The Long Awaited Materialism thread

July 2024 Forums General discussion The Long Awaited Materialism thread

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  • #100432
    DJP
    Participant
    LBird wrote:
    I'll say it once again, comrades, if we don't collectively and democratically control the production of scientific knowledge, then that process of production will remain in the hands of a minority, who will thus have power over society.

    But in a society of common ownership and democratic control WHO are 'the scientists' and HOW do they exert minority control?

    #100433
    LBird
    Participant
    DJP wrote:
    LBird wrote:
    I'll say it once again, comrades, if we don't collectively and democratically control the production of scientific knowledge, then that process of production will remain in the hands of a minority, who will thus have power over society.

    But in a society of common ownership and democratic control WHO are 'the scientists' and HOW do they exert minority control?

    The form of your question, DJP, seems to equate 'property' with 'knowledge' (or 'economics' with 'science'), and so, to me, reads like an assumption is being made about 'economic determinism'. By that, I mean an assumption that 'social ideas' reflect 'economic reality'. I'm not an 'economic determinist', nor do I believe that there is a simple, one-way, causation or influence between 'economic base' and 'superstructural ideology'. That is, I don't believe that 'economics' determines 'power'.There is a good discussion to be had about our assumptions on these issues, but I don't want to divert this thread away from what I consider the main issue. I think that could be summed up by asking the question 'Is knowledge power?'.Since I think that science produces 'knowledge', and I believe that 'knowledge is power', then I think that all 'knowledge production' within a Communist society should be under the democratic control of that society.If one believes that 'scientific knowledge' is a copy of 'nature', then 'nature' itself determines our 'knowledge' of it, and so 'nature' has the power to determine our views.But if one believes that 'scientific knowledge' is not a simple copy of 'nature', and thus that 'scientific knowledge' has a socio-economic, cultural and historical dimension, then one would want that the production of that knowledge is as much under our democratic control, as other socio-economic, cultural and historical knowledge.

    #100434
    DJP
    Participant
    LBird wrote:
    Since I think that science produces 'knowledge', and I believe that 'knowledge is power', then I think that all 'knowledge production' within a Communist society should be under the democratic control of that society.

    OK. But HOW does knowledge manifest itself as power?

    #100435
    LBird
    Participant
    DJP wrote:
    LBird wrote:
    Since I think that science produces 'knowledge', and I believe that 'knowledge is power', then I think that all 'knowledge production' within a Communist society should be under the democratic control of that society.

    OK. But HOW does knowledge manifest itself as power?

    I tell you and ALB that the earth does go round the sun!And you both, stunned, exclaim: "The Truth… He is the messiah!" After that, putty in my hands… heh, heh, heh….

    #100436
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    LBird wrote:
    DJP wrote:
    LBird wrote:
    Since I think that science produces 'knowledge', and I believe that 'knowledge is power', then I think that all 'knowledge production' within a Communist society should be under the democratic control of that society.

    OK. But HOW does knowledge manifest itself as power?

    I tell you and ALB that the earth does go round the sun!And you both, stunned, exclaim: "The Truth… He is the messiah!" After that, putty in my hands… heh, heh, heh….

     Does a worker need all these argumentation  in order to become a socialist ? 

    #100437
    DJP
    Participant
    LBird wrote:
    I tell you and ALB that the earth does go round the sun!And you both, stunned, exclaim: "The Truth… He is the messiah!" After that, putty in my hands… heh, heh, heh….

    Ah, I see. Like in The Life of Brian?

    #100438
    LBird
    Participant
    mcolome1 wrote:
    Does a worker need all these argumentation in order to become a socialist ?

    Since 'science' is the supposed method for understanding our world, both natural and social, and workers aim to understand this world that they find themselves in, then I think it is necessary for workers to be able to take part in these discussions/arguments so that they can actively and creatively participate in the shaping of their world.For our part as Communists, I think it is our duty to make these discussions comprehensible to workers who don't yet have enough understanding of 'science' and its power (and, indeed, also 'value' and other concepts, which I don't think have ever been explained well enough).I think that a Communist society would require mass participation in many activities that are, at present, the preserve of the few. I think that this includes not only politics (power) and economics (production and distribution), but also academia and especially science (as sources of authority).Personally, I can't imagine a worker 'becoming a socialist' without them also having become increasingly curious about the world, in all its manifestations.

    #100439
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    LBird wrote:
    mcolome1 wrote:
    Does a worker need all these argumentation in order to become a socialist ?

    Since 'science' is the supposed method for understanding our world, both natural and social, and workers aim to understand this world that they find themselves in, then I think it is necessary for workers to be able to take part in these discussions/arguments so that they can actively and creatively participate in the shaping of their world.For our part as Communists, I think it is our duty to make these discussions comprehensible to workers who don't yet have enough understanding of 'science' and its power (and, indeed, also 'value' and other concepts, which I don't think have ever been explained well enough).I think that a Communist society would require mass participation in many activities that are, at present, the preserve of the few. I think that this includes not only politics (power) and economics (production and distribution), but also academia and especially science (as sources of authority).Personally, I can't imagine a worker 'becoming a socialist' without them also having become increasingly curious about the world, in all its manifestations.

     I do not think that a simple worker needs all these intellectuals jargon in order to become a socialist, and all these argumentation they are not new either, they have been discussed in many coffee shops by armchair socialists.Some workers spend 12 and 16 hours a day working in order to support themselves and their family, and some workers do not have the time to go to a library, or to spend long hours in a discussion forum, and there are workers in this world who at least know how to read and write, and there are millions of workers who do not know how to read and write, and there are millions of workers who do not have a computer, or do not have access to the internetOne of the merit of the Socialist Party and the World Socialist Movement is that they have been able to show to the workers that socialism is a theory that it is easy to be understood, and they have explained socialism in simple terms, and simple explanations have been published in pamphlets, contrary to the left wingers who transformed socialism into a theory for intellectuals only, and trying to show that they know everything riding in their high horseI have  read most of the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Mao, and Stalin, and did not need all that, by just reading the simple ( not simplistic ) argumentation of the World Socialist Movement I did obtain a much better understanding of what socialism really is, What workers must understand is that socialism is a world society of common possession, without state, without leaders, without a monetary system, without wages slavery, and for free access, and still most of the workers of the workers do not accept, or do not know about those conceptions, even more, most left wingers do not know them, or do not want to accept them. The forum of the WSM has a very small amount of participants, and in this forum only two or three persons are participating and it has been reduced to one single topic, or a cocks fightsWhat we must do is to propagate those simple ideas within the working class movement, and those ideas are only known on a few countries, and within a small circle of workers, and mostly within the English speaking world,  That is what I personally did after I joined the WSM, and I do not want to turn it  into a complicated system of ideas.The communist society is going to be a different case and a different situation, but at the present time, our main aim and our main goal is to overthrow this economical system, and we do not know if it is going to  be through the ballot or through the bullet. Like a person that I knew she said: When they move, they move, the question is: Are you going to be ready when they move ? 

    #100440
    steve colborn
    Participant

    I totally agree Marcos. Workers don't need this "intellectualeese" to understand the case for Socialism/Communism. The evidence for this necessity, is all around us. The bullshitters who, beyond all evidence to the contrary, continue to push the argument for the defence of the indefensible, Capitalism, use longwinded crap to try and "obfuscate", sorry about that use of an unnecessary and longwinded word, I mean 'cloud' the real issues.Let us, as "workers" first, in conjunction with, when we understand the need for, a societal change, as Socialists/Communists, start talking in "ordinary" language! Not so that we "talk down" to our fellow workers, nor try to appear as intellectuals, and arrogant, but as workers too because thats all we are, so that our fellows dont have to read a dictionary, or the combined works of Socialist thinkers, down the ages. It is not "patronising" to talk, as we were once talked to or, as I, myself, talk now. It is merely a case of making the case for "the change", more accessible.Lets stop getting wrapped up in who can cite the years when a specific edition of Das Capital was released. Or which Socialist theoretician, said what, when! The case for Socialism/Communism, is simplicity itself. It takes neither Degree, nor massive intellect. It takes exposure to the iniquities and truth of Capitalism, to it's basic contradictions. If we do nothing else, all we need do is continue to point out these contradictions in, louder and louder voices, so that none can fail but hear. As Steve Coleman once said, "if all the workers lined up on one side and all the capitalists on the other and the workers spat at the capitalists, we would drown them.As, if all the workers stood on one side and the capitalists stood on the other and we all screamed out the contradictions to the capitalists, of these self same contradictions we would deafen them with the logic for societal change!Lets start fucking screaming!!!!

    #100441
    twc
    Participant

    IdeologyMuch of what you tell is too true.  Sadly, it is not the whole story.The SPGB’s case has been attacked root and branch.  Its conception of primitive socialism [that’s what started it, and derailed that discussion, the first of many derailments], its Marxian science, its socialist Object and its materialist Declaration of Principles are declared to be mere ideology.They just happen to be the SPGB’s ideology and not someone else’s ideology, and the SPGB should simply grow up and acknowledge this uncomfortable fact about the human condition.  So the SPGB must acknowledge that all thought is based on ideology, and political thought on political ideology.Because the charge has been laid by an avowed anti-materialist, it is worth pointing out that class ideology can only be a materialist position, along the lines that social condition determines social ideology.No idealist could credibly maintain that social ideology determines social condition throughout an entire social epoch, or mode of production.  No idealist could credibly argue that class ideology has the social power to determine a man’s social condition as that of a worker, a serf, or a slave, simply because he holds such conceptions of himself.  No idealist could credibly maintain that a man in the social condition of worker, serf or slave could become a capitalist, lord or master, merely by thinking “ideologically” like a capitalist, lord or master.Class-ideology turns out not to be idealist at all, but the oldest political form of materialism.This, of course, was already recognized by those bête noir 18th century materialist philosophes, Diderot, Holbach, La Mettrie, Condorcet, et al., who expressed it in plain language as “opinion governs the world”.  These detested fellows already proved that if social classes have their own social-class ideologies — and these pre-French revolutionaries knew a thing or two about social-class ideologies — then social-class ideology must be the product of social-class condition, and not social-class condition the product of social-class ideology.Socially-Necessary False ConsciousnessMarx was weaned on such French materialism — remarkable stuff — in his Rhineland youth, and spent his entire lifetime exploring the far-more complex nature of social consciousness that is raised upon the foundation of a social mode of production.Marx went far beyond the fine old philosophes, and employed the term “ideology” to connote a different social category.  For him, it did not mean all of social thought, nor merely social-class thought.  He reserved the term “ideology” to mean the insidious false consciousness shared by an entire society.[The more obvious, less insidious, forms of social ‘ideology’, recognized by all and sundry, as such, ready-made weapons of demagoguery, are derivative of Marx’s more general form, and are subservient to it.]The ideology of an entire social mode of production is tacitly agreed upon by all members of society, regardless of social class, throughout most of the lifetime of that social mode of production.  Social ideology is insidiously democratic in the pervasive sense that it is unconsciously accepted as incontestably just so, by both master and slave, lord and serf, and capitalist and worker.Ideology, in Marx’s sense, is the pervasive thought environment that arises out of monopolized ownership and control of the necessary implements and resources of social reproduction by a social class [or classes] and not by all of society.The necessity for society to reproduce itself reinforces in the social consciousness, that is shared by all social classes (since all classes depend on social reproduction), the rationality of maintaining society under its existing inflexible practice of class ownership and control, and thus under the malleable (because forms of thought are flexible, while the practice of class control is adamantly sacrosanct) existing principle of anti-social thought.  In this way, inflexible conditions of social reproduction unconsciously reproduce accommodating social ideology.Men trapped within this shared social ideology can imagine all sorts of fanciful ways to escape from it, idealistically, but so long as their consciousness remains trapped within its bounds and forms, bounds and forms that are appropriate to the mode of production, they cannot escape its clutches socially.At most, men trapped within the protective ideology of a social mode of production can only escape its clutches ideally, not socially, and so anti-socially, by exchanging old owners and controllers of the social means of life for new ones.  But the new owners and controllers of the social means of life still remain trapped within the thought confines of the materially necessary social ideology they share with all, and their transformation of ownership and power simply leaves the general practice of class ownership and control in place, and hence the social mode of production keeps on generating its necessary protective ideology in the minds of men.The SPGB Object and Declaration of Principles are not ideological in Marx’s sense.Rather they are necessary means for exposing and overthrowing the material foundations of capitalist ideology, and replacing them with material foundations that are truly social for all society, and that thereby do not generate, because they do not need to generate, the false consciousness that constitutes the ideology of an anti-social class society, capitalism.

    #100442
    steve colborn
    Participant

    twc, your reply above, is precisely the terminology laden stuff, that I was talking against. Before I joined the SPGB, I knew, as a definite fact, something was wrong with the societyI lived in. When I came across the Party in the late 70's early 80's, they encapsulated, not only my thoughts about what was wrong and why but they gave me the answer to solving both my poblems and the problems faced by my class. That was enough for me and still is. That I have read considerably since then, has merely entrenched my thoughts that the SPGB are correct! Now the problem is, that we need to find a consistent and reliable way to get our ideas across to our fellow workers, in such a way as to bring about Socialism, in the shortest possible time. That is the conundrum that faces us now. Methodology not ideology!

    #100443
    LBird
    Participant
    steve colborn wrote:
    Methodology not ideology!

    No, you're quite correct. One's method is based upon one's ideology.

    #100444
    twc
    Participant

    That being the case, Steve, I’ll bow out of the forum.

    #100445
    LBird
    Participant
    twc wrote:
    That being the case, Steve, I’ll bow out of the forum.

    You still don't get it, do you, twc?No-one wants you to 'bow out', because you have plenty of knowledge which could help us all to learn more about this subject.But… it's a 'forum' for discussion, rather than a 'notice board', where you simply post your thoughts at great length without any discrimination at all, and the rest of us just passively read 'pearls of wisdom'.Here's a tip: try posting on a single subject, within a few lines, and then reply to questions others ask of that post. Y'know, interaction.Just 'brain-dumping' decades of reading, stretching over hundreds of years of thought, into a long post, is not discussion.You have a valuable asset, but it must be critically interrogated

    #100446
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    steve colborn wrote:
    twc, your reply above, is precisely the terminology laden stuff, that I was talking against. Before I joined the SPGB, I knew, as a definite fact, something was wrong with the societyI lived in. When I came across the Party in the late 70's early 80's, they encapsulated, not only my thoughts about what was wrong and why but they gave me the answer to solving both my poblems and the problems faced by my class. That was enough for me and still is. That I have read considerably since then, has merely entrenched my thoughts that the SPGB are correct! Now the problem is, that we need to find a consistent and reliable way to get our ideas across to our fellow workers, in such a way as to bring about Socialism, in the shortest possible time. That is the conundrum that faces us now. Methodology not ideology!

     Another  important idea is to get out from England and spread the socialist theory  through the whole world. Until now, the WSM is an Euro-centrist organization

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