Tag Archives: Philosophy

What about Slavoj Žižek?

“The dialectics of history were such that the theoretical victory of Marxism compelled its enemies to disguise themselves as Marxists.” – V. I. Lenin, The Historical Destiny of the Doctrine of Karl Marx

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CPGB-ML: Study of Mao Zedong’s “On Contradiction”

20060310165606611The following is from the website of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist):

Theory: Mao’s ‘On contradiction’
A masterly exposition of how to use dialectics to change the world by the leader of the Chinese revolution.

Mao wrote the article ‘On contradiction’ in 1937 to explain the dialectical method of analysis. He did this to counter the development of dogmatic approaches to study and practice that had developed within the Chinese Communist Party.

He also sought to explain international events, particularly the struggle between Marxist-Leninist leadership and the right and, later, left opportunism within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

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Badiou: On Different Streams Within French Maoism

chinoise-2This interview was posted priviously at the Kasama Project blog. There is quite a lot in Alain Badiou’s “post-Maoist” philosophy in general as well as in this interview in particular with which I disagree, but nonetheless this article is interesting so far as the French Maoist movement shared some similarities (and many differences) with the U.S. New Communist Movement:

An Interview with Alain Badiou, conducted by Eric Hazan

Eric Hazan: One of the most striking aspects of Sarkozy’s rise to power was the support he attracted from Left renegades—from turncoats such as André Glucksmann. As someone who still wears his coat very much the same way round, how would you explain this strange phenomenon?

Alain Badiou: I think you have to put this in perspective, or rather look at it more closely. First of all, it would be better to ask: why so many Maoists from the Gauche Prolétarienne? [GP was one of the main Maoist groups, whose name meant Proletarian Left in French] Because it is among them that you find those who ‘went wrong’ in this way. Secondly, as far as I am aware, only a few rank-and-file activists in the GP made this about-turn. So, to give your question a slightly more technical character, I would say: why did so many people in the GP leadership take such a bad turn?

There were other Maoist organizations—for example the UCFML, which I was involved in establishing, along with Sylvain Lazarus, Natacha Michel and others, in 1970. [1] In fact, Lazarus and Michel came from the GP, in the wake of a split of sorts, whereas my own background was completely different: I came from the PSU, the social democrats. I’m not aware of a single leader or activist in our organization who took a wrong turn, in the sense we are speaking of here. People from other organizations, such as the GOP and VLR, often went back to the PCF, and there was a sprinkling of other groups, in particular the PCMLF, whose idea was more to rebuild the good old Communist Party, which was already in pretty poor shape. [2] On the whole, these people are still somewhere or other ‘on the left’ today.

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Stalin and the Defence of Science

k8283The following is from Lalkar:

Ethan Pollock wrote Stalin and the Soviet Science Wars in 2006.  This review of the book shows how the Soviet archives provided evidence of the widespread debates and knowledge concerning science which took place throughout the Soviet Union during the period under consideration, namely 1945 to 1953, to which even this bourgeois academic had to attest.

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The continuing plunder of Soviet archives by Western academia is having some unexpected, and for imperialism unwelcome, consequences.  The lavish grants and bursaries made available to send scholars out to Moscow to dig up anti-communist dirt are, in some cases, having quite the reverse effect to that intended, facilitating the rediscovery of documents that add fresh life and colour to what is already known of the great Soviet achievements in every sphere of social development.

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Reading Notes 2: Mao Zedong’s “On Contradiction”

This is the second part of my reading notes on Mao Zedong’s book, Five Essays on Philosophy, dealing with On Contradiction. The first part dealt with Mao’s On Practice.

Notes on Mao Zedong’s “On Contradiction”

Mao Zedong wrote his major essay on dialectical materialism, On Contradiction, to challenge dogmatist and subjectivist thinking inside the Chinese Communist Party. It is a companion piece to On Practice, his essay on Marxist epistemology or theory of knowledge. Its purpose is to explain the analytic tools provided by Marxism-Leninism that should be used to look at problems scientifically, looking at their inner workings and the internal contradictions that drive them so as to come to the best and most progressive resolution possible under the given circumstances and conditions. These notes will attempt to draw out the main points from this work in a concise way and draw connection to our practice as revolutionary Marxist-Leninists in the United States. All underlining in quotes from the texts is my emphasis.

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Reading Notes 1: Mao Zedong’s “On Practice“

This is the first of a series of reading notes. I intend to begin by working my way through Mao’s book, Five Essays on Philosophy. Some of this will expand upon material I’ve touched on in my article, Some Points on Stalin (and Mao). This post will include my reading notes for On Practice. The rest will be forthcoming as time goes on. I’m doing this for two reasons: (1.) To help popularize and aid in the study of Marxism-Leninism in general and in the thought of Mao Zedong in particular, and (2.) to help sharpen my own thinking and raise my own theoretical level and understanding. I should add, finally, that in this and all of the other reading notes, this reflects a work in progress in my own study, and therefore, comments and Marxist criticism is encouraged.

Five Essays on Philosophy

  1. On Practice
  2. On Contradiction
  3. On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People
  4. Speech at the Chinese Communist Party’s National Conference on Propaganda Work
  5. Where do Correct Ideas Come From?

Reading Notes on Mao Zedong’s “On Practice“

Members of the Black Panther Party studying Mao's Little Red Book

Members of the Black Panther Party studying Mao's Little Red Book

On Practice is Mao Zedong’s main text on Marxist epistemology, that is, on the Marxist theory of knowledge. In it he examines from a Marxist point of view the problem of how people learn, how their consciousness develops, and how correct theory is developed through practice. It was written along with On Contradiction to challenge dogmatism and subjectivism in the Chinese Communist Party and to help encourage a scientific outlook. We should look at it and study it as revolutionaries struggling to advance mass movements and popular struggles toward revolution, and with the understanding that to do this we must raise the level of consciousness and understand of the masses as we fight along side them. Continue reading

Mao Zedong’s Five Essays on Philosophy: Reading Notes

5essaysThis is a collection of a series of reading notes as I work my way through Mao’s book, Five Essays on Philosophy. Some of this will expand upon material I’ve touched on in my article, Some Points on Stalin (and Mao). As I work through the book, I’ll add to this as time goes on. I’m doing this for two reasons: (1.) To help popularize and aid in the study of Marxism-Leninism in general and in the thought of Mao Zedong in particular, and (2.) to help sharpen my own thinking and raise my own theoretical level and understanding. I should add, finally, that in this and all of the other reading notes, this reflects a work in progress in my own study, and therefore, comments and Marxist criticism on the notes are encouraged.

Five Essays on Philosophy

  1. On Practice (my notes)
  2. On Contradiction (my notes)
  3. On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People (my notes forthcoming)
  4. Speech at the Chinese Communist Party’s National Conference on Propaganda Work (my notes forthcoming)
  5. Where do Correct Ideas Come From? (my notes forthcoming)