Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Fall of the Soviet Union by Harpal Brar



Democracy and Class Struggle says Harpal Brar on Khruschevite Revisionism and the Fall of the Soviet Union is at his best.Yes we have disagreements with him on the National Question and other things - but also agreement on modern revisionism.

Slavoj Zizek and the Madness of Eclecticism by Nickglais


Democracy and Class Struggle says we subjectively wanted to say something positive about Slavoj Zizek - the more we looked at his performance at the debate with Jordan Peterson we found no saving graces - Zizek is in transition from Marxism to the Madness of Electicism  - we fear his next destination will be Syncretism the home of the right and Post War Fascism.. 


The Slovoj Zizek statement to the Zizek /Peterson debate made no attempt to be an ordered refutation of a text like Jordan Peterson on the Communist Manifesto - it  was the  monologue of an intellectual dilettante suffering from the madness of eclecticism - eclecticism for Zizek is a virtue not a sin - which shows how far Zizek has  departed from Marxism.

The first question which we asked was why did Zizek not refute the Communist Manifesto Story of Jordan Peterson - it was an invitation to an open goal but Zizek although capable of demolishing Peterson's Story Telling did not.

The question of why he did not -  exposed his yet deeper links to Peterson  - or where Peterson and Zizek are joined at the hip Psycho Analysis.

See our comparison of Marxism and Psycho Analysis here :

https://democracyandclasstruggle.blogspot.com/2019/04/psycho-analysis-and-marxism-by-jd-bernal.html

Zizek loves the subjectivity of happiness as much as Peterson loves the subjectivity of Good and Evil.

Slavoj Zizek sort of identified happiness  with contemporary Confucian capitalist China - where nihilism  reigns - Maoism was a period of real happiness of the collective but you will not hear that from Zizek who propagates the Communist Horror Stories usually as anecdotes just as they are collapsing as objective evidence shatters the long held myths in the West about Maoist China.

To say nothing about how Stalin has emerged the most popular in Russia that he has been since 1956 - not because Russians are psychotic and are mentally ill but because historical reality has broken through with new historical research and the Western nonsense about the Soviet Union is seen for what it is ideologically inspired propaganda sickness and projection of West's fears onto Communism which is personified in the living person of Jordan Peterson who sounds like a Senator Joseph McCarthy on a anti Communist Rant of Good and Evil which his audience loves.


Eclecticism is the practice of selecting and compiling doctrines from different contradictory systems of thought.

It is distinct from syncretism, the attempt to reconcile or combine contradictory systems, in that it does not attempt to resolve the contradictions between them.

We end unfortunately agreeing with Noam Chomsky saying Žižek is guilty of "using fancy terms like polysyllables and pretending you have a theory when you have no theory whatsoever," and also said that Žižek’s theories never go "beyond the level of something you can explain in five minutes to a twelve-year-old

SEE ALSO:

https://democracyandclasstruggle.blogspot.com/2019/04/psycho-analysis-and-marxism-by-jd-bernal.html

https://democracyandclasstruggle.blogspot.com/2019/04/jordan-peterson-public-intellectual-or.html

https://democracyandclasstruggle.blogspot.com/2018/12/to-illustrate-model-for-development-of.html




Monday, April 22, 2019

Psycho-Analysis and Marxism by J.D Bernal

                                  Professor J D Bernal

Democracy and Class Struggle says what joins Zizek and Jordan Peterson at the hip is Psycho - Analysis - here Professor JD Bernal illustrates the difference between Psycho- Analysis and Marxism.


In the decade after the war Freud’s theories dominated the narrow circles of British intellectuals. His psycho-analysis was accepted warmly for many reasons. It was new and exciting, it was shocking, it debunked religion and morals, it promised an internal liberation from all restraints. Nevertheless, it was essentially a creed of escape into an inner world of complexes and repressions and away from social and economic realities.

In recent years the Freudian wave has begun to recede. The effects of the world economic crisis of capitalism, and of the close menace of fascism and war, startled the intellectual strata into awareness of the objective world, and aroused a new wide interest in marxism, which the polite educated world had hitherto conspired to ignore and now approached like a new discovery.

It was inevitable, however, from this ill-digested process of thought that the demand should arise to “reconcile” Freud and Marx. The present book is an expression of this stage of extremely immature and uninformed confusion.

Great as the spread of marxism has been in the past few years it has by no means gone far or deep enough. Marxism is disturbing to existing habits; and it is only to be expected that once plain rejection and suppression are found no longer possible, attempts are made to water Marx down—to reconcile his ideas with existing fashionable modes of thought. Thirty years ago in Russia Machian positivism, so devastatingly castigated by Lenin in Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, was the fashionable intellectual creed; to-day we have the Freudian psychology. It is nevertheless a sad comment on the backward state of marxist knowledge in this country that such a book as Freud and Marx could be written at all, and still more serious that it should be so warmly recommended by such a well-known marxist writer as John Strachey.

****
Mr. Osborn writes as if Freud and Marx had never been considered in juxtaposition before. He has never read, or shows no sign of having read, any of that voluminous amount of discussion on the subject already published in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. Worse still, however, almost every line of the book reveals a purely superficial understanding of marxism and a complete failure to grasp its essential principles.

He has, in effect, given a brief and far from adequate account of Freudian theory, which he accepts quite uncritically. There follows an interpretation, in hybrid marxist terms, of Primitive society, Historical Materialism and Dialectical Materialism. The general thesis is that Freud and Marx are to be reconciled in a dialectical way as two opposites, one representing the psychological and the other the material understanding of humanity. Out of the fusion of these is to come a superior understanding, some applications of which are given us in the last chapter.

Put in its strongest form, the argument is that psycho-analysis gives us a scientific interpretation of human motive which was not available to Marx and Engels. Had they been alive to-day they would—so it is argued—have accepted it as they accepted Darwinism. As they are not alive, the duty devolves on us to demonstrate by what processes they would have reached the stage of acceptance. There is, however, all the difference in the world between the methods of Marx and Mr. Osborn. Marx, while welcoming Darwin’s scientific results, was never for a moment taken in by his philosophy. For his part, Mr. Osborn accepts Freud’s philosophy without apparently realising how completely the work of Marx and Engels has already made it untenable.

The issue is a fundamental one. Freudism can—to an even less extent than Darwinism—not be treated as an experimental science, to be incorporated like Physics or Chemistry in the marxist interpretation of the objective world. Still less can Freudism be regarded as a dialectic complement to Marxism. For all its apparent materialism it is in effect just one more form of subjective philosophy and must be understood and rejected as such. 

This is not to deny the greatness of Freud’s own work in clinical psychology or the importance of some of the relationships in human behaviour which it has brought to light. 

These, though they cannot by themselves be said to constitute a science of psychology, are a contribution to science. In order to make use of them we need to separate them carefully and critically from the almost mythical and continually changing theories that are involved in their presentation.

****
The implication of this book is that marxism is deficient in psychological interpretation and that this deficiency can be met by psycho-analysis. In actual fact it is through Marx, and not through Freud, that we can begin to understand the significance and the possibilities of psychology. Marx does not start, as Freud does, with the idea of an essentially unalterable human psychology from which sociology can be derived. On the contrary he makes humanity for the first time comprehensible as the new quality which arises from social aggregation. We must understand society before we can understand man.

Human nature is not constant; it can be and is being moulded by society. Freud is incorrect when he produces, from his study of the psychology of the bourgeois family a generalisation to fit the whole human race, reaching as far back as the hypothetical primal horde with its jealous and terrible father. To accept the Freudian analysis is to accept by implication a completely non-dialectical view of psychology which must destroy the whole basis of marxist analysis. While ignoring the development of the world process, the rise of classes and the struggles between them in which human nature is formed and transformed, the Freudian interaction seeks to set up the individual, and the bourgeois individual at that, as the centre and measure of all things.

It is clear that Mr. Osborn has not only failed to notice this basic incompatability, but throughout his book he even tries to adduce a detailed parallelism between Freudian and marxist ideas. Many of these attempts are glaring distortions, as for instance when he seeks to establish the similarity of Freud’s and Engels’ views on the origin of the family, whereas in fact these views are almost diametrically opposite. Even more glaring is the attempt of Strachey in the preface to equate the “false consciousness” of Engels with the Freudian unconscious.

****
Though more easily recognisable, the political aberrations that are contained in the second part of the book are merely natural consequences of this initially defective theoretical approach. Nevertheless, some are sufficiently extreme to warrant special mention. The author identifies the influence of traditional, and consequently counter-revolutionary, forces with the Freudian super ego, thence drawing the conclusion that it is necessary to weaken the super ego and substitute ego-morality for super ego-morality. This is apparently considered to represent or amplify the marxist idea of class-consciousness. There could not be a more gross distortion.

The essence of marxism is not that it substitutes one psychological attitude for another but that it provides an objective and scientific picture of the processes of social change—of the inevitable breakdown of capitalism and the role of the working class in bringing it about. As a result of this disintegration and through active participation in the political and economic struggles of the workers, old loyalties give place to new, but the new loyalties are on an altogether different plane of consciousness.

Related to this misconception of marxism is the idea that as the material necessity for socialism is now overwhelming, all the resistance to the process of socialisation must therefore be psychological, and that psychology should consequently now play a decisive part in the struggle. In the first place this analysis of the current situation is wide of the facts.

The rising wave of working-class activity in all countries of the world to-day springs, like other previous waves, from a keen awareness of the economic situation and its effect on the workers. But there is to-day a far wider and deeper consciousness of the instability of capitalism than ever before. What dams up the wave is not bad psychology but the tardy development of the workers’ political organisation, disunity, and the widespread prevalence of the ideas of social democracy and class collaboration. To suggest an appeal to psychology at the present time is to attempt to graft on to the tactics of Marxism an entirely subjective factor.

This is the logical deduction from the false antithesis of subjective and objective which underlies most of the book. 

To the marxist the subjective world is not opposed to, but part of, the objective world, and this is recognised in practice by the inclusion of psychology in revolutionary tactics. 

The idea of psychology as an independent dynamic element in politics leads straight to the “change of heart” school—the pacifists and liberal apologists of capitalism.

****
Actually the author is led further than this, for he advocates as the chief practical application of his theories a Communist leadership which in everything but the words constitutes the Führer principle of the Fascists. The “leader” is to be made into a father figure in whom his followers are to have infinite confidence and such an attitude would completely justify the reactionary propaganda of those who reject “dictatorship of the Right and of the Left” because they see no difference between Fascism and Communism.

In actuality the principles of leadership under Communism on one hand and Fascism on the other, are fundamentally opposed. The whole psychological apparatus of the Fascist “leader” is designed to deceive his followers and to distract their attention from the operations of the real masters of the State. 

In Communism, leadership comes from below, it is the leadership of the class and of the class-conscious party within that class. Individuals are important, but only in so far as they crystallise in definite actions the determination of the party and the class.

Communist leadership is objective in a full sense. It does not neglect psychology—it would be poor leadership if it did—but its psychology is an integral part of the appreciation of the concrete situation as a whole. 

The Communist is urged to think, not to trust. 

The ideal Communist is one who will know, even if he is isolated from all others as Dimitrov was, what has to be done, and does it. 

The ideal Fascist is one who will obey any order without question.

It is only necessary to compare a speech of Stalin’s with one of Hitler’s to see what a vast gulf divides the two conceptions of leadership. 

It is intended that the mistakes of Communist leadership, and there have been many, should be cured by deeper analysis of the situation, by better organisation, by the training of really class-conscious workers—not by using “psychology” to increase the self-confidence of the leaders and whip up the blind devotion of their followers.

****
Enough has been said to show how far Mr. Osborn’s book wanders from the path of marxism. Yet he is probably less to blame than those marxists who have never discussed the relations of Freud and Marx at all. Freudian influence is an objective fact, and is spreading slowly out from the bourgeois circles where it originated. Politically, it is a profoundly dangerous influence, paralysing action and tending to Fascism. Yet little or nothing is being done to combat it in this country.

The workers demand and have the right to demand a knowledge of psychology. If all they get is Freudian psychology, this is because English marxist writers have not applied themselves to the subject or even translated what has been written elsewhere. The one good effect the book should have—to provoke active discussion—may, it is hoped, produce serious analysis and criticism of the issues involved.

SOURCE : Labour Monthly 1937



Notes
1.  Freud and Marx. By R. Osborn. Gollancz, 7s. 6d. (Left Book Club, 2s. 6d.)

SEE ALSO
https://democracyandclasstruggle.blogspot.com/2018/12/freud-study-in-bourgeois-psychology-by.html


https://democracyandclasstruggle.blogspot.com/2018/12/to-illustrate-model-for-development-of.html


https://democracyandclasstruggle.blogspot.com/2018/12/why-left-will-win-our-psychological.html

The German Revolution 1918/19

Jordan Peterson Public Intellectual or Public Liar ? - The Communist Manifesto Acid Test by Nickglais


Democracy and Class Struggle says we have got used to lies in politics and Trump symbolizes that - but Academia was supposed to be where truth could be spoken but now also have public intellectuals as liars - all hoping I assume we do not read the basic texts like the Communist Manifesto - but just take their word for what is in it. 


Jordan Peterson in his debate with Zizek  makes his opening statement as an attack on the Communist Manifesto which he see's as a source "evil" in the world.

He says he will give us 10 points to illustrate how wrong it is factually - he does not do that but meanders from assertion to assertion conflating and confusing.

His first point is that Marx is wrong about importance of Class Struggle which Peterson wrongly defines as just economic but more importantly Peterson say that fundamental struggle is biological and hierachical - this drags us back a 100 years to the debates between Marxism and Social Darwinism when Anton Pannekoek exposed the confusion of conflating natural with social laws - so much for Peterson's great leap backwards.

It is well worth re reading this debate as Jordan Peterson essentially recycles Social Darwinian arguments in the 21st Century.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/pannekoe/1912/marxism-darwinism.htm

The Real Binary for Jordan Peterson is subjective Good and Evil not objective sociological Class Struggle or Bourgeois and Proletarians.

This leads us into Nietzche one of Peterson's heroes who was appalled at the Paris Commune Uprising and welcomed the suppression of the "evil" Communards.

Jordan Peterson asserts that Marx and Engels thinks all good is with proletariat and all evil with bourgeoisie and ignores what that Communist Manifesto actually says about sections of the Bourgeoisie breaking with their class and bringing enlightenment to the Proletariat and idea later developed by Lenin in What is to be Done. 

Whilst the Communist Manifesto makes no mention of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat unlike Jordan Person assertion that it does the Communist Manifesto does talk about the proletariat winning the battle for democracy raising itself to that of a ruling class.

The idea of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat comes much later and is originally associated with General Joseph Weydemeyer a Union Army General fighting for the abolition of slavery and Marx and Engels applied the term to describe the political essence of the Paris Commune the first serious attempt at proletarian state power.

Therefore the rising of the Communards introduces us to Nietzhean Evil but our Good to be recycled over a hundred years later by Jordan Peterson .

Then we get another detour from Jordan Peterson into Political Economy again what he says and asserts is not in the Communist Manifesto.

Jordan Peterson asserts that exploitation does not lead to wealth and is inefficient ! 

He conflates Proudhon with Marx with the "Property is Theft" Quote.

Peterson confuses economic categories and  does not deal with the idea of surplus and surplus value but just one of its manifestations profit and says how Marx did not understand business forgetting that a successful business man was co- author of the Communist Manifesto Frederich Engels of  Engels and Ermen of Manchester.

Everything must be run for profit ( its idiocy not too he asserts) says our Public "intellectual" who as never heard of surplus value and feels profit comes for time delay or abstinence and other fairy tale stories of capitalism.

Peterson ends his attack on the Communist Manifesto by stating that poverty in the world will be eliminated by capitalism in the 2030's the United Nations has told him so - LOL

This last statement reveals the utter utopian nature of free market capitalism it is an unbelievable fantasy  while communism as Marx and Engels said in 1845 in the German Ideology..

"Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. 

We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. 

The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence"



 


SEE ALSO:

https://democracyandclasstruggle.blogspot.com/2019/04/zizek-peterson-debate.html



PS : We will settle accounts with Zizek in near future