[Marxism] A forwarded message on class

Haines Brown brownh at hartford-hwp.com
Sun Dec 10 07:04:51 MST 2006

> I think E.P. Thompson's resurrection of Marx's early ideas on class
> is far superior and more practical than the 19th century "scientific
> socialist" (ie., social science pseudo-scientific model) assertion
> of an objective reality of which people are generally unaware.

Yes, but surely you have some reason for this judgement. If you
offered it elsewhere, I missed it.

The positions we might take on issues are of no significance or
interest whatsoever until we provide some justification in terms of
theory and/or practice. Up to that point we are just being sectarian
by outlining our personal turf against that of others.

The rest of your remark is bizarre. If you are implicitly objecting to
the imposition of 19th century positivism on the study of society,
fair enough, but you are probably shooting a dead horse. The real
problem comes when you accuse "social science" of holding the belief
there is an objective reality. The challenges to positivism argued
that there is a subjective element in our knowledge of the world, not
that there is no such world independent of that knowledge or that the
world reduces to nothing more than our subjective opinion. You give
the impression of siding with a fringe (lunatic) position that I'm
sure you don't really intend.

One can admire Thompson as a great historian who threw fresh light on
some very interesting issues. But as a theoretician, that is something
else. As far as I can make out, Thompson did not resurrect Marx's
early ideas on class, so I'd be very interested in your development
and defense of this point. If you are implying Thompson was a Marxist,
I'd also be interested why you classify him as such when he himself
came to reject that characterization.

       Haines Brown, KB1GRM
   	 Dialectical Materialist        

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