Yet Another Reply To The Finnish Bolshevik [TFB] -- 02
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[This is a response to a Marxist-Leninist comrade who posts under the name of 'The Finnish Bolshevik' [TFB]. The original debate can be accessed here, here, and here; and the latest discussion, here.]
[DM = Dialectical Materialism/Materialist, depending on context.]
In reply TFB had this to say:
"The first Stalin quote is again talking about foreign policy. I'm not sure he even means that in the dialectical sense. He doesn't treat the external contradiction as a reason for the internal development of country, he treats it as an internal contradiction of the world revolution anyway. The Mao quote is much the same. I don't really care about the other people. If that's the best you can do then I don't think your case is that strong. You seem to rely mostly on stuff from some Brezhnev era revisionists who wouldn't agree with Stalin or Mao and who I don't agree with."
I have asserted several times that TFB doesn't seem to know his own 'theory', and above we see that allegation confirmed yet again. Here is the relevant section from his earlier video:
"Erm..., now actually here at the end it does have a little bit of a disclaimer that..., er..., when I first made this script I did not see this. So, here at the end it actually says that:
'in order to avoid such absurd consequences, some dialecticians (mainly Stalinists and Maoists) have had to allow for the existence of "external contradictions" (or "impulses"...).' [Quoted from here -- RL.]
"Now, there is so much wrong with this..., ahh..., this short quote that I don't even know if I have time to go through all of it, but, like they're...they're (sic) literally saying that...first of all they're saying that Lenin completely denies external..., er..., forces." [Approx 36:41-37:16.]
"...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." [Approx: 37:43-38:41.]
Now, I asserted that the term 'external contradiction' was invented by Stalinists and Maoists for two basic reasons: 1) In order to try to argue that socialism was possible in one country, and 2) In order to account for external causation -- for example, the external pressure applied by the imperialist powers. But, TFB says he had never heard of the term, and implied I made it up. We can now see that I didn't make this term up. Will TFB apologise and withdraw that fib?
I'm not holding my breath...
TFB then dismisses the two quotations from Stalin and Mao to which I referred him on the following grounds:
"The first Stalin quote is again talking about foreign policy. I'm not sure he even means that in the dialectical sense. He doesn't treat the external contradiction as a reason for the internal development of country, he treats it as an internal contradiction of the world revolution anyway. The Mao quote is much the same."
Given that I had asserted that this term was partly introduced in order to account for Stalin and Mao's foreign policy (the 'external contradictions' of the imperialist powers, for instance), that shows this point sailed right over TFB's head -- again!
What of this, though (concerning the other Marxist-Leninist [ML] theorists I quoted, who also use this term)?
"I don't really care about the other people. If that's the best you can do then I don't think your case is that strong. You seem to rely mostly on stuff from some Brezhnev era revisionists who wouldn't agree with Stalin or Mao and who I don't agree with."
Now, had TFB done his homework, he'd have seen I also quote other ML-theorists from Stalin's era. Here is just one example (taken from an official DM-textbook, published in 1931):
"Marx-Leninist dialectic does not deny external contradictions -- the action of one process on another. On the contrary it proceeds from the idea of an indissoluble connection of all processes of actuality and demands a knowledge of the mutual action of processes, their influence on each other, and their mutual penetration." [Shirokov et al (1937), p.201 -- as noted, this book was originally published in the USSR in 1931; I am here using the 1937 translation. The on-line edition is from 1941, I believe. Bold emphasis added.]
"The contradictions between the capitalist and socialist systems do, of course, influence the development of socialist relationships in the U.S.S.R. But socialist society is developing on the basis of internal laws, on the basis of internal contradictions, and not on the basis of the external contradictions between the capitalist world and ourselves." [Ibid., p.204.]
"The full victory of socialism in our country has a decisive importance also for the final victory of socialism.
"And so we see that external contradictions certainly influence the development of a process; that such contradictions, however, are only overcome by the internal self-development of that process itself." [Ibid., p.205.]
Several things follow from this:
(a) My allegations above were correct, this term was invented by the Stalinists (and later appropriated by Mao) for the reasons I intimated. Hegel, Marx, Engels, Plekhanov and Lenin knew nothing of this term, or these 'contradictions' (and there is good reason why);
(b) From the first of the above passages (from Shirokov (1937)) we can see 'external contradiction' is being used 'dialectically' -- "...it proceeds from the idea of an indissoluble connection of all processes of actuality and demands a knowledge of the mutual action of processes, their influence on each other, and their mutual penetration";
(c) Once again, I find I have to educate TFB about his own 'theory';
(d) We can now see that the "Brezhnev era revisionists who wouldn't agree with Stalin or Mao" actually do agree with Stalin and Mao on this, as well as the official textbook put out by the Stalinists in the 1930s. So, it seems that TFB is the 'revisionist' here!
This is quite apart from the fact that in his earlier video TFB was happy to quote from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia -- published in 1979 by "Brezhnev era revisionists".
So, what does TFB have to say next?
Wonder no more, for here are his more profound thoughts:
"Maybe you've found more quotes then (sic) I have, since you're most likely older then (sic) me. Duh."
Ouch! I can see I have met my match!!
Or, just maybe I know TFB's 'theory' better than he does...
Well, at least I don't post ill-informed and largely incoherent videos on YouTube pretending to be some sort of authority on this failed 'theory'. When I assert something I have the evidence to hand (or I don't assert it) -- unlike TFB, who seems to think self-inflicted ignorance counts as proof.
What erudite riposte comes next?
"You've written a lot but it hasn't achieved that much. 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."
Of course, I wasn't to know that the ML-authors I quoted were considered by our 'revisionist' Bolshevik comrade to be "irrelevant" before I quoted them. 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 and Mao than TFB is, at least on this issue.
And, as far as "baffling them with bullsh*t" is concerned, here perhaps is an excellent example of the use of this tactic:
"And the Trotskyite counter-argument is...seems to be..., er..., 'This is silly, hah hah hah'..., like, that's not an argument. 'Yeah, I mean, physics is kind of funny sometimes', that's not an argument. The rest of their counter-arguments are just silly." [10:20-10:30.]
[This was taken from TFB's earlier video.]
TFB just made this up -- which is yet another fib from this 'revisionist' comrade.
[Readers can access the background details here, where they will see just why I have accused TFB of blatantly lying.]
Finally, TFB asks me to educate him some more (concerning Lenin's interpretation of 'external forces'):
"Really? Enlighten me."
I think we can all now see that that task is impossible -- TFB just ignores what he doesn't like, or misreads what little he seems able to take in.
[Interested, and educable, readers can find my words of 'enlightenment' here.]
Shirokov, M., et al (1937), A Textbook Of Marxist Philosophy (Left Book Club).
Summary Of My Main Objections To Dialectical Materialism
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