Marxism vs Syndicalism - Page 2 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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User avatar
By ingliz
#14456203
Ideology comes from material reality

Ideology represents the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence.

Althusser, Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses wrote:all ideology represents in its necessarily imaginary distortion not the existing relations of production (and the other relations that derive from them), but above all the (imaginary) relationship of individuals to the relations of production and the relations that derive from them. What is represented in ideology is therefore not the system of the real relations which govern the existence of individuals, but the imaginary relation of those individuals to the real relations in which they live.

So,

"Is it not queering Socialism to take ... the position that justifies the notion that the sexual or matrimonial question is a cardinal Socialist question, when, in fact, Socialism has nothing to do with it."
#14456290
If this is your defence, one may wonder why Stalin, "queered," socialism by doing the opposite of Lenin and got involved in legislating what he imagined a socialist country would be like instead of applying a dialectic or material consideration to the question.

Such are the contradictions in relying on bourgeois politicking instead of dialectical-materialism. I'll continue to stand by Connolly and Lenin:

James Connolly wrote:I personally reject every attempt, no matter by whom made, to identify Socialism with any theory of marriage or sexual relations. I believe that no matter what may have been the force which gave birth to any institution, its permanency will and must be tested not by its origin but by its adaptability to the institutions – the economic institutions, of the future.
User avatar
By ingliz
#14456422
Stalin, "queered," socialism by doing the opposite of Lenin

Bullcrap! An ideology (an imaginary relation to real relations) is only given a material existence through the actions of people. Stalin acted. He made a pragmatic decision to address a problem, change "reality", and changed a policy.
Last edited by ingliz on 26 Aug 2014 16:28, edited 1 time in total.
#14456641
In doing so, it contradicts the second tenant that you yourself provided.

Further, relying on your new assessment means that any ideological action is somehow transformed to materialist conclusion whenever any action is taken by people. This is clearly untrue.

It is a nonsensical justification in which the ideological conclusion justifies an analysis to be provided later. A Marxist, as a materialist, would instead make an analysis in order to best provide an ideological conclusion.

Lenin wrote:The “realists,” etc., including the “positivists,” the Machians, etc., are all a wretched mush; they are a contemptible middle party in philosophy, who confuse the materialist and idealist trends on every question. The attempt to escape these two basic trends in philosophy is nothing but “conciliatory quackery.”


User avatar
By ingliz
#14456643
An ideology is a construct. It is not "real". The world of ideas only impinges on the real world when people act on their beliefs. If you educate, propagandise, coerce etc. you can change those beliefs.

a subjected being, who submits to a higher authority, is therefore stripped of all freedom except that of freely accepting his submission.
#14456659
Ingliz wrote:An ideology is a construct. It is not "real".


A simplification, but fine for now...

ingliz wrote:The world of ideas only impinges on the real world when people act on their beliefs. If you educate, propagandise, coerce etc. you can change those beliefs.


And here is where you begin to fall into error. You first exclude the dialectic entirely. Lenin concluded, rightfully so, a dialectic in the creation of a proletarian (or socialist) culture that sprang dialectically from the transition itself. Thus his policy was:

Lenin wrote:Not the invention of a new proletarian culture, but the development of the best models, traditions and results of the existing culture, from the point of view of the Marxist world outlook and the conditions of life and struggle of the proletariat in the period of its dictatorship.


Secondly, you maintain that some outside force can construct material reality that then can create the outside force that constructed the material reality. This is simply unMarxist. While the material reality and the, "world of ideas," are indeed intertwined, the idea cannot dictate the material world. If anything, it's vice versa:

Marx wrote:That is to say, we do not set out from what men say, imagine, conceive, nor from men as narrated, thought of, imagined, conceived, in order to arrive at men in the flesh. We set out from real, active men, and on the basis of their real life-process we demonstrate the development of the ideological reflexes and echoes of this life-process. The phantoms formed in the human brain are also, necessarily, sublimates of their material life-process, which is empirically verifiable and bound to material premises. Morality, religion, metaphysics, all the rest of ideology and their corresponding forms of consciousness, thus no longer retain the semblance of independence. They have no history, no development; but men, developing their material production and their material intercourse, alter, along with this their real existence, their thinking and the products of their thinking. Life is not determined by consciousness, but consciousness by life. In the first method of approach the starting-point is consciousness taken as the living individual; in the second method, which conforms to real life, it is the real living individuals themselves, and consciousness is considered solely as their consciousness.


User avatar
By ingliz
#14456676
You first exclude the dialectic entirely. Lenin concluded, rightfully so, a dialectic in the creation of a proletarian (or socialist) culture that sprang dialectically from the transition itself

The dialectic is not excluded. It is not mentioned because it is irrelevant to my argument.

You agree that an ideology is a construct. Therefore, you must agree that, notionally, to achieve a political aim, I can construct whatever emotion laden, myth-saturated ideology I please, cobbled together from any ideas that suit, as long as it is internally coherent enough to inspire belief in others to act in my interest.

Why can't Stalin?
#14456681
Ingliz wrote:You agree that an ideology is a construct.


But it is not a random construct. It is an expression of the material reality that comes about dialectically. Hence:

Ingliz wrote:It [the dialectic] not mentioned because it is irrelevant to my argument.


Is quite incorrect. The method in which an ideology comes about is ultimate dialectical, like everything else.

Ingliz wrote:Therefore, you must agree that, notionally, to achieve a political aim, I can construct whatever emotion laden, myth-saturated ideology I please, cobbled together from any ideas that suit, as long as it is internally coherent enough to inspire belief in others to act in my interest.


While I agree that it is possible to do this, it is quite un-Marxist. It is not dialectical, nor is it grounded in Materialism. I could certainly say that, in order to become Emperor [achieve a political aim] Napoleon could declare that he was both the ultimate realization of ancient Roman custom and the infallible living embodiment of the republican Revolution [construct whatever emotion laden, myth-caturated ideology cobbled together from any ideas that suit] and use my military to back it up [make it internally coherent enough to inspire belief in others to act in my interest].

But that hardly means that Napoleon was a Marxist, or that he was correct in declaring, "I am the revolution," while he was Consul-For-Life.

Nor, does it mean that the declaration became true materially because he attempted to come up with an ideological justification for it. Napoleon did not last as emperor, there was a restoration in France, and Napoleon died in exile. In this case, Napoleon, "doesn't recognize dialectics but dialectics does not permit him to escape from its net."

Ingliz wrote:Why can't Stalin?


He can, and arguably did. But this underlines him not being a Marxist, if that's the argument you want to make. Marxism is dialectic-materialism. To ignore the dialectic, and ignore materialism in favor of reducing Lenin to an, "emotion lade, myth-satured ideology...cobbled together from any ideas that suit, as long as it is internally coherent enough to inspire belief in others to act in my interest," is certainly not Leninism; nor is it Marxist.
User avatar
By ingliz
#14456689
dialectically... dialectical... dialectics

Es ist möglich, daß ich mich blamiere. Indes ist dann immer mit einiger Dialektik zu helfen. Ich habe natürlich meine Aufstellungen so gehalten, daß ich im umgekehrten Fall auch Recht habe.

K. Marx, F. Engels, Works, vol. 29




not Leninism; nor is it Marxist.

Maybe not... But politics is not philosophy and sometimes you have to hold your nose and use whatever tools are in the box to get the job done.
Last edited by ingliz on 26 Aug 2014 20:05, edited 1 time in total.
#14456700
I wouldn't say syndicalism is discredited, etc. Rather trade unions are too narrow in approach. And the existence of Right-wing trade unions? Just outrageous.
#14456703


I have neither the time, nor the inclination, to translate this and go on yet another scavenger hunt to find your out-of-context quotes. Volume 29 is long, and I'm not going to go through every page looking for, "embarrassment," or, "opposite case," (assuming the translation is the same) in order to get the context of your statement in order to see how justified you are with the smiley. Should you actually want to discuss something, at least put the English translation down or—even better—link a source.

ingliz wrote: [Stalin is neither a Marxist nor a Leninist] Maybe not... But politics is not philosophy and sometimes you have to hold your nose and use whatever tools are in the box to get the job done.


Lenin and Marx didn't think so. Neither do I.

User avatar
By ingliz
#14456988
at least put the English translation down

"It is possible that I could disgrace myself. But there's always a bit of Dialectic to help out. Naturally, I have couched my statements so that I am also right if the opposite happens."

In a letter to Engels, Marx makes a joke. He had written an article on the Sepoy Rebellion for the New-York Daily Tribune and was worried he had made a fool of himself with his predictions.


Last edited by ingliz on 27 Aug 2014 22:31, edited 4 times in total.
User avatar
By ingliz
#14457406
the idea cannot dictate the material world. If anything, it's vice versa

The weapon of criticism cannot, of course, replace criticism by weapons, material force must be overthrown by material force; but theory also becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses.

Marx, The Introduction to Contribution To The Critique Of Hegel's Philosophy Of Right

ideological conclusion

Marx didn't think so:

In Marx's German Ideology, 'ideologie' is used about fifty times but no normative, descriptive or real definition is given. Most of the occurrences are such that little can be inferred with a high degree of certainty as to which connotations were intended by the author, if any.*

Ideology is such a fuzzy concept for Marx that one could reasonably ask 'What is an ideological conclusion?'

any ideological action is somehow transformed to materialist conclusion whenever any action is taken by people.

Yes, however briefly, and if pressed one could argue that all action is ideological, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc..... (Gramsci).

Stalin is neither a Marxist nor a Leninist

I disagree. Tension and conflict will always arise between the principles of the operative ideology and those of the fundamental ideology.

Should you actually want to discuss something,

The problem is we both know both sides of the argument.

ps. A better translation of Marx's joke:

"It is possible that I could disgrace myself. But there's always a bit of Dialectic to help out. Of course, I have couched my statements so that I am also right in the opposite case."

A link to Marx's letter to Engels, 15 August 1857.

I was having a go at editing the post yesterday and got distracted. This version is so much more in the Marxian style he could have written it himself.




* Democracy, ideology, and objectivity, studies in the semantics and cognitive analysis of ideological controversy: Naess et al, 1956.
#14458085
Marx, in the full quote wrote:The task of history, therefore, once the world beyond the truth has disappeared, is to establish the truth of this world. The immediate task of philosophy, which is at the service of history, once the holy form of human self-estrangement has been unmasked, is to unmask self-estrangement in its unholy forms. Thus the criticism of heaven turns into the criticism of the earth, the criticism of religion into the criticism of law and the criticism of theology into the criticism of politics.....

The weapon of criticism cannot, of course, replace criticism by weapons, material force must be overthrown by material force; but theory also becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses. Theory is capable of gripping the masses as soon as it demonstrates ad hominem, and it demonstrates ad hominem as soon as it becomes radical. To be radical is to grasp the root of the matter. But for man the root is man himself.


In my reading, this is more abstract then, "Government policy makes things material." It is, ultimately, grounds for materialism's triumph over ideology. The paragraph above provides the context for the, "theory," that he is speaking of—the theory being an acceptance of criticism of religion.

TIG wrote:A Marxist, as a materialist, would instead make an analysis in order to best provide an ideological conclusion.


Ingliz wrote:Marx didn't think so:

In Marx's German Ideology, 'ideologie' is used about fifty times but no normative, descriptive or real definition is given. Most of the occurrences are such that little can be inferred with a high degree of certainty as to which connotations were intended by the author, if any.*

Ideology is such a fuzzy concept for Marx that one could reasonably ask 'What is an ideological conclusion?'


This is, itself, making things more fuzzy than need be. Muddying the definition of, "ideological," does not distract from the fact that, even in your last citation, "material force must be overthrown by material force".

Ingliz wrote:Gramsci


Well played. All respect to Gramsci, one of the great writers in Marxism and someone who has a firm grip on a lot of the ideology. However, I have always found his implied dismissal of materialism...problematic. I sense that he did too, as he never tries to explain it away in anything I've read.

Ingliz, echoing myself, wrote:Stalin is neither a Marxist nor a Leninist


I wasn't stating that, just filling context to the quote.

Ingliz wrote:The problem is we both know both sides of the argument.


It is, indeed, an old argument.
User avatar
By ingliz
#14458112
Marx, The German Ideology wrote:This whole semblance, that the rule of a certain class is only the rule of certain ideas, comes to a natural end, of course, as soon as class rule in general ceases to be the form in which society is organised.

The use of the word 'semblance' suggests that all ideology is false. If this is the correct reading, what does it matter if Stalin's operative ideology is truly Marxist or not?
#14458122
Because a round peg can't fit in a square hole.

On a practical level, the world exists as it exists, and attempting to defy reality based on something that is not reality ultimately will not work.

On a level for the proletariat, communism is the doctrine of the conditions of the liberation of the proletariat. Excluding the proletariat from their liberation, like dictating morality and control of their bodies by use of an ideology that does not spring from them, is not communist. And we are, after all, communists.
User avatar
By ingliz
#14458161
On a practical level, the world exists as it exists, and attempting to defy reality based on something that is not reality ultimately will not work.

Are you saying that Socialism ultimately will not work? If all ideology is false, Marxist ideology is false, and using Marxist ideology to achieve a political end is attempting to defy reality based on something that is not reality.

If you are saying what will be will be, ideology is irrelevant.

use of an ideology

Ideologies, as political discourses, are there to secure voluntary consent – or what La Boetie called servitude voluntaire.

Zizek, The Sublime Object of Ideology


Last edited by ingliz on 29 Aug 2014 21:14, edited 6 times in total.
#14458176
Are you saying that Socialism ultimately will not work? If all ideology is false, Marxist ideology is false, and using Marxist ideology to achieve a political end is attempting to defy reality based on something that is not reality.


Not in the least. And I think you know that. I'm saying the material world is what is relevant in forming analysis that then can contribute to ideology. Not, the inverse; which would be ideology forms the material world.
User avatar
By ingliz
#14458201
And I think you know that.

I do. I was just making mischief.



Zizek, quoting someone else wrote:You are not a Communist because you understand Marx, you understand Marx because you are a Communist!

False consciousness: Classical Marxists believe they have access to a Truth when all they have is an ideology.

Ideological cynicism: I know it's all bullshit and act as if it is not (thus proving the efficacy of political ideology per se). But from my perspective what matters is not the truth or falsity of an ideology but how you use an ideology in the class struggle.

Ideology is, strictly speaking, only a system which makes a claim to the truth — that is, which is not simply a lie but a lie experienced as truth, a lie which pretends to be taken seriously.
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