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Old 02-23-2018, 03:53 AM   #401
Mosco Vito
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Does "class struggle" exist? Sure
This is a controversial statement. Here is what he thinks about the class struggle russian philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev:

The logical structure of Marxism in the theory of class struggle is absolutely contradictory and philosophically naive. Marx holds on to extreme scholastic realism of concepts. Abstractions of thought he takes over the reality of being. To characterize as capitalist and bourgeois, some society as a whole with all its sophisticated culture is an abstraction and hypostasis concepts. The same abstraction and hypostasis concepts is the proletariat as a universal class, and the proletarian society and culture. Lenin recognized himself that there can't be proletarian culture, and can only be the introduction of the proletariat to culture and mastery of culture. We will see that the main logical disadvantage of Marx is the uncritical mixing of extreme realism with extreme nomination. The very concept of class and social group cannot be defined only economically, only in relation to production, as Marx wants. Social differentiation of society occurs on other grounds, is determined by other principles.

And here are his thoughts about the religious nature of Marxism:

- strict dogmatic system, despite practical flexibility;
- the division between Orthodoxy and heresy;
- the immutability of the philosophy of science, the Holy Scripture of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, which can only be interpreted, but not questioned;
- division of the world into two parts-believers-faithful and unbelievers-infidels;
-hierarchically organized Communist Church with directives from above; transfer of conscience to the Supreme body of the Communist party, to the Council;
-totalitarianism peculiar only to religions;
-the fanaticism of the faithful;
-excommunication and the execution of heretics;
- prevention of secularization within the group of believers;
-acknowledgement of original sin (exploitation).

Last edited by Mosco Vito; 02-23-2018 at 04:12 AM..
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Old 02-23-2018, 04:57 AM   #402
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This is a controversial statement. Here is what he thinks about the class struggle russian philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev:

[I]The logical structure of Marxism in the theory of class struggle is absolutely contradictory and philosophically naive. Marx holds on to extreme scholastic realism of concepts.
The question is how dogmatically do you take the argument. Marx was looking at the world of the middle of the 19th century, particularly industrial workers in his native Germany. There are all sorts of extrapolations to very different societies -- particularly agrarian ones-- which don't make a lot of sense, for instance Mao who villified minor rural landowners as "landlords" or Stalin who persecuted similar folks as "kulaks". Trying to find a "class struggle" among a rural peasantry who were basically all pretty poor was not only pointless, it was damaging.

But as a historian, I find that Marx added a tremendous amount to how we understand a society. Before Marx, we really don't have a systematic analysis of societies based on "who owns what" . . .after Marx we do.

That's a huge contribution to understanding, even if you're not a "Marxist".

I don't think you can write a useful history of, say, slavery without asking the question "who owned slaves?", "what were they worth?", and "how did this effect free labor economically?"

Similarly, I don't think you can look at the US health insurance system without reference to class interests.

The classic battleground for Marxist vs liberal and other interpretations of history is the French Revolution; I don't take the Marxists as being "the last word" -- there are "classic" historians who have compelling interpretations too . . . but there's no way you could say that you can ignore people like Albert Soboul. And Marx himself writes a terrific analysis of Louis Napoleon, called "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon " --- which is really incisive reporting on contemporary events (for Marx).
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Old 02-23-2018, 05:34 AM   #403
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The question is how dogmatically do you take the argument. Marx was looking at the world of the middle of the 19th century, particularly industrial workers in his native Germany. There are all sorts of extrapolations to very different societies -- particularly agrarian ones-- which don't make a lot of sense, for instance Mao who villified minor rural landowners as "landlords" or Stalin who persecuted similar folks as "kulaks". Trying to find a "class struggle" among a rural peasantry who were basically all pretty poor was not only pointless, it was damaging.

But as a historian, I find that Marx added a tremendous amount to how we understand a society. Before Marx, we really don't have a systematic analysis of societies based on "who owns what" . . .after Marx we do.

That's a huge contribution to understanding, even if you're not a "Marxist".

I don't think you can write a useful history of, say, slavery without asking the question "who owned slaves?", "what were they worth?", and "how did this effect free labor economically?"

Similarly, I don't think you can look at the US health insurance system without reference to class interests.

The classic battleground for Marxist vs liberal and other interpretations of history is the French Revolution; I don't take the Marxists as being "the last word" -- there are "classic" historians who have compelling interpretations too . . . but there's no way you could say that you can ignore people like Albert Soboul. And Marx himself writes a terrific analysis of Louis Napoleon, called "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon " --- which is really incisive reporting on contemporary events (for Marx).

Yes, Marx made a great contribution to the development of sociology, no doubt. The same Berdyaev (he was once a Marxist) all his life thought of Marx as a genius. But I often see that the works of Marx make dogma, a "sacred cow". I prefer to look at the class struggle as simply one of the manifestations of the evil nature of man.
 
What do you think about the malthusianism/neo-malthusianism? Can this doctrines help to fight poverty?
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Old 02-23-2018, 06:36 AM   #404
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Yes, Marx made a great contribution to the development of sociology, no doubt. The same Berdyaev (he was once a Marxist) all his life thought of Marx as a genius.
I'm good with that

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But I often see that the works of Marx make dogma, a "sacred cow".
Halfway agree. Its something which is useful, but only to a point. Not "useful everywhere always" -- but useful where appropriate.

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I prefer to look at the class struggle as simply one of the manifestations of the evil nature of man.
Disagree there. The essence of the Marxist analysis of history is that "good and evil" are irrelevant; essentially Marx is the extension of Machiavelli to financial affairs: people will do what's "in their interest"-- its not because they're good or bad, its because if, say, you own property, you have one set of interests, if you don't-- then you have different interests.

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What do you think about the malthusianism/neo-malthusianism? Can this doctrines help to fight poverty?
A different topic, really. I don't find it compelling for the most part. Malthus didn't foresee a world where it was so easy to produce food that the problem in the poorest nations is not starvation, its obesity.

Malthus seems to me far less relevant and interesting than Marx. In his 18th Brumaire Marx writes

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Originally Posted by Karl Marx
Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language.
just my two cents' worth, but this is really brilliant stuff. It still reads well, but when he wrote it, it was even more novel, more remarkable.
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Old 02-23-2018, 09:42 AM   #405
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Communists of many countries saw Marxism not as a theory, but as a tool to change the negative reality, the key component of which was the poverty of the masses. I mentioned Malthus as a thinker who called for control over the population. His main idea was developed. For example, the Italian philosopher Julius Evola wrote:
 
Overpopulation exacerbates the problem of unemployment, just as inevitable (due to their very nature) intensification of production processes leading to increased economic obsession, the further enslavement of man, the reduction of free area... Zombart rightly believed that the decline in the population could be one of the few means to inflict a fatal blow to large capitalism.

Ok, we can not call the torment of one another "evil" and "the realization of financial interests", but the essence will be the same.
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Old 02-23-2018, 09:49 AM   #406
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Communists of many countries saw Marxism not as a theory, but as a tool to change the negative reality, the key component of which was the poverty of the masses.
Blaming Marx -- who never ran anything-- for the failings of communists in power is a bit like blaming Freud for every dumb thing that folks did that somehow was attributed to psychoanalytic theory.

They're both men whose ideas advance our understanding of the world in important ways, bu they're not prophets; its pointless to blame them for not being.

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I mentioned Malthus as a thinker who called for control over the population. His main idea was developed. For example, the Italian philosopher Julius Evola wrote:
 
Overpopulation exacerbates the problem of unemployment, just as inevitable (due to their very nature) intensification of production processes leading to increased economic obsession, the further enslavement of man, the reduction of free area... Zombart rightly believed that the decline in the population could be one of the few means to inflict a fatal blow to large capitalism.

I think that's irrelevant and provably wrong from historical examples. We've had precipitous declines in population in the past -- economic historians view the Black Death as having given rise to capitalism, because labor shortages created money wages in place of serfdom.

And as for today, you can see population falling rapidly in advanced industrial nations like Japan (and soon Korea and China) without changing the economic system in any way.

So its off base in the 13th century and its wrong in the 21st century too.

In general, you can't trust vague philosophers ruminating on the end of capitalism . . . its just pointless. The world has adopted markets, of different flavors in China than the US, Germany and Chile-- but with the exception of a few desperate states like Venezuela and North Korea, there's really no place that tries to replace the market with state control for allocating capital.
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Old 02-23-2018, 11:30 AM   #407
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Communism is a very serious theme for discussion. Seems to me to solve this issue takes a lot of time and work of various scientists (politologists, historians, economists etc).
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:20 PM   #408
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Communism is a very serious theme for discussion. Seems to me to solve this issue takes a lot of time and work of various scientists (politologists, historians, economists etc).
"Solve"?

What is there to solve?

Modern history has demonstrated that social democracy is possible, pleasant, efficient, productive and prosperous. Its also demonstrated that to push beyond social democracy to collectivization and the dictatorship of the proletariat/one party State -- that's disastrous.

There's no "scientist" with an answer to the question "When the Party has all the power, who guarantees your freedoms?"
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:23 PM   #409
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"Solve"?

What is there to solve?

Modern history has demonstrated that social democracy is possible, pleasant, efficient, productive and prosperous. Its also demonstrated that to push beyond social democracy to collectivization and the dictatorship of the proletariat/one party State -- that's disastrous.

There's no "scientist" with an answer to the question "When the Party has all the power, who guarantees your freedoms?"
"Solve" means to answer the question of what role communism played in the history of this country.
 
If I understand you correctly, you repeat Fukuyama's thesis from his best-selling "The End of history," in which he declared Western-style democracy the end point of history. But even this apologist of democracy was forced to recognize the power of authoritarianism. For example, hostility to the West is widespread in Russia and Stalin is very popular here.
 
And what do you mean when you say " democracy
prosperous"? Economic prosperity?
 
It may seem paradoxical, but many people do not need freedom. They need food, medicine, work and they will gladly give this abstraction (freedom) in exchange for these things.
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Old 02-23-2018, 03:57 PM   #410
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"Solve" means to answer the question of what role communism played in the history of this country.
This country? If you mean the United States-- communism played little role except as an enemy.

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If I understand you correctly, you repeat Fukuyama's thesis from his best-selling "The End of history," in which he declared Western-style democracy the end point of history. But even this apologist of democracy was forced to recognize the power of authoritarianism.
My comment wasn't about Fukuyama. Social democracy is demonstrably the most agreeable form of government under which to live -- just take a look at how people vote with their feet. Very few Syrians speak Swedish, and the climate isn't remotely to their liking, but they get that its much nicer to live under Swedish law than Syrian. People want to live in Denmark, New Zealand, Australia, Canada . . . all liberal social democracies. These are the political bargains that produce prosperity and human security . . . folks of many persuasions find that agreeable.

Doesn't mean that social democracy is inevitable or the end of history-- just that its the political bargain that works best. That's not "theory" or "philosophy" -- that's just observing how it works in the world. That doesn't mean that a tyrant won't rise in Gothenberg, but I think to say that if he did, that would be worse than what they have now.
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