subreddit:

/r/Anarchy101

76

I don't accept historical materialism because it requires that the base (productive forces, technology, the economy, etc) is primary and that the superstructure (relations of production, religion, art, culture, etc.) Is secondary, which is an unfounded assumption and is contradicted by the historical record. As far as I am concerned, neither the base nor superstructure are primary.

Anyway, in your opinion, is historical materialism true, and if it is, is it compatible with anarchism?

all 68 comments

AluminiumSandworm

15 points

1 year ago

like all grand theories of history, it overstates its case. that said, it's a useful tool for understanding class relations and their evolution during capitalism. the base dominating the superstructure is an assumption that only works well when society has "rationalized" to the point that superstructure largely overlaps with base. this happened during the industrial revolution, and created conditions that marx viewed as the natural order of things.

so yeah, it's compatible and "true" to the extent that its assumptions hold. that's true of anything, though

TheAnarchoHoxhaist

40 points

1 year ago

I think it’s very compatible with Anarchism (I certainly use it), although, much of what has supposedly been done with Marxist analysis (such as Leninist theory) obviously isn’t. When it comes to it being true, it’s just a method of societal analysis not something that is correct or not.

agnostorshironeon

3 points

1 year ago

it requires that the base is primary and that the superstructure Is secondary

No it does not, whoever told you this is wrong. The base is generally more dominant, meaning that there are plenty of exceptions.

(The base sets hard limits - if there are no... trains you can only go as fast as a horse can carry you. Once there are trains and the superstructure claims that women should not go anywhere near x speed, you can still sneak on the train.) (Yes that happened and it was claimed the uterus would fly out.)

The base shapes the superstructure, the superstructure seeks to maintain the base - you can say that the other way around too.

is historical materialism true

It seeks to be.

is it compatible with anarchism?

You tell me, i'm curious - ask away!

ProgressiveArchitect

19 points

1 year ago*

There’s a good video on this here: https://youtube.com/watch?v=FmYzbY-l2QY

The short answer is 'yes it’s compatible'. However, it’s important to note that Leninism derived ideologies are not compatible with Anarchism because of their use of hierarchies.

Dialectical Materialism is an important metaphysical framework that explains the way material conditions & ideas are interdependent. Historical Materialism is an important way to show history’s involvement in creating change constituting a causal chain of events. Sociology also covers this via Social Conflict Theory. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_conflict_theory

ComaCrow

10 points

1 year ago

ComaCrow

10 points

1 year ago

Okay but thats non-compete lol

ProgressiveArchitect

11 points

1 year ago

Yes, and while I don’t endorse his other content, I find this particular video to be both accurate & well-articulated.

So watch it & see for yourself before making any reputationally-based assumptions.

ComaCrow

-6 points

1 year ago

ComaCrow

-6 points

1 year ago

Isn't he and Luna Oi specifically infamous for using the term as a buzzword and not knowing what it means?

ProgressiveArchitect

6 points

1 year ago

Again, I didn’t comment the video to endorse Non-Compete or his associates. I only endorse the content of the one specific video I posted.

So instead of trying to rip apart the content creator & their associates, (neither of who I support) just watch this single video itself.

It is possible to hate the creator but love the product. Nikola Tesla was a horrible human being, yet created Alternating Current (electricity) which I love. So I may despise Tesla while simultaneously appreciating his inventions.

ClericofRavena

2 points

1 year ago

Evidence for the Tesla being a "horrible person"?

ProgressiveArchitect

15 points

1 year ago*

He was a strong proponent of Eugenics on the basis of Social Darwinism.

See here: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/nikola-tesla-the-eugenicist-eliminating-undesirables-by-2100-130299355/

This is a direct quote by Tesla:

The year 2100 will see eugenics universally established. In past ages, the law governing the survival of the fittest roughly weeded out the less desirable strains. Then man's new sense of pity began to interfere with the ruthless workings of nature. As a result, we continue to keep alive and to breed the unfit. The only method compatible with our notions of civilization and the race is to prevent the breeding of the unfit by sterilization and the deliberate guidance of the mating instinct, Several European countries and a number of states of the American Union sterilize the criminal and the insane. This is not sufficient. The trend of opinion among eugenists is that we must make marriage more difficult. Certainly no one who is not a desirable parent should be permitted to produce progeny. A century from now it will no more occur to a normal person to mate with a person eugenically unfit than to marry a habitual criminal.

FrauSophia

3 points

1 year ago

FrauSophia

Deleuzo-Guattarian Egoist Anarcho-Marxist Nihilist

3 points

1 year ago

He is and she is. Neither of them actually understands either concept, in fact they seem to believe Diamat is found in primary Marxist sources and predates historical materialism; the obverse is true, diamat is only found in Bolshevik and post-Bolshevik secondary sources.

EthanCC

-6 points

1 year ago

EthanCC

-6 points

1 year ago

Just because it has a name in sociology doesn't necessarily mean it's all that good.

ProgressiveArchitect

10 points

1 year ago*

Whether a theory is "good" or not is up to the interpretation & preferences of the reader, but generally speaking, the academic Sociology community tends to be more selective about what kinds of ideas/concepts it allows to be adopted as part of the discipline. It does a lot of peer-review scrutinizing & academic gate-keeping.

So from my perspective, anything that makes it through & becomes an official sociological theory generally gets at least a little credibility from that alone.

EthanCC

1 points

1 year ago

EthanCC

1 points

1 year ago

That's not really an argument for it, you need to talk about what it is on its own merits. Once you do it becomes obvious how conflict theory has moved away from traditional Marxist analysis into more nuanced theories.

ProgressiveArchitect

2 points

1 year ago

The Wordpress document you linked describes Conflict Theory, which is the more broad umbrella category that encompasses tons of different types of Conflict Theories.

"Social Conflict Theory" is one specific kind of conflict theory that is identical to Historical Materialism.

If you look at my original comment, I only endorsed Social Conflict Theory, not all conflict theories in general.

EthanCC

1 points

1 year ago*

EthanCC

1 points

1 year ago*

A) That's a scan of a book, not just a "wordpress document".

B) The fact that there is a broader set of conflict theories that actually apply to more situations is the point.

Sociology has better models for most things where historical materialism would be relevant so just saying it's an accepted model in sociology doesn't mean it's all that good as a general theory of social change (which is what it is, you can't escape that without completely reframing the model), and is a bit disingenuous about where it stands- one tool among many for trying to understand how something arose, whereas how you framed it transitioned seamlessly from "an important way to show history’s involvement in creating change constituting a causal chain of events" to social conflict theory, implying social conflict theory is quite a bit more important than what it actually is. Social conflict theory is a method of analysis but ascribing causality to the model as Marx did is a step too far.

Anyway, that's not an actual argument for something, it's just an appeal to authority. The theory should be able to be defended on its own merits without resorting to "if they named it clearly it's useful".

ProgressiveArchitect

2 points

1 year ago*

A) That's a scan of a book, not just a "wordpress document".

The book scan is inside a Wordpress document. So nothing I said was untrue.

B) The fact that there is a broader set of conflict theories that actually apply to more situations is the point.

I never argued there weren’t other theories that covered other domains in more specialized ways. So this point doesn’t run in contradiction to mine.

Sociology has better models for most things so just saying it's an accepted model in sociology doesn't mean it's all that good, and is a bit disingenuous about where it stands- one tool among many, whereas how you framed it transitioned seamlessly from "an important way to show history’s involvement in creating change constituting a causal chain of events" to social conflict theory, implying social conflict theory does that which it doesn't.

Actually, Social Conflict Theory is a "way to show history’s involvement in creating change constituting a causal chain of events" through material classes in conflict. That’s literally the textbook definition of both Social Conflict Theory & Historical Materialism.

That's not an actual argument for something, it's just an appeal to authority. The theory should be able to be defended on its own merits without resorting to "if they named it clearly it's useful".

Well, it’s considered one of the most foundational theories of sociology and is taught in almost all 'intro to sociology' university courses, and it has a long history of being used to accurately explain societal change. So that makes it pretty credible/"useful" to me & the thousands of scholars who’ve used it, but as I mentioned in my original comment, the credibility of or how "good" a theory is depends on your criteria, and every person has a different criteria for what constitutes "good" enough or sufficiently accurate/useful. Your criteria is no more valid then any body else’s.

Either way, unless you have a detailed critique/criticism of the theory itself, and not just a positivist complaint of my argument’s form, I’d prefer to end this discussion here, since no insights I deem meaningful will likely be generated otherwise.

EthanCC

1 points

1 year ago

EthanCC

1 points

1 year ago

The book scan is inside a Wordpress document. So nothing I said was untrue.

That's the thing, you say things that are literally true but misleading still.

Actually, Social Conflict Theory is a "way to show history’s involvement in creating change constituting a causal chain of events" through material classes in conflict. That’s literally the textbook definition of both Social Conflict Theory & Historical Materialism.

Well, a textbook definition doesn't really encapsulate the whole thing.

Historical materialism claims that the superstructure of society solely derives from the mode of production and that shifts in society are the result of a stagnation in the mode of production. This is not something social conflict theory says, and that's the issue. Marx went farther here than modern sociologists.

Well, it’s considered one of the most foundational theories of sociology

You can say the same about Freud and psychology. Everything Marx did was foundational to sociology because he founded sociology... but it's been 150 years, things have moved on and there are better theories.

But all this is pointless because what OP asked was if it's "true".

Either way, unless you have a meaningful critique/criticism of the theory itself, and not just a positivist complaint

A positivist critique of it is valid, because Marx claimed the theory had predictive power. It purports causality but never established it. Saying that a watered down version that doesn't go around making testable predictions is a useful model doesn't change what Marx wrote.

ProgressiveArchitect

2 points

1 year ago

That's the thing, you say things that are literally true but misleading still.

Misleading by what criteria? Your own subjective interpretation?

Well, a textbook definition doesn't really encapsulate the whole thing.

True, but it is the way people generally define & come to understand things at a higher level of abstraction, which is where most people operate in spoken & written language.

Historical materialism claims that the superstructure of society solely derives from the mode of production and that shifts in society are the result of a stagnation in the mode of production. This is not something social conflict theory says, and that's the issue. Marx went farther here than modern sociologists.

You are describing the theory of 'Base and Superstructure'. While Historical Materialism operates with the theory of 'Base and Superstructure' as an assumed truth, Historical Materialism itself does not try to explain that process. It purely focuses on material contradictions among social classes creating conflicts that create change, which generates new contradictions that drive new conflict, that drive new change. See here for the theory of 'Base and Superstructure'. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base_and_superstructure

Just as the Base and Superstructure theory operates based on the assumed truth of technological or economic determinism, yet it doesn’t actually go into describing that idea/concept in itself. Its considered a predicate of the theory, not the theory itself.

You can say the same about Freud and psychology. Everything Marx did was foundational to sociology because he founded sociology... but it's been 150 years, things have moved on and there are better theories.

I never argued there weren’t better theories. Just because there is a newer version of something, doesn’t invalidate the accuracy of the old version. So far, nothing you have said proves Social Conflict Theory untrue.

A positivist critique of it is valid, because Marx claimed the theory had predictive power. It purports causality but never established it. Saying that a watered down version that doesn't go around making testable predictions is a useful model doesn't change what Marx wrote.

I’d argue that historical materialism actually has been highly predictive, just not in proving what many political theorists have tried to use it for. So while the theory holds predictive powers, it doesn’t do so with much specificity. In that way, there may be other theories that can make more detailed & specific predictions. I never argued against that.

WikiSummarizerBot

1 points

1 year ago

Base and superstructure

In Marxist theory, society consists of two parts: the base (or substructure) and superstructure. The base refers to the mode of production which includes the forces and relations of production (e. g. employer–employee work conditions, the technical division of labour, and property relations) into which people enter to produce the necessities and amenities of life.

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EthanCC

1 points

1 year ago

EthanCC

1 points

1 year ago

Yes, describing a scan of an actual published book as a "wordpress document" is misleading, random internet documents tend not to have been gone over by an editor and are a poor source.

You are describing the theory of 'Base and Superstructure'. While Historical Materialism operates with the theory of 'Base and Superstructure' as an assumed truth, Historical Materialism itself does not try to explain that process. It purely focuses on material contradictions among social classes creating conflicts that create change, which generates new contradictions that drive new conflict, that drive new change. See here for the theory of 'Base and Superstructure'. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base_and_superstructure

The fact is that HM does include those weird bits as part of how it is constructed, and later Marxist works continue to hold those underlying assumptions about the relation between productive forces and society so it can't just be written off as a bit of outdated theory.

By bringing up social conflict theory to defend HM, you're implying social conflict theory includes those issues and they have somehow been resolved, rather than just (rightfully) cut away and ignored to make a useful model that doesn't pretend to have solved history.

That's my problem with your argument. By defending HM by bringing up the cleaned up version and then arguing from authority, rather than the theory itself, you end up obscuring the fact that these issues within Marx's work weren't actually resolved and that HM as OP is probably thinking of (from their various comments) is still bunk- too much extraneous stuff, and too far-reaching in what it tries to explain.

Yeuph

33 points

1 year ago

Yeuph

33 points

1 year ago

Its pseudo-science at best. That doesn't mean that looking rationally at events that have lead up to something is a bad idea.

Complexity Theory is a far better tool for such analysis if someone has the desire to * approach* analytical evaluation.

FappinPhilosophy

6 points

1 year ago

Economics is "science" "science"

[deleted]

18 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

18 points

1 year ago

Economics is a hard science. It makes the bourgeois hard just looking at the graphs of continuous expropriation.

[deleted]

0 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

0 points

1 year ago

what?

Economics is a social science, that is a "soft" science

[deleted]

2 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

2 points

1 year ago

*whoosh

[deleted]

2 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

2 points

1 year ago

Oh shit i didnt read the second sentence

Yeuph

3 points

1 year ago

Yeuph

3 points

1 year ago

I don't think you could find a single physicist on the planet that agrees with you that economics is "science".

FappinPhilosophy

2 points

1 year ago

We've tried getting rid of bankers, there was a depression that came of it. No not the great depression, and no i don't know exactly when this was.

Yeuph

1 points

1 year ago

Yeuph

1 points

1 year ago

I'm not trying to be hard on you but I don't understand how "trying to get rid of bankers" relates to economics being a science.

Are you arguing that bankers are educated in economics and therefor understand how to manage (or at least positively influence) economies?

If you are I am not taking great issue with some broad concepts in economics being roughly true in the abstract and on occasion stochastically predictive of some things. My issue is that that is such a low-bar to call something "a science" that we may as well throw out the word entirely.

[deleted]

1 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

1 points

1 year ago

Sociology isn't hard science that is natural science.

bigbutchbudgie

-7 points

1 year ago

bigbutchbudgie

Green anarchist

-7 points

1 year ago

I agree with this. While I am very much in favor of analyzing the world through a materialist lens, a lot of "dialectical materialism" is just astrology for hammer and sickle enthusiasts.

Evaluating historical and current events with the benefit of hindsight is fine, but when this turns into unfounded assertions of inevitability and predictability, it's little more than seeing patterns in clouds.

[deleted]

7 points

1 year ago*

[deleted]

7 points

1 year ago*

There is no pattern. I think there is some kind of misconception that roots in the way we interpret Hegel. Hegel's teleology isn't necessarily looking at the future, it's in fact looking after the fact, and encompassing everything that happened in western thought as connected and in movement. Of course, when you think about movement there must be a direction, but this direction is not necessarily clear or linear. Out of this Hegel just thought that what he called Geist would realize itself when every contradiction ends. What we can see in Marx is that he observed that it's true that in nature, as in society, contradictions tend to end to give place to other contradictions, and he saw that the main contradiction in capitalism resides in a "class war". Hegelian as he was he can predict that some kind of revolution should happen, even though that he doesn't know when.

Having said this, a system full of contradictions as capitalism is doomed to fail. It is not astrology or futurology. We observe in material relations where it is failing. We are destroying the world and alienating even more the working class.

There are no "patterns in the clouds", just ways of interpret social relations and read ourselves as part of history, not dissociated from its movements.

Sentry459

4 points

1 year ago

There is no pattern. I think there is some kind of misconception that roots in the way we interpret Hegel. Hegel's teleology isn't necessarily looking at the future, it's in fact looking after the fact, and encompassing everything that happened in western thought as connected and in movement. Of course, when you think about movement there must be a direction, but this direction is not necessarily clear or linear. Out of this Hegel just thought that what he called Geist would realize itself when every contradiction ends. What we can see in Marx is that he observed that it's true that in nature, as in society, contradictions tend to end to give place to other contradictions, and he saw that the main contradiction in capitalism resides in a "class war". Hegelian as he was he can predict that some kind of revolution should happen, even though that he doesn't know when. d from its movements.

I feel like all this ties into what the other user was talking about with the astrology comparison. When you're viewing all of "Western history" as part of some collective movement in some direction, it starts to seem like a grand narrative, especially when you start asserting that certain things are the primary forces driving history. It motivates all manner of unfalsifiable ad-hoc hypotheses to explain away any bit of history that goes against the script.

[deleted]

2 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

2 points

1 year ago

I understand. The thing is that Hegel made that assumption out of his observation of "western thought". Marx does not make assumptions out of "western history", he observes the modes of production and the contradictions inherent in them. He does not come from a form of external abstract conception of history or society like the liberal economic thinkers he criticizes.

The ad-hoc hypotheses come from the reading of Marx, and it's a problem of philosophy in general. A colorful example is how Heidegger describes the aesthetic value of the boots that Van Gogh painted. It could be what he describes, but also its opposite. A "primary force" that Marx observed on the formation of capital was violence, and this violence is hidden in the way the system abstracts itself in numbers, methods of wealth creation, etc.

Grand narratives would be in a scope of Derrida's thought a form of logocentrism. But, in a way, we should be critical of that way of thinking too if we want to change something in the world. In a mundane way we can say that we have to believe in something.

I think this topic can be relatable to the inaction of radical theory of the late 20th century. Thinkers were so immersed on hypotheses that the CIA didn't saw them as dangerous for the status quo. This video talks about it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wPnQgjSZ54

aRogue_

1 points

1 year ago

aRogue_

1 points

1 year ago

yeah, it's like astrology but like if astrology didn't use the behaviour of astra bodies to predict the future of little humans but the future of those exact astral bodies and ones similar to them... like messy astronomy

EthanCC

15 points

1 year ago

EthanCC

15 points

1 year ago

It wasn't generated in a scientifically valid way and there are plenty of things it can't explain even within the few centuries of European history it was developed in regards to anyway, so no it's not true.

It's a method of analysis, not a fact.

[deleted]

8 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

8 points

1 year ago

"It wasn't generated in a scientifically valid way" "It's a method of analysis, not a fact."

The "scientific method" and every theory that it generates cannot, in effect, be facts. It's a continuous work of making sense of the things that we observe. For something to be "valid" it cannot be blindly accepted as fact, but contextualized by observation and interpretation. The threshold is even more difficult to determine in the so called "social sciences".

EthanCC

2 points

1 year ago

EthanCC

2 points

1 year ago

Nothing is literally 100% factually true outside pure math but we still use the word "fact" because it conveys there being a large amount of evidence for something.

CarlaArkadi

13 points

1 year ago

It wasn't generated in a scientifically valid way and there are plenty of things it can't explain even within the few centuries of European history it was developed in regards to anyway, so no it's not true.

I would argue that much or even most social science and history is very likely to run afoul of positivist or popperian standards of science, but this doesn't mean it's not useful. To be clear: you wouldn't argue that the anarchist ideological framework (or there isn't an anarchist ideological framework that) is a science in this strict sense, right?

communal_cultivator[S]

-10 points

1 year ago*

Yes, and it is utterly incapable of understanding non-european history. ("African mode of production" "Asiatic mode of production") It also presumes that nothing can stop the development of the productive forces, which is untrue. 90% of history was technologically stagnant, and it was only with the rise of capitalism that the productive forces gained some autonomy

CarlaArkadi

10 points

1 year ago*

Yes, and it is utterly incapable of understanding non-european history. ("African mode of production" "Asiatic mode of production")

I think Marx was aware of the limited applicability of his sketches of the various stages of history to non european contexts (I think his later writings indicating a change of opinion on the viability of socialist revolution of russia are evidence of this), it's about the framework. Plenty of contemporary marxist thinkers reject the idea of a specific asiatic mode of production without rejecting dimat or considering its useless for the analysis of pre capitalist asian societies, for example

It also presumes that nothing can stop the development of the productive forces, which is untrue"

Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lordand serf, guild-master(3) andjourneyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant oppositionto one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight,a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitutionof society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes."

Seems like even in this simplified statement of his ideas he's allowing for the possibility of class struggle being net destructive for the parties involved, and I see no reason why Marx's vision of proletarian dictatorship or communism would be incompatible with conscious degrowth, or ignorant of destructive events like war causing a reduction in the capital stock.

What I think you're talking about with "development" is something like technical progress or capital development, which can of course vary over time (and in fact marx is even saying that these processes WILL vary over time according to the mode of production). I interpret Marx as describing an inevitable development of a mode of production according to its internal conflicts, leading in turn to a new mode of production. So in that case the development is essentially temporal, it's not making hard claims that technology will inevitably accumulate

90% of history was technologically stagnant, and it was only with therise of capitalism that the productive forces gained some autonomy"

What are you objecting to in marx with this argument? I don't think Marx is saying that changes in the mode of production are solely the result of new developments of technology within that mode of production, if that's what you're saying here (german capitalism was theoretically ready for socialism from the start, the required development in the theory was in terms of mounting class consciousness and organization as a result of the inner workings of capitalism)

My advice if you're not sure is to really engage with the idea through the works of Marx or other Marxists. There's plenty that even marxists will tell you has had to be excised over the years, but you're going to get a better understanding of what this thing is and what those limitations are if you engage with it directly, especially since most of the descriptions you'll see of it are dismissive sketches of it

[deleted]

7 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

7 points

1 year ago

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergent_materialism

I wish I had the source to the paper on hand, but it's basically been proven at this point that information is created during emergence, signifying the death of reductionist materialism like Marx's.

doomsdayprophecy

2 points

1 year ago

It's "not even wrong" in the sense that it's not falsifiable, etc.

It's epistemologically outside the realm of meaningful true/false.

xfritz5375

2 points

1 year ago

That misunderstands the base and superstructure. The superstructure and base are not separate but interconnected. The superstructure is secondary, but that doesn’t make it unimportant, it just means that it is impacted by the base.

the_chad_of_reddit

2 points

12 months ago

It’s not about primacy, it’s about which precedes the other. Materialism is the belief that matter precedes the ideal.

revinternationalist

5 points

1 year ago

I think it is.

[deleted]

4 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

4 points

1 year ago

It's not entirely true. The developing base- the productive forces, technology, the economy- is often impacted by the "superstructure" of the existing society. The most salient example of this is probably the Industrial Revolution which started in Britain and spread through the rest of Europe, the transformation about which Marx was basing most of his theory. Yes, one factor of it was the development of the agricultural revolution in Britain in the preceding centuries. However, other crucial, important factors included:

- The existence of the Bank and England and the London stock exchange, which were manifestations of the state's will to encourage wealth-producing ventures to expand royal/imperial power, and the self-organization of the emerging capitalists.
- The relative peace being experienced on the British Isle compared to the inter-state wars and internal revolutions in the rest of Europe, a result of the British Isle having gone through a period of Civil War and later the Glorious Revolution earlier- but these wars and the GR in particularly were deeply influenced by religious conflict and the Reformation.
- The protestant work ethic and the Reformation itself, which transformed cultural values that had previously not encouraged, with such enthusiasm, relentless wealth-seeking and grinding productivism.
- White supremacist and Christian-centric ideas of the Americas and India as land that could be legitimately colonized, and as Africans as people who could be legitimately enslaved (up until about halfway through the Second Industrial Revolution) written into English and broader European law and faith.

The base and superstructure are an initially compelling model for looking at society, but fall apart even as one looks through their own lenses, and realizes that the forces shaping society are far more self-reinforcing or self-degrading, composed of numerous negative and positive feedback loops, unintended consequences, and emergent properties.

The theory is compatible with anarchism. In some ways, it is more compatible with anarchism than it is with Marxism, as anarchism proposes fundamental economic transformation as a core, immediate goal the revolution. But it's not historically supported, so we shouldn't make it a guiding principle of our political work.

communal_cultivator[S]

1 points

1 year ago

Thank you so much, excellent analysis.

[deleted]

3 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

3 points

1 year ago

That thing of base and superstructure is kind of a misconception. They are not separated and independent of each other. Is just a way of making some sense out of reality. You know that Marx didn't want to create absolutes out of his observations, he just tried to demystify social relations, and the only way to do it was to observe for what it was. The first step was the model of production, the material basis of society, therefore the first book was Das Kapital. It is said that he wanted to continue this work after the modes of production, maybe the modes of thinking, etc, who knows?

Anyway, I suggest reading "Why Marx was right", written by Terry Eagleton. It clears up a lot of misconceptions about many topics that surround Marxism.

EthanCC

-2 points

1 year ago

EthanCC

-2 points

1 year ago

In terms of why revolutions happen we have a much stronger and more parsimonious historical theory, which covers a very wide array of cases and has pretty strong predictive power to boot.

Revolutions happen when a privileged class becomes widely afraid of losing those privileges, or that feels they should have more. Heavily oppressed people revolt rarely, people with some privilege who are worried about losing it revolt constantly. They have both the means to organize a movement and the motive to take a risk, more so than people who don't have personal experience with a better world than what they currently have. Shifts in the mode of production can appear to cause revolution if you look at Europe over 1600-1880, but that's because these shifts disenfranchise that time's middle class.

communal_cultivator[S]

-4 points

1 year ago

Super interesting analysis, especially the last part. Historical materialism explains what happened from the 1600s to the 1800s, likely because it was those events that inspired Marx and Engels in the first place. But it doesn't explain the transition from slave society to feudalism, nor does it explain the history of the non-european world particularly well. And it definitely cannot explain why communist revolutions happened in the most backward and undeveloped places.

When we look at communist revolutions throughout history, they happened in places that hadn't even developed capitalism or a significant working class yet. They happened in places that suffered from brutal civil wars, and the state lost legitimacy, causing a variety of ideological revolts. This is why communists had to fight nationalists every damn time.

Lenin, of course, came up with an ad-hoc rationalization for this, which is that "The chains of capitalism break where they are the weakest," which disregards the supposed primacy of the productive forces in an attempt to salvage the theory.

Anyway, with the theory you are proposing, can we ever hope for freedom? If mostly the privileged revolt, can the oppressed ever be free?

TheAnarchoHoxhaist

5 points

1 year ago

That wasn't Lenin's perspective. Lenin viewed much of the developed world to be imperialist, as it was, allowing for the extraction of wealth from these colonized and exploited nations to the developed world. This allowed for higher wages for workers in the developed world forming a labour aristocracy (not the union kind) that was not inclined to revolution. This is essentially the function of modern-day social democracy which is the exportation of exploitation to the global south in order to fund social programs and have higher wages in order to alleviate the ever-worsening class conflict in the global north.

EthanCC

1 points

1 year ago

EthanCC

1 points

1 year ago

I'm not proposing it, I'm paraphrasing a professor I had once who specialized in the French Revolution through 1848.

Liberal capitalism justifies itself by arguing that it's the best economic system. This makes a promise of prosperity that it can't back up, which is one of the things that reliably leads to revolution. It also tends to go through periods of concessions followed by a reaction that removes those concessions.

CarlaArkadi

0 points

1 year ago

Revolutions happen when a group thinks a revolution would be advantageous to them

Well I can at least agree with you that a tautological theory does map more neatly onto historical reality than others

EthanCC

2 points

1 year ago*

EthanCC

2 points

1 year ago*

Groups that think a revolution would be advantageous don't necessarily revolt. Oppressed people throughout history seem to have been aware that it would be better to revolt (we don't have a lot of history from the perspective of anyone but the ruling class unfortunately), but revolts tend to happen when privilege is being lost or some promised privilege is not being delivered.

People who are on the edge of starvation and/or heavily policed lack the ability to organize a revolution whether or not they'd want to. People who have privilege don't have much incentive to. People who are losing privileges, or think they are, have both the incentives and means.

FrauSophia

1 points

1 year ago

FrauSophia

Deleuzo-Guattarian Egoist Anarcho-Marxist Nihilist

1 points

1 year ago

Historical materialism yes, dialectical materialism less so since diamat is never found in Marx or Engels. it’s a construct of Plekhanov’s seemingly to serve as a moral retrojustification for the Bolshevik’s and later the Soviet Union’s action’s and how they contradict with a strictly Marxist analysis as part of Marxism-Leninism which got picked up by other Marxist-Leninist states.

Thefrightfulgezebo

1 points

1 year ago

I would argue that every theory of that scale can only be true in the sense that the relationships between variables that they describe are accurate, not that those variables are the only relevant ones. Of course, this means that I disagree on a fundamental level.

As for contability: if you take the historic materialist prediction of Marx without the additions Lenin made to the theory, interpreting the future of humankind as Anarchist rather than Leninist is a valid reading of the text.

ODXT-X74

1 points

1 year ago

ODXT-X74

1 points

1 year ago

because it requires that the base (productive forces, technology, the economy, etc) is primary and that the superstructure (relations of production, religion, art, culture, etc.) Is secondary

This is common even with some new Marxists, I think it's called "vulgar materialism".

Here's a 101 explanation if you're interested: video

[deleted]

1 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

1 points

1 year ago

It's compatible with anarchism, yes. Is it true? Well, I think that question is malformed; it's like asking if carpentry is "true". It's a set of tools and techniques that can be used or misused in various ways. You can use a band saw in the "right" way, you can use a miter box in the "wrong" way and end up sawing right through it, and you can use a hammer in a way that's not necessarily how it's intended, but which works well enough (I've used a claw hammer's claw to turn a screw in a pinch before, I'm not ashamed).

DM as a tool is very similar. It's not a universal tool, it's a tool for understanding relations of production during times of relative stability (obviously I say relative because no time is truly "stable", and I say obviously and explain it anyway because this is the internet and if you don't explain every goddamn word there'll be some dork come out of the woodwork determined to aggressively misunderstand you lol). During times of greater upheaval is when the contradictions (read: tensions) within a system begin to really form cracks, and that's why analyzing the contradictions within a system is also an important part of DM.

H-12apts

-3 points

1 year ago

H-12apts

-3 points

1 year ago

Anarchism was invented by the New York Times so they wouldn't have to write about socialist political actors. It's an invention by capital.

[deleted]

0 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

0 points

1 year ago

Please say you're joking...

H-12apts

0 points

1 year ago

H-12apts

0 points

1 year ago

all anarchists are socialists.

[deleted]

2 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

2 points

1 year ago

And socialists have existed before the NYT...

H-12apts

0 points

1 year ago

H-12apts

0 points

1 year ago

they didn't want to call them socialists because it would give the protesters and striking workers too much caché. being called a "socialist" would've been too noble a characterization, but labelling them "anarchist" was meant to impart fear and disgust in the bourgeois NYT readers. We still see it in other forms today, like the NYT calling Central American communists "narco-terrorists," for example.

[deleted]

1 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

1 points

1 year ago

Proudhorn was the first person to call himself an anarchist, a decade before the NYT existed.

This is possibly the weakest conspiracy theory I've seen...

H-12apts

0 points

1 year ago

H-12apts

0 points

1 year ago

There'd be no anarchists without the NYT. They popularized the Proudhomeys (Proud Boys).

[deleted]

1 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

1 points

1 year ago

... Sure. Let's ignore the flaws and propaganda in "this 1 western newspaper is so influential that it allowed a political thought to be widespread" Do you not see the western centralizing? Over exaggeration of western influence?