Sunday, August 12, 2012

Social Criticism - Marx Quotes

"In the struggle against that state of affairs, criticism is no passion of the head, it is the head of passion. It is not a lancet, it is a weapon. Its object is its enemy, which it wants not to refute but to exterminate. ... It no longer assumes the quality of an end-in-itself, but only of a means. Its essential pathos is indignation, its essential work is denunciation." 
"Criticism dealing with this content is criticism in a hand-to-hand fight, and in such a fight the point is not whether the opponent is a noble, equal, interesting opponent, the point is to strike him." 
"The weapon of criticism cannot, of course, replace criticism of the weapon, material force must be overthrown by material force; but theory also becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses. Theory is capable of gripping the masses as soon as it demonstrates ad hominem, and it demonstrates ad hominem as soon as it becomes radical. To be radical is to grasp the root of the matter. But, for man, the root is man himself." 
"Theory is fulfilled in a people only insofar as it is the fulfilment of the needs of that people." 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Marx on Hegel's Phenomenology

I recently bought AV Miller's translation of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit. In light of that, I've decided to reread some of Marx's statements on it in his Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844.

"The outstanding achievement of Hegel’s Phänomenologie and of its final outcome, the dialectic of negativity as the moving and generating principle, is thus first that Hegel conceives the self-creation of man as a process...he thus grasps the essence of labour and comprehends objective the outcome of man’s own labour."

"Hegel’s standpoint is that of modern political economy. He grasps labour as the essence of man – as man’s essence which stands the test: he sees only the positive, not the negative side of labour. Labour is man’s coming-to-be for himself within alienation, or as alienated man. The only labour which Hegel knows and recognises is abstractly mental labour."  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Three Worlds Theory in the 21st Century

"In my view, the United States and the Soviet Union belong to the first world. The in-between Japan, Europe and Canada belong to the second world. The third world is very populous. Except Japan, Asia belongs to the third world. So does the whole of Africa and Latin America" - Mao
"From the perspective of the changes that have taken place in international relations, the world today in fact has three sides or three worlds in existence which are mutually related as well as contradictory. The United States and the Soviet Union belong to the first world. Developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and other regions belong to the third world. And the developed countries in between the two belong to the second world". - Deng Xiaoping

During the 1970s Chairman Mao Zedong formulated his Three Worlds Theory. Since then, times have changed. The Soviet Union is gone and former third world nations have become neo-colonial puppets. Due to these changes, the Three Worlds Theory is now obsolete. It should simply be swept under the rug without any attempts at reformulating it. This is how some people - Marxists and non-Marxists alike - think.

Before we do this, lets ask: Can we really be so sure that this theory is obsolete? Perhaps the post cold war world isn't as different as we like to think. To get a more definite answer, we must look at the international situation since the end of the cold war.

Initially the Three Worlds Theory certainly did become obsolete. A bipolar world was replaced by a hegemonic one. With the fall of the USSR the very condition that allowed for independent and semi-independent Third World nations to exist in the first place was gone. Now the world was dominated by only two types of nations: the US and her allies. This New World Order is now beginning to crumble.

Starting with the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998, a so-called Pink Tide has swept Latin America. In this region, many US stooges have been replaced by independent leaders. These rulers have, in tern, established strong connections among themselves and with other independent nations. This growing group of nations that defy US hegemony are the new Third World. With this change in circumstances, it's imperative that we consider this theory, and reinvigorate it so that it's in line with present circumstances.

Anti-Imperialists of the world, UNITE! 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Hegel: Quality and Quantity Dialectic

The following quotes are taken from Hegel's Science of Logic and The Shorter Logic.
"Determinate Being is Being with a character or mode — which simply is; and such unmediated character is Quality." - Shorter Logic
"Quality may be described as the determinate mode immediate and identical with Being...A something is what it is in virtue of its quality, and losing its quality it ceases to be what it is." - Shorter Logic
"A thing is what it is, only in and by reason of its limit. We cannot therefore regard the limit as only external to being which is then and there. It rather goes through and through the whole of such existence." - Shorter Logic
"The view of limit, as merely an external characteristic of being-there-and-then, arises from a confusion of quantitative with qualitative limit. Here we are speaking primarily of the qualitative limit. If, for example, we observe a piece of ground, three acres large, that circumstance is its quantitative limit. But, in addition, the ground is, it may be, a meadow, not a wood or a pond. This is its qualitative limit." - Shorter Logic
"In something, its limit as quality is essentially its determinateness. If, however, by limit we mean quantitative limit, then when, for example, a field alters its limit it still remains what it was before, a field. If on the other hand its qualitative limit is altered, then since this is the determinateness which makes it a field, it becomes a meadow, wood, and so on. A red, whether brighter or paler, is still red; but if it altered its quality it would cease to be red, would become blue or some other colour." - The Science of Logic
"If we take a closer look at what a limit implies, we see it involving a contradiction in itself, and thus evincing its dialectical nature. On the one side limit makes the reality of a thing; on the other it is its negation." - Shorter Logic
"The transition from Quality to not found in our ordinary way of thinking, which deems each of these categories to exist independently beside the other. We are in the habit of saying that things are not merely qualitatively, but also quantitatively defined; but whence these categories originate, and how they are related to each other, are questions not further examined." - Shorter Logic
"If we proceed to consider their quantity, we get the conception of an indifferent and external character or mode, of such a kind that a thing remains what it is, though its quantity is altered, and the thing becomes greater or less." - Shorter Logic
"On the one hand, the quantitative features of existence may be altered, without affecting its quality. On the other hand, this increase and diminution, immaterial though it be, has its limit, by exceeding which the quality suffers change. Thus the temperature of water is, in the first place, a point of no consequence in respect of its liquidity: still with the increase of diminution of the temperature of the liquid water, there comes a point where this state of cohesion suffers a qualitative change, and the water is converted into steam or ice." - Shorter Logic
"the alterations of being in general are not only the transition of one magnitude into another, but a transition from quality into quantity and vice versa, a becoming-other which is an interruption of gradualness and the production of something qualitatively different from the reality which preceded it. Water, in cooling, does not gradually harden as if it thickened like porridge, gradually solidifying until it reached the consistency of ice; it suddenly solidifies, all at once. It can remain quite fluid even at freezing point if it is standing undisturbed, and then a slight shock will bring it into the solid state." - The Science of Logic

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mao Zedong Quotes - Oppose Book Worship

You can find the full article here:
"Quite a few comrades always keep their eyes shut and talk nonsense, and for a Communist that is disgraceful. How can a Communist keep his eyes shut and talk nonsense?"
"Conclusions invariably come after investigation, and not before. Only a blockhead cudgels his brains on his own, or together with a group, to "find solution" or "evolve an idea" without making any investigation."
"When we say Marxism is correct, it is certainly not because Marx was a "prophet" but because his theory has been proved correct in our practice and in our struggle."
"Of course we should study Marxist books, but this study must be integrated with our country's actual conditions. We need books, but we must overcome book worship, which is divorced from the actual situation."