I sent a link to Verso re: The Last Revolution as a possible submission. See below.
A complete waste of time. They won’t even answer. Verso has hundreds of books on Marxism, historical materialism by professional academics and the left elite, which are obsolete.
I doubt very seriously that a Marxist social transformation (read revolution) could be possible at this point. The left MUST start over beyond Marxism.
The idea/model of ‘democratic market neo-communism’ shows a better way to construct a postcapitalist system.
I write to revolutionary or reformist publics. The result is better quality books, almost, than what these big orgs can do:
it took three to five months to produce the illustration for DMR and LFM. The big publishers could never make a profit
with such labor-intensive books.
Descent of Man Revisited has thousands of downloads and people like its postdarwinism, and the many images.
The Last Revolution is already starting to create a mini-audience even in draft form.
Since Marxists wouldn’t dare read it (I have already been re-unsubbed from marxmail for suggesting historical materialism is obsolete)
I may just cap it with a quick completion and move on.
Marx’s theories of history are strangely fallacious for such a smart man.
His other work on class and ideology remain relevant.
But even there the issue of working-class focus, although the one thing Marx got right, is itself going nowhere except overseas.
There is an easy fix here: the idea of the Universal Class,etc,…many posts here.
Work in Progress: Postcapitalist Futures: The Last Revolution
To: firstname.lastname@example.org ; Nemonemini
Date: Wed, Oct 6, 2021 12:25 pm
I am sending the link to a book in progress and connected with the blog at redfortyeight.com
I am a critic of Marxism’s theories of history from the left and fear that Marxism in its current form will not generate future social transformation.
This book tries to provide a fast substitute framework Continue reading “Verso: a shot over the bows….”
I will try to comment directly on this book when it comes out, assuming I can afford it after many many purchases this year.
I have read Woods’ Reason in Revolt, years ago.
But on the basis of this introduction, my initial criticisms here are more or less confirmed. Figures like Alan Woods are stuck in the past at a time when the issue of socialism needs a new framework. Woods’ intro here seems to make every mistake you can make on the subject and that we have criticized here. Use the search box on the sidebar for ‘Alan Woods’.
First, the issue of dialectical materialism is like an obsession for Woods who takes it as the summit of philosophy. It is hopeless junk and many faithful Marxists have thought so from the start. You cannot find a progressive public anymore with that idiotic mishmash from Engels, apparently. I do however think it has an accessory historical interest in another way, as discussed in my short essay Samkhya: Ancient and Modern. The question of dialectic has been one of confusion in Marxism and it usage borders on the fallacy, or, rather, triadic logic is by and large a mystery and a legacy of mistakes by Marxists. Put it to one side as a research project and keep its fallacies out of the way. Dialectic in the sense of a debate has a perfectly good usage. But the realm of Hegel from which the idea comes is that of a metaphysical quagmire, or so it seems. The question is not necessary for socialists trying to escape marxist swamp water. Let us note that many will disagree but that we enter the realm of rival mysticism and the brand of vicious reactionaries like Gurdjieff, itself controversial, makes mincemeat of the pseudo-triadic dialectical materialism which is a kind mysticism, that Woods wants to escape. The realm of Hegel is fascinating but in the Marxist context it sows confusion, and worse in the failure to start with Kant. It was Schopenhauer, the great antagonist to Hegel, who said that Hegel had confused the thinking of a whole generation. Witness Marxists in that regard. Hegel is a great thinker, maybe, but he confuses. Someone like Lukacs may be an exception. Again, who cares: socialism doesn’t need this, nor does it need the hopeless debate between idealism and materialism. Physics once highlighted materialism, now it seems like an idealist show.
Marx’s materialism is dated now and belongs to the early nineteenth century, and his reductionist scientism is a lost cause now. In the era of quantum field theory it makes no sense anymore. The result is to banish will, consciousness et al from a very narrow psychology. This again is of no use to a real socialist at this point. The idea was to escape from religious entanglement. But that problem seems irrelevant now, it is not mystical religion to speak or query consciousness and will (which admittedly are very tricky).
Kantian ethical socialism is a late nineteenth-century parallel socialist stream, neglected but far superior to the Marxist muddle.
We could go on and on here, and may do so later, but I think our current generation needs to abandon Marxism and start over. We have several versions here that resolve the confusions of Marx’s theories of history, and that attempt to discipline thinking with constructivist model of socialist or neo-communist social models. Marx’s thinking is far too complex and no one ever really understands it. Marx has a lot of other good material, but as a system it is a failure.
I fear that obsolete Marxism, which has failed in every case, has so much momentum plus an army of idiots that our hopes for postcapitalist society as socialist will be swamped in another Marxist fiasco.
I would offer Mr. Woods a cautious warning that the first of the ‘Revolution’ if it ever comes will be a battle to free the path to socialism from Marx jackknifed into different frameworks. Let’s get that over with now.
[marxmail] Video & Introduction to The History of Philosophy: A Marxist Perspective by Alan Woods
Date: Wed, Sep 29, 2021 10:50 am
Introduction to The History of Philosophy: A Marxist Perspective by Alan Woods
14 September 2021
Image: Wellred Books
The latest title from Wellred Books, The History of Philosophy: A Marxist Perspective by Alan Woods will be out in only a few days. We publish below an excerpt from the Introduction to the book, explaining why revolutionary Marxists should study the history of philosophy, and the enormous debt that Marxism owes to earlier thinkers, and in particular to the giants of philosophy that lived in the revolutionary, youthful phase of the bourgeois epoch.
Watch Alan Woods’ introduction to ‘History of Philosophy: a Marxist Perspective’ – an important new work published by Wellred Books.
Pre-order your copy now so that you can read and study the book with peers, friends and comrades: http://www.marxist.com/hop.htm
The starting point
I first started work on The History of Philosophy some twenty-seven years ago, when writing Reason in Revolt, a book that dealt with the relationship between Marxist philosophy and modern science. The book was a big success, but it turned out to be much longer than I had originally anticipated. Due to considerations of length, I was reluctantly obliged to omit the first part, which dealt with the history of philosophy, leading up to Marx’s great revolution, the theory of dialectical materialism.
The intention had been to publish The History of Philosophy as a separate work sometime in the future. But for different reasons, that decision was delayed to make way for more pressing tasks. For more than two decades, the manuscript was put to one side, left to the gnawing criticism of the mice, as Marx once said, referring to the unpublished text of the German Ideology. It was eventually published on our website, and was favourably received, but the original intention of publishing it as a book remained unfulfilled until now…
Many attempts at manifestos on the left exist, including mine, which learned early on that one needs to proceed in low key to not compete with the Marx/Engels classic, while at the same time trying to move in a new direction, evidently stealth competition. This theme starts with the last chapter of Last and First Men: Toward a New Communist Manifesto, in fact, later a manifesto called Toward a New Manifesto matched with a new kind of socialist model, Democratic Market Neo-communism. There is finally a text, The Last Revolution, which contains both texts as an appendix.
The left has not really learned what Marx knew, or sensed, that attempting to control the future with a set of utopian blueprints would not work: the future will usually fool us. But Marx’s critique of ‘utopian’ versus ‘scientific’ frameworks doesn’t really work here and the flaws in Marx’s science have created a subtle chaos in all attempts to move into a realized communist future. His stages of production theory makes just this kind of speculative ‘forcing the future’ with its progression of economic epochs. But the future is quirky and moves in strange directions, as the anomalous Russian Bolshevism shows.
The new manifesto and related texts point to this contradiction and then make the ‘mistake’ all over again: grapple with a blueprint for the (near) future, don’t muddle discussion with claims of science, use a simple recipe approach and try to construct a failsafed model that is more than sloganeering and balances democracy, planning and markets, ideas of a Commons and expropriation, and an eco-socialist context added to the post-capitalist approach.
The whole game has been a series of failures but part of the problem is the failures of Marx and Engels to really get straight what they were about.
The legacy of the great Manifesto echoes to this day and yet if we must assert this there is a problem: it needs as a text promotion and does not reverberate anymore and is at best a relic for the left.
This statement might be complete nonsense but the fact remains that at a time of global crisis and capitalist tragic finale, the left is marginalized and unable to state the problem properly.
But the great Manifesto is just that: a piece of propaganda with a special moment of eloquence. But it may or may not point to a larger frame of reference that really captures the issues of capitalism. We need however to retreat over and over to this work and its moment because after 1848 the thinking of Marx began to shift to a result that is no longer very effective or very clear. Between the great Manifesto and the fragmentary obscurities of Capital there is a strange contradiction.
Let’s consider then the great moment of this text but be able to approach the overall legacy of Marxism critically and ask if it is able to generate a real movement of transformation that can grapple with the crisis at hand.
Trying to communicate with marxists is difficult, but I persist in thinking they can repair their flawed framework.
Marx said he wasn’t a marxist so the issue of heresies is more relaxed here…The Marxist formulation is flawed
and won’t work a second time, so the question of some kind of new perspective is critical.
Re: The discussion of historical materialsim
Date: Wed, Sep 22, 2021 1:34 am
I don’t consider myself a Marxist now but I have been studying Marxist texts since the midseventies of the last century when I lived in the east village in New York and read a lot of books on Marxism, with an old Jewish communist coaching me. That’s almost fifty years ago. I have read a huge number of books here. But my views were in a larger context of secular humanist, new age, broad philosophical range with many aspects.
Recently I have tried to produce a critique of Marxism, but without any reactionary overtones: I find Marx’s theories of history to be flawed and taking the edge off of his many other essential contributions. Continue reading “Marxmail, some info, and a new left”
Thanks for this reply and also to Hari Kumar for his kind response. I am sorry for the confusion over the issues cited and the cc messages to group members. The question of cultism can be set aside save to note that the debates over 9/11 and evolution won’t go away. The question of historical materialism requires some commentary. I have been following this list for a long time without being able to contribute, but recently I saw an opening and have taken that up controversially. as it seems. I have written a short book The Last Revolution at high speed to move into this opening. Continue reading “To Marxmail”
update: this submission was in fact posted at marxmail
Interaction with Marxmail, on record
Continue reading “Another interaction with marxmail”
A socialist vision for space is a great idea but the problem is that the narrow vision of marxism would likely take over and degrade the idea to the level of Marx’s reductionist scientism, historical materialism, and purely economic categories. No idea of human will, soul, values and facts, or morality could enter (in fact Marxists are aware of the problems and don’t really believe in their own take, but the problem would surface).
The so-called left has no real vision for society beyond the sterile marxist capture of the idea.
But the basic point that capitalism in space is potentially pernicious is a good one, but post-marxists and other leftists need to reinvent the idea, without sentimental pseudo-leftism, but not in the crypto-Stalinist vein of the current left dominated by now archaic notions.
The billionaire space race has perverted what space exploration should really be about: serving society and advancing humanity.
A fascinating article but still the problem remains that socialism has nothing but a confused hodgepodge of ideas its proponents can never realize or clarify. What is the problem? Socialism should have come into existence in the generation of its birth after the take-off of capitalism. Its chances now are against a colossus of pseudo-democratic oligarchic mafias armed with massive armaments/armies, covert agencies specialized in defeating revolt/dissent, and an economic system so labyrinthine that ordinary notions of socialism cannot correctly analyze. Marx’s influence is confusing to all later adherents who struggle to grasp the germano-hegelian jargon swamp that Marx bequeathed to followers for whom he had a hidden contempt, as his remarkable treatment of Weitling reminds us. Such a system is elitist all over again, save that the elite itself can’t figure out Marx. The clear failure of Marx’s theories of history next to his often brilliant extra-systematic insights again confuses the faithful who have lost the ability to critique and therefore understand anything of the now useless baggage of marxist ideology to replace the capitalist. Marx’s combination of hyperintelligence, arrogant domination, and feckless science muddle has created a rogue elephant on the loose. To be sure, Marx struggled to create a systematic corpus for an exodus from his castigated ‘utopian’ socialist muddle of early socialism and to make it a canon that could exert authority against a wasteland of stray ‘socailisms’, but that strategy can’t make critical errors and has to get it right the first time or the result is not the science Marx proclaimed but still another brand of ‘utopian’ tinkertoys that at least offer a pool of variant DNA, sadly dismissed and put out of existence. Marx’s flawed system then surged in the Second International, but failing in all cases to find a venue, save in the anomalous case of Bolshevism. Lenin realized however that socialism could start anywhere anytime and pressed on with the Russian anomaly,but the hidden tragic flaws of Marx’s system derailed the whole attempt as it devolved into Stalinism.
We have a host of suggestions here, but basically, it might help to leave behind ‘theory’ in the sense of science. There are no sciences of society, sociology, psychology, or even evolution. From basic science, physics to biochemistry, the buck stops just around the evolutionary zone where the failure of theory is beyond even the awareness of biologists. And,sure enough, Marxism added a further cement block to drag it down, Darwinism, turning natural selection into a genocidal ‘class war’ weapon. To be sure, Marx had a brilliant analysis, which doesn’t require his Big Theory, of the way the factor of bourgeois domination and capitalism seep into and take over ‘democracy’. But the case of the US Rebs, which fall under that critique, nonetheless shows an early path attempting democracy (with hints of democratic socialism manque in its stunning focus on equality, however soon vitiated, unprecedented for its time).
The only revolution that really succeeded was the humble revolt of the American Rebs, nowhere near as smart, or smart ass, as Marx who made a total mess where the Rebs actually produced (serendipitously perhaps) a republic, a later diagnosed as bourgeois revolution with a strange democratizing potential, despite the near stealth anti-democratic elements foisted on the experiment by its elite slaveholders: the issue of slavery fairly well scotches the effort that looks ridiculous in retrospect but which shows a case where dirt farmers at least brought a revolution to term and showed more intelligent any of the nutjob marxists who come later.
The moral then is to consider the core idea of a republic quite compatible with a socialist brand, and then consider how it can realize increasing democracy as it manifests a socialist music/economics. It has a key obstacle the early Rebs didn’t have: the need to contain capital in a socialist container instead of the let-be/laissez-faire that made a revolution much easier in its outcome sequence. But the problem is not beyond solution: a simple requirement that ‘capital’/property at high level be annexed into a Commons, leaving the rest as is would be a minimal version of socialism that could be realized easily once the coming crisis of capitalism is seen finally for what it is. That means, no more Exxons and all such macro-capital formations. The lower level can by and large be left as is.
Our ‘democratic market neo-communism’ shows how easy it is to construct a variant of liberalism as a socialism/commnunism, dispensing with Marx’s distinction of the two. Such simple recipes could work fine, until Marxists get a hold of them.https://redfortyeight.com/2021/09/05/whos-the-bigger-obstacle-to-socialism-the-cia-or-the-cadre-of-marx-idiots-marx-the-paris-commune-socialisms-two-souls-what-liberation-are-we-fighting-for-rs21/ link sent to marxmail, obviously will be suppressed.