Forum Replies Created
It will be noted that, yet again, L Bird evades the epistemological problems inherent in his position as he obsessively pursues his ‘materialist’ straw man.
As it happens, I’ve reviewed Carver’s books for the Socialist Standard and I agree with his point that there are important philosophical differences between Marx and Engels. However, they have no practical political significance as far as we are concerned. Nobody, including the WSM, is obliged to agree with everything they said.
Ironically, Carver shows that the main philosophical difference between Marx and Engels concerns epistemology (the theory of knowledge) and it is precisely here that L Bird’s argument fails.
L Bird wrote:
“Well, Lew, what you say is correct – only the class conscious proletariat can decide to use democratic political methods for all their social products.”
That’s not what I said. I said that, according to you, truth is determined by the class conscious proletariat by democratic means. But you fail to grasp the epistemological implications of this position – namely, that until (and unless) the victorious proletariat vote and decide what is true (and false) we don’t know anything to be true (or false). Which is patently absurd.
“My opinions are democratic, my criteria are democratic.”
Presumably you think this statements is true.
“That, indeed, is all we have.”
No it isn’t.
There’s plenty we know about capitalism and socialism which doesn’t require a vote. For instance:
- Under capitalism the working class are exploited through the wages system (true).
- Socialism will be a classless, moneyless, stateless world community (true).
- In socialism truth will be decided by voting (false).
L Bird wrote:
“… the ‘materialists’, who equate ‘material’ with ‘matter’, might be outvoted, by a class conscious proletariat …”
The victorious proletariat might also reject your assertions about “materialists”. They are assertions because, according to your own criterion, they have not been voted on (and passed) by a class conscious proletariat.
“Who (or what) determines ‘truth’?’, and ‘how?’. The only answer for a Marxist is ‘The Class Conscious Proletariat’ and ‘By Democratic Means’.”
If truth is determined by the class conscious proletariat by democratic means, then we will have to wait to find out what is true and what truth is – including, presumably, the claim that truth is determined by a vote. Until then, again all you have, according to your own criterion, is opinion.
Lewnorm_burns wrote:They did indeed feel that the terminology we use had become a burden in the light of most peoples' preconceptions about terms like 'working class'. I always thought they had resigned, but maybe they were expelled?
Nobody was expelled and the whole Stoke group (bigger than some branches) resigned, along with a number of other members from around the country (at least one from Guildford). Terminology was the given reason but it soon became clear that a rejection of the concepts behind the terminology was involved, not the least of which was class.When it soon became obvious that terminology was not a significant factor in hindering progress, WOFA dispersed and a few years later Paul Breeze stood as an independent (non-socialist, non-WOFA) candidate for mayor of Stoke, and he didn't do any better than the SPGB in elections.– Lewjondwhite wrote:Also this http://www.stefan-szczelkun.org.uk/taste/Chapter3-Morris.html says EP Thompson removed stuff from the 1955 edition for the 1977 reprint. I thought it was the case that material was added to the 1955 edition in the 1977 reprint.
In the 1977 reprint he removed references to Morris's ideas being realised in Soviet Russia. More here:http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2010s/2011/no-1285-september-2011/book-reviews-crisis-theory-chavs-gerrard-winsta– LewSympo wrote:Basically, some pro-capitalists believe that the more economically intertwined states are, the less likelyhood is there that there's gonna be a war between those states.
Britain, France and Germany were very economically intertwined (they also shared basically the same religion), but that didn't stop WW1 and WW2.– Lewgnome wrote:Quote:There are still many workers who don't read the Standard online because they don't have online access and quite possibly choose not to have it. What about them?
There are vastly many more workers who will never have the chance of buying a printed Standard. What about them?Quote:So instead of consuming "valuable resources" (i.e. that of cost and members' time) at Head Office it is proposed to transfer the effort to members elsewhere.
I did include HO (Head Office). But if members elsewhere want to take on that work, I don't see anything wrong with it.Quote:But neither is there any guarantee that workers will read the Standard online. That's why it's patently obvious we should keep any and every option open and not place all our eggs in one basket…
There is no guarantee that workers will read the Standard online or in print. But we do know that more and more workers are reading the Standard online. Nobody has suggested that we put all our eggs in one basket. All that is asked is that we redirect resources away from a media which is dying into a media which is thriving.– Lew
Here are a few reasons for discontinuing the printed Standard:Sales of the printed Standard have been in decline for many years. There is no forseable and realistic change to that trend.More people read the Standard online than in print. It is reasonable to expect that trend to continue.The printed Standard consumes valuable resources in terms of money and members time. For the effort involved it reaches relatively few people.Our website consumes very little resources in comparison to the printed Standard. For the effort involved its reach to the working class is limitless.Currently we have the Standard appearing monthly online, by which time some or all of the content is out of date. It's anachronistic to wait until the printed Standard comes out to see the Standard onlineIf articles for the Standard were edited and uploaded for as they arrive this would improve the "stickiness" for the website and people may return more often. We should be championing free access rather than following a failing model of capitalist consumerism.Last, but by no means least, this does not preclude HO, branches or individuals from printing off PDF copies of articles or whole Standards as required.– Lewrobbo203 wrote:His book Debunking Economics is a must-read (and I haven't read it yet)
I have read it and it's a waste of time:http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2000s/2003/no-1182-february-2003/book-reviewsLew
Hal Draper argued that Lenin was making explicit what was already implicit in the politics of the Second International generally and Kautsky in particular:https://www.marxists.org/archive/draper/1990/myth/myth.htmOur disagreements with Kautsky and the Second International usually center on their reformism and state capitalist conception of socialism. But our insistence that the emancipation of the working class really must be the work of the working class itself (DOP 5) has not been fully recognised. It is an important repudiation of Kautsky and the Second International and one of our most important contributions to socialist politics. I'm not aware of any history of the SPGB which covers this ground.Lew
OK, I'll give this one more try and attempt to answer the question which you avoided. To the question "Why should workers become socialist?" one possible answer is: Because the working class are exploited through the wages system. With consequences such as poverty amidst plenty, and so on. This is a claim which, we argue, is demonstrably true. It's true because it fits the facts and explains the world around us. It's true even if there is no workers' democracy. It's even true if there are no socialists or socialist party. And, of course, claims about "a fair days work for a fair days pay" are demonstrably false. That is the situation here and now.That is why talk of controlling "the production of truth" is meaningless.– LewLBird wrote:It's not quite clear to me yet just who Lew is proposing should control the production of 'truth'. Perhaps Lew will clarify just who is their 'active agent of truth production'.
This is, I think, meaningless. But let's try another tack. How would you answer the question: Why should workers become socialist?– LewLBird wrote:Of course, 'Marx's notion of truth' is not yet 'true', because there is at present another class in control of the 'notion of truth', but we have to argue, as socialists, for this revolutionary notion of the changeability of 'truth', so we can, err…, change our world, rather than just contemplate the 'Truth' that the bourgeoisie have built.
So, by "true" you mean "not yet true". Or until the victorious proletariat decide otherwise, possibly true. Or possibly false. Or possibly meaningless. Who knows? It's anybody's guess. Actually, your own actions betray this essentially postmodernist approach. As a socialist there are things you believe about capitalism, about socialism which, to some extent at least, are true (and, conversely, things which are false). Rational political discourse depends on it. This includes your "revolutionary notion of the changeability of 'truth'" which, to make sense, you must believe is true and not merely "not yet true".After all, what is the point of getting engaged in the struggle to change our world now if we can't decide what is true or false until after the revoltion.– LewLBird wrote:Yes, "the above statement is true".'Truth' is socially-produced, and the statement that I (and I think alan) make is a socially-produced one, with a political underpinning, that allows us to change 'truth', because it is humans that produce 'truth'.
How, why and where did the above statement (concerning Marx's notion of truth) become socially-produced as true?– Lew