Archive for the 'Rosa Lichtenstein' Category

Let 100 Flowers Blossom and 100 Schools of Thought Contend.

Water lilies

From Lastsuperpower by Arthur 2006

Hi Rosa, I just read right through your 14,200 word summary and was struck by the following among the caveats at the end:
“…it is fundamental to my project that if I cannot explain myself in ordinary language, then not even I understand what I am attempting to say!** **And that is why this Essay will need to be re-written many, many times.”

I admire the enthusiasm with which you are tackling the problem of why allegedly marxist tendencies have been overwhelmingly unsuccessful and have degenerated into peurile sects adequately ridiculed in Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”. But I would say they have as little grasp of dialectical materialism as they do of anything else. A classic illustration can be found in another thread here re Spelling out the Drain the Swamps theory – where a dalek challenged to concretely analyse concrete conditions is reduced to simply frothing at the mouth together with the following complete “dialectical” argument for not trying to change the status quo.

“My answer to all your stuff is that the internal contradictions in any entity will be worked out by the usual dialectical processes. The nature of what is to be born from the internal struggle will be determined by the resolution of the internal contradictions. No amount of outside pressure nor outside influence will have any effect on that which is to emerge.”

Since we are at least in agreement about the complete uselessness of the “philosophy” of the various peurile sects it might be useful to engage in dialogue. But you would need to tackle the concrete issues we are discussing (eg Iraq) in ordinary language. From passing references scattered throughout your material it appears that you share much the same political views as the “dialecticians” you reject as fraudulent. That ought to give you pause for thought.

We hold opposite views on concrete political issues so discussing those concrete issues ought to be more productive. If you read the thread linked above from the beginning, and the links within it, you will find plenty of material that shows the connection between our different political views to yours and our different philosophical views concerning dialectical materialism to yours. Your account of the Background to this project is much easier to follow than your summary. I was struck by your remark:

“…if truth be told, some {Stalinist Dialecticians} (Russian or Chinese) display a far more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of “the dialectic” than do many {Orthodox Trotskyists} – Ilyenkov and Oizerman come to mind here. Another: Alexander Spirkin’s analysis of the Part/Whole relation, here.”

I can at least agree with you there. Ilyenkov is worth reading. (BTW please fix the broken link to Spirkin.)

Frankly I don’t have time at the moment to read much more of your 600,000+ words work. But I will quote this, as an explicit welcome to a site that DOES want to be contradicted:

“Nevertheless, for all their avowed love of “contradictions”, DM-theorists do not like to be contradicted – especially “internally”, as it were, by a comrade. In fact, they reject all attempts at doing this (which is rather odd given their commitment to the belief that progress can only occur this way). So here is a nice conundrum: if all progress and change does indeed result from “internal contradictions, then the pages that follow, which uncover the many that lie at the heart of dialectics, should be warmly welcomed by the DM-faithful. Indeed, if improvement and development can come about in no other way, then these pages ought to be well-received by those committed to “dialectical” change. That they won’t be well-received should therefore count as one of the opening “contradictions” exposed at this site: DM stands refuted as much by its own unwillingness to be contradicted (internally or externally) as it is by the fact that this situation is not likely to change.”

Our experience is that they simply don’t want to argue with us. Occasionally, like the dalek, one of them turns up and expresses his indignation without any attempt to understand what we are actually saying or to directly respond to any replies – the minimum courtesy required for argument. Given your background, you will find much to contradict here. Please go right ahead! But please, avoid the language you use in bantering with your fellow sectarians and just argue with us about how to analyse and change the world in ordinary language that anyone can understand.