Dialectics, part 4: The productive forces and human development

Posted: August 5, 2014 by Admin in Capitalist ideology, Class Matters, Commodification, Limits of capitalism, Marxism, Philosophy and dialectics

 

bridge workers

The Great Depression: atrocious safety conditions, no union rights, as steel-erecters enjoy a 15-minute lunch-break, (New York, 1932, photo Charles Ebbets). Notice how every worker is socially immersed with another worker, except the worker with the whisky bottle on the right.

A modern, living dialectics is essential for social revolution, Steve Masterson continues to explain in this, the fourth in his series on the subject

To continue the logic of the significance of systems theory, chaos and order for a new dialectics, we need to try first grasp the nature of the relationship between the ‘productive forces’ of Marx and of his constant promotion of ‘human development’ and ‘the rich human being’. This will then put in context everything that follows in terms of the burning need for a modern science on the character and quality of human activity (praxis); the new living dialectics needed today to help complete a truly human revolution.

I begin this article quoting then reviewing three of the greatest ever explanatory paragraphs from Marx found in his short 1859 preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. This was written at a time that today seems as ancient language to most of us – but not this piece if read diligently. Today, the best academic sociologists and social scientists do not even begin to reach such heights of clarity and truth, nor did the Stalinists who also quoted and distorted it. Marx mentions the ‘productive forces’; I interpret this as, ‘the totality of human forces, as the technological, social, labour and productive forces’. These forces should mainly be considered as ever-developing, ever-richer and increasing human abilities in general.

Then we look at its significance for human development, the key aspect of the productive forces, in the here and now, and its role in building a potential future human society. We do this by quoting the brilliant Marxist Michael Lebowitz on human development (who also repeatedly quotes Marx). A living dialectical method and a new science of everyday human activities, of conscious revolutionary praxis (they are both the same thing in the end), will start to be outlined in the following articles. But first, the significance of human development for the social revolution has to be clarified, just to put things in context.

‘Mensch’ in German/Yiddish means ‘human being’ or ‘a person of integrity and honour’, so please do understand what is nowadays rightly considered a sexist translation when Marx uses the term ‘men’ in this way. I’d also alert the Reader to be aware of how often and how, even in this short quote, Marx uses words like ‘development’, ‘forces’, ‘contradiction’, ‘transformation’ or ‘process’ as central concepts of  always ongoing change. He doesn’t use the word ‘dialectical’ here, but the method is at the heart of everything he utters. Reader; notice too how he describes the fundamental contradiction in society, the unity, struggle and interpenetration between the productive forces and productive relations which have now become ‘fetters’ on social development.

Marx states:

“In the social production of their existence, men [mensch] inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure.

“In studying such transformations it is always necessary to distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophic – in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out. Just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the conflict existing between the social forces of production and the relations of production. No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of the old society.

“Mankind thus inevitably sets itself only such tasks as it is able to solve, since closer examination will always show that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution are already present or at least in the course of formation. In broad outline, the Asiatic, ancient, feudal and modern bourgeois modes of production may be designated as epochs marking progress in the economic development of society. The bourgeois mode of production is the last antagonistic form of the social process of production – antagonistic not in the sense of individual antagonism but of an antagonism that emanates from the individuals’ social conditions of existence – but the productive forces developing within bourgeois society create also the material conditions for a solution of this antagonism. The prehistory of human society accordingly closes with this social formation.”

Marx’s “Human Society”

End of Marx quote. I wish I knew what Marx was on when writing these sentences of almost pure genius, simplicity and clarity.

So Reader, before we start on his ‘productive forces’ let us begin analysis of this great piece with the last sentence. “The prehistory of human society accordingly closes with this social formation” here, means that the hierarchical economic systems up to and including the capitalist system “closes”, will be replaced, by “human society”. Gone will be the previous temporary chain of inhuman hierarchical economic systems. We become fully human as a species.

Indeed, this post-capitalist “human society” that Marx describes is the phrase of how I generally describe our aspirations, whatever other largely now misunderstood and/or misused labels our early experimental great movement and others use: communist, anarchist, socialist ‘Marxist’, etc. Our “human society” is the direct opposite of the hierarchical ‘inhuman system’ we live in today. Our forces of humanity are the everyday fundamental contradiction we face in society against the forces built by the hierarchical inhuman system – humanity vs. inhumanity! This should be our catch-phrase into which the all-important economic class-struggle nestles quite at home. Religious people confusingly describe this as ‘good vs. evil’. We live and struggle this basic contradiction all the time, usually unaware, everyday; for example, when we do or don’t patiently help and old lady across the road; or when we take the time, a moment, to warmly acknowledge someone else’s act, such as a tired shopworker at a till, or a busdriver who picks you up from the bus stop.

Both the human and class struggles are intimately bound-up as one at all levels and always interpenetrate each other – as Marx makes clear in the above quote, especially about the key inter-relations between the ‘economic base’ and ‘the whole immense superstructure.’ Something again largely ignored by ‘Marxists’ and anarcho-syndicalists alike – and something conscious revolutionaries have to fix in practice!

As I analyse elsewhere, we have had 7 million or so years of transition from a clever, matriarchal and sexy chimp to becoming fully human as a species, and we do not become that until “human society” becomes a reality. No anthropologist to my knowledge has argued all this. We could nearly be there and that means most young people today are living through the most oppressive and dangerous yet most adventurous, developmental and hopeful times of human existence. I’m at least a generation too late in seeing the beginnings of our potential human society – what a damn shame.

But that long 7 million years is only a quick drop in the ocean of evolutionary time scales, of the inorganic and organic forms of development that went before us (and still live with us today) – and this period can be described as the ‘human revolution’, of which we are today hopefully living through the beginning of its achievement phase.

However, I have a question with the phrase, “The prehistory of human society accordingly closes with this social formation.” As I’ve just expressed, I fully agree with the timing of the arrival of “human society” that Marx gives in this quote, a beautiful stage we have not yet reached; but what is meant by “prehistory”? You see, there are many ‘left’ understandings of what “prehistory” consists of. Does it also mean before the times of the written word? Does it mean gatherer-hunter life before the Agricultural Revolution? Does history or evolution mean since the time of the big-bang? At least it doesn’t mean “the end of history” as Fukuyama declared in 1992 after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

I’m currently confused on all this and focus on the new “human society” we have to now build from within the old. Yet, so tremendous will be the transformation to human society from a series of relatively short hierarchical economic systems, that I favour Marx’s quote above. Prehistory for me is the past and present.

Capitalism is “the last antagonistic form…”?

In the same para Marx writes what I consider his only mistake here, or his wishful hope, “The bourgeois mode of production is the last antagonistic form of the social process of production.”

Now, this I consider automatic, idealistic, wishful-thinking, and it doesn’t allow for another potential hierarchical system to arise in between. The hierarchical elite can be very creative when its growing mass opposition is less conscious in its activity. With the benefit of hindsight I fear that another intervening, moneyless, profitless but still hierarchical system might replace capitalism; perhaps a ‘bureaucratic meritocracy’ or some more horrific Orwellian disfigurement; an extension of the old USSR system where an elite get the short hours, long luxurious holidays, better housing, access to certain lavish moneyless shops, etc. This potential danger has to be fought out in struggle and the outcome cannot be pre-determined. However, let’s hope Marx is correct on this outcome, but it is the quality of our activity that shall determine that.

Remember, Marx in describing ‘productive forces’ was living at the time in a narrower context of his total focus on ‘political economy’, so the terminology was not so exact. ‘Human forces’ would have been more exact in the overall picture but still not adequate. Language seems to fail us here.

On the productive forces

Now let’s focus on de-fuddling the mind as to what the productive forces really are and their relation to social revolution and to human development. The 3 paras above from Marx really do spell out this constant change in a concentrated manner, yet they are a beginning, and they need simpler and expanded explanation too.

Marx’s quote makes it clear that the fundamental contradiction is not class struggle that drives societal and economic development, but “the conflict existing between the social forces of production and the relations of production”. Indeed this contradiction in the recent 12,000 or so years he described as: “In broad outline, the Asiatic, ancient, feudal and modern bourgeois modes of production may be designated as epochs marking progress in the economic development of society.” Note; he doesn’t say human, but “economic development”. Human development started being smothered 12,000 years ago when systemic hierarchy first arrived – and the human/inhuman nonstop war has been ongoing since.

The Agricultural Revolution was simultaneously an economic and technological revolution and a counter-revolution against the quality of human relationships. Capitalism until more recently has overall been an economic and technologically progressive ‘order’ – though chaotic and destructive is an essential aspect of its ‘order’. Nowadays, its class relations have become a “fetter” on this economic form of development; the way Marx above prematurely describes it from the vantage point of early capitalism.

The fundamental contradiction in society is not – as most of my comrade ‘Marxists’ and comrade anarchists believe – labour vs. capital or workers against bosses; even though that is the most visible single component. Most of these comrades are unknowingly economic determinists. Class struggle which we fight for from the workers side also contradictorily belongs to that which we (humanity) want to get rid of, ie, the ‘productive relations’; the bosses/capital and wage/slave labour relationship.

We humans passionately desire cooperative, agreed everyday communal self-activity from everyone as daily participants in decisions; bound-up with nature’s ways and environmental sustainability. We need to focus on human need, the richer human being, authentic desires and not profit and economic growth as central – now that’s about human well-being. And now we have the technology to do this in sustainable abundance! Yet we don’t have enough human agency or ability or aspiration for this – not yet, but near-future necessity will give us the chance.

One problem here is terminology regarding the ‘productive forces’. A better term would be the ‘forces of human, productive, social and technological development’, but that is a mouthful. Marx certainly would agree. I cannot come up with a simple formula. However, the context of the term comes from his almost 100% concentration on political economy at that period in his life – which largely leaves out (though not forgotten by him) the whole picture created in his mid-1840’s writings – which also centrally embraced the quality of human relations, human development and other aspects.

Marx died too early, still engrossed in his first major project, political economy, and he never got to expand on his brilliant earlier reflections on human development or on conscious revolutionary practice which he only touched-on with his magical dialectical hand. I should remind some Readers – yes he was a giant, yet not deity, he was a fallible human too, like me and you. Too many atheists still somehow find an infallible god, or even two or three, to worship instead of relying on or having confidence in their own integrity and their local collective development.

For Reader, if you don’t live that deep revolutionary pleasure of acting, feeling, thinking, learning and being for yourself – integral with living communities – then others will do it for you, will condition you, will somehow determine or indirectly order your activities in life to meet not your authentic needs, but someone else’s needs – the 0.01%.

The Growing New Within the Old

To make things easy for the Reader, I will now re-quote a key section from Marx above:

“No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of the old society… Mankind thus inevitably sets itself only such tasks as it is able to solve, since closer examination will always show that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution are already present or at least in the course of formation.”

Deeply grasping this truth is so fundamental. It is worth reading again and again and it sets my earlier dialectical description of ‘chaos and order’ in a living context. You see he is not only talking about the exchange of one economic system for another, but also it includes the transformation from inhuman hierarchical existence to “human society”, a much bigger evolutionary jump than from say, hierarchical feudalism to hierarchical capitalism. We have to become an organised conscious humane and class movement of mass direct action within capitalism – one so advanced that the action guides and leads conscious development – not theory first and practice following. Our previous movements mostly thought human development would come after the changed productive relations, after the ‘revolution’, but nature does not work that way – and it didn’t!

Nowadays, in line with Marx’s ideas, we firstly need an organised movement of ‘revolutionary catalysts’ to help prepare the broad movement to become a mass self-educated and decentralised ‘human network’ engaged in local conscious activity, grassroots democracy, where locals become able to take charge of their own lives: more on the dialectics and science of this later.

Only with hindsight (we no longer live as merely several million people globally, organised in nomadic gatherer-hunter communities of 30-130 sparsely spread in nature), we now know completion of the human revolution could not be done without computer technology to help now several billions of humans without borders to ‘manage’ our lives; to help open and free communication, collective production and consumption, and to help the cooperation needed within and between communities, workplaces and regions, to help deal with the infrastructure, global warming, etc. Then we immediately arrive again at the accompanying whole question of the quality of ‘human development’ which I rabbit-on about so much as today’s greatest need for the transition – firstly in our millions of progressive campaign, group, community and workplace organisations.

Marx’s ‘rich human being’

Integral to grasping Marx’s ‘productive forces’ and ‘human development’ is his concept of the ‘rich human being’ in future “human society”, his communism – a passion economistic ‘Marxists’ wrongly refer to as ‘just the young Marx’.

Today, wealth is considered as your accumulated commodities; the latest computer or mobile or car; how secure and how big is your house or bank account; wearing the latest fashions; how many facebook ‘friends’ you have; how much do you earn for yourself and your boss, etc. Your natural happiness and well-being is not considered by capital; your cheap labour and greedy inauthentic consumption are.

Marx’s ‘rich human being’ was about a new human, was about the quality of human life, trusting relationships and authentic well-being in a humane and natural manner; it was about sharing ideas, collective problem-solving and seeking consensus in decision-making in communities and workplaces, about grass-roots democracy; it was about developing each individual social being’s creative and productive capacities to their full potential in a multi-skilled way, for everyone. The rich human being belonged to a “free association”, in which “the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all” (Marx).

Reader, just search ‘The Rich Human Being: Marx and the Concept of Real Human Development’ and you can read a good article by Michael Lebowitz with many Marx quotes on this.

Indeed, it is specifically human activities that made us human and still does. The quality of our social activities and relations changes human beings all the time – a practical social revolution, changing ourselves in the now, is the only way we make ourselves fit to found a new society. So, how we build our cooperative and loving human network within and against capital and for human society, will determine whether we build a truly human chick within the eggshell of the old; which would be a far-fetch from the old workers movements; after all we don’t need any more learning experiments that become the grotesque aberrations of the Stalinist or social democratic types.

This is why the real focus of this book is starting the development of a new living dialectics of how the dynamics of human activities actually work, of how through conscious human actions, praxis, we can remake ourselves as collaborative, vibrant and loving human beings. We will begin by investigating the ‘dialectical-cell’ of a single, simple social act – and learn that the vast accumulation of trillions of nesting acts follow similar patterns, processes, tendencies and rhythms; the way good biologists do beginning with the simple cell. From that we will discover every whole activity we engage begins with being in need, goes through phases of becoming, and ends with the new richer being with richer needs, no matter how small the activity – being, becoming, new being.

Human development, Lebowitz & Marx

I now quote extensively from Marxist humanist Michael Lebowitz – from his handbook written for and widely distributed to Venezuelan workers and communities; ‘The Path to Human Development: Capitalism or Socialism?’ It is freely available at:

http://monthlyreview.org/2009/02/01/the-path-to-human-development-capitalism-or-socialism/

Lebowitz includes a quote from Engels and the rest are from Marx. I strongly recommend for serious readers to study the whole handbook.

… if we are going to talk about the possibility of human development, we have to recognize that a precondition for that development is sufficient food, good health, education, and the opportunity to make decisions for ourselves. How can we possibly develop all our potential if we are hungry, in bad health, poorly educated, or dominated by others? Secondly, since we are not identical, what we need for our own self-development obviously differs for everyone…

The idea of a society that would allow for the full development of human potential has always been the goal of socialists. In his early draft of the Communist Manifesto, Friedrich Engels asked, “What is the aim of the Communists?” He answered, “To organize society in such a way that every member of it can develop and use all his capabilities and powers in complete freedom and without thereby infringing the basic conditions of this society.” Marx summed it all up in the final version of the Manifesto by saying that the goal is “an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.” Our goal, in short, cannot be a society in which some people are able to develop their capabilities and others are not; we are interdependent, we are all members of a human family. The full development of all human potential is our goal…

Human development, though, doesn’t drop from the sky. It doesn’t come as the result of a gift from above. It occurs through the activity of people themselves—through what Marx called revolutionary practice, “the coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity or self-change.” We change ourselves through our activity – through our struggles and through everything we do. The way we produce (in the workplace, in the community, and in the home), the way we relate to others in our activity, the way we govern ourselves (or are governed by others)—all these make us the people that we are. We are, in short, the product of all our activities.

…within the framework of capitalist relations, while capital pushes to increase the workday both in length and intensity and to drive down wages, workers struggle to reduce the workday and to increase wages. Just as there is struggle from the side of capital, so also is there class struggle from the side of the worker. Why? Take the struggle over the workday, for example. Why do the workers want more time for themselves? Time, Marx noted, is “the room of human development. A man who has no free time to dispose of, whose whole lifetime, apart from the mere physical interruptions by sleep, meals, and so forth, is absorbed by his labor for the capitalist, is less than a beast of burden”.

What about the struggle for higher wages? Of course, workers have physical requirements to survive. But they need much more than this. The worker’s social needs, Marx commented at the time, include “the worker’s participation in the higher, even cultural satisfactions, the agitation for his own interests, newspaper subscriptions, attending lectures, educating his children, developing his taste, etc.” All of this relates to what he called “the worker’s own need for development”.

…there is one kind of necessary labor that capital would like to expand—unpaid necessary labor. So far, we have only talked about the necessary labor in the things that workers buy. Marx did not ignore the fact, though, that people need to convert those things they buy in order to consume them; he talked about activities “absolutely necessary to consume things”—like cooking the food purchased. Indeed, Marx pointed out that the greater the “expenditure of labor in the house,” the less money you need to purchase things outside the house. But this labor performed in the household is invisible. Why? Because capital does not have to pay for it. We know, too, that the majority of this work is done by women; and it is work that is generally not recognized or valued…

The logic of capital, in fact, is the enemy of the logic of human development. Standing opposite capital’s goal is “the worker’s own need for development.” (Marx). But, if capital and workers are pressing in the opposite direction in capitalism, what determines the outcome?

The world of wealth, that world created by human activity, faces the worker “as an alien world dominating him.” For workers in capitalism, producing is a process of a “complete emptying-out,” “total alienation,” the “sacrifice of the human end-in-itself to an entirely external end.” (Marx). And what is the result of this “emptying-out,” this impoverishment in the process of producing? We try to fill the vacuum of our lives with things—we are driven to consume (consumerism). How else can we do this but with money, the real alienated need that capitalism creates?

But that drive to “consume, consume!” is only one way that capitalism deforms people. In Capital, Marx described the mutilation, the impoverishment, and the “crippling of body and mind” of the worker “bound hand and foot for life to a single specialized operation” which occurs in the division of labor characteristic of the capitalist process of manufacturing. Did the development of machinery rescue workers under capitalism? No, Marx stressed, it completes the “separation of the intellectual faculties of the production process from manual labor.” “In this situation, head and hand become separate and hostile,” “every atom of freedom, both in bodily and in intellectual activity” is lost.

But, why does this happen? Remember that the technology and techniques of production that capital introduces are oriented to only one thing—profits. Since workers have their own goals and struggle for them, the logic of capital points to the selection of techniques that will divide workers from one another and permit easier surveillance and monitoring of their performance. The specific productive forces introduced by capital are not neutral—they do not empower workers and allow them to develop all their capabilities (mental and manual). On the contrary, “all means for the development of production,” as Marx stressed about capitalism, “distort the worker into a fragment of a man, they degrade him” and “alienate from him the intellectual potentialities of the labor process.” … The logic of capital is the enemy of all-round human development.”

End of Lebowitz quotes. Well after that we have no question of where Lebowitz and Marx stand on the significance of human development. In fact, it is so clear and simple in language that I do not need further explanation of the significance of human development for the future of human society. It is now all about how today we develop the quality, techniques and organisation that can make this process a success – firstly in our millions of more conscious pro-human worker and progressive human organisations. In fact Lebowitz makes this clear above, “We are, in short, the product of all our activities.” We are made by our activities which are the special mode of human development, that which made and still makes us human – and now we go beyond, with the science of all this.

Future human development

Next we move onto the section on ‘Dialectics and praxis’. We begin with the reality of the old dialectics and its total immersing in thought processes and the understanding of  material reality, but also its separation from practice; and we also focus on Marx’s famous 1845 ‘Eleven Theses on Feuerbach’ on ‘revolutionary practice’ and its crucial relation to a living dialectics of today.

We will be explaining something about past and future developmental processes on what I call either ‘everyday human activity’ or ‘conscious praxis’ – which are or should become the same thing. There are currently exciting developments amongst Lev Vygotsky academics, or Cultural-Historical Activity Theorists (known as CHAT) which need simplifying and synthesising into a new paradigm of what exactly is human activity and praxis at root. We are talking about nothing less than seriously helping the growing new human within the old system; about self-learning, self-organising and us becoming fit to build human society.

Much of the rest of this series is on the actual working of what everyday conscious human activity is. It’s about what made us human and still does. What was/is this new mode of development that separated itself out the genetic mode of development? You see, only in answering this greatest of all riddles, and further, in also describing in a clear manner how human activity actually works, do we community catalysts really get to the core of how to finally begin building an effective conscious human network against capitalism. ‘Marxists’ who become Marxists and serious anarchists who take on a ‘conscious practice’ will be central to establishing this decentralised network – but it will be young revolutionary catalysts all over the world who will shine as bright stars in these dark nights of our times.

I encourage further discussion here on the Redline website. Anyone interested in a global study group on a modern dialectics can contact: stevem5@outlook.com

The earlier articles in the series are:

Dialectics, pt 1: Dialectics, systems theory and biology – a review

Dialectics, pt 2: Dialectical systems and chaos

Dialectics, pt 3: Dialectical systems and order

Further reading on the application of dialectics:

Pilling’s “Marx’s ‘Capital'”: philosophy, dialectics, political economy

Nature versus nurture – genes versus environment

What is Marxism?

Learn guitar faster using dialectical materialism

 

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Comments
  1. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Waistline/139445159494510?ref_type=bookmark
    From Waistline

    Steve Masterson’s four parts of “Dialectics” raises a reoccurring theme for practitioners of Marxist philosophy: on what basis is Marxist philosophy – materialist dialectics – to be updated and what specific terms are to be used, expressing the revolution in science and knowledge?

    “Dialectics, systems theory and biology – a review,” part 1, begins with an examination of complexity as biology and system dynamics, an approach outside my pay grade. Nevertheless, I am familiar with the subject because it has been talked about and written on within Marxism, in a contemporary way, for at least twenty years. I have in mind Michael Brand exposition, exploring the same topic in 1995 in the article Dialectics, Complexity and Crisis.
    http://www.scienceofsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Dialectics-Complexity-and-Crisis-Brand.pdf

    Part 2, Dialectical systems and chaos, examines a very old subject of dialectical exposition, water and its conversion into steam. Steve Miller, writing from Oakland California in 2002, explored this same theme fifteen years ago, n a thoughtful exposition.
    “WATER, ICE, STEAM – HOW CHANGES IN QUANTITY LEAD TO CHANGES IN QUALITY.” http://www.scienceofsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Water-Ice-Steam-Miller.pdf

    Masterson deplores terms and concepts common to Marxism without allowing the reading to understand his specific meaning or source material. My comments are based in the historic Lenin-Stalin-Soviet nexus within Marxism, as this current defined law and law system, leap, dialectic of the leap, nodal line, quantitative and qualitative change, social revolution, and mode of production, productive forces, and means of production, surplus product and surplus labor. All terms used in this rely can be sourced to Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism (Manual), Fundamentals of Marxist Philosophy, Alexander Spirkin and Marxist Glossary Expanded Edition available at Amazon. I am the author of Marxist Glossary.
    http://www.amazon.com/Marxist-Glossary-Expanded-Twenty-First-Narrative/dp/1499145500
    https://archive.org/details/FundamentalsOfPhilosophy_913

    There is “law” in the juridical sense within Marxism that means the will of the ruling class written down, expressing material (social) relations of production upon which rises a specific kind of superstructure, corresponding to a specific economic base of society. There is “law” in the meaning of a repeating pattern of events that express a profound, essential and stable connection or dependence of phenomena or of different sides of one and the same phenomena. When Engels speaks of the three basic laws of dialectics he refers to three basic, profound and essential and stable connections underlying motion, observable based on the state of science in 1880.

    The suggestion that quantitative and qualitative change ought to be replaced with the concept micro and macro begs the question, “how does one define quantitative and qualitative change.” Although I identify with the old Lenin-Stalin- Soviet nexus, a modern concept of qualitative change emerged in the late 1980s, based on the technology revolution. The original version of the text was published in 1989. The source text for this assertion is located here: http://www.speakersforanewamerica.com/EnteringAnEpochOfSocialRevolution2.pdf

    Qualitative change begins with the incremental (quantitative) introduction of a new quality into the quantitative development of the old. Introducing a new quality into a process (in this case productive forces) causes continued quantitative development based on the old relationship to come to an end and further development now takes place based on the new quantitative addition of the new quality. This description is fundamentally different from the pre-1980s exposition of quality. Rather than replace words, might it be worth consideration to examine a more modern exposition of quality?

    The question of contradiction within a thing, rather than between things inhabiting the same general environment, has been a tough issue for Marxist because everything in reality is correctly assumed to be connected, even when the connection is too remote to trace and define its impact upon motion of a thing. The advance of science and productive forces has given rise to metadata, which takes humanity a step closer to disclosing a more profound understanding of causality.

    Masterson raises several thoughtful issues of Marx writings including the following:
    “Marx writes what I consider his only mistake here, or his wishful hope, ‘The bourgeois mode of production is the last antagonistic form of the social process of production.’
    “Now, this I consider automatic, idealistic, wishful-thinking, and it doesn’t allow for another potential hierarchical system to arise in between. The hierarchical elite can be very creative when its growing mass opposition is less conscious in its activity. With the benefit of hindsight I fear that another intervening, moneyless, profitless but still hierarchical system might replace capitalism; perhaps a ‘bureaucratic meritocracy’ or some more horrific Orwellian disfigurement; an extension of the old USSR system where an elite get the short hours, long luxurious holidays, better housing, access to certain lavish moneyless shops, etc. This potential danger has to be fought out in struggle and the outcome cannot be pre-determined. However, let’s hope Marx is correct on this outcome, but it is the quality of our activity that shall determine that.

    “Remember, Marx in describing ‘productive forces’ was living at the time in a narrower context of his total focus on ‘political economy’, so the terminology was not so exact. ‘Human forces’ would have been more exact in the overall picture but still not adequate. Language seems to fail us here.”
    (End quote).

    It was necessary to present this lengthy quote to get to the bottom of the issue of modernizing Marx’s method. Marx writes about antagonistic forms of social production rather than contradictory development filled with conflict and strife.

    Part of the problem is the meaning of antagonistic. Terms within Marxism with a philosophic content cannot and should not be defined based upon the standard dictionaries and glossaries of the bourgeoisie.

    “Contradiction and antagonism are not the same,” Lenin wrote in reference to Bukharin’s writings on socialism and money economy. Historically, the Soviet’s and Chinese communists treated antagonism and contradiction as different expressions of development. Both deployed the concept of antagonistic and non-antagonistic contradictions. (See Mao ZeDongs On the Correct Handing of Contradiction Amongst the People and Textbook of Marxist Philosophy.
    https://www.marxists.org/history/international/comintern/sections/britain/subject/left-book-club/1937/textbook/index.htm

    By antagonistic Marx seems to mean a specific thing that is bound up with ownership of the means of production. Ownership is a concept of private property not reducible to administration or control of productive processes. For instance, the law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall does not flow from a “hierarchical system” of administration of production by an elite that acquires privileges for itself. The law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall flows from competition between capitals, as this capital is privately owned and deployed by institutions.

    In my opinion a “hierarchical system” of administration of production is bound up with the emergence and development of the division of labor and falls in according with the division of labor. The division of labor and private property interpenetrate – are interactive throughout history – but are not the same. The division of labor by definition appears before the appearance of private property.
    See Textbook of Political Economy. http://www.marx.be/Prime/ENG/Books/Textbook_Political_Economy_1957.pdf

    The issue for Marx is a form of social development called antagonistic, which is a mode of destruction of the old social order as the condition for the rise of a new form of private property. ‘The bourgeois mode of production is the last antagonistic form of the social process of production.’

    It is true that how we fight out the social process will determine the future shape of society. It is equally true that a new form and richer content to Marxism is needed and in birth.

    However, ignoring the rich history of writing on these issues makes the revolutionary advance more difficult.

    Waistline

  2. Comrade Waistline – thank you for your considered response and critique to the first 4 chapters of my book, ‘A Living Dialectics: essential for the human revolution’. I crave such feedback to this work-in-progress. The internet wonderfully allows this. My 5th chapter, ‘Dialectics and Praxis’, already written, actually answers some of your points.

    I begin with your last sentence where you accuse me of “ignoring the rich history of writings on these issues” that you raise.

    You repeatedly and honestly state, “I identify with the old Lenin-Stalin-Soviet nexus”, something few have the courage to do nowadays. In the old days of decades of living the ‘Marxist-Leninist-Trotskyist’ activist brand in London I would have simply spit you out of my mouth – no discussion, maybe fisticuff interaction. Nowadays I see you as a learning comrade-in-arms.

    This “rich history of writing” you seemingly to uncritically worship is partly there in the greats, despite their mistakes (Marx, Engels, Rosa Luxemburg, Lenin, Trotsky, Mao – not Stalin and only a few Soviet academics) – but do not include their ‘Marxist’ followers who you seem to think are ‘developing’. And don’t forget, there are quite a few really good anarchists out there, and I agree with Joseph Dietzgen (and Marx accepted that he independently developed dialectics at the same time), and Dietzgen’s views that the 1872 split between Marxists and anarchists was a disaster for our first emerging International.

    I wrote in part 4 of this series to ‘you’ Waistline,

    “Too many atheists still somehow find an infallible god, or even two or three, to worship instead of relying on or having confidence in their own integrity and their local collective development … For Reader, if you don’t live that deep revolutionary pleasure of acting, feeling, thinking, learning and being for yourself – integral within living communities – then others will do it for you, will condition you, will somehow determine or indirectly order your activities in life to meet not your authentic needs, but someone else’s needs – the 0.01%.”

    I’ve been expecting your defense of the old ‘Marxism’ response to ‘A Living Dialectics’, but I thought it would come from an orthodox Trot first. In fact Alan Woods, leader of a mini-Trot International group wrote a book on ‘modern’ dialectics ‘Reason in Revolt’ and he did very similar job to yourself, trying to prove that new non-linear sciences, complexity, systems, fractals and chaos theories only prove the correctness of the old dialectics –he offered no answers, not even a small one to the development of the dialectic method. You Waistline at least accept this need which gives us space to discuss.

    You don’t criticise any aspects of your named heroes, but at least you say “Masterson raises several thoughtful issues of Marx’s writings including the following [you then positively quote my critique of Marx’s], “The bourgeois mode of production is the last antagonistic form of the social process of production.” This is where I mention, with hindsight, the potential of more; the ‘bureaucratic meritocracy’ and other possibilities.

    You write critically, “Terms within Marxism with a philosophic content cannot and should not be defined based upon the standard dictionaries and glossaries of the bourgeoisie.” But we Marxists should not be our own isolated language that ‘Marxism’ has created; we need to talk to the masses and youth who are educated with bourgeois dictionaries. Are you seriously saying we should stick with Hegel’s ‘negation of the negation’ when I (and others) have used ‘spiral development’ which is both simpler and clearer.

    You argue that my, “suggestion that quantitative and qualitative change ought to be replaced with the concept micro and macro”. Well no I don’t, they should supplement, help explain quantitative change and qualitative transformation – as ‘micro’ is quantitative change and ‘macro’ is qualitative change. I outlined in detail how ‘order’ is quantitative change and ‘chaos’ is qualitative transformation. Waistline; are you saying we should stick only with gospel terminology originated in the godly idealist and bourgeois Hegel – brilliant as he was for his time?

    You say just before your second link above that Michael Brand explored “the same topic in 1995 in the article ‘Dialectics, Complexity and Crisis’,” implying or attempting to prove that I present nothing new. I know well this article and Brand used many of the systems or complexity terms that I use but I’ve transformed them. However, in part-1 of this series I described, alongside Levins, how there is a battle going on between dialecticians and systems theorists for dominance. I went into detail about this battle. I advise that you read it again.

    Brand on p5 of his document makes it very clear where he stands in this battle, “…the dialectical materialism associated with Karl Marx and Frederick Engels is an appropriate predecessor” to complexity theory. He is not interested in preserving the old dialectic for its richness, or transcending it to synthesise with aspects of these new sciences and include a scientific and wholesome grasp of revolutionary practice. Even still, I advise comrades to read Brand’s article via your link above, many years ago it helped me in my research into all this new stuff I’m trying to explain.

    It seems comrade Waistline I have disturbed your comfort-zone, and your history of past writings and activity – good! – I want to rattle old bones that can still reawaken and have productive life in them. I studied you on your facebook page and I’m impressed. It is essential for revolutionary continuity, so rich lessons can be learnt of from great aspects of our movements of the past. I remind you of my last sentence in part-4 of this series:

    “‘Marxists’ who become Marxists and serious anarchists who take on a ‘conscious practice’ will be central to establishing this decentralised [human] network – but it will be young revolutionary catalysts all over the world who will shine as bright stars in these dark nights of our times.”

    Best wishes comrade – steve

  3. Allow me to answer your questions directly.

    You ask:

    “Are you seriously saying we should stick with Hegel’s ‘negation of the negation’ when I (and others) have used ‘spiral development’ which is both simpler and clearer.”

    Answer: Yes.

    But this only included a handful of words because 99% of the words used in Marx political economy and science of society are not Hegelian. Here is the issue: you lack precision and fail to speak in clear terms.

    Spiral development may be simpler and clearer but it is not the meaning of negation of the negation. Negation and then negation of the negation is a description of development based on annulment, destruction and sublation, wherein the form of a thing is changed, as the prelude to a change in its content.

    Modern scientific knowledge and metadata promises to further disclose the dialectic of causality and with this disclosure, deepen our understanding of the role of subation in negation. That is to say the dialectic of sublation. Everything negated is not necessarily sublated. However every sublation is a negation.

    My Marxist Glossary only touches the surface of this issue of negation and sublation.

    You ask:

    Waistline; are you saying we should stick only with gospel terminology originated in the godly idealist and bourgeois Hegel – brilliant as he was for his time?

    Answer: No.

    Hegel did not coin or use 90% of the words in the Marxist lexicon. Get any decent Marxist glossary written over the past 100 years and you will discover the most commonly used words in the Marxist lexicon. Here is an example; productive forces, labor, labor power, social relations of production, abolition, bourgeois mode of commodity production, capitalism, national question, national colonial question, material power of production, and the list goes on.

    Soviet literature is rich and I have suggested landmark text, without peer for the time frame and era n which they were written. Simply point out in a professional manner, the document that was written on earth, during the same period of time, that is superior to Stalin’s 1938 Dialectical and Historical Materialism. The time frame I have in mind is between 1928 and 1948. Rather than bravado, simply state, the document that was written on earth, during the same period of time, that is superior to the source material I presented.

    My Glossary goes much further than the 1938 Dialectical and Historical Materialism. I am not aware of anything written by Rosa Luxemburg relevant to our current discussion, although I did a critique of her Reform or Revolution, while placing the document in its historical context. Somewhere, I have some brief comments concerning her Accumulation of Capital, which I no longer remember.

    Engels called his and Marx method, inquiry and conclusions the science of society. Every science has its own specialized terms, whose content is updated with changes in the depth of knowledge. Engels wrote that materialism must change its form with every epoch making discovery. Marxist Glossary Expanded Edition was written as a summation and bookmark, indicating transition or changes in the form of materialist dialectics. When speaking of quantitative change, Glossary builds upon the dominant Marxist tradition.

    However, it is a mistake to believe that Glossary rest with the Soviet presentation of the meaning of quantitative change. In order to know the difference one has to be familiar with the literature
    Rather than a concept reducible to “magnitude” (micro being quantitative change according to your description) the concept of quantitative change is much richer and describes the stages of development of a quality. The quality does not simply “get bigger” but passes through a stage by stage development, interactive with its environment, while simultaneously creating the conditions for a leap. In my opinion what is missing is a modern concept of causality.

    For a modern presentation of quantitative change go here: http://www.scienceofsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Institute-Resource-Paper-3_v3.pdf

    My response to part 4, is basically the author raises issues that are not solved or properly posed. Marx famous quote on social revolution is presented without any new insights or clarification of its law system. I deploy the term “law system” for a reason.

    We can ascertain Marx famous 1859 statement on the general law of social revolution from the standpoint of experiencing the leap from industrial society to robotics. Leap in the philosophic sense is used here to mean a transition from one qualitative state to another rather than quantitative growth.

    In my usage of quantitative growth, what is meant is the quantitative stages of development of a quality. In this sense, quantitative change does not and cannot abstractly lead to qualitative change. Rather, the quantitative introduction of a new quality lead to qualitative change. Specifically, the quantitative (incremental) introduction of a new quality (say, the steam engine and the technology it embodies or the microchip and the technology it embody) into an existing process, disrupt the process and brings to an end its development on the old basis. Introducing a new quality creates a new pathway of development within the process and excites the leap. Now let’s look at Marx.

    Marx wrote :

    “At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution.”

    (end quote)

    What is the “certain stage of development?”

    The answer is presented in the passage. A certain stage is when social relations of production passes from being forms of development and become fetters on productive forces. What causes this transformation from being a form of development to fetter? That is to say, what is the “certain stage of development?”

    Marxist writings in the past, generally defined that “certain stage of development” as a stage of growth of capitalism and the productive forces without qualification. Industrial machinery got bigger and more productive; industrial capitalism replaced agrarian economy as the primary mode of production on earth, then industrial capital transitioned to imperialism and so on. That is to say, quantitative development meant development of the same thing, – the bourgeois mode of commodity production. Increase in quantity cannot in itself lead to qualitative change of a social system. That is the point. Something new has to be introduced into a process to excite the leap to a new quality and this conclusion is absent in most 20th century Marxist literature.

    In Capital and all the writings by Marx and Engels, they defined that “certain stage of development” during their life time as the appearance of the stream engine and the technology it embodied. This was the new quality. Marx chapter on machinery in Capital was written to introduce an audience to a new kind of machinery, qualitatively different from what existed previously. Why else would he spend so much time on explaining the difference between a complex machine, tools and instruments?

    We can pinpoint that “certain stage of development” as the introduction of a new technology regime (quality) into the existing material power of production (productive forces). Updating materialist dialectics, pardon, applied materialist dialectics is not a matter of changing words. New words should be introduced that clarify, but more important is deeper and more insight into the dialectic of causality.

    Applied dialectics inform us that computers, biogenetics and robotics bring all the social systems built up based on the industrial edifice to an historical end. Historical end means expansion on the old basis has been halted. This includes industrial capitalism and industrial socialism. This common sense notion was not common sense when first put forth within Marxism 25 years ago.

    Waistline

  4. Waistline – you have dissappointed me. You have completely reverted into the Stalinist ‘Histomat and Diamat’ (historical materialism and dialectical materialism), such favourite terms of Stalin’s grotesque subserviant abstract academics who translated Stalin’s immediate political u-turns into dialectical gobble-de-gook. Marx and Engels never used such terms of separation of these two ‘materialisms’ which are as one in all nature – which includes human history. Rather they would use a ‘materialist view of history’, or a ‘materialist understanding of dialectical logic’.

    The Soviet Evald Ilyenkov, a genuine Marx academic, after Stalin’s death in 1953, was given space to breathe, to present an actual presentation of abstract thought processes and inseparably linking their living connection with concrete abstractions and practice. He enraged these grotesque licking-slavery lapdogs of Stalin licking his mouth, nose and eyes, but now they no longer had Stalin to completely suppress him – though Ilyenkov was attacked again and again by these bureaucrats.

    In 1960 he published his first major piece, a book titled, ‘The Dialectics of the Abstract and the Concrete in Marx’s Capital’. This was of course about the thought processes behind the real and concrete capitalist system and in revolutionary practice. This focus of the concrete within abstract thought infuriated the academics who wanted it not to be about the concreteness of Capital, but ‘… about abstraction in thought’.

    Waistline – you naively write above “Soviet literature is rich and I have suggested landmark text … Simply point out in a professional manner, the document that was written on earth, during the same period of time, that is superior to Stalin’s 1938 ‘Dialectical and Historical Materialism’. The time frame I have in mind is between 1928 and 1948.”

    Well, I’ve just quoted you a source of rich ‘Soviet literature’ that was of Marx in likeness and even in part developed on Marx using the latest science of his time, but you wouldn’t approve. In fact I will be reviewing the mentioned Ilyenkov book shotrtly in this series. And that you actually think Stalin, and not his slavish academic face-licking Stalinists, wrote that article with the twisted named article on ‘Dialectical and Histroical Materialism’ in 1938, is beyond belief.

    Steve

    • waistline2@aol.com says:

      Name calling is not a theoretically convincing argument.

      It is important in my view of history, to grapple with the development of Marxism outside the Soviet Union. It is important to try and be honest with the keyboard, keeping in mind the Internet allows virtually anyone to verify historical literature. The reason why no one has presented a competing concise exposition to Stalin’s 1938 pamphlet, written between 1928 (his ascendency and defeat of Trotsky) and 1948, is because none exist in world literature, to my knowledge . . . . or yours.

      There is the 1938 Soviet Leningrad Textbook, and its predecessors, excellent presentations of materialist dialectics, for the era in which it they were written. These expositions are textbook rather than a pamphlet. Marxist literature draws a sharp distinction between a pamphlet (Stalin’s exposition) and a textbook (The Dialectic of the Abstract and Concrete by Evald Ilyenkov) because of the different function and purpose of the two distinct expositions. Pamphlets serve as introduction to a topic written for the masses and the leading core of revolutionaries. I have always found it interesting that the 1938 Textbook and Stalin’s 1938 pamphlet were issued at the same time.

      You write:

      “Marx and Engels never used such terms of separation of these two ‘materialisms’ which are as one in all nature – which includes human history.”

      There is a factual story (narrative) concerning the use of the term “historical materialism” as distinct from what Marx calls “my dialectics” and what the entire Marxist movement since Engels death, have called dialectical materialism. Engels of course introduced the term “historical materialism” (or at any rate its American English variant).

      In Marxist Glossary Expanded Edition page 130 the letter where Frederick Engels use the term “historical materialism” is quoted along with the source material. Georgi Valentinovich Plekhanov, who Lenin called the father of Russian Marxism, is according to my understanding, the individual that popularized the term “historical science,” and what is incorrectly called the Stalin form of presentation. Without question Stalin developed Plekhanov form – schematic presentation – but hardly created it. Nevertheless, someone introduced the word to the term historical materialism.

      Allow me to present some evidence from Marxist Glossary page 130

      (Quote)

      Introduced as a popular term by Frederick Engels in an 1890 letter to Bloch, historical materialism means the materialist conception of history. I would furthermore ask you to study this theory from its original sources and not at second-hand; it is really much easier. Marx hardly wrote anything in which it did not play a part. But especially The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte is a most excellent example of its application. There are also many allusions to it in Capital. Then may I also direct you to my writings: Herr Eugen Dühring’s Revolution in Science and Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy, in which I have given the most detailed account of historical materialism which, as far as I know, exists. [The German Ideology was not published in Marx or Engels lifetime] (Bold added by Waistline. Italicized in original)

      https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1890/letters/90_09_21.htm

      In J.V. Stalin’s September 1938 Dialectical and Historical Materialism he defines historical materialism thus:

      Historical materialism is the extension of the principles of dialectical materialism to the study of social life, an application of the principles of dialectical materialism to the phenomena of the life of society, to the study of society and of its history. (See, Materialist conception of history.)

      (End Quote.)

      On page 180 under the entry materialist conception of history, Glossary quotes from Engels celebrated text Anti Duhring, describing the materialist conception of history. I will reframe from quoting this entry and suggest you buy Glossary and read Engels actual statement.

      https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/

      There is in fact a separation, or to be more accurate, a distinction between what Karl Max called “my dialectic” (materialist dialectics) and the materialist conception of history. Both are distinct realms of manifestations.

      While there is discourse among scholars and laypersons over the difference between Engels and Marx treatment of dialectics, the materialist conception of history proceeds from the standpoint of human beings reproducing their means of production. Materialist dialectics manifest the law of causality, or the abstraction of motion. How we understand the law sysem governing mtion deepens with the advance of science or what Engels meant when he wrote materialism must change its form with every epoch making discovery.

      That is to say the law system made manifest, which governs the abstraction of motion or how matter moves and think is distinct, is made manifest, different from the operational laws government the material production and reproduction of human life.

      I am familiar with the writings of Evald Ilyenkov. His Internet archive is located here: http://www.marxists.org/archive/ilyenkov/ His book, The Dialectic of the Abstract and Concrete is located here: http://www.marxists.org/archive/ilyenkov/works/abstract/index.htm

      WL

  5. Edited reply 2,0

    Name calling is not a theoretically convincing argument.

    Updating dialectics involves a review of the last stage of applied dialectics within Marxism. This last stage was worked out in America as the dialectic of the leap and a reformulation of the dialectic of quantity and quality. I presented source material. Further, the difference between contradiction and antagonism was worked out and why antagonism is defined as a mode of destruction.
    It is important in my view of history, to grapple with the development of Marxism worldwide in the context of evolution of science and development of the 20th century revolutionary movement. Marxism is the science of society. Science is being used here to mean the study of the laws that govern actuality.

    In “Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy,” Frederick Engels wrote:
    For we live not only in nature but also in human society, and this also no less than nature has its history of development and its science. It was therefore a question of bringing the science of society, that is, the sum total of the so-called historical and philosophical sciences, into harmony with the materialist foundation, and of reconstructing it thereupon.

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1886/ludwig-feuerbach/ch02.htm (emphasis added)

    I agree with his characterization.

    My tradition is of a specific current within the historic American Lenin-Stalin-Soviet-Comintern polarity, with roots in the struggle of the industrial workers, during the last stage of the industrial revolution. During this era the anti-colonial form of struggle was the salient feature of the world social struggle. My activity was part of the last industrial strike wave in America, inaugurated as the so-called black workers upsurge beginning in Detroit Michigan. The end of this era begins with the victory of the Vietnamese Revolution and the 1976 Vietnam unification.

    It is important to keep in mind the Internet allows virtually anyone to verify historical literature. The reason why a competing concise exposition to Stalin’s 1938 pamphlet, written between 1928 (his ascendency and defeat of Trotsky) and 1948, has never been put brought forth is because none exist, to my knowledge . . . . or yours. The reason we were able to update and transcend the old Stalin form of exposition – which is no different from that of Trotsky or Evald Ilyenkov – is because we lived the period of the opening of a new era of social revolution.

    There is of course, the old 1938 Soviet Leningrad Textbook, and its predecessors. These expositions are textbook rather than a pamphlet. Marxist literature draws a sharp distinction between a pamphlet (Stalin’s exposition) and a textbook (The Dialectic of the Abstract and Concrete by Evald Ilyenkov) because of the different function and purpose of the two distinct expositions. Pamphlets serve as introduction to a topic written for the masses and the leading core of revolutionaries. I have always found it interesting that the 1938 Textbook and Stalin’s 1938 pamphlet were issued at the same time.

    You write:

    “Marx and Engels never used such terms of separation of these two ‘materialisms’ which are as one in all nature – which includes human history.”

    There is a distinction between “historical materialism” and what Marx calls “my dialectics.” In Marxist Glossary Supplement, scheduled for release January 2015, Marx is quotes extensively concerning his view of dialectics and the meaning of “my dialectics.”

    The Marxist movement since Engels death, have called Marx dialectic “dialectical materialism” and materialist dialectics. Here is the wiki exposition of the history of the term:

    Quote
    The term dialectical materialism was coined in 1887, by Joseph Dietzgen, a socialist tanner who corresponded with Marx, during and after the failed 1848 German Revolution. As a philosopher, Dietzgen had constructed the theory of dialectical materialism independently of Marx and Engels. Casual mention of the term is also found in the biography Frederick Engels, by Karl Kautsky, written in the same year. Marx himself had talked about the “materialist conception of history”, which was later referred to as “historical materialism” by Engels. Engels further exposed the “materialist dialectic” — not “dialectical materialism” — in his Dialectics of Nature in 1883. Georgi Plekhanov, the father of Russian Marxism, later introduced the term dialectical materialism to Marxist literature. Joseph Stalin further delineated and defined dialectical and historical materialism as the world outlook of Marxism-Leninism, and as a method to study society and its history. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectical_materialism

    End quote

    Engels, rather than Marx, introduced the term “historical materialism.” In Marxist Glossary Expanded Edition page 130 the letter where Frederick Engels use the term “historical materialism” is quoted along with the source material. Allow me to present some evidence from Marxist Glossary page 130

    (Quote)

    Introduced as a popular term by Frederick Engels in an 1890 letter to Bloch, historical materialism means the materialist conception of history.

    I would furthermore ask you to study this theory from its original sources and not at second-hand; it is really much easier. Marx hardly wrote anything in which it did not play a part. But especially The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte is a most excellent example of its application. There are also many allusions to it in Capital. Then may I also direct you to my writings: Herr Eugen Dühring’s Revolution in Science and Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy, in which I have given the most detailed account of historical materialism which, as far as I know, exists. [The German Ideology was not published in Marx or Engels lifetime] (Bold added by Waistline. Italicized in original)

    https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1890/letters/90_09_21.htm

    In J.V. Stalin’s September 1938 Dialectical and Historical Materialism he defines historical materialism thus:

    Historical materialism is the extension of the principles of dialectical materialism to the study of social life, an application of the principles of dialectical materialism to the phenomena of the life of society, to the study of society and of its history. (See, Materialist conception of history.)
    (End Quote.)

    Stalin’s definition is accurate, for the era in which it was written. To criticize a proposition form 1938, based on the advance of science 75 years later, rather than placing the proposition in the era in which it was put forth is not a good method of inquiry.

    On page 180 or Marxist Glossary Expanded Edition, under the entry materialist conception of history, Glossary quotes from another one of Engels celebrated text Anti Duhring, describing the materialist conception of history. I will reframe from quoting this entry and suggest you buy Glossary and go online and read Engels actual statement.
    https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/

    While there is discourse among scholars and laypersons over the difference between Engels and Marx treatment of dialectics, the materialist conception of history properly is part of the historical sciences. It studies the law system that constitutes society and governs the leap from one mode of production to the next.

    Materialist dialectics manifest the law of motion, the abstraction of motion and its manifestation as causality. How we understand the law system governing motion – causality – deepens with the advance of science or what Engels meant when he wrote materialism must change its form with every epoch making discovery. In real time this means the use and deployment of meta-data.
    That is to say the law system made manifest, which governs the abstraction of motion or how matter moves and think is distinct, is made manifest, different from the operational laws governing the material production and reproduction of human life.

    The problem with this discourse is you refuse to answer questions honestly and prefer name calling to conceal a lack of effort and sincerity in unraveling the historical line of march for truth.
    I am familiar with the writings of Evald Ilyenkov. His Internet archive is located here:
    http://www.marxists.org/archive/ilyenkov/

    His book, The Dialectic of the Abstract and Concrete is located here: http://www.marxists.org/archive/ilyenkov/works/abstract/index.htm

    Evald Ilyenkov writings are part of the post Stalin era, rather than the objective or subjective Stalin era. Decades ago the Marxist movement in America evolved a sense of the nodal line dividing one era from another, or stated another way, the nodal line distinguishing one stage from another. You confuse eras, without acknowledging the existence of stages. The Stalin era covers a specific stage of development of the industrial revolution, including mechanization of agriculture.

    This period – era – in the Soviet Union runs from roughly 1928 to the death of Stalin and the rise of telemechanics in the mid 1950s. The subjective Stalin era, imprinted with his personality is bound up with that which is peculiar to Stalin’s rule, methods and forms of organizations. This period runs from his “Foundations of Leninism” in 1924 and ends with his “Economic Problems of Socialism” in 1952. https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/decades-index.htm#1950

    Ilyenkov’s “Dialectics” fall fully within the Nikita Khrushchev era. You apparently have an appreciation for Ilyenkov’s “Dialectics” I do not have. You choose to NOT present one single clue as to why you believe Ilyenkov’s “Dialectics” is a seminal work of note. Ilyenkov’s dialectics suffer from some of the same limitation of Stalin’s pamphlet, and the 1938 Leningrad produced Textbook of Marxists Philosophy. Specifically, the last section of Ilyenkov’s “Dialectics,” on contradiction, contains a Stalin era presentation of contradiction and antagonism.

    The problem is that Ilyenkov writes in a different historical era, outside the Stalin era proper, and after the electronic revolution has emerged. In the Soviet Union this revolution in science and production was called tele-mechanics in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Ilyenkov’s “Dialectics,” belong to an era before the intense debate over contradiction and antagonism were resolved, and twenty five years before the dialectic of the leap and reformulation of the relagtionship between quantity and quality took place.

    Antagonism and contradiction are not the same. Nor is antagonism a form of contradiction. More, antagonism is not a form of contradictory development. That s to say, anyone for any reason can make any two things a contradiction based on proximity. Anything and everything in an environment can be said to constitute a contradiction, but this is not the Marxist meaning of contradiction according to the polarity I am a part of. Bourgeoisie and the feudal nobility did not constitute a contradiction during transition from agriculture to industry. Bourgeoisie and proletariat (wage worker) constituted a contradiction that was an alien quality in feudal society, antagonistic to the landed property relations. Bourgeoisie and proletariat (wage worker) evolved and developed in external collision with the feudal productive relations, or what is the same thing expressed in the feudal law system – nobility and serf.

    This exposition clarifying contradiction and antagonism did not exist in world history before the polarity I am a part of created the narrative. Because you are not familiar with this history you feel free to write with an air of bravado that masks unawareness.

    Antagonism is not a form of the contradiction driving a process from one stage of its development to the next stage. Antagonism is a mode of destruction of contradiction, indicating an underlying law system has completed its stages of development or had its development halted, and is now in the process of a qualitative leap. This mode of destruction is the result of an alien quality invading – pardon, “being injected into” – the environment of a self contains social process of production based on economic classes. The new quality invades the environment that allows a quality and its distinct law system of production to exist, say feudalism. What brings the world of feudalism to an historical end is the industrial revolution and the new classes created based on the industrial revolution. The mode of reaching an historical end and going over to a new world takes place through a mode of destruction expressed as bourgeoisie and proletariat. These new classes are a new quality.

    However, what began the breakup of the feudal order money in its independent form. Can you imagine the significance of transferring the form of wealth from the ownership of land to the ownership of gold? That’s what really broke up feudalism and led to the development of heavy manufacturing. Ship building, iron and steel industries and the enormously profitable slave trade all developed as a means to exploit the riches of the Americas and describe the primitive accumulation of capital. Money began the breakup of feudal society and brought it to crisis, but it took the development of new classes connected to and expressing a new property relation to bring society to antagonism.

    The question of qualitative change is misstated by Ilyenkov – and you, in your presentation of Marx famous quote on social revolution taken from his “Contribution to a Critique.” Ilyenkov’s theoretical obsolescence shows tellingly in the last chapter of the book, “The Method of Ascent from the Abstract to the Concrete in Marx’s Capital, Contradiction as a Principle of Development of Theory.”
    You perhaps are not aware that the struggle within philosophic Marxism over contradiction and its meaning, and the meaning of antagonism, and then the exposition on qualitative change and the general law system describing how qualitative change takes place comes to us by way of the divergence between Lenin and Bukharin.
    Rather than serious discourse you refer hyperbole.

    I am also familiar with Michael A. Lebowitz’s “Beyond Capital” and “Following Marx,” which is to say I own these books and have read them. Being human or distinct within the animal kingdom, can be understood and measured with the yardstick of science based on our developing more complex machines. Other terrestrial mammals cannot develop and build increasingly complex machines. Altering our historic species activity based on the computer and robotics opens the door to a new possibility beyond Max insights recording in his Critique of the Gotha Program.

    WL

  6. Dear Waistline,

    I was not going to answer your version 1 of 806 words as it doesn’t make much sense and talks above the heads of even experienced Marxists; ie, you present the norm of academic dialectical gobble-de-gook. However, knowing this, maybe unconsciously, you have now desperately come out with a version 2 of the same contribution, now 2,273 words; re-writing your first effort; deleting parts but vastly increasing and expanding on others.

    In this series I seem not only to have rattled old-bones back to some life, but have painfully penetrated under your fingernails and keyboard tapping skills, and obviously deep into the whole of your nervous system, especially inside your skull. Good! Certainly I am getting personal messages of support and fear in personal mails. It is my aim that this series aspires to awaken old bones, and I think you actually sort of already subconsciously know what comes further in this series – you are actually that committed, but you’re anxious, and I secretly admire you, but don’t tell anyone.

    I will keep my reply very short by answering only your new opening sentence of the new version, “Updating dialectics involves a review of the last stage of applied dialectics within Marxism.”
    This sentence is actually answered well in my next part-5 of this series, ‘Dialectics and praxis’ which should be on Redline any day now. If anyone searches ‘applied dialectics’ as I have just done, the first 50 results show that it means application to areas of knowledge, history, logic, science, ie; brain work. This is what your ‘last stage’ of ‘updating dialectics’ actually means. This is woefully inadequate for today’s need of a living dialectic.

    Dialectics does not need ‘updating’ but dialectically ‘preserving and transcending’! Yet you know very well that I have talked in every part of this series so far about extending the dialectics of logic into physical practical human activity also, which in fact begins and ends with concrete being in need and meeting objective human need in every act. It’s our learning process, it’s what made and still makes us human. I believe Waistline you are going to have to re-evaluate life in following this series which you are now compelled to do – you have no choice. Remember, I have followed your positive activist life on FB, and still admire your activities.

    Best wishes – steve

  7. David Ruaune says:

    Waistline – If you’re defence of Stalin’s account of dialectics as on the whole canonical and essentially complete, at least as a framework, or even Engels, Trotsky, Rees or Grant is correct, then dialectics is for me a dead duck – I would tell anyone, including young enthusiastic radicals, to avoid it.

    However, I think there’s something interesting about dialectics, which has not been properly dealt with at all – all these old books you refer to are fine as resources, but are an obstruction if treated as gospel. For you, everything is already done and dusted. If dialectics is complete, it is rubbish philosophy; Stalin can codify Engels, but it’s the death if insight. There were many contesting voices against diamat – Gramsci, Adorno, Sartre. But you seem in need of a textbook to tell you what’s what.

    Against this attitude of “It’s all already there in the lawbooks, and I’ve provided the glossary” (as if you can provide a glossary for a contested field!) I believe dialectics might have something to it, but needs development. I’m with Steve on that.

    • waistline2@aol.com says:

      You should follow your heart and do as you see fit. The young revolutionaries I engage as a way of life and the classes I continuously teach rely upon historical literature and this includes several glossaries and dictionary’s of Marxist terms.

      https://www.facebook.com/darryl.mitchell.12 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Waistline/139445159494510

      Every field of science contains words and a language unique to it. Words are coined as shortcuts to broad concepts of process logic. Problems arise when different meanings are attached to the same terms. That is why glossaries of terms are written.

      What is a “stage?” What is “development?” What is the “nodal line” or “nodal point” in development? What is the meaning of “leap,’ the “dialectic of the leap,” “quality?”

      Marxist Glossary Expanded Edition defines quality as follows. http://www.amazon.com/Marxist-Glossary-Expanded-Twenty-First-Narrative/dp/1499145500

      Quote

      Quality is the totality of properties that makes a particular thing what it is. Quality is the inseparable specific mark of a thing. It is inseparable because without it the thing ceases to exist as that given thing. Quality is the essential character of a particular thing or phenomenon, making it what it is and distinguishing it from other things and phenomena.

      The philosophical concept of quality differs from the notion of it in everyday life, where it is associated with the worth (value) of things. People speak of the good or bad quality of food, clothing, shoes, or artistic production. The philosophic concept of quality does not contain any element of moral or value judgment. The most essential property of a quality is its character. A thing without character, without an essential property, cannot exist and therefore cannot possess a feature. A feature is a nonessential property of a quality. End quote

      What is “form,” “sublate,” “negation of the negation,” “subject and object,” “truth,” and “law system?” In the realm of the science of society what are “productive relations,” “the law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall,” and “surplus labor?” The purpose of a glossary – any glossary – is to establish a base line for the meaning of words.

      Let’s assume my Marxist Glossary is obsolete. Simply produce the glossary that causes this obsolescence. I believe that Tom Bottomore’s “A Dictionary of Marxist Thought” Second Edition is obsolete, compared to my glossary, which is not a dictionary. Nevertheless, Bottomore’s “Dictionary” is a permanent fixture in my library.

      There is no need to defend Stalin, Lenin, or anyone else writings. Each era has produced its corresponding form of Marxism and dialectical exposition. Why you feel that I am defending a 1938 exposition is beyond me. Stalin and Marx and Lenin are dead. Rather, one compares the literature of an era against the general literature of the era in which it was written. Then one attempts to understand the literature of an era as part of a continuum. I state no more and no less.

      To avoid misunderstanding, Stalin’s tiny pamphlet and all the expositions on dialectics, of the Stalin era are historically and practically obsolete today. If one believes that this tiny pamphlet was historically obsolete when it was written in 1938, then it is necessary to state why it was obsolete and provide reasonable evidence. It is not enough to point an accusing finger and indulge in innuendo.

      I do not state such is your meaning, but felt it necessary to clarify my approach to historical literature.

      Allow me to go further and prevent misunderstanding. Every current of Marxism on earth, and its exposition before1980 contains an obsolete description of the following: a). qualitative change and the relationship of quantity to quality and the dialectic of qualitative change. b). The pre-1980 expositions of materialist dialectics contain an obsolete presentation of causality. Causality answers the question, “why do things change?” c). Antagonism as a mode of destruction. Since the advent of private property society has moved in class antagonism and not simply “class struggle.” Contradiction and antagonism are not the same. Steve raises this question (based on Marx famous statement on social revolution in the preface to a Contribution to a Critique of Political Economy) and then jumps to the meaning of the prehistory of human society. The question remains why and how does changes in the productive forces provoke, create and cause the leap from one kind of society to another? What is it that causes the antagonism?

      Pre-1980 Marxist philosophic expositions states that some contradictions are antagonistic and some are not, without explaining why. The clearest exposition on this proposition was put first forth on a mass scale in the 1938 Soviet Textbook of Marxist Philosophy. d). Sublation and negation and why they are not the same. The challenge is to describe the process better.

      A Stalin era presentation of dialectics I am familiar with and suggest is T.A. Jackson’s “Dialectics.” Actually, I have the original book, which was written in 1936, but the material is available on line here. That is to say, published before Stalin’s little pamphlet of 1938 and the 1938 Textbook of Marxist philosophy. http://www.marxists.org/archive/jackson-ta/1936/dialectics/

      My point remains all of this material is historically obsolete. I do not know how many times I must state this. The reason I write in depth is as an attempt to avoid misunderstanding.

      What material by Gramsci in particular do you suggest? What aspect of dialectics does Gramsci dispute? Did not Antonio Gramsci “give up the flesh” in 1937? I am familiar with some of his writing, most certainly Prison Notebook.

      The Soviet era of exposition of materialist dialectics is not the same as the Stalin era presentation of materialist dialectics. The Stalin era begins roughly in 1938 or after Gramsci died. The Stalin era of Marxist philosophic exposition comes to an end with his death, but I use as a bookmark the September 1955 publication of Political Economy by the Institute of Economics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.org/archive/PoliticalEconomy.pdf

      Personally, I have always enjoyed the Soviet era presentation of materialist dialectics over (more, better) the Stalin era presentation, which happens to be the general outlook of the polarity from which I formed “my brand of Marxism.”

      The word “polarity” is defined in my Marxist Glossary Expanded Edition. Perhaps, it is this history that makes you feel as if I am defending a dead man and obsolete literature, when in every reply I state the exposition from the Stalin era is obsolete.

      Why would I defend a body of literature I state is obsolete?

      What material by Adorno dealing with exposition of dialectics do you suggest? https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/adorno/index.htm

      I suggest . . . . again . . .. the following link as a start: http://www.scienceofsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Institute-Resource-Paper-3_v3.pdf http://www.scienceofsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Institute-Resource-Paper5.pdf http://www.scienceofsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Institute-Resource-Paper1.pdf http://www.scienceofsociety.org/

      • David Ruaune says:

        Thanks Waistline – There’s a bit too much for me to reply to there, especially as I’ve only recently returned to the matter of dialectics, and have my work cut out for me. I would personally like to get to grips with the historical development of dialectics, and hope I didn’t come across as philistine; I’ve swung back to looking at Hegel again.

        “Obsolete” doesn’t quite capture what I’m saying about the Engels – Lenin – Trotsky – Stalin heritage (though anti-Stalinist, I think Trotskyite and Stalinist approaches to dialectics are fairly similar). In a sense, none of this stuff is obsolete because it hasn’t been replaced in its own field by anything much better. Steve’s original article, and the book chapter reviewed there, discuss a potential rival in GST and, if I remember correctly, complexity and chaos. My own hunch (as such it is at the moment) is that these fields can be brought into an alignment, with dialectics providing insights additional to those of the other fields, but not capable of providing the overarching framework without serious reworking.

        I hope to look through all your links, as part of my investigations, so once again thanks.

        Just to zoom in on your exposition of “quality”, you seem to be saying that a quality is an essential property, or rather, the totality of what are widely called essential properties. However, you also state, “The most essential property of a quality is its character.” – here, a quality can have a property. Could you clarify this for me?

    • waistline2@aol.com says:

      David Ruaune writes:

      Just to zoom in on yourexposition of “quality”, you seem to be saying that a quality is an essentialproperty, or rather, the totality of what are widely called essentialproperties. However, you also state, “The most essential property of a qualityis its character.” – here, a quality can have a property. Could you clarifythis for me? (End quote.)

      To avoid misunderstanding, allow me to reproduce the firsttwo paragraphs from the definition of “Quality” in Marxist Glossary ExpandedEdition page 245.

      (Quote) Quality is the totality of properties that makes aparticular thing what it is. Quality is the inseparable specific mark of athing. It is inseparable because without it the thing ceases to exist as thatgiven thing. Quality is the essential character of a particular thing orphenomenon, making it what it is and distinguishing it from other things andphenomena. The philosophical concept of quality differs from the notionof it in everyday life, where it is associated with the worth (value) ofthings. People speak of the good or bad quality of food, clothing, shoes, orartistic production. The philosophic concept of quality does not contain anyelement of moral or value judgment. The most essential property of a quality isits character. A thing without character, without an essential property, cannotexist and therefore cannot possess a feature. A feature is a nonessentialproperty of a quality (End Quote) The intent was to distinguish between how the words “character”and “feature” diverge in standard American English. A thing without character(as defined above) cannot exist, and therefore cannot have features. Every phenomenonwhose features we encounter must have a character. The American people generallyexperience the system of capitalism by way of a complex of its features. Onehas to rise to the level of science to disclose the character of the system. Quality is the totality of properties that makes aparticular thing what it is. Glossary defines “property” in its philosophic meaning onpage 243, taking a quote for Soviet literature.

      Quote

      Property (philosophy): The concepts of quality, property and state. Let us ask ourselves thisquestion: Is a given thing different from some other thing in some respect? If wethink that the given thing is no different from any other, it is impossible tospeak of our knowledge of that thing. If we know what a given thing is, then itis something for us, and if it is something, that means that it is the sumtotal of certain properties. …. A property is thus a way of manifestation of the object’s definiteaspect in relation to other objects with which it interacts. A property isprecisely that through which something manifests its specific being in relationto something else. Among all possible properties, we can single out propertiesessential (or necessary) and inessential (accidental) for the given object, andalso internal and external, universal and specific, natural and artificialones. The sum total of properties taken as a whole, as a system, forms theobject’s qualitative definiteness, reflecting its aspects of integrality andrelative stability. Quality is an existing definiteness, the expression of thestable unity of an object’s elements and structure. Properties are manifested with various degrees of intensity, and thisexpresses the state of the system involved. The state is a stable manifestationof a given property in its dynamic. We speak of the physical, psychical, ormoral state of a person or a people, of the state of a given nation’s economy,or of its political or military state. The object’s other properties areaddressed to the outside, while its state is turned towards its innerstructure. Properties, states, functions and connections are an object’s qualitativefeatures. Having established what propertyand state are, we can tackle a fuller definition of the quality of an object. Qualityis an integral description of the functional unity of an object’s essentialproperties, its internal and external definiteness, its relative stability. AlexanderSpirkin. Fundamentals. http://www.scribd.com/doc/47675159/Alexander-Spirkin-Fundamentals-of-Philosophy End Quote

      More later. Waistline

  8. Dave – thanks for your support in these discussions to date. You talk about “the Engels – Lenin-Trotsky – Stalin heritage”, as though it is one heritage. We must separate 3 camps here. Marx and Engels developed a living dialectics in their time and went as far as they could go due to the limits of the then sciences. Especially Lenin, but also Trotsky, with very little time spare as they were so organisationally nearly always busy, spent some time on partially developing dialectics, but I would not call it a living dialectics, despite both of them emphasising the significance of dialectics.

    The Stalin fraud that Waistsline worhips has nothing to with any living or development of dialectics; quite the opposite. Stalin is responsible for the almost death of dialectics – after all, he was a mass-murderer killing even more people than Hitler. Not that I blame either as individually responsible, they were just figureheads of the economic and political contradictions of hierachical rule and crises embodied in the capitalist system.

    You write “I think Trotskyite and Stalinist aproaches to dialectics are fairly similar”. Here you are much closer to the truth because Trotsky worshippers have not tried develop the dialectic, but Trotsky did, and Lenin especially despite his notebook style on the subject. Just my opinion, and it’s great to have you on board – warm regards, steve

    • waistline2@aol.com says:

      There is aschool of thought within historical Marxism, which states Lenin developed theexposition of dialectics, by presenting contradiction as the basis law ofdialectics and his use of “identity.” Lenin wrote inhis notebook: In brief, dialectics can be defined as the doctrine of theunity of opposites. This embodies the essence of dialectics, but it requiresexplanations and development. https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1914/cons-logic/summary.htm The Soviet statetook Lenin’s words as a mandate and invested its focus in developing theexposition on contradiction – the unity and struggle of opposites. Lenin’s expositionis obsolete. By obsolete Imean the pre-1980s FORM OF MATERIALISM and the pre-1980s FORM OF EXPOSITION,of dialectic are obsolete. I do not mean to imply dialectics is obsolete. Lenin advancedhis exposition during the Henry Ford era of industrial mechanics. Developmentis the stage by stage movement through which phenomenon passes. There are twodistinct kinds of movement. One is stage by stage completing a process and theother is the leap to a new qualitative state. Marxist Glossary Expanded Editioncontains a full outline description of the meaning of “development” on page 89. The Marxisttradition describes a stage of human awareness, based on (in the context and) environmentof the society’s primary tools, machines and energy source and the science underlyingthe technology regime. Stated anotherway, this gibberish means, the form of materialism of the pre-semiconductor eradid not have a concept of interactivity. Rather, theorganic unity of phenomenon was described by Lenin deploying the CONCEPT and word“connection,” “identity,” and “self movement” based on the logic of industrialmechanics. The Lenin stage is a stage of history, as is the Stalin stage andthe general Soviet stage. When Lenin is read again, for the first time, placinghim in the context and environment of the scientific advance of his time, itbecomes clearer he was an industrial warrior on the side of the proletariat. Industrialwarriors are artifacts, on display in the historical museum filling the space betweenthe rise of the bourgeois state and destruction of society based on privateproperty. Today we knowthat the environment of a thing – anything – is simultaneously the environmentof other things, because cause and effect are actually cause-effect and effect-cause. Engels spoke ofconnections so remote in a given phenomena that we (meaningindividuals deploying scientific methods of the 1890’s) could notdetermine the impact of its interactive unity in the environment or its causalityimpact. Industrialmaterialism (to be moreprecise, “the materialism” expressing science and logic of industrial mechanicsbased on the electro-mechanical process), has beensurpassed (SUBLATED) by a form of materialism based on computations andscientific inquiry made possible with computers and the technology regime thatis the platform for computers. Engels used theterm “sublate.” Sublation is defined on page 305 of Marxist Glossary ExpandedEdition. To advance the exposition of dialectics a common point of reference,based in a verifiable history. is helpful. Obsolete meansthe FORM of materialism based on industrial mechanics has beennegated and sublated by a higher form of materialism based on sciences thatarise as the result of the new technology based on the platform of thesemi-conductor. Engels wrotethat materialism changes its form with every epoch making discovery. Engels wasable to write this because he was a part of epoch making discovery that he andMarx bookmarked as the invention of the steam engine and the science behind itstechnology. The nodal linein history has been crossed. “Nodal line and nodal point” are defined on page213 of Marxist Glossary Expanded Edition. The nodal line is transition to a new qualityof technology and its corresponding sciences. Today we are crossing a nodalpoint in a new stage of history. The nodal point is the new world of meta-dataand Googles. Googles is to California, America and the world, what Ford MotorCompany was to Michigan, America and the world during the completion of theindustrial revolution. Dialectics,which Engels called the “law of connections” is actually “the law of interactivityas this interactivity expresses causality.” Or something to that effect. Your brother, Waistline