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Postby Yuda » Mon Mar 15, 2004 12:27 am

I tend to take working with marxists to a personal level, if I like them as people and I can work with them without selling out my ideals I'll work with them.

I usually find the average marxist not bad people, just fucked up politics most of the ones I won't work with are the higher-ups who normally have their heads firmly inserted up the arse of their own ideology that it makes it incredably difficult to get on with them as human beings let alone work with them
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Postby |Y| » Mon Mar 15, 2004 5:08 am

In my opinion, Marxists have been leaning more and more libertarian... but I haven't really paid much attention to any movements or anything, it just seems that these days people are making Marxism out to be far more libertarian than it was before.
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Postby commiefuck » Tue Mar 23, 2004 6:52 am

hey. i'm the enemy, hahaha. i'm a member of the communist party of canada and the young communist league. please don't hold this against me.

marxism ain't all that bad. from a philosophical perspective i don't think anyone has come closer to describing the world as it is than marx and engels. for those not in the know marx and engels developed historical materialsm and dialectical materialism. these ideas basically state that humans are dependant on their material surroundings before they can elaborate on their morals and ideals. people have to eat before they can do anything else. that understood marx and engels developed a materialist philosophy. nothing is real except what we experience first hand. the dialectic is an ancient method of understanding the world around us. the east had taoism, the i ching, hindu philosophy, buddhism, the west had aristotle, democritus, hegel... dialectics state that the world is in a constant state of change. nothing around us is permanent. a gives birth to b, b gives birth to c, c gives birth to the multitude. what marx did was form a dialectic based on materialism. all hitherto attempts at dialectics were idealism plain and simple. these idealists put notions like "freedom", "state", "man", "woman", "nature", etc. up in the sky. these notions were infallible, pre-ordained, and untouchable. marx brought these ideals down to the physical world. he noted that freedom was just a product of social function and ideas of what freedom means could differ widely between social classes. for example, to the bourgeoisie freedom would mean simply their freedom to exploit the working class, own property, and control the state. to the proletariat freedom would mean the right to meaningful employment, freedom from starvation, political freedom, the right to organize into unions, etc. this is what led marx to the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat. YES freedom, but freedom for whom? that is the lesson.

okay, enough preaching. most of you probably know all of this shit anyway. what i'm trying to get at is that marx isn't all bad. nor is he all good. he was just a guy who lived and died like everyone else. just like bakunin, goldman, proudhon, and tucker. he had a lot of good ideas, and quite a few bad ones. take the good, leave the bad and remember: without marx there would be no sartre, no camus, no guy debord, no may 1968, no chomsky.

oh and as to |Y|'s last post about marxists becoming more libertarian: i think you're right comrade. the last convention i attended was full of youth with a wide range of political ideas and influences, from marxism to anarchism, to radical environmentalism. after attending the march 20th peace march i am more convinced that anarchists and marxists aren't that different. aside from a few friendly jabs ("you dirty leninist", "stupid anarchist") we got along fine. it's time we moved on. the first international happened over 100 years ago. means of production have changed, labour has changed. let's stop harping on the past and come to an agreement about what must be done in the present.
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Postby Guest » Tue Mar 23, 2004 7:06 pm

Marxism is fascism's sibling rival. Both (in economic terms) essentially mean state control of the economy by an elite state bureaucracy.

Marxism/Fascism and anarchism are polar opposites, in my opinion.
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Postby PatheticKammy » Tue Mar 23, 2004 7:50 pm

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Postby lucky_charms » Tue Mar 23, 2004 8:30 pm

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Postby Edo » Tue Mar 23, 2004 9:45 pm

commiefuck wrote:marxism ain't all that bad. from a philosophical perspective i don't think anyone has come closer to describing the world as it is than marx and engels. for those not in the know marx and engels developed historical materialsm and dialectical materialism.
Marx wrote pretty much nothing about his actual philosophical method (although he did fill a few thousand pages on what it wasn't), and his (sadly forgotten) contemporary Joseph Dietzgen, who did develop Marx's philosophical method, was a monist.

Diamat and histomat are the effervescence of every International that ever sucked.

these ideas basically state that humans are dependant on their material surroundings before they can elaborate on their morals and ideals.
Which is nonsense. Reread that passage from The Eighteenth Brumaire about how "Men make their own history..." - it's a Spinozist axiom: so basic that even if you disagree with what follows from it you'll accept the logic of the statement. No shit we act within the confines of what we have to work with! No shit our ideas are influenced by the world we live in! But it doesn't follow from there that we must adhere to the economic-reductionist (or, from the Second International onwards, techno-reductionist) Marxist orthodoxies that have so effectively quashed the occasional likeable Marxist unorthodoxy.

Though I may not be able to wish Fourier's six moons and lemonade oceans by will alone, though I may not be able to reach the moon the moment I conceive of going there - though I act within the confines of history, I make it. We're the makers of history and not its tools - a point that orthodox Marxism rejects.

what marx did was form a dialectic based on materialism.
Actually based on ontology, which orthodox Marxism (except for Lukács in old age) dismisses as irrelevant metaphysics. Materialism - in the sense as the nice reverse of idealism - is as dead as Holbach.

"Idealists forget matter and materialists forget will." (Hatta Shuzo)

all hitherto attempts at dialectics were idealism plain and simple. these idealists put notions like "freedom", "state", "man", "woman", "nature", etc. up in the sky. these notions were fallible, pre-ordained, and untouchable.
All previous dialectics meant Hegel's, who wasn't trying to provide a revolutionary theory (being a boring liberal by the standards of the day. The Hegel-as-nationalist routine traces itself back to Haym, who dismissed Hegel precisely because he wasn't a Prussian nationalist.)

marx brought these ideals down to the physical world.
Not entirely successfully. He still has a few Geistes and Spuks in his attic. They can be exorcised; orthodox Marxism was more interested in exercising them.

he noted that freedom was just a product of social function and ideas of what freedom means could differ widely between social classes.for example, to the bourgeoisie freedom would mean simply their freedom to exploit the working class, own property, and control the state. to the proletariat freedom would mean the right to meaningful employment, freedom from starvation, political freedom, the right to organize into unions, etc. this is what led marx to the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
What about the self-abolition of the proletariat? Anyone remember that line?

okay, enough preaching. most of you probably know all of this shit anyway. what i'm trying to get at is that marx isn't all bad. nor is he all good. he was just a guy who lived and died like everyone else. just like bakunin, goldman, proudhon, and tucker. he had a lot of good ideas, and quite a few bad ones.
On this point I'll agree with you.

take the good, leave the bad and remember: without marx there would be no sartre, no camus, no guy debord, no may 1968, no chomsky.
Sartre we can afford to lose, just like his rather grotesque shadow Althusser. What's one Heideggerian Maoist, more or less?

Camus, while his conclusions were akin to Sartre's, formed his existential anti-capitalism with Bakunin, not Marx.

1968 is true in more senses than one: there wouldn't have been a SI... but there also wouldn't have been a PCF.

Chomsky's not much of a loss, I feel (and I'd debate how heavily Marxian he is anyways; his selection of approved Marxists is the usual unread mix of councilists.)

oh and as to |Y|'s last post about marxists becoming more libertarian: i think you're right comrade.
I would too, although it's more a matter of "the authoritarian Marxists becoming American-style capitalists." In dialectics, the internal contradictions of capitalism subsumed themselves quantitatively what they always were qualitatively: two different variations of capitalism vying for monopoly control of the definition of "capitalism."

it's time we moved on.
And leave orthodox Marxism in the past, with the Scholastics and the neoclassical economists and their Robinsonades.

the first international happened over 100 years ago. means of production have changed, labour has changed.
It's stopped defining itself as such.

let's stop harping on the past and come to an agreement about what must be done in the present.
The contradiction in the First International is still ironing itself out. Progress is underway.
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Postby commiefuck » Wed Mar 24, 2004 11:26 am

okay this is going to be a long one.

Guest:

"Marxism is fascism's sibling rival. Both (in economic terms) essentially mean state control of the economy by an elite state bureaucracy."

marxism really isn't fascism's sibling rival. if this were the case they would be the most vicious sibling rivalry in the history of sibling rivalries. marxists were the first enemy in hitler's eyes. they represented "international jewish finance capital" and were one of the first rounded up and put in concentration camps. i'm not sure about the stats but how many anarchists were put in concentration camps?

from a marxist perspective fascism emerges when the communist party is not revolutionary enough during periods of capitalist crisis. capitalism enlists far-right militias and political groups to recruit from the petty-bourgeoisie and the proletariat where the communist party cannot due to lack of a clear line. this defeats any potential socialist uprising and if the capitalists are lucky will usher in a fascist state.

saying that marxism and fascism are siblings just because they advocate "state control" is silly. that's like saying anarchists and laissez-faire neo-liberal capitalists are siblings because they don't want any state involvement in the economy. saying marxism is simply "state control" of the economy is also wrong. i think your perception of marxist's views on the state are wrong. marxists want to smash the bourgeois state just like anarchists. the first task of the revolution is to demolish the parliament and set up worker's councils. then the police, the army, and the judicial system are demolished. the police and army are replaced by a worker's militia. we don't just take the state ready made and put "loyal comrades" in high places. that would be ridiculous. marxism isn't simply "state control", it is an attempt at proletarian control. now, i will be the first to admit that this has failed in the past. but why? not just because the communist party is evil and authoritarian and bad and wrong. though this may be the conclusion we come to simply jumping to it is an unscientific conclusion. we have to look at the material conditions surrounding past communist revolutions, why a bureaucracy took control sooner in some communist countries than in others, internal AND external contradictions, etc. just saying something doesn't make it true.

PatheticKammy:

"A lot of anarchists such as myself are pretty well-cultivated in some Marxist related issues, I think that it's the Marxists that don't know much about anarchism."

that's a little bit arrogant don't you think? have you ever been to communist meetings or reading groups? i've been to anti-poverty groups led by anarchists, i've been to anarchist bookfairs and street parties and most of my friends who are political are anarchists. now, i'll agree that many of the older comrades in the communist movement are quite ignorant of anarchism but they lived through a different time. they lived during the cold war where they had to be reclusive or else they'd get busted and blacklisted or deported. the younger comrades in the communist movement couldn't be more open to anarchism without becoming anarchists. pretty much every young communist at the 34th convention of the communist party of canada was extremely open to anarchist ideas, some even calling themselves anarcho-communists. personally i began getting interested in politics as an anarchist. i still am an anarchist at heart. really. but more than anything i want revolution. that's why i'm a member of the cpc, i think we can get it done quicker is all. if anarchists want to overthrow the communist revolution after a couple of years i'll probably be real happy.

"I don't hold any personal grudges against any Marxists or Communists, I just believe that they're misled into thinking that utilizing the state to attain communism will engender atavism and is completely unrealistic."

not THE state. not the state that surrounds you right now. this state will be demolished immediately. i think you understand this but i just thought i'd clarify it if you didn't.

"And face it, Communists have noticed numerous flaws in Communist works themselves."

of course we have. to not recognize flaws would be to fall victim to dogmatism. honestly, can you say that you haven't noticed flaws in some anarchist works?

"The most notable infact is 'Dictatorship of the Proletariat' which Marx and Engels initially intended to have as the State would be comprised of not a constituent of the workers in society that would be elected but the whole of the workers. Then came the time where Lenin and Trotsky came to the conclusion that 'dictatorship of the proletariat' doesn't work by direct proletarian rule but by indirect, of which a vanguard party safeguards the dictatorship."

i agree with you here, mostly. actually marx saw the need for a vanguard party. see the chapter in the communist manifesto titled "Proletarians and Communists". lenin didn't really change that much. what lenin did was recognize the era of imperialism. capital has become monopolized into state capitalism. for this reason marx's idea that the revolution could only happen in an advanced industrial center like britain could be proven moot. since capitalism has become global the revolution has become global. the chain can be broken at its weakest link (backward countries like russia, china, viet nam, etc.) in fact the only communist revolutions have ever happened in "backward" countries. now, where i agree with you is that there is a definite trend for the vanguard party to become bureaucratized. how can this be solved? perhaps that's where anarchism comes in. maybe after the communist revolution has smashed the hell out of capitalism anarchism can come along and smash the hell out of communism and make us a just world. i don't know. perhaps the communist revolution must maintain revolution for as long as possible. permanent revolution. you tell me.

"Well, I am planning to write quite a lenghty article on this topic relating Communists and anarchists and already have almost all the information I will write but I intend to read some other point of views in order to strengthen my beliefs and learn something useful."

hey if you're interested a comrade i talk to on the cpc message board wrote an article on the similarities between communism and anarchism. i can send it to you if you want.

Edo:

"We're the makers of history and not its tools - a point that orthodox Marxism rejects. "

okay. i agree with you. i'm still a marxist. i guess that just makes me an unorthodox marxist? i'd call myself a plain old marxist, but what the hell.

we ARE the makers of history. but history also makes us to an extent. this is not to fall back on determinism, but we ARE influenced by our surroundings. to get rid of one argument and keep the other is ridiculous. yes we make history, yes history makes us. i live in a world where capitalism is slowly robbing my family and friends of employment, where capitalism simply transplants the jobs we used to work to foreign countries where labour is cheaper and there are no environmental laws. this makes me really fucking angry. i have no say in this right now, as long as the system exists. this is where history makes me. where i make history is when i choose to attack the system. instead i could become a fascist. it wouldn't be a huge jump. i could see what's happening around me and choose to blame foreigners for "stealing" my job. but i don't. i choose to see the system for what it is and attack the real enemy. and so i make history. by choosing to attack the system instead of foreigners i stand a better chance of changing the system and making the world better. i learn this from history, i choose this.

"All previous dialectics meant Hegel's"

i'm not sure i understand you. are you saying there was no dialectical philosophy before hegel?

"'marx brought these ideals down to the physical world.'
Not entirely successfully. He still has a few Geistes and Spuks in his attic. They can be exorcised; orthodox Marxism was more interested in exercising them."

please explain.

"I would too, although it's more a matter of "the authoritarian Marxists becoming American-style capitalists." In dialectics, the internal contradictions of capitalism subsumed themselves quantitatively what they always were qualitatively: two different variations of capitalism vying for monopoly control of the definition of "capitalism." "

again, please explain. yes i've read the society of the spectacle but i'd like to know what YOU mean by this. preferably with some factual evidence and not ideological word play.


i don't mean to piss anyone off here or offend anyone, by the way. if it sounds like i'm coming across as that "smug bastard of a commie" i'm really sorry, but the internet really isn't the most precise form of communication. i like discussing issues with anarchists. i think more marxists and anarchists should get together and actually discuss where they're coming from instead of us just staying in our camps throwing insults at each other. we want the same things, we just have different ways of going about it.
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Postby Edo » Wed Mar 24, 2004 2:50 pm

We're the makers of history and not its tools - a point that orthodox Marxism rejects.
okay. i agree with you. i'm still a marxist. i guess that just makes me an unorthodox marxist? i'd call myself a plain old marxist, but what the hell.
Nothing particularly wrong with being unorthodox. Hell, I've been plenty unorthodox in this thread already. But again, what the hell.

we ARE the makers of history. but history also makes us to an extent. this is not to fall back on determinism, but we ARE influenced by our surroundings. to get rid of one argument and keep the other is ridiculous.
This was groundbreaking in its day, but it's groundbreaking precisely because it's a platitude: in hindsight, it was obvious.

My bringing up The 18th Brumaire wasn't so much to attack Marx as to point out that orthodox Marxism (and even an overly-large slice of councilism) is determinist, fetishizing the march of progress and the inevitability of revolution.

i'm not sure i understand you. are you saying there was no dialectical philosophy before hegel?
There was some. Hegel's, though, is the first to be dialectical rather than use dialectics. (I'd contest the points on non-European philosophy because, in short, non-European philosophy didn't consider itself to be philosophy as we think of it until the advent of colonialism.)

Not entirely successfully. He still has a few Geistes and Spuks in his attic. They can be exorcised; orthodox Marxism was more interested in exercising them.
please explain.
Marx retains some abstractions. He calls out Bentham's concept of human nature, for instance, but he never defines exactly what he posits instead. This is why Stirner called him a "disciple of Feuerbach" (hence the reference to Geistes and Spuks): he's ousted God but posits Man, a new material abstraction.

Rather than get rid of these abstractions, though, orthodox Marxism built its house on a foundation of Spuks - the concept of humanity as Homo faber being a particularly recurrent one.

I would too, although it's more a matter of "the authoritarian Marxists becoming American-style capitalists." In dialectics, the internal contradictions of capitalism subsumed themselves quantitatively what they always were qualitatively: two different variations of capitalism vying for monopoly control of the definition of "capitalism."
again, please explain. yes i've read the society of the spectacle but i'd like to know what YOU mean by this.
The rhetoric of "contradiction" here isn't Debord's. Be that as it may, here's the explanation:

The Cold War was a conflict between two different organizational structures of capitalism. (Lenin himself acknowledged that Russia was a state capitalism on occasion.) In terms of their logic, they're structurally identical, except that the plus and minus signs are reversed: the image may be a photonegative, but you can still recognize it. (Both of them accept the existence of classes as a necessary - Lenin never mentions the line about the proletariat's self-abolition as a class - and have a Manichcean dualistic "freedom.") The struggle between the two was just doing what capitalism calls for: trying to monopolize.

i don't mean to piss anyone off here or offend anyone, by the way. if it sounds like i'm coming across as that "smug bastard of a commie" i'm really sorry.
Actually, I'll give you some credit: as far as commies go (no idea if the C is capitalized or not) you're close to ideal. Of course this could be from being in unpleasantly close proximity to hardline sectarians (Trots, MIMers, the like) for far too long.

i like discussing issues with anarchists. i think more marxists and anarchists should get together and actually discuss where they're coming from instead of us just staying in our camps throwing insults at each other. we want the same things, we just have different ways of going about it.
Do we want the same things? What do we want? Who are "we" anyways? Part of my emphasis on orthodox Marxism has been because Marx has multiple and contradictory readings: if (as I said about a dozen posts earlier) 90% of Marx is useless, there's still those worthwhile strands to bide my time with.

But until those numbers change substantially (and I'm pessimistic about that happening) the only talk of a "new International" that I'd take very seriously is Derrida's.
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Postby commiefuck » Wed Mar 24, 2004 4:19 pm

hey, not to get off topic but i came across an article written by a younger guy in the party named stephen von sychowski. he's a little more centrist than me, but anyway... it's called "revolution". i'll reply to edo's post later but here is the article in case anyone is interested:

Revolution

Revolution is a term that is thrown around by all sorts of people, but what does it mean? For many, the word ‘revolution’ simply means a change in ruling parties, a change of regime or ruling clique. For a Communist, the term ‘revolution’ means a change in the class rule of a country. As revolutionaries, it is important that we understand that our enemy is not merely a political party, a grouping of political parties, the government of a single nation, or a particular leader, but rather a class of individuals within our society.
The state itself arises from irreconcilable contradictions between classes in a society.
“The state is a product and a manifestation of the irreconcilability of class antagonisms. The state arises where, when and insofar as class antagonism objectively cannot be reconciled. And, conversely, the existence of the state proves that the class antagonisms are irreconcilable.” [Lenin, The State and Revolution]
The ruling class organizes the state as a tool for remaining the dominant class in the society. In other words, when two classes are created within one society, and the two classes have diametrically opposed interests, the dominant class is forced to organize itself in order to secure its position in society. In our society, we have three classes for all intents and purposes. These classes are the proletariat (the working class), the petty-bourgeoisie (the class of small-time entrepreneurs and managers) and the bourgeoisie (the class which owns the means of production and distribution, the capitalist class). The bourgeoisie is the class which holds state power at this time; it uses this power to force the working classes down, to maintain their own status as wealthy, privileged, exploiters of the working class.

The Bourgeois State

Most of the world is currently composed of bourgeois states, each maturing at different intervals, all coming ever closer to the time at which they will be ripe for revolution. Every bourgeois state is no more than the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, the class rule of the capitalist class over the working people. The rule of the capitalist class is generally expressed either through some form of bourgeois democracy or fascism. In a bourgeois democracy the façade of democracy is presented to the workers through a series of ‘equal rights’ and elections to various government positions at various levels. This is merely a trick to dupe the working class into believing it has hit the mother load. Although elections are held (weather they be truly free and democratic or not), there is never any hope of electing a change in the class rule of the country, but only the ruling bourgeois party. Bourgeois democracy gives the people equal rights, to some extent, but by no means does it give equal power. In this way bourgeois democracy acts merely as a veil for the class dictatorship of the bourgeoisie which continues to exploit and suppress the working people under its cover. Modern examples of bourgeois democracy include the Canadian state, the British state, and (although it borders on fascism) the American state.

“On the day when the thermometer of universal suffrage shows boiling-point among the workers, they as well as the capitalists will know where they stand.” [Origins of the Family- Engels]
On the other hand, fascism, the other general form of bourgeois rule, is merely capitalism with the gloves off. Under fascism, rights are curtailed or eliminated; opposition to the fascist bourgeois state is brutally and mercilessly suppressed. Shortcomings and social ills are blamed on a scapegoat group rather than the system itself which has caused them. Under fascism there is no illusion of democracy, only capitalism backed by brute force. Fascism is generally identified with the dictatorship of a single bourgeois party which represents the interests of the elite in society i.e. Mussolini’s dictatorship in Italy, Hitler’s Nazis in Germany, Pinochet in Chile, Batista in Cuba. However, today we are seeing the emergence of a new kind of fascism. In the United States, for example, we see the emergence of a new form of bourgeois state which holds all the characteristics of the fascist state, but retains leftovers from bourgeois democracy such as elections (as corrupt as they may be) and a multi-party system. Something similar can be seen in Israel under Sharon. These new quasi-fascist states are moving ever-further towards fascism with all its classic attributes, the rabid drive to war, the racism and scapegoating of various groups, curtailment and elimination of rights and so forth.

“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes strong than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power.” - Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism as it is a merge of state and corporate power.”- Benito Mussolini
Fascism is merely capitalism in decay, or capitalism in crisis. It is the expression of a bourgeois ruling class, struggling to remain in a dominant position by the use of violence, which is really the essence of the state itself.

The Proletarian State

The proletarian state is the polar opposite of the bourgeois state in the sense that it is the class-rule of the working people, the majority, as opposed to the rule of the capitalist class, the minority in society. Although, as all states do, the proletarian state shares some of the same characteristics, it also has unique characteristics. The purpose of the proletarian state (also known as ‘socialism’ or ‘the dictatorship of the proletariat’) is to consolidate, secure and protect the class rule of the working people and to eliminate capitalism and thereby, the class system and class antagonism, in turn eliminating the need for the state which will lead to it’s withering away and to Communist society.
“The first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy. The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible.” [Communist Manifesto,]
"Where there is a state there is no freedom, where there is freedom there is no state."
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Postby commiefuck » Wed Mar 24, 2004 4:37 pm

here's another one on orthodox marxism by the same comrade which has spurred alot of debate on the communist party message board. to read the whole debate go to
http://www.communist-party.ca/phpBB2/vi ... 6db4bcb8f4

A brief article on the peculiarity of ‘Orthodox Marxism’

Stephen Von Sychowski
February, 2003

It is not uncommon these days to hear of ‘Orthodox Marxism’, ‘Orthodox Marxists’ or ‘pure Marxism’. These phrases are usually used as a description of Marxists, especially Marxist-Leninists who have not fallen prey to post-modern, reformist, or ultra-left ideologies and so forth. The term ‘Orthodox Marxist’ is echoed by everyone from the bourgeoisie, social-democrats, anarchists and ultra-leftists, utopians, the political right, the media and even our own comrades. But how could this be, does nobody see the oddity in this phrase? Has nobody realized the oxy-moron? First, let us see what the dictionary definition of ‘Orthodox’ is, here is what I found.

or•tho•dox adj.
1. Adhering to the accepted or traditional and established faith, especially in religion.
2. Adhering to the Christian faith as expressed in the early Christian ecumenical creeds.
3. Orthodox
a. Of or relating to any of the churches or rites of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
b. Of or relating to Orthodox Judaism.
4. Adhering to what is commonly accepted, customary, or traditional: an orthodox view of world affairs.
n.
1. One that is orthodox.
2. Orthodox A member of an Eastern Orthodox church.
[Middle English orthodoxe, from Old French, from Late Latin orthodoxus, from Late Greek orthodoxos : Greek ortho-, ortho- + Greek doxa, opinion (from dokein, to think. See dek- in Indo-European Roots).]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

So, as we see, ‘Orthodox’ would seem to mean a fairly static and faith-based system of belief, usually religious. This is fair enough, so let’s see what they have to say about ‘Marxism’.

Marx•ism
n.
The political and economic philosophy of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in which the concept of class struggle plays a central role in understanding society's allegedly inevitable development from bourgeois oppression under capitalism to a socialist and ultimately classless society.

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved

So, although taken from a blatantly bourgeois source, we can see from this that ‘Marxism’ is an ideology which is based on ‘inevitable development’ among other things. And, as Marxists, we know that Marxism is a science and as such, it is neither static, nor faith based. If it were, it would no longer be a science, nor would be it be Marxism. Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘science’ thus:

Sci’ence n.systematic knowledge; investigation of this; any branch of study concerned with a body of observed material facts.

Websters Dictionary, 1994 Edition. Copyright 1994 V. Nichols.

In this case it would seem that ‘Orthodox Marxism’ is indeed an oxy-moron. Furthermore, an oxy-moron with intent. It is in every way in the best interests of the bourgeoisie to label us as ‘Orthodox Marxists’ in order to make us sound like a tiny faction of cult-like, faithful believers. This serves to make the communist movement of today sound more like a religious sect than a revolutionary working-class movement based on a science-based ideology which happens to fit in quite nicely with all of the most just ideals.
In conclusion, ‘Orthodox Marxism’ does not exist, nor could it, for if it did it would cease to be Marxism and would become merely the words of Marx, Engels and other Marxists that followed taken out of context and used poorly while being called ‘Marxism’. Furthermore, as communists, we should fight against such terms as ‘Orthodox Marxism’ which are detrimental to the communist movement.
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Postby Din » Thu Mar 25, 2004 9:14 am

(I'd contest the points on non-European philosophy because, in short, non-European philosophy didn't consider itself to be philosophy as we think of it until the advent of colonialism.)


What about Arabic philosophy?

Do we want the same things? What do we want? Who are "we" anyways? Part of my emphasis on orthodox Marxism has been because Marx has multiple and contradictory readings: if (as I said about a dozen posts earlier) 90% of Marx is useless, there's still those worthwhile strands to bide my time with.


Not to mention that there are some of us anarchists who would most certainly not want the same thing as marxists. We aren't all communists.
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Postby Edo » Thu Mar 25, 2004 1:12 pm

Din wrote:What about Arabic philosophy?
A very good point, Din. I stand corrected (although I do need to look into it somewhat.)
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Postby Edo » Thu Mar 25, 2004 2:42 pm

commiefuck wrote:here's another one on orthodox marxism by the same comrade which has spurred alot of debate on the communist party message board.
I hope this isn't a response to my post, or that this is the best the CPC has to offer (although the latter wouldn't surprise me at all.)

A brief article on the peculiarity of ‘Orthodox Marxism’
As penned by an orthodox Marxist in the usually dismal style associated with orthodox anti-capitalism at large.

It is not uncommon these days to hear of ‘Orthodox Marxism’, ‘Orthodox Marxists’ or ‘pure Marxism’.
Actually, it's unheard of. Maybe the young Leninists used it to talk about the Second International 80 years ago (which is the sense I get from Lukács's "What is Orthodox Marxism?" - which I skimmed because it's just the parerga of History and Class Consciousness) but they're all dead. Since then every mention of "orthodox Marxism" I've ever seen has been in books nobody ever reads - and every mention of it is the sense I've been using it in: something bankrupt, intellectually and practically, and indefensible.

These phrases are usually used as a description of Marxists, especially Marxist-Leninists who have not fallen prey to post-modern, reformist, or ultra-left ideologies and so forth.
A point on which the author clearly demonstrates his own illiteracy. As far as I can tell, the original "orthodox Marxists" were the Social Democrats, who were being attacked for their own intellectual bankruptcy by the Leninists; and the few Leninists I know well enough to get close enough to talk to all considered "orthodox Marxism" to be anti-Leninist.

The term ‘Orthodox Marxist’ is echoed by everyone from the bourgeoisie, social-democrats, anarchists and ultra-leftists, utopians, the political right, the media and even our own comrades.
What fucking century is the author coming from? "Social democrats" (who are now called "progressives"), "the bourgeoisie," "utopians" and "the media" (to say nothing of "the political Right," which is as intellectually bankrupt and illiterate as the orthodox Marxists) don't distinguish between Marxisms - it's all "Communism" to them. (This is because orthodox Marxism is Leninism.) We rarely draw the distinction ourselves, it seems. Maybe "ultra-Leftists" do, but I don't know any - and anyways the author, in all likelihood, wouldn't know an ultra-Leftist if it kicked him in the ass.

But how could this be, does nobody see the oddity in this phrase? Has nobody realized the oxy-moron?
No. This is because there is no oxymoron (which has, for the record, no hyphen unless it's a French neologism like Levinas's an-arkhê, which as far as I know it isn't - and which would, in all likelihood, be lost on the author even if it was.)

or•tho•dox adj.
1. Adhering to the accepted or traditional and established faith, especially in religion.
2. Adhering to the Christian faith as expressed in the early Christian ecumenical creeds.
3. Orthodox
a. Of or relating to any of the churches or rites of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
b. Of or relating to Orthodox Judaism.
4. Adhering to what is commonly accepted, customary, or traditional: an orthodox view of world affairs [italics mine - Edo]....

So, as we see, ‘Orthodox’ would seem to mean a fairly static and faith-based system of belief, usually religious.
This is because the author didn't even read the entirety of the definition very well. Otherwise he might have observed definition 4, "Adhering to what is commonly accepted, customary, or traditional: an orthodox view of world affairs." Which is self-evident in almost every radical ideology today.

This is fair enough, so let’s see what they have to say about ‘Marxism’.

Marx•ism
n.
The political and economic philosophy of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in which the concept of class struggle plays a central role in understanding society's allegedly inevitable development from bourgeois oppression under capitalism to a socialist and ultimately classless society....

...'Marxism’ is an ideology which is based on ‘inevitable development’ among other things.
I only included this in for clarity.

And, as Marxists, we know that Marxism is a science and as such, it is neither static, nor faith based.
Sure it isn't static. That doesn't prevent it from being faith-based - as is, incidentally, science itself. On that note I'd refer you to Paul Feyerabend. Foucault and perhaps Hatta Shuzo do something similar, but Foucault's too "post-modernist" for orthodox Marxism to stomach and Hatta, even if he wasn't an anarcho-communist, hasn't been translated.

Science has faith. Science has blind orthodoxies. Science is an intensely ideological structure - and, as Feyerabend points out in Science in a Free Society, also a partisan ideology that's destroyed vast amounts of information by forcing, for instance, plants into the Linnaean classification rather than acknowledging the legitimacy of the local categorization that more than occasionally groups plants on what they're useful for (a point on which Marxism has been quite complicit.)

I'm not going to bother with the "Marxism is scientific" routine. Every attempt at creating a dialectical science that I can think of, starting at least with Schelling and progressing through Hegel and the Young Hegelians to Lenin in his (dialectically illiterate too, I might add) Materialism and Empireocriticism has been neither - even if the results were replicable, which the 113 flavors of Leninism alone are a good argument against.

If it were, it would no longer be a science, nor would be it be Marxism.
Define "Marxism."

Webster’s Dictionary...
What the hell is this? Apparently Webster's Dictionary is a good class-conscious proletarian dictionary while the American Heritage is "blatantly bourgeois" (which incidentally is never established, just asserted)?

For that matter, why the switch to a new dictionary? You're sticking to blatantly bourgeois sources already; why suddenly shift to a new one? If we're gonna play in the bourgeois linguistic ballpark, let's not shift to a new arena midgame.

In this case it would seem that ‘Orthodox Marxism’ is indeed an oxy-moron.
[sic]

Furthermore, an oxy-moron with intent. It is in every way in the best interests of the bourgeoisie to label us as ‘Orthodox Marxists’ in order to make us sound like a tiny faction of cult-like, faithful believers.
Incidentally that is how I (and I'm willing to bet generalizing that to a "we" isn't too far off the mark) perceive Marxism's mainstream, but it doesn't explain why
  • "The bourgeoisie" never distinguished between orthodox and unorthodox Marxism outside of virtually irrelevant academics;
  • It's still in the interests of "the bourgeoisie" to take seriously what died in '89; or
  • The term originally was used by Marxists themselves to criticize their own movement, back when it was still a movement.
this serves to make the communist movement of today...
Which is where? I don't see it.

...sound more like a religious sect than a revolutionary working-class movement based on a science-based ideology which happens to fit in quite nicely with all of the most just ideals.
I'll let this particular line pass by me like flatulent air.

In conclusion, ‘Orthodox Marxism’ does not exist, nor could it, for if it did it would cease to be Marxism...
Which is what?

...and would become merely the words of Marx, Engels and other Marxists that followed taken out of context and used poorly while being called ‘Marxism’.
Which is exactly what 90% of all Marxism is today! (Including this work, which cites more bourgeois sources approvingly than it does either Marx or Engels.)

Furthermore, as communists, we should fight against such terms as ‘Orthodox Marxism’ which are detrimental to the communist movement.
If anything's "detrimental" to the "communist movement" it's the denial that the useless 90% of Marxism - all of the ideology, all of the unquestioned categories old and new, all the knee-jerk ressentimental "actions," all the worthless strategy, all the goals that nobody wants - is tolerated under the guise of a nonexistent common cause. "Revolutionary theory is the enemy of all revolutionary ideology and knows it" (Debord, Society of the Spectacle, §124.)

A specter is haunting Marxism: the specter of orthodoxy. And denying that the spooks exist isn't going to exorcise it, but exercise it.
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Postby PatheticKammy » Thu Mar 25, 2004 4:27 pm

edit
Last edited by PatheticKammy on Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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