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View Diary: The "Marxism is coming back" trope (264 comments)

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  •  That is true but the Hegelian parts of Marx (3+ / 0-)
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    TomP, Alhambra, unfangus

    have not weathered so well. Hegel had a terribly hard time trying to articulate and systematize his own ideas.

    For me, Marx is a lot like Freud. Freud was a brilliant, learned man and a very talented writer. Most of Freudian theory has not held up well over time. But there is a core part of it that is still valid. Freud had the basically true insight that our conscious mind is only part of what is going in our brains. He tried to describe what the unconscious part was like, but it's not an exact or scientific description. It is a instead a bunch of approximations and metaphors, some of which are more useful than others, but none of which are really scientific. Freud himself knew his theories had limitations and he kept revising them.

    Marx also had some basically correct insights. There is such a thing as class struggle, and it is one of the central features of modern history, and we are still engaged in it. There is a a huge amount of injustice built into the capitalist system. So we can and we should think about alternatives to that system. I tend more towards the democratic socialist end of the left spectrum vs. the revolutionary end of it but I can appreciate that sometimes people suffer enough that they are driven towards revolution.

    •  I disagree about the 'poor' aging of the (2+ / 0-)
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      Castine, caul

      Hegelian influence. In fact, looking at an object [be it history or otherwise] from a dialectic perspective is one of the lasting achievements of German idealism within the history of not just philosophy, but political science, sociology, art history, literary criticism - even science.

      It is a perspective which explains how ideas develop organically within any given structure that are not only antithetical to that structure, but will eventually force a new structure to develop based on the ideas birthed in the previous. That's all a dialectic is. In fact, Marx mastered it more thoroughly than Hegel insofar as by the later Marx, he left intimtated the possibility that dialectics are open ended - they don't result in a final state of socio-economic organization required by Hegel [owing to Hegel's insistence on the 'final cause' from Aristotle's Physica].

      Marx also wasn't a revolutionary, in the Revolution! sense. The demise of capitalism would come, of necessity, by its very dialectic nature. The notions of human freedom and univeralism birthed by the relations of production in capitalism will eventually come in conflict with its socio-economic organization once the forces of production conquer scarcity [which, quite frankly, they have]. At that point capitalism will unwind, not by revolution, but evolutionary necessity... Whether or not one believes that to be correct, is quite a different issue, however.

      My point about Hegel was merely that it's much easier to read and understand Marx [and appreciate the quality of his writing] if one is well versed in the Hegelian lexicon.

      “It takes no compromise to give people their takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

      by lucid on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 08:25:34 PM PDT

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      •  Perhaps the historical failure (2+ / 0-)
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        sneakers563, WB Reeves

        of Marxism (in the sense of its Soviet state socialist embodiment) could itself be considered an antithesis leading to a higher, more refined synthesis. Perhaps it is just beginning to emerge, so we cannot yet discern its essential features.

        Those Soviet professors of Marxism-Leninism I knew back in the 1970s were wrong to think the dialectic "stopped" with and culminated in Soviet State socialism. But Fukuyama et al were also wrong to think the dialectic stopped with post-industrial globalizing capitalism.

        •  I don't understand how they could have thought (0+ / 0-)

          that. Lenin described the economic system of the Soviet Union as "state capitalism". It was explicitly supposed to be a transitory stage. Why would they think that the Soviet model represented the end of history, when Lenin didn't?

          To believe that markets determine value is to believe that milk comes from plastic bottles. Bromley (1985)

          by sneakers563 on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 09:52:40 AM PDT

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          •  Lenin viewed NEP, (0+ / 0-)

            the successor to failed War Communism, as the return to a gradualist state capitalist development strategy. But Stalin, in abandoning NEP in 1929 for a centralized planned command economy, considered himself to have transcended state socialism and achieved Socialism. Under the Stalinist definition of Socialism there was no longer any possibility of further dialectical movement through class conflict because class conflict was now over in the USSR: "There are but two friendly classes--workers and collectivized peasants-- and one stratum--the technical intelligentisa serving them."  

      •  It is the evolutionary necessity bit (0+ / 0-)

        that many people have difficulty with. Evolutionary necessity may make sense in the biological realm but the idea that Marx had discovered laws in the realm of societal evolution is problematic. At least, I think so. We have very recent examples of socialist societies devolving back into capitalism .. although you could certainly argue that they were never proper realizations of the socialist vision.

        •  Yes is it a biologistic metaphor (0+ / 0-)

          It is the incorporation of Aristotelian causation into an understanding of history. My position on it has nothing to do with its ultimate truth value as a predictive science, but rather as an heuristic tool to apprehend a specific object - and this is what I mean by saying it is the lasting achievement of German Idealism.

          As far as capitalism goes - it will collapse, be it due to it's internal contradictions [per a Marxist analysis], or the shear environmental catastrophe it is in the process of creating. What arises will be interesting to see & I certainly hope it isn't a new dark age.

          “It takes no compromise to give people their takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

          by lucid on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 10:28:04 AM PDT

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          •  What follows collapse is almost always worse (0+ / 0-)

            than the conditions that caused it. If there were any such thing as "Laws of History," that would be one of them.

            There isn't.


            "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
            "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

            by Leftie Gunner on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 04:14:27 PM PDT

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