Refuting A Weak Attempt At Refutation -- Part Eleven
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Although I am highly critical of Dialectical Materialism [DM], nothing said here (or, indeed, in the other Essays posted at this site) is aimed at undermining Historical Materialism [HM] -- a theory I fully accept -- or, for that matter, revolutionary socialism. I remain as committed to the self-emancipation of the working class and the dictatorship of the proletariat as I was when I first became a revolutionary nearly thirty years ago. [That puts paid to the allegation that those who reject DM soon abandon revolutionary politics.]
My aim is simply to assist in the scientific development of Marxism by helping to demolish a dogma that has in my opinion seriously damaged our movement from its inception: DM --; or, in its more political form, 'Materialist Dialectics' [MD].
The difference between HM and DM as I see it is explained here.
Anyone using these links must remember that they will be skipping past supporting argument and evidence set out in earlier sections.
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(2) Yes..., You Guessed it -- Yet More Repetition!
Summary Of My Main Objections To Dialectical Materialism
Abbreviations Used At This Site
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In 2015, I posted the following comment on a YouTube page which was devoted to introducing prospective viewers to a highly simplified version of DM:
Alas for this
video, I have demolished this dogmatic theory (from a Marxist angle) at my site:
Main objections outlined here:
I have posted many similar comments on other pages at YouTube that are devoted to this theory and received little or no response. But, the producer of this film (whose on-screen name used to be Marxist-Leninist-Theory [MLT], but which has now changed to The Finnish Bolshevik -- henceforth, TFB) did respond (and to which I replied, here and here).
Not long afterwards, another video appeared on YouTube -- which was also produced by TFB, but posted to his other YouTube page -- entitled: "Refuting a Trotskyite Attack on Dialectics". I have replied to this largely incoherent video, here, here, and here.
After several, shall we say, 'skirmishes' over the last six months or so, TFB posted a second, even longer video, which attempted to respond to one of my briefer attacks on this failed 'theory' of his:
Video One: The Garbling Continues
As part of my reply to TFB's earlier video, I transcribed the vast bulk of it, which took absolutely ages. I did this for several reasons:
(a) So that others could see how largely incoherent it is.
(b) So that it would be easier to expose TFB's lies and fabrications.
(c) So that I couldn't be accused of distorting what he had said.
I have so far posted seven responses to the above video, so this Essay constitutes my eighth reply. All my debates and responses to TFB have now been collected together, here.
Incidentally, I have now decided to post much shorter replies to TFB in order to (i) Increase the probability of him reading them and, consequently, (ii) decrease the likelihood of having to explain the same things to him yet again, over and over, as had been the case up to now -- since he still refuses to read my longer replies, even though he expects his viewers to listen to his voice droning on and on, making the same points time and again, often incoherently, for over an hour!
Yes..., You Guessed It -- Yet More Repetition!
TFB continues, clearly rattled -- again, I have transcribed this barely coherent video as best I could:
Aaah! Pssch! [Dramatic pause.] And "self-inflicted ignorance" [TFB is quoting me here -- RL], like... ; this is what she calls call "self-inflicted ignorance"..., because I did not know that Stalin had used the term "external contradiction". That's supposedly "self-inflicted ignorance". How is it "self-inf..." [garbled word]..., how is it "self-inflicted"? I asked you "Please provide evidence for your stupid claim!" And you don't. Then, I'm like, "Ok, well then there is no evidence to believe that." Then I googled the damn thing. Google doesn't come up with anything. I tell you that Google doesn't come up with anything. Then, finally you send me the quote. [TFB now adopts a pained tone of voice -- RL.] Oh, I'm really, like..., trying to.., s..., [garbled words/words]..., to in..., inflict ignorance on myself by asking, and asking, and asking, [garbled word -- sounds like "f*cking"]..., googling and asking you. [Dramatic pause.] Jesus f*cking Christ! This is stupid! [Approximately 53:50-54:44. I have italicised words where TFB tone of voice suggested he was trying to be emphatic, and I have done likewise in other passages transcribed from this video. The dots throughout this and other quotes indicate that TFB has stopped talking for a moment, or has changed the direction of what he wanted to say -- otherwise, they reflect (i) indecision in his delivery, or (ii) the presence of incoherent and indecipherable passages. They don't represent missing words. Where I have edited words out -- or simply ignored them for whatever reason -- that will be clearly indicated.]
(1) Well, we have been over this so many times it is becoming tedious. TFB's memory is interestingly creative, here: The Stalin passage in question (about 'external contradictions') was in fact quoted in Essay Nine Part Two -- to which I had linked in the Essay TFB had been criticising in his first video! My accusation that TFB labours under the burden of "self-inflicted ignorance" refers to the fact that (i) He blundered into this debate with his ill-advised and ham-fisted attempt to refute me when he clearly hadn't checked his facts, but more importantly, (ii) He did so while being woefully and demonstrably ignorant of his own theory! I have pointed this out to him many times, so one more reminder risks being yet more wasted effort on my part -- nevertheless, I have done so here in the vain hope it might engage with the few remaining brains cells that still seem to be working somewhere between his ears. I won't, however, be holding my breath on that one.
(2) Moreover, his Google search request was first advanced in this second video! I have covered that issue at length in an earlier reply (where we discovered that TFB doesn't even know how to use Google!); readers are directed there for more details.
(3) Incidentally, in that earlier reply, I quoted in full a passage from one of Stalin's major works (which TFB, a Stalin-groupie if ever there was one, seems not to have read!) where he uses the term "external contradiction" three times, and I then added this comment:
Stalin employs the phrase "external contradictions" three times in the above passage, and clearly links this phrase, and "internal contradictions", to SIOC [Socialism In One Country], in his polemic against Trotsky. He also links 'external contradictions' to issues related to Soviet foreign policy and foreign relations -- exactly as I alleged.
As far as I know, the above represents the first use of this term by anybody, anywhere.
This article is hardly obscure. It represents a major policy initiative integral to the historic break between Trotsky/Trotskyism and Stalinism/Maoism, which helped establish the doctrine of SIOC, and which was republished in one of Stalin's major works -- Problems of Leninism.
How TFB managed to remain largely ignorant of it (or its implications) when this term appeared in the above major work remains a mystery -- except, we already know his 'research' is shoddy, to say the least.
Perhaps he hasn't read Stalin, his very own guru?
In which case, it is reasonably clear that the term "self-inflicted ignorance" was well deserved. TFB should wear it with pride, as a badge of dishonour. Maybe even wear a t-shirt with that phrase emblazoned on it?
No worries, I have designed one for him:
Figure One: TFB's New T-Shirt
Alas, TFB drones on:
"What erud..., what erudite repose.., repose [I think that this should be 'riposte' -- RL] comes next?" [TFB is quoting from here -- RL.]
Then there's a quote from me:
"You've..., you've written a lot but it hasn't achieved that much. You don't need to have quotes from people who are relevan..., irrelevant... You don't need to have quotes from people who are irrelevant to the subject nor do they need to be as long. You're trying to do what is referred to as 'baffling them with bullsh*t' or at least that's what it looks like. There's a reason why most people don't do that." [Although TFB is reading his own words, I have transcribed them as they have been recorded on this video, not as I they appeared in an earlier response to him -- that is, with all his garbled words left in. The same is the case with his other attempts to quote me, below. Readers can check this for themselves by following the above link -- RL.]
That's what I told her. I finally..., I..., I was like "Ok, I'm tot..., totally being frank here, you know." [Intake of breath.] So, she responds:
"Of course, I wasn't to know that the other [TFB has added this word; it's not in the original --RL].... Of course, I wasn't to know that the..., Marxist-Leninist authors I quoted were considered by our 'revisionist' Bolshevik comrade to be "irrelevant" before I quoted them. Er... [another TFB addition -- RL], however, it is good, though, to see that petty sectarianism isn't confined to us Trotskyists -- except, of course, we now know that those "Brezhnev era revisionists" were closer to Stalin than... [another TFB addition -- RL], Stalin and Mao than Finnish Bolshevik is, at least on this issue."
What? [Dramatic pause.] You didn't know that those people were irrelevant? I'm asking you "When did Stalin say this?" You..., give me shh..., one Stalin quote and then six quotes from other people. You couldn't have foreseen that they were irrelevant to the Stalin question. Is there something..., like wrong with your brain, or something?
Um..., [garbled word, I think it was meant to be "like"] I was asking you "How is this a Stalinist invention?" [Dramatic pause.] "Provide me the Stalin quote, or the so-called Stalinists' quote." Instead, you give me one quote from Stalin, one from Mao, and then six from other people who are not..., Stalinists. Ever heard of 'de-Stalinisation'? It happened in the '50s. You know? These people aren't Stalinists. Should have been pretty obvious that they were irrelevant to the Stalinism issue.
Aaaanssh! [sic] Like..., then you say "Ok, gooood (sic) that there's no..., that the..., that there's pet..., petty sectarianism in Marxist-Leninist circles as well and not just in Trotskyist circles." Do you think it's petty sectarianism that I have a problem with so the..., revisionist Soviet Union? I think it's a major disagreement. [For some reason, TFB emphasised the last letter (i.e., "t") of "disagreement", but it is impossible to transcribe that emphasis so I have just remarked on it --RL.] It's not just petty sectarianism; there's nothing petty about it. [Approximately 54:45-57:25.]
This is like a recurring nightmare! We have been over this more times than TFB has used the word "Trotskyite"!
However, there are a few points that need making (again!):
(4) TFB is puzzled why I didn't know he was a mega-Stalin-groupie when I began to debate these issues with him. I'm not sure why. His brand of Über-Stalinism is quite rare, at least in my experience. In discussion with others who regard the former Soviet Union [fSU] as an example of 'really existing socialism' (even under Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Gorbachev), very few insisted on dismissing everything written by Soviet theorists in the 1960s, '70s or '80s because they were 'Brezhnev-era revisionists'. So it was a genuine surprise on my part to discover TFB was a fundamentalist in this respect (who, it seems, hasn't actually read any dialectics even from the Stalin-era, unlike yours truly -- or if he has, it made little impression on him). Why on earth does TFB think I quoted those 'Brezhnev-era revisionists' (who I also quote in several Essays at my site, and have done so for well over ten years) if I was in any way aware of his Neanderthal ideas about Stalin? What would I hope to gain from quoting theorists that he thinks I knew he'd reject in this way? In debate with other 'Stalinists', when I have quoted 'Brezhnev-era revisionists', not one has complained in the way TFB has done. In view of that, it was quite reasonable of me to expect the same of him.
(5) The puzzle only deepens when we realise that these 'Brezhnev-era revisionists' actually agree, almost word-for-word, with Stalin, Mao and other Stalin-era theorists on the points at issue -- which I have demonstrated in earlier replies to TFB. It is only TFB's woeful ignorance of 'Stalin-era dialectics' and 'post-Stalin dialectics' that prompted him into dismissing these alleged 'revisionists' before he had checked his facts, for we can now see that TFB actually agrees with these 'revisionists', and so had no good reason to reject their ideas about 'external contradictions' -- other than having to admit his own self-imposed ignorance, of course. But his rejectionist ploy has back-fired on him, since his ignorance is now plain for all to see.
(6) TFB makes light of my claim that sectarianism is just as common in the sort of Neanderthal Stalinism he defends as it is in Trotskyism, on the grounds that there are very clear differences between his pet theory and post-Stalin 'revisionism'. Well, maybe there are, but not over 'dialectics'. I defy him to find a significant difference between his sort of 'dialectics' (but expressed by those who know this theory much better than he does), and that accepted by post-Stalin DM-fans, especially those I quoted. Or even differences between his flavour of DM and 'Trotskyist dialectics'. Sure, there might be real differences between the application of this 'theory' to, say, current affairs, or politics, but there is no detectable difference if we confine ourselves to the 'pure theory', itself. Moreover, the application of DM to the question of SIOC and Russian foreign policy expressed by these 'revisionists' agrees with Stalin and Mao's application, and that of other Stalin-era DM-fans. TFB would know this, but he prefers to live in a safe bubble of self-inflicted ignorance. Indeed, with respect to DM, he even found he could agree with those mega-Trotskyist gurus, Woods and Grant -- which he did, embarrassingly enough, before he discovered they were rabid anti-Stalinists.
Any who doubt my rather bold claims here should check this out, where I have published literally hundreds of examples of DM drawn from every branch of Dialectical Marxism, and where it will soon become clear that it is difficult to slip a party card between Stalinist DM-fans and my fellow Trotskyists when it comes to this 'theory'.
So, this is an example of petty sectarianism, since the differences between TFB's dialectics and 'Brezhnev-era' dialectics are vanishingly small, if not non-existent. Of course, TFB wasn't to know this, since his 'research' is sloppy in the extreme when it comes to his own theory, as we have seen. What is worse, he won't let me help him!
The words "ignorance", "is" and "bliss" oddly come to mind here.
I can't think why.
More to follow...
Word Count: 2,860
Latest Update: 23/01/20
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