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Ten Worst and Best Ideas of Marxism

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Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 30 Jan 2009, 15:25
Quote:
You misinterpret "religion is the opiate of the masses" in the exact same way the original author does. That phrase is in no way conceivable and anti-god statement. Its a statement of how religions are proven historically to be used to supplant dissent with religious fervor.


In the West, yes, because the Roman Catholic Church held secular power which it wanted to preserve. In the East, the Greek Orthodox Church has actively supported the Greek revolution. During the riots in Athens in December, the Church - unlike the reactionary forces! - did not condemn the rioters.

Quote:
In fact organized religion has proven to be a constant enemy of the organized working class and revolutionary socialism.


Actually, the reverse is true. In the USSR, revolutionary socialism fought against the Church, not vice versa.

Quote:
What about the relationship between the Orthodox church and the Soviet government? By the 1970's (as has been discussed in other threads) a large portion of the church supported Socialism.


Do you have more information on that?
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Soviet cogitations: 9306
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 02 Mar 2004, 15:19
Ideology: Other Leftist
Old Bolshevik
Post 30 Jan 2009, 15:36
Andrei pointed out to me the other day that in the day of Marx, opium was not used as much as a drug to get high on, as it was used by doctors to alleviate pain. Marx was saying the church's role in society was to alleviate pain for the masses. It's not nearly as detrimental as it sounds today when taken out of context.
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Soviet cogitations: 14448
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Sep 2006, 22:05
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Philosophized
Post 30 Jan 2009, 22:33
There were plenty of opium addicts in Marx's day. The Opium Wars in China happened during Marx's lifetime and the events of England in those days were paid a certain attention. My impression is that both definitions are accurate of what Marx meant. Religion does offer a soothing balm to the extreme exploitation of capitalism, but in that lies the problem. Its a false relief (in the materialist sense), a false relief upon which organized religion is empowered. That's a power they then defend with all tools available.
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Soviet cogitations: 14
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Jan 2009, 03:48
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 31 Jan 2009, 02:53
I understand what you're saying Soviet78. But we are approaching the issue from two different angles: You from the State's and mine from the Church's.

Soviet78 said that the Soviet Church was free. It was "free" on the State's terms; but not its own terms. To sound dumb saying this another way: If I say someone is "free" and s/he disagrees and says s/he is NOT "free" then we obviously have a disagreement. George Bush says Americans are "free". But Americans with a deeper socio-political understanding certainly would disagree, right?

The Russian Church was NOT free to openly preach the Gospel, preach Christian morality; oppose State policies on, say, Afghanistan or adultery etc. Clergy who were zealous in preaching the Faith were exiled or imprisoned. (Remember Fr. Dimitry Dudko? A very loyal Soviet citizen but still persecuted, jailed and "treated" for openly debating atheism in his parish hall with professionals and students). That ain't "freedom". Again: Had the Church been allowed its full freedom of expression (within the confines of loyalty to the Soviet homeland) I think things would have played out differently in the end. Here I will state that --of course!-- people of other faiths or no faith are entitled to absolute equality.

Answering several others' comments: As far as nuns teaching the "Internationale": In Russian it says that no one will deliver us (from Capitalism) "not God, not the Tsar nor heros". This is not, of necessity, atheistic. Did not the tsar 'exist ? Heros? Of course! The point is not that "there is no God" but rather God ain't gonna do it for you. Any more than He's gonna do your dishes or change your transmission fluid. So, I still can see nuns teaching little Orthodox kids the "International"! The "International" in (some of) its English translations is far more irreverent than in Russian (and Ukrainian and Byelorussian).

In Marx's day opium was the only anesthetic available to surgeons. Marx was saying that religion was used as a "pain reliever" of the toiling masses who had (not yet) found a scientific way out of their misery. His comment was --and remains-- a religion-neutral statement. "Bad" religion is supposed to disappear after capitalism's exploitation and misery disappear. But (according to Connolly and Luxembourg among others) "good" religion may be here to stay. To those who believe all religion is "bad" sober Marxists reply "we'll just have to wait and see what happens". No need for force, persecution or a "League of the Militant Godless" etc. And therein lies the crux (I believe) of Mr. Sims' statement: The Manifesto's harmless view on religion was bastardized and used to justify some pretty bad behaviour on the part of some Communists.


It was in my Church that I was taught to love my fellow man; to be concerned about the poor; to believe in Justice, honesty and compassion. My Christian Faith taught me to pay attention to what is going on in far-off parts of the globe since I am indeed my "brothers' keeper". The Church taught me the Corporal Works of Mercy: Feed the hungry; clothe the naked; instruct the ignorant etc. I'll be dollars to donuts that there's a higher percentage of atheists in the eschalons of the neo-conservative movement (like Karl Rove and Bill Krystal) than there are in the Working Class.

As far as "organized" religions and what they politically support: Each Church (Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican etc) all have various political tendencies and factons within. They are not politically monolithic. That is a very important point for all Marxists to learn and remember. Thus: If the USA became a monarchy today there would soon be pro-monarchist bishops rising to power in the US Catholic Church. If Canada went Red; in a matter of years the Anglican Church of Canada would have an ascendant Marxist Synod. The dogmas of the Church are imutable and eternal. But Her politics are temporal and cut to fit the society She finds herself in. In 1917 the Russian Church was politically Czarist. Twenty years later: Socialist-friendly. Her teachings and essence did not change in the least. Today the Russian Orthodox Church has a Marxist Patriarch reigning over a politically mixed corps of bishops. So... atheists relax!

Increasingly I am becoming a Marxist. Increasingly even a Communist. Certainly a Socialist. It is the Church and my faith that have led me here. You have nothing to fear from believers. Now... let's get back to that bourgeoise!
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
Ideology: Other Leftist
Politburo
Post 31 Jan 2009, 03:50
Quote:
I understand what you're saying Soviet78. But we are approaching the issue from two different angles: You from the State's and mine from the Church's.

Soviet78 said that the Soviet Church was free. It was "free" on the State's terms; but not its own terms. To sound dumb saying this another way: If I say someone is "free" and s/he disagrees and says s/he is NOT "free" then we obviously have a disagreement. George Bush says Americans are "free". But Americans with a deeper socio-political understanding certainly would disagree, right?

The Russian Church was NOT free to openly preach the Gospel, preach Christian morality; oppose State policies on, say, Afghanistan or adultery etc. Clergy who were zealous in preaching the Faith were exiled or imprisoned. (Remember Fr. Dimitry Dudko? A very loyal Soviet citizen but still persecuted, jailed and "treated" for openly debating atheism in his parish hall with professionals and students). That ain't "freedom". Again: Had the Church been allowed its full freedom of expression (within the confines of loyalty to the Soviet homeland) I think things would have played out differently in the end. Here I will state that --of course!-- people of other faiths or no faith are entitled to absolute equality.


Gapon: I don't think Sovet78 was disagreeing with you, but still wanted to make clear that church/state relations were slowly improving. He wasn't trying to say they still didn't need a lot of work. With regard to freedom, I don't think there has ever been a time when the church has been completely free from restraint. I'm not sure it is possible, or even desirable. For example, do we want so called fundamentalists preaching about the evils of gender equality, or the evils of Socialism? But that said, I'm not trying to argue that the church in the Soviet Union was never given an unfairly hard time, only that things were improving for it and that some of the restrictions placed upon it were necessary (even from a Christian point of view).

I hope we can agree that the Soviet experience taught us as a movement some valuable lessons for how to deal with religion. It seems the Cubans have learned from it and I would hope the people involved in future Socialist revolutions.
Soviet cogitations: 14
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Jan 2009, 03:48
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 31 Jan 2009, 04:32
Dear Fellow Comrade:

We agree 100%! And as far as your defense of Soviet78: Thank you for the correction. Accepted!

Gapon
Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 31 Jan 2009, 13:17
Dear Gapon,

When you've found out how to reconcile Dialectical and Historical Materialism with what the Church teaches, please let me know. At the moment I'm caught up in a kind of doublethink situation, holding two contradictory beliefs in my mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. When I say that matter is the only thing that objectively exists, I tell a deliberate lie while genuinely believing in it, which is giving me major headaches.

Maybe the solution lies in accepting that God created a material world that moves dialectically, according to the laws of Historical Materialism, but this doesn't fit the dogmas concerning spiritual beings in our world - it's driving me crazy.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
Soviet cogitations: 3448
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 26 Jun 2006, 15:59
Ideology: Other Leftist
Party Bureaucrat
Post 31 Jan 2009, 13:28
The moment one accepts the notion of 'totalitarianism', one is firmly locked within the liberal-democratic horizon. - Slavoj Žižek
Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 31 Jan 2009, 13:49
I wrote:
When you've found out how to reconcile Dialectical and Historical Materialism with what the Church teaches, please let me know.


Fail. I'm a Theist.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Soviet cogitations: 4953
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
Ideology: Other Leftist
Politburo
Post 31 Jan 2009, 16:01
Quote:
Maybe the solution lies in accepting that God created a material world that moves dialectically, according to the laws of Historical Materialism, but this doesn't fit the dogmas concerning spiritual beings in our world - it's driving me crazy.


How exactly doesn't it fit in your view? I've never looked into this question properly.

In my view, if there is a God, he is simply a part of the material universe (as a driving force or whatever), but at a level we can't comprehend, similar to how we can't directly observe gravity except in the effect it has on the universe. Events we call supernatural could just be natural - driven by God - that we haven't yet found an explanation for.

Not fitting in with various religious dogma's could be explained by the fact that when people first began discussing ideas of a creator who ultimately controls the universe, they didn't have any conception of materialism. They had to base their ideas on the knowledge they had at the time. It is comparable to evolution. Many religious people (including Darwin) have incorporated it into their already held beliefs, but that couldn't have been expected from the people who wrote the Bible.

Edit: Apologies. I pretty much just spouted a deistic view.
Last edited by Fellow Comrade on 01 Feb 2009, 03:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2006, 08:59
Party Bureaucrat
Post 31 Jan 2009, 22:20
A revealing look into the thinking of one of the most revisionist "mainline" parties in the world.

Quote:
1. “Dictatorship of the proletariat.” Probably the worst phrase uttered by a political theorist ever. Who wants to live in a dictatorship? Even if I agreed with it conceptually, (which I don't), the Machiavellian in me has enough sense not to repeat it. Indefensible. And by the way, working-class “hegemony” (whatever the hell that means, sorry Gramsicans), aint much better.

I find it fascinating that the DoP is the absolute "worst" on this schema. He directly says that he doesn't believe in it, not that it is just an "awkward phrasing" or whatever (which it is). This guy asks, "who wants to live in a dictatorship?", but anybody who has studied even the most basic level of Marxist ideology would know that this class of questions are nothing but red herrings. We have no choice about living in a dictatorship or not; the question is whether that dictatorship should be on behalf of the many or the few. If this ignorance of the fundamentals of Marxism is indicative of the general level of political education within the CPUSA, then they are not long for this world.

This writer is honest though. Both he and I agree about the basic in-escapibility of the question of State power: his criticism about the Gramscians' various notions of "hegemony" and whatnot is correct. Despite the phantasmagorical posturing of various academic nincompoops that Gramsci's curious lingo represented a "transcendence" or "re-envisioning" of orthodox Leninist shibboleths, the reality was that Gramsci, the Marxist-Leninist General Secretary of the PCI, was reduced to using various codewords to escape prison censors, and this fact more than any other is the reason for the body of work known as "Gramscianism" today.

Quote:
4. “Socialist Market Economy” At best utterly confusing to most and a euphemism for capitalism at worst causing the term “capitalism” to almost disappear from the socialist/capitalist lexicon, replaced by the “market.” It has created a huge ideological fog leaving many to scratch their hands and wonder what were we fighting for anyway? Sweden is not my model!

Interesting point, and I think I agree with it. Again, honest.

Quote:
5. “Listing defence of Soviet Union under the 21 points for joining the Comitern.” The idea of “Defending Socialism” by detachments outside of those countries attempting to build it led to some of the biggest quagmires and mistakes of the 20th century. Still with us in many forms including the defence of the use of death penalty in by some ruling parties for “economic crimes” a practice not even followed in countries practicing Sharia law, who cut off your hand.

I think that this is outrageous statement, its only natural that communists should defend the socialist heartlands. Contrary to the ridiculous posturing of sectarians of various stripes, the USSR was basically socialist until the end, and moreover, the fall of the USSR was a catastrophe for the worldwide left of all persuasions, a blow from which it is only now recovering.

I think what is really going on with this point is that he is mirroring a valid criticism of the CPUSA, which was that it was always a blind follower of each and every twist and turn of the CPSU at least until the very late 1980's, if not 1992. Like a circus contortionist they adapted to each an every policy shift of whomever the Soviet premier of the day happened to be. I remember seeing a pamphlet from 1987 or thereabouts at a book sale which demogogically parroted Gorbachev's line on Star Wars, the changes he made to the Soviet parliament, etc. Obviously, I take the side of the Marxist-Leninists in the Sino-Soviet split, which was "Defending Socialism" in a real way, but even the headstrong revisionism of the JCP would have been more respectable in my opinion. (er, Maybe not actually).

If this article represents official CPUSA line, then they have certainly closed the chapter on their historical legacy and their reason for being. They ought to close up shop and let genuine Marxist-Leninists appropriate their name.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Sep 2006, 22:05
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Philosophized
Post 01 Feb 2009, 00:18
Quote:
When I say that matter is the only thing that objectively exists, I tell a deliberate lie while genuinely believing in it, which is giving me major headaches.


If there is something other than matter/energy then objectively prove it. Otherwise materialism cannot possibly be construed as a lie, not objectively anyways.
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Soviet cogitations: 3448
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 26 Jun 2006, 15:59
Ideology: Other Leftist
Party Bureaucrat
Post 01 Feb 2009, 01:00
Quote:
Fail. I'm a Theist.


In that case there is no solution. Materialism and Theism are in complete opposition to each other.
The moment one accepts the notion of 'totalitarianism', one is firmly locked within the liberal-democratic horizon. - Slavoj Žižek
Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 01 Feb 2009, 21:16
Quote:
If there is something other than matter/energy then objectively prove it. Otherwise materialism cannot possibly be construed as a lie, not objectively anyways.


I can't, which makes my situation even more complicated. The dogmas of the Church must be believed in, not proven.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
Ideology: Other Leftist
Politburo
Post 02 Feb 2009, 02:16
Perhaps you should PM chaz about this? He seems to have found a way to reconcile his religious beliefs with Marxism/materialism.

It took me a while to remember where this was, so I really hope it helps.

http://www.soviet-empire.com/ussr/viewtopic.php?f=108&t=44868&start=50

chaz171 wrote:
Religion and politics should not and do not blend together. Religion isn't Politics, Religion isn't ethics, Religion isn't aesthetics or Epistemology either. Religion belongs to Metaphysics- the branch of philosophy that looks into the principles of reality outside of Science. (Which includes Theology) Perhaps if some of us opened a book on Philosophy basics, we'd know a bit more about that.


chaz171 wrote:
I believe in a balance of 5 branches of Philosophy:

Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Politics and Aesthetics.

Metaphysics can be defined as the investigation of Reality outside the confines of any specific Science. With includes Ontology, Theology and Axioms. (i.e. the Law of Noncontradiction.)

Just as Ethics are not Art, Metaphysics are not Politics. Epistemology, the theory of knowledge, is not Ethical or Aesthetical.

Knowledge and Logic are not the same thing, but one cannot exist without the other.

Morals and Ethics are not the same thing as politics, but one cannot exist without the other.

The knowledge of Theology doesn't make a person Ethical or Moral. The lack of knowledge doesn't make a person unethical. People don't become religious because they are good, it's because they are in need of good. Are the fit and well in need of healing? Are the Wealthy in need or want of Social Balance?

The knowledge of any subject doesn't make someone Logical, Ethical, worthy of Respect, or Happy. Happiness cannot be derived from Logic. Happiness cannot be derived from politics.

Aristotle Said politics is like an organism rather than like a machine, and as a collection of parts none of which can exist without the others. I think that Philosophy is the same way. Without all five, a person cannot be truly happy. Without all five, a Society cannot succeed. As a body has 2 legs, 2 arms and a head, A leg cannot be a head. A head cannot be an arm.


I realise he isn't talking about the relationship between Theism and Materialism explicitly, but it looks like a start.
Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 02 Feb 2009, 14:34
Sounds quite good for a start, but I still have a few questions.

In Dialectical and Historical Materialism, J. W. Stalin wrote:

In its essence, dialectics is the direct opposite of metaphysics.

1) The principal features of the Marxist dialectical method are as follows:

a) Contrary to metaphysics, dialectics does not regard nature as an accidental agglomeration of things, of phenomena, unconnected with, isolated from, and independent of, each other, but as a connected and integral whole, in which things, phenomena are organically connected with, dependent on, and determined by, each other. [...]

b) Contrary to metaphysics, dialectics holds that nature is not a state of rest and immobility, stagnation and immutability, but a state of continuous movement and change, of continuous renewal and development, where something is always arising and developing, and something always disintegrating and dying away. [...]

c) Contrary to metaphysics, dialectics does not regard the process of development as a simple process of growth, where quantitative changes do not lead to qualitative changes, but as a development which passes from insignificant and imperceptible quantitative changes to open' fundamental changes' to qualitative changes; a development in which the qualitative changes occur not gradually, but rapidly and abruptly, taking the form of a leap from one state to another; they occur not accidentally but as the natural result of an accumulation of imperceptible and gradual quantitative changes.


Why does Stalin say this? Isn't it obvious that Theology, as a branch of Metaphysics, does not regard nature as an accidental agglomeration of things? Also, Theology does not hold that nature is in a state of rest and immobility, neither does it regard the process of development as a simple process of growth.

In general, Marxists tend to display Metaphysics as being in direct opposition to Dialectics - but why? I think that metaphysical topics may be very well analyzed using a Dialectical method. Didn't Hegel actually apply Dialectics to metaphysical concepts such as his Weltgeist (World Spirit)? And doesn't that mean that Metaphysics and Dialectics do not mutually exclude each other, but on the contrary, complement each other?
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 26 Jun 2006, 15:59
Ideology: Other Leftist
Party Bureaucrat
Post 02 Feb 2009, 16:57
Its not just Marxists, meta-physics is, by definition, absolutely unscientific and stands in opposition to a naturalistic world view (materialism). Hegel applied dialectics to metaphysics because he wasn't a materialist, had no interest in empirical nature and didn't recognise an objective material world existing external to the human mind.
The moment one accepts the notion of 'totalitarianism', one is firmly locked within the liberal-democratic horizon. - Slavoj Žižek
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
Ideology: Other Leftist
Politburo
Post 02 Feb 2009, 23:12
I don't think Stalin was wrong in saying that metaphysics and dialectics are opposites, but if you use them to deal with separate different things, they aren't going to conflict very much.
Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 03 Feb 2009, 00:21
But why? Why are they opposites? Hegel demonstrated you can use them in conjunction.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Soviet cogitations: 231
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 26 May 2008, 04:27
Pioneer
Post 03 Feb 2009, 01:49
Hegel, The Doctrine of Being wrote:
The real question is not whether we shall apply metaphysics, but whether our metaphysics are of the right kind: in other words, whether we are not, instead of the concrete logical Idea, adopting one-sided forms of thought, rigidly fixed by understanding, and making these the basis of our theoretical as well as our practical work.


Marxists.org's Hegel glossary wrote:
Metaphysics

Metaphysics is a term used to denote a branch of philosophy dating back to the time of Aristotle referring to the study of the nature of things “beyond the senses”. By the 16th century Metaphysics became synonymous with Ontology, the study of Being or Existence. For Hegel and for Marxists, metaphysics meant dealing with things or concepts abstracted from their interconnection with other things (concepts) and as static ‘self-identical’ objects, rather than processes and self-contradictory concepts. For Positivism and most bourgeois philosophy today, Metaphysics is used in the sense given to it by Kant, meaning concern with objects which are ‘not possible objects of experience’.


Hope that clears some things up.
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