George Snedeker snedeker at
Tue Jan 2 10:11:53 MST 2001

i don't think "circumstances" refers to "natural history. it seems that you
can turn any statement into a version of evolutionary movement. Marx's
reference is clearly to culture, ideology and social institutions passed on
from one generation to the next. it is a way of saying that we are not free
to act in any way we choose."i grant the existence of reification, but why
must you always return to the organic metaphor? Marx liked Darwin; however,
Marx was not Darwin; society is not a natural environment.

as for your reference to WHAT IS TO BE DONE, that particular work should be
understood in its historical context. i don't think it has a universal
application to all situations.

let me clarify the proper use of an analogy. we say that two things are
similar to help clarify a point. we know that the two things are not in
reality the same. if they were the same, there would be no reason to compare
them. analogies are tools in communication. reification has some features of
the natural world. society has some similarities with a natural environment.
the danger in the use of analogies is the confusion between similarity and
identity. G.S.
----- Original Message -----
From: Charles Brown <CharlesB at>
To: <marxism at>
Sent: Tuesday, January 02, 2001 8:08 AM
Subject: Re: inevitability

> >>> snedeker at 01/01/01 09:47PM >>>
> Charles,
> I would not call for cutting back on the quotations from Karl or Fred. I
> rather like the quotes. I simply think that we should be a little more
> flexible in the interpretation of their words.
> (((((((((
> CB: I don't grant that I am dogmatic and you are not. I am dialectical and
dynamic in my treatment of Marxism as a guide to action not a dogma. I don't
grant that you are more flexible where it is appropriate than I am. My
position is that I am flexible where it is appropriate. I totally reject
your tired, cliched claim that you are being "flexible" in some virtuous
intellectual and theoretical or activist sense. That stuff is so
"dogmatically" oppositional in Marxism, it is sad. Read _What is to be Done
?_ where the same type of phony freshness is skewered by the much fresher
> Don't even try it.
> ((((((((((
>  you can find evolutionary and
> non evolutionary arguments in their analysis of the historical process.
> think of the great quote about humans making history, but not under
> circumstances  of their choosing. what exactly is meant here by
> "circumstances?"
> ((((((((((
> CB: They are sort of like the "environment" in evolutionary talk. You
don't think Darwin included "circumstances" in his theory ? The idealistic
philosophical statement of evolutionism is Hegelianism , to give you a
heuristic. For example, what's rational is actual and what is actual is
rational is a way of saying survival of the fittest.
> For Marx, human history is LIKE a natural history due to reification from
alienation of people. When reified by class exploitative alienation and the
threat of state violence, people act like things so they have a sort of
"natural" history. Thus , they simulate an evolution like that in a natural
world. Class history is a simulated natural history.

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