Anti-Dialectics

 

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

 

Any who object to my quoting Max Eastman should check this out first before finally making up their minds.

 

If you are using Internet Explorer 10, you might find some of the links I have used won't work properly unless you switch to 'Compatibility View' (in the Tools Menu). That appears to fix the problem.

Please read this and this first -- both are located in the right hand column if you follow these links.

Quick Links To My Essays           Why I Began This Project

Site Map                             What's New

A summary of my main objections to Dialectical Materialism can be found here.

A much shorter version of the above -- written for absolute beginners -- can be accessed here.

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

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

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Hardcore dialecticians, who tend to reject everything at this site without bothering to read a single Essay, can, instead, try their hands at the 2014 Dialectics Final Exam, kindly set by The Guild Of The Mediated Totality.

 

 

 

According to my sources at Marxism 2007, in response to a challenge that dialecticians use obscure, non-materialist language invented by ruling-class hacks 2400 years ago to make their theory work, John Rees alleged that this site uses technical terminology, too.

Sure, but this is merely a shorthand device; every technical term used at this site has been, or can be paraphrased in ordinary language. The same can't be said of the obscure jargon used by dialecticians.

More details here.

The real source of dialectical confusion is exposed here.

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

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

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

What was that 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 was not published. Read the entire correspondence, and more, here.

And here is another letter I sent to the above paper; they did not 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 in 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!). 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.

 

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

Essay Three Part One: How Abstractionism Undermines Both Language And Science

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

Essay Four Part One: Formal Logic Can Handle Change

Essay Five: Motion Isn't Contradictory

Essay Six: Trotsky And Hegel -- Or, How To Misconstrue The 'Law' Of Identity

Essay Seven Part One: Engels's Three 'Laws'

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

Essay Eight Part One: Change Through 'Internal Contradiction' -- Refuted

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

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

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

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

Essay Ten Part One: Practice And History Refute Dialectics

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

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

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

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

Essay Thirteen Part Three: 'Mind', Language, And 'Cognition -- Voloshinov (And Others) Debunked

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

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

 

 

 

What's New:

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 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.

December 2011

09/12/11: I have just finished a complete re-write of Essay Eight Part One -- Change Through 'Internal Contradiction'.

I have corrected several errors and typos, clarified the argument, and added about 7000 words of new material -- which makes this Essay about 20% longer.

November 2011

27/11/11:  I have now finished re-writing Essay Seven Part One -- Engels's Three 'Laws'. I have added just under 25,000 words of new material, strengthening the argument and clarifying it extensively.

23/11/11: I am about half of the way through re-writing Essay Seven Part One -- Engels's Three 'Laws'.

This is in fact a major re-write of this Essay which has up to now taken me the best part of a month to do.

So far this Essay about 25% longer -- at approximately 128,000 words.

I am posting the changes as they are being made.

19/11/11: I have just finished re-writing Essay Eight Part Three -- What Are 'Dialectical Contradictions'? -- correcting several errors and typos, and making the argument clearer. I have added about 1000 words of new material.

I have also just re-witten the Basic Introductory Essay -- Anti-Dialectics For Dummies -- hopefully making the argument even clearer.

October 2011

27/10/11: I have just finished re-writing the Summary Of The Rest Of Essay Twelve.

Even though Essay Twelve Part One itself appeared several years ago, last year I decided to post this Summary of the rest of Essay Twelve (which forms the core of my case against metaphysics, and the forms-of-thought one finds in Hegel and 'materialist dialectics') since Sections Two to Seven of Essay Twelve will not be published for many years. This delay has created a gaping hole in my argument. This Summary partially fills it.

26/10/11: I have just finished a complete re-write of Essay Four Part One -- Formal Logic Can Handle Change.

I have added about 10,000 words of new material (so the Essay is now approximately 20% longer), corrected a few mistakes and typos, and made the argument clearer and more comprehensive.

September 2011

27/09/11: Essay Six -- The Law Of identity Does Not Preclude Change -- has just been completely re-written. I have added approximately 7000 words of new material (which makes it about 15% longer), corrected several errors and typos and made the argument clearer.

13/09/11: I have just finished a complete re-write of Essay Five -- Motion Is Not Contradictory.

As with Essay Three Part Two, I have added approximately 10,000 words of new material (which makes it about 20% longer), corrected several errors and typos, and have made the argument clearer.

August 2011

29/08/11: I have just finished a complete re-write of Essay Three Part Two -- Abstract Ideas 2: Science On The Cheap.

I have added about 10,000 words of new material (which makes it nearly 20% longer), corrected several errors and typos, and have made the argument clearer.

13/08/11: Because it is central to some of the main ideas presented at this site, Essay Three Part One -- Abstract Ideas 1, The Heart Of The Beast -- has just been completely re-written. I have added about 12,000 words of new material (which makes it about 20% longer), corrected several errors and typos, and have made the argument much clearer.

July 2011

27/07/11: I have just finished a complete re-write of Essay Twelve Part One: Dialectics And Metaphysics -- Or, Lenin Thinks The Unthinkable.

I have added about 13,000 words of new material (so the Essay is approximately 15% longer), made the argument considerably clearer and more comprehensive, and corrected several errors and typos.

20/07/11: I wasn't able to post much in June since I was away for a couple of weeks and then my old computer finally gave up the ghost and died on me.

The first posting therefore from my new computer is a complete re-write of Essay Eleven Part One -- The 'Totality': WTF Is It?

I have corrected several errors and stylistic infelicities, clarified the argument somewhat and added 4000 words of new material.

Incidentally, the Dialectical Mystics over at RevLeft, who have recently gained a majority hold over the Admin department, banned me from posting any more of my 'awkward' posts at their site. They have done this since they certainly can't win an argument with me.

A supporter of my site, 'LJJW', who helped me write some of my Essays, has agreed to post there in my stead, although he will not be able to do so quite as often as I used to.

May 2011

14/05/11: I have just re-written the Basic Introductory Essay -- Why I Oppose Dialectical Materialism -- correcting a few errors and typos, making the argument clearer and adding 1000 words of new material.

08/05/11: A character at RevLeft has tried to respond to some of my arguments against Engels's so-called "First Law" -- The Transformation of Quantity into Quality. I have responded to his criticisms here.

05/05/11: The central sections of Essay Thirteen Part Three (i.e., (3) to (5) inclusive) have just been re-written. These deal largely with Voloshinov's confused ideas about language and cognition. I have made the argument much clearer, corrected a few errors and typos and have added over 1000 words of new material.

April 2011

17/04/11: I have just re-written Essay Eight Part Two -- Opposing Forces Aren't Contradictions -- correcting several errors and typos, and making the argument clearer. I have also added approximately 2000 words of new material. 

March 2011

16/03/11: The Summary of Essay Thirteen Part One -- Lenin's Disappearing Definition Of Matter --- has just been published. This is an entirely new Summary which hasn't appeared here before.

13/03/11: The Summary of Essay Twelve Part One -- Dialectics And Metaphysics -- has just been completely re-written.

I have made the argument considerably clearer and easier to follow. Since it encapsulates many of the core ideas presented at this site, readers might find helps them see where I am coming from.

05/03/11: The Summary of Essay Eleven Part Two -- Dialectical Wholism Full of Holes -- has just been re-written.

04/03/11: I have just completely re-written the Summary of Essay Eleven Part One -- The 'Totality', WTF Is It?

February 2011

18/02/11: The Summary of Essay Ten Part One -- Practice And History Refute Dialectics -- has just been re-written.

11/02/11: I have just finished re-writing Essay Nine Part Two -- The Damage Petty-Bourgeois Theorists And Dialectical Materialism Have Inflicted On Marxism.

January 2011

28/01/11: I have just finished re-writing Essay Nine Part One -- Why Workers Will Always Reject Materialist Dialectics.

27/01/11: The Summary of Essay Eight Part Two -- Forces And Contradictions -- has now been fully re-written.

24/01/11: I have just re-written the Summary of Essay Eight Part One -- Change Through 'Internal Contradictions', Refuted.

22/01/11: The Summaries of all three Parts of Essay Seven have now been completely re-written: Part One -- Quantity And Quality, Demolished; Part Two -- Dialectics Cannot Explain Change; Part Three -- The Negation Of The Negation Implodes.

12/01/11: The Summaries of Essays Five and Six -- Motion Is Not Contradictory, and Identity Is No Enemy Of Change -- have just been completely re-written.

08/01/11: I have just completed the re-write of the Summary of Essay Four Part One -- Formal Logic Can Handle Change.

06/01/11:  The Summary of Essay Three Part Two -- Abstraction: Science On The Cheap -- has now been completely re-written, too.

03/01/11: I have now completely re-written the Summary of Essay Three Part One -- Abstraction: The Heart of the Beast.

I have endeavoured to make the argument clearer and less repetitive.

December 2010

29/12/10: Having finished re-writing all the main Essays at this site, I am now in the process of doing likewise with the summaries. To that end, I have now completely re-written the Summary of Essay Two -- DM: Imposed on Nature.

23/12/10: I have just published another essay by Guy Robinson -- On Misunderstanding Science --, an exposition of Thomas Kuhn's work. Until Guy sends me some more material, this is the last of the his essays I will be publish.

I am now working on Essay Thirteen Part Two -- Dialectical Materialism And Science. All being well, it should be ready to publish in the summer of 2012.

October 2010

23/10/10: I have just finished re-writing Essay Thirteen Part Three -- Mind, Language And Cognition; Voloshinov (And Others) Debunked.

I have corrected several errors and typos, made the argument clearer, and added about 9000 words of new material. That Essay is now over 150,000 words long.

August 2010

26/08/10: I have just finished re-writing Essay Thirteen Part One -- Lenin and the Disappearing Definition of Matter.

I have corrected several errors and typos, made the argument clearer, and added about 3000 words of new material.

15/08/10: I have just finished re-writing Essay Twelve Part One -- Dialectics And Metaphysics, Or Lenin Thinks The Unthinkable.

I have corrected several errors and typos, made the argument clearer, removed about 3000 words (that now appear in other Essays), and added about 10,000 words of new material.

July 2010

27/07/10: I have just re-written Essay Eleven Part Two -- Dialectical Wholism, Full Of Holes.

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

10/07/10: Essay Eleven Part One -- The Mysterious "Totality" -- has just been re-written.

I have added approximately 5,000 words of new material, corrected several errors and typos and made the argument clearer.

June 2010

28/06/10: I have just finished re-writing Essay Ten Part One -- Practice Refutes Dialectics.

I have added approximately 2000 words of new material, clarified the argument and corrected several errors and typos.

May 2010

21/05/10: I have just finished re-writing Essay Nine Part Two -- The Damage Petty-Bourgeois Theorists And Dialectical Materialism Have Inflicted On Marxism.

I have added about 4500 words of new material, clarified the argument considerably, and corrected several errors and typos.

I'd like to bring to visitors' attention to the publication (at the end of May) of a Marxist analysis of modern Toryism, The Meaning of David Cameron, by Richard Seymour:

"Richard Seymour, blogger of Lenin's Tomb fame, and author of The Liberal Defence of Murder will be in store discussing his latest publication, The Meaning of David Cameron.

Date and Time: Wednesday, May 26, 2010, 7:00pm - 9:00pm.

Location: Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross, London.

"The Tories are posing as a 'progressive' and 'radical' alternative to New Labour. Drawing from George W Bush's 'compassionate conservatism', they maintain that the 'Big Society' can do what 'Big Government' cannot -- produce a cohesive, mutually supportive, happy society. Cameron's court intellectual, Philip Blond, maintains that this is a viable alternative to the failures of the egalitarian left and the excessively pro-market right. But is this more than campaign mood music? And are the conservative traditions that they draw on -- from the bucolic, pseudo-medievalism of
G K Chesterton to the anti-statism of Friedrich Hayek -- really a bulwark of progress and radicalism?

"Richard Seymour argues that such ideas can only seem 'progressive' in light of New Labour's acquiescence to Thatcherism. To understand the Cameronites, it is necessary to understand how the social landscape and corresponding political language was transformed by the collapse of post-war social democracy and its more radical competitors. To resist the Cameronites, he argues, it is necessary to attack the neoliberal consensus on which all major parties found their programme."

April 2010

08/04/10: I have now published another of Guy Robinson's essays, Chapter Two of his unpublished book Philosophy and Demystification -- "The Concept of Nature, its Mystification and Demystification".

February 2010

18/02/10: I have now published another of Guy Robinson's essays, the Introduction to his second book, Philosophy and Demystification, which has yet to find a publisher.

I have also published a reply to a comrade, who, when he is not trying to be normal, doubles-up as the in-house Fool of the Far Left -- our old friend, Mr G.

January 2010

31/01/10: Over the next few weeks I will be publishing several of Guy Robinson's Essays. These had until recently been posted at Guy's site, which no longer seems to exist.

The first Essay -- Making Materialism Historical -- has been posted here.

In my opinion, Guy is one of the few Marxist Philosophers whose work is genuinely worth reading. Indeed, I'd go much further: I cannot praise his book, Philosophy and Mystification (Fordham University Press, 2003), too highly; it seems to me that this is how Marxist Philosophy should be done.

I only encountered Guy's work in 2005, but I soon saw that he had anticipated several of my own ideas -- except he manages to express in two paragraphs what it takes me several pages to say! Unlike the vast majority of work that claims to be Marxist, Guy's work is a model of clarity. It is no accident, therefore, to see Guy writing in the Wittgensteinian tradition.

I am posting these essays here with his permission, but no one should assume that he agrees with any of the views expressed at this site -- other than those already contained in his essays.

20/01/10: I have re-written Essay Eight Part Three -- What Are Dialectical Contradictions? --  correcting several errors and typos, and adding approximately 3000 words of new material. The Essay is now just over 10% longer.

13/01/10: I have just re-written Essay Eight Part Two -- Forces Aren't 'Contradictions'. I have corrected several errors and typos, made the argument clearer and added about 4000 words of new material.

I have also deleted a 25,000 word section entitled "What are Dialectical Contradictions?", which was reposted as Essay Eight Part Three a year or so ago. It made no sense to leave it in Part Two, therefore.

December 2009

19/12/09: I have just finished re-writing Essay Eight Part One -- Change Through 'Internal Contradictions'. I have corrected several errors, clarified the argument, and deleted a long passage that now appears in Essay Ten Part One.

In have added about 2000 words of new material, but because of the deletion, the Essay is about 5% shorter.

07/12/09: Essay Seven Part One -- Engels's Three Laws -- has just been re-written. I have made the argument clearer, corrected several errors and typos, and added 5000 words of new material.

November 2009

10/11/09: Essay Six -- Identity Is No Threat To Change; Trotsky On Identity -- has just been re-written. I have cut a long passage that is now to be found in Essay Four, corrected several errors and typos, and added about 2500 words of new material.

02/11/09: Essay Five -- Motion is Not Contradictory -- has just been re-written. I have corrected several errors and typos and added over 6000 words of new material.

October 2009

28/10/09: I have just finished re-writing the Summary of the rest of Essay Twelve. Even though Essay Twelve Part One itself appeared several years ago, last year I decided to post this Summary of the rest of Essay Twelve (which forms the core of my case against metaphysics, and the forms-of-thought one finds in Hegel and 'materialist dialectics') since sections Two to Seven of Essay Twelve will not be published for many years. This delay has created a gaping hole in my argument. The Summary partially fills it.

Anyway, I thought this Summary was badly written and somewhat repetitive, so I decided it needed a make-over. I have also added about 2000 words of new material.

12/10/09: I have just finished re-writing Essay Four: Formal Logic Can Handle Change, correcting several errors and typos. I have added about 5% of new material, or 2500 words.

10/10/09: An old enemy of this site has once again put himself in the crosshairs, here.

06/10/09: The debate mentioned below has continued here, here, here and here.

04/10/09: In the debate below, a rather irascible Dialectical Mystic has tried to reply to me; I have responded here.

Links at the above page.

03/10/09: Several comrades have attempted to reply to one or two things I have said in the response mentioned below. I have now replied to them here.

02/10/09: Yet another obnoxious dialectician has tried to take me on. Anyone interested in seeing him receive a good materialist slapping should read this.

September 2009

27/09/09: I have jut re-written Essay Three Part Two: Abstract Ideas -- Science On The Cheap. Again, I have clarified the argument, corrected a few errors and typos, and added about 4000 words of new material, making it just under 10% longer.

15/09/09: Essay Three Part One: (Abstract Ideas -- The Heart Of The Beast) has just be re-written. I have clarified the argument, corrected a few errors and typos, and added about 5000 words of new material, making it just under 10% longer.

A debate took place recently at the Marxist Humanist Initiative site over the nature of 'dialectical contradictions'.

The discussion was reasonably comradely until I thought to question a few of the things one of these dialecticians (one "Juurrian") had to say. Upon that, he soon descended into the by-now-to-be-expected dialectical abuse, vituperation, use of scatological language and resort to lying. My reply to him has not yet been published (it is awaiting moderation, which might take some time since I am told the site is being re-designed), but it can be read here in the meantime.

August 2009

28/08/09: Essay Two (Dialectics: Imposed On Nature) has just been re-written. I have corrected a few errors and typos, clarified the argument and added about 3000 words of new material.

18/08/09: I have completely re-written the Summary of Essay Twelve Parts Two to Seven; when the rest of Essay Twelve has been published, I will split it up into more manageable sections, since it is far too long as it is.

I have only posted it so that visitors can see where my argument will go in the future.

----oOo----

Ok, I have moved the entire site to this new address.

Most of the links below now work.

In the intervening months I have completely re-written the Basic Introductory Essay to make it clearer and strengthen the arguments.

May 2009

19/06/09: I have just re-written Essay Thirteen Part One: Lenin's Disappearing Definition of Matter. I have corrected several errors and typos, clarified the argument and added about 5% of new material.

Incidentally, I have to move home at the end of June, so there will be very few new updates published here over the next three months or so.

May 2009

15/05/09: I have just re-written the Basic Introductory Essay. I have added approximately 1000 words of new material, corrected a few errors and re-worked the argument in places to make it clearer.

April 2009

23/04/09: I have just finished a long re-write of Essay Nine Part Two -- The Damage Petty-Bourgeois Theorists And Dialectical Materialism Have Inflicted On Marxism --, correcting several errors and typos, and making the argument clearer. I have also added about 14,000 words of new material.

March 2009

17/03/09: I have just received a copy of Science & Society, volume 72, October 2008. In this number, noted Marxist economist Guglielmo Carchedi tries in vain to make sense of Marx's ideas on the calculus. Alas, his arguments have already been neutralised in Essay Seven Part One (here).

This is doubly unfortunate, since the latest edition of International Socialism contains a review by Chris Harman which recommends the above article.

In view of the recent split in UK-Respect, the depressingly poor results chalked up by the Left List, and the internal wrangling in the UK-SWP, it looks like my prediction that comrades will openly return to this mystical 'theory' in times of defeat and set-back has once again proved to be correct.

February 2009

23/02/09: Ok, at last Essay Thirteen Part Three, Mind. Language and Cognition, has been published!

It is by far the longest Essay at this site (at over 141,000 words), hence the repeated delays.

17/02/09: I will be posting Essay Thirteen Part Three in the next few days; yet more delays I'm afraid. Anyway, it is now about 99% complete.

01/02/09: Essay Thirteen Part Three (on 'Mind', Language and Cognition) is almost finished -- illness and the fact that it is easily the longest Essay I have so far written (it is fast approaching 120,000 words) have delayed it by another week to ten days.

January 2009

11/01/09: A couple of months ago, a supporter of this site sent a letter to the editor of Socialist Review in response to an article on dialectics by John Rees. The editors did not publish that letter, but you can read it here.

04/01/09: Visitors can view here the pictures I took of the demonstration in London yesterday protesting the Zionist slaughter in Gaza.

There were at least 50,000 on the march, which was amazing really, in view of the fact that it had only been called three days earlier.

December 2008

12/12/08: I have just re-written Essay Three Part One -- Abstraction: The Heart of the Beast.

I have added about 5000 words of new material, corrected several errors and typos, and made the argument clearer.

02/12/08: Another dialectical punch-up has developed at Liam Macuaid's excellent blog. Anyone who checks it out will see the same hackneyed examples wheeled out for the thousandth time, the same evasive and abusive tactics, the same scatological language.

These erstwhile apostles of universal change are living proof that Heraclitus got it all wrong -- they never change.

Incidentally, Essay Thirteen Part Three (on 'Mind', Language and Cognition) is on course to be published before the end of January. The long delay is down to the fact that this is easily the longest Essay so far published.

November 2008

20/11/08: More Socialist Unity mayhem here. Visitors will once again notice the same bluster, prevarication and abuse from our mystically-compromised comrades.

10/11/08: The argument at Socialist Unity of the 7th (see below) has kicked-off again, but I am not allowed to post my reply there. However, comrades can read my response here.

A few months ago I mentioned a book that was soon to be published, The Liberal Defence of Murder (Verso Books, 2008). Well it has now appeared, and I can whole-heartedly recommend it.

This is from the publishers web site:

"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.

"Richard Seymour lives and writes in London. His website Lenin's Tomb comments on issues such as imperialism, Zionism, Islamophobia and anti-capitalism, and covers strikes and protests with footage, images and reportage. It has been cited in, among others, Private Eye, the Guardian and Slate. This is Richard Seymour's first book."

07/11/08: Over the last few days an argument over dialectics has broken out at the Socialist Unity blog. Several comrades there were content merely to abuse me (for no good reason) and post 'fibs' about me and my beliefs.

[Par for the course, or what?]

However, before I could respond to the latest allegations about my work, the owner of the site closed the thread!

No worries; I have now written that response, and you can read it here.

03/11/08: I have just re-written Essay One, which is an Introduction to this site, and which explains why I began this project.

I am still on course to finish Essay Thirteen Part Three ('Mind', Language and Cognition) before Xmas.

October 2008

21/10/08: In the light of a few criticisms I have received from certain comrades, I have completely re-written Essay Seven Part One. It is now approximately 15% longer at just under 91,000 words.

I am still working on Essay Thirteen Part Three ('Mind', Language and Cognition); it should be ready to publish before the end of December.

September 2008

28/09/08: I regularly search the internet for comments on my work. Some is supportive, some not; but some is quite poor. Here is the latest example of the latter. I have straightened these comrades out here.

24/09/08: I have now completely re-written the response to comrade Jones I posted at RevLeft, mentioned below. I have entitled it "Engels and Mickey Mouse Science".

12/09/08: I have just been informed that the International Socialist Review has in fact published the letter I sent them, in the September/October issue, contrary to what I asserted below (entry for August 18th).

Comrade Jones (the author of the article that was the subject of my letter) has responded with a surprisingly trite rebuttal.

I have already posted a long reply to him here; a more considered response will appear at this site in the next few weeks.

However, anyone who accesses my reply will need to note that it was based on a typed-out copy of the original response (by comrade Jones) posted at RevLeft by yet another comrade (who made a few typos). I used that version of comrade Jones's rebuttal since the link to the letters page at the International Socialist website was not working (until I informed them of that fact!), so I could not cut and paste his response.

That will be rectified in the version I will be posting here.

11/09/08: In August 2008, a supporter of this site sent a letter in to Socialist Review. The editor decided not to publish it. You can read it here.

10/09/08: A week or so ago I received a copy of Ellen Meiksins Wood's latest book Citizens To Lords. A Social History Of Western Political Thought From Antiquity To The Middle Ages (Verso, 2008). I was pleasantly surprised to find that several of her main theses amply confirm a number of my own. One of these is summarised by Neil Faulkner in the latest issue of Socialist Review:

"Greek democracy was traumatic for the ancient ruling class. Ellen Wood is right to root her analysis of western political thought in the context of this extraordinary historical experiment. For around 200 years, in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, Athens and many other Greek city-states were ruled by ordinary citizens. Major decisions -- like whether to go to war - were made at mass meetings of thousands. The poorest hill farmer had the same rights as the richest landowner. While it lasted, it was impossible for rulers to screw their own people. Instead the rich faced wealth taxes and corruption trials.

"The Greek ruling class never forgot or forgave. They later combined with Macedonian kings and Roman viceroys to smash democracy. This ancient class war between landowners and peasants is the starting point for western political thought. Other civilizations -- based on brutally enforced obedience -- had no need for political theory: there was a king, he was backed by god, his authority was beyond question, and that was that. But the city-state was a community of free citizens, all doing military service, all having political rights. Anything could happen -- like cancellation of debts and redistribution of land (the two great demands of the ancient left) -- and right wing intellectuals spent much time concocting theories to justify inequality. This is the origin of Greek philosophy." [Emphases added.]

The main thrust of the last sentence above forms one of the main themes to Essays Two, Nine Part One, Twelve Parts One to Seven, and Fourteen Part One: that philosophy has always expressed the most abstract forms of ruling-class ideology.

Hence, the importation of Hegel's philosophical ideas into Marxism (upside down, or the 'right way up') has meant that "ruling ideas" now dominate revolutionary socialism in the form of 'Materialist Dialectics'.

August 2008

18/08/08: A few weeks back I sent a letter to the editors of the International Socialist Review about an article they published on Engels's Anti-Dühring. They chose not to publish that letter.

A copy can be found here.

The next Essay to be published will be 13-03, Mind, Language and Cognition. It will be ready before the end of September.

July 2008

29/07/08: The Summary of Essay Eleven Part Two (Dialectical Wholism -- Full of Holes) has just been posted.

13/07/08: I have just re-written Essay Two -- Dialectics Imposed On Nature, Not Read From It -- taking the opportunity to correct several errors and typos, and to make the argument clearer. I have also added 10,000 words of new material, so the Essay is now well over 30% longer.

11/07/08: Levins and Lewontin's Biology Under The Influence (Monthly Review Press, 2007) has just landed on my desk. This book was given a glowing review by Phil Webster in the latest issue of Socialist Review.

However, where this book touches on dialectics, it makes all the usual mistakes, which Webster either does not know about, or missed. I will be adding a few comments on this book in a later re-write of Essay Seven Part One, and Essay Eleven Part Two.

A supporter of this site will be sending a letter about the review to the editor; we will see if she publishes it.

10/07/08: I have just re-written Essay Eleven Part Two -- Dialectical Holism, Full of Holes -- correcting several errors and typos, making the argument clearer, and adding over 2500 words of new material.

June 2008

29/06/08: I have just re-written Essay Twelve Part One -- Dialectics And Metaphysics. I have corrected several errors, clarified the argument and added some new material. It is now about 5% longer.

23/06/08: The Summary of Essay Twelve Part One -- The Metaphysical Status Of Dialectics -- has just been published.

16/06/08: I have just re-written Essay Nine Part Two -- The Damage Petty-Bourgeois Theorists And Dialectical Materialism Have Inflicted On Marxism --, correcting several mistakes and typos; I have also added about 3500 words of new material.

06/06/08: I have just re-written essay Eight Part Three "What Are 'Dialectical Contradictions'", correcting several errors and infelicities, adding new material. It is now just over 10% longer.

May 2008

30/05/08: I have just added 1500 words of comment and argument to Note 4 of Essay Seven Part One, in view of the fact that my original argument had a few gaping holes in it.

I have also added new links to this page, which records the many 'debates' I have had on the Internet with dialecticians (mostly at RevLeft).

25/05/08: I have re-posted, as a separate Essay (i.e., as 08-03 -- "What are 'Dialectical Contradictions'"), a long footnote that appeared in Essay Eight Part Two.

Because of its length, this footnote has in fact taken on a life of its own. Buried as it was in 08-02, it was not easy to access.

25/05/08: I have now published the Summary of Essay Eleven Part One: "The 'Totality' -- WTF Is It?"

-----oOo-----

I have been away for over three weeks, hence the lack of activity at this site of late.

The next work to be published will be a summary of Essay Eleven Part One; that will be followed sometime in July by Essay Thirteen Part Three: "Dialectics, Language, 'Mind' and 'Cognition'".

April 2008

26/04/08: I am progressively re-writing Essay Sixteen, which is an extended summary of my ideas. Because of its length, it has been broken up into manageable sections, each corresponding more-or-less to one of the main Essays.

To that end, I have just finished the summary of Essay Ten Part One: Dialectics -- Refuted By History.

24/04/08: Because of the interest it is receiving (in fact it is currently the most visited page at this site), I have just re-written Essay Ten Part One, making numerous small changes and correcting a few errors and typos.

23/04/08: Essay One has just be re-written. This Essay explains the background to my work, and serves as an Introduction.

21/04/08: The re-write of Essay Thirteen Part One (on Lenin's Materialism and Empirio-criticism) has just been completed.

I have corrected several errors and typos and added about 3500 words of new material.

17/04/08: I have just re-written Essay Five, since it is still attracting much interest.

I have corrected a few errors and typos, made the argument clearer and added small amounts of new material.

It is now just short of 5% longer.

I am also in the process of re-writing Essay Thirteen Part One, posting the changes as they are being made.

March 2008 Latest

31/03/08: The summary of Essay Nine Part Two has just been published -- 'Militants on Methadone'.

This outlines the reasons why I think dialecticians have swallowed this ruling-class theory, and the consequent damage this has done to Marxism.

27/03/08: I have now written and posted a summary of Essay Nine Part One: 'Dialectics -- A Ruling-Class Theory'.

24/03/08: I have just written the Summary of Essay Eight Part Two -- Why 'Dialectical Contradictions' cannot be equated with opposing forces.

20/03/08: Over the last few months I have been completely re-writing Essay Sixteen (which is an extended introduction to and summary of my work), breaking it up into manageable parts.

Well, as part of that, I have now written the Summary to Essay Eight Part One.

18/03/08: I have just re-written Essay Twelve Part One, correcting several errors, and adding new material. I have also tried to make the argument even clearer.

That Essay is now approx 3,500 words longer.

17/03/08: Visitors can find my pictures of the recent anti-war demonstration in London, here.

07/03/08: I have just finished re-writing Essay Five -- 'Motion is not Contradictory' -- making numerous small changes, correcting several errors and typos, and adding some new material. It is now about 1000 words longer.

05/03/08: A few weeks ago, a sympathetic reader of my Essays added a comment about my work to the article on DM at Wikipedia.

Unfortunately, a rather miffed Maoist and a thin-skinned Trotskyist deleted it (the latter after it had been restored).

Apparently, such 'scientific' comrades cannot tolerate the idea that their theory has been systematically demolished, and think that censoring me will make me or my ideas go away.

However, the original poster has restored it again. You can read it here (if it is still there!).

[It can be accessed in the History section of that article anyway.]

04/03/08: The seminar in Oxford went well. I filmed the talk and subsequent discussion, but the lighting was poor. If I can improve the quality of the video on edit, I'll post it on YouTube.

I'll also post a transcript of the talk, and discussion at a later date.

February 2008

28/02/08: Essay Nine Part Two has just been re-written; I have corrected a few errors, clarified the argument somewhat and added new material. It is now just under 2000 words longer.

Essay Five is still being re-written

Also, I have just received the second edition of Reason In Revolt by Woods and Grant.

The chapter on logic is still among the worst I have ever seen in a book about dialectics, even though, at my suggestion, Alan Woods has removed the syntactic mess that used to appear on page 98.

The book still makes grossly erroneous remarks about Wittgenstein (among others), and it repeats all the old errors (debunked at this site) as if they were eternal truths.

On page 101, the authors still manage to get George Boole's name wrong (they call him 'George Boyle') even though I pointed this error out to Woods in 2004 -- just as they mis-spell Gottlob Frege's name on the same page.

These might seem small errors, but they reveal how sloppy dialecticians are when it comes to logic -- even after such things have been pointed out to them!

[There are plenty more examples of this sort of thing here.]

25/02/08: I have just received a copy of Science, Marxism and the Big Bang, by Peter Mason. While this book is a short critique of Woods and Grant's Reason in Revolt, it is by far and away the most measured and reasonable defence I have ever seen of Dialectical Materialism. I will add a few comments about this book to Essay Seven at a later date.

Added later:  I wrote the above after reading only half of the said book. However, much of the second half is highly repetitive, the author becoming fixated on infinity, saying more or less the same thing over and over again for the next 60 pages!

I am also in the process of re-writing Essay Five in view of the fact that it is attracting quite a few visitors right now.

21/02/08: I have just re-written Essay One, correcting several errors, and adding new material. It is now about 5% longer.

14/02/08: A few months ago, I wrote a very basic outline of the egregious logical errors Hegel committed, which launched the 'dialectic', and which subsequent prominent Marxists accepted uncritically.

I have now re-written it to make the argument even clearer.

It was originally designed for those who found the extended argument  here, here, here and here a little too daunting.

That being so, the dialectic has no foundation in logic, or in fact.

It is no surprise therefore to find it has presided over 150 years of almost total failure.

12/02/08: After a long delay, I have finally published Essay Thirteen Part One: Lenin's Disappearing Definition Of Matter.

This Essay took me far longer to complete than I had imagined!

01/02/08: The next Essay to be published will be ready to post in the next week or so. It is Essay Thirteen Part One, which will demolish what is easily Lenin's worst published work: the lamentable Materialism and Empirio-Criticism.

Apologies for the delay, but it has been far harder to finalise than I had anticipated.

A supporter of this site will be addressing a conference on the renewal of the left, to be held at Oxford University at the end of February.

More details here.

 

 

--------oOo--------

  

 

 

SITE MAP:

The following Essays will be posted here over the coming months and years (those in blue have already been published):

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, and 17/01/14.]

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

[Posted 22/11/05; re-written with new material added, 05/02/06; updated 12/04/06. Re-written 27/09/06 with new material added. Updated 11/02/07. Re-written 11/04/07; up-dated 02/05/07. Re-written again 24/05/07, 13/07/08, 28/08/09, 02/02/12, and 19/05/13.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Three Part One: How Abstractionism Undermines Both Language And Science

[Posted 26/12/05; re-written 11/07/06, 14/03/07, 11/11/07, 12/12/08, 15/09/09 and 13/08/11.]

[Summary here.]

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

[Posted 05/01/06; re-written 08/05/06, with new material added. Re-written again, 28/03/07. Re-written 25/11/07, 27/09/09, 13/09/10, 29/08/11, and 07/04/12.]

[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 with new material added, 24/06/06; partially re-written 24/12/06. Updated 18/03/07. Re-written with new material added, 04/05/07. Re-written again 06/11/07, 12/10/09 and 26/10/11.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Four Part Two: 'Internal Relations'

Essay Five: Motion Isn't Contradictory

[Posted December 2005; re-written with new material added, 23/07/06, and again 27/01/07. Re-written 09/04/07, 29/10/07, 07/03/08, 17/04/08, 02/11/09, 13/09/11, and 12/09/13.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Six: How Trotsky And Hegel Misconstrued 'The Law Of Identity'

[Posted 21/01/06; re-written with new material added, 17/02/06; re-written again, with new material added, 16/09/06. Updated 11/02/07. Re-written, with new material added, 10/10/07, 10/11/09, and 27/09/11.]

[Summary here.]

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

[Posted November 2005. Re-written, with new material added, 07/04/06, 07/09/06, 14/03/07, 23/09/07, 21/10/08, 07/12/09, and 27/11/11.]

[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.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Eight Part One: Demolished: Change Through 'Internal Contradiction'

[Posted 20/04/06; corrected, with new material added, 25/04/06. Re-written, 09/01/07. Updated 11/02/07. Re-written 13/06/07, 28/09/07, 19/12/09 and 09/12/11.]

[Summary here.]

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

[Posted 07/06/06; re-written with new material added, 01/07/06; partially re-written 16/10/06. Re-written 21/01/07. Updated 18/03/07, and 03/06/07. Re-written again 20/10/07, 15/01/08, 13/01/10, 17/04/11 and 03/02/12.]

[Summary here.]

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

[Posted 25/05/08. Re-written 21/01/10, 19/11/11, and 15/06/12.]

Essay Nine Part One: The Politics Of Metaphysics; Dialectics -- An Alien-Class Theory

[Posted 01/08/06. Re-written: 15/11/06. Updated 11/02/07. Re-written: 06/10/07, 11/02/10, 28/01/11, 12/02/12 and 17/09/13.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Nine Part Two: The Damage Petty-Bourgeois Theorists And Dialectical Materialism Have Inflicted On Marxism

[Posted 15/04/07. Re-written 03/06/07. Partially re-written 12/07/07 and 01/11/07; fully rewritten 28/02/08, 16/06/08, 24/04/09, 21/05/10, 11/02/11, 12/01/12, 13/05/12, and 23/02/13.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Ten Part One: Practice And History Refute Dialectics

[Posted 10/08/07. Re-written 29/09/07, 26/10/07, 28/06/10, 17/02/12, and 27/09/13.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Ten Part Two: Truth -- Coherence, Correspondence, Or Based on Practice?

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, and 03/04/14.]

[Summary here.]

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

[Posted 20/11/06. Re-written 16/12/06. Updated 11/02/07. Re-written 27/05/07, 10/07/08, 27/07/10, and 12/03/12.]

[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 and 06/10/12.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Twelve Part Two: Metaphysics And Ruling-Class Thought

Essay Twelve Part Three: The Material 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: Hegel's Mother Lode -- The Dialectical Dope Dealer Brought To Book

Essay Twelve Part Seven: Ordinary Material 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 and 02/12/12.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Thirteen Part Two: Dialectical Materialism And Science

Essay Thirteen Part Three: 'Mind', Language And 'Cognition' -- Or, Voloshinov Debunked'

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

Essay Fourteen Part One: The Mystical Origins 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 To Summaries Of The Main Ideas Presented At This Site

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

[Posted February 1, 2006. Re-written 2007-2014.]

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 Essays or articles written by other anti-dialecticians who have developed some of the ideas advanced at this site. Visitors should not assume I agree with everything they contain!

 

Additional Material

 

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

 

 

 

How Not To Argue 101

This 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.

25 years (!!) of this stuff from Dialectical Mystics has meant I now take an aggressive stance with them every time -- I soon learnt back in the 1980s that being pleasant with them (my initial tactic) did not alter their abusive tone, their propensity to fabricate, nor reduce the amount of scatological language they used.

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.

So, these mystics can dish it out, but they cannot 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.

 

 

This is a picture of Rosa Luxembourg, not me!

I point this out merely to end speculation I have seen on some discussion boards.

 

 

Contact Me

 

 

Finally:

Several commentators have clearly taken these opening comments of mine (above and to the right) as definitive of my entire work, and have read no further, when they are merely that: opening comments --, which represent about 0.001% of the material so far posted!

This opening page is deliberately provocative and is not meant to contain water-tight arguments, merely a statement of intent.

In contrast, the Essays I have posted are meant to be definitive. Whether they achieve that particular goal is, of course, another matter.

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

Clearly, such a superficial approach to my work 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!

I was right to describe such numpties as 'clowns'.

 

 

 

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 posted at the above sites; indeed, John Molyneux's otherwise excellent blog endorses the very theory under attack at this site!

~~~~~~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 Posted

January 2014: I have just published a new and 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?

September 2013:

Was Wittgenstein A Leftist?

This Essay shows that, contrary to the hackneyed opinion of Wittgenstein held by many on the left he, wasn't a conservative mystic, so 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:

 The Damage Petty-Bourgeois Theorists And Their Theory, Dialectical Materialism, Have Inflicted On Marxism

However, visitors would be wrong conclude from its title that the above Essay is all about a certain philosophical theory and its effect on Marxism.

It is just as much about the class origin of the founders of our movement (and 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 -- 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 site up their own website.

Unfortunately, the creeping Stalinism of the SWP seems to have carried over into this new site, for my posts 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".]

It seems that any old material about the thoughts of assorted latter-days Neo-Platonists and Hermeticists -- such as Raya Dunayevskaya and the Lenin of the Philosophical Notebooks -- is welcome, but the comments of anyone who challenges mysticism like this aren't.

 ~~~~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.

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

~~~~oOo~~~~

Guy Robinson's Essays

Essay Nine Part Two: The Damage Petty-Bourgeois Theorists And Their Theory, Dialectical Materialism, Have Inflicted On 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' -- Voloshinov (And Others) Debunked

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

Outline Of Hegel's Logical Blunders

----------------------------------------------------------

 

A supporter of this site is selling several hundred of his books (on Marxism, Politics, Philosophy, Science, Mathematics, and much else besides -- including several dozen copies of International Socialism (many of which date back to the 1970s and 1980s), and Historical Materialism -- here.

 

 

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 comrade's response was.

I still am!

Anyway, my reply to him can be accessed here.

 

 

 

Socialist Unity Censors Debate! Read The Details Here.

Socialist Unity Replies -- My Response Here.

The 'Debate' Continues.

A Supporter Lodges a Complaint.

~~~~oOo~~~~

2013: I have now been banned!

I was in fact banned for censuring a handful of male comrades who seemed fond of using 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 comment of mine that alluded to his former 'philosophical' allegiances, no matter how mild or nuanced they were.

 

 

 

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 one page précis of several of my main objections to DM, here.

This was in fact an article I wrote for Weekly Worker (and published in September 2007. I have since disowned its appearance there for reasons spelt-out at the above link.

 

 

 

 

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 to the left.

 

 

 

The complete irrelevance of 'Materialist Dialectics' to the prosecution of 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.

Check out the latest exchanges here, here and here.

October 2009: Yet another obnoxious, but nonetheless unwise 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 very heavy, materialist bricks at him here, here, here, and again here, here, here and here.

These have now all been collected together here.

 

 

 

 

 

This is a site which is also devoted to anti-dialectics, and which is well worth visiting -- if you speak French.

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

Please note that nothing posted here is intended to undermine Historical Materialism [HM] -- a theory I fully accept -- or revolutionary socialism.

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.

[Please 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 MD 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 'success', it is more difficult still for them to blame it even so much as partially on the misbegotten theory they have inherited from Hegel.

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: MD!

This is impossible to believe.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned denial means that Dialectical Marxists never seem to learn from their mistakes --, they just blame 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 these allegations, as well as to advance several more; among which are the following:

 

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

This helps explain why, almost without exception, Marxist parties tend to be small, divisive, and thus almost totally ineffectual.

2) That none of the major theses advanced by dialecticians stands up to close scrutiny.

These include the famous "Three Laws" of dialectics (i.e., the 'Laws' of 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 MD is false. My argument is: (1) MD and DM make no sense whatsoever so, (2) No wonder they have failed us for so long.

This site is aimed at establishing point (1) so that conclusion (2) may be drawn from it.

 

Of course, highly controversial claims like these require considerable proof; that is why the Essays posted here go 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 sweet will find shorter summaries of my ideas here.

In August 2006, I added an 'Absolute Beginners' page, here, and in the summer of 2007 I published an even shorter 'Anti-Dialectics For Dummies' -- which is aimed at 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.

 

True to form, 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 fifteen years, even though I have been mulling over these ideas for twenty-five or more. 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 and papers on a whole range of topics directly or indirectly connected with DM/MD.

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

Essay One expands on the above comments, and explains: (1) Why I began this project, (2) Why the tone I have adopted is unremittingly hostile, and (3) 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 inherited 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 this is after several years of continually making that very point!

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

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 live for limited forms of bourgeois democracy) in the following countries: Nepal (2006), Lebanon, Serbia, France, 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), Algeria Tunisia, Egypt (January 2011, and again November 2012), Libya, Syria -- in fact the population of Syria have been resisting the Asad 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.]

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.]

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, 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: 1991 -- Dramatic Scenes From The Former USSR

As Massed Ranks Of Workers Defend 'Their' State

 

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

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-Two And Twenty-Three: 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!

On top of this, communist parties the world over have adopted market forms of capitalism, and most of them, despite the rhetoric, have embraced openly reformist, if not neo-liberal, dogma.

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

Even UK Respect has now split!

The implosion of the UK-SWP (in 2013/14) is just another sad reminder of this trend.

Dialectical Trotskyism is thus 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 bee laid to rest here.]

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

Video One: '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 or the unprecedented world-wide opposition mounted against the 'allied' invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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 groups have grown since 1999.

For most people, rightly or wrongly, Dialectical Marxism has become a by-word for childish and 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, 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 plainly requires professional help.

Figure Twenty-Four: 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 all aspects of MD.

Figure Twenty-Five: 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 April 2014, I have posted Essays and other material totalling in excess of 2.7 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 Twenty-Six: 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 about their length!

(8) Finally, and most importantly: I cannot 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.

 

Rosa Lichtenstein

April 2014

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