exchange it and it becomes use value. Quantity of exchange value is irrelevant to its qualitative change into use value.

And if this is supposed to be a scientific theory then it should apply equally and with the same results to the water as it does to the exchange value.

Also the water example involves increasing the "quantity" of temperature (despite that not being a physical object). With the exchange value example you are increasing the quantity of exchange value itself. In order for these examples to match you should be increasing the quantity of the water - and no matter how much you increase that, it will never boil.

Quote:
If you want to learn more about dialectics, I suggest that you read Georges Politzer or Uncle Mao.


Would that be the Mao who says:
'That is to say, in given conditions, each of the contradictory aspects within a thing transforms itself into its opposite, changes its position to that of its opposite.'

https://www.marxists.org/reference/arch ... wv1_17.htm

Quote:
I have yet to understand how one can pretend to be a Marxist when one don't even agree with one of the basis of Marxism: dialectics. And I'm not even talking about dialectical materialism and historical materialism.


Marx had largely abandoned Hegelian dialectics as a method by the time he was in his "mature Marx" period. (Why didn't you address the point I made about him never writing anything about his dialectical method?) You can still see that Hegelianism influenced Marx right the way up to the end, including some of the terminology and you can clearly see the influence of this in historical materialism. I have no problem with any of this. The problem is with seeing the Hegelian dialectic as some sort of super analytical tool and method which Marxists can use to analyse anything in the universe. For this we can largely thank Engels, Plekhanov and Lenin who seemed to fetishise it as some super key to understanding everything.
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 2293
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 30 Oct 2015, 18:53
Quote:
Right, so we need to revise Lenin's theories on colonies so that they suit the modern day.

What? There are no more colonies today, so you can't "revise" Lenin's theories on colonies. But you can continue Lenin's work and analyze things that he can't analyze anymore.

Quote:
This is what I mean about revising Lenin's work so that they reflect the world as it is now, not the world as it was in 1917.

Lenin's theories were true and we don't need to revise his theories, except maybe for some exceptional points that I have yet to discover. But the core of the theory doesn't need to be revised. It needs to be applied to the present situation.
There is a difference between:
- The doctrine.
- Lenin's analysis of the perticular situation in which he was living.
Lenin's doctrine (which is Marx's and Engel's doctrine) remains totally true. Lenin's analysis of some perticular situations, and the answers that he gave, correspond to his time, and thus they became outdated. When Lenin himself was living, he criticized some of his own old ideas, saying that, although they were right when he formulated them, they became outdated. This is the same in our situation. Some parts of his analysis are outdated, but the core of the theory remains true. We mustn't "revise" Lenin, we must continue Lenin, we must use Lenin's tools to make our own analysis of the present situation.

Quote:
But how can we improve their class consciousness when the whole point of the bribe is to weaken their class consciousness? What do we have to offer that can counter the effectiveness of the bribe?

We offer them truth. You know when a factory worker goes on strike, he loses a lot of money. At the end of the negociation, sometimes, he obtains some compensation, but most of the time, that is not the case. They go on strike because that's their duty. You work for days, months, years, in your factory. And when the time comes, you go to battle because that's your duty. That's how class consciousness works, there is no secret. Sometimes we are weak and we can't win the battle of class consciousness, but we must still work.

Quote:
But the workers themselves won't see it that way and they sure as hell won't want to give them up just so they can deliberately stay in poverty. What workers are going to refuse a pay rise or insist that social services are cut?

Who are you to tell how the workers will see something? I have worked at the factory and I can tell that workers are not stupid. And who wants to cut social services? In France and Britain social services were acquired after a long war against Nazi Germany. In France it was the Communist Party itself that helped setting up social services (Ambroise Croizat). The bourgeoisie was weak after WWII, so they had to negociate. What you obtain from negociation isn't necessarily a bribe. There is no bribe if you obtain something after a fierce battle. Now the bourgeoisie is strong and, quite often, they want to reduce social services. It's our duty to defend what our ancestors acquired.
We must support everything that can actually improve the living conditions of the working class. A bribe can't improve living conditions, because the point of the bribe is to weaken the working class to decrease its living conditions on the long range (relatively to what the society as a whole has to offer). I doubt that we can consider that social services in general are a bribe. It's very well possible that there is a bribe function. If you look at it, opportunists love to take important positions in the state at a local or national level to distribute themselves the "bribes". But social services are too big to be considered only a bribe. They actually improve living conditions of the working class, and it's clear that in the present situation, if we don't protect our social services, the bourgeoisie will take them back. We are in a time of strong political liberalism and budget cuts. Even opportunist Tsipras hasn't done much against this tendancy.


Quote:
It means what it says. I am acknowledging that change can occur in the world but that dialectics cannot be used to explain it.

If you acknowledge Newton's law of action-reaction, then you acknowledge that change and dialectics are completely related. Or you are not a materialist, you don't acknowledge, and you can even refuse to acknoledge the existence of the real world itself, just like Hume.

Quote:
As we both agree, heat isn't an object so it cannot actually be a quantity.

I dismiss the idea that heat isn't quantity. If it can be measured, it's quantity. I don't see the point of challenging that, we mean nothing different when we talk about the transformation of quantity into quality. Those are mere words. If you are not satisfied with the words, you can still change the words. I would call that byzantinism. But the reality described by the formula remains the same. About boiling water, Engels said:

"Chemistry may be called the science of the qualitative changes which take place in bodies as the effect of changes of quantitative composition."

I can't challenge that.

Quote:
Now read this

I have yet to see anything seriously challenging dialectics in this stack of shit. The guy quotes Engels and Lenin, and then without ANY argumentation, he concludes: "Exactly Why Dialectical Materialism Can't Explain Change!" So apparently the guy has read those 3 quotations, and since he couldn't understand what was written, he concluded that Engels and Lenin are unable to "explain change".

He tries to explain in another part of his website (LMAO, he should have done that BEFORE stating his conclusion as any serious people should do). He writes:

"Unfortunately, O* can't itself change into O** since O** already exists! If O** didn't already exist then, according to this theory, O* couldn't change, for there would be no opposite with which it could "struggle" in order to bring that about!"

This sentence in itself sums up everything. The guy is unable to understand dialectics. He sees what he calls O* and O** as definite objects. This is an idealistic method totally contrary to dialectical thought. For a Marxist, O* and O** are not definite objects, they are forces struggling against each other. For example, young people like you and me are growing up. We are not decaying yet because we keep producing neuronal cells. Yet, since we grow up, we are also closer everyday to our death. In ourselves, life is struggling against death. At some point we will start decaying, until we are dead.

You shouldn't link to the obscure writings of a random guy on the internet.

Quote:
Marx had largely abandoned Hegelian dialectics as a method by the time he was in his "mature Marx" period. (Why didn't you address the point I made about him never writing anything about his dialectical method?) You can still see that Hegelianism influenced Marx right the way up to the end, including some of the terminology and you can clearly see the influence of this in historical materialism. I have no problem with any of this. The problem is with seeing the Hegelian dialectic as some sort of super analytical tool and method which Marxists can use to analyse anything in the universe. For this we can largely thank Engels, Plekhanov and Lenin who seemed to fetishise it as some super key to understanding everything.

That's the basis of Marxism, but anyway I don't understand what you mean by "never writing anything about his dialectical method"? I must add that Hegel was an idealist while Marx is a materialist, so their understanding of dialectics is different. Moreover, as Althusser explained, at some point of Marx's philosophical evolution, there was an epistemologic rupture, which means a rupture with Hegelianism.
Image

"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
"I am one of the better read Marxists on this site" Gred
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 30 Oct 2015, 20:17
Quote:
What? There are no more colonies today, so you can't "revise" Lenin's theories on colonies. But you can continue Lenin's work and analyze things that he can't analyze anymore.


So none of the chapter on The division of the world among the great powers needs revising for the present day? We should all be looking at that chapter and nodding sagely despite the fact it is based around colonies and they no longer exist today?

Quote:
Lenin's theories were true and we don't need to revise his theories, except maybe for some exceptional points that I have yet to discover. But the core of the theory doesn't need to be revised. It needs to be applied to the present situation.
There is a difference between:
- The doctrine.
- Lenin's analysis of the perticular situation in which he was living.
Lenin's doctrine (which is Marx's and Engel's doctrine) remains totally true. Lenin's analysis of some perticular situations, and the answers that he gave, correspond to his time, and thus they became outdated. When Lenin himself was living, he criticized some of his own old ideas, saying that, although they were right when he formulated them, they became outdated. This is the same in our situation. Some parts of his analysis are outdated, but the core of the theory remains true. We mustn't "revise" Lenin, we must continue Lenin, we must use Lenin's tools to make our own analysis of the present situation.


So how come there was never a proletarian revolution in the imperialist countries apart from Russia (which was a backwards one)?

Quote:
We offer them truth. You know when a factory worker goes on strike, he loses a lot of money. At the end of the negociation, sometimes, he obtains some compensation, but most of the time, that is not the case. They go on strike because that's their duty. You work for days, months, years, in your factory. And when the time comes, you go to battle because that's your duty. That's how class consciousness works, there is no secret. Sometimes we are weak and we can't win the battle of class consciousness, but we must still work.


The trouble is, "the truth" as you put it, is just ideas, but the bribe is material. As you well know, materialism is what affects class consciousness more than anything. People are content if their material life around them (good home, leisure time, plentiful food, etc.) is good and rise up when these material surroundings deteriorate. Just telling them ideas about communism isn't enough.

Plus the material bribe counters the ideas of the truth. Us telling the proletariat tat they are being exploited makes no sense if they are paid well enough to enjoy holidays in Europe, an iPhone, a nice TV and free healthcare, etc.

Quote:
What you obtain from negociation isn't necessarily a bribe. There is no bribe if you obtain something after a fierce battle.


But this tends to limit class consciousness as victories like this means they become more content with capitalism.

Quote:
I dismiss the idea that heat isn't quantity. If it can be measured, it's quantity.


Pick up a piece of heat then.

Even if you do count is a quantity it still means that the water/heat example does not correlate with the exchange value/use value example. In the water/heat you are increasing the quantity of the heat, not the water (the thing that is turning into something else). In the exchange value/use value argument you are increasing the quantity of the thing that is turning into something else. If this is a scientific theory both examples should correlate. If they were to correlate you would say that increasing the temperature of exchange value results in it turning into use value (!).

Quote:
"Chemistry may be called the science of the qualitative changes which take place in bodies as the effect of changes of quantitative composition."

I can't challenge that.


Engels wasn't a chemist.

Quote:
I have yet to see anything seriously challenging dialectics in this stack of shit.


You judge too quickly. The full site (and list of essays - I was just linking to one of many) can be found here:
http://www.anti-dialectics.co.uk/#Essays

And it's by a woman who goes by the name of Rosa Lichtenstein. She has posted on this board before and debated at various times with me, prax, Mabool and others over this issue. She knows far more about dialectics than anyone else on this board (or indeed most of the internet it would appear). Personally I would love it she joined in this thread as she would school you on your slapdash "knowledge" of a subject you only recently didn't even know had a rule of opposites turning into each other


Quote:
This sentence in itself sums up everything. The guy is unable to understand dialectics. He sees what he calls O* and O** as definite objects. This is an idealistic method totally contrary to dialectical thought. For a Marxist, O* and O** are not definite objects, they are forces struggling against each other.


And yet Lenin says 'Development is the 'struggle' of opposites…. [This] alone furnishes the key to the self-movement of everything existing….' https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/ ... sc/x02.htm

So if we take your water example and claim that O* and O** are forces. O* is temperature (the thing you say is increasing in quantity) and O** is... what exactly? Temperature 'struggles' with a force that is the opposite of temperature? What force is that?

But then Lenin also says 'Development is the 'struggle' of opposites…. 'and why the human mind should grasp these opposites not as dead, rigid, but as living, conditional, mobile, becoming transformed into one another'

So now O* after 'struggling' with O** has to transform into O**. Temperature has to transform into... what exactly? What is the opposite of temperature? When have you seen temperature transform into its opposite (or anything for that matter)?

Quote:
You shouldn't link to the obscure writings of a random guy on the internet.


Seriously, I urge you to read it. Like you I was a follower of dialectics until I read her work and realised you can't argue with her conclusions. Don't worry, you'll still be a Marxist when you've finished.

Quote:
That's the basis of Marxism


How come Marx never said this.

Quote:
but anyway I don't understand what you mean by "never writing anything about his dialectical method"?


If the Hegelian dialectical method was so important to Marx and his work, don't you think he would have published something on it? As I showed you, he wrote in a letter to Engels in 1858 that said he intended to publish a summary of dialectics on 'two to three sheets' and yet he never did this. Despite writing thousands and thousands of pages on all sorts of other stuff, he could never be bothered to write two to three sheets on a method that was supposedly at the very core of his system and essential reading for all Marxists.

Lenin later came to fetishise the dialectic and come up with the absurd suggestion that no-one can understand Das Kapital without first having read and fully understood the whole of Hegel's Logic. Leaving aside the fact that Lenin himself showed he didn't fully understand Hegel's Logic, if this were actually true, don't you think Marx would have mentioned it? If having read one of the most complex philosophical works ever published was a necessary precondition for understanding Das Kapital, don't you think Marx might have instructed readers to do this?
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 2293
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 31 Oct 2015, 14:46
Quote:
So none of the chapter on The division of the world among the great powers needs revising for the present day? We should all be looking at that chapter and nodding sagely despite the fact it is based around colonies and they no longer exist today?

OMFG. Lenin didn't wrote this book for you, in 2015, but for people at the beginning of the 20th century. Of course if we read Lenin, we don't read him as if he was talking about the world at the beginning of the 21st century! Of course not! So we agree to what he said regarding "The division of the world among the great powers" at the beginning of the 20th century. Then, we must ask ourselves this question: How is the division of the world organized today? Lenin doesn't have the answer for he's dead. But he can provide the tools to understand the world today.

Quote:
So how come there was never a proletarian revolution in the imperialist countries apart from Russia (which was a backwards one)?

No, you must add Germany too. There was a proletarian revolution in Germany, however it was crushed. There was even a Soviet in Strasbourg (now part of France), and we can consider that the Paris Commune was proletarian too. Russia was the weak link of the imperialist chain, so in a way it made sense that the revolution would start there, which is probably one of the reasons for which Marx and Engels talked about the possibility that the revolution could begin in Russia and then spread to other Western countries. And this is basically what happened, but unfortunately, and although Socialism spread to half of the world and fred many countries from the imperialist chain, although we had strong communist parties in France and Italy, and even Spain for some time, we lost the battle, just like the Paris Commune failed. Does that mean that it is the end of our story? That there will be no proletarian revolution in the West? No, it's too early to answer this question.


Quote:
The trouble is, "the truth" as you put it, is just ideas, but the bribe is material. As you well know, materialism is what affects class consciousness more than anything. People are content if their material life around them (good home, leisure time, plentiful food, etc.) is good and rise up when these material surroundings deteriorate. Just telling them ideas about communism isn't enough.

For a Marxist, ideas are also part of material life itself. There are no ideas, no historical movement, without practice, which is something material. The main idea of course is that the mode of production shapes the general ideology of its time, however economy can't explain everything. Yet, you are right when you say that "telling them ideas about communism isn't enough". We must also prove through our struggle that it's in the interest of the working class to struggle. If you struggle, you can obtain better wages and other advantages. Even if the capitalist offers a bribe, you can still say: "This is a bribe, but this bribe proves that they are afraid of us. If we organize ourselves, they will have even more reasons to fear us."

Quote:
Plus the material bribe counters the ideas of the truth. Us telling the proletariat tat they are being exploited makes no sense if they are paid well enough to enjoy holidays in Europe, an iPhone, a nice TV and free healthcare, etc.

In the recent history of Western Europe, this situation happened after WWII until the 1970. Of course a lot of people were still exploited and had bad living conditions, but we all agree today on the fact that young people have more economic difficulties than their grandparents. And yet, socialism is weaker. Why? Because basically, if they have good living conditions, they have a secured job and good working conditions, and when those requirements are met, workers can build stronger relations between them. Our epoch is characterized by unsecured jobs, which is a capitalist strategy to break the working class. This also explains why socialist ideas are stronger in the public sector today. So bad living conditions are not enough for the development of socialism.
You will also note that there are very close relations between socialism today and the public sector. In the French Communist Party, we have noticed that our leaders are different levels became less and less proletarian. In my own federation, the federal secretary, who was a public sector worker, was replaced by a public sector teacher. I believe that this is the result of modern capitalist trend and also an explanation for the development of opportunism inside the party.

Quote:
But this tends to limit class consciousness as victories like this means they become more content with capitalism.

Exactly, that's dialectical. There are two opposite forces and we can only hope that our own force will overcome thanks to the contradictions of the capitalist system and the possibility to organize the working class more efficiently (as I said above). Take Air France for example. They have better wages than most companies in Europe, but do they have a weaker class consciousness? The late events have proved that it's not the case.

Quote:
Pick up a piece of heat then.

You suppose that you can "pick up a piece" of anything. This is wrong. You can't pick up a piece of energy, but you can stock a certain amount of energy. This is a quantity and your cell phone proves that. The same is true for heat, which can be stocked. There is no such thing as cold, only absence of heat.

Quote:
Even if you do count is a quantity it still means that the water/heat example does not correlate with the exchange value/use value example. In the water/heat you are increasing the quantity of the heat, not the water (the thing that is turning into something else). In the exchange value/use value argument you are increasing the quantity of the thing that is turning into something else. If this is a scientific theory both examples should correlate. If they were to correlate you would say that increasing the temperature of exchange value results in it turning into use value (!).

Under certain circumstances, just like we saw in Russia, the accumulation of exchange value transformed the society to the point that it bring about a socialist system, which means that exchange value was transformed into use value. Of course this is only a social science, and comparing with physical science would be exaggerated. Boiling water is nothing more than a mere example. Also Marxists do not analyze things separated from all others, which is an idealistic method. Everything is related to some point, and that's how we should see the transformation of quantity into quality. That's why I said that heat isn't something separated from water. Even if it's not the accumulation of water itself that creates a change in quality, the theory remains true. It's also true for condensation: accumulation of water under the form of vapor leads to its transformation into liquid state, but it always depends on specific conditions.

Quote:
Engels wasn't a chemist.

No, but Engels, just like Lenin, had a rather good knowledge of science in general, maybe even more than Marx himself. And he was interested in chemistry, he read a lot of books, he had chemist friends. This allowed him to talk about chemistry without talking shit.

Quote:
And it's by a woman who goes by the name of Rosa Lichtenstein. She has posted on this board before and debated at various times with me, prax, Mabool and others over this issue. She knows far more about dialectics than anyone else on this board (or indeed most of the internet it would appear). Personally I would love it she joined in this thread as she would school you on your slapdash "knowledge" of a subject you only recently didn't even know had a rule of opposites turning into each other

LMFAO, Rosa Lichtenstein is indeed a random guy. I looked into the thread, and I found this discussion:

viewtopic.php?f=108&t=52507&start=80

Future world was clearly rekting her/him, because the difference between Rosa and Future world is that Future world understood physics while Rosa didn't. Although Future world made a few philosophical mistakes, he understood that the base of Rosa's shitposting was metaphysical philosophy. Rosa wanted to know why something was moving, and Future world, a more practical man, answered: "All this conversation is about describing motion." But stupid Rosa wasn't trying to "describe". She wanted to know the meaning of life, just like in the film. What is the meaning of life?

Also I don't think that you or Rosa can "school" me about anything. Both of you don't have any understanding of Marxist dialectics. In your case this is proved by the fact that you are unable to understand the simple example of boiling water.

Quote:
Seriously, I urge you to read it. Like you I was a follower of dialectics until I read her work and realised you can't argue with her conclusions. Don't worry, you'll still be a Marxist when you've finished.

I have read a part, and I couldn't even agree with it. Apparently this part is the basis of her metaphysical writings, and the worst thing is that she dare say, nonetheless, that she supports "historical materialism". Non-dialectical historical materialism? You can't be a Marxist if you don't agree with dialectical materialism, because that's the core of the theory. That's just not possible. You can disagree with dialectical materialism and agree with some parts of Marx's work. You would be a Marxian, as we say, not a Marxist.

I must thank you for the website though, that was funny.

Quote:
How come Marx never said this.

How dare you ask this question?

Marx called that: "My dialectical method". This is a formula that I know by heart, I don't even need to search for it because it's quoted by so many Marxists that I eventually learned it. And yet, you never heard about it. The fact that you believe that Marx never said that his method was dialectical proves that you probably never read much regarding Marx's dialectical method, that you nonetheless criticizes.

So you never read Lenin's Imperialism, as I made clear. You never read basic Marxist works regarding dialectics, and certainly not Marx himself. And yet you pretend that you abandoned dialectics after reading loads of shit written on the internet by some random guy? :Eh?:

Marx said "My dialectical method" in the introduction to his Capital. And he [url=http://marxistphilosophy.org/MarxDialectics.pdf]added[/quote]:

"In its mystified form, the dialectic became the fashion in Germany, because it seemed to transfigure and glorify what exists. In its rational form it is a scandal and an abomination to the bourgeoisie and its doctrinaire spokesmen, because it includes in its positive understanding of what exists a simultaneous recognition of its negation, its inevitable destruction; because it regards every historically developed form as being in a fluid state, in motion, and therefore grasps its transient aspect as well; and because it does not let itself be impressed by anything, being in its very essence critical and revolutionary."

Marx is telling you that:
1. His method is dialectical, but it's opposed to the "mystified form" (idealistic dialectics, Hegel's dialectics), it's "rational", based on science: dialectical material.
2. He applies his method to "every historically developed form": historical materialism.
3. The theory is, in essence, revolutionary, because it says that everything contains its own destruction.
4. Therefore the bourgeoisie hates this theory.

And there you are, telling me like a bourgeois (because your ideology is bourgeois), that dialectics are crap, that you are a Marxist, that you agree with a random guy on the internet who explains that he agrees with historical materialism without agreeing with dialectics.

That makes me laugh, thank you.
Image

"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
"I am one of the better read Marxists on this site" Gred
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 31 Oct 2015, 17:24
Quote:
No, you must add Germany too. There was a proletarian revolution in Germany, however it was crushed. There was even a Soviet in Strasbourg (now part of France), and we can consider that the Paris Commune was proletarian too. Russia was the weak link of the imperialist chain, so in a way it made sense that the revolution would start there, which is probably one of the reasons for which Marx and Engels talked about the possibility that the revolution could begin in Russia and then spread to other Western countries. And this is basically what happened, but unfortunately, and although Socialism spread to half of the world and fred many countries from the imperialist chain, although we had strong communist parties in France and Italy, and even Spain for some time, we lost the battle, just like the Paris Commune failed. Does that mean that it is the end of our story? That there will be no proletarian revolution in the West? No, it's too early to answer this question.


Ok we can count Germany after WW1 and the Paris Commune. But the problem here is that these revolutions only happened because the countries suffered in direct wars (i.e. not proxy wars) with other major powers. Lenin speculated that imperialism would cause imperialist countries to fight each other for global domination. After WW1 and WW2 the imperialist powers realised these wars were too devastating to be worth fighting again in the future. So now imperialism continues but the rivalry between the imperialist powers is controlled so that they are unlikely to ever go to war directly again. This also means that the prospect of the devastating conditions which caused the German Revolution and the Paris Commune are never going to be repeated. This is one of the reasons why the people in the imperialist countries do not rise up.

Quote:
For a Marxist, ideas are also part of material life itself. There are no ideas, no historical movement, without practice, which is something material. The main idea of course is that the mode of production shapes the general ideology of its time, however economy can't explain everything. Yet, you are right when you say that "telling them ideas about communism isn't enough". We must also prove through our struggle that it's in the interest of the working class to struggle. If you struggle, you can obtain better wages and other advantages. Even if the capitalist offers a bribe, you can still say: "This is a bribe, but this bribe proves that they are afraid of us. If we organize ourselves, they will have even more reasons to fear us."


But most workers are happy just to take the bribe. Rising up against the state is an incredibly risky and costly thing to do. You can easily end up dead or in prison or never seeing your family again. Therefore people only do it when conditions are so bad that they feel they have no other option. By accepting bribes from the bourgeoisie this prevents their material conditions from sinking so low as to trigger an uprising. The workers may well agree with you about the bribes, but in accepting them, they will be ensuring their own tolerance of the capitalist status quo.

Quote:
In the recent history of Western Europe, this situation happened after WWII until the 1970. Of course a lot of people were still exploited and had bad living conditions, but we all agree today on the fact that young people have more economic difficulties than their grandparents. And yet, socialism is weaker. Why? Because basically, if they have good living conditions, they have a secured job and good working conditions, and when those requirements are met, workers can build stronger relations between them. Our epoch is characterized by unsecured jobs, which is a capitalist strategy to break the working class. This also explains why socialist ideas are stronger in the public sector today. So bad living conditions are not enough for the development of socialism.


Yes today is far more insecure than previous generations but I don't see any far left movements taking hold in imperialist countries (unless you want to count Spain and Greece). Britain has just voted in a conservative government a few years after the worst economic crisis since 1929 and which has promised to make huge cuts to public services!

Quote:
Exactly, that's dialectical. There are two opposite forces and we can only hope that our own force will overcome thanks to the contradictions of the capitalist system and the possibility to organize the working class more efficiently (as I said above).


So you admit that every time workers win a victory in the class struggle it only serves to decrease their class consciousness?

Quote:
Under certain circumstances, just like we saw in Russia, the accumulation of exchange value transformed the society to the point that it bring about a socialist system, which means that exchange value was transformed into use value.


One of the most idiotic sentences I've ever read.

Tell me how the Russian Revolution was caused by an accumulation of exchange value.

How did this accumulation cause this exchange value to be transformed into use value? We both know that exchange value is transformed into use value through the process of exchange, not any increase in quantity.

Quote:
Everything is related to some point, and that's how we should see the transformation of quantity into quality.


So how does an increase in the quantity of exchange value cause it to transform into use value?

Quote:
That's why I said that heat isn't something separated from water. Even if it's not the accumulation of water itself that creates a change in quality, the theory remains true.


If it's a scientific theory then it should be applicable across all areas. You are doing what so many Hegelian dialecticians do and try and make exceptions in areas where the theory doesn't fit while trotting out the old "you just don't understand dialectics" line.

Quote:
It's also true for condensation: accumulation of water under the form of vapor leads to its transformation into liquid state, but it always depends on specific conditions.


See now it is the quantity of water you are increasing, not the quantity of temperature. If this is a scientific theory this should be the same in both examples. This isn't science; you're just making it up as you go along.

Quote:
Also I don't think that you or Rosa can "school" me about anything. Both of you don't have any understanding of Marxist dialectics.


Says the guy who didn't even know that Hegelian dialectics has a rule of opposites turning into each other.


Quote:
In your case this is proved by the fact that you are unable to understand the simple example of boiling water.


You have to twist and modify the boiling water example to try and make it fit into your Hegelian theory. Thus it is not scientific at all.

Quote:
have read a part, and I couldn't even agree with it. Apparently this part is the basis of her metaphysical writings, and the worst thing is that she dare say, nonetheless, that she supports "historical materialism". Non-dialectical historical materialism?


Marx called it the movement of history. And I never said Marx was not a dialectician, but merely not a Hegelian dialectician by the time he was in his mature phase. He remained influenced by Hegel's theory but there is no way he applied it scientifically to everything he wrote. Also Marx never attempted to apply dialectics to everyday objects like water etc. Engels was the one (after Marx had died) who attempted this (badly).

Quote:
You can't be a Marxist if you don't agree with dialectical materialism, because that's the core of the theory. That's just not possible.


Well Marx never referred to himself as a dialectical materialist or dialectical materialism, so according to your logic Marx was not a Marxist.

Quote:
I must thank you for the website though, that was funny.


If you actually take the time to read it (she does summarise her essays) you will realise your Hegelian argument falls flat on its face.

Quote:
How dare you ask this question?


Haha


Quote:
Marx called that: "My dialectical method".


Yep, so not Hegelian then. And I never said Marx wasn't a dialectician in later life, just not a Hegelian dialectican.

This is the only summary on dialectics Marx ever published in his lifetime. It is a quote from someone who reviewed Das Kapital and it is utterly devoid of Hegel.

Marx wrote:
After a quotation from the preface to my “Criticism of Political Economy,” Berlin, 1859, pp. IV-VII, where I discuss the materialistic basis of my method, the writer goes on:

“The one thing which is of moment to Marx, is to find the law of the phenomena with whose investigation he is concerned; and not only is that law of moment to him, which governs these phenomena, in so far as they have a definite form and mutual connexion within a given historical period. Of still greater moment to him is the law of their variation, of their development, i.e., of their transition from one form into another, from one series of connexions into a different one. This law once discovered, he investigates in detail the effects in which it manifests itself in social life. Consequently, Marx only troubles himself about one thing: to show, by rigid scientific investigation, the necessity of successive determinate orders of social conditions, and to establish, as impartially as possible, the facts that serve him for fundamental starting-points. For this it is quite enough, if he proves, at the same time, both the necessity of the present order of things, and the necessity of another order into which the first must inevitably pass over; and this all the same, whether men believe or do not believe it, whether they are conscious or unconscious of it. Marx treats the social movement as a process of natural history, governed by laws not only independent of human will, consciousness and intelligence, but rather, on the contrary, determining that will, consciousness and intelligence. ... If in the history of civilisation the conscious element plays a part so subordinate, then it is self-evident that a critical inquiry whose subject-matter is civilisation, can, less than anything else, have for its basis any form of, or any result of, consciousness. That is to say, that not the idea, but the material phenomenon alone can serve as its starting-point. Such an inquiry will confine itself to the confrontation and the comparison of a fact, not with ideas, but with another fact. For this inquiry, the one thing of moment is, that both facts be investigated as accurately as possible, and that they actually form, each with respect to the other, different momenta of an evolution; but most important of all is the rigid analysis of the series of successions, of the sequences and concatenations in which the different stages of such an evolution present themselves. But it will be said, the general laws of economic life are one and the same, no matter whether they are applied to the present or the past. This Marx directly denies. According to him, such abstract laws do not exist. On the contrary, in his opinion every historical period has laws of its own. ... As soon as society has outlived a given period of development, and is passing over from one given stage to another, it begins to be subject also to other laws. In a word, economic life offers us a phenomenon analogous to the history of evolution in other branches of biology. The old economists misunderstood the nature of economic laws when they likened them to the laws of physics and chemistry. A more thorough analysis of phenomena shows that social organisms differ among themselves as fundamentally as plants or animals. Nay, one and the same phenomenon falls under quite different laws in consequence of the different structure of those organisms as a whole, of the variations of their individual organs, of the different conditions in which those organs function, &c. Marx, e.g., denies that the law of population is the same at all times and in all places. He asserts, on the contrary, that every stage of development has its own law of population. ... With the varying degree of development of productive power, social conditions and the laws governing them vary too. Whilst Marx sets himself the task of following and explaining from this point of view the economic system established by the sway of capital, he is only formulating, in a strictly scientific manner, the aim that every accurate investigation into economic life must have. The scientific value of such an inquiry lies in the disclosing of the special laws that regulate the origin, existence, development, death of a given social organism and its replacement by another and higher one. And it is this value that, in point of fact, Marx’s book has.”

Whilst the writer pictures what he takes to be actually my method, in this striking and [as far as concerns my own application of it] generous way, what else is he picturing but the dialectic method?


He goes on to say the following:
Marx wrote:
My dialectic method is not only different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite. To Hegel, the life process of the human brain, i.e., the process of thinking, which, under the name of “the Idea,” he even transforms into an independent subject, is the demiurgos of the real world, and the real world is only the external, phenomenal form of “the Idea.” With me, on the contrary, the ideal is nothing else than the material world reflected by the human mind, and translated into forms of thought.

The mystifying side of Hegelian dialectic I criticised nearly thirty years ago, at a time when it was still the fashion. But just as I was working at the first volume of “Das Kapital,” it was the good pleasure of the peevish, arrogant, mediocre Epigonoi [Epigones – Büchner, Dühring and others] who now talk large in cultured Germany, to treat Hegel in same way as the brave Moses Mendelssohn in Lessing’s time treated Spinoza, i.e., as a “dead dog.” I therefore openly avowed myself the pupil of that mighty thinker, and even here and there, in the chapter on the theory of value, coquetted with the modes of expression peculiar to him. The mystification which dialectic suffers in Hegel’s hands, by no means prevents him from being the first to present its general form of working in a comprehensive and conscious manner. With him it is standing on its head. It must be turned right side up again, if you would discover the rational kernel within the mystical shell.


So he is saying that his method is 'the direct opposite' of Hegel's and that he claimed to be a pupil of him merely to thumb his nose at the likes of Buchner and Duhring, etc. Of course he acknowledges the influence that Hegel had on him, but that this influence extends merely to 'coquetting with the modes of expression peculiar to him' in the chapter on the theory of value.

So this is hardly a ringing endorsement that Marx applied Hegel as a scientific method to his work. The idea of seeing Hegel as formulating a special scientific system which Marx then applied to his work is nonsense. Hegelianism cannot be used to explain science and it certainly was not derived from science.

Quote:
The fact that you believe that Marx never said that his method was dialectical proves that you probably never read much regarding Marx's dialectical method, that you nonetheless criticizes.


Despite all your allegations, I have read all the things I discuss (unlike you).
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 2293
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 01 Nov 2015, 17:51
Quote:
Ok we can count Germany after WW1 and the Paris Commune. But the problem here is that these revolutions only happened because the countries suffered in direct wars (i.e. not proxy wars) with other major powers. Lenin speculated that imperialism would cause imperialist countries to fight each other for global domination. After WW1 and WW2 the imperialist powers realised these wars were too devastating to be worth fighting again in the future. So now imperialism continues but the rivalry between the imperialist powers is controlled so that they are unlikely to ever go to war directly again. This also means that the prospect of the devastating conditions which caused the German Revolution and the Paris Commune are never going to be repeated. This is one of the reasons why the people in the imperialist countries do not rise up.

I must repeat what I said again. After WWII the world came close to WWIII more than once. After you wrote what you wrote, we even learned that, during the Cuban crisis in 1962, the US almost started WWIII. The missiles in Okinawa received orders to launch their bombs on targets in Asia. That didn't happen because 1 clever guy, John Bordne, had noticed that they were in Defcon 2 instead of Defcon 3, and thus considered that the order was strange. So there is no reason to believe that imperialist powers can't go to war against each other, especially since the Soviet Union has crumbled. Most of the time, you don't choose to go at war, you just consider that war can't be avoided.

Quote:
But most workers are happy just to take the bribe. Rising up against the state is an incredibly risky and costly thing to do. You can easily end up dead or in prison or never seeing your family again. Therefore people only do it when conditions are so bad that they feel they have no other option. By accepting bribes from the bourgeoisie this prevents their material conditions from sinking so low as to trigger an uprising. The workers may well agree with you about the bribes, but in accepting them, they will be ensuring their own tolerance of the capitalist status quo.

I'm sorry but this is just so wrong and so ignorant of what a bribe is and how the workers react. In 2010 for example, workers at Carrefour went on strike because :
- The bosses proposed a 1% wage increase, which was considered too low.
- They also wanted to set up an "absenteism bonus" (prime d'absentéisme). Workers would have received 100 euros if they had slightly decreased their absenteism over the year.
This absenteism bonus was a bribe, and they refused it because they understood that, although the immediate interest of SOME workers was to accept the bribe, the class interest of the workers in general was to refuse it. And you keep dismissing this dialectical contradiction.
The bribe was eventually abandoned.

Quote:
Yes today is far more insecure than previous generations but I don't see any far left movements taking hold in imperialist countries (unless you want to count Spain and Greece). Britain has just voted in a conservative government a few years after the worst economic crisis since 1929 and which has promised to make huge cuts to public services!

Of course you should count Greece and Spain. And you should also count Britain. The fact that Corbyn managed to become the leader of the Labour Party is an event that is, in my humble opinion, even more important than Tsipras' electoral victory in Greece.

Quote:
So you admit that every time workers win a victory in the class struggle it only serves to decrease their class consciousness?

Certainly not. I wrote that the process is dialectical, i.e. that both things are possible and exist at the same time. At the end of the day it can decrease their class consciousness or increase it. The result depends on a lot of conditions, but it seems to me more likely that a victory of the working class would increase their class consciousness. If we take the example of the Larzac in France, which was an important peasant and leftist movement, the struggle itself contributed largely to the creation of the Peasant Confederation, and although the peasants who were opposing the Army managed to keep their homes and lands, they never lost the class consciousness that they acquired during the struggle. They still support the leftist movements.

Quote:
If it's a scientific theory then it should be applicable across all areas.

The theory is applicable across all areas under the same conditions: water boils at 100 degrees. Now if you talk about the transformation of quantity into quality, the idea is that everything, under certain circumstances, at some point, if it increases in quantity, must also change in quality. This is a philosophical concept, just like the idea that matter exists or that the real world exists, or that we can actually understand it (ideas challenged by philosophers like Hume and Berkeley) based on experience and practice.
If we apply this philosophical concept to water, we would say: "At some point, liquid water, under certain circumstances, will change in quality." As you can notice, this idea doesn't explain that water becomes gas at 100 degrees, or solid at 0 degrees. It doesn't pretend to do that. It pretends to be a philosophical concept that will help people in everyday life, including sciences, to understand some phenomenons and prepare for change.

Quote:
See now it is the quantity of water you are increasing, not the quantity of temperature. If this is a scientific theory this should be the same in both examples. This isn't science; you're just making it up as you go along.

Your knowledge of science is astounding. When we say that water boils at 100 degrees, we also imply that water is transforming from a liquid state into gas, which is the contrary of the process of condensation. This also means that both processes work in the same way but in 2 different directions. Heat isn't an object, it's something that triggers transformation of water. In both cases, the same process is involved. It's absolutely false to say that in one case you are increasing "heat" while in the second case your are increasing "water". This is stupid because, as you may understand, you couldn't condensate water at 100 degrees under normal atmospheric conditions. Your statements just prove that your thought is non-dialectical and far from materialism. This figure might explain better than I could do with my bad English:

Image


This is a dialectical process. That's what you call "twist and modify".

Dialectical materialism isn't a science, it's a philosophy. Our philosophy considers that those processes are dialectical and that everything is subject to dialectics. Our philosophy doesn't eplain why water boils at 100 degrees, physical sciences do.
Marx's science is called historical materialism.

Quote:
Marx called it the movement of history. And I never said Marx was not a dialectician, but merely not a Hegelian dialectician by the time he was in his mature phase. He remained influenced by Hegel's theory but there is no way he applied it scientifically to everything he wrote. Also Marx never attempted to apply dialectics to everyday objects like water etc. Engels was the one (after Marx had died) who attempted this (badly).

What? You can't "apply dialectics" to everyday objects. Nature does, not you. Engels tried to explain, through the example of boiling water, that dialectics are a natural process. Marx and Engels said that this natural process also applies to humanity itself and to history. Of course boiling water is a simple phenomenon. History isn't.

Now regarding history:


Quote:
Tell me how the Russian Revolution was caused by an accumulation of exchange value.

Accumulation of exchange value (dead labour) is the basis of the capitalist system (it becomes capital). At some point of the process of accumulation, it led to the development of imperialism (big capitalist monopolies, which were not possible without massive accumulation of exchange value and capital) and the growth of the negation of this very system. This resulted in the Russian revolution and therefore the negation of exchange value itself.

Quote:
Well Marx never referred to himself as a dialectical materialist or dialectical materialism, so according to your logic Marx was not a Marxist.

What? I don't understand what you are trying to say. There is a Marxist method, which is what Marx's called: "My dialectical method." If you agree with this method, you are a Marxist. If you don't, you are not. You can agree with some parts of Marx's work, and you will be a Marxian, someone interested in Marx.

Quote:
Yep, so not Hegelian then. And I never said Marx wasn't a dialectician in later life, just not a Hegelian dialectican.

But I haven't challenged this idea. That's precisely what I was saying when I talked about Althusser's concept of epistemological rupture.

Quote:
So he is saying that his method is 'the direct opposite' of Hegel's and that he claimed to be a pupil of him merely to thumb his nose at the likes of Buchner and Duhring, etc. Of course he acknowledges the influence that Hegel had on him, but that this influence extends merely to 'coquetting with the modes of expression peculiar to him' in the chapter on the theory of value.

You are saying that Marx defended Hegel against Dühring just for the pleasure of writing with Hegel's "modes of expression"? I don't want to be mean, but this is nonsense.

Marx recognizes that he is Hegel's pupil because, with Hegel, dialectic is "standing on its head". This strong formula means that there is something positive in Hegel's dialectic: it is STANDING (compared to previous dialectical systems, because Hegel has no monopoly on dialectics). But there is also something negative: it is standing ON ITS HEAD (idealism).

And so, as Marx says, if you want to do something good with it, you must make it stand on its feet. That's what Marx did as a pupil. He became himself the "direct opposite" of his own master. Thus he broke with the master, but at the same time, he acknwoledges his legacy. This process itself, as presented by Marx, is a dialectical process.

So yes, Marx has broken with Hegel's idealistic dialectic. But he hasn't broken with dialectics in general. That's why he says: "My dialectical method", and not "Hegel's dialectical method". Both methods are dialectical, but the methods are different.

Both philosophers are on the side of dialectics. As a dialectician, Marx would defend Hegel against someone who opposes dialectics in general, just like he did with Dühring. That doesn't mean that he endorses Hegel's method.

Quote:
So this is hardly a ringing endorsement that Marx applied Hegel as a scientific method to his work. The idea of seeing Hegel as formulating a special scientific system which Marx then applied to his work is nonsense.

It's obvious that Hegel's dialectics are a philosophy, not a scientific system (science of what? Ideas ?). Why do you call that a scientific system? The idea that you criticize (that Marx applied Hegel's "scientific system" to his work) and call "pure nonsense" was formulated by you and nobody else. Hegel talked about dialectics, and so does Marx. They agree on some dialectical concepts such as the transformation of quantity into quality. But that's an idea, not a method. Marx totally agree with this concept, but that doesn't mean that he agrees with what Hegel does with that. That's not enough to make him "Hegelian". Inspired by Hegel? Of course, they are both dialecticians. Hegelian? Of course not.
Image

"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
"I am one of the better read Marxists on this site" Gred
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 01 Nov 2015, 20:30
Quote:
I must repeat what I said again. After WWII the world came close to WWIII more than once. After you wrote what you wrote, we even learned that, during the Cuban crisis in 1962, the US almost started WWIII. The missiles in Okinawa received orders to launch their bombs on targets in Asia. That didn't happen because 1 clever guy, John Bordne, had noticed that they were in Defcon 2 instead of Defcon 3, and thus considered that the order was strange. Most of the time, you don't choose to go at war, you just consider that war can't be avoided.


While this was probably the closest humans came to WWIII, it never happened because both sides realised that the costs were not worth it. Mutually assured destruction meant that no-one could win WWIII.

Quote:
So there is no reason to believe that imperialist powers can't go to war against each other, especially since the Soviet Union has crumbled.


Apart from the fact that most of the imperialist powers are now allied through NATO.

Quote:
I'm sorry but this is just so wrong and so ignorant of what a bribe is and how the workers react. In 2010 for example, workers at Carrefour went on strike because :
- The bosses proposed a 1% wage increase, which was considered too low.
- They also wanted to set up an "absenteism bonus" (prime d'absentéisme). Workers would have received 100 euros if they had slightly decreased their absenteism over the year.
This absenteism bonus was a bribe, and they refused it because they understood that, although the immediate interest of SOME workers was to accept the bribe, the class interest of the workers in general was to refuse it. And you keep dismissing this dialectical contradiction.
The bribe was eventually abandoned.


And how many of the Carrefour workers wanted to rise up and overthrow capitalism? Regardless of individual elements like this, you have to acknowledge that the class consciousness of workers in imperialist countries is not revolutionary. They only seek to improve their situation under capitalism (trade union consciousness). This is because capitalism gives them enough that they would never want to risk rising up against the state.

Quote:
Of course you should count Greece and Spain. And you should also count Britain. The fact that Corbyn managed to become the leader of the Labour Party is an event that is, in my humble opinion, even more important than Tsipras' electoral victory in Greece.


Let's see if Corbyn is electable first. If he isn't (and he isn't even running on a communist or revolutionary platform, but rather, an extreme reformist one) then this will show that most Britons do not have an even slightly revolutionary class consciousness.

Quote:
Certainly not. I wrote that the process is dialectical, i.e. that both things are possible and exist at the same time.


Schrodinger's dialectics.

Quote:
At the end of the day it can decrease their class consciousness or increase it.


Well since there has never been a proletarian revolution in the imperialist countries apart from a few failed attempts after the mass destruction of WW1 I would say that on the whole the evidence shows that class consciousness does not increase (or certainly not reach revolutionary levels) as a result of victorious class struggle.

Quote:
If we apply this philosophical concept to water, we would say: "At some point, liquid water, under certain circumstances, will change in quality." As you can notice, this idea doesn't explain that water becomes gas at 100 degrees, or solid at 0 degrees. It doesn't pretend to do that. It pretends to be a philosophical concept that will help people in everyday life, including sciences, to understand some phenomenons and prepare for change.


Why don't we just use actual science to explain this rather than the nonsensical writings of a German philosopher from the early 19th century?

Quote:
Dialectical materialism isn't a science, it's a philosophy. Our philosophy considers that those processes are dialectical and that everything is subject to dialectics. Our philosophy doesn't eplain why water boils at 100 degrees, physical sciences do.


I agree with this. But since science explains boiling water, why do we even need philosophy? What does philosophy add that physical science doesn't already account for?

Quote:
Marx's science is called historical materialism.


But unfortunately most Marxists today adhere to Engels' dialectical ramblings where he talked of 'scientific socialism' with Hegelian dialectics being used to justify the "scientific" aspect.

Engels wrote:
Nature is the proof of dialectics, and it must be said for modern science that it has furnished this proof with very rich materials increasingly daily, and thus has shown that, in the last resort, Nature works dialectically and not metaphysically; that she does not move in the eternal oneness of a perpetually recurring circle, but goes through a real historical evolution.


Now you yourself have just said that dialectical materialism isn't science. So we have to now ask, why do we even need the philosophical aspect when analysing the natural world (such as boiling water)? After all, that is what actual science is for.

Quote:
What? You can't "apply dialectics" to everyday objects. Nature does, not you. Engels tried to explain, through the example of boiling water, that dialectics are a natural process.


You just said dialectical materialism isn't a science. Now you're saying that 'nature' applies it to everyday objects. I would also like to point out that dialectics were not observed from nature, they have been imposed upon nature.

Quote:
Accumulation of exchange value (dead labour) is the basis of the capitalist system (it becomes capital).


It doesn't automatically become capital. The accumulation of exchange value alone has no bearing on whether it becomes capital or remains as accumulated exchange value. Exchange value is transformed into capital through the process of exchange (and then production). Neither of these things are dependent on exchange value having been accumulated to a specific amount. It's not like your water example where water always boils at 100degrees (under normal conditions) regardless of anything else (or human choice). The transformation of exchange value into use value is the result of human choice, not a particular accumulation.

Quote:
At some point of the process of accumulation, it led to the development of imperialism (big capitalist monopolies, which were not possible without massive accumulation of exchange value and capital) and the growth of the negation of this very system. This resulted in the Russian revolution and therefore the negation of exchange value itself.


And yet revolutions didn't occur in countries which had a much more developed capitalist and imperialist system than Russia. So much for accumulated exchange value being the precursor to revolution...


Quote:
What? I don't understand what you are trying to say. There is a Marxist method, which is what Marx's called: "My dialectical method." If you agree with this method, you are a Marxist. If you don't, you are not. You can agree with some parts of Marx's work, and you will be a Marxian, someone interested in Marx.


I do agree with this. What I don't agree with is the insistence of so many dialecticians to insert Hegelian dialectics into Marx's (and sadly this includes Engels and Lenin).

Quote:
And so, as Marx says, if you want to do something good with it, you must make it stand on its feet. That's what Marx did as a pupil. He became himself the "direct opposite" of his own master. Thus he broke with the master, but at the same time, he acknwoledges his legacy. This process itself, as presented by Marx, is a dialectical process.

So yes, Marx has broken with Hegel's idealistic dialectic. But he hasn't broken with dialectics in general. That's why he says: "My dialectical method", and not "Hegel's dialectical method". Both methods are dialectical, but the methods are different.

Both philosophers are on the side of dialectics. As a dialectician, Marx would defend Hegel against someone who opposes dialectics in general, just like he did with Dühring. That doesn't mean that he endorses Hegel's method.


Yep, I agree with all this. So why do Marxists today waste so much time trying to analyse things using Hegelian dialectics?
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 2293
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 02 Nov 2015, 02:36
Quote:
Apart from the fact that most of the imperialist powers are now allied through NATO.

Amongst the 15 top military budgets in the world in 2014, only 5 are NATO members. Amongst the top 5, only 2. Now unless you consider that China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, South Korea, Australia, Japan and Israel are not imperialist powers, I doubt that you can say that "most of the imperialist powers are now allied through NATO."

Quote:
And how many of the Carrefour workers wanted to rise up and overthrow capitalism? Regardless of individual elements like this, you have to acknowledge that the class consciousness of workers in imperialist countries is not revolutionary. They only seek to improve their situation under capitalism (trade union consciousness). This is because capitalism gives them enough that they would never want to risk rising up against the state.

How do you know that? Did you ask them? I wouldn't risk rising up against the state either.


Quote:
Well since there has never been a proletarian revolution in the imperialist countries apart from a few failed attempts after the mass destruction of WW1 I would say that on the whole the evidence shows that class consciousness does not increase (or certainly not reach revolutionary levels) as a result of victorious class struggle.

I don't see how the absence of revolution can prove that class consciousness hasn't increased. I don't see much victories for the working class either. The only big victory was WWII. In France it led to an enormous increase of support for the Communist Party, which became the biggest French party, both in terms of ballots and troops. In Italy, between 1945 and 1976, support for the Communist Party had continuously increased. The US were so afraid that they had planned a coup with Britain, just in case. Now I haven't seen much victorious class struggles. Have you? So why would you expect an increase in class consciousness?

Quote:
Why don't we just use actual science to explain this rather than the nonsensical writings of a German philosopher from the early 19th century?

I don't think that this statement deserves an answer.

Quote:
I agree with this. But since science explains boiling water, why do we even need philosophy? What does philosophy add that physical science doesn't already account for?

At some point, our knowledge is limited. We have to work to understand reality and what is not yet known. When comrade Einstein stated: "God doesn't play dice", he was answering to some people like Niels Bohr who believed that, according to Quantum Mechanics, some things are purely random. Einstein, as a Materialist with a good understanding of dialectics, dismissed this idea. Philosophy is important, even in science. You can be a good scientist and philosophically ignorant, but you will work even better if you have the good method. Einstein also said: "Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed."

Quote:
But unfortunately most Marxists today adhere to Engels' dialectical ramblings where he talked of 'scientific socialism' with Hegelian dialectics being used to justify the "scientific" aspect.

You forget half of it: materialism. Scientific socialism is a reality, or rather, it was. Now it has mostly disappeared, even inside the Communist Party. What is scientific socialism? It's a socialist movement trying to find, through science (social science for example), what can be done, what must be done, trying to criticize and explain. For example, we know that in the French Communist Party, the number of petty bourgeois has increased, especially at leading positions. This is a fact established by sociologists who studied the Party at the beginning of the century. From the point of view of scientific socialism, it's obvious that this tendency must increase the influence of petty bourgeois ideas inside the party. Thus, the Party should struggle against this tendency. In the past, the Party, which applied scientific socialism, considered that it was important to increase the number of party members and leaders coming from the working class. Since scientific socialism has been abandoned years ago, the Party is now more interested in the number of women than in the number of workers. Of course, now that the number of petty bourgeois has dramatically increased, they also struggle against scientific socialism itself, and you would better not dare tell them that their ideas are crap because they are bourgeois themselves. This is too risky, as you can imagine! Marxism had to be destroyed.

Quote:
Now you yourself have just said that dialectical materialism isn't science. So we have to now ask, why do we even need the philosophical aspect when analysing the natural world (such as boiling water)? After all, that is what actual science is for.

You don't need it, but it can help you. The opposite is also true. Science can nourish philosophy itself. I believe that someone trying to study something and find answers will do a better job if he has a dialectical thought. From my point of view, it's the opposite of being narrow-minded.

Quote:
You just said dialectical materialism isn't a science. Now you're saying that 'nature' applies it to everyday objects. I would also like to point out that dialectics were not observed from nature, they have been imposed upon nature.

Nature is dialectical, it doesn't "apply" anything. Just like nature is material, it's also dialectical.

Quote:
It doesn't automatically become capital. The accumulation of exchange value alone has no bearing on whether it becomes capital or remains as accumulated exchange value. Exchange value is transformed into capital through the process of exchange (and then production). Neither of these things are dependent on exchange value having been accumulated to a specific amount. It's not like your water example where water always boils at 100degrees (under normal conditions) regardless of anything else (or human choice). The transformation of exchange value into use value is the result of human choice, not a particular accumulation.

We do not believe in human choice, not in the idealistic sense that you are using. Spinoza has taught us this a long time ago, long before Marx. Water boils at 100 degrees under certain conditions. The same can be said about exchange value: it becomes capital under certain conditions. Those conditions can be partly human, that doesn't matter. We don't consider that human thought is above nature or separated from it. We believe that the human brain is completely integrated into nature itself. Marxists also believe that the economic infrastructure tends to shape the human mind itself. We do not pretend to know everything about the conditions that can lead to the transformation of exchange value into capital, but we can still study those conditions and try to build relevant theories. Human sciences are not physics. A boiling society is much harder to analyze than boiling water. But it can be analyzed nonetheless. As Durkheim said, we must treat social facts as things.

You said that water boils at 100 degrees under normal conditions. We could also say the same about exchange value: it becomes capital under normal conditions. But what are normal conditions?

Quote:
And yet revolutions didn't occur in countries which had a much more developed capitalist and imperialist system than Russia. So much for accumulated exchange value being the precursor to revolution...

You are implying that something must change quality because its quantity increases. This is wrong. That only happens under certain conditions. Those conditions existed in Russia.

Quote:
I do agree with this. What I don't agree with is the insistence of so many dialecticians to insert Hegelian dialectics into Marx's (and sadly this includes Engels and Lenin).

Engels and Lenin only said that Hegel influenced Marx regarding dialectics. That's what we could call an "insertion". Yes, Hegel spoke about boiling water too. He thought that dialectics of nature could be applied to ideas. Marx dismissed this, but he never dismissed the importance of dialectics. Although Engels wrote a few books after Marx's death, he also wrote a lot before, when Marx was still alive, and Marx never criticized Engels. They were both very close, and I doubt that anyone could have a better understanding of Marx than Engels. For example, Engels wrote his Anti-Dühring in 1877. Marx read it before it was published. There is really no reason to believe that Marx didn't endorse what Engels wrote, and certainly not what he wrote before his death. They could have disagreed on a few things, but certainly not on the most important ideas.

Quote:
Yep, I agree with all this. So why do Marxists today waste so much time trying to analyse things using Hegelian dialectics?

How is a Marxist supposed to analyze things? Without dialectics?

Everything is dialectical. For example, should we say that Borodino was a victory for Napoléon, or a defeat? It was both a victory and a defeat. He defeated the Russians in battle, but he didn't manage to obtain a strategic victory. The Russians managed to resist well enough. Even though they lost the battle, in terms of strategy, they obtained a victory. This is a dialectical analysis. You don't need to understand the laws of dialectics, and you don't need Hegel, to make a dialectical analysis. If you read Clausewitz, you will find plenty of dialectical analyses.

Quote:
Apart from the fact that most of the imperialist powers are now allied through NATO.

Amongst the 15 top military budgets in the world in 2014, only 5 are NATO members. Amongst the top 5, only 2. Now unless you consider that China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, South Korea, Australia, Japan and Israel are not imperialist powers, I doubt that you can say that "most of the imperialist powers are now allied through NATO."

Quote:
And how many of the Carrefour workers wanted to rise up and overthrow capitalism? Regardless of individual elements like this, you have to acknowledge that the class consciousness of workers in imperialist countries is not revolutionary. They only seek to improve their situation under capitalism (trade union consciousness). This is because capitalism gives them enough that they would never want to risk rising up against the state.

How do you know that? Did you ask them? I wouldn't risk rising up against the state either.


Quote:
Well since there has never been a proletarian revolution in the imperialist countries apart from a few failed attempts after the mass destruction of WW1 I would say that on the whole the evidence shows that class consciousness does not increase (or certainly not reach revolutionary levels) as a result of victorious class struggle.

I don't see how the absence of revolution can prove that class consciousness hasn't increased. I don't see much victories for the working class either. The only big victory was WWII. In France it led to an enormous increase of support for the Communist Party, which became the biggest French party, both in terms of ballots and troops. In Italy, between 1945 and 1976, support for the Communist Party had continuously increased. The US were so afraid that they had planned a coup with Britain, just in case. Now I haven't seen much victorious class struggles. Have you? So why would you expect an increase in class consciousness?

Quote:
Why don't we just use actual science to explain this rather than the nonsensical writings of a German philosopher from the early 19th century?

I don't think that this statement deserves an answer.

Quote:
I agree with this. But since science explains boiling water, why do we even need philosophy? What does philosophy add that physical science doesn't already account for?

At some point, our knowledge is limited. We have to work to understand reality and what is not yet known. When comrade Einstein stated: "God doesn't play dice", he was answering to some people like Niels Bohr who believed that, according to Quantum Mechanics, some things are purely random. Einstein, as a Materialist with a good understanding of dialectics, dismissed this idea. Philosophy is important, even in science. You can be a good scientist and philosophically ignorant, but you will work even better if you have the good method. Einstein also said: "Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed."

Quote:
But unfortunately most Marxists today adhere to Engels' dialectical ramblings where he talked of 'scientific socialism' with Hegelian dialectics being used to justify the "scientific" aspect.

You forget half of it: materialism. Scientific socialism is a reality, or rather, it was. Now it has mostly disappeared, even inside the Communist Party. What is scientific socialism? It's a socialist movement trying to find, through science (social science for example), what can be done, what must be done, trying to criticize and explain. For example, we know that in the French Communist Party, the number of petty bourgeois has increased, especially at leading positions. This is a fact established by sociologists who studied the Party at the beginning of the century. From the point of view of scientific socialism, it's obvious that this tendency must increase the influence of petty bourgeois ideas inside the party. Thus, the Party should struggle against this tendency. In the past, the Party, which applied scientific socialism, considered that it was important to increase the number of party members and leaders coming from the working class. Since scientific socialism has been abandoned years ago, the Party is now more interested in the number of women than in the number of workers. Of course, now that the number of petty bourgeois has dramatically increased, they also struggle against scientific socialism itself, and you would better not dare tell them that their ideas are crap because they are bourgeois themselves. This is too risky, as you can imagine! Marxism had to be destroyed.

Quote:
Now you yourself have just said that dialectical materialism isn't science. So we have to now ask, why do we even need the philosophical aspect when analysing the natural world (such as boiling water)? After all, that is what actual science is for.

You don't need it, but it can help you. The opposite is also true. Science can nourish philosophy itself. I believe that someone trying to study something and find answers will do a better job if he has a dialectical thought. From my point of view, it's the opposite of being narrow-minded.

Quote:
You just said dialectical materialism isn't a science. Now you're saying that 'nature' applies it to everyday objects. I would also like to point out that dialectics were not observed from nature, they have been imposed upon nature.

Nature is dialectical, it doesn't "apply" anything. Just like nature is material, it's also dialectical.

Quote:
It doesn't automatically become capital. The accumulation of exchange value alone has no bearing on whether it becomes capital or remains as accumulated exchange value. Exchange value is transformed into capital through the process of exchange (and then production). Neither of these things are dependent on exchange value having been accumulated to a specific amount. It's not like your water example where water always boils at 100degrees (under normal conditions) regardless of anything else (or human choice). The transformation of exchange value into use value is the result of human choice, not a particular accumulation.

We do not believe in human choice, not in the idealistic sense that you are using. Spinoza has taught us this a long time ago, long before Marx. Water boils at 100 degrees under certain conditions. The same can be said about exchange value: it becomes capital under certain conditions. Those conditions can be partly human, that doesn't matter. We don't consider that human thought is above nature or separated from it. We believe that the human brain is completely integrated into nature itself. Marxists also believe that the economic infrastructure tends to shape the human mind itself. We do not pretend to know everything about the conditions that can lead to the transformation of exchange value into capital, but we can still study those conditions and try to build relevant theories. Human sciences are not physics. A boiling society is much harder to analyze than boiling water. But it can be analyzed nonetheless. As Durkheim said, we must treat social facts as things.

You said that water boils at 100 degrees under normal conditions. We could also say the same about exchange value: it becomes capital under normal conditions. But what are normal conditions?

Quote:
And yet revolutions didn't occur in countries which had a much more developed capitalist and imperialist system than Russia. So much for accumulated exchange value being the precursor to revolution...

You are implying that something must change quality because its quantity increases. This is wrong. That only happens under certain conditions. Those conditions existed in Russia.

Quote:
I do agree with this. What I don't agree with is the insistence of so many dialecticians to insert Hegelian dialectics into Marx's (and sadly this includes Engels and Lenin).

Engels and Lenin only said that Hegel influenced Marx regarding dialectics. That's what we could call an "insertion". Yes, Hegel spoke about boiling water too. He thought that dialectics of nature could be applied to ideas. Marx dismissed this, but he never dismissed the importance of dialectics. Although Engels wrote a few books after Marx's death, he also wrote a lot before, when Marx was still alive, and Marx never criticized Engels. They were both very close, and I doubt that anyone could have a better understanding of Marx than Engels. For example, Engels wrote his Anti-Dühring in 1877. Marx read it before it was published. There is really no reason to believe that Marx didn't endorse what Engels wrote, and certainly not what he wrote before his death. They could have disagreed on a few things, but certainly not on the most important ideas.

Quote:
Yep, I agree with all this. So why do Marxists today waste so much time trying to analyse things using Hegelian dialectics?

How is a Marxist supposed to analyze things? Without dialectics?

Everything is dialectical. For example, should we say that Borodino was a victory for Napoléon, or a defeat? It was both a victory and a defeat. He defeated the Russians in battle, but he didn't manage to obtain a strategic victory. The Russians managed to resist well enough. Even though they lost the battle, in terms of strategy, they obtained a victory. This is a dialectical analysis. You don't need to understand the laws of dialectics, and you don't need Hegel, to make a dialectical analysis. If you read Clausewitz, you will find plenty of dialectical analyses.

***

Also note that I tried my best to read the stack of shit on your website, but I just can't. There are no clear introductions and conclusions, and it's full of aphorisms and caricatures. Also the author is unable to understand what he quotes. For example:

"But, how on earth could Rees possibly know this? Clearly, unless DM had already been imposed on reality, he couldn't conceivably know that it is dialectically structured. What would be the point of stressing that DM mustn't be imposed on reality, merely read from it, if nature is already dialectically structured?"

The guy confuses everything, thus he doesn't understand anything. While Rees is talking about a dialectical method, the author of this shit believes that Rees is talking about dialectics in general. But a dialectical METHOD is NOT dialectics itself. OMFG. Is it hard to understand?

Rees says: ""It is from this material dialectic that the dialectical method must emerge." Bloody hell!!! It's written in clear English. Has he even bothered reading? The dialectical method is NOT the material dialectic. Rees and Trotsky are saying that you shouldn't IMPOSE YOUR DIALECTICAL METHOD ON REALITY ITSELF, i.e. that you shouldn't follow dogmas and analyze reality according to your dogmas! Rees says that your dialectical method should be built on the observation of reality itself. What is so hard to understand?

"unless DM had already been imposed on reality, he couldn't conceivably know that it is dialectically structured"
100% idealism. The person is actually saying that, in order to understand that nature is dialectically structured, you must have a dialectical method first! This is complete nonsense and a negation of material life itself because he denies the possibility for material life to influence our ideas.

The guy is horrendously distorting Rees, and then he proceeds to criticize the nonsense that he has created himself. Then he concludes that it's impossible to understand dialectics!

Cute. Don't do it again

-Praxicoide
Image

"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
"I am one of the better read Marxists on this site" Gred
Alternative Display:
Mobile view
More Forums: The History Forum. The UK Politics Forum.
© 2000- Soviet-Empire.com. Privacy.