Exchanges on Marxism and ecology

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Oct 21 14:30:18 MDT 1999

>A quick note re Bogdanov: As Lou Proyect has been concerned to
>point out over and over again on these lists, it is important in light
>of subsequent history of democratic-centralist parties to point out
>that Lenin did not attempt to have Bogdanoff expelled from the
>Bolshevik faction.

Interestingly, Bogdanov WAS the only person ever expelled from the
Bolshevik Party prior to 1917. Neil Harding points out that Lenin's
objection to Bogdanov was so thorough-going that he was all set to bloc
with the Mensheviks against Bogdanov and his followers in the Bolshevik
Party, where he enjoyed some popularity. Over on the batty Trotsky
newsgroup there is a super-batty latter-day supporter of Bogdanov named
Mark Vigliemo who remonstrates with us on a daily basis on behalf of
Bogdanov. He is also urging people to read Balabanoff, when he isn't
finding time to argue that UFO's are for real. Quite a character.

I have never found a good reason to expore the philosophical differences
that divided Lenin and Bogdanov except that I regard the latter as just the
kind of Marxist who would succumb to postmodernism today, sort of a Russian
version of Ernesto Laclau.

Now that I am aging and mellowed out (most of the time), I tend to regard
these sorts of historic battles between Marxist defenders of orthodox
dialectical materialism and the various renegades with a grain of salt. For
example, Trotsky conducted a big battle against James Burnham's
philosophical deviations (connected to Sidney Hook's pragmatism) in the
American Trotskyist movement of the 1930s. The idea is that unless these
philosophical deviations were not rooted out, the scratch would turn into
gangrene. This is the kind of methodology that turned  the Trotskyist
movement into a sect-cult. When all was said and done, the Shachtmanites
with their dubious philosophical leanings went ahead and confronted US
capitalism all through WWII. And when Shachtman became a cold warrior, the
leftwing of his current went ahead and continued to uphold revolutionary
principles under Hal Draper's serene and watchful leadership. Rest his soul.

Louis Proyect

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