The ‘theory’ wreckage of historical materialism…

We have repeatedly suggested the need to reformulate a postmarxist version of socialism (with reference still to Marx, no doubt) that is a non-dogmatic restatement of the basic issues of praxis, hopefully beyond the mostly doomed efforts to concoct a science of history and/or the ‘evolution’ toward communism.
There the theories of historical materialism, and the associated ‘stages of production’ theory (e.g. ‘productive force determinism’) are a millstone around the neck of leftists.
Historical materialism belongs to the nineteenth century post-hegelian turn toward reductionist scientism and while the attempt to create an economic theory of history seemed a good one at the time such a procedure is no longer convincing and is certainly not science.
We are better off proceeding empirically on the issues of economic history and making the passage beyond capitalism a strategy of free agents, not historical forces. It seemed once that marx’s theories showed that communism would be inevitable. But he didn’t show that and a host of critics have mauled marxist for that and other reasons.
Further marxists were caught in marx’s (or engels’) attack on utopian versus scientific socialism. But if those theories are scientific then we end doing what we were doing all along: assessing the social and historical realm and considering the issue of socialism on the basis of values rather than spurious historical laws.

Source: The question of historical materialism – Darwiniana

News | Historical Materialism

The subject, and internet presence, ‘historical materialism’ is considerable in its scope and yet the entire discipline seems incapable of leading to a focused radical or social democratic path. Marxism is easy to jargonize and over-analyze, with no real result, and little connection with public thinking or with the equally barren fields of sociology, historical or otherwise.
We have pointed here repeatedly to some core problems with ‘histomat’ in terms of its obsessive Marx worship and rote assumptions about the canonical status of his legacy. We have pointed to the shallowness and misfire of economic analysis of world history as an odd fundamentalism, and then to the fallacy of ‘stages of production’ theory, and the failure to produce a viable model of the very socialism/communism projected, very much in a void. The whole legacy of leninism/bolshevism goes almost without critical comment alienating virtually the whole potential public for socialism…
We have suggested a whole series of remedies, among them a divorce with a failed past and a recasting of the socialist legacy that was so dogmatically appropriated to marxist monopoly by Marx himself…

Source: News | Historical Materialism

  Will, the hidden factor in human consciousness

The will is a bit far from issues of historical materialism. The issue of the will is almost as elusive as that of ‘enlightenment’. The will in man is not his sense of willing, or will power. It is directly related to ‘free will’ issues, but in a different mode. Is in the real sense is unconscious and almost never visible…
The left might adopt some version of Bennett for a new version of the definition of man…not so easy…watch your step…

Without freedom man cannot create socialism…Marx’s productive force determinism is misleading…

This post was supposed to be at The Gurdjieff Con, but I pulled a fast one and put it at Darwiniana… Modern biology can’t do justice to the human ‘organism’/being: the issue of the w…

Source:  The will, beside being, as a factor of homo sapient unconscious ‘mind’. – Darwiniana

The disastrous crackpot confusion of historical materialism

I have often recommended replacing historical materialism with something simpler and less reductionist. To make that theory a requirement to create socialism was a mistake. It antagonizes almost the whole of exterior culture. It forecloses on virtually the whole of human thought and history and imposes a brittle version of early nineteenth century scientism as a universal generalization. Whatever it seemed at the time it is now irrelevant for us. Historical materialism claims to debunk all religion, almost all philosophy, negates ‘idealism’ as some kind of evil delusion, reduces history to economic issues, negates teleology in the name of science and then creates a crypto-teleology that misleads anyone trying to construct a socialist entity in practice. It tries to seize high ground against all forms of thought with the weird claim that the mode of production stands beyond all that as the determinant factor. Small wonder socialists/communists always fumble the ball. Their view of society is crackpot.

Marx did one of the worst things you can do to a cadre: give a bunch of idiots an air-tight generalization that they will embrace the way people embrace religion: the end of creative thinking enters to establish the reign of dogma. Try this: try to critique Marx and the cultic crowd will react to you with a vengeance. The outcome has been “Marx the Prophet”, a misfortune that will blind adherents to the need for very careful thinking about practical action.

It is not hard to correct all this. We have recommended being wary of historical theories and working with outlines and empirical models. That way, the diversity and complexity of history is not sacrificed to a monomania. In that context the critique of political economy can be wrought via a robust set of empirical studies that do not presume to laws of history or scientific determinism. History is the sage of free agents who have choice, whatever the case that free agency is the same as free will. But issues of free will are better studied with Kant than Newton or scientists. The question of free agents is enough: we cannot expect ‘history’ to produce communism mechanically. It requires construction: we must create a socialism that makes sense, embraces a set of values and realizes new degree of freedom.