Dialectics of Nature

Adam Rose adam at pmel.com
Wed Sep 11 05:37:24 MDT 1996


Thanks for your reply, Louis G.
Perhaps I was being a little over stroppy.

It just struck me that the quotes you put forward, taken on
their own, seemed a little "static" to me.

[ However, it seems that your personnal conception, and from what you
are saying, Lewontin/Levins' as well, does not in fact suffer from
this.]

I had reached a similar conclusion ( after a VERY quick reading ) about
Plekhanov's Appendix to Engel's "Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical
German Philosophy" : he expounds at length on the existence of contradiction
in nature, but not on Engels third law, the negation of the negation, which
seems to me to be the most dynamic of the three laws.

BTW, has anyone read Lenin's philosophical notebooks ?
Does anyone know how to get hold of them, without buying Lenin's
completed works ?

Some detailed replies to Louis G :
( I am slightly stroppy, but I think polemic is the only way
to achieve clarification, since otherwise we don't get very far ).

You ( Louis G ) write:
> A better explanation is that each proposition possesses an infinite number
> of facets,  including a social interpretation,  that are an interconnected
> and necessary complement each other.

This seems more holistic than dialectical to me.
I think the way I put it is better because it is slightly stronger :

To quote myself :-) :
>It means that A is 100% true, and also, at the same time, 100% false, and
>that this contradiction is what drives the historical development of
>whatever it is we're talking about.

ie the central contradiction provides the dynamic which drives forward
the development of the whole, and the parts in relation to the whole.

and also :
> All systems are in the long run self-negating,  while their short term
> persistence depends on internal self-negating states.   Monopoly arises not
> as the result of the thwarting of "free enterprise"  but as a consequence of
> its success.     Your claim that the "trade union struggle [is] unwinnable
> in purely trade unionist terms" is itself a self-contradictory proposal,
> one neither provable or disprovable within in its arbitrary parameters.

Curious.

My claim that the "trade union struggle [is] unwinnable in purely trade unionist
terms" seems to me to be a fairly non dialectical statement of fact, something
which can be verified entirely within the terms of trade unionism itself.
Trade unionism, in the eyes of trade unionists, exists in order to negotiate
the terms of exploitation of labour in capitalist society. Therefore it can
never end the exploitation of labour.

Trade unionism is the expression of a contradiction within capitalism, and at
the same time acts upon it, both positively and negatively. The actual social
embodiement of trade unionism, the trade union bureaucracy, is because of its
specialised negotiating role between capital and labour, tied to the system
in a permanent, structural way, in a way that the mojority of trade unionists
are not. On the other hand, Trade Unions are "schools of socialism" : their
existence helps the development of class consciousness and revolutionary
organisation. Hence the contradictory nature of trade unionism gives rise
to two organisational and political trends, one of which is true to its nature
and therefore weakens it ( the Trade Union Bureuacracy, Reformism ) , the other
which negates it nature ( Class Consciousness, Revolutionary organisation ) and
therefore strengthens it, with the aim of ultimately abolishing it.

The playing out of the central contradiction at the heart of trade unionism
is what provides the motor of its development.

This seems a much stronger, and IMO, a much more useful concept than :

> each proposition possesses an infinite number
> of facets,  including a social interpretation,  that are an interconnected
> and necessary complement each other.


Comradely,
Adam.



Adam Rose
SWP
Manchester
UK

---------------------------------------------------------------


     --- from list marxism at lists.village.virginia.edu ---




More information about the Marxism mailing list