When confronted with the above unwelcome facts, DM-fans sometimes respond with a "Well if dialectics is so dire, how come the Bolsheviks were able to win power in 1917?"
[Non-Leninist DM-fans, of course, do not have even this to point to as a 'success'!]
Oddly enough, as a Leninist myself, I find this 'objection' remarkably easy to answer: the Bolsheviks were successful because they could not and did not use dialectics
(either in its DM- or in its 'Materialist Dialectics'-form). To be sure, this claim is controversial, but only because no one has thought to question the role of dialectics before.
In fact, the material counterweight provided by working class soviets prevented the Bolsheviks from employing this useless theory. Had they tried to propagandise/organise Russian workers with slogans such as: "Being is identical with but at the same time different from Nothing...", "The whole is greater than the sum of the parts...", or "Matter without motion is unthinkable" (and the like), they'd have been regarded as complete lunatics, and rightly so.
On the other hand, they could and did use ideas drawn from HM to help organise the soviets. [All this was covered in detail Part One of this Essay.]
[HM = Historical Materialism.]
And it is no use arguing that dialectical concepts were used 'implicitly' (or that they 'informed' the tactics that Lenin and his party adopted, somehow operating 'behind the scenes'). As we will see below, since dialectical concepts can be employed to justify anything and everything (being inherently and proudly contradictory), had they been employed, they could only have been used subjectively since there is no objective way to tell these incompatible applications apart.
Anyone who takes exception to the above will need to show precisely how Lenin and the Bolsheviks explicitly used dialectical-concepts --, as opposed to their actual employment of HM-concepts (the latter based on a concrete class analysis of events in 1917, and on years of experience relating to the working class). They will thus need to produce documented evidence of the Bolshevik's use of dialectical ideas/theses, and then show how they could possibly have been of any practical benefit to workers in revolutionary struggle --, or even how they could have helped the Bolsheviks comprehend what was going on and know how to intervene successfully.
Now, I have trawled through the available minutes and decrees of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party (from August 1917 to February 1918), and have so far failed to find a single DM-thesis, let alone one drawn from 'Materialist Dialectics' put to any use, or even referred to abstractly! [Bone (1974).]
: I have now gone though the available documents line by line twice -- still no sign of this Hermetic virus!
In fact, it is conspicuous by its absence.
Hence, the evidence suggests that active revolutionaries made no use of this 'theory'.
Added later still: I have now checked the Theses, Resolutions and Manifestos of the First Four Congresses of The Third International
[Holt and Holland (1983)], and the only sign of dialectics is a couple of dozen occurrences of the word "contradiction" in relation to capitalism (etc.) in over 400 pages. No other examples of dialectical jargon appear in the entire volume, and even then this word is not used to explain anything, nor does it seem to do any work. Furthermore, most of the uses of this word were made by Zinoviev; as far as I can tell, Lenin does not use the term anywhere in this book.
Moreover, in Trotsky's The Third International After Lenin
[Trotsky (1974)], dialectics is mentioned only fourteen times in nearly 300 pages, and then only in passing. The theory does no work there either.
And it is even less use someone requiring of me to produce proof that Lenin and the Bolsheviks did not use dialectical ideas, since there is no written evidence that he/they did, as the above indicates. Hence, the contrary case goes by default. Of course, all this is quite independent of the proof offered in these Essays that not one single dialectical concept is useable; after all, as we saw earlier, even Lenin got into a serious muddle when he tried to play around with such ideas, let alone when he attempted to apply them. [On this, see Essay Ten Part One.]
As we will soon find out (below), when dialectical ideas are in fact deployed, they can be made to justify anything whatsoever (no matter how contradictory that "anything whatsoever" might otherwise appear to be; in fact the more contradictory it is, the more 'dialectical' it seems to be!) -- and it can be, and has been used to rationalise any course of action, and its opposite, including those that are both counter-revolutionary and anti-Marxist.
In fact, shortly after the revolution, many younger comrades and Russian scientists began to argue at length that all of Philosophy (and not just dialectics) is part of ruling-class ideology (which is in fact a crude version of my own thesis!). It was not until the Deborinites won a factional battle in 1925/26 that this trend was defeated (and this was clearly engineered to help pave the way for the further destruction of the gains of October). More about this later.
[On this, see Bakhurst (1991), Joravsky (1961), Graham (1971), Wetter (1958).]
So, 1917 cannot be chalked-up as a success for this strain of Hermetic Mysticism.
However, we will see that the disintegration
of the results of 1917 can partly be put down to dialectics.