Charles Brown CharlesB at
Sat Jun 3 10:51:09 MDT 2000

>>> Jim Farmelant <farmelantj at> 06/03/00 10:48AM >>>

On Fri, 02 Jun 2000 13:32:39 -0400 Louis Proyect <lnp3 at> writes:

> In the Soviet Union, conversely, Bogdanov was very well known indeed
> -- as a Bolshevik pariah.  Ever after their famous break in 1909,
> when Lenin engineered Bogdanov's ouster from the leadership of the
> Bolshevik faction, Lenin relentlessly attacked and denigrated
> Bogdanov's ideas.  He saw to it that Bogdanov's philosophy would
> always be branded as false, anti-Marxist, and anathema for Russian
> Communists.  Bogdanov's works were published in the Soviet Union in
> the 1920s, but their influence is difficult to gauge.


CB: This seems evidence of freedom of press and expression in the SU and Leninism,
given that Lenin sharply disagreed with Bogdanov , yet his works were published.


 Because the
> accusation of "Bogdanovism"  was career-ending, anyone who had been
> influenced by Bogdanov's thought would have attempted to conceal it.

It was certainly the case that Bogdanov became anathema to Soviet
Communists following his expulsion from the Bolshevik faction by Lenin.
And it is certainly true that Lenin's criticisms of Bogdanov in
and Empirio-Criticism* became a part of Soviet orthodoxy such that
they were repeated virtually by wrote in most introductory Soviet


CB: I just reviewed these, some 20 or 30 references to Bogdanov in the index of
_Materialism and Empirio-Criticism_ . The critique seems valid to me on substantive
grounds, although I have not read Bogdanov. Unless Lenin is misrepresenting Bogdanov's
views, the latter seems clearly to take on neo-Kantian, Machian positions. What's the
big deal ?

Bogdanov is a main target of the book, but he seems kind of like Zizek 1909.

On the other hand some of the people who had shared similar
philosophical views like A. Lunacharsky remained within the Bolshevik
and attained prominent positions within the Soviet government following
the October Revolution.  Lunacharsky for instance was the first Soviet
of education.


CB: More evidence of Lenin's liberalism in attitude toward freedom of debate,
discussion, argument among comrades.


Concerning Boogdanov's attempt to ground the philosophical basis of
in Ernst Mach's empiriocriticism, it is interesting to note that in
Austria, Otto
Neurath who was one of the founders of the Vienna Circle pursued a
project.  Just as Bogdanov had attempted to concern himself with
the unity of the sciences, so Neurath pushed the unity of science as a
theme of logical empiricism.  And also like Bogdanov, Neurath wrote very
on economic planning (he was one of the early participants in the
calculation' debate) as well as on the problems of building a socialist


CB: Lenin's version of unity of science was dialectical materialism. Lenin's argument
against Bogdanov is not against unity of science, but against the notion of identity
of sensations and matter, and other idealism in materialistic sounding phraseology.

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