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Marxist Scholars Circle RMB

WA Delegate: None.

Founder: The Revolutionary Headquarters of Marxist Scholar Vanguard

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MARXIST SCHOLARS CIRCLE



Welcome to the new Marxist Scholars Circle 2019!

A place where marxists from all corners of the world can come to discuss Marxism and have Marxist debates and discussions. If you are interested, then please join us in the various topics on our Regional Message Board.


Latest:

Comrades from our closest comrade region North Korea have invited to open the region to more intellectual debate and invites other leftist regions to take part as well.


Embassies: North Korea, The Communist Bloc, The Leftist Assembly, The Federation of Anarchist Communes, and Democratic Socialist Assembly.

Tags: Anti-Capitalist, Anti-Fascist, Communist, Democratic, Eco-Friendly, Egalitarian, Feminist, LGBT, Minuscule, Serious, and Socialist.

Marxist Scholars Circle contains 4 nations.

Today's World Census Report

The Most World Assembly Endorsements in Marxist Scholars Circle

World Census staff pored through World Assembly records to determine which nations were the most endorsed by others in their region.

As a region, Marxist Scholars Circle is ranked 3,964th in the world for Most World Assembly Endorsements.

NationWA CategoryMotto
1.The Revolutionary Headquarters of Marxist Scholar VanguardScandinavian Liberal Paradise“Workers of the World, Unite!”
2.The People's Republic of Zulanka in MSCLeft-wing Utopia“ˇHasta la Victoria Siempre!”
3.The Community of A Marxist Scholar FreienLeft-wing Utopia“There is only one way and that is revolutionary terror”
4.The Democratic Republic of Dialectical metaRealismLeft-wing Utopia“Emancipation from Capitalist Intersectionality!”

Regional Happenings

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Marxist Scholars Circle Regional Message Board

I don't think that me playing with Kant will be of much interest here, so I will conclude, making a return towards Marxism.

Dialectical metaRealism wrote:It depends on how one uses those terms. Ontologically, Kant was an idealist. Epistemologically, he was a realist.

I can't accept any such distinction. You are exchanging the distinction Kant makes in categorizing critical philosophy for a distinction that rests on subfields of philosophy, essentially adopting the standpoint of the division of labor within thought, of primary importance mostly in Anglo-Saxon philosophy, while on the other hand, Kant's philosophy is systematic and stands only as a unity. In any case, I think it is closer to being the other way around and you got it wrong.

Dialectical metaRealism wrote:Kant was the founder of modern philosophy which has, since his lifetime, been dominated by idealism, including with Fichte and his dialectic.

Another disagreement. It is philosophy before Kant that, in my opinion, is dominated by idealism, with a few exceptions (Lucretius, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza). Philosophy after Kant, and especially after Marx, seems actually much closer to materialism (again, with exceptions, like existentialism). It is today, with the attempt to do metaphysics after Heidegger, which basically consists in a return to pre-Kantian metaphysics, that under the banner of "realism" idealism is making its comeback and exerting its domination. The enemies of materalism are not Kant and the German Idealists, but Plato and Descartes.

Dialectical metaRealism wrote:Marx's major criticism of Hegel was that he turned the dialectic upside down. Marx claimed to correct Hegel's error.

Is that a criticism though? Marx is distancing himself from Hegel, only to show his closeness to him. That is how this passage is to be read in its unity. Marx assures us that his "dialectic method is not only different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite". Anyone familiar with Hegel will be able to look beyond the appearance of that sentence and into its meaning. Marx continues by praising Hegel: "I therefore openly avowed myself the pupil of that mighty thinker, and even here and there, in the chapter on the theory of value, coquetted with the modes of expression peculiar to him". But it is another phrase of Marx that particularly captures my interest: "just as I was working at the first volume of “Das Kapital,” it was the good pleasure of the peevish, arrogant, mediocre Epigonoi who now talk large in cultured Germany, to treat Hegel in same way as the brave Moses Mendelssohn in Lessing’s time treated Spinoza, i.e., as a "dead dog". Marx is not just making an analogy between the critics of Hegel and Mendelssohn and between the treatment Spinoza and Hegel received. He is talking about Hegel in terms of Hegel, taking himself Hegel's position. One is struck to read in the Introduction of Hegel's Encyclopedia that: "Lessing said in his day that people treat Spinoza the way they treat a dead dog; one cannot say that in more recent times Spinozism, and speculative philosophy in general, are treated any better". The analogy is clear: Marx as Hegel, salvaging Hegel from what he saw but couldn't save himself from. The opposite where it properly belongs.

Dialectical metaRealism wrote:As to nominalism, Roman Catholic Thomists or neo-Thomists have generally argued that Ockham's razor, or nominalism as some define it, was the beginning of materialism.

Marx agrees with that in the Holy Family. Althusser adds on it, saying that nominalism is not only the beginning of materialism, but materialism itself.

Dialectical metaRealism wrote:I see identity politics as a means to an end: conscientization. An identity politics which is separated from conscientization can become counter-revolutionary.

Class politics are a means to an end too, however. Why do "identity politics" stand as secondary to it and thus, in waiting?

A Marxist Scholar Freien wrote:I don't think that me playing with Kant will be of much interest here, so I will conclude, making a return towards Marxism.
I can't accept any such distinction. You are exchanging the distinction Kant makes in categorizing critical philosophy for a distinction that rests on subfields of philosophy, essentially adopting the standpoint of the division of labor within thought, of primary importance mostly in Anglo-Saxon philosophy, while on the other hand, Kant's philosophy is systematic and stands only as a unity. In any case, I think it is closer to being the other way around and you got it wrong.

That is one of Bhaskar's major distinctions. He calls it the epistemic fallacy. According to Bhaskar, one of the major problems with modern philosophy is a failure to make a distinction between ontology and epistemology. Now, that said, I think that Kant did understand the difference. However, it has often been glossed over by later philosophers.

IMO, no philosophy is really a unity. Philosophers, as humans, generally make many intellectual turns throughout their lives. That was true with Kant. It was also true with Bhaskar.

A Marxist Scholar Freien wrote:Another disagreement. It is philosophy before Kant that, in my opinion, is dominated by idealism, with a few exceptions (Lucretius, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza). Philosophy after Kant, and especially after Marx, seems actually much closer to materialism (again, with exceptions, like existentialism). It is today, with the attempt to do metaphysics after Heidegger, which basically consists in a return to pre-Kantian metaphysics, that under the banner of "realism" idealism is making its comeback and exerting its domination. The enemies of materalism are not Kant and the German Idealists, but Plato and Descartes.

Aristotelian philosophy, which was dominant before Kant (and, to an extent, after him, as well), had both idealist and realist elements. However, he abandoned most of the strict idealism of Plato, especially regarding the theory of essences.

A Marxist Scholar Freien wrote:Is that a criticism though? Marx is distancing himself from Hegel, only to show his closeness to him. That is how this passage is to be read in its unity. Marx assures us that his "dialectic method is not only different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite". Anyone familiar with Hegel will be able to look beyond the appearance of that sentence and into its meaning. Marx continues by praising Hegel: "I therefore openly avowed myself the pupil of that mighty thinker, and even here and there, in the chapter on the theory of value, coquetted with the modes of expression peculiar to him". But it is another phrase of Marx that particularly captures my interest: "just as I was working at the first volume of “Das Kapital,” it was the good pleasure of the peevish, arrogant, mediocre Epigonoi who now talk large in cultured Germany, to treat Hegel in same way as the brave Moses Mendelssohn in Lessing’s time treated Spinoza, i.e., as a "dead dog". Marx is not just making an analogy between the critics of Hegel and Mendelssohn and between the treatment Spinoza and Hegel received. He is talking about Hegel in terms of Hegel, taking himself Hegel's position. One is struck to read in the Introduction of Hegel's Encyclopedia that: "Lessing said in his day that people treat Spinoza the way they treat a dead dog; one cannot say that in more recent times Spinozism, and speculative philosophy in general, are treated any better". The analogy is clear: Marx as Hegel, salvaging Hegel from what he saw but couldn't save himself from. The opposite where it properly belongs.

The early Marx, yes. The later Marx, not so much. For instance, Capital and the Grundrisse show how far Marx had moved away from Hegel. Later on, Engels was even moving toward an institutional approach to scientific socialism (wißenschaftlicher Sozialismus).

A Marxist Scholar Freien wrote:Marx agrees with that in the Holy Family. Althusser adds on it, saying that nominalism is not only the beginning of materialism, but materialism itself.

The problem with Althusser's claim is that, among the scholastic theologians, Ockham was not a materialist.

A Marxist Scholar Freien wrote:Class politics are a means to an end too, however. Why do "identity politics" stand as secondary to it and thus, in waiting?

The goal of class politics is emancipation from capitalism and the capitalist world-system (Wallerstein). What is the goal of identity politics? (Edit: My own answer is that the goal of identity politics is class politics.)

Sharing from NK's RMB:

March 8th, International Women's Day!

North Korea is a revolutionary Marxist region and as so, it's also Feminist region. We recognize that liberation of all people's (and especially women) is dependant on smashing the for profit capitalist economy and establishing a public, democratically controlled and planned people's economy.

Women bare the brunt of the economic exploitation under this system by the societal implications of child rearing, household cleaning and often maintenance. The "patriarchy" or superstructure of this economy puts women in an inferior position in economic matters having to clear these and many other hurdles before equal footing with men is considered possible.

The exploitation of women in health care and education is world renowned, where we do the most important jobs in the world for mediocre pay.

Revolutionary regards;

Veronica Ming, founder of North Korea
--- --- ---

Women hold up half the sky! - Mao Tse-tung

Apologies for the late reply!

Just to be clear, I'm not a Third Worldist, I'm trying to give a more charitable view of Third Worldists in replying here for the sake of discussion and further education.

Dialectical metaRealism wrote:I am talking about Western Marxism and the critical social theory which developed out of it. Either the individuals who started those schools did not read The German Ideology, which critiques German idealism, or they simply disagree with it. Either way, IMO, one of the reasons Marxist communism has not taken root in the Western world is because of the idealist turn.

I'm definitely sympathetic to criticism of Western Marxism, but isn't it somewhat idealist itself to point towards ideological defects as the main things that have held Western Marxism back from effecting substantial change rather than something in the base that serves as a material basis for issues there? The latter is part what I find compelling about Third Worldists, at least in introducing people to these concepts.

Dialectical metaRealism wrote:Third Worldists reject Marx's statement that workers of the world should unite. According to them, proletarians in the First World don't have the revolutionary potential to do so. I have yet to see a convincing defense of that position.

I don't see them as rejecting Marx's statement necessarily. I see their focus as giving Marxist political economy an update to reflect what they see as reality now. The conclusions that some may draw from that lead to views like what you mention but there's more nuance to them than that suggests. In groups like the Blekingegade Gang I see not an abandonment of the struggle but a different direction taken with a different emphasis than conventional political work we've seen in the West.

Dialectical metaRealism wrote:Gramsci was one of the major predecessors of Antifa, a current I incorporate into my work (along with Rosa's ideas). I like him because, from his prison cell, he laid the foundation for an approach which would challenge both autocrats and plutocrats from Mussolini to Trump.

What I'm interested in regarding Gramsci in this context is his concept of cultural imperialism you mentioned previously.

I think this piece might be a good introduction to contemporary perspectives on imperialism. It's approachable (to me at least) but very comprehensive. I recommend John Smith's Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century if you'd like to read more from a similar view.

Global Commodity Chains and the New Imperialism

https://monthlyreview.org/2019/03/01/global-commodity-chains-and-the-new-imperialism/

Zulanka in MSC wrote:Apologies for the late reply!

No problem. We are all busy.

Zulanka in MSC wrote:Just to be clear, I'm not a Third Worldist, I'm trying to give a more charitable view of Third Worldists in replying here for the sake of discussion and further education.

Honestly, I had a somewhat more charitable view of Third Worldism before I started watching Jason Unruhe. I know that he is not very popular with many other Third Worldists. Some of them have even accused him of plagiarism. (I am not in a position to judge the accuracy of that claim.) Unruhe seems to have a favorable view of right-wing governments, like Russia, Turkey, and Iran. He is even a political analyst for the Iranian government's English-language TV channel. It seems to be intentionally mimicking BBC News. Unruhe has also had other Third Worldists host his YouTube show (when he has been on vacation). They all appeared to share Unruhe's right-wing sympathies. It seems to me that he places his authoritarianism (a tankie for the sake of being a tankie) ahead of any Leftism. Now, again, I realize that not all Third Worldists agree with Unruhe. However, they all appear to question (without any evidence I have seen) any dialectical potential in the West. To me, that is a direct contradiction to Marx's internationalism.

Zulanka in MSC wrote:I'm definitely sympathetic to criticism of Western Marxism, but isn't it somewhat idealist itself to point towards ideological defects as the main things that have held Western Marxism back from effecting substantial change rather than something in the base that serves as a material basis for issues there? The latter is part what I find compelling about Third Worldists, at least in introducing people to these concepts.

I just think that many Western Marxists took an unfortunate turn toward idealism. That culminated in the Frankfurt School and, more recently, with post-Marxism.

Zulanka in MSC wrote:I don't see them as rejecting Marx's statement necessarily. I see their focus as giving Marxist political economy an update to reflect what they see as reality now. The conclusions that some may draw from that lead to views like what you mention but there's more nuance to them than that suggests. In groups like the Blekingegade Gang I see not an abandonment of the struggle but a different direction taken with a different emphasis than conventional political work we've seen in the West.

I am all for continuously updating scientific socialism. However, why focus on the Third World (unless one lives in the Third World)?

Zulanka in MSC wrote:What I'm interested in regarding Gramsci in this context is his concept of cultural imperialism you mentioned previously.

Throughout all the turns I have made in my life, since 1968, I have always appreciated his theory of cultural hegemony.

Mark

Dialectical metaRealism wrote:Honestly, I had a somewhat more charitable view of Third Worldism before I started watching Jason Unruhe ... Now, again, I realize that not all Third Worldists agree with Unruhe. However, they all appear to question (without any evidence I have seen) any dialectical potential in the West. To me, that is a direct contradiction to Marx's internationalism.

I can understand not liking Third Worldism if you take Unruhe as representative of it! I had sort of the opposite experience as you since I didn't know of Third Worldism at all before I knew of him. I didn't respect the tendency as a whole for a long time after and engaged with other Third Worldist authors (like Cope as I mentioned) to sort of challenge myself. Reading them I quickly understood that my prior conceptions of Third Worldism were very limited and colored by Unruhe. There really is more diversity and nuance in Third Worldism than people just saying the West is worthless or fetishizing movements in the periphery.

Third Worldists do rely on hard data about discrepancies in trade, wages, etc. to back up their positions. While their analysis is not quite as rigorous as others already discussed and the conclusions they make from this data can (and should) be challenged, I don't see their work as intrinsically any more opposed to internationalism than Marx or Engels' own analysis of the labor aristocracy. I understand that recognizing these hidden hierarchies and forms of exploitation (like with racism or sexism) can be challenging, particularly for those who benefit from them. It can get even more divisive when there's a positive element involved in their deconstruction (ex: promoting black power against racism, affirming trans folks' genders while working towards abolishing gender, etc.). But I utterly reject what I see as the alternative, basically just a variation of the "color-blind" class-reductionist approach, of choosing essentially opportunism or what sounds good to the ear over a sober understanding of the world we live in.

Dialectical metaRealism wrote:I just think that many Western Marxists took an unfortunate turn toward idealism. That culminated in the Frankfurt School and, more recently, with post-Marxism.

To clarify, my point wasn't necessarily that I disagree Western Marxism took an idealist turn. I don't mean to dismiss the importance of theory and strategy in the course of a socialist project either, of course there can be more or less effective lines in a given situation. What I'm objecting to is the emphasis on the ideas some folks have over the material circumstances surrounding them. I just don't think it's entirely convincing as a Marxist or materialist to point to such subjective factors like ideological issues as primary faults behind failures of the left in the West for example.

Dialectical metaRealism wrote:I am all for continuously updating scientific socialism. However, why focus on the Third World (unless one lives in the Third World)?

The majority of the working class is in the periphery now. Inquiry into their circumstances and how they differ from our own will become more and more important for contemporary Marxists in the West for this reason alone. When we consider how global economic changes have led to this situation and how those trends effect us (workers in the West) as well this focus becomes less a curiosity and more relevant regardless of any personal connection one might have to the Third World.

Zulanka in MSC wrote:I can understand not liking Third Worldism if you take Unruhe as representative of it! I had sort of the opposite experience as you since I didn't know of Third Worldism at all before I knew of him. I didn't respect the tendency as a whole for a long time after and engaged with other Third Worldist authors (like Cope as I mentioned) to sort of challenge myself. Reading them I quickly understood that my prior conceptions of Third Worldism were very limited and colored by Unruhe. There really is more diversity and nuance in Third Worldism than people just saying the West is worthless or fetishizing movements in the periphery.

I had engaged with the work of other Third Worldists before Unruhe. However, I suppose that Unruhe's knee-jerk right-wing authoritarianism put a bad taste in my mouth. Even so, I disliked the emphasis on the Third World even before watching Unruhe's commentaries.

Zulanka in MSC wrote:Third Worldists do rely on hard data about discrepancies in trade, wages, etc. to back up their positions. While their analysis is not quite as rigorous as others already discussed and the conclusions they make from this data can (and should) be challenged, I don't see their work as intrinsically any more opposed to internationalism than Marx or Engels' own analysis of the labor aristocracy. I understand that recognizing these hidden hierarchies and forms of exploitation (like with racism or sexism) can be challenging, particularly for those who benefit from them. It can get even more divisive when there's a positive element involved in their deconstruction (ex: promoting black power against racism, affirming trans folks' genders while working towards abolishing gender, etc.). But I utterly reject what I see as the alternative, basically just a variation of the "color-blind" class-reductionist approach, of choosing essentially opportunism or what sounds good to the ear over a sober understanding of the world we live in.

Sure, but I think it makes more sense to use the work of, for instance, Kimberlé Crenshaw or Patricia Hill Collins, two of the seminal figures in intersectional theory. As I see it, intersectionality develops a sophisticated, nuanced, multidimensional approach to the capitalist world-system (borrowing from Wallerstein) without falling into the dualism of developing vis-ŕ-vis developed countries. Certainly, relative degrees of development can be considered as one axis (or, as I call it, a single intersectional thoroughfare) of the matrix of domination (Collins' term), but there are many other axes as well. To me, Third Worldism gets caught up in a simplistic economism, which both Marx and, especially, Engels, were moving away from toward the ends of their careers. There is more to capitalism than development.

Zulanka in MSC wrote:To clarify, my point wasn't necessarily that I disagree Western Marxism took an idealist turn. I don't mean to dismiss the importance of theory and strategy in the course of a socialist project either, of course there can be more or less effective lines in a given situation. What I'm objecting to is the emphasis on the ideas some folks have over the material circumstances surrounding them. I just don't think it's entirely convincing as a Marxist or materialist to point to such subjective factors like ideological issues as primary faults behind failures of the left in the West for example.
The majority of the working class is in the periphery now. Inquiry into their circumstances and how they differ from our own will become more and more important for contemporary Marxists in the West for this reason alone. When we consider how global economic changes have led to this situation and how those trends effect us (workers in the West) as well this focus becomes less a curiosity and more relevant regardless of any personal connection one might have to the Third World.

Yes, I think that the contrast between the core and the periphery, in the dependency theories, allows for greater sophistication than Third Worldism. To me, however, much of academic Marxism (of which I have been a part since 1980) has been so captivated by the Freudianism of the Frankfurt School and, more recently, the quasi-Lacanianism (poststructural Freudianism) of scholars such as Žižek that I wonder if academic Marxism, to which I have been committed, is, at this point, even redeemable.

Hey, I like this place.

Since we are a relatively small region, could we sponsor a reasonably scholarly debate on some subject? We could invite members of regions in which we have embassies (and perhaps others, too). It may attract more people to our region.

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