PANNEKOEK VS. LENIN (with ENGELS WARM-UP)

Ralph Dumain rdumain at igc.apc.org
Mon Nov 27 07:01:37 MST 1995


>During his impassioned defense of Engels's dialectics and Lenin's
>materialism,

Hold on, there.  I defended Engels, but I did not defend his
writings on dialectics in toto.  More precisely, I sided with the
judgment of Richard Norman, who subjects Engels's confusions to a
deeper analysis while defending his fundamental purposes.  Norman
manifests a rare perspicuity in handling the relationship between
subjective and objective dialectics and is very wary concerning
the sense in which the logical notion of contradiction can be
applied to natural processes.

I am not at all scandalized by Lenin's MAEC, nor do I think that
his later notebooks on Hegel repudiate it, as many suggest,
including the Dunayevskaya cult.

>Lenin's kantianism (the *Ding and Sich* or "thing-in-itself") is
>revealed.

Lenin's Kantianism?  Non sequitur.

>Modern physics holds matter to be abstract

Say what?

>matter is not necessarily and always apprehensible to the
>senses five.

How so?

>Lenin's concept in *Materialism...Empirio-Criticism* is
>actually pre-hegelian.

How so?

BTW, in spite of Pannekoek's scientific credentials, was he really
qualified to pronounce on the philosophy of physics?  Real
physicists have blundered too in the worst ways --  Eddington,
Heisenberg, etc.

>Lukacs in *History and Class Consciousness* and Korsch in
*Marxism >and Philosophy*

Ah, the Grand Central Station of Western Marxism.  Perhaps these
were not Lukacs' and Korsch's best moments?

>It's important to see Lenin's work in the context of its
>enlightening task.

This is what actually interested me about Pannekoek.

>...the Bolsheviks thought that a philosophy suited to the
>practical task of conquering feudal mysticism was required. The

>Bolsheviks were carrying out in Russia an enlightenment program
>similar to what the bourgeoisie had already done in western
>Europe,

This is precisely what interested me about Pannekoek.  The
Bolsheviks reflected a certain stage in development that Western
Europe had already passed through, hence its theoretical tasks
were somewhat old-fashioned.

>thus Lenin's materialism was a bourgeois, Feuerbachian
>materialism.

As opposed to what?

>It was mistaken even in its own time, and today it's for the
>dinosaurs.

This does not follow at all from the foregoing!  To expand on
something pre-existing is not necessarily to repudiate it.  Did
not Lenin set himself different tasks in MAEC and in the
notebooks?  Why does the latter repudiate the former?  I don't buy
it.

You know what the problem really is?  It's this prejudice against
materialism and the constant attempt to discredit it by
associating it with totalitarianism.  I find this infantile.  I
think this kind of metaphysical witch-hunting for the intellectual
roots of Stalinism is actually a distraction from its real
ideological crimes.  I've read mountains of Soviet and
Soviet-bootlicking literature.  I can smell a Stalinist a mile
away.  I know all of their lies.  I've dissected their nonsense
about the "Leninist stage of philosophy", a non-existent entity.
But I don't blame Lenin's MAEC for any of this rubbish.

>Bob Black can tell you everything you need to know about
>the Church of the Subgenius-oids.

You're spoiling it for me already.  I find anarchists as loathsome
as Stalinists and ten times more childish, above all Bob Black.


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