Marx, Max, und Marxism

Alex Trotter uburoi at panix.com
Mon Feb 20 12:29:22 MST 1995


Apparently Ralph Dumain wants to view as heresy the suggestion that Marx
could have been mistaken about anything. I never meant to imply that he
*intentionally* held responsibility for what others did with his ideas.
He even saw them coming--the marxists, that is--and didn't like what he
saw. But he did arm them, unintentionally, with the means for building
marxism as an ideology rather than a critical theory. And even Mr. Dumain
will have to admit that of the two, Marx was by far the more profound
thinker than Engels. It is to the latter that we owe the vulgar stages of
modes of production theory and the increasing identification of marxism
with natural science and mechanical materialism. That's the football that
Plekhanov and Lenin took and ran with.
	As for Dumain's comment about social forces taking precedence
over ideas, perhaps that is so. But ideas and the contributions of
individuals do matter, sometimes greatly. Surely by now it can be seen
that ideology can become a material force in history. The growth of
productive forces and growth in the numbers of the industrial working
class did not, and most likely could not have, led automatically to a
revolutionary socialist outcome.
	To XTROT666: Thanks much for your comments. I agree that Marx was
a lot more knowledgeable in many ways than the anarchists, but I take what
I think is good and useful from both. I think of it in hegelian terms:
both marxism and anarchism belong to history now. So let's extract the
negative essences from both and see what we come up with. Marxism and
anarchism are *aufheben*--canceled and preserved. That's what the
situationists tried to do. BTW, you made one mistake, though. Bakunin
died in 1876; therefore he did not support WWI. You must be thinking of
Kropotkin.

--AT


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