Anarchism / Marxism debates

David Welch david.welch at
Fri Aug 20 03:09:19 MDT 1999

I think one could convincingly argue that the choice of socialism or
barbarism is no less teleological than that a just plain socialism.
I think Marx could be read as arguing for either of these scenarios,
in his Preface to a Contribution to a Critique of Political Economy for
example. However I would agree with you, capitalism does nothing more than
produce the conditions for the emergence of socialism. Moreoever despite
(or perhaps because) of its contradictions capitalism is a highly dynamic system.
Because of this dynamism there no necessity for a final apocalyptic
crisis or even for a point at which capitalism could be said not to be
growing anymore, not historically progressive, etc.

Tahir writes:
> This debate looks to me as if its about the familiar
> accusation from anarchists, postmodernists and other
> Foucault readers that Marxism is 'teleological', in that it
> appears to posit an 'end of history' which is determined in
> advance by 'laws of history'. I think that we should concede
> that the language used by Marx and Engels (and others)
> occasionally  does lend itself to this sort of
> interpretation, especially if read out of context. I think
> an important point to remember though is the point made in
> the Manifesto about class struggles leading EITHER to the
> victory of one class over another OR to the mutual ruin of
> the contending classes. There is absolutely no teleology in
> this formulation whatsoever. Every time one tries to prove
> to one of these critics that society really is moving in the
> direction of socialism, and that there is something
> quasi-inevitable about this, one is strengthening their
> argument and falling into a kind of metaphysical trap. And
> this is somehow a very easy trap for marxists to fall into.
> I would say that the marxist critique of capitalism shows
> the 'objective possibility' of socialism but nothing that
> can be described as an inevitability at all.
> Tahir

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