need for a critical marxism, the failure of ‘theory’ confronting praxis…//Marxism: A Method, Theory and Practice | Left Voice

This is a reasonable summary of marxism in a nutshell and also a good list of the problems of the whole ‘ism’ as we discover the need to upgrade the subject.
We have endless posts here on all the issues but in a quick take our critique has a range of issues:
we critique ‘theory’ and caution that marx’s ‘stages of production’ theory is flawed and the stages of epochal transformation as science, feudalism, capitalism, communism is hardly a scientific theory at all and we must not assume that some teleological mechanism will guarantee its action: we must assess the limits of capitalist economy and act as free agents on the basis of values beyond scientific claims to define and then construct a real socialism/communism. The latter are not guaranteed by history because they have no absolute definitions but we can sense that marx beyond theory was indirectly right: we can derive the axioms of communism in terms of values, such as equality and fairness, as we analyze the failed implications of capitalism. Failure to perform these tasks has left the radical game without direction, endlessly repeating the mantras of marxist shibboleths.
In general theories of history are an unsafe area for grand generalizations. Marx’s historical materialism thus produces a theory of history in a grand sweep. But historical theories are almost always failures and histomat has ended up as target practice for critics.
Marxists have a problematical relationship with hegel, but there is a simple solution: move beyond historical materialism to a larger and balanced study of the history of philosophy and science. Look at kant: his essay on history suggests a number of issues that are far more practical, viz. the progression to a perfect social constitution, than the ‘endgame’ of hegel who is a commentary on issues raised by a long history of philosophy: better to embrace a larger field in an ironic take on dialectic: the latter however is confused by marxists. The idea of material dialectic as some science known to marxists is complete nonsense and the whole legacy of dialectic has been almost a torpedo sinking the whole subject.  Hegel is a mysterious thinker and it is inadvisable to base one’s  legacy on his vatic obscurities. Base the canon on something more tangible, to start.
The distinction of ‘utopian, scientific’ socialism is thus misplaced: marxism has not produced a science in any reasonable account, so ironically the ‘utopian’ stands at the end as the real survivor. The term ‘utopian’ is wrong, or prejudicial: we should instead consider the subject the ‘practical task’ of defining a socialist or communist commonwealth and the values that support it, not as historical laws, but as gestures of men freely creating a successor to capitalism. There is no guarantee of this according to historical laws because ‘history’ only produces a starting point that must be realized in practice.

The central question for those awakening to political life today is this: What is Marxism, and what does it mean for our political analysis and practice? To begin to answer this question, we must see Marxism not only as a theory but as a method of analysis and a political practice.

Source: Marxism: A Method, Theory and Practice | Left Voice

Scientism in the era of the anti-hegelian movement…

Marx’s reductionist scientism has crippled the left. You would think that after Kant and Hegel the left could have produced a more intelligent framework than historical materialism. But that’s just the point: the obsession with Hegel in the era of the 1840’s was so extreme that an equally dubious positivism took root and has probably done more to undermine the path to socialism than any other ideological idee fixe.
Continue reading “Scientism in the era of the anti-hegelian movement…”

don’t let marxists confuse you…//Introduction to the Revolutionary Philosophy of Marxism – part two

What a hopeless foundation for attempts to create a new society! We have critiqued Marx’s claims for science, but the quagmire of philosophic inderterminacy is an equal liability. Hegel and the source of dialectic make a fascinating historical exploration, but how on earth did making sense of this set of enigmas become the foundation for attempts to lead beyond capitalism? The result has been the whole garbage of dialectical materialism, material dialectic, and claims for a foundational science (with Hegelian whispers) that doesn’t exist. It is a failed strategy. To try and repeat it is lunacy. And the public won’t listen.
Schopenhauer made the claim/jibe that everyone who studied Hegel was confused for life and lost the power of thought. It seems so when reviewing marxism.
The crisis of capitalism requires something practical and free of attempts at the critical moment to be distracted by the subtleties of philosophy dressed up as scientism, and vice versa. The result here is that marxists have no clear program and no practical plan of action. And every student of the subject ends up confused.
Their theories contributed to the downfall of bolshevism and turned the idea of communism into an arcane mystery that must be elucidated by a cadre of experts who in fact are as confused as the plebs with their theories are designed to control the working class with a priestly arcana.
The american rebs, in their bourgeois democratic finery, at least produced a successful revolution, however limited. Their troopers needed no theory to grasp the basics of a new republican, soon democratic, sort of, politics. If they had had to study something as arcane as marxism we would never have had the american experiment.

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In the second part of his new introduction to The Revolutionary Philosophy of Marxism, Alan Woods explains some of the fundamentals of the Hegelian dialectical method and how these apply to both the natural world and human society. He also details how Marx masterfully applied the dialectical materialist method to his study of capitalism, and in so doing laid bare its inherent contradictions.

Source: Introduction to the Revolutionary Philosophy of Marxism – part two