Refuting A Weak Attempt At Refutation -- Part Seven

 

Preface

 

If you are using Internet Explorer 10 (or later), you might find some of the links I have used won't work properly unless you switch to 'Compatibility View' (in the Tools Menu); for IE11 select 'Compatibility View Settings' and then add this site (anti-dialectics.co.uk). I have as yet no idea how Microsoft's new browser, Edge, will handle these links.

 

For some reason I can't work out, Internet Explorer 11 will no longer play the video I have posted to this page. Certainly not on my computer! However, as far as I can tell, they play alright in other Browsers.

 

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

 

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.

 

[Latest Update: 19/05/17.]

 

Quick Links

 

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(1) Background

 

(2) Welcome To A Stalinist Remake Of Groundhog Day!

 

(3) Bibliography

 

Summary Of My Main Objections To Dialectical Materialism

 

Abbreviations Used At This Site

 

Return To The Main Index Page

 

Contact Me

 

Background

 

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:

http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/index.htm

Main objections outlined here:

http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/Why%20I%20Oppose%20DM.htm

 

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 into print, 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 three responses to the above video, so this Essay constitutes my fourth 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 (a) Increase the probability of him reading them and, consequently, (b) decrease the likelihood of having to explain the same things to him 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, often incoherently, for an hour!

 

Welcome To A Stalinist Remake Of Groundhog Day!

 

Anyone who has seen Groundhog Day will no doubt agree that this latest video from TFB is perhaps a Stalinist remake -- since we seem to be going over the same points time and again, over and over. 'External contradictions'!!

 

There is one and only one reason for this: TFB refuses to read my replies to him, and wants to cover the same ground repetitively -- conveniently glossing over the fact that he simply has no answer to my total demolition of this failed 'theory' of his. Indeed, as we are about to see, this is the third time in this video alone where he has perseverated on this topic spending well over 40 minutes on this one subject, often saying exactly the same things many times over. It seems to have 'yanked his chain' -- perhaps because it has exposed his dire ignorance of DM, and even of Stalinism!

 

We have seen similar tactics adopted many times by DM-fans (and not just by Stalinists; fellow Trotskyists are only too happy to ape this cowardly tactic, too); they can't respond effectively to me so they (i) Ignore what I have to say, (ii) Post lies, falsehoods and misrepresentations (we will see several more from TFB, below), (iii) Indulge in personal vilification, or (iv) Simply post abuse; failing that, (v) They deflect attention from their plight by throwing up a smokescreen -- just like TFB in these videos.

 

[I have posted details of this dialectical dishonesty, here and here. Incidentally, I am not complaining, I expect DM-fans to react this way, and for reasons set-out in Essay Nine Part Two.]

 

Again, I have endeavoured to transcribe this section of TFB's video as accurately and carefully as I can, but it is (a) Highly repetitive -- as noted above, this is the third time TFB has gone over the same topic in this video alone! --, (b) Faltering, halting, and meandering, and in places (c) Extremely garbled, incoherent, and all but indecipherable. That shouldn't surprise us since TFB refuses to script such videos, a failing compounded by the fact that he is less than confident with this material, as we have seen, and will see again below. In fact, because of TFB's stumbling and less than coherent monologue, it was in many places extremely difficult to follow what he was trying to say -- to such an extent that it took me well over five hours to transcribe the following thirteen minute section! I had to keep rewinding and replaying much of it -- on one or two occasions at least a dozen times -- to make sure I had transcribed his stumbling and garbled words correctly. While I can't guarantee the following material is 100% accurate, it is the best I could manage in the circumstances. [If anyone thinks differently, please e-mail me with your corrections!]

 

Check it out for yourselves:

 

She continues, erm...,

 

"But, as seems obvious, this makes a mockery of the idea that all change is internally-generated, just as it undermines the contrast drawn above between mechanical and 'dialectical' theories of motion. Indeed, what becomes of Lenin's 'demand' if there are countless changes that violate this 'dialectical principle'?"

 

Well, I mean..., ehm..., some principles don't apply 100% of the time. Just saying [garbled]..., I mean..., I'm not even saying this is the case here, I'm just pointing that out. There's some [garbled]..., there's even..., even accepted scientific na... [sic] principles don't always apply, but whatever. This is just a stupid argument. An [sic]..., and by the way, Lenin's "demand" that he..., er..., Lenin's "demand" that she..., er..., references here is..., er..., it's from..., er..., Lenin [sic] quote. Let's..., let's actually just find it on this site so we can be absolutely sure. So, here it is:

 

"Dialectical logic demands that we go further…. [It] requires that an object should be taken in development, in 'self-movement' (as Hegel sometimes puts it)." [Lenin (1921), p.90. Bold emphases added by me -- RL.]

 

That's what Lenin says. So, we should look at things..., basically, the..., the full passage says that we should, you know, to make a good analysis we should look at things in their entirety and then we should look at them in like..., er..., isolation, and then we should look at them in..., in their.., in their development, their self-motion, and then..., er..., in their..., in their connection with other things. So, even in that passage he is saying "Oh, look at them in isolation, but also look at them in connection to other things". But, according to Rosa Lichtenstein, they have no connection to anything. Nothing is connected in dialectics. There is no dialectical relationship..., eh..., between anything in dialectics, which is a very strange idea. [Pause.] Er..., she claims that it's..., it's a dialectical principle that there's no dialectics in dialectics. Weird! [Dramatic pause.]

 

So, she..., she's literally claiming, like, make note of this, Stalin says "Oh, external contradictions...", and I'm like "I'm not sure he's even talking about dialectics...", but Rosa is like "Nope, he's talking about dialectics...", I'm like "OK..., er..., but, aren't you..., aren't you the one who's saying that in dialectics there's no external forces?" Cos..., for..., for the longest time I told her "You cannot possibly claim that Lenin thinks there are no external forces. You cannot possibly think that...,  er..., you cannot possibly think that Engels thinks there's no external forces. So you cannot claim that this is like a Stalinist invention, because clearly Lenin believes there's external forces. Clearly, Marx and Engels believe there's external forces, so you can't claim that this is like..., this is like a Stalinist invention." [I think this is where TFB's implied self-quotation ends!]

 

Erm..., the famous example that I used in my earlier video..., it's the famous example from..., er..., Engels, where Engels is talking about how there's a seed, and then there's moisture and heat, and then it..., er..., which are external forces, and then it grows into..., erm..., into a plant. Er..., so clearly the actual growing of the plant is because of the internal forces that are..., er..., doing their stuff [sic] inside the seed... [pause] ... the seed has the potential to become a plant; the molecules in it and the genes in it are doing that. It's internal to the..., to the seed. It's nothing outside forcing it to be..., become a plant. But, then again, it requ..., [sic] it requires some energy and nutrients. So, clearly the external forces in that case are a factor. And that's from Engels. So, clearly it's not like it was Engels a Stalinist [sic]. Erm..., so, for the longest time I've always been bringing this up, like you cannot believe this nonsense. This is insane!

 

So finally, she re..., [sic] you know, responds to me and says, "No, I never claimed that according to Lenin. I never even..., I never said it, never implied it." I'm like "Are you kidding me? You..., you saying you never even implied it! I mean you heavily imply it all over the place [sic]." [Again, I think TFB's self-quotation ends here -- RL.] What is this you say? "This makes a mockery of the idea that all change is internally-generated." [Quoting me -- RL.] What does? Like..., this makes a mockery of Lenin? What does? That the idea that there's external forces? Like..., what are you talking about? Of course you're claiming [garbled word]..., like wh..., [sic] how..., how can you deny you..., you're arguing that Lenin doesn't believe in external forces when you're..., you're saying that all..., like everywhere.... [TFB's voice just tails off here -- RL.]

 

Er..., like, look at this; this is an..., another example from her website. It's a stupid..., er..., it's a stupid joke, but anyway.

 

"Q: How many dialecticians does it take to change a light bulb?

 

"A: None at all; the light bulb changes itself."

 

[Dramatic Pause.] Erm..., now this is a really terrible..., aach..., really terrible explanation of..., erm..., and a total..., and a total misunderstanding of the entire concept of self motion. But..., but, in any case, like, I am not sure, like, it's..., I used to think this..., that this is just a joke, but this is actually like a pretty good summary of her entire argument. Cos, this is why [?? garbled]..., this is what she's actually saying. [Dramatic Pause.] It's..., it's crazy.

 

[Another dramatic pause.] Ah, but, anyway, so this is what she said originally, but now she's claiming that "No, no, no, the Stalinists invented this because of..., to justify foreign policy. They didn't invent it to make dialectics seem..., better." But, where is the..., where is the foreign policy example? Erm..., like, yeah, there's the Stalin quote which talks about foreign policy, but you don't talk about foreign policy, not even once. I mean, like when we scroll all the way down, nothing [garbled and indecipherable 'word']..., we skip sections and sections, Lenin images undermine..., Lenin's images undermine his theory, mysterious totality [TFB is trying to read several sub-headings from my Essay, here -- RL]..., we..., we keep going through chapters and chapters of stuff [sic], nothing is said about foreign policy, or socialism in one country. Only when we get to..., aah..., I'm just going to skip to it..., er..., [odd and indecipherable noises]..., what was it called..., erm..., shhh..., [sic]..., socialism in one country.... Oh, it's not even here. I mean..., surely it must be. I'm..., I'm pretty sure that she..., even..., eventually gets to it. Aaaaa..., [sic], yes, is this it?

 

So, in this part, she is actually talking about my video, she finally gets to it. So, there's no way to know when this stuff was written, so, it's..., to me it's very likely that she has written this recently, because first of all it's responding to me. So, it's already responding to my original point. So, basically..., this is what doesn't make sense here. Erm..., we can see that your original point doesn't say anything about foreign policy; you claim it does, but then the part where you're talking about foreign policy is in response to me, so clearly is written afterwards.

 

But..., anyway, let's get to the actual point of this instead of just..., cos, I'm..., I'm just pointing out that this is highly suspicious, but, anyway. So, here it says:

 

"Moreover, the idea that socialism could be built in one country was 'justified' by, among other things, the dubious invention of 'internal' versus "external" contradictions, later bolstered by the introduction of 'principal' and 'secondary' contradictions, along with the highly convenient idea that some contradictions were, and some were not, 'antagonistic'." [I have altered my own quotation marks so that they are in line with the conventions adopted at this site. Link in the original -- RL.]

 

Well, yeah, that's another debate, but, you know, for a long time I thought that Mao was pre..., [indecipherable 'word']..., was..., er..., responsible for inventing principle and secondary contradictions and..., er..., the idea that contradictions were sometimes antagonistic and sometimes not, but some..., like, plenty of people have told me that they were actually used before. So, it is possible they were used even before Mao. I mean, that's like another debate, like, maybe some Mao expert could point out some..., er..., Marx or Engels quotes, maybe that's..., erm.... If there's like, some..., some parts where..., where they..., er..., they use these. But, that's a..., that's a totally different question.

 

[Pause.] So, she claims the idea of external and internal contradictions is dubious:

 

"'External contradictions' were, of course, unknown to Hegel, Marx, Engels, Plekhanov, and Lenin -- as was the distinction between 'principal' and 'secondary' contradictions. Moreover, the introduction of 'external contradictions' in fact threatens to undermine dialectics completely..." [Again, I have altered my own quotation marks so that they are in line with the conventions adopted at this site -- RL.]

 

It..., it doesn't. How can you say they don't believe in external forces [sic]? "External contradictions" as you call them? That's insane to me.

 

But, even the idea that there's principle and secondary contradictions, like..., she..., like..., she seems to think that because somebody coins a term that somebody actually invents a concept. The [this word is garbled, so I am only guessing it's a "the" -- RL ] are different things. Like..., Trotskyists like to say that Stalin invented socialism in one country because the term was coined..., erm..., during his debate with other people who opposed the idea and he uses the term. But, actually, like, Lenin already supported the [sic] socialism in one country, which actually is interesting because according to Rosa here..., er..., it..., it was only justified by a Stalinist invention in dialectics, which apparently goes against Lenin [garbled word/noise] because Lenin also believed in socialism in one country. But, they just say "Oh, but Lenin never used the term because the term wasn't even invented yet." Just because Mao mi..., might have coined the term, like, "principle contradictions", "secondary contradictions" [sic] doesn't really mean that Mao invented the whole concept of it. Cos..., clearly, all contradict... like, same with..., same with "antagonistic" and "non-antagonistic" contradictions, clearly, not all contradictions are the same, like, at least in relation to each other. [Pause.] Cos, clearly, there's in every situation there's lots and lots of different contradictions, but some of them are the predominant ones. At least, you know, if we are looking at it from a particular..., er..., point of view, then from that point of view, erm..., one pair of..., er..., contradictions is the meaningful one.

 

But, I..., I still can't understand why..., why you say that external forces or external contradictions were quote "unknown"..., "of course, unknown to Hegel, Marx, Engels, Plekhanov, and Lenin..." What makes you say..., say that? Just because they didn't use the term, like, is that it? Because the term was coined after them, therefore they didn't even know the entire concept they couldn't possibly imagine there's external forces? Are you kidding me?

 

Erm..., cos, after I've been pressuring her to explain this weird..., erm..., unsubstantiated position to me, she finally, like, caved in and said "No, I never claimed that Lenin thinks there's no external forces...", even though she does right here. [TFB now highlights this section of the Essay in question -- RL.] But..., erm..., she said that "No, Lenin actually believes in external forces, he just has a different interpretation of them..." as..., you know, compared to me. [I have tried to slot quotation marks in here as best I could, given what I think are TFB's intentions -- RL.] I'm like..., and I asked her, "Like, really? Like, feel ff..., [sic], like, feel free to explain this to me. Like, don't..., don't just say 'Oh, there's this weird interpretation [sic] that he has that I'm never going to explain [sic], and it's just, you know, that's just my cop out answer to..., never mention this again [sic]...'" I'm like, "Ok." You're claiming that Lenin has some weird interpretation of this. What is it? Based on what? Don't just say..., don't just say..., er..., "No, he has this weird interpretation." Like, oh! Based on what? "Like, you know, based on stuff. Bye! [sic] Never going to mention this again." Don't just run away from this subject now, right when we're getting to the actual heart of the matter, seem..., [sic] seemingly. [Approximately 22:10-36:22. Emphases have been added where they seem appropriate from the tone and inflection of TFB's voice.]

 

I have dealt with several of the above points in previous replies to TFB, so I am not going to repeat those again answers here. I will just post links.

 

(1) Here is my explanation why "this makes a mockery of the idea that all change is internally-generated". See also, here, here, and here. TFB hasn't seen my explanation since he can't be bothered to read it. In fact, it is by now plain that he doesn't want to know my explanation.

 

(2) TFB:

 

I'm like "I'm not sure he's even talking about dialectics...." [Ibid.]

 

This must be about the tenth time (slight exaggeration!) that TFB has felt an almost neurotic need to say this. So, when will he be sure? Anyway, I have discussed this example of TFB's agnosticism (in relation to his own theory), here, where it is abundantly clear that Stalin was arguing 'dialectically' in this instance. [See also point (3), below.]

 

I will, however, now comment on a few outstanding issues, several of which will expose another set of blatant TFB lies.

 

(3) TFB drones on:

 

Well, I mean..., ehm..., some principles don't apply 100% of the time. Just saying [garbled]..., I mean..., I'm not even saying this is the case here, I'm just pointing that out. There's some [garbled]..., there's even..., even accepted scientific na... [sic] principles don't always apply, but whatever. [Ibid.]

 

And which 'principles' are these then? TFB failed to say.

 

But, if TFB agrees with Mao, he can't mean that the universality of 'contradiction' doesn't "apply 100% of the time", or, indeed, to everything in existence:

 

"The universality or absoluteness of contradiction has a twofold meaning. One is that contradiction exists in the process of development of all things, and the other is that in the process of development of each thing a movement of opposites exists from beginning to end....

 

"The interdependence of the contradictory aspects present in all things and the struggle between these aspects determine the life of all things and push their development forward. There is nothing that does not contain contradiction; without contradiction nothing would exist.... (p.316)

 

"The contradictory aspects in every process exclude each other, struggle with each other and are in opposition to each other. Without exception, they are contained in the process of development of all things and in all human thought. A simple process contains only a single pair of opposites, while a complex process contains more. And in turn, the pairs of opposites are in contradiction to one another. That is how all things in the objective world and all human thought are constituted and how they are set in motion....

 

"We may now say a few words to sum up. The law of contradiction in things, that is, the law of the unity of opposites, is the fundamental law of nature and of society and therefore also the fundamental law of thought. It stands opposed to the metaphysical world outlook. It represents a great revolution in the history of human knowledge. According to dialectical materialism, contradiction is present in all processes of objectively existing things and of subjective thought and permeates all these processes from beginning to end; this is the universality and absoluteness of contradiction." [Mao (1961b) pp.316-45. Bold emphases added.]

 

What about Lenin?

 

"The identity of opposites…is the recognition…of the contradictory, mutually exclusive, opposite tendencies in all phenomena and processes of nature…. The condition for the knowledge of all processes of the world in their 'self-movement', in their spontaneous development, in their real life, is the knowledge of them as a unity of opposites. Development is the 'struggle' of opposites…. [This] alone furnishes the key to the self-movement of everything existing….

 

"The unity…of opposites is conditional, temporary, transitory, relative. The struggle of mutually exclusive opposites is absolute, just as development and motion are absolute…." [Lenin (1961), pp.357-58. Italic emphases in the original; bold emphases added.]

 

Or, even Stalin?

 

"The dialectical method therefore holds that no phenomenon in nature can be understood if taken by itself....; and that, vice versa, any phenomenon can be understood and explained if considered in its inseparable connection with surrounding phenomena, as one conditioned by surrounding phenomena.

 

"Contrary to metaphysics, dialectics holds that nature is not in a state of rest and immobility, stagnation and immutability, but a state of continuous movement and change, of continuous renewal and development....

 

"The dialectical method therefore requires that phenomena should be considered not only from the standpoint of their interconnection and interdependence, but also from the standpoint of their movement and change....

 

"Contrary to metaphysics, dialectics holds that internal contradictions are inherent in all things and phenomena of nature, for they all have their negative and positive sides...; and that the struggle between these opposites, the struggle between the old and the new, between that which is dying away and that which is being born..., constitutes the internal content of the process of development, the internal content of the transformation of quantitative changes into qualitative changes....

 

"[T]here are no isolated phenomena in the world...all phenomena are interconnected and interdependent...." [Stalin (1976b). Bold emphases added.]

 

Which of the above is TFB prepared to say got this idea wrong because he reckons these 'principles' don't apply "100% of the time" -- in view of the very clear declaration by Mao, Lenin and Stalin that they do indeed apply at all times and to everything?

 

Is TFB a closet "Revisionist!"?

 

No wonder he added this pusillanimous, almost agnostic, rider:

 

I'm not even saying this is the case here, I'm just pointing that out. There's some [garbled]..., there's even..., even accepted scientific na... [sic] principles don't always apply, but whatever. [Loc cit.]

 

(4) Here is the first of TFB's many fibs (in this part of the video):

 

But, according to Rosa Lichtenstein, they have no connection to anything. Nothing is connected in dialectics. There is no dialectical relationship..., eh..., between anything in dialectics, which is a very strange idea. [Pause.] Er..., she claims that it's..., it's a dialectical principle that there's no dialectics in dialectics. Weird! [Loc cit.]

 

TFB attributes to me what is in fact an implication of his own theory! If, according to Lenin and other DM-theorists, all movement and change is internally-generated, then, plainly, nothing could have any effect on anything else. It is no use TFB telling us about "seeds", "moisture" and "heat" (or, indeed, bang on about 'external forces'), for, and once again, if Lenin is to be believed, no "seed" could be set in motion by "moisture" or "heat" -- since, everything, according to Lenin, is self-moved.

 

On the other hand, if TFB is right about "moisture" and "heat", then not all change is internally-generated, and Lenin was wrong. It seems that TFB is incapable of grasping this simple dilemma.

 

As I pointed out in my second reply to this video (slightly edited):

 

"Over and above labelling the ridiculous conclusions that follow from DM, 'crazy', TFB has yet to explain why these conclusions don't follow. We both agree they are 'crazy', but that merely labels the serious problems facing TFB. Just as it underlines the following question: 'Why has TFB swallowed such a "crazy" (and failed) theory?'" [From here. Quotation marks altered to conform with the conventions adopted at this site.]

 

Again, I have covered this topic in extensive detail in Essay Eight Part One, where I also consider several objections to my arguments (and which objections are far more coherently expressed than TFB's feeble, amateurish and garbled gesture in this direction), which I have then batted out of the park.

 

If TFB prefers to remain in blissful ignorance, I have no wish to argue him out of his nescience.

 

(5) I have published three full Essays (Eight Part Two, and Eleven Parts One and Two -- totalling in excess of 300,000 words!) on the DM-doctrine of universal interconnection, so this is another lie:

 

[A]ccording to Rosa Lichtenstein, they have no connection to anything. Nothing is connected in dialectics. [Loc cit.]

 

There is even a section in the Essay right in front of TFB as he recorded this video that covers this topic (albeit briefly), namely this one. But, as we have repeatedly been forced to conclude, TFB prefers to tell lies about me and my ideas rather than check his facts.

 

(6) And, here is yet another lie about what I have or have not said about 'external forces':

 

I'm like "OK..., er..., but, aren't you..., aren't you the one who's saying that in dialectics there's no external forces?" Cos..., for..., for the longest time I told her "You cannot possibly claim that Lenin thinks there are no external forces. You cannot possibly think that...,  er..., you cannot possibly think that Engels thinks there's no external forces. So you cannot claim that this is like a Stalinist invention, because clearly Lenin believes there's external forces. Clearly, Marx and Engels believe there's external forces, so you can't claim that this is like..., this is like a Stalinist invention." [I think this is where TFB's implied self-quotation ends!]

 

It is in fact in TFB's interest to confuse 'external forces' with 'external contradictions'. I have been very careful to distinguish the two. What I actually alleged was this:

 

"Moreover, the idea that socialism could be built in one country was 'justified' by, among other things, the dubious invention of 'internal' versus 'external' contradictions, later bolstered by the introduction of 'principal' and 'secondary' contradictions, along with the highly convenient idea that some contradictions were, and some were not, 'antagonistic'." [Quoted from here. Quotation marks altered to conform with the conventions adopted at this site.]

 

If TFB can find another DM-theorist who employed this term before the mid-1920s -- or, more pointedly, before Stalin used "external contradiction" in 1925 --, I will happily apologise and withdraw my allegations.

 

Now, I have been studying this material for over twenty years, and have yet to find anyone who employed this phrase prior to Stalin. So, until TFB finds someone who used it before Stalin, my allegations still stand: Stalin invented it.

 

But, TFB has an answer (of sorts):

 

Just because Mao mi..., might have coined the term, like, "principle contradictions", "secondary contradictions" [sic] doesn't really mean that Mao invented the whole concept of it. Cos..., clearly, all contradict... like, same with..., same with "antagonistic" and "non-antagonistic" contradictions, clearly, not all contradictions are the same, like, at least in relation to each other. [Pause.] Cos, clearly, there's in every situation there's lots and lots of different contradictions, but some of them are the predominant ones. At least, you know, if we are looking at it from a particular..., er..., point of view, then from that point of view, erm..., one pair of..., er..., contradictions is the meaningful one.

 

But, I..., I still can't understand why..., why you say that external forces or external contradictions were quote "unknown"..., "of course, unknown to Hegel, Marx, Engels, Plekhanov, and Lenin..." What makes you say..., say that? Just because they didn't use the term, like, is that it? Because the term was coined after them, therefore they didn't even know the entire concept they couldn't possibly imagine there's external forces? Are you kidding me? [Loc cit.]

 

The argument appears to be this: While Stalin might have been the first to "coin" this phrase (i.e., "external contradiction") that doesn't mean he invented the concept.

 

Well, this is a big admission on TFB's part, for there was a time when he alleged that I had invented this term:

 

Then it uses the word 'external contradictions' (sic). I've never heard that before. Never. External contradiction. So, it's basically just...it's external forces but they call it 'external contradictions' so that it would sound more made up, basically. So, once again, dishonest word-play, here. [Quoted from here.]

 

TFB claims I misunderstood this passage when I accused him of lying by alleging I invented this term. I have covered that topic at length in an earlier response to him; readers are directed there for more details.

 

However, this represents a major advance now that TFB now acknowledges that this term was "coined" -- or at least used -- by Stalin.

 

Thanks to me, TFB is now, at most, 1% less ignorant of his own 'theory' than he was before our paths crossed.

 

What about the argument that while Stalin might have "coined" this phrase that doesn't mean he invented the concept?

 

But, what 'concept' is TFB referring to? It can't be 'external forces', otherwise there would have been no controversy in the 1920s and 1930s over the use of this neologism (i.e., "external contradictions") -- since, as TFB points out, Marx, Engels and Lenin already acknowledged the existence of 'external forces'. So, this can't be the 'concept' TFB means, and to which he claims Stalin was implicitly referring. [On that, see my fourth response to TFB.]

 

Independently of this, TFB has yet to show that "external forces" (if this term does indeed designate a 'concept') expresses the same 'concept' as "external contradictions". TFB just helps himself to this equation with not even a perfunctory attempt to demonstrate they do in fact designate the same 'concept'.

 

(7) TFB also ropes Lenin in here, and argues that while he might not have used the term "Socialism In One Country" [SIOC], that doesn't imply he didn't support the idea:

 

But, actually, like, Lenin already supported the [sic] socialism in one country, which actually is interesting because according to Rosa here..., er..., it..., it was only justified by a Stalinist invention in dialectics, which apparently goes against Lenin [garbled word/noise] because Lenin also believed in socialism in one country. [Loc cit.]

 

Again, since we have been over this already, I won't repeat what I have argued in an earlier reply to TFB.

 

A dozen or more quotations from Lenin (that tell a completely different story to the one retailed by TFB) have been posted here. Lenin most definitely did not believe that socialism could be created in one country. Indeed, the Stalinist idea that it could has been comprehensively refuted by history. I have also pointed this out to TFB, but he prefers to leave his head here:

 

 

Figure One: Stop Press! CIA Surveillance Photo

Reveals TFB's Favourite Pastime

 

(8) TFB now waxes indignant (quoting this anti-dialectical joke of mine):

 

Er..., like, look at this; this is an..., another example from her website. It's a stupid..., er..., it's a stupid joke, but anyway.

 

"Q: How many dialecticians does it take to change a light bulb?

 

"A: None at all; the light bulb changes itself."

 

[Dramatic Pause.] Erm..., now this is a really terrible..., aach..., really terrible explanation of..., erm..., and a total..., and a total misunderstanding of the entire concept of self motion. But..., but, in any case, like, I am not sure, like, it's..., I used to think this..., that this is just a joke, but this is actually like a pretty good summary of her entire argument. Cos, this is why [?? garbled]..., this is what she's actually saying. [Dramatic Pause.] It's..., it's crazy. [Loc cit.]

 

Of course, the joke wasn't meant to be an 'explanation' -- I'm not sure TFB knows the point of cracking jokes, still less what an 'explanation' actually is if he thinks this was one, or was even intended to be one. It was meant to be sarcastic, aimed at exposing the ridiculous nature of this failed 'theory'.

 

Whoosh! Right over TFB's empty head it sailed!

 

Be this as it may, TFB doesn't reveal to us why this is a "total misunderstanding of the entire concept of self motion" (other than post sophomoric homilies about "seeds", "moisture" and "heat" -- and, of course, the word "crazy"), whereas I have explained in detail why this particular joke hits its target smack in the middle. Once again, TFB would know my reasons if he spent more time trying to understand his own theory first, and then my criticisms of it second, instead of posting incoherent and highly repetitive videos on YouTube -- that is, if or when he manages to extract his head from that rather fetching hole in the sand.

 

In fact, I even had this to say this about Lenin's theory and my initial criticisms of it in Essay Eight Part One, where, once again, I entered into this topic in extensive detail:

 

"A touch unfair? Maybe so, but could this scientific regression on Lenin's part (whereby he seems to want to return to Aristotelian theories of motion and change) be the result of a mere slip of the dialectical pen? Perhaps Lenin was using language non-literally or metaphorically?

 

"Is it possible then that Lenin didn't really mean what he said? Or, is there perhaps a suggestion in what he did say that he thought change had more complex, external causes, too?

 

"Well, as if to disappoint his fans, and provide no help at all for those who still think that dialectics has anything of worth to teach modern science, Lenin not only repeated this rather odd claim, he 'demanded' that all DL-fans see things his way:

 

'Dialectical logic demands that we go further…. [It] requires that an object should be taken in development, in "self-movement" (as Hegel sometimes puts it)….' [Lenin (1921), p.90. Bold emphases in the original. Italic emphasis added. Quotation marks altered to conform with the conventions adopted at this site.]

 

"Here, not only are objects said to be capable of moving themselves, but Lenin even says that DL "requires" us to view their motion in no other way....

 

"It looks, therefore, like Lenin was committed to the belief that not only can light bulbs change themselves, but also (by implication) that books on dialectics write themselves -- just as DM-fans fool themselves into believing far too much of what they found in Hegel."

 

I then proceed to consider every conceivable way of defending Lenin, including much more sophisticated versions of TFB's lame "seeds", "moisture" and "heat" example (and -- shock! horror! -- quoting explanations taken from the work of those annoying 'Brezhnev era revisionists' TFB anathematises, who, as it turns out, not only agree with TFB (!!), but seem to know this 'theory' a sight better than he does).

 

After all, in his first video, TFB even tried to deny that Lenin seriously believed in 'self-motion' -- not having seen the above quote from Lenin before (as he later admitted; he even thanked me for bringing it to his attention)!

 

Now, I don't understand where that is coming from. Like Lenin talked about this self-motion thing like once or twice in his entire life. He like wrote once or twice about this and pretty much only in his Philosophical Notebooks, which were never meant to be published, anyway. So [undecipherable word], that's like wrote (sic) a hay (sic)...a Hegel quote and wrote some notes about it, and that's it. It's not like he extensively explained what he meant and then..., er..., said that he denied external forces. [Approx 37:17-37:42 -- from his first video.]

 

Again, what was that about TFB not knowing his own 'theory'...?

 

(9) Here is another blatant lie:

 

But, where is the..., where is the foreign policy example? Erm..., like, yeah, there's the Stalin quote which talks about foreign policy, but you don't talk about foreign policy, not even once.... we keep going through chapters and chapters of stuff [sic], nothing is said about foreign policy, or socialism in one country. [Loc cit.] 

 

After having asserted that I don't "talk about foreign policy, not even once..." and that there is "nothing...said about foreign policy, or socialism in one country", TFB immediately contradicted himself:

 

So, in this part, she is actually talking about...foreign policy.... [Loc cit.]

 

Now, in order to extricate himself from this flat contradiction, TFB came out with a barefaced lie about when my comments about "foreign policy" and SIOC had actually been written, or posted:

 

So, in this part, she is actually talking about my video, she finally gets to it. So, there's no way to know when this stuff was written, so, it's..., to me it's very likely that she has written this recently, because first of all it's responding to me. So, it's already responding to my original point. So, basically..., this is what doesn't make sense here. Erm..., we can see that your original point doesn't say anything about foreign policy; you claim it does, but then the part where you're talking about foreign policy is in response to me, so clearly is written afterwards. [Loc cit. TFB is referring to this section of the Essay in Question -- a section clearly sign-posted in the Index at the top of the page (i.e., "Stalinism"), so why TFB made a meal about finding it is unclear -- except it once again underlines his sloppy approach to research.]

 

On the basis of what does TFB allege that my words had been "written afterwards"? Apparently, only this passage from that Essay:

 

"The surprisingly ill-informed Marxist-Leninist comrade, responsible for the YouTube video criticising this Essay, says he has never heard of "external contradictions", alleging that this term has been invented; I have provided the necessary quotations from Stalin, Mao and others here." [Taken from here.]

 

But, while this particular sentence was added to the Essay in question after TFB's video had been published, the rest of that section about "foreign policy" and SIOC had been there for many years (even if I progressively added material to it and re-organised it between 2006 and 2014). So, it is a barefaced lie that the entire section had been written "afterwards" -- and this is despite TFB contradicting himself once more when he also tells us that "there's no way to know when this stuff was written", even though he also seems to know when it was written: "the part where you're talking about foreign policy is in response to me, so clearly is written afterwards"!

 

But, there is a way to find out when this material was written. There are sites on the Internet that regularly cache pages from a wide range of sites; and, what is more, sites that have cached and dated earlier pages of mine, too.

 

Here, for example, is the section in question from a cached page dated 29/09/2007:

 

"DM was used by the Stalinised Bolshevik Party (after Lenin's death) to justify the imposition of an undemocratic (if not an openly anti-democratic and terror-based) structure on both the Communist Party and the population of the former USSR (and later elsewhere).

 

"This new and vicious form of the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' was justified by Stalin on the grounds that, since Marxist theory sees everything as 'contradictory', intensified central control was compatible with greater freedom. The 'withering-away of the state' was in fact confirmed by moves in the opposite direction: ever-growing centralised power. So, paradoxically, less democracy was in fact more democracy!

 

"Indeed, that very contradiction illustrated the truth of dialectics!

 

"Moreover, the idea that socialism could be created in one country was justified by, among other things, the dubious invention of 'internal' versus 'external' contradictions, later bolstered by an appeal to 'principal' and 'secondary' contradictions, along with the highly convenient idea that some contradictions were not 'antagonistic'. Hence, the obvious class differences that soon emerged in the former USSR were in fact 'harmonious' (or non-existent); the real enemies (i.e., the source of all those nasty 'principal' contradictions) were the external, imperialist powers." [Quoted from here. Quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at this site. Bold added.]

 

[I changed my ISP in the summer of 2009, so the above is a page from my old ISP.]

 

Now, I added the above sentence about TFB to the Essay in question sometime in late 2015. To see that this is the case, here is the same section, dated 03/12/2014 (before I added it):

 

"Moreover, the idea that socialism could be built in one country was 'justified' by, among other things, the dubious invention of 'internal' versus 'external contradictions, later bolstered by the further invention of 'principal' and 'secondary' contradictions, along with the highly convenient idea that some contradictions were, and some were not, 'antagonistic'.

 

"[The idea that it was Lenin who invented the latter type of 'contradiction' has been scotched here. The other sort were, of course, unknown to Hegel, Marx, Engels and Plekhanov -- and 'principal' and 'secondary' contradictions were foreign to Lenin, too. Moreover, the invention of 'external contradictions' in fact threatens to undermine dialectics completely; on that, see here.]" [Taken from here; quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at this site. Bold added.]

 

Readers will no doubt notice there is no mention here of TFB and his ill-advised video. In both cases, they will see that further down the page I also discuss "foreign policy".

 

Finally, here is the same passage from 25/12/2015, after the above sentence had been added:

 

"Moreover, the idea that socialism could be built in one country was 'justified' by, among other things, the dubious invention of 'internal' versus 'external' contradictions, later bolstered by the further invention of 'principal' and 'secondary' contradictions, along with the highly convenient idea that some contradictions were, and some were not, 'antagonistic'.

 

"[The belief that Lenin invented 'antagonistic contradictions' has been debunked here. 'External contradictions' were, of course, unknown to Hegel, Marx, Engels, Plekhanov, and Lenin -- as was the distinction between 'principal' and 'secondary' contradictions. Moreover, the introduction of 'external contradictions' in fact threatens to undermine dialectics completely; on that, see here. The surprisingly ill-informed Marxist-Leninist comrade, responsible for the YouTube video criticising this Essay, says he has never heard of 'external contradictions'; I have provided the necessary quotations from Stalin, Mao and others here.]" [Taken from here; quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at this site. Bold added.]

 

In fact, the material about SIOC, 'external contradictions' and "foreign policy" was extracted from Essay Nine Part Two, which was originally written back in 2001; however, the cached pages only go back as far as, in this case, 27/04/2007:

 

"Moreover, it was possible to justify the idea that socialism could be built in one country by, among other things, the dubious invention of 'internal' versus 'external' contradictions, later bolstered by an appeal to 'primary' and 'secondary' contradictions, along with the highly convenient idea that some contradictions were not 'antagonistic'. Hence, the obvious 'class differences' that soon emerged in the former USSR were in fact 'harmonious'; the real enemies (i.e., the source of all those nasty 'primary' contradictions) were the external, imperialist powers.

 

"As Stalin argued:

 

"'If the possibility of victory of socialism in a single country means the possibility of solving the internal contradictions which can be completely overcome in a single country (we are of course thinking about our own country), the possibility of the definitive victory of socialism means the possibility to overcome the external contradictions between the country of socialism and the countries of capitalism, and these contradictions can only be overcome thanks to the victory of the proletarian revolution in a certain number of countries'. [15th XVth conference of the CPSU. Quoted from here.]" [Quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at this site. Bold added. (Unfortunately, back in 2007 there were no internal links to any of the sub-sections in this Essay, and no Index! These rather obvious innovations were added later. So readers will just have to do a word search on this page if they want to check the wording of the above passage.)]

 

As we can now see, it is TFB who is the liar here.

 

(10) TFB again:

 

Cos..., clearly, all contradict... like, same with..., same with "antagonistic" and "non-antagonistic" contradictions, clearly, not all contradictions are the same, like, at least in relation to each other. [Pause.] Cos, clearly, there's in every situation there's lots and lots of different contradictions, but some of them are the predominant ones. At least, you know, if we are looking at it from a particular..., er..., point of view, then from that point of view, erm..., one pair of..., er..., contradictions is the meaningful one. [Loc cit.]

 

Ouch!

 

I am clearly pitted against a DM-heavyweight, here, and no mistake!

 

This garbled and confused paragraph from TFB's video certainly breaks new, and much more profound, areas of Marxist-Leninist theory; the above comments certainly put me in my place.

 

What a mind, eh, comrades!

 

More seriously, however, the problem with this is, of course, that just like other DM-fans (including Hegel, Engels, Plekhanov, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, etc., etc.), TFB has just helped himself to the word "contradiction" without ever once even so much as offering a perfunctory gesture at justification.

 

In the end, it is just as pointless and irrelevant to attempt to categorise these mythical beasts of DM-lore (i.e., 'dialectical contradictions') as it is to categorise angels.

 

[Again, I have entered into this topic in considerable detail, here, here, here, here, here, and here.]

 

(11) Finally, this is TFB's most blatant and barefaced lie to date:

 

Erm..., cos, after I've been pressuring her to explain this weird..., erm..., unsubstantiated position to me, she finally, like, caved in and said "No, I never claimed that Lenin thinks there's no external forces...", even though she does right here. [TFB now highlights this section of the Essay in question -- RL.] But..., erm..., she said that "No, Lenin actually believes in external forces, he just has a different interpretation of them..." as..., you know, compared to me. [I have tried to slot quotation marks in here as best I could, given what I think are TFB's intentions -- RL.] I'm like..., and I asked her, "Like, really? Like, feel ff..., [sic], like, feel free to explain this to me. Like, don't..., don't just say 'Oh, there's this weird interpretation [sic] that he has that I'm never going to explain [sic], and it's just, you know, that's just my cop out answer to..., never mention this again [sic]...'" I'm like, "Ok." You're claiming that Lenin has some weird interpretation of this. What is it? Based on what? Don't just say..., don't just say..., er..., "No, he has this weird interpretation." Like, oh! Based on what? "Like, you know, based on stuff. Bye! [sic] Never going to mention this again." Don't just run away from this subject now, right when we're getting to the actual heart of the matter, seem..., [sic] seemingly. [Loc cit. Emphases have been added where they seem appropriate from the tone and inflection of TFB's voice.]

 

The above represents a classic example of TFB attempting to paraphrase me rather than quote me. As we have seen many times, he does this when he wants to spread another scurrilous lie.

 

In reply, I posted this response on TFB's discussion page over at YouTube:

 

"You don't actually quote me to the above effect, since you can't. I have never said anything like this, as well you know: 'Oh, there's this weird interpretation [sic] that he has that I'm never going to explain [sic], and it's just, you know, that's just my cop out answer to..., never mention this again [sic]... Like, you know, based on stuff. Bye! [sic] Never going to mention this again.'

 

"Notice the difference between us: I go to great pains to transcribe your every word accurately, you just invent words to put in my mouth. If you think differently, find my actual words, and post them here, with a link to where I said them. Then we'll see who's 'running away'....

 

"I have never 'run away' from a single debate about this failed 'theory' of yours in over thirty years. Given the fact that you have yet to respond to a single one of my recent responses to you (and it is clear from the hit counter over at my site, you have yet to even read them!), and the additional fact that I have been debating this with you for over eighteen months, and have responded to everything you have said, and sometimes at great length, I think we can see that it is you who is the coward here, and who is 'running away'.

 

"If you can post blatant lies and make stuff up, am I allowed to do likewise? I think we both know what you'd do if I were to troll your videos and post barefaced fibs in the comment section. Well, I'm not going to sink to your level. I have too much respect for Marxism to resort to lying. I wish I could say the same about you." [Quoted from here. Emphases in the original. Quotation marks altered to conform with the conventions adopted at this site.]

 

More to follow in Part Eight...

 

Bibliography

 

Lenin, V.  (1921), 'Once Again On The Trade Unions, The Current Situation And The Mistakes Of Comrades Trotsky And Bukharin', reprinted in Lenin (1980), pp.70-106.

 

--------, (1961), Collected Works Volume 38 (Progress Publishers).

 

Mao Tse-Tung (1961a), Selected Works Of Mao Tse-Tung, Volume One (Foreign Languages Press).

 

--------, (1961b), 'On Contradiction', in Mao (1961a), pp.311-47.

 

Stalin, J. (1976a), Problems Of Leninism (Foreign Languages Press).

 

--------, (1976b), 'Dialectical And Historical Materialism', in Stalin (1976a), pp.835-73.

 

Latest Update: 19/05/17

 

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