Weak Responses From Weekly Worker Readers


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


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


Firefox and Chrome reproduce them correctly.




If your Firewall/Browser has a pop-up blocker, you will need to press the "Ctrl" key at the same time or these links here won't work, anyway!


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. However, if the text is either too big or too small for you, please adjust your browser settings!


Summary Of My Main Objections To Dialectical Materialism


Abbreviations Used At This Site


Return To The Main Index Page


Contact Me




Over the years I have come to expect pathetic responses from DM-fans, and, sure enough, the 'replies' to my recent article in Weekly Worker did not disappoint:


Rosa Lichtenstein imagines she has irrefutably seen off dialectical materialism. Poor old Frederick Engels should have realised that male cats do not turn into their opposites -- female cats. And the comrade claims to be a supporter of historical materialism and, I presume, a revolutionary socialist.


On the evidence of her tortured article, nothing she says can be taken seriously. All it does is publish crap like this and constantly snipe at good people like John Rees and others who are doing the real work by building broad movements such as the Stop the War Coalition, Unite Against Fascism and Respect.


Kevin Fontana


Well what did Engels and the other DM-worthies say (I actually quoted these, so this comrade either has poor eyesight or even worse comprehension)?


Hegel brilliantly divined the dialectics of things...as follows: In the alternation, reciprocal dependence of all notions, in the identity of their opposites, in the transitions of one notion into another, in the eternal change, movement of notions....


[Among the elements of dialectics are the following:] [I]nternally contradictory tendencies…in [a thing]…as the sum and unity of opposites…. [This involves] not only the unity of opposites, but the transitions of every determination, quality, feature, side, property into every other [into its opposite?] [Lenin. Emphases and parentheses in the original.]


And so every phenomenon, by the action of those same forces which condition its existence, sooner or later, but inevitably, is transformed into its own opposite…. [Plekhanov. Bold emphases added.]


In speaking of the identity of opposites in given conditions, what we are referring to is real and concrete opposites and the real and concrete transformations of opposites into one another....


[A]ll processes transform themselves into their opposites. The constancy of all processes is relative, but the mutability manifested in the transformation of one process into another is absolute. [Mao. Bold emphases added.]


[The exact references for these quotations can be found here.]


Add to this Engels's own words:


The law of the interpenetration of opposites.... [M]utual penetration of polar opposites and transformation into each other when carried to extremes.... [Engels  (1954), pp.17, 62.]


These look pretty clear (many more could be quoted that say the same sort of thing). So, if comrade Fontana is right, and male cats do not turn into female cats, then this dialectical 'Law' is no good. Perhaps, comrade Fontana should now consult a dictionary and check he understands the meaning of the word "refuted"?


He also says:


And the comrade claims to be a supporter of historical materialism and, I presume, a revolutionary socialist.


As my letter to Weekly Worker indicates, I am no more, nor no less a "revolutionary socialist" than comrade Fontana is (I fully support Respect, the Stop the War Coalition, Unite Against Fascism -- having lost most of my relatives in the Nazi death camps --, the SWP; added on edit, that is, before the 2013/14 'rape debacle'):


Thanks for publishing my article..., but had I known it was going to appear in the same issue as that long article on John Rees I would not have sent it. I wonder how you can publish such rubbish about him and the SWP in general.


I used to be in the SWP and will rejoin it when my project is finished. I want nothing more to do with you.


Rosa Lichtenstein


But, DM-fans, it seems, will say anything, allege anything, invent anything (and refuse to read my Essays in order to check their fabrications), rather than confront the awful truth that this theory of theirs is hopelessly flawed.


One final point worth noting: readers will no doubt have spotted comrade Fontana's use of scatological language, which is almost de rigueur among DM-fans.


Here is the second letter, which is nowhere near as poor:


Rosa Lichtenstein’s article makes some interesting points. However, in the case of water remaining H2O whether it is solid, liquid or gas -- surely the qualitative change is the change of state itself.


Also, in the case of the mouse, pony and elephant -- there has been no qualitative change to the pony itself, but a change of perception on the part of the observer: i.e., whether the pony is relatively big or small.


It is obviously a very complex subject. There may be something to the idea that a weakness in dialectical theory led to Marxism falling from favour in the modern world. However, I suspect the reasons are much more varied and complex than this.


Andy Jones


However, the point about qualitative change is that, according to the 'definition' that DM-fans themselves give, that is, when they bother to do so, the change from liquid water to steam cannot be a qualitative change. [More details here, and here.]


Comrade Jones's objection to my mouse-pony-elephant example cannot be correct, for it is surely the case, independently of any and all observers, that a pony is bigger than a mouse while it is smaller than an elephant.


But even if he were right, the qualitative change in perception of the alleged observer is not the result of any change in quantity in her.


And Comrade Jones is right to suspect that the causes of the long-term failure of Dialectical Marxism are more varied and complex; indeed I say so too, in the article he is supposed to have read:


Nevertheless, it is my contention that this theory is part of the reason why Dialectical Marxism is now almost synonymous with failure.


But, if we have a radically and demonstrably flawed theory at the heart of our politics (a theory that DM-fans constantly tell us is central to all they do and think) then that theory must bear some of the blame.


So, up to the present, there has been absolutely no effective response to my work.


Now, why does that not surprise me?


[DM = Dialectical Materialism.]




Engels, F. (1954), Dialectics Of Nature (Progress Publishers).


Word Count: 1,240


Return to the Main Index


Back To The Top

© Rosa Lichtenstein 2011


Hits Since 23/09/07:


Target Department Store
Target Department Store