We have been critical of the idea that Marxism is science for over a year plus here and The Last Revolution goes over this in a lot of detail. Having sent many links to Jacobin on this I have to assume this article is a shot over the bows for me. In any case, the idea that Marxism is science along with Engels’ useless Dialectics of Nature is not really defensible anymore, and I am puzzled anyone on the left would still try. Marx’s interest in science is commendable but what science are we talking about, in the early to late nineteenth century in the context of reductionist science, causal physics, and the botched job of Darwinism which Marx annexed to his doctrine of materialism, compounding the confusion. In that context, Marx tried something daring by trying to turn history into a study of economic categories but that was simply off the mark from the start. World history is an immensely complex field far beyond mere economic categories and Marx’s ‘stages of production’ theory applied to history in a sequence of epochs is a pile of nonsense.
Marx created a difficult situation for his faithful by locking them into nineteenth-century science notions, and with a system that even scientists of his time saw as dubious. And science has moved on. With the coming of Quantum Mechanics, and then Quantum Field Theory/String Theory we are all out in left field wondering just what science is telling us, if anything.
The science of Marx simply doesn’t wash anymore. Not at all. In retrospect, calling something like Marxism science is dangerous because it makes critics into counterrevolutionaries who must be lliquidated because they are not scientific…Madness. And it happened with Stalin.
Trying to produce a science of history has always failed because history is not like physics and shows the transformation of facts and values in a dynamic totally beyond current science. Better to use descriptive approach and deal with simple chronologies. Marx’s theory subjects the left to endless debates and rejection by critics who have long known the flaws here. And the whole mess is compounded by Engels and his total confusion over the dialectic. Taking The Dialectics of Nature as a path to science is hopeless confusion and gives even sympathetic leftists a difficult dilemma.
Socialism doesn’t require a science of history and can be constructed far better without a pretense of theory and science. This blog has endless material on this…
cf. The_Last_Revolution_Postcapitalist Futures_ ED2_8_23_22
From Marx and Engels to the present day, socialists have been deeply engaged with the world of science. With the provision of lifesaving vaccines held hostage by corporate profiteering, the story of this relationship is more important than ever.
Source: How Marxists Brought Science to Politics and Politics to Science