Anti-Dialectics

 

Internet Explorer 11 will no longer play the videos I have posted to this page. As far as I can tell, they play as intended in other Browsers. However, if you have Privacy Badger [PB] installed, they won't play in Google Chrome unless you disable PB for this site.

 

[Having said that, I have just discovered that these videos play in IE11 if you have upgraded to Windows 10! It looks like the problem is with Windows 7 and earlier versions of Windows.]

 

If you are using Internet Explorer 10 (or later), you might find some of the links I have used won't work properly unless you switch to 'Compatibility View' (in the Tools Menu); for IE11 select 'Compatibility View Settings' and then add this site (anti-dialectics.co.uk). Microsoft's new browser, Edge, automatically renders these links compatible; Windows 10 also automatically makes IE11 compatible with this site.

 

However, if you are using Windows 10, Microsoft's browsers, IE11 and Edge, colour these links somewhat erratically. They are meant to be dark blue, but those two browsers render them intermittently mid-blue, light blue, yellow, purple and red!

 

Firefox and Chrome reproduce these links correctly.

 

~~~~~~oOo~~~~~~

 

Nothing at this site should be read as an attack either on Historical Materialism [HM] -- a theory I fully accept --, or, indeed, revolutionary socialism.

 

I remain as committed to the self-emancipation of the working class and the dictatorship of the proletariat as I was when I first became a revolutionary over thirty years ago.

 

That puts the lie to the accusation that those who abandon 'the dialectic' soon abandon Marxism.

 

The difference between Dialectical Materialism [DM] and HM, as I see it, is explained here.

 

 

'Hegelism is like a mental disease; you can't know what it is until you get

 it, and then you can't know because you have got it' -- Max Eastman.

 

 

[Anyone who objects to my quoting Max Eastman should read this, and then perhaps think again.]

 

 

Brief introductions to the ideas presented at this site and what it seeks to achieve can be found below, here and here.

 

A short summary of some of my main objections to DM, and written for absolute beginners, can be accessed here.

 

A longer summary can be read here.

 

 

Quick Links To The Main Essays           Why I Began This Project

 

Site Map                              What's New

 

I have adjusted the font size at this site to ensure that even those with impaired vision can read what I have to say.

 

If the font is still either too big or too small for you, please adjust your browser settings!

 

Several readers have complained about the number of links I have added to the material posted at this site; that is  because they say it makes my Essays very difficult to read. Of course, DM-supporters can hardly lodge that complaint since they believe everything is interconnected, and that must surely apply to work that attempts to debunk that very idea.

 

However, to those who find these links do make my Essays difficult to read I say this: ignore the links! -- Unless, of course, you want to access further supporting evidence and argument for a particular point, or a certain topic fires your interest.

 

Others wonder why I have added links to subjects or topics that are part of common knowledge (such as recent Presidents of the USA, UK Prime Ministers, the names of rivers and mountains, films, or certain words in common use). I have done so for the following reason: my Essays are read all over the world and by people from all 'walks of life', so I can't assume that topics which are part of common knowledge in 'the west' are equally well-known across the planet -- or, indeed, by those who haven't had the benefit of the sort of education that is generally available in the 'advanced economies', or any at all. Some of my readers also struggle with English so any help I can give them I will continue to provide.

 

On this specific topic, several of the aforementioned links connect to web-pages that regularly change their URLs, or which vanish from the Internet altogether. While I endeavour to update these links when it becomes apparent that they have changed or have died, I cannot possibly keep on top of this all the time. I would greatly appreciate it, therefore, if readers informed me of any dead links they happen to notice.

 

In general, Haloscan links no longer seem to work, so readers needn't tell me about them! Links to RevForum, RevLeft, Socialist Unity and The North Star also appear to have died.

 

Contact Me

 

Hardcore dialecticians, who tend to reject everything presented at this site without bothering to read a single Essay, can instead try their hand at the 2020 Dialectics Final Exam, kindly set for us by The Guild Of The Mediated Totality.

 

 

Site Map

 

 

Quick Links:

 

What's New

 

Main Essays:

 

Essay One: Why I Began This Project

 

Essay Two: Dialectics -- Imposed On Reality, Not Read From It

 

[Summary here.]

 

Essay Three Part One: How Abstractionism Undermines Dialectics

 

[Summary here.]

 

Essay Three Part Two: Abstractionism -- 'Science' On The Cheap

 

[Summary here.]

 

Essay Four Part One: Formal Logic Can Handle Change

 

[Summary here.]

 

Essay Five: Why Motion Isn't Contradictory

 

[Summary here.]

 

Essay Six: Trotsky And Hegel -- Or, How To Misconstrue The 'Law' Of Identity, And How It Is No Enemy Of Change

 

[Summary here.]

 

Essay Seven Part One: Engels's Three 'Laws' Of Dialectics Debunked

 

[Summary here.]

 

Essay Seven Part Three: Why Dialectical Materialism Can't Explain Change

 

[Summary here.]

 

Essay Eight Part One: Essay Eight Part One: Change Through 'Internal Contradiction' -- An Incoherent Dogma

 

[Summary here.]

 

Essay Eight Part Two: Why Opposing Forces Aren't Contradictions

 

[Summary here.]

 

Essay Eight Part Three: Dialectical 'Logic' And Dialectical 'Contradictions' Exposed As Incoherent

 

Essay Nine Part One: Why Workers Will Always Reject 'Materialist Dialectics'

 

[Summary here.]

 

Essay Nine Part Two: How Petty-Bourgeois Revolutionaries And Their Theory, Dialectical Materialism, Have Damaged Marxism

 

[Summary here.]

 

Essay Ten Part One: Dialectical Materialism: Refuted By Practice And History

 

[Summary here.]

 

Essay Eleven Part One: The 'Totality' -- WTF Is It?

 

[Summary here.]

 

Essay Eleven Part Two: Dialectical Wholism -- Full Of Holes

 

[Summary here.]

 

Essay Twelve Part One: Why All Philosophical Theories, Including Dialectical Materialism, Are Non-Sensical

 

[Summary here.]

 

Essay Thirteen Part One: Lenin's Disappearing 'Definition' Of Matter

 

[Summary here.]

 

Essay Thirteen Part Three: 'Mind', Language, And 'Cognition

 

Many of my Essays have not been published yet; here are outlines of three of these:

 

Summary Of Essay Twelve Part Four: Outline of Hegel's Logical Blunders

 

Summary Of Essay Fourteen Part One: Hegel, Hermeticism And 'Materialist Dialectics

'

Summary Of The Rest Of Essay Twelve: Traditional Philosophy And Ruling-Class Ideology

 

~~~~oOo~~~~

 

Shorter Summaries Of All My Essays

 

~~~~oOo~~~~

 

Additional Material

 

 

 

According to sources at Marxism 2007, in response to a challenge that dialecticians use obscure jargon concocted by ruling-class hacks over the last 2300 years in order to try to make their theory work, John Rees alleged that this site also uses technical language.

Sure, some technical terminology has been used at this site, but this is merely a shorthand device; every such term has been paraphrased in ordinary language (as Marx himself enjoined of us). This can't be said of the obscure jargon employed by dialecticians.

More details here.

Be this as it may, the real source of dialectical confusion is exposed here.

Update, February 2010: The Dialectical Demons seem to have struck the Far Left again. John is no longer a member of the UK-SWP!

 However, the group he has now formed looks promising. I sincerely hope it, too, isn't one day cursed by these very same demons.

The same can't be said of the current UK-SWP, which seems to be imploding.

[What was that again about truth being tested in practice...?]

 

 

However, comrades can read a summary of the above events, along with the original intervention at Marxism 2007 (made by a supporter of this site) -- here.

 

 

 

I recently had a letter concerning Marx and Hegel published in Socialist Worker.

Two comrades replied, but my second response wasn't published. Read the entire correspondence, and more, here.

And here is another letter I sent to the above paper; they didn't publish that, either.

Here is yet another letter I sent in June 2008, which they failed to publish, too.

In August 2008, a supporter of this site sent a letter to Socialist Review, which the editor decided not to publish. You can read it here.

In November 2008, the same supporter sent another letter to Socialist Review in response to an article on dialectics by John Rees. The editor chose not to publish it, either. You can read that letter here.

In September 2008, I sent a letter to the International Socialist Review, which they then published in the September/October issue.

A comrade replied to my letter; you can read the original letter, his reply and my response -- Engels And Mickey Mouse Science -- here.

July 2012: A supporter of this site sent a letter to Socialist Worker, which they chose not to print. You can read it here, and then try to guess why the editors declined to publish it.

October 2012: The same supporter sent a couple of letters to the editors of Socialist Review and Socialist Worker in response to two articles about John Molyneux's new book, The Point Is To Change It: Introduction To Marxist Philosophy.

They chose not to publish either of them (no surprise there, then!). They can both be accessed here.

 

 

 

Anyone trying to view these Essays with Mozilla Firefox might find that some of the symbols I have used won't show up on their screens; in addition, the page formatting might change rather erratically.

The editor I have used to write this material is Microsoft's FrontPage 2003, which doesn't seem to 'like' Firefox.

 

 

 

What's New:

January 2019

13/01/20: A close relative of mine has spent the last two weeks converting my system to Windows 10, which is one reason why there has been no activity on this site since late December.

As noted above, if you are using Edge, Windows 10 will render the links I have inserted in my Essays (other than on this page!) several different colours. They should be dark blue.

Firefox and Chrome reproduce them correctly.

December 2019

16/12/19: Essay Three Part One -- How Abstractionism Undermines Dialectics -- has been completely re-written and re-organised. I have added just over 19,000 words of new material making it approximately 14% longer. I have also corrected a few errors and typos and made the argument much clearer.

November 2019

10/11/19: Essay Ten Part One: Dialectical Materialism: Refuted By Practice And History has just been re-written and slightly re-structured. I have added just short of 3500 words of new material, making it approximately 5% longer. I have also corrected several errors and typos, and have clarified my argument.

 

I have also re-written Essay One: Why I Began This Project.

September 2019

23/09/19: I have just re-written and restructured Essay Nine Part Two -- How Petty-Bourgeois Revolutionaries And Their Theory, Dialectical Materialism, Have Damaged Marxism. I have added just over 14,000 words of new material, making it approximately 7% longer. I have also corrected several errors and typos and clarified the argument.

04/09/19: I wasn't too happy with my last re-write of Essay Eight Part Three -- Dialectical 'Logic' And Dialectical 'Contradictions' Exposed As Incoherent -- so I have re-written it once more. I have added another 3200 words of new material, which means it is now about 4% longer. Again, I have corrected several errors and typos as well as greatly clarifying the argument.

July 2019

22/07/19: I have now completely re-written Essay Eight Part Three: Dialectical 'Logic' And Dialectical 'Contradictions' Exposed As Incoherent. I have added over 11,000 words of new material, making it approximately 16% longer, corrected a few errors and typos and clarified the argument.

This Essay also contains the first detailed take-down of Michael Kosok's lamentable attempt to 'formalise' Hegel's 'Logic'.

May 2019

01/05/19: Essay Five -- Motion Isn't Contradictory -- has just been re-written and completely re-organised. I have added about 6,000 words of new material (making it about 7% longer), corrected a few errors and typos and clarified the argument.

February 2019

 27/02/19: I have just finished re-writing Essay Nine Part One -- Why Workers Will Always Reject 'Materialist Dialectics', adding just over 2,000 words of new material, which makes the Essay about 2.6% longer. I have also reorganised the Essay a little, clarified the argument and corrected a few errors and typos.

01/02/19: I have again re-written Essay Four Part One -- Formal Logic Can Handle Change, adding approximately 6500 words of new material, which makes it 6% longer. I have also slightly reorganised the Essay, clarified the argument and corrected several errors and typos.

October 2018

I am having to move flats since the owner of my flat defaulted on his mortgage and it was sold under his feet.

There will be no more updates for couple of months.

September 2018:

03/09/18: I have now re-written Essay Eleven Part One -- The 'Totality' -- WTF Is It? I have added approximately 4,000 words of new material, making it 4% longer. I have also made my argument clearer and corrected several errors and typos.

July 2018:

30/07/18: I have just re-written and re-organised Essay Four Part One -- Formal Logic Can Handle Change. I have added just over 5,000 words of new material, making it approximately 5% longer. I have also made my argument clearer and corrected several errors and typos.

I am also half-way through doing the same with Essay Eleven Part One -- The 'Totality' -- WTF Is It?.

June 2018:

04/06/18: I have completely re-written and re-organised Essay Seven Part One -- Engels's Three 'Laws' Of Dialectics Debunked. I have added 12,500 words of new material, making it approximately 7% longer, clarified the argument and corrected several errors and typos.

April 2018:

24/04/18: Essay Ten Part One -- Dialectical Materialism: Refuted By Practice And History -- has just been re-written. I have added approximately 4,200 words of new material (making it just under 6% longer), and corrected a few errors and typos.

07/04/18: I have just finished re-writing and re-organising Essays Two and Four Part One -- Dialectics -- Imposed On Reality, Not Read From It and Formal Logic Can Handle Change.

I have corrected several errors and typos in both, adding approximately 6300 words of new material to Essay Two (making it just under 5% longer) and about 5000 words of new material to Four Part One (making it also about 5% longer).

February 2018:

14/02/18: I have just published two more instalments in my long-running reply to a Confused Marxist-Leninist, who posted two largely incoherent videos which tried to respond to an Introductory Essay of mine -- i.e., Refuting a Weak Attempt to Refute Me 11 & 12. All my replies to this individual, including the latest two, can be accessed here.

09/02/18: Essay Thirteen Part Three -- 'Mind', Language, And 'Cognition' -- has been completely re-written and reorganised. I have clarified the argument, corrected several typos and errors and added over 11,000 words of new material, making it approximately 6% longer.

January 2018:

25/01/18: Because it sets up the other Essays at this site, I have completely re-written and re-organised Essay Three Part One -- How Abstractionism Undermines Dialectics. It shows how core ideas Hegel dreamt up originated in Ancient Greek Metaphysics and Medieval Theology (connected with the re-configuration of subject-predicate sentences as identity propositions), and how this abstract approach to knowledge has totally undermined, not just Dialectical Materialism, but the language used by dialecticians to explain their theory.

I have reorganised this Essay, clarified the argument considerably, corrected several serious errors and annoying typos, and have added approximately 7500 words of new material, making it about 6% longer.

December 2017:

18/12/17: Essay Eight Part Two -- Why Opposing Forces Aren't Contradictions -- has just been re-written. I have corrected several errors and typos, clarified the argument and added approximately 12,000 words of new material, making it about 12% longer.

04/12/17: I have just re-written the opening Essay of this site -- Why I Began This Project. The argument has been clarified, with 800 words of new material added, making it approximately 2% longer.

November 2017:

15/11/17: The second edition of Richard Seymour's excellent book about Jeremy Corbyn was published last month:

05/11/17: Because of its complexity, I have just re-written Essay Eleven Part Two:  Dialectical Wholism -- Full Of Holes  I have clarified the argument, corrected a few errors and typos, and added 3,400 words of new material (making it approximately 5% longer).

October 2017:

05/10/17: I have just re-written two Essays:

(1)  Essay Four Part One: Formal Logic Can Handle Change. I have completely re-designed this Essay and have also greatly clarified the argument; I have also corrected a few errors and typos. Approximately 2,300 words of new material has been added, making it roughly 2.5% longer.

(2) Essay Five: Why Motion Isn't Contradictory. The argument has also been greatly clarified, and a few errors and typos corrected. 3,500 words have been added, making it roughly 4% longer.

August 2017:

25/08/17: I have just re-published Essay Twelve Part One: Why All Philosophical Theories, Including Dialectical Materialism, Are Non-Sensical. This Essay has been completely re-written and re-structured, since much of it was rather obscure, and, incidentally, wrong. It is now 30% longer, having had 38,000 words of new material added.

June 2017:

15/06/17: Essay Two: Dialectics -- Imposed On Reality, Not Read From It has been completely re-structured and re-written. I have added 2500 words of new material, making it about 2% longer. I have also re-written Essay One: Why I Began This Project.

May 2017:

I have spent the last two months re-writing the summaries of all the main Essays at this site, and I have finished all but three of them. The re-written Essays can be accessed here.

March 2017:

20/03/17: Essay Nine Part Two -- How Petty-Bourgeois Theorists And Their Theory, Dialectical Materialism, Have Damaged Marxism -- has been completely re-written. I have added 36,000 words of new material and several new sections, making it approximately 22% longer. I have also clarified the argument, and corrected a few errors and typos.

February 2017:

14/02/17: I have just re-written Essay Three Part Two -- Abstractionism: 'Science' On The Cheap. I have added approximately 8000 words of new material, making it about 10% longer. I have also clarified the argument and corrected several errors and typos.

January 2017:

 

01/01/17: I have just re-written the Essay, Was Wittgenstein a Leftist?

I have corrected a few errors and typos and added just under 2000 words of new material, making it approximately 2% longer.

December 2016:

12/12/16: Essay Five -- Why Motion Isn't Contradictory has just been re-written. I have clarified the argument considerably, corrected a few errors and typos with just over 2500 words of new material, making it approximately 3% longer.

November 2016:

28/11/16: I have just finished re-writing Essay Nine Part One -- Why Workers Will Always Reject 'Materialist Dialectics', adding 8,000 words of new material making the Essay just over 12% longer. I have also clarified the argument and corrected a few errors and typos.

12/11/16: Essay Ten Part One -- Dialectical Materialism: Refuted By Practice And History has just be re-written and re-organised to make the argument clearer and run more smoothly, adding approximately 6,000 words of new material, making it 8% longer. I have also corrected a few errors and typos.

08/11/16: I have just re-written one of the summaries of Essay Twelve Part One -- Why All Philosophical Theories Are Non-Sensical.

The argument is now, I think, far more perspicuous.

October 2016:

30/10/16 -- I have now finished re-formatting the entire site (other than this page!).

I have also finished re-writing Essay One -- Why I Began This Project. It is now about 10% longer.

I am also in the middle of replying to another largely incoherent video published by 'The Finnish Bolshevik'. The first four of my responses can be accessed here, here, here, and here.

~~~~oOo~~~~

I am in the middle of reformatting the Essays published at this site, replacing much of the garish red font with black. I am also having to correct several other serious formatting glitches mysteriously introduced by the editor I have used, Microsoft's FrontPage. This should take another two or three weeks to complete.

August 2016:

18/08/16: I have just finished re-writing Essay Eight Part Two -- Why Opposing Forces Aren't Contradictions -- adding just over 18,000 words of new material, making it approximately 22% longer. I have also clarified the argument and corrected several errors and typos.

In addition, I have added a section on Immanuel Kant's attempt to introduce 'real opposition'/'negation' into philosophy, which 'concept', we are told, was integral to Hegel's own invention of 'dialectical contradictions'.

I have also critically analysed Tom Weston's attempt to link a throw-away remark Marx added to Volume One of Das Kapital (about elliptical motion) to Hegel's confused introduction of 'dialectical contradictions'.

I will say more about Weston's ill-considered article in a later re-write of Essay Nine Part One.

13/08/16: A couple of months ago I re-wrote Essay Six -- Trotsky And Hegel -- Or, How To Misconstrue The 'Law' Of Identity, but on re-reading it, it was apparent that the argument wasn't as clear as it could or should be. I have now re-written it again, adding just under 3,000 words of new material, making it approximately 5% longer still, greatly clarifying the argument and correcting several errors and typos.

June 2016:

25/06/16: I have just finished re-writing Essay Eight Part One -- Change Through 'Internal Contradiction' -- An Incoherent Dogma. I have added approximately 3,500 words of new material, making it 8% longer.

I have also clarified the argument and corrected several errors and typos.

12/06/16: Last year, a self-styled 'Marxist-Leninist' (who calls himself 'The Finnish Bolshevik' [TFB]) published a video at YouTube criticising an Essay I wrote some time ago at the behest of one or two younger comrades who wanted a basic introduction to my criticisms of DM. I subsequently published a reply to this video, but TFB has now posted a second video at YouTube attempting to respond to a few of my replies to him.

I have now published the first part of my response to this latest video.

[Links to the first video and my replies to it can be found at the above link.]

04/06/16: I have just finished re-writing Essay Four Part One -- Formal Logic And Change. I have added approximately 13,500 words of new material, making it roughly 17% longer. I have also clarified the argument and corrected several errors and typos.

May 2016:

04/05/16: I have just finished re-writing Essay Six -- Trotsky And Hegel -- Or, How To Misconstrue The 'Law' Of Identity. I have added just over 5,000 words of new material, making it approximately 11% longer. I have also clarified the argument and corrected several errors and typos.

04/05/16: Here's a new book by Richard Seymour I can heartily recommend:

From the publisher's website:

Up-to-date analysis of how Corbyn rose to the head of the Labour Party, and his prospects for staying there.

Jeremy Corbyn, the 'dark horse' candidate for the Labour leadership, won and won big. With a landslide in the first round, this unassuming antiwar socialist crushed the opposition, particularly the Blairite opposition.

For the first time in decades, socialism is back on the agenda -- and for the first time in Labour’s history, it controls the leadership. The party machine couldn't stop him. An almost unanimous media campaign couldn't stop him. It is as if their power, like that of the Wizard of Oz, was always mostly illusion. Now Corbyn has one chance to convince the public to support his reforming ambitions.

Where did he come from, and what chance does he have? This book tells the story of how Corbyn's rise was made possible by the long decline of Labour and a deep crisis of British democracy. It surveys the makeshift coalition of trade unionists, young and precarious workers, and students, who rallied to Corbyn. It shows how a novel social media campaign turned the media's 'Project Fear' on its head, making a virtue of every accusation they threw at him. And finally it asks, with all the artillery that is still ranged against Corbyn, and given the crisis-ridden Labour Party that he has inherited, what it would mean for him to succeed.

April 2016:

24/04/16: I have just finished re-writing Essay Eleven Part Two -- Dialectical Wholism -- Full Of Holes. I have added just over 3,000 words of new material, making it approximately 5% longer. I have also clarified the argument and corrected several errors and typos.

17/04/16: Having re-written Essay Three Part One, I thought it wise to do the same to its sequel, Essay Three Part Two -- Abstractionism: 'Science' On The Cheap. I have added approximately 4000 words of new material, making it about 5% longer. I have also clarified the argument and corrected several errors and typos.

02/04/16: I have just finished re-writing Essay Three Part One -- How Abstractionism Undermines Language And Science. I have added just over 25,000 words of new material, making it approximately 26% longer. I have also clarified the argument and corrected several errors and typos.

However, the biggest change is that I have added an Appendix which contains a detailed criticism of an attempt to defend Hegel against criticisms advanced by Bertrand Russell.

February 2016:

10/02/16: Essay Thirteen Part One -- Lenin's Disappearing Definition Of Matter -- has just been re-written. I have added just over 3,000 words of new material, making it approximate Ely 4% longer. I have also clarified the argument and corrected several errors and typos.

02/02/16: I have just finished re-writing Essay One -- Why I Began This Project. I have added approximately 3,000 words of new material, making it roughly 10% longer. I have also clarified the argument and corrected several errors and typos.

January 2016:

22/01/16: I have just finished re-writing Essay Seven Part One -- Engels's Three 'Laws' Debunked. I have added just over 15,000 words of new material, making it approximately 10% longer. I have also clarified the argument and corrected several errors and typos.

December 2015:

28/12/15: I have just re-written Essay Seven Part Three -- Why Dialectical Materialism Can't Explain Change.

I have added just over 1000 words of new material, making it approximately 2% longer. I have also made the argument clearer and have corrected several errors and typos.

November 2015:

27/11/15: I have just finished yet another re-write of Essay Eleven Part One -- The 'Totality' -- WTF Is It?

I have added just short of 14,000 words of new material, making it approximately 12% longer. I have also made the argument clearer and have corrected several errors and typos.

I have re-written this Essay again so soon after the last re-write because, as I say in the preamble, I wasn't happy with the way I had approached this topic. This means that it will have to be re-jigged many more times before I am content with the end product.  

August 2015:

24/08/15: I have just finished re-writing Essay Eleven Part One -- The 'Totality' -- WTF Is It?

I have added 11,000 words of new material, making it just over 10% longer. I have also made the argument clearer and have corrected several errors and typos.

10/08/15: I recently spotted an article in Weekly Worker written by Jack Conrad that attempted to defend both DM and the traditional view that Marx and Engels were of one mind when it came to that theory/method.

I wrote a 2000 word reply which they published in edited form as a letter.

The full, un-edited version can be accessed here.

June 2015:

26/06/15: I have just finished a re-write of Essay Four: Formal Logic Can Handle Change.

I have added just over 6000 words of new material, making the Essay approximately 8% longer. I have also clarified the argument, and corrected several mistakes and typos.

18/06/15: Over the last three or four months my time has largely been occupied correcting the formatting problems at this site (mentioned above). That onerous task is now nearly complete.

The next Essay to be published at this site -- devoted to DM and Science -- should appear before the end of the year.

April 2015:

12/04/15: I have now finished a re-write of Essay Five: Why Motion Isn't Contradictory.

I have added just under 4000 words of new material, making the Essay approximately 6% longer. I have clarified the argument, and corrected several mistakes and typos.

December 2014:

31/12/14: I have just finished re-writing Essay Seven Part Three: Why Dialectical Materialism Can't Explain Change.

I have made the argument clearer and added about 3000 words of new material, making the Essay approximately 7% longer.

20/12/14: A few years ago (and long before their disastrous handling of rape allegations made against a former leading member of the UK-SWP) I wrote a letter to Socialist Worker about, would you believe, Gödel's theorem. I made the point that the results of that theorem should only be accepted by Platonists.

They chose not to publish it.

Since then, I have been regularly adding new material to a series of addendums to that letter. I have now added the latest batch of new material (which largely relates to a paper I have just read that was written by a Professor of Mathematics concerning the incoherence of the idea that there are, or could be, infinite sets).

15/11/14: I have now finished a re-write of Essay Five: Motion Isn't Contradictory.

I have added just over 5000 words of new material, making the Essay approximately 7% longer. I have clarified the argument, and corrected several mistakes and typos.

November 2014:

15/11/14: I have just received a copy of Henri Wald's seriously mis-titled Introduction To Dialectical Logic. I would have obtained this work long ago, but copies on the Internet were far too expensive. However, a few weeks ago, one became available in my price range.

This book is, however, a classic example of how not to introduce a topic, since it is full of technical jargon and seems to have been written by someone who believes that if a complicated and incomprehensible sentence can be substituted for simpler words, then that on its own somehow elevates any thought it attempts to communicate into a superior form of philosophy. This is typical of Traditional Thought in this area, and, as several Essays published at this site show, dialecticians are only too keen to demonstrate how traditional and conservative they are in this respect

One would have thought that Marx's advice -- that we return to the use of ordinary language and reject the empty abstractions of Traditional Thought -- would have informed Wald's approach ("would have thought", that is, at least in an Introductory text, and one that seeks to advance Marxist theory!).

Be this as it may, Wald has made some attempt to respond to several criticisms I have levelled against this ruling-class import into the workers' movement (clearly without any knowledge of my work, since Wald's book was published long before I began to write these Essays!). That being the case, over the next few months I will be adding (to several of my Essays) a series of rebuttals to Wald's rather weak attempt to defend this indefensible theory [DM].

11/11/2014: I have just finished re-writing Essay Ten Part One -- Dialectical Materialism: Refuted By Practice And History?

I have made numerous small changes, corrected several errors and typos -- as well as adding about 5000 words of new material, making the Essay approximately 10% longer.

October 2014:

30/10/2014: I have just finished re-writing an Essay I posted a year ago: Was Wittgenstein A Leftist?

I have made numerous small changes, corrected several errors and typos, and added about 1600 words of new material.

18/10/2014: I have just finished re-writing Essay Three Part Two --Abstractionism -- 'Science' On The Cheap

Nearly 5,000 words of new material have been added (making the Essay approximately 7% longer), several errors and typos have been corrected, and the argument has been clarified throughout.

September 2014:

06/09/2014: I have just finished re-writing Essay Eleven Part One -- The 'Totality': WTF Is It?

I have added just over 10,000 words of new material (making the Essay approximately 10% longer), corrected several errors and typos, and clarified the argument considerably.

August 2014:

01/08/2014: I have just finished re-writing Essay Thirteen Part Three -- 'Mind', Language, And 'Cognition; Voloshinov (And Several Others) Debunked

I have added over 13,000 words of new material (making the Essay approximately 7% longer), corrected several errors and typos, and clarified the argument.

May 2014:

24/05/2014: I have just finished re-writing Essay Three Part One -- How Abstractionism Undermines Language And Science.

I have added just under 21,000 words of new material (making it approximately 28% longer), corrected several errors and typos, and have made the argument much clearer.

April 2014:

03/04/2014: I have just finished re-writing Essay Eleven Part One -- The 'Totality': WTF Is It?

I have added about 6500 words of new material (making it approximately 7% longer), corrected several errors and typos, and have made the argument much clearer.

March 2014:

23/03/2014: A new book by a friend of mine has just been published:

Here is the blurb from the publishers website:

"Five years into capitalism's deepest crisis, which has led to cuts and economic pain across the world, Against Austerity addresses a puzzling aspect of the current conjuncture: why are the rich still getting away with it? Why is protest so ephemeral? Why does the left appear to be marginal to political life?

"In an analysis which challenges our understanding of capitalism, class and ideology, Richard Seymour shows how 'austerity' is just one part of a wider elite plan to radically re-engineer society and everyday life in the interests of profit, consumerism and speculative finance.

"But Against Austerity is not a gospel of despair. Seymour argues that once we turn to face the headwinds of this new reality, dispensing with reassuring dogmas, we can forge new collective resistance and alternatives to the current system. Following Brecht, Against Austerity argues that the good old things are over, it's time to confront the bad new ones."

January 2014:

20/01/14: I have just begun work on a new addition to this site: Essay Twelve Part Four -- Dialectical Materialism And Linguistic Idealism. Is Nature 'Rational'?

 

This Essay continues from where Essays Three Part One and Twelve Part One left off and examines the 'world-view' DM-theorists inherited from Mystical Christianity and Hermetic Philosophy, via Hegel (upside down or 'the right way up') -- i.e., that 'reality' not only has a 'rational' structure, humans beings (in the shape of DM-theorists) can comprehend it.

 

It should be ready to publish by Easter.

 

18/01/14: A supporter of this site has just started a new thread over at RevLeft -- A Beginners Guide To Anti-Dialectics.

17/01/14: I have just re-written Essay One -- Why I Began This Project -- to take account of the recent implosion of the UK-SWP.

I have corrected several errors and typos, and clarified the argument. The Essay is now just over 2000 words (or approximately 10%) longer.

02/01/14: I have now finished the Essay mentioned below -- Essay Seven Part Three: Why Dialectical Materialism Can't Explain Change.

December 2013

28/12/13: I am at the moment putting the final touches to a new Essay (which is in fact a complete re-write of material drawn from several other Essays): Essay Seven Part Three -- Why Dialectical Materialism Can't Explain Change.

I am posting the updates as they are being written, but I hope to have the Essay finished before the end of next week.

October 2013

28/10:13: The North Star magazine has just published an Interview with me, and an article of mine: Wittgenstein -- Radical Or Conservative Mystic?

However, if you are using Internet Explorer 10, you might find some of the links I have used in both of the above won't work properly unless you switch to 'Compatibility View' (in the Tools Menu).

These two items unfortunately also contain a few rather annoying typos (and bad links); these will be corrected and the final versions will appear here at a later date.

September 2013

27/09/13: I have just re-written Essay Ten Part One -- Practice And History Refute Dialectics.

Approximately 1,500 words of new material has been added (thus making the Essay just over 3% longer). I have also corrected several errors and typos, and clarified the argument.

17/09/13: I have just re-written Essay Nine Part One -- Why Workers Will Always Ignore 'Materialist Dialectics'.

Approximately 3,000 words of new material have been added (thus making the Essay just over 6% longer). I have also corrected several errors and typos, and clarified the argument.

12/09/13: I have just re-written Essay Five -- Motion Isn't Contradictory.

I have added approximately 3,500 words of new material (thus making the Essay nearly 6% longer), corrected several errors and typos. I have also clarified the argument.

09/09/13: I have just written a reply to a comrade who criticised my Essay on Wittgenstein -- Hit The Bottle.

04/09/13: I have also republished John Moran's path-breaking New Left Review article -- Wittgenstein And Russia -- originally published in May-June 1972.

03/09/13: I have just finished and posted my new Essay -- Was Wittgenstein A Leftist?

This Essay contains original research into the links between Hegel, Marx, Engels, and Wittgenstein's work not spotted before by anyone, including myself.

In the Introduction and Conclusion I also explain my motivation for writing this Essay and why this isn't just an academic exercise.

August 2013

08/08/13: I am putting the finishing touches to a new Essay -- Was Wittgenstein A Leftist?

It should be ready to post a few weeks.

June 2013

01/06/13: I have just finished the re-write of two more Introductory Essays: the Summary of Essay Twelve Part One -- Why All Philosophical Theories, Including Dialectical Materialism, Are Nonsensical; and the Summary of Essay Thirteen Part One -- Lenin's Disappearing Definition Of Matter.

May 2013

28/05/13: At the request of one or two comrades who are interested in my ideas, I have responded to a new batch of critics of my ideas over at RevLeft.

This new Essay is called Dialectical Confusion 2.

20/05/13: I have just re-written Essay Two -- Dialectics -- Imposed On Reality, Not Read From It.

I have added about 4,500 words of new material, clarified the argument and corrected several typos and errors.

I have also re-written the Introductory Essay -- Why All Philosophical Theories Are Non-Sensical -- correcting a few errors and, I hope, making the argument much clearer.

This essay shouldn't be confused with the one mentioned below. In fact, it's a summary of the Essay below! A summary of a summary!

13/05/13: I am in the process of re-writing each of the Summary Essays.

As of this week, I have finished all of them up to and including the Summary Of Essay Twelve Part One -- Why All Philosophical Theories, Including Dialectical Materialism, Are Non-sensical.

After that, I plan to start work on Essay Twelve Part Four -- Linguistic Idealism: Is Nature Rational?

That should be ready by the spring of 2014.

April 2013

25/04/13: At the request of one or two comrades who are interested in my ideas, I am in the process of responding to several critics of my ideas over at RevLeft.

This new Essay is called Dialectical Confusion.

16/04/13: I have completely re-written and re-formatted The Dialectical Materialism Exam, adding several new questions.

09/04/13: For some reason I can't work out, the web editor I have been using for the past seven or more years decided to scramble Essay Nine Part Two -- The Damage Petty-Bourgeois Theorists And Dialectical Materialism Have Inflicted On Marxism -- , rendering much of it unreadable and to such an extent that it has taken me the best part of a month to reconstruct it from an earlier saved copy.

That is one reason why there has been nothing new to announce at this site for five or six weeks.

Anyway, I took this opportunity to re-write that Essay to take account of the crisis that has been brewing in the UK-SWP since the turn of the year.

February 2013

23/02/13: I have just finished re-writing Essay Nine Part Two -- The Damage Petty-Bourgeois Theorists And Dialectical Materialism Have Inflicted On Marxism -- to take account of the on-going crisis in the UK-SWP.

I have added approximately 35,000 words of new material (thus making the Essay 25% longer), corrected several errors and typos; I have also clarified the argument.

05/02/13: As noted below, because of the on-going crisis in the UK-SWP, I am re-writing Essay Nine Parts One and Two, posting the changes as they are being made.

January 2013

25/01/13: The re-write of Essay Thirteen Part Three -- Mind, Language, And Cognition -- has just been finished.

I have added just over 21,000 words of new material (making the Essay about 12% longer), and have corrected several errors and typos, and clarified the argument considerably.

15/01/13: The re-write of Essay Thirteen Part Three has had to be shelved for a week because of the looming crisis in the UK-SWP. [On that, see here.]

I have had to re-write large sections of Essay Nine Part Two -- The Damage Petty-Bourgeois Theorists And Dialectical Materialism Have Inflicted On Marxism --, which deals with such matters, in the light of these developments.

08/01/13: Here's a new book out this January that is well worth checking out:

This is from the publisher's website:

"Blistering and timely interrogation of the politics and motives of an infamous ex-leftist.

 

"Irascible and forthright, Christopher Hitchens stood out as a man determined to do just that. In his younger years, a career-minded socialist, he emerged from the smoke of 9/11 a neoconservative 'Marxist,' an advocate of America’s invasion of Iraq filled with passionate intensity. Throughout his life, he played the role of universal gadfly, whose commitment to the truth transcended the party line as well as received wisdom. But how much of this was imposture? In this highly critical study, Richard Seymour casts a cold eye over the career of the 'Hitch' to uncover an intellectual trajectory determined by expediency and a fetish for power.

 

"As an orator and writer, Hitchens offered something unique and highly marketable. But for all his professed individualism, he remains a recognizable historical type -- the apostate leftist. Unhitched presents a rewarding and entertaining case study, one that is also a cautionary tale for our times."

03/01/13: I am in the process of re-writing Essay Thirteen Part Three -- Mind, Language, And Cognition -- posting the changes as they are being made.

It should be finished within the next week or so.

December 2012

02/12/12: I have just finished the re-write of Essay Thirteen Part One -- Lenin's Disappearing Definition Of Matter.

I have added about 7,000 words of new material (making it approximately 12% longer), clarified the argument, and corrected several errors and typos.

November 2012

23/11/12: I have just posted Chapter Eight of Guy Robinson's unpublished book, Philosophy and Demystification -- Philosophy In The Service Of History. This is the last chapter of the above book.

October 2012

31/10/12: I have just posted Chapter Seven of Guy Robinson's unpublished book, Philosophy and Demystification -- Newton, Marx and Wittgenstein.

08/10/12: A supporter of this site has sent a couple of letters to the editors of Socialist Review and Socialist Worker in response to two articles about John Molyneux's new book, The Point Is To Change It: Introduction To Marxist Philosophy.

They chose not to publish either of them (no surprise there!). They can both be accessed here.

05/10/12: I have just finished the re-write of Essay Twelve Part One -- Why All Philosophical Theories, Including Dialectical Materialism, Are Non-Sensical.

I have added about 26,000 words of new material (making it approximately 30% longer), clarified the argument, and corrected several errors and typos.

September 2012

08/09/12:  I have just posted Chapter Five of Guy Robinson's unpublished book, Philosophy and Demystification -- Creating Creativity.

I am in the process of completely re-writing Essay Twelve Part One, which is taking an inordinate amount of time, hence the dearth of material posted of late.

I am publishing the changes as they are being made, but I should have this finished in the next few weeks.

August 2012

02/08/12: A few weeks ago (mid July 2012) a supporter of this site sent a letter to Socialist Worker, which they chose not to publish. You can read it here, and then try to guess why...

In addition, I have just found out that John Molyneux's latest book, The Point Is To Change It, has now been published. I have ordered a copy, and will post a few comments about it in a week or so.

However, I have seen advanced copies of this book, and the sections that deal with dialectics make all the usual mistakes.

No surprise there then.

July 2012

23/07/12: Just a reminder that the Second Edition of The Liberal Defence of Murder is now out in paperback, with a new Afterword.

"Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, a number of prominent thinkers on the Left found themselves increasingly aligned with their ideological opposites. Over the last decade, many of these thinkers have become close to Washington; forceful supporters of the War on Terror, they help frame arguments for policymakers and provide the moral and intellectual justification for Western military intervention across the globe. From Kanan Makiya, one of the chief architects of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, to Bernard Henri-Levy’s advocacy of 'humanitarian' intervention, The Liberal Defense of Murder traces the journey of these figures from left to right and explores their critical role in the creation of the new American empire. With wide-ranging testimony from many key figures on the left, this is a crucial account of the emergence of the 'pro-war left,' and its shaping of our post-9/11 world."

Critical comments about the first edition:

"Richard Seymour's obsessively researched, impressive first book holds its place as the most authoritative historical analysis of its kind."
-- Resurgence

"[T]ruly impressive breadth and depth...[providing]...a new European perspective -- and a warning -- on the left's pragmatic and ultimately short-sighted support for imperialist adventures." -- Journal of American Studies

"[A] powerful counter-blast against the monstrous regiment of 'useful idiots'" who have "contributed in recent decades to the murderous mess of modern times."
-- Times of London

"[A]n excellent antidote to the propagandists of the crisis of our times."
-- Independent on Sunday

"[T]imely, provocative and thought-provoking."
-- Independent

"Among those who share responsibility for the carnage and chaos in the Gulf are the useful idiots who gave the war intellectual cover and attempted to lend it a liberal imprimatur. The more belligerent they sounded the more bankrupt they became; the more strident their voice the more craven their position.… Richard Seymour expertly traces their descent from humanitarian intervention to blatant Islamophobia."
-- Gary Younge

"Indispensable...Seymour brilliantly uncovers the pre-history and modern reality of the so-called 'pro-war Left'."
-- China Miéville

"[E]ssential reading."
-- New Statesman

11/07/12: A character from Finland, or so I assume, is re-publishing large chunks of my Essays at an obscure Finnish site, [the posts have now been taken down -- September 2012] only then to add offensive (often scatological), superficial, and misleading comments about them.

I can't read Finnish, the language in which these impertinent remarks have been written, but from the imperfect translation Google supplies, it is clear that this character hasn't read my work with any care at all.

This is typical of Dialectical Mystics -- as I have pointed out at the foot of this page. 'He' certainly hasn't the courage to take me on directly (here, for example), so 'he' simply snipes away at me, posting little other than abuse, irrelevant comments and lies.

Which is, of course, further confirmation I'm on the right track...   

10/07/12: I have just posted Chapter Four of Guy Robinson's unpublished book, Philosophy and Demystification -- The Material and the External.

June 2012

24/06/12: I have just posted the next chapter of Guy Robinson's unpublished book, Philosophy and Demystification -- 'Forms of Life and the Construction of Reality'.

15/06/12 -- Back in the 1990s, I came across an odd article in a collection of essays about Hegel, called 'The Formalisation of Hegel's Dialectical Logic', by Michael Kosok. When I first read it I concluded it was either a joke or a hoax since it was written by someone who either didn't know what a formalisation even looked like, or who was writing for those who didn't know and who would thus swallow any old rubbish.

Even so, that didn't stop dialectically distracted comrades from referring me to this odd piece of work, perhaps in the mistaken view it would 'sort me out'.

Well, I have now published what is, I believe, the very first detailed demolition of this 'formalisation'. Visitors can access it here.

In addition, Essay Eight Part Three -- Dialectical 'Contradictions' and Dialectical 'Logic' -- where the above takedown appears, has been completely re-written.

I have added about 32,000 words of new material, clarified the argument and corrected several typos and errors, making it approximately twice its previous length.

Incidentally, the on-line version of Kosok's essay is riddled with typos -- many minor, several major. In the above takedown, I have quoted Kosok extensively, and corrected these errors.

07/06/12: Although I was aware of this book several years ago, I have just received a copy of Radical Currents in Contemporary Philosophy (Warren Green Inc, 1971), edited by David DeGrood, Dale Riepe and John Somerville.

This book contains what is easily the best analysis of an obscure dialectical doctrine, The Unity of Opposites (by V J McGill and W T Parry) that I have encountered in over 25 years researching this 'theory'.

Having said that, these authors have simply ignored the numerous serious philosophical problems this theory faces, many of which I have levelled against this doctrine in Essay Seven Part One, problems which  should have been obvious to anyone who approached this mystical 'theory' with a healthy dose of materialist-inspired scepticism.

Even so, I will add several comments on this article in a later re-write of Essays Four Part One, Seven Part One and Eight Part Three.

I am in the process of completely re-writing the last of the above Essays -- Dialectical 'Contradictions' and Dialectical 'Logic', uploading the new material as it is being written.

In addition to adding this material, I will include a long-overdue criticism of Michael Kosok's misguided and confused attempt to formalise 'Hegel's Dialectical Logic'.

It should be ready to post in the next week or so.

May 2012

28/05/12: I have re-written and re-organised the Essay on Wittgenstein, adding 2000 words of new material (making it about 10% longer). I have also corrected a few errors and typos.

21/05/12: I have now posted another chapter from Guy Robinson's unpublished book Philosophy and Demystification: 'Historical and Ahistorical Views of the World'.

13/05/12: Essay Nine Part Two -- The Damage Petty-Bourgeois Theorists And Dialectical Materialism Have Inflicted On Marxism -- has just been completely re-written.

I have corrected several errors and typos, clarified the argument, and added about 15,000 words of new material -- which makes this Essay about 12% longer.

08/05/12: American Insurgents: A Brief History of American Anti-Imperialism, by Richard Seymour is a new book well worth checking out, available in the UK next month.

From the publishers website:

"American Insurgents is a revealing, often surprising history of anti-imperialism in the United States since the American Revolution. It charts the movements against empire from the Indian Wars and the expansionism of the slave South, to the Anti-Imperialist League of Mark Twain and Jane Addams; from the internationalists opposing World War I to the Vietnam War and beyond. It shows that there is a surprising, often ignored tradition of radical anti-imperialism in the US. Far from being 'isolationist' in the fashion of Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan, the book contends, these traditions were often the most internationalist and cosmopolitan currents in US political history. The most ambitious movements formed direct relationships with the victims of US expansionism, from the abolitionists uniting with Native Americans to stop colonial genocide to the solidarity movements in central America and the 'human shields' in Palestine and Iraq. Far from being the privilege of the rich and educated, antiwar activism has been most evident among the poor and oppressed. It has been most militant when visibly connected to domestic struggles and interests, such as slavery, civil rights, women’s oppression and class. Above all, the book contextualizes each anti-imperialist movement in the evolving structure of US expansionism and dominance, and explains how some movements succeeded while others failed. In so doing, it offers a vital perspective for those organizing antiwar resistance today."

Excerpt available here.

Also worth mentioning: Richard's earlier book, The Liberal Defense of Murder, will be re-issued in paperback, 04/07/2012, with a new chapter added bringing the story up-to-date:

"Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, a number of prominent thinkers on the Left found themselves increasingly aligned with their ideological opposites. Over the last decade, many of these thinkers have become close to Washington; forceful supporters of the War on Terror, they help frame arguments for policymakers and provide the moral and intellectual justification for Western military intervention across the globe. From Kanan Makiya, one of the chief architects of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, to Bernard Henri-Levy’s advocacy of 'humanitarian' intervention, The Liberal Defense of Murder traces the journey of these figures from left to right and explores their critical role in the creation of the new American empire. With wide-ranging testimony from many key figures on the left, this is a crucial account of the emergence of the 'pro-war left,' and its shaping of our post-9/11 world."

Critical comments about the first edition:

"Richard Seymour's obsessively researched, impressive first book holds its place as the most authoritative historical analysis of its kind."
-- Resurgence

"[T]ruly impressive breadth and depth...[providing]...a new European perspective -- and a warning -- on the left's pragmatic and ultimately short-sighted support for imperialist adventures." -- Journal of American Studies

"[A] powerful counter-blast against the monstrous regiment of 'useful idiots'" who have "contributed in recent decades to the murderous mess of modern times."
-- Times of London

"[A]n excellent antidote to the propagandists of the crisis of our times."
-- Independent on Sunday

"[T]imely, provocative and thought-provoking."
-- Independent

"Among those who share responsibility for the carnage and chaos in the Gulf are the useful idiots who gave the war intellectual cover and attempted to lend it a liberal imprimatur. The more belligerent they sounded the more bankrupt they became; the more strident their voice the more craven their position.… Richard Seymour expertly traces their descent from humanitarian intervention to blatant Islamophobia."
-- Gary Younge

"Indispensable...Seymour brilliantly uncovers the pre-history and modern reality of the so-called 'pro-war Left'."
-- China Miéville

"[E]ssential reading."
-- New Statesman

April 2012

07/04/12: I have just finished a re-write of Essay Three Part Two: Abstract Ideas -- Science On The Cheap.

I have added about 4,000 words of new material -- making it about 6% longer. I have also corrected several errors and typos, and have updated and made the argument clearer.

02/04/12: The rate at which I am re-writing the main Essays at this site has been greatly slowed by several time consuming debates I have been engaged in over the last few weeks: here, here, here, here and here.

I have also written and posted a much shorter summary of the core argument of Essay Twelve Part One -- entitled Why All Philosophical Theories Are Non-sensical.

Since I am endeavouring to make a very complex argument as clear and straight-forward as possible, it will require several more re-writes before I am happy with it.

March 2012

12/03/12: I have now completely re-written Essay Eleven Part Two: Dialectical Wholism, Full Of Holes.

I have added about 8,000 words of new material -- making it about 16% longer. I have also corrected several errors and typos, and have updated and made the argument clearer.

February 2012

17/02/12: Essay Ten Part One -- Dialectics, Refuted By Practice And History -- has just been re-written.

I have added about 3,000 words of new material -- making it about 8% longer --, corrected a few errors and typos, updated and made the argument clearer.

12/02/12: I have now re-written Essay Nine Part One -- Why Workers Will Always Ignore Dialectics.

I have added about 5,000 words of new material -- making it about 10% longer --, corrected a few errors and typos, and made the argument clearer.

03/02/12: Ok, I have now completed that major re-write of Essay Eight Part Two -- Why Opposing Forces Aren't Contradictions.

I have added about 12,000 words of new material -- making it just over 20% longer. In addition, I have corrected a few errors and typos, and made the argument much clearer.

02/02/12: I have just re-written Essay Two -- Dialectics, Imposed On Reality, Not Read From It.

I have added about 4,000 words of new material -- making it just under 10% longer --, corrected a few errors and typos, and made the argument clearer.

In the next few days I'll be posting a major re-write of Essay Eight Part Two -- Why Opposing Forces Aren't Contradictions.

It has taken a little longer than I had expected to finish this Essay.

In addition, I have also re-written the Basic Introductory Essay -- Why I Oppose Dialectical Materialism.

I have added over 2000 words of new material, corrected a few errors and typos, and made the argument clearer.

01/02/12: A few years ago, I obtained a copy of Ian Hunt's Analytic and Dialectical Marxism. I posted a few remarks on this book here, but I have now started to add more considered comments, aimed at showing that despite Hunt's commitment to "clarity and rigour" in defence of dialectics, he fails miserably to live up to both those aims.

January 2012

15/01/12: I have just re-written Essay One -- Why I Began This Project.

I haven't added much material (only about 500 words in all), but I have corrected a few mistakes and typos and I've made the argument clearer.

12/01/12: Essay Nine Part Two -- The Damage Petty-Bourgeois Theorists And Dialectical Materialism Have Inflicted On Marxism -- has just been completely re-written.

I have corrected several errors and typos, clarified the argument, and added about 20,000 words of new material -- which makes this Essay about 20% longer.

 

 

  

 

SITE MAP:

The following Essays will be published at this site over the coming months and years -- those in blue have already been published, those in crimson haven't:

Essay One -- Why I Began This Project. Introduction And Background

[Posted 12/11/05; re-written: 31/12/06, 16/05/07, 07/09/07, 21/02/08, 23/04/08, 03/11/08, 15/01/12, 17/01/14, 02/02/16, 28/10/16, 08/06/17, 04/12/17, 02/09/19, and 18/11/19.]

Essay Two: Dialectics -- Imposed On Nature, Not Read From It

[Posted 22/11/05; re-written: 05/02/06, 27/09/06, 11/04/07, 24/05/07, 13/07/08, 28/08/09, 02/02/12, 19/05/13, 15/06/17, and 07/04/18.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Three Part One -- How Abstractionism Undermines Dialectics

[Posted 26/12/05; re-written: 11/07/06, 14/03/07, 11/11/07, 12/12/08, 15/09/09, 13/08/11, 24/05/14, 02/04/16, 25/01/18, and 16/12/19.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Three Part Two -- Abstractionism: 'Science' On The Cheap

[Posted 05/01/06; re-written: 08/05/06, 28/03/07, 25/11/07, 27/09/09, 13/09/10, 29/08/11, 07/04/12, 18/10/14, 17/04/16, and 14/02/17.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Three Part Three -- 'Emergence', Reductionism And 'Crude Materialism'

Essay Three Part Four -- Fact vs Fiction

Essay Three Part Five -- 'Determinism'

Essay Three Part Six -- The Reflection Theory Of Knowledge

Essay Four Part One: Formal Logic Can Cope With Change

[Posted 22/12/05; re-written: 24/06/06, 04/05/07, 06/11/07, 12/10/09, 26/10/11, 04/06/16, 05/10/17, 07/04/18, 30/07/18, and 01/02/19.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Four Part Two -- 'Internal Relations'

Essay Five -- Why Motion Isn't Contradictory

[Posted December 2005; re-written: 23/07/06, 27/01/07, 09/04/07, 29/10/07, 07/03/08, 17/04/08, 02/11/09, 13/09/11, 12/09/13, 13/12/14, 12/04/15, 12/12/16, 05/10/17, and 01/05/19.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Six --Trotsky And Hegel: How To Misconstrue The Law Of Identity, And Why It Is No Enemy Of Change

[Posted 21/01/06; re-written: 17/02/06, 16/09/06, 10/10/07, 10/11/09, 27/09/11, 04/05/16, and 13/08/16.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Seven Part One: The Three 'Laws' Of Dialectics Debunked

[Posted November 2005. Re-written 07/04/06, 07/09/06, 14/03/07, 23/09/07, 21/10/08, 07/12/09, 27/11/11, 22/01/16, and 04/06/18.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Seven Part Two -- Reason In Remission: Woods, Grant And Diabolical Logic

Essay Seven Part Three -- Why Dialectical Materialism Can't Explain Change

[Posted 02/01/14; re-written 31/12/14, and 28/12/15.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Eight Part One -- Change Through 'Internal Contradiction' -- An Incoherent Dogma

[Posted 20/04/06; re-written: 25/04/06, 09/01/07,13/06/07, 28/09/07, 19/12/09, 09/12/11, and 25/06/16.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Eight Part Two -- Why Opposing Forces Aren't Contradictions

[Posted 07/06/06; re-written: 01/07/06, 21/01/07, 20/10/07, 15/01/08, 13/01/10, 17/04/11, 03/02/12, 18/08/16, and 18/12/17.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Eight Part Three -- Dialectical 'Logic' And 'Dialectical Contradictions': Demolished

[Posted 25/05/08; re-written: 21/01/10, 19/11/11, 15/06/12, 22/07/19, and 04/09/19.]

Essay Nine Part One -- The Politics Of Metaphysics. Substitutionism: Why Workers Will Always Reject Dialectical Materialism

[Posted 01/08/06; re-written: 15/11/06, 06/10/07, 11/02/10, 28/01/11, 12/02/12, 17/09/13, 28/11/16, and 27/02/19.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Nine Part Two -- How Petty-Bourgeois Revolutionaries And Their Theory, Dialectical Materialism, Have Damaged Marxism

[Posted 15/04/07; re-written: 03/06/07, 28/02/08, 16/06/08, 24/04/09, 21/05/10, 11/02/11, 12/01/12, 13/05/12, 23/02/13, 20/03/17, and 23/09/19.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Ten Part One -- Dialectical Materialism: Refuted By Practice And History?

[Posted 10/08/07; re-written: 29/09/07, 26/10/07, 28/06/10, 17/02/12, 27/09/13, 11/11/14, 12/11/16, 24/04/18, and 10/11/19.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Ten Part Two -- Truth: Coherence Or Correspondence?

Essay Eleven Part One -- The 'Totality': WTF Is It?

[Posted 28/10/06; re-written: 13/11/06, 07/01/07, 13/02/07, 03/09/07, 10/07/10, 20/07/11, 03/04/14, 06/09/14, 24/08/15, 27/11/15, and 03/09/18.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Eleven Part Two -- DM-Wholism: All Holes, No Substance

[Posted 20/11/06; re-written: 16/12/06, 27/05/07, 10/07/08, 27/07/10, 12/03/12, 24/04/16 and 05/11/17.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Twelve Part One -- Why All Philosophical Theories, Including Dialectical Materialism, Are Non-Sensical

[Posted 16/07/07; re-written: 20/08/07, 18/03/08, 29/06/08, 15/08/10, 27/07/11, 06/10/12, and 25/08/17.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Twelve Part Two -- Metaphysics And Ruling-Class Thought

Essay Twelve Part Three -- The Historical And Social Origins Of The 'Opiate of the Oppressor': Traditional Philosophy

Essay Twelve Part Four -- Dialectical Materialism And Linguistic Idealism: Is Nature Rational?

Essay Twelve Part Five -- Hegel's Master 'Deduction'

Essay Twelve Part Six -- The Mother Lode: Dialectical Dope Dealer Brought To Book

Essay Twelve Part Seven -- Ordinary Language: A Class Issue

[Summary here.]

Essay Thirteen Part One -- Lenin's Disappearing Definition Of Matter

[Posted 12/02/08; re-written: 21/04/08, 19/06/09, 26/08/10, 02/12/12, and 10/02/16.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Thirteen Part Two -- Dialectical Materialism And Science

Essay Thirteen Part Three -- 'Mind', Language And 'Cognition'

[Posted 23/02/09; re-written: 23/10/10, 05/05/11, 25/01/13, 01/08/14, and 09/02/18.]

[Summary to be published shortly.]

Essay Fourteen Part One -- The Mystical Origin Of Dialectics

[Summary here.]

Essay Fourteen Part Two -- Dialectics And The Mystification Of Revolutionary Socialism

Page Fifteen -- Links

[Posted December 2005.]

[Posted February 1, 2006; re-written 26/03/06; updated 23/04/06. Re-written 21/12/06.]

Essay Sixteen Index -- Summary Of The Main Ideas Published At This Site

Essay Sixteen was meant to be a summary of my main criticisms of DM. It has now been broken up into shorter Essays because of its length.

[Posted 01/02/06; re-written continuously: 2007-2019.]

Page Seventeen -- Additional Essays

[Posted 21/02/06.]

Page Eighteen -- Books And Articles

Abbreviations Used At This Site

Page Twenty -- Site Bibliography

Other Anti-Dialecticians

 

These are articles written by other anti-dialecticians who have developed some of the ideas published at this site. Visitors shouldn't assume, however, that I agree with everything they contain.

 

Additional Material

 

This section contains other material relevant to the aims of this site.

 

 

 

How Not To Argue 101

The above page contains links to forums on the web where I have 'debated' this creed with other comrades.

For anyone interested: check out the desperate 'debating' tactics used by Dialectical Mystics in their attempt to respond to my ideas.

You will no doubt notice that the vast majority all say the same sorts of things, and most of them pepper their remarks with scatological and abusive language. They all like to make things up, too, about me and my beliefs. [Here is a particularly egregious recent example of the lies they spin.]

30+ years (!!) of this from Dialectical Mystics has meant I now take an aggressive stance toward them every time -- I soon learnt back in the 1980s that being pleasant with them (my initial tactic) didn't alter by one jot their abusive tone, their propensity to fabricate, nor reduce the amount of scatological language they threw at me.

So, these days, I generally go for the jugular from the get-go.

Apparently, they expect me to take their abuse lying down, and regularly complain about my "bullying" tactics.

These mystics can dish it out, but they plainly can't take it.

Given the damage their theory has done to Marxism, and the abuse they all dole out, they are lucky this is all I can do to them.

 

 

 

Blogs:

Lenin's Tomb

Par En Bas

John Molyneux

Splintered Sunrise

Through The Scary Door

International Rooksbyism

The Dialectical Dialogues

Respect Blog

Killing Time

Cliffism

[Several of the above are no longer being updated!]

It is worth adding that I do not necessarily agree with everything published at the above sites; indeed, John Molyneux's otherwise excellent blog endorses the very theory under attack here!

~~~~~~oOo~~~~~~

Special Mention:

Guy's Philosophical Nuggets

Unfortunately, the above link no longer works, but many of Guy's essays have been reposted here.

Other Links

Hurfinator

 

 

 

 

Recently Added

January 2014: I have just published a new (and rather controversial) Essay: Why Dialectical Materialism Can't Explain Change.

In fact, it shows that if Dialectical Materialism were true, change would be impossible.

October 2013: The North Star magazine has just published an Interview with me, as well as an article of mine: Wittgenstein -- Radical, Or Conservative Mystic?

That link is now dead, so I have re-posted the interview here. Someone else has posted it here.

December 2017: Another comrade has published a second interview with me over at Libcom (unfortunately, it contains a few annoying typos!).

September 2013: Was Wittgenstein A Leftist?

The above Essay shows that, contrary to a widely held view on the left, Wittgenstein wasn't a conservative mystic. In which case, there is now no good reason why his ideas shouldn't be given a fair hearing by revolutionaries.

March 2013: In the light of the developing crisis in the UK-SWP, I have completely re-written Essay Nine Part Two:

 How Petty-Bourgeois Revolutionaries And Their Theory, Dialectical Materialism, Have Damaged Marxism

However, visitors would be wrong conclude from its title that the above Essay is all about 'dialectics' and its effect on Marxism.

It is just as much about the class origin of the founders of our movement (and the class position of those who control its ideas today), as it is about that theory.

As such it breaks entirely new ground, as anyone who reads it will soon see -- providing for the first time a historical materialist explanation why our movement so often fails and why almost everything that we on the Revolutionary Left touch sooner or later becomes corrupted, falls apart, and then turns to dust.

A much shorter version of the above Essay can be accessed here.

Ex-SWP members, who left the organisation because of its disastrous handling of this crisis have set up their own website.

Unfortunately, the creeping Stalinism of the SWP seems to have carried over into this new site, for my posts there are now being deleted.

[I was allowed one post, but my reply to Andy Wilson (follow the above link) was deleted. In fact, I am now being told: "You do not have permission to post in this thread", even when I am not banging on about 'dialectics'!]

Unsurprisingly, within two years that network folded in a cloud of back-biting, rancour and even hatred.

It seems that any old material concerning the thoughts of assorted latter-days Neo-Platonists, Hermeticists and bourgeois apriorists -- such as Raya Dunayevskaya, Zizek, Freud, Lacan, Heidegger, or the Lenin of the Philosophical Notebooks -- is welcome, but the comments of a comrade who challenges such mysticism aren't.

Another SWP break-away group have set up their own much more successful website and incipient movement, here.

 ~~~~oOo~~~~

July 2012: A supporter of this site sent a letter to Socialist Worker, which they chose not to publish. You can read it here.

October 2012: The same supporter sent a couple of letters to the editors of Socialist Review and Socialist Worker in response to two articles about John Molyneux's new book, The Point Is To Change It: Introduction To Marxist Philosophy.

They chose not to publish either of them (no surprise there!). Both can be accessed here.

I have posted a few comments about John's book, here. I will add several more later this year.

The above remarks can now be found here and here.

Anyway, much that he had to say about dialectics has already been taken apart here and here.

~~~~oOo~~~~

Guy Robinson's Essays

Essay Nine Part Two: How Petty-Bourgeois Revolutionaries And Their Theory, Dialectical Materialism, Have Damaged Marxism

Essay Ten Part One: Practice And History Refute Dialectics

Essay Thirteen Part One: Lenin's Disappearing 'Definition' Of Matter

Essay Eight Part Three: Dialectical 'Logic' And Dialectical 'Contradictions'

The above Essay now contains a detailed demolition of Michael Kosok's seriously confused article, The Formalisation Of Hegel's Dialectical Logic

Essay Thirteen Part Three: 'Mind', Language, And 'Cognition'

Why All Philosophical Theories -- And Not Just Dialectical Materialism -- Are Non-Sensical

Outline Of Hegel's Logical Blunders

 

Back in 2007, a leading member of the CPGB (Jack Conrad) wrote an article in Weekly Worker criticising a few of the ideas found at this site, and expressed in an earlier article of mine.

Initially, I was quite shocked at how superficial and irrelevant this important comrade's response was.

I still am!

Anyway, my reply to him can be accessed here.

 

 

 

Socialist Unity Censors Debate! Read The Sordid Details Here.

Socialist Unity Replies -- My Response Is Here.

The 'Debate' Continues.

A Supporter Of This Site Lodges A Complaint.

~~~~oOo~~~~

2013: I have now been banned from the above site!

I was in fact banned for censuring a handful of male comrades who seemed quite happy to use the 'c' word -- which is ironic since Socialist Unity pretends to be a supporter of feminism.

Neutral observers can, of course, draw their own conclusions!

Apparently, Andy Newman, the big cheese over there, doesn't want anyone to be reminded he was/is a supporter of this mystical theory (Dialectical Materialism) now that he is cuddling up to the Labour Party.

So, before I was banned, he regularly deleted any comments of mine that alluded to his former 'philosophical' allegiances, no matter how mild or nuanced they were.

Looks like Stalinism is the default position of most DM-fans!

Unfortunately, all links to Socialist Unity are now dead.

However, the first two links above have preserved much of the aforementioned 'debate'.

 

 

 

Those who would like a relatively short (but very basic) introduction to the aims of this site should read the Introductory Essay: Why I Oppose Dialectical Materialism.

I have now written this much shorter, and even more basic, summary of some of my main objections to Dialectical Materialism: Anti-Dialectics For Dummies.

There is also a single page précis of some of my main objections to DM, here.

This was in fact an article I wrote for Weekly Worker (published in September 2007).

 

 

 

 

Those who would like a more detailed summary of my main objections to Dialectical Materialism should begin here.

 

 

 

 

The Main Index to my extended Essays can be found here.

Quick links are located above and to the left.

 

 

 

The complete irrelevance of 'Materialist Dialectics' to the class struggle is underlined in these dialogues (written and contributed by my collaborator, 'Babeuf').

Unfortunately, Babeuf has written no more dialogues, but a new blog posting similar dialogues has just started up.

It can be accessed here.

 

 

 

I regularly check the internet to see if these numpties have had another go at my ideas; sure enough they have. My response is however PG-rated; sensitive souls might like to avert their eyes. In fact, I am presumptuous enough to emulate Lenin's approach to critics.

Check out the latest exchanges here, here and here.

October 2009: Yet another obnoxious, but nonetheless clueless dialectician has tried to take me on; the details can be found here.

More of the same here.

 

 

 

An Idealist enemy of reason has raised his head above the parapet once more -- I lob a few materialist bricks at him here, here, here, and again here, here, here and here.

These have now all been collected together here.

[Soon after, the individual concerned resigned from the UK-SWP.]

 

 

 

 

 

This is a site which is also devoted to anti-dialectics, and which is well worth visiting -- if you speak French -- although Google Translator should be able to render it into English.

And here's a Blog which argues along lines similar to those explored at this site. While I do not agree with everything this author says, much of it strikes me as excellent.

 

 

 

 

ff

Introduction

Once again, please note that nothing posted at this site is intended to undermine Historical Materialism [HM] -- a theory I fully accept -- or, indeed, revolutionary socialism. I remain as committed to the self-emancipation of the working class and the dictatorship of the proletariat as I was when I first became a revolutionary over thirty years ago.

Dialectical Materialism [DM] and 'Materialist Dialectics' [MD] have been the official philosophies of active revolutionary socialists for over a hundred and thirty years.

During that time Dialectical Marxism has 'enjoyed' spectacular lack of success.

[Note my use of the term 'Dialectical Marxism' -- the non-dialectical version hasn't been road tested yet. On the difference between HM and DM, see here.]

Given the fact that dialecticians assure us that truth is tested in practice, and that DM is the main-spring of all they do, this can only mean that this 'theory' has been tested and shown to fail.

However, not only is it virtually impossible for most Dialectical Marxists to accept this negative picture of their own disastrous history, it is more difficult still for them to blame it even so much as partially on the misbegotten theory they have imported from Hegel (upside down or 'the right way up').

In fact, it doesn't even make the bottom of the reserve list.

This must mean that in a world where dialecticians claim that everything is interconnected, the only two things in the entire universe that are not inter-linked are the long-term failure of Dialectical Marxism and its core theory: DM!

Unfortunately, such denial means that Dialectical Marxists never seem to learn from their mistakes --, they just blame their long-term failure on anything and everything else.

Naturally, this just leads to yet more failures, and the cycle continues year after year.

This site has been set up to substantiate the above allegations, as well as to advance several more; among which are the following:

 

1) That there is a close link between the class-origin and current class position of leading Marxists, the ideas found in DM and the rabidly sectarian nature of revolutionary politics.

This helps explain why, almost without exception, Dialectical Marxist parties tend to be small, divisive, and hence largely ineffectual.

2) That none of the core ideas promoted by dialecticians stand up to close scrutiny.

These include the famous "Three Laws" of dialectics (i.e., change of quantity into quality, the interpenetration of opposites, and the negation of the negation), the belief that everything is interconnected in a "mediated Totality", and the doctrine that change is the result of "internal contradictions".

 3) That the criticisms dialecticians make of Formal Logic -- and the so-called 'Law of Identity' -- are as ill-informed as they are misguided.

~~~~oOo~~~~

To avoid misunderstanding, it is worth emphasising that my argument here isn't as follows: Dialectical Marxism has failed, therefore DM is false. My argument is:

(1) DM makes no sense whatsoever so,

(2) No wonder it has failed us for so long.

This site is also aimed at establishing point (1) so that (2) may safely be inferred from it.

 

Of course, highly controversial claims like these require a considerable amount of proof; that is why the Essays posted at this site enter into such unprecedented detail.

Unfortunately, when I write short articles, dialecticians complain about their "superficiality". Then, in response to my greatly extended Essays, they moan that they are too long!

The plain fact is, of course, that dialecticians already have the truth, and despite what Lenin said (about no theory being final), they treat theirs as if it had been delivered to them from on high on stone tablets.

Despite their belief that all change is the result of contradiction, dialecticians do not like to be contradicted.

 

Nevertheless, those who like their Internet articles short and to the point can read brief summaries of all the main Essays here.

In August 2006, I added an 'Absolute Beginners' page, and in the summer of 2007 I published an even shorter Essay, 'Anti-Dialectics For Dummies' -- which was written for those who find even these summaries either too long or difficult.

In fact, there is now a one page précis of my main objections here.

As predicted, some DM-fans have complained about the superficiality of these summaries!

 

Great care has been taken with these Essays; they have been distilled from work I have been doing for the last twenty years, even though I have been mulling over these ideas for over thirty. Literally thousands of hours have gone into writing, re-writing and re-thinking this material. In addition, I have spent more money than I care to mention obtaining literally thousands of obscure books, theses, articles and papers on a whole range of topics directly or indirectly connected with DM.

In that case, anyone who can't bring to this discussion the seriousness it deserves is encouraged to go and waste their time elsewhere. I am not interested in engaging with clowns.

Essay One expands on the above comments, and explains:

(i) Why I began this project,

(ii) Why the tone I have adopted is unremittingly hostile toward this theory, and,

 (iii) Why I have gone into such unprecedented detail.

 

 

 

Preliminary Points

(1) It is important to emphasise from the outset that I am not blaming the long-term failure of Dialectical Marxism solely on the acceptance of the Hermetic ideas dialecticians have imported from Hegel.

 

It is worth repeating this since I still encounter comments on Internet Discussion Boards, and still receive e-mails from those who claim to have read the above words, who still think I am blaming all our woes on dialectics.

I am not.

However, no matter how many times I repeat the above caveat, the message will not sink in -- and that is after several years of continually making this very point!

It seems this is one part of the universe over which the Heraclitean Flux has no hold!

Here is just the latest instance.

And here are even more recent examples (in the comments section at the bottom).

 

What is being claimed, however, is that adherence to this 'theory' is one of the subjective reasons why Dialectical Marxism has become a bye-word for failure.

There are other, objective reasons why the class enemy still runs the planet, but since revolutions require revolutionaries with ideas in their heads, this 'theory' must take some of the blame.

So, it is alleged here that dialectics has been an important contributory factor.

It certainly helps explain why revolutionary groups are in general vanishingly small, neurotically sectarian, studiously unreasonable, consistently conservative, inconsistently deferential to 'tradition', and almost invariably lean toward some form of substitutionism.

Naturally, this has had a direct bearing on our lack of impact on the working class over the last seventy years or so -- and probably for much longer -- and thus on the continuing success of Capitalism.

The following 'Unity of Opposites' is difficult to explain otherwise:

The larger the proletariat, the smaller the impact that Dialectical Marxism has on it.

Sadly, this will continue while comrades cling to this regressive doctrine.

Any who doubt this are encouraged to read on, where those doubts will be severely bruised, if not completely laid to rest.

(2) However, I have few illusions that hard-core dialecticians will be swayed by anything they find here.

[Why that is so is explained in Essay One, Essay Nine Part Two, and more briefly here.]

I hope I'm wrong about this, but bitter experience over the last twenty-five years 'debating' with the DM-faithful tells me I am talking to comrades with stoppered ears and closed minds. Internet 'discussions' have merely confirmed (if not greatly amplified) this negative impression.

So far, very few dialecticians seem capable of entering into reasoned debate without descending into some form of scatological abuse, personal and unfounded attacks or without indulging in systematic lying and fabrication.

Nevertheless, a marker has to be put down by someone.

Someone has to try to prevent younger comrades from catching this Hermetic virus.

(3) Now, if Dialectical Marxism were a ringing success, it is I who would be on the defensive, and dialecticians could rightly ignore these Essays.

However, it is over one hundred and fifty years since the Communist Manifesto was published, and we still do not have a Workers' State anywhere on the planet --, despite the fact that the working class can now be numbered in the billions and is by far and away the biggest class on earth.

Indeed, we seem to be further away from that goal than the Bolsheviks were in 1917!

Things appear to be going backwards.

All four Internationals have gone down the pan (the tiny 'Fifth International' has already split!), the vast majority of the former 'socialist' states have disappeared  -- and not a single worker rose in their defence.

Contrast that with the way workers -- and others -- have fought (often at risk of their own lives for limited forms of bourgeois democracy, and against austerity) in the following countries: Nepal (2006), Lebanon, Serbia, France, Portugal, Greece, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia (and again more recently), Burma/Myanmar (1988 -- when at least 3000 were killed by the military dictatorship -- and 2007), Kyrgyzstan (2010), Thailand (2010), AlgeriaTunisia, Egypt (January 2011, and again November 2012), Libya, Syria -- in fact the population of Syria have been resisting the Assad murder machine for nearly three years, suffering at least 130,000 deaths for their pains --, and the rest of the Middle East (2011-14), to name but a few.

In May/June 2013, we witnessed a series of massive revolts spreading right across Turkey, Brazil and Bulgaria. And, in February 2014, we saw Bosnia erupt, and the corrupt regime in the Ukraine toppled.

[The fact that openly fascist and right-wing parties led the revolt in the Ukraine is irrelevant to the point I am making: if they can fight armed police on the streets, why couldn't Russian workers do the same to defend 'their state' back in 1991? The question answers itself: it wasn't 'their state' and hadn't been since the early 1920s.]

In late September 2014 we saw the streets of Hong Kong blocked by tens of thousands of protesters demanding "free and fair elections", and in June 2015, we saw tens of thousands of protesters in Yerevan, capital city of Armenia, prevent an electricity price hike!

And now, in August 2015, thousands of protesters confront riot police in Beirut. Their grievance? They were protesting about the dire state of rubbish collection!

So, ordinary workers in Lebanon will protest rubbish collection, and face up to riot police, but the tens of millions of workers in the former Soviet Union (fSU) and Eastern Europe, supposedly the most powerful working class in history, allegedly in control of the state, the police, the military, the courts, the unions, and the media, couldn't be bothered to lift one finger in defence of 'socialism'.

Compare that with the way Bolshevik workers responded to the White Army counter-revolution in Russia, 1917-21.

Fast forward to November and December 2016: hundreds of thousands on the streets of Seoul, South Korea, protesting government corruption, leading to the impeachment of the President. In the same month, tens of thousands poured on to the streets right across the USA showing their anger over the election of Donald Trump.

Figures One, Two And Three: Nepal, April 2006

[Pictures by Phalano]

Figure Four: Myanmar, September 2007

The fact that this was led by Buddhist monks is irrelevant to the point I am making -- which is the same as the one above in relation to the Ukraine.

If monks can summon up the courage to protest, why not Russian workers back in 1991?

Figure Five: Kyrgyzstan, April 2010

Figure Six: Tunisia, January 2011

Figure Seven: Cairo, January 2011

Figure Eight: Cairo, January 2011

Figure Nine: Bahrain, February 2011

Figure Ten: Syria, 2011

Figure Eleven: Cairo Again, November 2012

Figures Twelve, Thirteen, And Fourteen: Istanbul, June 2013

Figure Fifteen: Twelve Cities In Brazil, June 2013

Figure Sixteen: Rio De Janeiro, June 20th 2013

Figures Seventeen And Eighteen: Bosnia, February 2014

Figures Nineteen And Twenty: Kiev, 2013-14

Figure Twenty-One: Yerevan, Armenia, June 2015

Figure Twenty-Two: Hundreds Of Thousands Protest In Seoul.

South Korea, November 2016

Figure Twenty-Three: Mass Demonstrations Right Across The USA

Against Racist Demagogue, Trump, November 2016

 

Video One: Hong Kong, 29/09/2014

 

 

Video Two: Beirut, August 22 2015

 

April 2018: Tens of thousands on the streets of Nicaragua protesting pension cuts, dozens are killed, but the cuts are then reversed.

Figure Twenty-Four: Nicaragua April 2018 -- Popular Protests

Reverse Pension Cuts

 

In the same month, tens of thousands on the streets of Armenia forced the resignation of the Prime Minister.

 

 

Figure Twenty-Five: Armenia, April 2018

 

June 2018 saw massive demonstrations across Jordan opposing austerity measures imposed by the IMF, also leading to the resignation of the Prime Minister.

 

 

Figure Twenty-Six: Jordan, June 2018

Figure Twenty-Seven: 1991 -- Dramatic Scenes From The Former USSR

As Massed Ranks Of Workers Defend 'Their' State

 

[Yes, it's supposed to be deserted since it was!]

The above events are all the more ironic when we witnessed (in December 2011) tens of thousands of Russian workers protesting against vote-rigging, facing down Vladimir Putin's uniformed bully-boys.

Figures Twenty-Eight And Twenty-Nine: Moscow --

Not 1991 -- But 2011

The population of Russia is plainly prepared to defend even limited forms of bourgeois democracy, but apparently not their 'workers' state' back in 1991!

March 2017 sees anti-corruption protests break out in a hundred towns and cities across Russia.

Figure Thirty: Russia, March 2017

Compare the passivity of workers in the Communist Block back in 1989/91 with the above, or with way that ordinary citizens responded to the attempted coup in Turkey in July 2016. There, workers in their tens of thousands poured on to the streets, lying down in front of tanks, to defend even this fractured and corrupt bourgeois democracy -- with more than 200 killed and over 2000 wounded.

 

 

Video Three: Not Soviet Russia In 1953, 1956, Or Even 1991

But Turkey, July 2016

In the following video, a Turkish citizen lies down in front of two tanks (warning, graphic imagery -- the man suffered a damaged right arm in the end, but he survived and was later interviewed by BBC News):

 

 

Video Four: Are Turkish Workers Braver

Than Soviet Workers?

In the first eleven months of 2019 we have witnessed mass protests across the globe, in the following countries, among others:

France (the 'Yellow Vest' protest on-going now for nearly a year), Algeria (which led to the President's resignation), Netherlands, Catalonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia (yet again!), Morocco, Sudan, Lebanon, Egypt, Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Hong Kong (these massive demonstrations and protests have been going on now virtually non-stop for over five months!), Indonesia, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador (the protests there were so large that the President had to flee the capital), Honduras (the USA Embassy was even set on fire), Haiti...

In fact, 2019 has been called "the year of global protest".

Given the above, the only two conclusions possible here are the following:

(i) Russian workers, despite being the most powerful and well-organised working class in human history, allegedly in control not only of one of the mightiest military forces on the planet, but the unions, the police, the party, the state bureaucracy, the courts, and the media (etc., etc.), were in fact the most cowardly and pusillanimous working class ever, or,

(ii) The former Soviet Union wasn't socialist and workers were glad to see the back of it. More-or-less the same can be said about the workers in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, East Germany, Yugoslavia, and Albania.

On top of this, communist parties the world over have adopted market forms of capitalism, and, despite the rhetoric, most have embraced openly reformist policies.

Trotskyism is, if anything, in even worse shape. It is riddled with cavernous divisions and warring sects. With few exceptions, its countless parties are vanishingly small, constantly at each other's throats, and rabidly sectarian.

The implosion of the UK-SWP (in 2013/14) is just another sad reminder of this trend, as is the vote by the US International Socialists to disband in April 2019, not to mention the implosion of the CWI a few months later.

Hence, Dialectical Trotskyism is even less successful than Maoism and Stalinism have been -- well, is there a Trotskyist Workers' State anywhere on earth? Has there ever been?

And I say that as a Trotskyist!

Sure, we could point to Russia in 1917, but even that has gone backwards!

[The idea that DM was of central importance to the Bolsheviks in 1917 has been laid to rest here.]

Unfortunately, because of its propensity to provoke endless splits (its one genuine growth area), Trotskyism is now a standing joke:

Video Five: 'The Life Of Brian'

Libertarian Communism, too, is almost non-existent, and is thus politically impotent -- but, for all their chest beating, you'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise. In fact, this is one of the few areas of Dialectical Marxism that makes Trotskyism look successful in comparison!

Furthermore, Marxist (revolutionary) parties have not noticeably benefited from the world-wide radicalisation created by the Anti-Globalisation Movement, the unprecedented world-wide opposition mounted against the 'allied' invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, workers' opposition to 'austerity', the determined resistance to the Racist-in-Chief (President Trump), or the global movement protesting anthropogenic global warming.

Compare that with the way many of the above parties grew in the first half of the 20th century, or in the 1960s and 1970s.

Compare it, too, with the way that non-Marxist, anarchist, anti-capitalist (and thus largely non-dialectical), or autonomist and single-issue groups have grown since 1999. In the UK, for example, widespread radicalisation only seems to have affected the UK Labour Party since 2015.

For most people, rightly or wrongly, Dialectical Marxism has become a by-word for boorish sectarianism, petty in-fighting, bureaucratic authoritarianism, mindless inertia, systematic oppression, brutal mass murder, widespread denial of freedom, and vicious dictatorship.

[This shouldn't be taken to mean I think this shameful record can't be changed for the better. That is, after all, one of the reasons why I began this project!]

And yet, there are comrades who will tell you with a straight face that Dialectical Marxism is a ringing success, since it has been 'tested in practice'!

Such benighted souls will not respond to anything I have to say (even if they were listening); pathological myopia of this order of magnitude requires professional help.

Figure Thirty-One: Dialectical Marxism --

'Tested In Practice'

Dialecticians claim that DM/MD is the dynamic heart of both Marxist politics and material reality, and that it is the guiding light of all they do.

If revolutionary practice has dialectics stamped all over it and 'truth is tested in practice' -- and if the vast bulk of that practice has failed -- the inescapable conclusion is that practice has refuted dialectics.

Because its supporters claim such a prominent role for DM/MD in their practice, the failure of the subjective side of Dialectical Marxism points nowhere else but here.

[Clearly, only those who reject the idea that truth is tested in practice should feel confident enough to resist that particular conclusion.]

To those who think this is an Idealist explanation for the failure of Dialectical Marxism: In fact, I advance historical and materialist reasons (based on ideas floated by Marx and Lenin) why dialectics has had this negative effect on the movement.

And to those who have read the above, and who think I am claiming that Marxism is a failure: please read it again, and note that I am referring to "Dialectical Marxism".

As I noted earlier: the non-dialectical version hasn't been road tested yet.

Hence, it is dialecticians who should be on the defensive.

They are the ones who still adhere to a theory that has presided over 140+ years of almost total failure.

In that case, we have no alternative; we have to re-think our ideas from scratch, like the radicals we claim to be.

To that end, I propose a suitably radical starting point: the rejection of the theory that history has already refuted: 'Materialist Dialectics'.

 We can't keep blaming our failure on workers' "false consciousness" (a term, incidentally, unknown to Marx).

Dialectics isn't the "world-view of the proletariat", since they know nothing of it, never have, and never will.

[It is in fact the ideology of substitutionist elements in the workers' movement.]

Indeed, for several generations workers have sent a very clear message our way: they are not the least bit interested in Dialectical Mysticism, or in those who peddle either it the version that has been put the 'right way up'.

So, if change is indeed caused by "internal contradictions" --  as dialecticians allege --, let it begin here with the many I have exposed in their theory.

In that case, comrades, you have nothing to lose but your failed theory of change.

(4) Some might wonder how I can count myself as both a Leninist and a Trotskyist while advancing such profound criticisms of the ideas that the founders of both these traditions regarded as fundamental to Marxism.

Well, we can surely recognise Newton's genius while rejecting his Alchemical and Kabbalistic ramblings, just as we can be severely critical of him for wasting so much time and effort on such worthless rubbish.

The same comment applies to the dialectical writings of Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky. Hence, even though I hold their work in politics, economics and history in the highest regard, I am no less dismissive of the mystical gobbledygook they imported into our movement.

[Why I have left Marx out of the above is explained here and here.]

In fact, and on the contrary, a slavish acceptance of everything these great revolutionaries had to say about dialectics -- just because they said it, and just because the vast majority of comrades think highly of it --, would be to spit on their graves.

Marxism is not a personality cult. If it were, then Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky would have been the first to turn their backs on it.

The radical movement was built on a lack of respect for mindless tradition like this.

Anyone who still prefers the safe confines of dogma is encouraged instead to join the Roman Catholic Church.

(5) Those who might be tempted to think that this is "just another attack on dialectics" -- something the enemies of Marxism are always attempting (since the dialectic in history is "an abomination to the bourgeoisie", etc., etc.) -- need only reflect on the fact that revolutionaries like me attack dialectics because it is by far and away the weakest aspect of Marxist theory (a boast that is as easy to make as it is to substantiate -- as the Essays posted at this site amply demonstrate), and this we do in order to strengthen, not weaken, Revolutionary Socialism.

On the other hand, our enemies attack dialectics simply because it is such an easy target --, and they do so for the opposite reasons.

We have presented them with this 'gift' for far too long.

We need to stop leading with our chins.

(6) Much of Academic Marxism has largely been ignored in these Essays.

Rightly or wrongly, this site is aimed at impacting on the class war by seeking to influence those actually involved in it. Since active revolutionaries still accept -- to a greater or lesser extent -- classical forms of DM/MD, they alone are being addressed in what follows.

Academic Marxism (mercifully) has had no impact on the class struggle, or none of any note --, and it probably never will.

Anyone who attempts to read the dense and aimless prose these comrades constantly churn out will soon see why.

 Very little attempt has been made, therefore, to engage with this theoretical dead end.

It is also worth pointing out here that I am not just attacking 'Diamat' (i.e., the 'orthodox' Soviet Russian version of DM), but every aspect and application  of 'dialectics'.

Figure Thirty-Two: Academic Marxism -- The Movie

Of course, there are notable exceptions to these sweeping generalisations, but they are just that: exceptions. Some academic Marxists have fought, and still fight, alongside workers in the class war.

However, I can think of no work published by an academic Marxist that has ever impacted on the class struggle (except perhaps negatively).

Such comrades, who spare no effort telling us that 'praxis' is a core principle of Marxism, are clearly living on a different planet to the rest of us, for their work has had no discernible impact on the class war!

(7) These Essays represent work in progress; hence they do not necessarily reflect my final view.

I am only publishing this material on the Internet because several comrades whose opinions I respect urged me to do so back in 2005 -- even though the work you see before you is less than half complete. Many of my ideas are still in the formative stage and need considerable attention devoted to them to mature.

I estimate this project will take another ten years to complete before it is fit to publish either here in its final form or in hard copy.

All of these Essays will have radically changed by then.

This work will be updated regularly -- edited and re-edited constantly --, its arguments clarified and progressively strengthened as my research continues (and particularly as my 'understanding' of Hegel develops).

So, visitors are encouraged to check back often.

As of January 2020, I have posted Essays and other material totalling in excess of 3.2 million words.

This is approximately 80% of all the material I have. Far more will be added as my researches continue.

However, much of the second half of this work still exists only in note form, so the next set of Essays will appear here far more slowly than the first.

Anyone who objects to the length of these Essays should rather pick a fight with Marx, Engels, Plekhanov, Lenin and Trotsky -- and Hegel -- whose collected work easily dwarfs my own.

Even Zizek's latest book, Less Than Nothing, easily dwarfs any one of my Essays!

Figure Thirty-Three: Exhibit A For The Defence --

Das Kapital

However, as noted above, whenever I post short summaries of my ideas, DM-fans moan about their superficiality.

Then, if I enter into greater detail, they complain even more about their length!

(8) Finally, and most importantly: I can't emphasise strongly enough that nothing written here is intended to undermine Revolutionary Socialism -- or Historical Materialism [HM], a scientific theory I fully accept (provided that the pernicious influence of Hegel has been completely excised).

HM will therefore be taken for granted.

This means that any non-Marxists who visit this site are advised to go no further; this material isn't intended for them.

 

 

 

 

Finally:

Several critics have taken the above comments as definitive of my entire work, and have therefore read no further, when these are merely opening remarks that represent about 0.001% of the material posted at this site!

This page is deliberately provocative and isn't meant to contain water-tight arguments; it is merely a statement of intent.

In contrast, the Essays I have posted so far are meant to be definitive. Whether they succeed in reaching that particularly high standard is, of course, another matter.

 However, to date, no one has been able to respond effectively to my Essays (including this poseur).

Clearly, this superficial approach to my work, based solely on this page, makes about as much sense as someone who reads the opening page of the Preface to Das Kapital and judges all that Marx ever wrote on the basis of that!

 

  Rosa Lichtenstein

   January 2020

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