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July 13, 2005

Comments

Dave

Marx did indeed say that that he was 'no Marxist'.

1. Marx fully deserves his position for having accurately anticipated globalisation and the effects of global capitalism more than a century before it came into being.

2. There has never been a genuinely Marxist state. Marx's predictions were predicated on such a state arising from an industrial economy not from peasant economies which have exclusively spawned 'communist revolutions'.

3. One cannot consider the USSR, China, etc to be Marxist states - nowhere does Marx suggest that the State should appropriate the position of the ruling elite and take over control of the means of production except as a temporary measure and precursor to the state 'withering away' - a genuinely Marxist state would be one based on political anarchy, in other words a direct rather than representative democracy.

Those responsible for 100 million deaths, as you put it, were not Marxist revolutionaries but counter-revolutionaries who, having swept away the old ruling elite then installed themselves in their place.

To call Marx's work 'pseudoscience' is utter nonsense. Marx was a philosopher not a scientist and cannot be judged in purely deterministic terms.

How about an alternate question - 99% of criticisms of Marx come from people who have either not read or not understood his work. Discuss.

J.Cassian

OK, I don't know why, but let's keep going.

1. Hmm, the only thing like that I seem to remember Marx claiming is that European imperialism would have to turn what we now call the the countries of the Third World into capitalist economies before Marxist revolution had any sort of chance. So, logically, true Marxists should be enthusiastic supporters of Western imperialism.

2. When is a state not Marxist? When it exists. "There has never been a genuinely Marxist state." True, and there never will be one. Marx's prediction of the forthcoming immiseration of the proletariat in advanced capitalist countries was utterly deluded. Without such immiseration, the Marxist utopia will never evolve (although there's a basic contradiction in Marx between his claims the proletarian revolution is inevitable and his calls for political violence.)

3. Dave, a quick read of your blog finds you describing South Africa attacking "Marxist Angola". Maybe it was a mirage. As for Marx not advocating a centralised state, ever read "The Communist Manifesto"? All the Communist states from the USSR to North Korea could claim that their dictatorship was merely a temporary measure in line with Marx's thought. When the time came they would relinquish power, which of course would not corrupt the leaders of those states in any way, since they were genuine idealists. As the joke had it: "What's the best road to socialism? The longest one."

"To call Marx's work 'pseudoscience' is utter nonsense"

Who described his work as "scientific" socialism then?

"Marx was a philosopher"

He certainly wasn't much of an economist...

"cannot be judged in purely deterministic terms."

Of course, the leading proponent of historical determinism cannot be judged in deterministic terms.

"How about an alternate question - 99% of criticisms of Marx come from people who have either not read or not understood his work. Discuss."

I always thought Marx stank. I'd never read any of his work. I read some. I still thought Marx stank. You might as well say: "99% of the criticisms of Ba'athism come from people who have never read or understood Michel Aflaq's work."

(By the way, you got one thing right: the Bolsheviks were certainly counter-revolutionaries.)


Devil's Kitchen

--"But, isn't this a bit like blaming Gregor Mendel for the 20th century's eugenics movement?"--

Eugenics was practised long before Mendel: it just wasn't called that.

Anyway, this little conceit, Karl Marx In Hell is very entertaining...
http://www.lewrockwell.com/wallace/wallace14.html

Backword Dave

Dave:
a) did Marx write about economics? Could Marx have been properly called an economist?
b) is economics a science?

Newton answered to the description "philosopher." So I agree with this "in a world where disciplinary boundaries were drawn more rationally, the runaway winner would have been Sir Isaac Newton."
http://preposterousuniverse.blogspot.com/2005_07_01_preposterousuniverse_archive.html#112146301398836210

2.There has never been a genuinely Marxist state. Marx's predictions were predicated on such a state arising from an industrial economy not from peasant economies which have exclusively spawned 'communist revolutions'.
So, shorter Dave -- Marx was talking bollocks?

Sportin' Life

a) did Marx write about economics? Could Marx have been properly called an economist?

Yes.

b) is economics a science?

No.

"There has never been a genuinely Marxist state. Marx's predictions were predicated on such a state arising from an industrial economy not from peasant economies which have exclusively spawned 'communist revolutions'.
So, shorter Dave -- Marx was talking bollocks?"

It's early days.

J.Cassian

"It's early days."

Yes, there's still plenty of North Koreans left to kill.

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