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Your thoughts about dialectical materialism?

0 votes
Basically what the title says...
Are you familiar with this theory and what are your thoughts about it?
asked Dec 14, 2015 by Pearchy (660 points)
i've never heard of it....and i have a low tolerance for "isms".
What about anarch-ism? :o

"What about anarch-ism? :o"

a little higher tolerance....but i desire anarchy much more than anarchism... :o)

i probably should consider changing my handle to "bornagainanarchy".

To add more context to the question, I'm currently reading Stalins "Anarchism or Socialism".
And besides shitposting anarchism he seems to be constantly mentioning dialectical materialism, how it's the "Right Thing™", and how anarchists refuse to accept it (he's also assuming all anarchists have the exact same opinion on philosophy)...
I guess the people he quoted were against it, but maybe some contemporary anarchists have a different opinion here?

(totally joking with the ™ symbol)
ba@- fwiw, i figure -ist, in this instance describes an activity, since -er doesn't have any ring. at any rate an -ist illustrates both direction: toward and -ism or an -y. english kinda sucks. :)
thanks, af. i like that. as you said, english kinda sucks, but i really do appreciate how you've delved into it and explain it (and i feel more comfortable leaving my name the same now.  :)  )

but, like you, i still dislike the taste of -ism, regardless; in english or otherwise. heheh.
I think the real question is why in the world are you reading Stalin? It's good to know our enemies, but Stalin never crossed my mind as worth investigating on a theoretical basis.
Agreed, Stalin doesn't have a lot of original thoughts, mostly he just quotes Marx and Hegel and makes his conclusions accordingly...
I'm reading it beacuse the title attracted me since it directly addreses anarchism from the marxist view...
my thoughts:

marxist dogma dressed up in academic graybeard verbiage.

but then again, i really have no idea.

1 Answer

+3 votes
I think this is a good question, and shouldn't be down voted.  I have a couple of thoughts.

My understanding is that dialectical materialism is a concept most associated with Stalin, Lenin and Lukacs. It was advanced as a kind of official Soviet interpretation of Marx's thought.

Lenin is pretty much of a third rate thinker but compared with Stalin he's a genius. Lukacs is actually pretty worthwhile in general. If you want to think about the concept in more detail I think you probably would have to go to the source, rather than listening to my approximate recollections.

I think basically it's that he (Lenin) thinks of dialectical materialism as like the scientific method of Marxism.

To me this is so disagreeable as to be not worth engaging with, because, to start with, the dialectic isn't supposed to be a 'method', it's the structure of reality according to Hegel, not just a style of argumentation. So I guess I would say that it strikes me as extremely bad, since it doesn't do justice to what the dialectic actually is (assuming you care about this).

Compared with just "materialism", or "historical materialism", which are the terms Marx (and other interpreters of Marx) would use, it seemed to me (when I last read anything dealing with it) really clunky and simplistic. Though there is definitely more to it than what I've hesitatingly outlined.

I'm hoping that someone with a higher level of investment in this stuff can pitch in, because I've forgotten most of what I've read about this and  what I've written above is probably too simple, and possibly wrong about some things.

Hope that's somewhat helpful.
answered Dec 15, 2015 by asker (9,880 points)
edited Apr 9, 2016 by asker
i don't believe any of the regulars here have any investment at all in this, much less a higher level than you, asker. but occasionally we do get the drive-by post, so it could happen, i guess.

i'm curious why the question was asked in the first place, at least on an anarchist site. is someone talking with a leninist and needs to know some anarchist arguments against that thinking?

i believe it's a failure of my imagination when i can't address a question without asking more about the context, and yet here i am...