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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Anti-Jehu: Herr Jehu Eaves Revolution in Self-Congratulating Bullshit

Jehu contends that no other Marxists agree with him, and he is correct. 

Even though Jehu's article about me has next to nothing to do with what I discussed with his minions on twitter today, I see it fit to reply.

When I leaned more toward anarchism, I found Jehu to be fascinating - as much of his stuff I understood, that is. But as I read a lot more of not only Marx and Engels, but of Lenin and Kautsky, I found that Jehu seemed to suffer from a case of Extreme Confirmation Bias - the way he quotes the Marxists text seem odd, and sometimes, the sections he quotes do not state what he claims it states, and look completely different in context. Coupled with some.... "odd" use of language, such as referring to The State (any state) as "Fascist", his writing of theory is at once dense and hard to understand, and at the same time all to simplistic and generalizing. Do not be fooled, there is an inherent logic, but this is the logic of Jehu, and not Marx and Engels.

Jehu Eaves presents himself as a preacher, nay, a prophet, a lone man holding the truth. "Almost no Marxist accepts my view of Engels remarks", he laments, and one must wonder why. Like a Messiah lecturing a Pharisee on the true meaning of the Sabbath, he goes on:

"My interpretation [...] challenges the entire notion of classes, class struggle and the struggle for communism as Marxists view it."

So what is Eaves actually saying?

Jehu begins by quoting The German Ideology:

"This subsuming of individuals under definite classes cannot be abolished until a class has taken shape, which has no longer any particular class interest to assert against the ruling class."
"Thus, while the refugee serfs only wished to be free to develop and assert those conditions of existence which were already there, and hence, in the end, only arrived at free labour, the proletarians, if they are to assert themselves as individuals, will have to abolish the very condition of their existence hitherto (which has, moreover, been that of all society up to the present), namely, labour. Thus they find themselves directly opposed to the form in which, hitherto, the individuals, of which society consists, have given themselves collective expression, that is, the State. In order, therefore, to assert themselves as individuals, they must overthrow the State."
About this he says:

"I have never spoken to a single Marxist who realizes that in historical materialism, as first defined by Marx and Engels, the proletariat has no interest to assert against the bourgeoisie. The very idea seems preposterously counterintuitive: why would the proletariat overthrow capitalism if it has no interest to assert? How could the proletariat overthrow capitalism if it never has a beef with capitalists. Tell Marxists that the proletariat has no beef with the bourgeoisie and never tries to overthrow the ruling class and they will laugh at you."

What is he trying to prove with these quotes and this commentary? While it is common knowledge that the state must be overthrown by the proletariat in Marxist theory, it also quite common knowledge that it must be replaced by a proletarian one - a "dictatorship of the proletariat". Of all of what I've read of Jehu's writings, this is completely ignored - Marx and Engels are both incredibly clear on the fact that there needs to be a State replacing the old State, one that holds power, violently repressing the Bourgeois. Any reading of the "Communist Manifesto", "Critique of The Gotha Programme", "Socialism: Scientific and Utopian", "On Authority" &c. cannot ignore that Marx and Engels are very clear on this:

The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible. - The Communist Manifesto
 Why do the anti-authoritarians not confine themselves to crying out against political authority, the state? All Socialists are agreed that the political state, and with it political authority, will disappear as a result of the coming social revolution, that is, that public functions will lose their political character and will be transformed into the simple administrative functions of watching over the true interests of society. But the anti-authoritarians demand that the political state be abolished at one stroke, even before the social conditions that gave birth to it have been destroyed. They demand that the first act of the social revolution shall be the abolition of authority. Have these gentlemen ever seen a revolution? A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionists. Would the Paris Commune have lasted a single day if it had not made use of this authority of the armed people against the bourgeois? Should we not, on the contrary, reproach it for not having used it freely enough? - On Authority
Whilst the capitalist mode of production more and more completely transforms the great majority of the population into proletarians, it creates the power which, under penalty of its own destruction, is forced to accomplish this revolution. Whilst it forces on more and more of the transformation of the vast means of production, already socialized, into State property, it shows itself the way to accomplishing this revolution. The proletariat seizes political power and turns the means of production into State property[...] The State is not "abolished". It dies out.  - Socialism: Utopian and Scientific
Between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. - Critique of the Gotha Programme

So, we are certainly sure that Marx and Engels not only suggest that the proletariat "overthrows the state", as Jehu claims, it also seizes political power, forming it's own State. It is not merely an "overthrow" of an organ of class society. That Jehu fails to mention or acknowledge this obvious element of Marx and Engels thought, leads to a seriously misleading conception of both capitalism and communism.

But Jehu mentions something far more strange, as he himself acknowledges. In his view, the proletariat has no interest to assert against the bourgeoisie. Now, this is not only strange because such rhetoric about class interest is very common in any aspect of Marxist theory, but because Marx and Engels repeatedly talk about the antagonisms between the bourgeoisie and capital:

But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few. - The Communist Manifesto
But does wage-labour create any property for the labourer? Not a bit. It creates capital, i.e., that kind of property which exploits wage-labour, and which cannot increase except upon condition of begetting a new supply of wage-labour for fresh exploitation. Property, in its present form, is based on the antagonism of capital and wage labour. - The Communist Manifesto
We have thus seen that even the most favorable situation for the working class, namely, the most rapid growth of capital, however much it may improve the material life of the worker, does not abolish the antagonism between his interests and the interests of the capitalist. - Wage Labour and Capital 
The first capitalists found, as we have said, alongside of other forms of labor, wage-labor ready-made for them on the market. But it was exceptional, complementary, accessory, transitory wage-labor. The agricultural laborer, though, upon occasion, he hired himself out by the day, had a few acres of his own land on which he could at all events live at a pinch. The guilds were so organized that the journeyman to today became the master of tomorrow. But all this changed, as soon as the means of production became socialized and concentrated in the hands of capitalists. The means of production, as well as the product, of the individual producer became more and more worthless; there was nothing left for him but to turn wage-worker under the capitalist. Wage-labor, aforetime the exception and accessory, now became the rule and basis of all production; aforetime complementary, it now became the sole remaining function of the worker. The wage-worker for a time became a wage-worker for life. The number of these permanent was further enormously increased by the breaking-up of the feudal system that occurred at the same time, by the disbanding of the retainers of the feudal lords, the eviction of the peasants from their homesteads, etc. The separation was made complete between the means of production concentrated in the hands of the capitalists, on the one side, and the producers, possessing nothing but their labor-power, on the other. The contradiction between socialized production and capitalistic appropriation manifested itself as the antagonism of proletariat and bourgeoisie. - Socialism: Utopian and Scientific
At the same pace at which the progress of modern industry developed, widened, intensified the class antagonism between capital and labor, the state power assumed more and more the character of the national power of capital over labor, of a public force organized for social enslavement, of an engine of class despotism. - The Civil War in France 
I probably do not need to quote more. These quotes indeed do show that there are antagonisms between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Jehu is directly denying that Marx and Engels say all these things, and one must wonder why. Jehu claims that Marx and Engels never use the term "class interest", but in "Wage-Labour and Capital", he clearly states that there is an antagonism between the interest of the proletarian class and the bourgeoisie! If that is not "class interest", then what is it? Either Jehu has never read this iconic text, or his is willfully ignoring it. So what to make of the quote from German Ideology, that "subsuming of individuals under definite classes cannot be abolished until a class has taken shape, which has no longer any particular class interest to assert against the ruling class?"

Jehu's misreading of The German Ideology

In the context that Jehu provides these quotations, it does sound suspicious, what with all this talk of the "antagonism between capitalist and wage workers", that is, exploitation. This antagonism is even mentioned in The German Ideology, just a few paragraphs under the quoted section:
Thus, in imagination, individuals seem freer under the dominance of the bourgeoisie than before, because their conditions of life seem accidental; in reality, of course, they are less free, because they are more subjected to the violence of things. The difference from the estate comes out particularly in the antagonism between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.  
So if there is an antagonism, that is, a conflict of interest, then why does it say that there is a class which has no particular class interest to assert against the ruling class? Lets see what they say in the last section of the same chapter, titled The Necessity of Communism Revolution:
(3) In all revolutions up till now the mode of activity always remained unscathed and it was only a question of a different distribution of this activity, a new distribution of labour to other persons, whilst the communist revolution is directed against the preceding mode of activity, does away with labour, and abolishes the rule of all classes with the classes themselves, because it is carried through by the class which no longer counts as a class in society, is not recognised as a class, and is in itself the expression of the dissolution of all classes, nationalities, etc. within present society; and
 (4) Both for the production on a mass scale of this communist consciousness, and for the success of the cause itself, the alteration of men on a mass scale is, necessary, an alteration which can only take place in a practical movement, a revolution; this revolution is necessary, therefore, not only because the ruling class cannot be overthrown in any other way, but also because the class overthrowing it can only in a revolution succeed in ridding itself of all the muck of ages and become fitted to found society anew.
While Jehu tries to claim that the proletariat is already without class interest - i.e, that the proletariat under capitalism has no class interest against the bourgeoisie, it is pretty clear from the (admittedly difficult) formulation of this text that this is not what Marx and Engels meant. Only through the revolution - through the taking of state power - does it create a class that has no particular class interest against the ruling class. The class that has no interest to assert against the ruling classes is not the proletariat - it is the individuals produced by the society in which the proletariat has taken power and successfully smashed bourgeois rule. Since the proletariat has no classes below it, that can, and needs to challenge it's rule, it makes itself superfluous as a ruling class in general - they "no longer count as a class in society", and the need for a State to secure it's supremacy will be unnecessary, since it has nobody to rain supreme over. This view not only fits much better with Marx and Engels' constant emphasis on class antagonism, which Jehu directly denies, but it also actually makes sense!

If the proletariat was not a class, it would be nonsensical to claim that they act as a class, and that they overthrow the state as a class. Fortunately, Marx states very clearly that the proletariat is a class, but only remains a class under capitalism. As the only class in history, it will abolish class society itself, since capitalism has produced a class that can create no other classes to dominate. Earlier on in "The German Ideology", Marx describes this phenomenon:
The bourgeoisie itself with its conditions, develops only gradually, splits according to the division of labour into various fractions and finally absorbs all propertied classes it finds in existence (while it develops the majority of the earlier propertyless and a part of the hitherto propertied classes into a new class, the proletariat) in the measure to which all property found in existence is transformed into industrial or commercial capital. The separate individuals form a class only insofar as they have to carry on a common battle against another class; otherwise they are on hostile terms with each other as competitors. On the other hand, the class in its turn achieves an independent existence over against the individuals, so that the latter find their conditions of existence predestined, and hence have their position in life and their personal development assigned to them by their class, become subsumed under it. 
The conception of class exists only insofar as it has to carry out a battle against another class - if such a "battle" were actually to be logically comprehensible, one must assume that both parties have an interest in fighting each-other, be it offensive or defensive. Either Herr Eaves has completely misread The German Ideology, or he has willfully misrepresented it.

Class consciousness as Kautskyite-Leninist mythology?

He goes on:
But this is not my bastardization of Marx’s and Engels’ argument: Instead, the the actual bastardization was the idea the working class has a class interest that motivates it to overthrow the capitalist class. The working class has no such interest and Marx and Engels never said they did — in fact, Marx and Engels never used the term ever. As Kautsky and Lenin imply, (See, for instance, Lenin’s What is to be done) the working class has a commercial conflict with the capitalist class over the terms and conditions of a sale. This commercial conflict does not and cannot lead to the overthrow of capitalism precisely because it is the means by which the capitalist relationship itself is constituted: the selling and buying of labor power.
Jehu has discussed the works of Kautsky and Lenin before, in a most odd manner. He seems to believe Kautsky and Lenin both revised labor theory. He claims that Kautsky and Lenin both deny what Marx said, that the proletariat has a class consciousness of it's own. He once again does what he does best, and cites these theorists in an extremely misleading fashion. The quotes are the following:
“Since there can be no talk of an independent ideology formulated by the working masses themselves in the process of their movement, the only choice is — either bourgeois or socialist ideology. There is no middle course (for mankind has not created a “third” ideology, and, moreover, in a society torn by class antagonisms there can never be a non-class or an above-class ideology). Hence, to belittle the socialist ideology in any way, to turn aside from it in the slightest degree means to strengthen bourgeois ideology. There is much talk of spontaneity. But the spontaneous development of the working-class movement leads to its subordination to bourgeois ideology, to its development along the lines of the Credo programme; for the spontaneous working-class movement is trade-unionism, is Nur-Gewerkschaftlerei, and trade unionism means the ideological enslavement of the workers by the bourgeoisie.” - "What is to be done?" by Lenin.
“Of course, socialism, as a doctrine, has its roots in modern economic relationships just as the class struggle of the proletariat has, and, like the latter, emerges from the struggle against the capitalist-created poverty and misery of the masses. But socialism and the class struggle arise side by side and not one out of the other; each arises under different conditions. Modern socialist consciousness can arise only on the basis of profound scientific knowledge. Indeed, modern economic science is as much a condition for socialist production as, say, modern technology, and the proletariat can create neither the one nor the other, no matter how much it may desire to do so; both arise out of the modern social process. The vehicle of science is not the proletariat, but the bourgeois intelligentsia [K. K.’s italics]: it was in the minds of individual members of this stratum that modern socialism originated, and it was they who communicated it to the more intellectually developed proletarians who, in their turn, introduce it into the proletarian class struggle where conditions allow that to be done. Thus, socialist consciousness is something introduced into the proletarian class struggle from without [von Aussen Hineingetragenes] and not something that arose within it spontaneously [urwüchsig]. - Karl Kautsky, quoted in "What is to be done?"
Of course, to the first quote, contains an important footnote, which Jehu leaves out:
This does not mean, of course, that the workers have no part in creating such an ideology. They take part, however, not as workers, but as socialist theoreticians, as Proudhons and Weitlings; in other words, they take part only when they are able, and to the extent that they are able, more or less, to acquire the knowledge of their age and develop that knowledge. But in order that working men may succeed in this more often, every effort must be made to raise the level of the consciousness of the workers in general; it is necessary that the workers do not confine themselves to the artificially restricted limits of “literature for workers” but that they learn to an increasing degree to master general literature. It would be even truer to say “are not confined”, instead of “do not confine themselves”, because the workers themselves wish to read and do read all that is written for the intelligentsia, and only a few (bad) intellectuals believe that it is enough “for workers” to be told a few things about factory conditions and to have repeated to them over and over again what has long been known 
In which context are these quotes presented? Does Kautsky and Lenin really deny that working class consciousness is a product of capitalist society? They do not. They recognize that the workers develop consciousness, however, this consciousness is not political, but economistic.
The history of all countries shows that the working class, exclusively by its own effort, is able to develop only trade union consciousness, i.e., the conviction that it is necessary to combine in unions, fight the employers, and strive to compel the government to pass necessary labour legislation, etc. - Lenin 
Fundamental to the Marxist idea was that the proletariat needs to grab public power, as I clearly showed earlier. As capitalism developed, though, it seemed that while the workers did develop a consciousness, it did not take the aim of public power - dominated by the bourgeois ideology, it only managed to assert itself in a-political unions. Hence: "without revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement". While Jehu Eaves again cites The German Ideology to prove that this is "revisionism", the exact same sentiment is to be found in Engels:
"The German workers have two important advantages over those of the rest of Europe. First, they belong to the most theoretical people of Europe; and they have retained that sense of theory which the so-called ’educated’ classes of Germany have almost completely lost. Without German philosophy, which preceded it, particularly that of Hegel, German scientific socialism – the only scientific socialism that has ever existed – would never have come into being. Without a sense of theory among the workers, this scientific socialism would never have entered their flesh and blood as much as is the case. What an immeasurable advantage this is may be seen, on the one hand, from the indifference towards all theory, which is one of the main reasons why the English working-class movement crawls along so slowly in spite of the splendid organisation of the individual unions; on the other hand, from the mischief and confusion wrought by Proudhonism, in its original form, among the French and Belgians, and, in the form further caricatured by Bakunin, among the Spaniards and Italians." - The Peasant War in Germany. 
This section is quite literally quoted in the chapter of "What is to be Done" that Jehu Eaves critiques. It clearly states exactly the same thing - that the revolutonary movement could not have come into being without revolutionary philosophy, a philosophy that came directly from the bourgeois intelligensia, of Hegel and his followers, as Kautsky himself states. We are once again left wondering - is he misreading, or misrepresenting?

Engels continues:
It must be said to the credit of the German workers that they have utilised the advantages of their situation with rare understanding. For the first time in the history of the labour movement the struggle is being so conducted that its three sides, the theoretical, the political and the practical economical (opposition to the capitalists), form one harmonious and well-planned entity. In this concentric attack, as it were, lies the strength and invincibility of the German movement.
The need for theoretical and political struggle is here directly emphasized - which is exactly what Herr Jehu denies. It is quite clear that the theories of scientific socialism were not the proletariats own expression of some inherent "secret knowledge" that a proletarian develops simply by merit of their status as a proleteriat - they simply made theory their own. As we have seen, this was not merely something Kautsky and Lenin had made up.

We must add, too, that the conception of revisionism that Jehu seems to go by is fallacious. He seems to confuse revisionism for the process of developing and advancing already existing ideas. Most certainly, this would make Marx and Engels themselves revisionist! Even if one could argue, as Jehu does, that Marx and Engels believed that communist consciousness is developed organically through the proletarians status as proletarians, it does not change the reality that trade-union consciousness developed as the main form of consciousness in the imperialist centers, and that this trade-union consciousness was unable to carry out a communist revolution!

Since we have already debunked the notion that Marx and Engels did not believe that there was antagonism between the workers and capitalists, we do not need to further comment this notion that class antagonism was something merely imposed on Marxists theory by Kautsky and Lenin.

How Jehu interprets "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific"

Continuing in his "More Marx than the Marxists" fashion, he makes this statement:
Almost all Marxists think the capitalist class is somehow done away with by the proletariat, but this is not true. Every advance of the mode of production consists, on the one hand, of a great increase in the numbers of workers; and, on the other hand, of the violent reduction of the numbers of capitalists at the hands of other capitalists. The working class plays no direct part in this ongoing economic bloodshed between members of the capitalist class.
To support this thesis he quotes Engels "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific", which was co-written with Marx:
“The fact that the socialized organization of production within the factory has developed so far that it has become incompatible with the anarchy of production in society, which exists side by side with and dominates it, is brought home to the capitalist themselves by the violent concentration of capital that occurs during crises, through the ruin of many large, and a still greater number of small, capitalists.”
Of course, that the bourgeoisie is antagonistic to itself is recognized by all Marxists - nobody denies this. This is precisely how almost all Marxist conceive of capitalist competition - it leads to centralization. The bourgeois state, it is famously said, exists to protect Capital from it's own Capitalists. But nowhere in this section is it denied that there is an antagonism between the workers and capital - in fact, as I quoted earlier, in the very same chapter this antagonism is fully recognized:
The contradiction between socialized production and capitalistic appropriation manifested itself as the antagonism of proletariat and bourgeoisie.
Once again, one must wonder - has he misread or misrepresented? Marx and Engels both, throughout their career recognized that capitalism creates centralization, and "Socialism" is the foremost text that proves this. Almost prophetically they predict the collusion of State and Capital, or what we would call "finance capital": 

"But, the transformation — either into joint-stock companies and trusts, or into State-ownership — does not do away with the capitalistic nature of the productive forces. In the joint-stock companies and trusts, this is obvious. And the modern State, again, is only the organization that bourgeois society takes on in order to support the external conditions of the capitalist mode of production against the encroachments as well of the workers as of individual capitalists. The modern state, no matter what its form, is essentially a capitalist machine — the state of the capitalists, the ideal personification of the total national capital."
 However, as they state multiple times, the central antagonism remains that between that exploitation of wage-labor and capital. In the very next sentence:
The workers remain wage-workers — proletarians. The capitalist relation is not done away with. It is, rather, brought to a head. But, brought to a head, it topples over.
This cannot be interpreted in any other way than this: the capitalist relation, the antagonism between the classes, no matter how many individual capitalists remain, is what topples the system. The antagonism which is clearly recognized, and which is the antagonism between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie - that of socialized, collective production, and capitalistic, private, appropriation. Jehu is quite correct in noting that the traditional, individual capitalist has become superfluous - capital is no longer simply a private owner of a factory, or a piece of land, but the class structure developed into finance capital - the very thing which Lenin analysed in his theory of imperialism. But exploitation still exists, in fact, it exists in an even more intensified form. Jehu chooses to edit out these mentions of class antagonism from "Socialism", in order to make his point:
"It is critical to understand that, in Engels’ “Socialism”, nowhere in this chapter does he state the working class overthrows the capitalist class. The capitalists are killed off by each other and, finally, the state itself expropriates the lot of them."
Marx and Engels both surely say that the capitalist creates his own death-bed, but they do not say that it merely commits suicide:
But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons — the modern working class — the proletarians. - The Communist Manifesto 
In Jehu's view, the capitalists are merely lemmings, rushing toward a cliff, because they know no better. But Marx and Engels are clear. Like Laius, the bourgeoisie gives birth to the proletarian Oedipus that is destined to slay it. I have already quoted many sections that clearly show this, but I could quote many more.

We have so far shown that Jehu Eaves consistently misrepresents Marx and Engels, and confuses his readers by omitting all direct mention of class antagonism and class struggle. I find myself consistently in awe of his ability to misrepresent, misjudge and misuse Marxist literature. When accused of bastardizing "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific", he merely states that he does not! In the last chapter of the book, that is consistently built up to prove that the contradiction is between socialized production and capitalistic appropriation, he retrieves two quotes from the chapter and claims they prove something that they do not prove, and instead says there is no contradiction! He says "[t]here is no way I can twist Engels’ argument to mean something other than what his words already say" - and yet he does, and vulgarly so.

He ends his post even more vulgarly:
So the next time you go to your union meeting and talk about how “the woikahs have to overthrow the bahsses”, just remember they haven’t a fucking clue what the fuck you are talking about. Nothing of how they empirically perceive capitalistic social relations prepares them to understand your gibberish about “the class struggle”.
If it did you wouldn’t need fucking theory to understand it yourself! Theory is only necessary, because social relations don’t appear in real life the way the theory says it does. By definition, any theory only says, “Reality does not appear to work this way.” Now, unless you think you can give 7 billion people a crash course on historical materialist theory overnight, capitalism cannot end the way you think it does.
Of course, revolutionary theory doesn't say "the workers have to overthrow the bosses." This is precisely the nonsensical, economistic syndicalism that both Lenin and Kautsky criticized. It says, "the workers have to overthrow the bourgeois state and replace it with their own". That is the way not only Marx and Engels, but Lenin and most other Marxist revolutionaries have conceptualized the revolution. That discussing the class struggle does nothing to prepare workers for a socialist take-over is refuted by every single working class revolution that ever occurred - but of course, one must assume those were all "anti-Marxian", in Jehu's view. Of course, all these revolutions become theoretically impossible to comprehend if one follows Herr Eaves definitions - if the working class don't overthrow the bourgeoisie, then why, in 1917, did they?  The following statement, that theory "is only necessary, because social relations don’t appear in real life the way the theory says it does," is simply incomprehensible. Is theory necessary because of the failure of theory?

And his final statement on the global crash course on historical materialism does prove how little Jehu understands of both the Marxist and the Leninist conceptions of revolutionary theory - that class consciousness needs to be theoretically understood by every single member of the proletariat is nonsense, and has nothing to do with the function of theory in relation to a political organization. I doubt that the workers of the Petrograd Soviet could quote Anti-Dühring verbatim, or explain the difference between use-value and price, but yet, they made a revolution according to the Marxist-Leninist theory! Imagine that!

Of course, we all know the famous words from "Theses on Feuerbach": "The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it." How Jehu overlooks this basic truth of Marx own view of the purpose of theory is beyond me - it seems to be something he explicitly rejects.

He ends with this atrocity of a paragraph:
How consistent do Marx and Engels have to be shown to have been throughout their careers before Marxists will accept my interpretation? Well, it doesn’t matter because theory is complete bullshit and doesn’t matter in the least. The question is purely of historical interest. No society makes a revolution in theory before it makes it in practice — no society does this.
And the prophet solemnly bowed his head.

That no society makes a revolution in theory before it makes it in practice is demonstrably false - almost every revolution has had a theory, philosophy or theology. Is Jehu going to ignore Thomas Payne, or Jean-Jacques Rousseau? And, most clearly in Russia, the society did make a revolution in theory before it made it in practice - it was the only way for the Russian working class to successfully gain power. Of course, Herr Jehu can make this or that claim of Lenin being "fascist", but that, of course, does little to change the reality of the revolution.

The fallacy of "The Return to Marx".

Jehu is not the only thinker who has made claims of finding some ancient, sacred, primordial truth in Marx' philosophy. Since the really existing socialisms did not live up to Utopian Socialist values of the Western Left, and violated the sacred Proudhonian calls for Eternal Truth and Justice, people have been "Returning to Marx" . An endless list of Western academics have been trying to save Marx from the horror of Actually-Applied-Marxism, like Christians returning to the Sermon of the Mount once faced with the intolerance of the Westboro Baptist Church. The left needed a way to explain the supposed "failure of communism", we were told. But this "failure of communism" was never the failure of communism on it's own merits, merely the failure of Actually Existing Socialism to meet unrealistic Western standards of a "Workers Paradise". Of course, anyone who knows anything about either Russia or China knows that they could never outperform a first-world imperialistic "consumer society", nor that they could ever reach a "liberal, open society" under the pressures of global imperialism and internal turmoil. It did not have a third-world to ruthlessly exploit, nor did it have a private, self-sustaining military industry which could engage in endless war and foreign provocation without severely damaging the economy and civil society too much.

Neither the Russian communist state, nor the Chinese state, would never and will never be able to achieve communism in one country - to posit this it to be more Stalinist than Stalin himself, and abandon the idea that the workers of the world must overthrow the bourgeoisie globally. No communist revolution is ever a guaranteed success. But, in it's own context, socialism achieved great things - it almost abolished unemployment, introduced wide-ranging social reforms including healthcare and education, raised living standards on a higher rate than any capitalist has been able to achieve in similar conditions, and aided in the liberation of millions of colonial and imperial subjects. That a majority of people in these countries actually preferred communism is widely ignored. Within the limitations of a national economy, they preformed extraordinarily. In it's own context, socialism didn't fail at all - it was a huge victory for the workers of the world. The Western left plays every trick in the book to dismiss actually existing socialism, in order to avoid plunging into the horror of actually doing a material analysis of the socialist social formation. It cried about Cults of Personality, about revisionism, about death tolls, and prison camps, and dismissed communism moralistically because of these things.  Petty moralist revulsion, of course, has nothing to do with class analysis, or Marxism.

In order to avoid the actuality of historical development, one returned to a "Marx without Lenin" (or Stalin, or Mao, or Khrushchev but sometimes with a Trotsky).This is a Marx that was idealized as a Nostradamus, rather than a theoretician. But the works of Marx and Engels were never meant to be viewed as ancient scrolls, containing mystical secrets that can only be interpreted by a Marxist Clergy. Instead, Marx and Engels produced a series of theoretical texts that provided a guideline for the European working class movement in the era they lived in, and provided the basic scientific foundations of class analysis - and as capitalism and class changed, so must the conclusions of Marxist class analysis change. Marx really did not have a conception of how modern imperialism developed - only Lenin managed to correctly advance the idea of imperialism and it's relation to finance capital. Neither could Marx and Lenin have a concept of Neo-Colonialism: Kwame Nkrumah had to apply Marxist-Leninist thinking to the situation in Africa, in order to get a Marxist explanation of this. Thousands of different working movements and governments have produced many texts and speeches that update the Marxist conclusions as society changes. One cannot abandon any single one experience of the working class in it's struggle - they must all be studied, praised, and critiqued. Marxism is a living science, a science that can be used as a weapon - not a collection of ancient witches spells that can conjure up Full Communism if you only say the words right.

Jehu has precisely this kind of theorist - he presents himself as possessing a Higher Truth about what Marx Really Meant, and shock-and-horror: it isn't what those simpleton Marxists think it is! By twisting and turning Marx' theory he tries to make him fit the pleasant, idealistic, petit-bourgeois maxim "communism is free time and nothing else". Of course, Marx' vague, at best, description of post-revolutionary society can lead to the projection of whatever ideal socialism fits you best, and the process of making communism a comfortable, cozy and humanistic ideal can start anew. In Jehu's version of Marx' revolutionary communism, not only is all the history and lessons of the post-Marxist era ignored or illegitimate, he also edits out the blood-stains of the Paris Commune, and all the other violent, direct struggles for power that Marx himself described. The proletariat has merely to wait until the *aherm* "Fascist State" untangles all it's internal contradictions and simply falls of the scene, leaving a proletariat that can achieve that eternal communistic dream of "some-time-off-already-god-dammit!"

What Jehu represents is the most vulgar of revisionists, that revisions Marxism not only because his political organizations opportunism demands it, but for his own personal subjective satisfaction. Jehu revisions not only the conclusions of the central concepts of Marx, but revisions the central concepts of Marx in order for them to reach Jehu's conclusions! Everything solid in Marx' work - the class struggle, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the need for theory - melts into air, and various obscure or context-free Marx quotes are turned into a puppet theater, through which Marx can be the agent of Jehu's self-congratulating bullshit. That the Marxists didn't merely invent these concepts, and that Marx isn't the Id to the Marxists Super-Ego, should be evident from our reading. Now, will Jehu have learnt anything from this? Almost certainly not. Like a preacher on the streets, speaking of the end times, he will angrily rant about The Fascist State, The Illiterate Marxists and the Bourgeois Simpletons, to a small and insignificant crowd of Chosen Ones. He claims that it does not matter if either he or I are correct, and he is right - even proving that all his revalations about what Marx really meant was wrong would not get him to change his mind!


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