Point to a single false assertion in my post about the history of the PRC.hen you start off with your version of history, which I happen to encounter on your posts the first time in my life, I really feel bad to tell you that these are the results of decades of falsification.
Funnily enough, I did, and your link told me that the Naxalite movement began with students who wanted to go to the countryside in order to stir revolution whilst also planning to go and take nice jobs once they had got bored of life there, which is yet another example of how Maoists believe that it is possible for a revolution can be carried out by a social force, in this case students, that is separate from the class whose liberation they seek to advance, thus occupying a substitutionist position in relation to that class, this conception of revolution being directly oppossed to Marx's conception, which is centered around the principle that the oppressed need to be the agents of their own emancipation, hence the term self-emancipation. The article then goes on to argue that the party now draws its leadership from the peasantry and can therefore be considered revolutionary even if had a substitutionist orientation at some point in the past, whilst forgetting to inform the reader that its general secretary, Muppala Laxman Rao, is himself a beneficiary of higher education, and followed basically the same route as the students whose lack of revolutionary zeal is covered in the first part of the article. What the article and you really miss however is the fact that even if its leadership were comprised of peasants, and an embodiment of what poor peasants want, this would not make the CPI(Maoist) a party of the working class, because the interests of workers are entirely distinct from those of any section of the peasantry, given that the working class has a direct interest in the social ownership of the means of production and an economy based on democratic planning, whereas peasant movements, which are in any case always highly unstable due to the deep internal differentiation of the peasantry, have always sought to make each of their participants a petty-bourgeois producer by dividing the land, which has nothing to do with socialism.Please take care to actually click on some of the links I post.
To BobKKindles: See, I don't mind the negative reputations ; Q and you have already cost me around 150 points.
I don't care about reputations, but please write your comments of what you think about my posts and myself, here, and not where no one else can see it. If you had any knowledge of the third-world, you would know that in many places we find one of the words that you have used while commenting, extremely offensive. You surely expect that the people of every other country will adjust to your culture or choice, don't you? Typical of many of you guys sitting in the first or second worlds. Perhaps you also expect that third-world communists will abandon their decades long struggle to operate according to what you suggest sitting on comfortably on an armchair?
I am not an anarchist. The destruction of the state doesn't mean the creation of communism.he Naxalites have been around for around 4 decades and recently, the Indian Prime Minister declared them to be the greatest threat to the Indian bourgeois state.
Let us pretend that the Naxalites take power over the 2nd largest country in the world. How are they going to fix it? What is their plan for economic reform?
But I still don't understand yr idea on Nepal. Napals Maoists have been fighting a peoples war for years.
Within 4 yrs of Bolsheviks taking power they killed many Anarchists, whole towns, shut down presses, etc It is quite easy to paint them as murderous thugs with selective statements. These are all facts too.
Another fact : Lenin sought to entice big businesses into Russia with cheap labor, but it proved unworkable .
Another fact : The Bolsheviks also shut down unions and anarchist rebellion.
I could go on and on, but without analysis these facts are nothing more than characterizations completely out of context.
Nepal - including its workers - need capital. They are not a self-sufficient utopia with bountiful plenty.
You can criticize all you want, but these people live in grinding poverty and they NEED to find a way to amass capital, or else starve to death in a lovely socialist utopia.
I guess your saying unless one can go strait to communism it is not communism, which is the anarchist line; I'm just surprised to see you saying this since everything you said about the revolutionaries in Nepal can be said about the Bolsheviks in there first 2-4 yrs in power.
It seems very idealistic, in the non-marxist sense of the term.
Last edited by spiltteeth; 8th November 2009 at 23:53.
Except, Lenin didn't believe that it was possible for the working class to "take over" the state, the entire point of his analysis of the state is that all states are instruments of class rule, and that when the working class takes power it will find it necessary to smash the bourgeois state, which is based on armed force being concentrated in the hands of armed bodies of men who place themselves in a position of domination over the rest of society, the separation of executive and legislative functions, an illusory separation of political and economic spheres, and representatives not being under the control of those who elect them - in essence, it is a state that is structurally geared towards the rule of a privileged minority, different in every way from the state that the working class uses to exercise its dictatorship, this state being rooted in institutions of workplace democracy, i.e. the Soviets, and designed to both allow the working class to defend itself, and manage the economy in a rational and democratic fashion. The fact that the events in Nepal did not involve the overthrow of the state and the willingness of the Maoists to become the government of the bourgeois state apparatus is evidence both of there not being a revolutionary situation in Nepal and the Maoists not being a revolutionary party.Who said it was? As a Leninist, I think the workers should take over the state and use it for a dictatorship of the proletariat
Don't claim to be a "Leninist", whatever that means, without having any knowledge of his or Marx's ideas.
This is based on the assumption that it is possible to divide the bourgeoisie into distinct sections, and that one of these sections is progressive - the second of these assumptions flows from the first, and the first is wrong, because the bourgeoisie, whilst it may exhibit internal tensions during periods of capitalist stability, always finds it desirable to ignore these tensions and confront the working class when a revolutionary situation presents itself, as you can see from the role of the KMT - i.e. the party that Mao regarded as the representative of the so-called national bourgeoisie - in smashing the CPC and the working class in 1927. It doesn't matter how much you appeal to "material conditions" and accuse other people of being dogmatic, the fact is that you advocate class collaboration, which has nothing to do with the self-emancipation of the working class, and everything to do with bourgeois nationalism of the worst kind. It's ironic that having pursued a class-collaborationist policy for most of the 1920s, the CPC under Stalinist leadership swung the other way after 1927 and adopted an ultra-left policy for a short period of time, of the kind of which you regard as being exclusive to Trotskyists, which involved the party seeking to provoke rural uprisings (see the Autumn Harvest Rising and the Nanchang Insurrection) and even creating a bureaucratic kind of Soviet in Canton, this policy resulting in further loss of life for the party, and reflecting the eclectic character of all Stalinist organizations, these organizations lacking an organic relationship with the working class.Most of the Maoists believe that New Democracy where the proletariat and the national (as opposed to comprodor) bourgeoisie can form a united revolutionary bloc
I was referring to Vitamin tablets, so you need to stop jumping to conclusions.Don't say such stuff about mental illness; it is deeply offensive.
It's not the name that matters, I only mentioned Soviets because that's the most common term for a universal feature of all advanced working-class struggles - democratic institutions that workers create in their workplaces during periods of intense class struggle and confrontation between the working class and the capitalist state, in order to take over the functions of capitalist management, and provide the basis both for discussion amongst workers and, when coordination between these bodies takes place, the state that the workers will use to administer society once the bourgeois state has been abolished, this state incorporating the ability to recall and give instructions to delegates, these delegates being paid no more than the wage of a skilled worker. These institutions, whatever you want to call them, have emerged in every major class struggle, such as the biennio rosso in Italy, intermittently during the period 1918-1923 in Germany, in Canton during the May 30th Movement in China, during the Civil War in Spain, during the events of 1968 in France, and so on. The prevalence of these institutions is not because all of the workers involved had read Marx or Lenin but because institutions of this kind offered and will continue to offer the most democratic and radical answer to the problems faced by workers who find themselves in situations like those I listed above, and institutions of this kind also offer a glimpse of how we might organize society.Someone seems to be stuck again in 1917. "Soviets"?
Real revolutionaries don't see themselves as fighting for the sake or on behalf of "the toiling masses", because they recognize that revolutionaries should not position themselves in a hierarchical relationship, as such a relationship is incompatible with the principle that the working class must be the agent of its own emancipation.Again, people like you have no right to slander other revolutionaries who have been on the ground fighting for the sake of the toiling masses
No, it's not that the struggles of the Nepalese or Indian "people" (by the way, I'm not interested in something as vague as "the people", I'm interested in the working class, which is defined as the class that has no ownership of the means of production is forced to sell its labour power as a commodity in order to survive, because only the working class is capable of introducing socialism, even if it finds it necessary to enter into an alliance with other class forces such as the peasantry in order to stop that class being used by the bourgeoisie as a counter-revolutionary instrument) aren't legitimate if they don't follow a certain course, it's that the Nepalese and Indian workers are currently not on the verge of overthrowing capitalism, i.e. there is not a revolutionary situation in either country, or any country for that matter. What we have instead are nationalist forces in the form of the Maoists in both countries leaning on the peasantry with the intention of taking control of the bourgeois state and carrying out the historic tasks that the bourgeoisie has proven itself unable to fulfill, namely industrial development through the intense exploitation of the working population, and if the experience of workers in China in Nepal is anything to go by, not only are these forces not capable of bringing liberation to the working class - again, the working class must be the agent of its own emancipation, it cannot be liberated by a force that claims to act on its behalf - workers can also expect to find themselves facing governments that want to take away their right to strike.All kidding aside, so, the Indian/Nepalese etc people shouldn't revolt unless they form particular forms of organization that formed in older situations?
Actually, one of the many admirable things about Marx's work is that he did not formulate concepts in advance, in the realm of abstract theory, and then look for them in empirical reality, but, on the contrary, developed his concepts on the basis of the historic experience of the working class, especially the experience of the Paris Commune, and this is what the approach of the revolutionary party today should be - to concentrate the historic experience of the class in the form of strategic lessons that are geared towards the goal of working-class emancipation. This is what I am doing because I am looking at the history of the working-class throughout the world and acknowledging that there are certain things that are common to all of the most intense struggles of the class, and representative of the interests of working people - namely the fact that democratic institutions located in workplaces have always been developed by workers once their struggles reach a certain point, these institutions variously being called Soviets, or workers councils. The absence of these institutions in Nepal and the other countries that you regard as socialist, including Maoist China, is, amongst other things, such as the workers of these countries still tolerating the dictatorship of managers in their workplaces, and the Indian government having retained the basic features of bourgeois democracy, evidence that neither of these countries are in the middle of a revolutionary situation, and as such the working class is not in a position to take power at the current time, no matter how many railway stations are blown up.The Paris Commune offered a glimpse of what working class revolution would look like and Marx learnt from it and all revolutionaries have benefited from it
Lenin's origins as a revolutionary lay in his refutation of the strategy of the Narodniks, who thought that the peasantry could function as the main agent of revolutionary change, and sought to inspire the peasantry to take action against Tsarism by carrying out isolated terrorist attacks against government officials and members of the royal family. This sounds a lot like the kind of approach that Maoists follow today, and no matter how much you distort Lenin's theories, by repeatedly citing quotes that were actually directed against Left Communists and not people like yourself who advocate class collaboration, as if Lenin would ever have advocated the latter, you'll never manage to convince anyone with a basic knowledge of Marxism or the Russian Revolution that socialism can ever be anything but the self-emancipation of the working class, which you reject in favour of peasant rebellions led by substitutionist middle-class leaders who posture as revolutionaries."..." Lenin
They're "worked up over it" because the Maoists are contesting the state's monopoly on the legitimate use of force, as part of an attempt to raise themselves to the position of the ruling class. This doesn't say anything about whether the Maoists are revolutionaries, because the Egyptian state is also very worried about the rise of Islamism, and the Turkish state is worried about Kurdish separatism, despite neither of those forces having anything to do with socialist revolution.why are you along with the Indian/Nepalese bourgeosie so worked up over it?
The fact that those movements are being used by the populations of the countries in which they are located to fight back against a vicious assault from one of the region's key imperialist powers does not make them anti-capitalist and nor does it mean that the SWP does not believe that there is a need for a revolutionary party in those countries, but I don't see how this is relevant to the Maoists in India, because India is not a country that has fallen under imperialist occupation, or is faced with the immediate threat of being attacked by one of the main imperialist powers - in fact, it could be argued that India is itself an imperialist power. I don't see how you can argue that the Maoists have any anti-imperialist role whatsoever. For the record, when the SWP says it supports Hamas it does not mean that we agree with everything that these groups do or that we do not criticize them when they do things that conflict with our principles, such as attacking strikes, as the Maoists have done in Nepal, or preventing women from attending university - rather the point is that we do criticize, whilst also recognizing that Palestinian and Lebanese workers have a right to defend themselves against Zionism by any means they deem necessary, and that as long as their countries are under occupation, workers are unlikely to be in a position to challenge their own ruling classes, and carry out a socialist revolution, due to the occupation being the most immediate form of oppression, and the main object of their political struggles. Indeed, the SWP has a proud tradition of following Lenin's advice not to give national liberation movements a "communist coloration", as we, or rather, the late Chris Harman famously (infamously, some would say) challenged those Trotskyists who mindlessly praised the NLF without considering the fate of Trotskyists in Vietnam.They do constitute an anti-imperialist force though.
It should be clear by now that I don't regard the Maoists as "communist revolutionaries", and neither do I regard you and your ilk as such. Also, I hardly think I'm "attacking" anyone, at least not in the same way as the Indian bourgeoisie. Even if I did think that the Maoists were revolutionaries I would still criticize them because that's what revolutionaries do. Rosa Luxemburg extensively criticized the Russian Revolution despite being a strong supporter, and she was right to do so, and some of her criticisms have merit. It is precisely by showing that we are willing to criticize our comrades in other countries (a category into which the Maoists do not fall for me, naturally) that we show international solidarity, whilst also defending them against slander and mischaracterization.Yet the same party joins the ranks of the local and broad imperialist bourgeoisie in attacking communist revolutionaries
If you want to point out cases where I've lied about the historic legacy of Maoism in this thread or any other then be my guest.
I'm not at all. I don't take people like you (tell me when you become an Anarchist, by the way) seriously.Still doesn't explain why people like you are worked up about it.
Breaking down the Caste SystemI like the idea that the Naxalite (I am entirely sure I misspelled this) people are resisting... but have they taken part in any real social change? Has there been any redistribution of property?
The Indian society is home to a rigid caste system. It is not confined to any religion. Lower caste people who convert to other religions are still treated as lower castes. This is due to the necessity of the ruling classes to preserve feudal and imperialisst oppression. The lowest cast comprises of dalits(=the trampled) and untouchables. They are not allowed to enter upper caste villages(these are the ones that have facilities like drinking water etc.). They serve as bonded labourers to the feudal lords. The feudal lords are entitled to confiscate any property a dalit owns, and the feudal lord has right to any dalit woman. The naxals violently break down this social structure and ends bonded labour system.
Liberation of Women
Feudal patriarchal oppression is very common in India. It is prevalent even in the most oppressed classes. Naxals preach equality of the sexes. From any given village, women are the first ones to join them and they make up almost half of their ranks. Important in this context is teh liberation of the women of the "Maria" tribe. Among other oppressive norms, they were not allowed to cover their breasts. These practices have been abolished. Also another practice prevalent among peasants and workers is spending their money on wine and severe wife-beating at an intoxicated stage. Naxals discourage the consumption of wine, except when taken in traditional festivals, and destroy the wine-brewing centers which are run by agents of the feudal lords.
In all over India, several cases of rape have taken place due to government forces and goons. The naxals advocate extreme punishment for this. At Lalgarh, one of the main causes of the revolt was cops forcing school-girls to strip before them in order to prove that they were actually girls and not some disguised Naxal activist boys.
Land distribution and abolition of capitalist exploitation
In the course of seizure of power, the feudal lords are either annihilated or they escape. Their lands, farm animals and money is distributed among the peasants.The loans which help to keep the peasants bound to the land are also abolished.
The popular slogan associated is:
Jo bhee boye, kate dhan,
Khet ka malik wahi kisaan.
(The peasant sows and reaps the crops is the real owner of the land)
The naxals mobilize the masses and utilize the PLGA to do developmental work like building dams(small ones, of course), schools, hospitals etc. In a recent challenge to the government, a Naxal leader has said that they will complete one-third of the huge developmental plans that the government had announced but never implemented, within the next few months.
Mass participation in class-struggle
In several places, one member of each family joins the struggle directly. The government forces entering Lalgarh noticed that one or more members from each family was missing in several villages. The local peoples' militia is composed of these people.
Revival of marginalized cultures
In India, due to Hindu fundamentalism, many cultures, mostly tribal ones, are becoming marginalized and near extinct. These the naxals try to revive. After the establishment of peoples' power in Bastar, the Gondi language has been revived and the Gondi people now learn about themselves in their own schools rather than those run by fundamentalists.
Right to the forests
The Indian government has laws which forbid forest- dwelling tribals to use any forest products. Instead the timber is sold to big businessman and imperialist companies are given extensive mining rights. This has been stopped wherever peoples' power has been established. Tribal committees have formed alternative governments which protect the forests.
Movements for rise in wages
These are very common where naxals are present. Under the assistance of the naxals the workers might use violent methods to force their wages up.
After that they decided to shift base to rural areas. Most of the petit-bourgeois elements left because prolonged revolutionary life did not suit them. In the meantime after the initial defeat their were many sectarian splits in the communist party(sounds familiar again? ).
In the begining of the 80s the strategy of PPW was concretely formulated and we can see its results now.
However, even though a portion of the CC comes from the petite-bourgeoisie(was Lenin from the proletariat?), most of the current members are from a tribal background, which means they are from the peasantry and rural proletariat.
Wow. So what. The topic is about Mao.We consider modern China as revisionist. I was refering to the ongoing revolutions.
How about this, you read
Red Star Over China (it gives a positive view about Mao)
Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung: The First and Second Revolutionary War Period (all by Mao, published by the party)
R. Keith Schoppa's Twentieth Century China
as well as some excerpts from
Rise of the Chinese People's Republic by Immanuel Hsu (the chapter The Sino-Soviet Split gives a good view of your Stalinist buddies love for each other and value of the worker's life)
Fanshen by William Hinton (also in favor of Mao)
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang (the chapter "Capable Women Can Make a Meal without Food" - Famine. It will give you a nice view of life in rural China doing the horribly planned great leap forward)
You will almost be caught up.
Of course, I am sure this is a biased western curriculum I have been studying. Or is it treasonous Trotskyist propaganda? Honestly, I only wish the world had as many Trotskyists as you Stalinists think there are.
When the Maoists took leadership in China, they had no plan for the future. The peasants of China had lead all reform in the country side by themselves, and now that the Maoists controlled the country, what were they to do to change a damn thing? Well... they decided to launch internal investigations, punishing many of their own followers and tell people to turn tin into steel using furnaces meant to heat water, and they tell people to kill all the sparrows.
Thank you for the sources. But we love to replace the reactionary ones with our own propaganda.
EDIT: We don't think that Trotskyists number much. The colossal amount of their propaganda is due to their total energy devoted to it.
Then, by Mao's theory of contradictions, would that not mean that Maoism, having died off in its country of origin, is a useless ideology?Maoists do not consider everything that was done in revolutionary PRC as the best option. If you read the evaluation by present day Maoists, you will get an idea of this.
One of those sources is simply Mao quotes, released by the Chinese government.Thank you for the sources. But we love to replace the reactionary ones with our own propaganda.
Two of them are Westerners who wish nothing more than to kiss Mao's ass.
One is a collection of random articles and writings of people on all sides.
At least one of the others is written by someone who survived the foolish blunders of the Great Leap Forward. The other I am not sure of the author's history... but unless it is entirely fictional... I am quite sure that it is easy to prove all facts in it true. You cannot honestly think that Stalin and Mao actually liked each other.
Well, Stalin and Mao seemed to find a shit load of us out of thin air to purge... Are you saying that the infallible Stalin may have wrongly killed people in the purges? Blasphemy. You must now do ten Hail Stalins with holy water and donate $10 to the Kremlin to save yourself from 1000000 years of purgatory.We don't think that Trotskyists number much. The colossal amount of their propaganda is due to their total energy devoted to it.
I would like to replace the last two by RCP's analysis of the GLF and the last author.One of those sources is simply Mao quotes, released by the Chinese government.
Two of them are Westerners who wish nothing more than to kiss Mao's ass.
One is a collection of random articles and writings of people on all sides.
At least one of the others is written by someone who survived the foolish blunders of the Great Leap Forward. The other I am not sure of the author's history... but unless it is entirely fictional... I am quite sure that it is easy to prove all facts in it true. You cannot honestly think that Stalin and Mao actually liked each other.
It is very strange that communists get to purge you every time... at least improve your military tactics.Well, Stalin and Mao seemed to find a shit load of us out of thin air to purge... Are you saying that the infallible Stalin may have wrongly killed people in the purges? Blasphemy. You must now do ten Hail Stalins with holy water and donate $10 to the Kremlin to save yourself from 1000000 years of purgatory.
Don't you find it the least bit odd that there do not seem to be that many Trotskyists... until you want someone to blame?It is very strange that communists get to purge you every time... at least improve your military tactics.
Also... can you tell me what was logical in the great leap forward about the steel manufacturing idea... I cannot seem to find it...
Or the 3 Pests campaign.
Link on Rosa's post is the one I was referring to.Please explain how you deduce this from Maoist dialctics.
In fact, to save those too lazy to look it up, here is a revised version of the proof that Mao's theory cannot work:
Just like other dialecticians, Mao is thoroughly confused:
Here are a few more confused DM-worthies:"Why is it that '...the human mind should take these opposites not as dead, rigid, but as living, conditional, mobile, transforming themselves into one another'? Because that is just how things are in objective reality. The fact is that the unity or identity of opposites in objective things is not dead or rigid, but is living, conditional, mobile, temporary and relative; in given conditions, every contradictory aspect transforms itself into its opposite....
"In speaking of the identity of opposites in given conditions, what we are referring to is real and concrete opposites and the real and concrete transformations of opposites into one another....
"All processes have a beginning and an end, all processes transform themselves into their opposites. The constancy of all processes is relative, but the mutability manifested in the transformation of one process into another is absolute." [Mao (1961b), pp.340-42. Quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted in my Essays. Bold emphasis added.]
There are many more such quotations here:"The law of the interpenetration of opposites.... [M]utual penetration of polar opposites and transformation into each other when carried to extremes...." [Engels (1954), pp.17, 62.]
"[Among the elements of dialectics are the following:] internally contradictory tendencies…in [a thing]…as the sum and unity of opposites…. [This involves] not only the unity of opposites, but the transitions of every determination, quality, feature, side, property into every other [into its opposite?]….
"The identity of opposites…is the recognition…of the contradictory, mutually exclusive, opposite tendencies in all phenomena and processes of nature…. The condition for the knowledge of all processes of the world in their 'self-movement', in their spontaneous development, in their real life, is the knowledge of them as a unity of opposites. Development is the 'struggle' of opposites…. [This] alone furnishes the key to the self-movement of everything existing….
"The unity…of opposites is conditional, temporary, transitory, relative. The struggle of mutually exclusive opposites is absolute, just as development and motion are absolute…." [Lenin (1961), pp.221-22, 357-58. Bold emphases added.]
"And so every phenomenon, by the action of those same forces which condition its existence, sooner or later, but inevitably, is transformed into its own opposite…." [Plekhanov (1956), p.77.][/b]
All this seems to suggest that objects and processes not only change because of their internal opposites, but that they change into them (and, according to Lenin, they change into all of them!), and that they also produce these opposites while they change --, or they do so as a result of that change. As we shall see, all this presents DM-theorists with some rather nasty dialectical headaches.
To see this, let us suppose that object/process A is comprised of two "internal opposites" O* and O**, and thus changes as a result.
[The same problems occur even if these are 'external opposites'.]
But, O* cannot itself change into O** since O** already exists! If O** didn't already exist, according to this theory, O* could not change, for there would be no opposite to bring that about.
And it is no good propelling O** into the future so that it now becomes what O* will change into, since O* will do no such thing unless O** is already there in the present to make that happen!
But, if object/process A is already composed of a dialectical union of O* and not-O* (i.e., O**) and O* 'changes' into not-O*, how can it do this if not-O* already exists? All that seems to happen is that O* disappears. Thus, O* does not change into not-O*, it is just replaced by it.
At the very least, this account of change leaves it entirely mysterious how not-O* itself came about. It seems to have popped into existence from nowhere.
It cannot have come from O*, since O* can only change because of the operation of not-O*, which does not yet exist! And pushing the process into the past (via a 'reversed' version of the negation of the negation) will merely reduplicate the above problems. [More on this below.]
[DM = Dialectical Materialism; FL = Formal Logic.]
Now, it could be objected that all this seems to place objects and/or processes into fixed categories, which is one of the main criticisms dialecticians make of FL. Hence, the above argument is entirely misguided -- or so it could be claimed.
In that case, let us suppose that object/process A is comprised of two changing "internal opposites" O* and O**, and thus develops as a result.
The rest still follows. Hence, if object/process A is already composed of a changing dialectical union of O* and not-O* (i.e., O**) and O* 'develops' into not-O* as a result, where then is the change? All that seems to happen is that O* disappears.
Thus, on this view, O* does not change into not-O* it is just replaced by it, since not-O* already exists!
The only way to read this to avoid the above difficulty is to argue that despite this, O* still 'develops' into not-O*. But that cannot work, for not-O* must already exist for this to happen, and that would mean that there would now be two not-O*s where once there was only one!
This would also imply, incidentally, that not-O* must remain unchanged (which would violate the DM-thesis that all things are always changing, and changing into one another!).
Of course, it could be argued that not-O* 'develops' into O* while not-O* 'develops' into O*. But if that were so, while it was happening, these two would no longer be 'opposites' of one another --, not unless we widen the term "opposite" to mean "anything that an object/process turns into, and/or any intermediate object/process" while that is taking place". Naturally, that would make this 'Law' work by definitional fiat, rendering it eminently 'subjective' once more.
But even this will not work. Let us once again suppose that object/process A is comprised of two changing "internal opposites" O* and O**, and thus develops as a result. On this scenario, O* would change into an intermediary, but not into not-O* (which is, as we saw above, O**), contradicting the DM-worthies quoted earlier.
Alas, O* would have to change into an intermediary -- say O*1 --, and it would remain in that state, unchanged, for there is as yet no not-O*1 in existence to make it change any further.
Anyway, even if O*1 were to change into not-O*1 itself (as we suppose it must, given the doctrine laid down by the DM-prophets), then all the earlier problems would reappear, for this could only take place if not-O*1 already exists to make it happen. But not-O*1 cannot already exist, for O*1 has not changed into it yet!
It could be objected that the above abstract argument misses the point; in the real world things manifestly change. For example, it might be the case that John is a boy, but in a few years time it will be the case that John is a man. Now, the fact that other individuals are already men, does not stop John changing into a man (his opposite), as the above argues. So, John can change into his opposite even though that opposite already exists.
Or so it could be claimed.
But, this theory tells us that things/processes change because of a struggle with their opposites, and with what they become. Are we now to assume that John has to struggle with all the individuals that are already men if he is to become a man himself (if we now treat all these other men as John's opposites)? And are we to suppose that John struggles with what he is to become, even before it exists? If not, then the above response is beside the point. And, in view of the fact that John must turn into his opposite, does that mean he has to turn into these other men, or even into one of them? But he must do so if the Dialectical Holy Books are to be believed.
Anyway, according to the DM-worthies quoted above, John can only change because of a struggle between opposites taking place in the here-and-now. Are we now really supposed to believe that "John as a man" is struggling with "John as a boy" -- or that manhood is struggling with boyhood?
Some might be tempted to reply that this is precisely what adolescence is, and yet, in that case, John-as-boy and John-as-a-man would have to be locked in struggle in the present. [Of course, adolescence cannot struggle with anything, since it is an abstraction.] But, John-as-a-man does not yet exist, and so 'he' cannot struggle with John-as-boy. On the other hand, if John-as-a-man does exist, so that 'he' can struggle with his youthful self, then John-as-boy cannot change into 'him', for John-as-a-man already exists!
To be sure, John's 'opposite' is whatever he will become (if he is allowed to develop naturally), but, as noted above, that opposite cannot now exist otherwise John would not need to become him!
So, in ten or fifteen years, John will not just become any man, he will become a particular man. Let us call the man that he becomes Man(j). In that case, this opposite must exist now or John will not change into him (if the DM-worthies above are to be believed). But, if that is so, John cannot become Man(j) since he already exists!
[This is, of course, just a concrete example of the argument above.]
Consider another concrete example: wood being fashioned into a table. Once more, according to the dialectical classicists, all objects and processes change because of a 'struggle' of opposites, and they all also change into those opposites.
So, the wood that is used to make a table, according to this 'theory', has to 'struggle' with what it turns into, that is, this wood has to 'struggle' with the table it turns into!
In that case, the table must already exist, or it could not 'struggle' with the wood from which it is to be made.
But, if the table already exists, then the wood cannot be changed into it.
On the other hand, if the table does not already exist, then the wood cannot 'struggle' with its own opposite, that is, it cannot 'struggle' with the table it has yet to become.
Either way, change could not happen, according to this 'theory'.
And it is little use introducing human agency here, for if a carpenter is required to make a table, then he/she has to 'struggle' with the wood to make it into that table (since we are told that every object and process in nature is governed by this 'Law'). But, according to the Dialectical Holy Books, objects and processes 'struggle' with their dialectical 'opposites', and they turn into those opposites. If so, wood must turn into the carpenter, not the table!
With a crazy theory like this at its core, is it any wonder Dialectical Marxism is a by-word for failure?
Consider another hackneyed example: water turning into steam at 100 degrees C (under normal conditions). Are we really supposed to believe that the opposite that water becomes (i.e., steam) makes water turn into steam? It must do so if the above DM-worthies are to be believed. So, while you might think it is the heat/energy you are putting into the water that turns it into steam, what really happens according to these wise old dialecticians is that steam makes water turn into steam!
In that case, save energy, and turn the gas off!
Let us track a water molecule to see what happens to it. To identify it we shall call it W1, and the steam molecule it turns into S1. But, if the DM-worthies above are correct, S1 must already exist, otherwise W1 could not change into it. But if that is so, where does S1 disappear to? In fact, according to the above worthies, since opposites turn into one another, S1 must change into W1! So while you are boiling a kettle, according to this Superscientific theory, steam is turning back into the water you have just boiled, and at the same rate!
[One wonders therefore how kettles manage to boil dry!]
This must be so, otherwise, when W1 turns into S1 -- which already exists or W1 could not change -- there would have to be two S1s where there used to be one! Matter created from nowhere!
Of course, the same argument applies to water freezing (and to any and all other examples of change).
None of this, of course, is to deny that change occurs, only that DM cannot account for it.
Whichever way we try to re-package this 'Law' we end up with insuperable problems.
However, Mao attempted to revise Hegel, Engels and Lenin by the invention of principle and secondary contradictions (arguably to allow him to indulge in class-collaboration with the Guomindang):
http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/...-1/mswv1_17.htm'For instance, consider the Kuomintang and the Communist Party. Take one aspect, the Kuomintang. In the period of the first united front, the Kuomintang carried out Sun Yat-sen's Three Great Policies of alliance with Russia, co-operation with the Communist Party, and assistance to the peasants and workers; hence it was revolutionary and vigorous, it was an alliance of various classes for the democratic revolution. After 1927, however, the Kuomintang changed into its opposite and became a reactionary bloc of the landlords and big bourgeoisie. After the Sian Incident in December 1936, it began another change in the direction of ending the civil war and co-operating with the Communist Party for joint opposition to Japanese imperialism.'
[Incidentally, this makes Mao (shock! horror!) a 'Revisionist'!]
But how can these contradictions themselves change? Presumably, if they do, then each must be a UO.
[UO = Unity of Opposites.]
Let us assume then that the 'Primary' contradiction P1 changes into 'Secondary' contradiction S1.
But what brings about this change?
Given the DM-theory of change, P1 must itself be composed of at least two further opposites, say: P* and P**, one of which P1 must turn into (since, as we saw, it is part of this DM-theory that all things change into their opposites).
Hence, P1 turns into, say, P**.
[But don't try asking what happened to P*! As we will see, things aren't that simple.]
But, once more: why did P1 change into P**?
Well, this must be because there is a 'contradiction' between P* and P** (or, perhaps, even between P1 and P**).
But, in that case, if all things turn into their opposites, P* must change into P**, too! [But, P** already exists, so how can anything turn into it?]
There must therefore be two P**'s -- say P**a and P**b, for both of these to turn into, collectively or severally.
So, P1 and P* turn into one or other of P**a or P**b, while P** remains the same (or, it becomes one of these two, too).
But, that means that P** is either changeless, or it too changes into one of the options that have already been selected for P* or P1 to become.
But, once more, P**a and P**b already exist, so P** cannot change into either of them!
Putting that 'difficulty' to one side for now, this can only mean that P1, which used to be made up of at least P* and P**, turns into P**, while P* turns into P**, too --, or it turns into something else (but into what, and how?), or it disappears, or it does not change.
So, either P1 and P* merge into one entity (as they both become P**) or they turn into one or other of P**a or P**b -- or, third P** possibility (say, P**c) pops into existence as they (both?) change into it!
But if this is so, it is not easy to see how P1 could be part of the action. It must contain all these things (as 'internal opposites') if it is to turn into them, and yet that can only mean that it turns into one of its own parts! Once more, how can it do that if they too already exist?
Putting this to one side, too: the changes wrought in P1 and P* could not have been the result of a 'struggle of opposites', since this new opposite (i.e., P**c) does not yet exist!
On the other hand, if that opposite does exist (so that it can 'struggle' with one or both of the other two, and thereby cause the given change), neither P1 nor P* could change into it, since it already exists, too! So, these two cannot change, either.
Either that, or there must be something else for one or both to change into -- but even then the same problems would simply apply to them.
In that case, this 'theory' seems to imply that things either merge, disappear, or are created ex nihilo [out of nothing] -- or they do not change!
Anyway, why should anything change from a P-type contradiction into an S-type, to begin with?
On this theory, this would only happen if, say, P1 already contained an S-type contradiction for it to change into. [Recall that on this 'theory', 'internal opposites' cause change and things change into their opposites!] But where on earth did that S-type contradiction come from?
Given the above reasoning, for this to happen, P** (from earlier) must be an S-type contradiction, otherwise P1 (or P*) could not change into it. But, as we saw, P** already exists, so nothing can change into it!
[MIST = Maoist Dialectician.]
Once more, these seem to be the only options available to MIST's: either P1 (or P*) merges with P**, or it (they) disappear into thin air -- or there are at least 3 versions of P** (P**a, P**b and P**c) for one or other to change into.
But these three (P**a, P**b and P**c) cannot exist, since if they did, P* and P1 could not change into them. But if they don't exist, they cannot struggle with anything in order to bring about the required change!
So, yet again, nothing actually changes (or nothing causes it!).
In that case, not only can this scenario not work, we still do not know why anything should alter from the one into the other sort of contradiction, or into anything whatsoever.
And these difficulties do not go away if concrete examples are substituted for the schematic letters used above. So, for example, why did the "primary contradiction" between China and Japan (referred to by Mao) change? On sound DM-lines, it could only do so as a result of its own 'internal contradictions'. In that case, this "primary contradiction", C/J, must possess its own 'internal opposites', C/J* and C/J**; the rest follows as before.
Of course, it could be argued once more that not-O* from earlier 'develops' into O* while not-O* 'develops' into O*.
[This objection might even incorporate that eminently obscure Hegelian term-of-art: "sublation". More on that presently.]
But, even supposing it were the case that not-O* 'developed' into O* while not-O* 'developed' into O*, and such process were governed by the obscure term "sublation", this alternative will still not work (as we are about to see).
Indeed, developing this option further before it is demolished, it could be argued that Engels had himself anticipated the above objections when he said:
Engels's argument seems to be that "dialectical negation" is not the same as ordinary negation in that it is not simple destruction. Dialectical negation "sublates"; that is, it both destroys and preserves, so that something new or 'higher' emerges as a result. Nevertheless, we have already seen here, that Hegel's use of this word (i.e., "sublate") is highly suspect, and we will also see below that this 'Law' (i.e., the NON) is even more dubious still (partly because Hegel confused ordinary negation with 'cancelling out', or with destruction, as did Engels)."[RL: Negation of the negation is] a very simple process which is taking place everywhere and every day, which any child can understand as soon as it is stripped of the veil of mystery in which it was enveloped by the old idealist philosophy and in which it is to the advantage of helpless metaphysicians of Herr Dühring's calibre to keep it enveloped. Let us take a grain of barley. Billions of such grains of barley are milled, boiled and brewed and then consumed. But if such a grain of barley meets with conditions which are normal for it, if it falls on suitable soil, then under the influence of heat and moisture it undergoes a specific change, it germinates; the grain as such ceases to exist, it is negated, and in its place appears the plant which has arisen from it, the negation of the grain. But what is the normal life-process of this plant? It grows, flowers, is fertilised and finally once more produces grains of barley, and as soon as these have ripened the stalk dies, is in its turn negated. As a result of this negation of the negation we have once again the original grain of barley, but not as a single unit, but ten-, twenty- or thirtyfold. Species of grain change extremely slowly, and so the barley of today is almost the same as it-was a century ago. But if we take a plastic ornamental plant, for example a dahlia or an orchid, and treat the seed and the plant which grows from it according to the gardener's art, we get as a result of this negation of the negation not only more seeds, but also qualitatively improved seeds, which produce more beautiful flowers, and each repetition of this process, each fresh negation of the negation, enhances this process of perfection. [Engels (1976), pp.172-73.]
"But someone may object: the negation that has taken place in this case is not a real negation: I negate a grain of barley also when I grind it, an insect when I crush it underfoot, or the positive quantity a when I cancel it, and so on. Or I negate the sentence: the rose is a rose, when I say: the rose is not a rose; and what do I get if I then negate this negation and say: but after all the rose is a rose? -- These objections are in fact the chief arguments put forward by the metaphysicians against dialectics, and they are wholly worthy of the narrow-mindedness of this mode of thought. Negation in dialectics does not mean simply saying no, or declaring that something does not exist, or destroying it in any way one likes. Long ago Spinoza said: Omnis determinatio est negatio -- every limitation or determination is at the same time a negation. And further: the kind of negation is here determined, firstly, by the general and, secondly, by the particular nature of the process. I must not only negate, but also sublate the negation. I must therefore so arrange the first negation that the second remains or becomes possible. How? This depends on the particular nature of each individual case. If I grind a grain of barley, or crush an insect, I have carried out the first part of the action, but have made the second part impossible. Every kind of thing therefore has a peculiar way of being negated in such manner that it gives rise to a development, and it is just the same with every kind of conception or idea....
"But it is clear that from a negation of the negation which consists in the childish pastime of alternately writing and cancelling a, or in alternately declaring that a rose is a rose and that it is not a rose, nothing eventuates but the silliness of the person who adopts such a tedious procedure. And yet the metaphysicians try to make us believe that this is the right way to carry out a negation of the negation, if we ever should want to do such a thing. [Ibid., pp.180-81.]
Well, despite all this, is it the case that the above comments neutralise the argument presented in this part of this post? Is the argument here guilty of the following:
To answer this, let us once again suppose that object/process A is comprised of two changing "internal opposites" O* and not-O*, and thus develops as a result. On this scenario, O* would change/develop into a "sublated" intermediary, but not into not-O* -- incidentally, contradicting the DM-worthies quoted earlier. According to them, O* should, of course, change into not-O*, not into some intermediary."These objections are in fact the chief arguments put forward by the metaphysicians against dialectics, and they are wholly worthy of the narrow-mindedness of this mode of thought." [Ibid.]
Putting this minor quibble to one side, on this 'revised' view, let us suppose that O* does indeed change into that intermediary. To that end, let us call the latter, "O*(1)" (which can be interpreted as a combination of the old and the new; a 'negation' which also 'preserves'/'sublates').
If so, then O*(1) must remain forever in that state, unchanged, for there is as yet no not-O*(1) in existence to make it develop any further.
[Recall that on this 'theory', everything (and that must include O*(1)) changes because of a 'struggle' with its opposite.]
So, there must be a not-O*(1) to make O*(1) change further. To be sure, we could try to exempt O*(1) from this essential requirement on an ad hoc basis (arguing, perhaps, that O*(1) changes spontaneously with nothing actually causing it), and yet if we do that, there would seem to be no reason to accept the version of events contained in the DM-classics, which tells us that every thing/process changes because of the operation of opposites (and O*(1) is certainly a thing/process). Furthermore, if we make an exemption here, then the whole point of the exercise would be lost, for if some things do and some things do not change according this dialectical 'Law', we would be left with no way of telling which changes were and which were not subject to it.
This is, of course, quite apart from the fact that such a subjectively applied exemption certificate (issued to O*(1)) would mean that nothing at all could change, for everything in the universe is in the process of change, and is thus already a 'sublated' version of whatever it used to be.
Ignoring this, too, even if O*(1) were to change into not-O*(1) (as we suppose it must, given the doctrine laid down by the DM-prophets), then all the earlier problems simply reappear, for this could only take place if not-O*(1) already existed to make it happen! But not-O*(1) cannot already exist, for O*(1) has not changed into it yet!
More details and references can be found here:
Use the 'Quick Links' at the top of the page to go to Section (B) (1): 'Dialectics Cannot Explain Change'.