"marxism", "dialectics" and "science"

Jim Jaszewski ab975 at main.freenet.hamilton.on.ca
Fri Jun 23 00:45:09 MDT 1995

On Thu, 22 Jun 1995, Justin Schwartz wrote:

> I wasn't going to get into this and probably shouldn't, but don't you
> think talkking about who's really Marxist enough is boring?

	You're right; you shouldn't -- but you can't resist...

	Hey, fella -- part of the problem here is I'm coming in in the
middle of things, but believe-you-me, I didn't come here to argue with
people who don't believe in dialectic, or who agree with Sraffans that the
Labor Theory of Value is a dead letter...

	Look at it from my point of view: in a world where we are
CONSTANTLY bombarded with vicious and gloating capitalist triumphalism, I
came eagerly to an ACTUAL MARXISM discussion list -- only to find what
seems to be _HALF_ the bandwidth taken over by people who as eagerly
proclaim how wrong Marx/marxism is!! (not an overstatement IMO)

	As I've stated B4, this isn't un-similar to a feminism list being
taken over by opinionated males. The ludicrousness of THAT situation
should be clear...

	As is usual in any place with a 'pecking order' -- and I _do_
include this list -- sudden challenge by a new interloper is 'frowned'
upon (I guess I'm not an alpha-enuff male...) One thing I intended to
comment upon here are my observations on how supposedly 'progressive'
groupings seem to be shot thru and thru with petty bourgeois(?)
sensibilities -- this includes the development of pecking orders, but
includes sexism, other 'isms', and many of the personality conflicts
someone else quite eloquently posted about -- here -- a week or two ago
(but upon which, _curiously_, no comment has yet been made -- tellingly, I

	It does not surprise me that someone can insult me here, yet it
appears that only my behaviour is in question...

 A Marxism list
> is a place for people who are interested in Marxism and willing to chat
> civilly about it, regardless of their professed allegiences.

	I think someone's 'professed allegiances' should be front and
center -- ESPECIALLY in a *MARXIST* 'discussion' group. In the coming
crisis, there will be no end of people whose only purpose will be to sow
confusion into any groupings that challenge the present New World Order...

	Frankly, I am APPALLED that the state of marxism 'discussion'
groups CONTINUES to encompass thinking that denigrates the FUNDAMENTALS of
Marxism -- I mean, how can someone who pooh-poohs dialectic really have
much to offer marxism?? Why not just move on to a libertarian list??

	As often happens, taking a stand on a socially unpopular issue
allows those defending the status quo to make accusations of
'unreasonableness', 'inflexibility' and 'dogmatism'. I get the definite
impression sometimes that many supposed 'marxists' are trying to DISTANCE
themselves from anything relevant and living and unabashedly MARXIST in
marxism -- just keeping the parts of analysis needed to get their papers
published in the bourgeois 'Academy'...

	Is it dogmatism to not want to hear anti-marxism in a marxism list??

 As to who's a
> real Marxist--why does it matter?

	That you can even ask such a question...  LOOK. Let's get it clear
-- just so the attempt to paint me as extremist and intolerant won't be SO
easy: *NOWHERE* have I even *SUGGESTED* that YOU and some others DON'T
have the right to express your views here; I only question your relevance
to any FRUITFUL COGENT discussion...

 I considser myself a Marxist even though
> I disagree with a lot of Marx's views,

	I think a list of what you disagree about would be revealing...

 because I think the old man had the
> questions right and generally speaking the right tools to approack them,
> as well as the morally defensible orientation--the perspective of the
> oppressed. A lot of people I know who broadly agree with me (and us) don't
> think of themselves as Marxists, but it's difficult to see what's at stake
> in the label.

	What makes you think I'm hung-up on a label??  That you
FUNDAMENTALLY question the ENTIRE dialectical structure of Marxism is
what's in question... If that can be 'Marxism', then I guess the term is
FAR too vague...

	If you know your history, you'll know that the fiddle-faddling of
the Social Democrats on Marxism led INEXORABLY to the 'COMPLEAT' defeat
'we' socialists have suffered in these end-daze. No sense of deja-vu, eh
(tu), Justin??

> I certianly would not want any thought police to restrict participation in
> any discussion to people who identified themselves as Marxist, or with a
> particular conception of Marxism.

	And I think your attempting to tar me with this brush is an
indication of what I find less-than-appealing in you posts...

 Nor do I think that Marxists themselves
> have a cathemism or a set of articles of faith.

	Again -- this is trying to put words in my mouth and/or ascribing
such B.S. to my actual postings here.

 "I believe in the
> Proletariat, the Labor Theory of Value, and the abolition of merkets,
> revolution without end, amen." We all of us, Marxist and Marxian, people
> curious about Marxism, and libertarians interested in Marxism, have an
> intellectual duty to keep an open and skepticla mind about the
> propositions of Marxism (and everythinbg else). We have a duty not to
> become a hermetically self-sealed sect which responds to criticism with ad
> hominem attacks.

	Sounds REAL groovy, buddy, but where do _I_ fit in above?? In
calling you out on your disbelief in the core of Marxism??  Kinda reminds
me of the ridiculous situations where priests admit to not believing in
God -- yet not wanting to give up the lifestyle -- masses, confessionals
and all...

> This leads to the question of manners. Civility is called for in these
> discussions--even with regard to "class enemies" like Chris S.

	Let me point out that while I may come on strong when I smell
bullshit, I wasn't flaming until I was actually, TRULY insulted.

> doesn't mean we can't flame each other now and then,

	EXACTLY -- so why pick on ME??  (unless we're talking ulterior
motives here...)

 but the fact is that
> rude polemics and unszubstantiated insults are boring unless they are very
> imaginative (Ralph D. is very good at imaginative insults) and don't
> advance anyone';s understanding.,

	So go tell that to 'Rahul'...

 If you think, e.g., tghat use of
> something called the hypothetical deductive method is iniminical to
> something called dialectics and leads people to serve the interests of
> capital, tell us what these things are and how the former has the effect
> you describe.

	I think Hans is making a good beginning -- I'm only sorry that
discussion on this list has apparently never got anywhere near as
sophisticated before (but if it has, it's obviously not stuck -- something
ELSE to consider...)

	Personally, I think you've never considered a completely different
personality, a socialist personality, which can do ALL that science -- and
much more -- without having to resort to bourgeois scientism. Obviously,
such a person could never exist in our present world -- and that, I'm sure
would have you say that because it didn't exist, it couldn't exist. The
next logical step would be drawing the conclusion that therefore socialism
could never exist...

> Personally speaking, I think you would be happier or more comfortable in
> the CPUSA than in the CoC (of which I am a courtesy member, although my
> main affiliation is Solidarity.)

	And I think you are capable of rather superficial analyses (erudition
or no...)

	Frankly, I think it is in character for someone such as yourself
to chide someone like me for getting 'personal' -- and then turn around to
finish with a last little 'ad hominem' dig...


   Jim Jaszewski   <jazz at freenet.hamilton.on.ca>

   WWW homepage:   <http://www.freenet.hamilton.on.ca/~ab975/Profile.html>

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