"marxism", "dialectics" and "science" -Reply

Mon Jun 26 12:24:48 MDT 1995

I call myself a "student of marxism" [among other things] not only
because I am literally a student at a University, nor only because I
do not claim to already know everything about marx or marxism.

I also came to this list partly in order to learn about the state of
marxism/socialism.  One of the very interesting things I have learned
is that there are about as many kinds of marxism as there are
marxists.  Also, that there is no easy or agreed-upon, or possibly
even any answer to some of my questions, at least no answer that I
find to be a satisfactory resolution.  Considering the pluralism in
the field, I'm surprised if anyone would expect that "marxism" is
just one obvious interpretation of the Master, and that any who use
the name of marx must all be referring to the same set of beliefs or
ideas.  That is certainly not the way it has been on this list.

And that's okay.  (Stewart Smalley imitation is optional with this

Louis' list of "the themes of quasi-Marxism" did resonate with some
of my views, but mostly it seems to be to be a list of questions,
when restated.  These questions are very interesting to me.  Some of
them have been addressed on the list, some have not.  Some I think I
have a reasonable handle on, many I don't.

What makes planned economies good or bad?
How does market socialism work, i.e. how is it done and what are the
results and why?
Can dialectics be explained so that it doesn't sound like
mumbo-jumbo, or its usefulness is demonstrated to me, or I can apply
it to concrete problems I wish to address?
Is the LTV flawed?  In what way?  What are the criteria for any
theory of value "working"?  In terms of achieving some goal?  Which
What is postmodernism?
How will I know if Austrians should be disregarded, when I don't even
know what they say?  (Not just because somebody tells me so!)

You see, if I only wanted to hear "the truth", without discussion and
explanation that makes sense to me, I could just go down to the local
SWP sunday school (they really do hold a class on sundays, but please
feel free to enjoy meanings to that phrase).

But no, my analytical/synthetic/problem-solving/wet machinery/brain
would rather sweat it out, to try to make sense of things based on
thought/imagination/logic/emotion/reading/dreaming/debate or anything
else that occurs to me, that I find satisfactory.

That is why I call myself a student.  Not as a follower.  But in the
best sense of study, to examine alternatives, compare ideas, gather
information, to have reasonable support for the views I hold - in
order to make up my own mind about the answers to my questions.


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