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glevy at acnet.pratt.edu glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
Thu Jun 8 19:25:31 MDT 1995


On Fri, 9 Jun 1995, Michael Hesemann wrote:

> Is complexity a value in itself or a special ingredient necessary for
> marxist thinking ?

Jerry:
Complexity is not a value in itself although social reality, and the
relation of individuals, groups and classes to that reality, is very
frequently complex.  Marxist theory is both simple and complex.

> Does the historical materialsm not describe a progress in history in the
> sense that living circumstances are becoming better ?

Jerry:
Yes, there is a strong teleological underpinning and belief in progress
in Marx's theories of historical materialism.  I'm not quite so sure
that I agree with that interpretation of historical materialism.  It
would seem to me that Marx and Marxists did and should recognize the
positive, progressive aspects of social change and the negative,
reactionary elements of change.  In any event. I am not quite as strong a
believer in the inevitability of progress as I used to be.

> What is your point against my argument, that historical materialsm is
> humanistic and optimistic ?

Jerry:
I believe that a legitimate tendency in Marxism is "Marxist
humanism" and that it has a basis in Marx's thought (primarily his earlier
writings such as the ECONOMIC AND PHILOSOPHIC MANUSCRIPTS OF 1844).  As
for optimism, that simply sounds like romanticism to be.  Only when
revolutionaries practice realism (but with a hope -- not faith -- in the
future), can they develop analyses, strategies and tactics that are
appropriate for a given moment in the class struggle.

> > In Germany thereis a qoute: not to see the wood because of the many
trees

Jerry:
We have the same expression here.  Keep writing.  We all "profit" by a
healthy exchange of views.
>


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