Dialectical Materialism again - reply to Mark Lause

Shane Hopkinson s.hopkinson at cqu.edu.au
Sun Jul 27 23:52:21 MDT 2003

David McDonald wrote 

>M&E believed in creating their works from the ground up, literally, taking
>as assumptions nothing but the plain facts of mankind and nature, and adding
>categories only when justified. Thus Capital begins with the simplest, most
>immediately palpable thing and arguable unit of the system--the commodity,
>and develops all the other categories by plumbing that original one to the
>depths. This is Marx's way of avoiding unwarranted assumptions.

Like Mark L I suspect 'high church litanies' as well but pretending to just
rely on 'plain facts' won't help either.  The question that I think needs 
exploring is (much like Christianity in this respect) what happens when a set
of ideas in this case those of Marx and Engels become the ideologies of the
State as in the Soviet Union or of mass movements like the German Workers
Party.  Since we all agree - roughly - that ideas reflect the material base
of the class/movement/structure they express then we should expect that Marx's
ideas are just as prone to being taken and and exploited to justify inequalities
and explotation as any other set of ideas. 

The chief task then is to be aware of what effect this has had on our understanding
of "Marxism".  I will write more on this when time permits but things like the
inevitablility of revolution, or stages of history, or a simplistiic view of science
(as in discovering 'plain facts') are all aretfacts of this process of ideologisation
in my view at any rate.



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