dialectical meterialism

Richard Harris rhh1 at gotadsl.co.uk
Sat Jul 26 13:49:19 MDT 2003

> The _German Ideology_ displays the first stage (or moment) in the
> development of dialectical materialism

Good scholarship shows that 'dialectical materialism' was a concoction of
Plekhanov and Struve.   I've never seen the phrase in Marx's works (nor
'historical materialism', for that matter.)  Of course, both thought they
were crystallising Marx's thought.  But I think we know they were mistaken.
To hold other wise is to say that the Grundrisse, EMP and many other works
that have come to light since the '20's have not changed one jot one's view
of the basis of Marx's project.

There is also a whole tradition of reading Marx through the spectacles of
Kautsky's 'Economic Doctrines of Karl Marx', once very popular.  But I just
don't see that stuff there in Marx.

The Marx I have read is a communist, a revolutionist, not an economist.  He
wrote a critique of political economy, and critiques of many other things.
I think he thought the world Hegel, Ricardo, Proudhon described as within
the alienation i.e. upside down.  As far as I can see, Marx broke through
intellectual barriers with the energy with which he tried to build the

Stalin liked dialectical materialism, just as he liked pseudo-biology.  It
distracts from Marx's struggle to recover the essence of the human.

Please see James D. White (1996) 'Karl Marx and the Intellectual Origins of
Dialectical Materialism' Macmillan and Oishi (2001) 'The Unknown Marx' Pluto

Both stunning reads.


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