Nationalism and democracy are dangerous for class struggle

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Esty
Nationalism and democracy are dangerous for class struggle
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Nationalism and democracy are dangerous for class struggle. The discussion was initiated by Esty.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

Esty
interimperialist carve up as reflection of decomposition

Great article. I agree with the conclusion about the dangers of cooption by liberal bourgeois forces as well as of framing the issue as one of the interests of citizens rather than of class power.

At first I was very optimistic about the plenums but after seeing a part of a speech given at one where the speaker said "we are all citizens, we are all Bosnian Herzegovians", the critical role of the communist vanguard in dispelling bourgeois mystifications became evident to me. In the absence of such a political orientation provided by a specifically political organization within the class, the experiment in direct democracy will go the way of the APAQs in Montreal: lifestylism and fetishization of organizational form devoid of class content.

The one gripe I have with the article is the part about the imperialist carve up of Bosnia being a reflection of capitalist decomposition. This doesn't explain much and is just a moment in the process of redivision of the world into imperialist blocs. The carve up in question reflected the three way interimperialist rivalry between the US bloc, the central European bloc, and a weakened Russian imperialism. Furthermore, it seems to me that there is a regroupment in Europe around Germany and a general tendency in the world for the formation of supranational blocs. This makes sense in the context of the immense scale of multinational finance capital and the consequent inadequacy of nation states as capital's standard bearers.

Alf
blocs

Thanks for your comments and welcome to the forum.

We agree that there is always a tendency towards the formation of blocs but we think that the counter-tendencies are much stronger in this period, marked by 'every man for himself'. Within Europe for example there are very strong differences on foreign policy between the main players (Germany, France and Britain) who are together on some things and on others make temporary alliance with each other against the third. Russia itself doesn't have the means to reconstitute an entire bloc, although it has certainly made a definite comeback in the last decade or so. It is sometimes aligned with China but also has intense rivalries with it which go far back in history. And America on its own could not be a bloc either. 

Esty
every man for himself as capitalism rots on its feet

I agree that Russia does not have the economic power to lead a bloc but this is what it is trying to do with the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Eurasian Union. Germany at the head of the EU, however, may plausibly lead an imperialist bloc. Moreover, there is an economic necessity for the capitalist class towards formation of imperialist blocs because of the concentration of capital into multinational monopolies.

Within the EU there are different tendencies. The UK will most likely be (is already?) part of a bloc along with Canada and the US, rather than with the central European countries which are pushing for closer integration and even federation.

I don't see the international situation the way you do, Alf. Clearly the world is divided into mutually antagonistic nation states, but in the era of multinational financial monopolies these states are becoming inadequate as executive arms of the capitalist class. Your assessment of the world situation is through the lens of decomposition. I'm familiar with decomposition but I think it lacks predictive and explanatory power and is an unnecessary and pessimistic -Mad Max comes to mind- addition to the theory of decadence. Whether or not it's pessimistic is beside the point, but I think it leads to a dangerous underestimation of the tendency towards new superstates and new forms of totalitarianism.

Fred
Mad Max is coming!

Perhaps 'decomposition' does explain Mad  Max if nothing else, comrade Esty, and predicts the spread of the Mad Max syndrome round the world.  Isn't it happening already in many places?  Lunacy and tiny -minded nationalism sprawling everywhere, with large scale and savage outbreaks of human inhumanity to other humans for racial and other crazy ideological reasons. A complete Mad Max kind of disregard for the plight of the starving, the misery of children, and  the myriad war victims produced by competitive loathing.  Idiot gangsterism sponsored by the various phony bourgeois democracies as a way of solving the insoluble problems of the decomposing system.  Violence  as the first and preferred response to all difficulties; the pursuit of individualism  with hatred replacing love as the dominant motivating force, and commoditized sex as the escape of choice (and who doesn't want to escape?) Total ruination of the environment for profit. Loss of even the vaguest appreciation of morality and bourgeois civilized values ( which were primitive even at best). The irreplaceable loss of species and forest with who knows what consequences to come. The breakdown of weather systems, and the final collapse of any rationally planned approach to life and living.The list goes endlessly on. 

So decomposition is hardly pessimistic and  more a way of life.  Yes, it's depressing. If we equate decomposition with barbarism then didn't Rosa Luxemburg  predict it a century ago when she said the choice facing us now is Socialism or Barbarism? She was right wasn't she? Totalitarianism, if it can be systematically maintained as the social world will spiral out of control everywhere, may provide an apparent but momentary solution ( will Russia invade Ukraine: will Europe invade Russia: will China take over Japan?) but it won't be able to hold the complete immiseration of humanity in check for long and the loonies will win in the end. 

The only way out is communism. 

radicalchains
The peasants are revolting

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peasants'_Revolt

I was listening to an excellent Circled A Radio Show podcast the other day and thinking actually Decomposition doesn't sound that bad compared to what preceded the Peasants Revolt! I was trying to compare as I listened. It is the disintegration of states and a 'structure of social life' or whatever you call it that worries me. This seems quite different from earlier periods of misery and repression. 

http://thecircleda.com/2013/05/30/show-80-woolwich-lee-rigby-plus-the1381-peasants-revolt/

baboon
Hello Esty. What was also

Hello Esty.

What was also important about the class struggle in the Balkans was the fact that it came out of a recent imperialist war and its subsequent divisions. The article wasn't meant to be an explanation of decomposition but class struggle taking place within one of its expressions. The war in ex-Yugoslavia, the break up of Yugoslavia itself was, I and the ICC believe, an expression of the break up the two-bloc system and from that a hopeless war in the Balkans that brought in the US and other major powers acting for their own interests with contingent alliances and many tensions between them. Even peripheral involvement, like that of China for example, was to undermine opposing interests.

I think that the tendency towards the formation of blocs is still there but undermined by the decomposition of the system which nowhere is expressed more clearly than on the imperialist level.

I don't think that there is the strict relationship between "multinational  capital" and the existence of blocs or the tendency towards their existence. This position, ie, one where blocs are formed under economic agglomerations according to the needs of multinationals, seems to me to underestimate the "pinnacle" of the nation state achieved by the bourgeoisie and therefore the defence of the national interest. In the face of the deepening crisis of capitalism the inadequacy of the nation state is constantly addressed by the bourgeoisie through the development of state capitalism and every major nation today is more or less totalitarian.

Even acting in temporary blocs, as in the French, British, US, Italian, Qatari war in LIbya recently only more problems have been produced (for the multinationals also) and the chaos directly produced by this war has spread the effects of decomposition even wider. And despite the expensive military action of all the countries above in Libya, it was Germany, who wouldn't even let its AWAC's radar be used in the war, who came out the economic winner.

I agree that it's not a matter of pessimism but it is a question of the strengthening of the state and of centrifugal tendencies as well as the irrationality of militarism and capitalist war.

Hawkeye
Nationalism and democracy

Following on from Esy's article and comments thereon so far, the short article entitled 'Leninism and National Self-Determination' can be seen on the website  icl-fi.org  as in 'Workers Vanguard' of 21 March 2014.

baboon
Hawkeye defends russian imperialism

Taking up errors made by Lenin in 1916 about using "all democratic institutions", Hawkeye continues to defend the interest of Russian imperialism as well as trying to get us to use the democratic processes - and presumably the trade unions along the way. Referring to an article that talks about the dangers of nationalism and democracy (ie, the one above), Hawkeye then proposes support for nationalism and democracy, for the interests of Russian foreign policy and very much against the expression of class struggle as it was expressed in the Balkans.

Marin Jensen
What constitutes blocs?

In reply to Esty's reflections (glad to see you on the forum by the way), we need to be clear on what it is that produces imperialist blocs. I think that there is a fundamental disagreement here on what lies behind the formation of imperialist blocs, so here are a few thoughts on the subject:

1) All countries are imperialist, the only thing that changes is the extent of their ambitions determined by their size and strength.

2) Imperialism is determined by the overall historical situation of capitalism, not by immediate economic interests. Otherwise it would be difficult to explain, for example, how the intertwined economies of Western Europe went to war in 1914 (Britain was one of Germany's major markets for example), or why tensions are increasing between China and the USA (China is the world's biggest holder of US debt, and US companies are heavily involved in China), or indeed lately between Europe, the US and Russia (Russia supplies a quarter of Europe's gas, but is also dependent on Europe as a customer and investor), etc.

3) Imperialism is not the result of "financial blocs" which go beyond the nation state. On the contrary, the increasing internationalisation of capital and the interdependence of all nations in a world economy, set against the continued division of the world into competing national bourgeoisies, expresses the fundamental insoluble contradiction within capitalism between an increasingly collective, socialised system of production and the private appropriation of the profits of production. This contradiction cannot be resolved (as Kautsky thought) by some kind of "super-imperialism" combining countries on the basis of their economic integration.

4) Historically, imperialist blocs have formed on the basis of:

a) overwhelming military strength (the empire of the USSR was based on military occupation of its East European glacis, the USA was overwhelmingly more powerful than its clients)

b) shared ideology (fascism, anti-fascism for example): historically, the Russian bloc depended more on armed force than ideology, for the USA it could be argued that it was the other way around)

c) fear of a common enemy (the European powers behind the USA against the USSR)

d) in some cases, last-minute opportunism has played a part (Italy, ally of Germany, joining France and Britain during World War I)

The argument I have postulated here is necessarily very schematic and is based more on affirmation than demonstration - but I preferred to limit the size of the post and the demonstration can come in discussion.

Hawkeye
Reply to baboon

You put numerous words into my mouth !  I only drew your attention to an article elsewhere on the web.  However, whilst all imperialism is against the interests of the world proletariat, it seems to me that the worst aspect of it so far was nazism.  If what you term 'Russian imperialism' hadn't driven the nazis out of Russia and back to Berlin in 1945, it is unlikely that you would be debating your 'communist left' proclivities today.

radicalchains
proclivities indeed

Or we'd all be speaking German hurr hurr. Wouldn't have much of a problem with that really, it's only a language after all. This idea that it's the end of the world if the German ruling class had won is false I think. Besides, you don't fight for your class by lining up behind the lesser evil of the ruling class. Don't forget various bourgeois leaders said Hitler was wonderful and they only wished if 'their' country was in as bad a state as Germany was they would love to have their own Hitler. The enemy and who suffered the most in both world wars was the working class as a whole. Do you line up behind the British ruling class and state when you hear of the Syrian state attrocities, think the 'aid' is a good idea?

Marin Jensen
On a hiding to nothing

Hawkeye wrote:
 

I only drew your attention to an article elsewhere on the web.  

The problem is, if you "draw attention" to patently leftist arguments without taking any distance from them, this is naturally taken as indicating a certain degree of agreement/approval of the ideas.

Hawkeye wrote:
 If what you term 'Russian imperialism' hadn't driven the nazis out of Russia and back to Berlin in 1945, it is unlikely that you would be debating your 'communist left' proclivities today. 
 And by the same criteria, you could equally say that "if it wasn't for what you term US imperialism then the Russians would be in London and it is unlikely you would be debating your 'left communist' proclivities today". This is precisely the problem: you still think of the USSR as non-capitalist and non-imperialist and as long as you do so you will understand nothing either of what is going on in the world today or of proletarian politics in general.
Hawkeye
Reply to LoneLondoner

So much of what appears on the ICC website takes a vast distance from almost all actual efforts of organisations of workers.  

As for views of the nature of the USSR, although you regard it as having been capitalist and imperialist, the Red Army did eventually defeat the forces of Hitler, liberating Auschwitz-Birkenau on the way.  Unfortunately, before they arrived on 27-1-1945, my friend Leon (98288) and thousands of other prisoners were forced to evacuate the camp on a 'death march'.  Leon eventually survived Buchenwald, but having got severe frost damage to his foot, had to have an amputation when he arrived in Paris.  The Anti-Nazi-League helped him by providing mesh to his windows in Ilford, when neo-nazis threatened many people.  On 22-3-2014 I went on an anti-fascist demo in London and walked with many people carrying Roma flags, and walked with Grattan Puxon, joint author of 'Gypsies Under The Swastika', who has been giving continuous help to caravan-dwellers at Dale Farm and at other sites.  Across Europe the fascist movement attacks Gypsies and other people and must be opposed.  There is no need for me to remind me that fascism is part (just part) of capitalist imperialism and that must be opposed; I am well aware of that.  Focusing on its fascist aspect gains support from a wide range of workers and helps the anti-capitalist struggle to gain momentum.  Of course you might go round in circles denigrating 'Trotskyism' and 'Stalinism' and 'revisionism' and 'Maoism' and various  'tendencies' of 'the left', whilst demonstrators and non voters vote with their feet.  The demo on Saturday was largely supported by the SWP, with a very large number of bookstalls and placards.  I do not belong to the SWP  (nor the ICC), but do regard that considerable effort as noteworthy and progressive as opposed to fascism.

I do recommend that ICC supporters should not limit their focus to their own views, but see what other organisations have to say.  It seems to me likely that in a revolutionary situation, when push comes to shove, the following quote from the Stalinist 'New Worker' article of 20-12-13 entitled 'DPRK defends socialism' could become very relevant, when large numbers of revolutionaries count:-

(Quote):- "Well Stalin and the Bolshviks taught us many things and one of them was that the class struggle intensifies as society advances towards socialism.  The other was that the greatest danger to the communists and the revolutionary movement was not from those openly opposed to socialism but from the hidden enemies who worm their way into the party's trust, who pose as defenders of the working class and suppporters of the socialist system while secretly working to reverse it and restore capitalism." (end of quote).

Marin Jensen
Cloud cuckoo land

Hawkeye wrote:

Across Europe the fascist movement attacks gypsies and other people and must be opposed (...)  Focusing on its fascist aspect gains support from a wide range of workers and helps the anti-capitalist struggle to gain momentum.

In France, the principal force attacking Rom encampments and better still making this attack into a veritable propaganda pogrom on prime-time TV, is not the fascists but the CRS (riot police) under the orders of a "socialist" interior minister who has merely intensified the campaigns of his right-wing UMP predecessor. 

As for, "gaining support from a wide range of workers", one of the notable features of French politics today is the rise of Marine Le Pen's Front National which is taking votes (amongst other places) in precisely those areas where the French "Communist" Party used to be strong. How is this possible? In part at least because the French CP has a programme and a discourse of economic nationalism which is almost indistinguishable from that of the Front National (and my generation still remembers the "Communist" mayor of Vitry taking a bulldozer to demolish an immigrant hostel in the town on the grounds that there were already too many immigrants there).

And then you go on to cite an article claiming that "the DPRK defends socialism" (I presume this is the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea", ie the Kim dynasty's barbaric little fiefdom of North Korea (funny name actually: it is not democratic, does not belong to the people, can hardly be called a republic since it has enshrined the dynastic principle and enshrined the dead Kim Il Sung as leader not just for life but for ever). 

Hawkeye, I repeat what I said: if you cannot understand that there is a fundamental class difference between Kim Jong Un and Stalin on one side, and the left communists on the other, then you will not understand anything either about proletarian politics or indeed about what is actually going on in the world.

 

Hawkeye
Reply to LoneLondoner #15

Thank you for your reply.  Of course I am opposed to all the attacks on Gypsies which you mention as in France.  I am also opposed to all attacks on Roma across Eastern Europe and Italy.  Whilst the eventual success of communist revolution worldwide ought to avert and obviate such events, I continue to regard specific protests and campaigns against racist attacks as essential, not only for specific immediate objectives, but also as a way of drawing workers towards protesting against the status quo, in the course of which they might also adopt marxist views, if they have not already done so.

As for my quote from an article defending the DPRK, I had only intended that the actual quote should be considered.  In fact I have raised concern regarding the composition of the government of the DPRK with four Marxist-Leninist organisations in the UK.

I continue to advocate that readers should look at a wide range of websites which claim to advance the class interests of workers.  A wider knowledge of the many and varied points of view can then be used to evaluate what might seem to be valid and useful for the working class. Did not Marx and Lenin also note a wide range of workers' views ?  Workers are generally cautious about those who always think that they know best.

Alf
The point is at some point in

The point is at some point in history you have to judge whether these claims are worth anything. One look at the DPRK  - which is modelled to some extent on Stalin's Russia and Mao's China - is enough to demonstrate the utter fraudulence of these claims from the Stalinists. Can you tell me why the prison-camp state in North Korea "advances the class interests of the workers" any more than the state run by the National Socialist Workers Party?

Alf
dp

dp

radicalchains
???

Alf, why do you call it a "prison state camp" when the US for instance has more than 2 million in its jails, including probably many more doing slave labour than in North Korea. No one describes the US as a "prison state camp" but maybe they should. I think your characterisation is an emotional response and not a political one. Of course there's nothing wrong in that or in having a political and emotional response, I just think in this case it isn't helpful. And, before you say but I've seen the pictures! Well, frankly I wouldn't trust what one section of the bourgeoisie says over another. We all know about Saddam's WMD's.

In fact as I undertsand it, workers in North Korea do have at least one similarity with communism. They do not necessarily do just one job. They work different tasks according to season and what is required. It may be a bastardized form but I think it's worth doing our own research when it comes to the much maligned North Korea.

Alf
True the US is also a prison

True the US is also a prison camp state. But I am a bit surprised that you are prepared to see North Korea as even a bastardised form of communism. It is an example of the extreme degneration of the capitalist system, which everywhere tends towards state totalitarianism. 

radicalchains
No, I didn't say North Korea

No, I didn't say North Korea is a bastardized form of communism. I said one element of the society has a similarity with perhaps an element of a future communist society. Or at least that's what I meant to imply. Obviously North Korea isn't communist for one as LoneLondoner correctly point out ,it has an eternal president. 

Hawkeye
Reply to Alf

You say that at some point in history you have to judge whether (these) claims are worth anything.  Actually there is an on-going continuous assessment being made of all manner of political claims by workers interested in politics, to see if they are worth anything at one or more particular times.  (The expression 'horses for courses' comes to mind, but might not be appropriate!).  Has it ever occurred to you that maybe even the teachings of the 'communist left ' might be partially or even totally mistaken ?  Oops, that's done it !  Some day I must get round to reading more of my book by the Russian nihilist Dmitri Pisarev, but, as usual, there are so many other things to be done and time seems to keep vanishing.  I think I''ll abandon spending any more time on interchanges of views with ICC, which you'll be glad to know.  Take care.

baboon
"much maligned"

It's true that totalitarian/police state tendencies exist in every country including that of the "Land of the Free" (and the Mother of Parliaments). This is due to the development of state capitalism across the board and over a period of many decades. But I think that it is essential that we are very clear about the general nature of the PRNK (North Korea) and its nature as a sort of throwback going forward, a type of an even more so degenerated stalinist state. I don't think that there are any similarities whatsover with militarised and terrorised workers and individuals in North Korea working at different seasonal places and any perspective of a communist society. None at all.

radicalchains
I take in communism the ICC

I take it in communism the ICC will exist as a publishing house and you'll all be writers.

baboon
capitalist abominations

I don't really understand that radical. The abominations of capitalism are legion but the People's Republic of North Korea has a definite place among them with its own particular "charm" and history. What is doesn't have is anything whatsoever to teach the working class or to point in any sort of direction towards communism. This is because of not despite its ideology. All the lessons it has for the working class are entirely negative.

LBird
Saloth Sar-ism

baboon wrote:

The abominations of capitalism are legion but the People's Republic of North Korea has a definite place among them with its own particular "charm" and history. What is doesn't have is anything whatsoever to teach the working class or to point in any sort of direction towards communism. This is because of not despite its ideology. All the lessons it has for the working class are entirely negative.

I entirely agree with you about the DPRK (sic), baboon.

The reason Hawkeye and other Stalinists/Nationalists/Maoists can feel any affinity at all with these types of regimes is that they think that someone (that is, a minority) other than the class can bring Communism.

That's why I stress so strongly, in all of our debates, that the proletariat must democratically choose and control the movement towards Communism.

To me, any move whatsoever to suggest minority consciousness/control, of the movement, its structures or ideas (power or consciousness), is a step towards Hawkeye's political stance.

Again, to me, this will not lead towards Communism. That is the lesson for Communists of the 20th century. Any workers' structures must be entirely open, democratic and delegate.

To rhetorically emphasise this view, I think 'Party Cadre' equals 'Pol Pot'.

Hawkeye
Reply to LBird of 31-3-14

Despite my intention to abandon commenting on ICC website, I must point out to you that my interest in marxism is exploratory, rather than a 'stance' as you put it.  Also, as you included me amongst 'other Stalinists/Nationalists/Maoists', presumably because I have made references to some of them, you might also have added all sorts of Trotskyists and Anarchists and 'Revisionists', not to omit any of my references to the CWO/ICT and the two or more ICPs over the years. My 'affinity' is to the future for youngsters of the world, threatened by overproduction of the armaments industry of imperialism.  Exclusivism of the various claims to ultimately correct roads to change the world limits thought and combined struggle. I would be grateful for absence of any further reference to me personally on this website, when dealing with views etc.

LBird
Playing together in a puddle gets one wet

Hawkeye wrote:
Exclusivism of the various claims to ultimately correct roads to change the world limits thought and combined struggle.
[my bold]

Well, Hawkeye, when it comes to Kim Wrong 'Un, Adolf Hitler and Joe Stalin, I'm a downright bigoted, mindless 'Exclusivist'!

More seriously, one's ideology both includes and excludes ideas, and both bolsters one's faith and closes one's mind to alternatives. This is in the nature of 'political thought', and the sooner we all admit that the 'completely open-minded individual' is a bourgeois myth, the better.

Hawkeye wrote:
I would be grateful for absence of any further reference to me personally on this website, when dealing with views etc.
[my bold]

No problem: just don't express any personal views.

And, BTW, no links to sites with dodgy politics, 'just for interest sake'. If you provide links to Maoist/Stalinist sites, unless you specifically mark your posts as being opposed to the views expressed on those sites, I'm going to assume that you personally support their politics.

And to me, that's 'expressing a personal view'. You can't expect to comment upon (even attack) the political views expressed on this site, and not expect counter-argument. I do 'it' all the time, and get 'counter-attacked', which is as it should be. That's how we all learn.

Perhaps you don't know where you stand (having no 'stance', just  being 'exploratory') on, for example, internationalism, but most here do know.

We're opposed to nationalism of any sort, 'Russian' or 'Korean', from 'right' or 'left'. I want to exclude 'nationalists'!

Fred
About ideology. I thought the

About ideology. I thought the brilliant achievement of the early communists was to identify and name ideology as being "a false consciousness", which having been spotted and labelled as such begins to make it much easier to escape from or dispel.  Its rather like having an illness diagnosed and named.  Treatment, if there is one can begin. Failing a treatment,  just starting  to understand what's wrong with you can help in dealing with the disease; while knowing others have had it, and how they responded also helps

 

Ideology renders us blind to our actual situation, and cuts us off from thinking outside the imposed prison-like box.  But how could we possibly think outside the ideological conditioning which we take for granted, if we have no idea that we're inside it anyway and also take it for granted?  I remember the shock I got when I first came across the book "The German Ideology" for the title alone kept me quiet for weeks as I tried to adjust to what it meant.  It was a breakthrough.  Of course, if jk was still posting, he might say "how d'you know it was a breakthrough, you're just kidding yourself, and all you've done is refurbish and whitewash your ideological prison which you're still inside."   Well jk you could be right I must admit.  

 

LBird says that "ideology closes ones mind to alternatives."  Yes, that's true.  But how does it do it?  If you are a citizen of the USA you will doubtless believe that the USA is the land of the free. It'll thus never occurr to you that the USA is actually a giant prison camp that Imprisons not just those that break capitalist laws, but imprisons  the whole and total population, as it does also in N.Korea, and in all bourgeois democracies planet wide.  In short, under capitalism all the world's a prison rather than  just a stage.  But ideology is very powerful and can effectively condition us to accept that, for example, in the USA citizens are free and that this is not open to questioning. 

 

Of course, education and the media, and all bourgeois politicians, continually reinforce the ideological stranglehold, so that we all become, or are intended to become, parrots and clones  of the system and are disciplined into an unquestioning submission.  I suppose Orwell's "1984" is an obvious example of how this conditioning is sustained. But Orwell could have done us all a favour if he had been able to show how this ideological disciplining also works in apparently less severe circumstances and without such obvious coercion. In the USA and Europe, for example,  we all go zombie like to awful jobs everyday - if we have a job that is - and many of us if questioned would insist on our freedom!  The freedom that is to work  for the bourgeoisie,   or join  the unemployed!  Oh! What a freedom to treasure! 

 

LBird also says (I think?) that this "closure of the mind" brought about by ideology is the nature of "political thought".  But I wondered if this is correct. In fact I wonder whether, trapped inside the ideologies of the bourgeois democratic prisons, any real "political thought" is possible at all?  Isn't the bourgeoisie's ideological brain wash of us all the antithesis of political thought and its actual negation?   Surely the beginnings of the identification of and thus possible escape from ideology is political thought itself.  And the realization that far from being free we live in a political society, where one class exploits another,   and are subject to its rules?  Thus  we are certainly not free. And the spread of genuine political thought, as opposed to its ideological bourgeois democratic phony alternative, is part of the way forward. So: to the dustbins with both the bourgeoisie and its mind-numbing ideology.

LBird
Apocalypse Now

Fred wrote:
About ideology. I thought the brilliant achievement of the early communists was to identify and name ideology as being "a false consciousness"...

But this ideology assumed that there could be a 'true consciousness'. If you want to start from ideas of 'false', you have to also have ideas of 'true'.

If one's ideology starts from 'true', is 'truth' a variable, social, historical 'truth', or is 'truth' an eternal, once-found-known-forever truth, like postivists and 'materialists' insist?

These are the arguments of the 19th century, Fred, and science has long since pointed the way to 'truth' (whether of nature or society) as being 'social and historical', that is, variable 'truth'.

There is no 'True Consciousness', but I think that there is a 'true consciousness': the Communist ideology of the revolutionary proletariat is 'true consciousness', in this 'small capital', tentative, 'aware-of-truth-as-change' sense.

This is why I argue that, truth being social, that 'truth' for us must be the product of a vote. That is, science is a social activity, and must be under the control of our society. If society wants to change the truth (and mark it, it will change anyway), then the whole of society must participate in this process of change. Just like in production. Conscious humanity must mean Communism.

Fred wrote:
LBird also says (I think?) that this "closure of the mind" brought about by ideology is the nature of "political thought". But I wondered if this is correct.

This is as true of science as it is politics, as of our knowledge of nature as of society, as of physics and sociology.

Even the bourgeois philosophers have caught up with Marx!

We need to discuss the nature of 'limits' within all ideologies, including science.

Kuhn talks of 'paradigms', but I prefer Lakatos' 'research programmes', which contain 'a hard core' of axioms and assumptions.

Another word for this 'hard core' is 'ontology' or 'metaphysics'.

Isn't this where I came in a year ago?  We're approaching the 'heart of darkness', perhaps!

lem_
hey, do you think we can

hey,

do you think we can reach another world war, holocaust, or stalinist disaster without it being started by anti democratic forces?

which is not to say i am a supportefr of democracy, neither in practical nor ideal terms...