Friday, February 16, 2007

Ernest Mandel's In Defence of Marxism

(link of Photo)

I want to tell my friends at the Marxist School that they are absolutely right to stand for Marxism and not to give in in the slightest way to the anti-Marxist pressures which are all around us. Some are open, some more diffuse, but they are all around us.

Marxism is the best thing that has happened to social thought and action in the last 150 years. Those who deny that, those who make Marxism responsible for Stalinist counter-revolution, for social democratic support for colonial wars, are either ignorant or deliberate liars. Marxism has given humankind two basic conquests which we have to defend, but with the assurance, the self-confidence that we are defending a good cause.

Marxism is the science of society. It is the understanding in a coherent way of what has been going on for the last 200 years, if not much more than that, on the basis of a tremendous wealth of empirical information and without any valuable, even partially valuable, alternative among the social sciences.

We make no predictions about the future. The only scientific form of Marxism is open Marxism. Marxism which, like Marx himself said, integrates constructive doubt. Everything remains open to reconsideration, but only on the basis of fact. Those who do this in an irresponsible way without taking facts into consideration, those who throw away this tremendous tool of understanding world reality in exchange for nothing but scepticism, irrationality, mystification, or mythology serve no positive purpose.

As important as Marxism is as a science, its second basic component is just as important, and that is its moral component. Marx himself formulated this in a very radical way. From his youth through to the end of his life he didn’t waver for one minute from the definition of what he called the categorical imperative.

That is to fight against any condition in which human beings are despised, alienated, exploited, oppressed or denied basic human dignity. Whatever the pretexts are for the justification of such denials, we have to oppose them unconditionally. Understand that you cannot be happier than if you have dedicated your life to this defence of human rights everywhere in the world: the defence of the exploited, the oppressed, the downtrodden, the despised.

There is no better way to be a good human being in this world than to dedicate your life to this great cause. That’s why the future is with Marxism.

(MFL notes: Full Article can be found under the title of Socialism or Neo-Liberalism


Delirious said...

You disappeared from IM.
Are you okay?

MarxistFromLebanon said...

I just finished all my deadlines and sort of was spending it outside the house. I remembered that to walk under the sun is a nice feeling

Lalebanessa said...

MFL,can you explain to this capitalist-hearted woman what Marx's solution would be for our Lebanese problems (and I won't accept "revolution of the proletariat" as a realistic anwser)!

MarxistFromLebanon said...

For starters, marxism is not limited only with Marx, it is a science that has been constantly being updated from different details. Each branch tackles a certain aspect from the political, economical, sociological, historical, and several others.

Second, here is where we differe when we speak Lebanese Problems, because Lebanon is not a segment independent from its surroundings, it is part of the global market. This means, the rich gets richer and the poor poorer without a middle class, whereby the leaders do not give a darn about anything except their own interest. Even nationalists fit perfectly to this framework...

Third, "Capitalism" is a ruthless system that by 2002 two billionof the labor force live under 2 dollars, one billion children live without having one of their basic necessities satisfied (UN 2005 statistics), and over 800 Million live what the World Health Organization below livable standards. 3.6 Trillion dollars rotate the earth per day (Int. Balance of Payments 1995) and markets crumble in face of capitalist greed.

A statistic was done about the top 100 richest entities, there have been 49 nation states and 51 corporations. This means there are corporations that got budgets equating most of Latin America, Asia, and the whole Africa.

The purpose of this tiny and very tiny shocking numbers is to explain what Lebanon enters and how the system shoves politicians into our world (Lebanon included).

That is the meaning of Capitalism if you are so happy with it.

As for the solution, well let us begin with the reactonary camps, no solution given to Lebanon would allow it to stand (size - resources - global competition - instablity).

I as a Marxist, we believe in the gradual emancipation of the workers to face the leaders and get rid of them once and for all. That statement alone needs around 30 posts :D. If you are a working class, that means you should be bothered by Mr. Seniora's plan to be in the long run getting a static salary while everything else goes more expensive.

The workers' revolution is the final stage of the emancipation, but it does not mean it is the only mean. In case of Lebanon, Civil Marriage is demanded, Progressive taxes are required, secular education is a must, Trade Unions are required to represent the workers (coze these ones got messed up), and more options are required as first step. Most importantly, the concept of Lebanon and Lebanese nationalism alone in the world is the silliest myth which are not realistic, we have been recieving different comrades assisting us in organizations, and just I am a marxist from Lebanon, I would be the same if I came from Palestine, Israel, Peru, Panama, United States, and any corner of the world.

The Revolution of the Proletariat is not a myth it seems ;) just it is on a global level :D

Lalebanessa said...

So you've formed your own "Umma" of Marxists :p

The thing is MFL, though I agree with some of the things you say (esp about injustice to the common man),I'm not sure having workers without leaders is a situation that can happen, because human nature may not be evolved enough to allow this kind of existence to occur. I disagree with you about a major issue though, I think this is the "age of nations" If you don't have a country to identify with then you will loose the game.

Can you humor me with answering a few more questions:

Do you have an example of somewhere were Marxism is a success story "on the ground" rather than in theory?

Also what do you think of scandinavian countries, aren't they supposed to be socialist?

And what do you think of the Chinese communist/capitalist combo?

PS I agree with you on the insanely rich and the desperately poor, it is an unacceptable situation, I said capitalist- hearted (work hard to achieve an economic goal) not full blown bleed the poor capitalist!I'm too kind hearted, I'd never sleep at night because of the guilt! There is a more reasonable middle ground. I'm all for setting ceilings and limits on private economic gain. But I'd set those ceilings quite high ;)

MarxistFromLebanon said...

As Comrade Connolly once said: Our Demand Most Humble is the World.

There have been two close situations which the Marxist was almost applied: the Paris Commune in 1871 and the Soviet Union from 1917-1925. The purpose of Communism is to overthrow the Capitalist system, (check Trotsky's Permanent Revolution). THat is why I always say our goals are in the long-run.

Whatever you do in Lebanon, Lebanon is part of the global market, and it will always sink down.

As for the Scandanavan nations, they adopted (most of them) the Social Democracy Model, sadly again you can't establish a welfare socialist state and disregard the global market and politics, this leads to rise of class inequality and the gradual demolishion of the welfare system, Sweden is half way in the process, Britain is 80%

You can't have a system which is based on "equal chances" while at the same time it is based on Capital stockpiling. For example, having more than 70% of global wealth concentrated in 7 or 6 % (didn't check the latest statistics however the quantity of wealth is on the increase in this formula while the wealth holders in on the decrease).

So, yes, Marxism calls for a unified front, since capitalism is internationalist in nature (through nationality and age), so should be Marxism.

I recommend you watch the remarkable documentary: The Corporation. Once you do, contact me so we will register you in the International :) & :D

Renegade Eye said...

Really interesting post. Your blog is always shattering myths about Lebanon.

Maryam has a post at my blog.

I switched to Google, without losing my template.

If all goes well, I might in a few days be able to add an african Trotskyist to my blog.

Atanu Bandyopadhyay said...

MFL, read your post on Marxism. Something I have never quite followed was Marx's theory of dialectical materialism. Can you tell me about it here? (Don't ask me to go and refer to WikiPedia, for I did. It made little sense to me)