02 February, 2020

George Galloway launches new Workers Party



Galloway launches new party, worth watching and wait for the working class poet, Chris McGlade, towards the end...

Issue 68 of SHAPE: Susskind's Universe






This latest edition of SHAPE Journal tackles Cosmology, the philosophy of Mathematics and its deleterious effects on modern Physics. It does so through a critical response by this author to several lectures by leading physicist Leonard Susskind - but why single him out in particular?

Susskind is professor of theoretical physics at Stanford University in California. Stanford is a private University and is regularly ranked one of the top three universities on earth, employing the very top academics in their fields. For this reason alone Susskind is a key physicist to tackle - he is also considered one of the fathers of String Theory.

As well as this key contribution to Sub Atomic Physics he brings in many other areas of interest such as Cosmology - and presents himself as something of an all round science expert. His vast series of lectures on YouTube are a vital outlet for the latest ideas in contemporary physics based on the flawed assumption of the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory. As part of my continuing attack on the latter I felt the need to take down one of the leaders of this field, and Susskind fit the bill perfectly.

In the infamous Smolin–Susskind debate, Susskind’s argument and support for the “anthropic principal” tells you everything you need to know about his quasi-religious idealism - encapsulated in the words of Brandon Carter: “The universe must be such as to admit the creation of observers within it at some stage. To paraphrase Descartes, I think, therefore the world is such.”





Susskind, for me, epitomises all that is wrong with science today. Susskind and his like are responsible for the ruination of the subject via their Pluralism and rampant Idealism. In his unapologetic support for Mathematics as the language of the Universe, Susskind entered my sights as a key target in the war against Pluralist science.

31 January, 2020

A Dialectics of Climate Change?


Dialectical Materialism is the only methodology capable of grappling system-wide qualitative change.

Multi-Factor Cyclic Systems

and their Forms of Stability & Change


The current crucial climate debate surrounding what was always called, until recently, "Global Warming", is complicated by the multi-cycle nature of our world's weather systems, as they are affected both externally, primarily by the Sun, and internally by the composition and movements of Earth's atmosphere. 

This too is modified both from within as well as from the outside, influenced by both natural and Man-Made systems, and occurring usually at tempos so very different, at least initially, to the actual life-spans of individual human beings, BUT nevertheless entirely capable of succumbing to cataclysmic overall, planet-wide transformations - though more often only suffering from recoverable Crisis Interludes.

Such complications are then used to demote all such negative interludes as being solely due to quite normal oscillations to-and-fro of any complex, multi-part varying system - but one which, nevertheless, self-corrects to a "normal-settled-stability" - and is consequently "Nothing to worry about".

And such a conclusion is the only possible one, if and only if, the usually assumed Principle of Plurality, is true: for it allows ONLY Fixed Laws, and Stability as its inevitable outcomes in almost every varying Interlude.

So, the problem is, that without the appropriate philosophic stance, for a real changing and developing Reality, it will always be impossible to know where the situation actually is dynamically, and whether the current crisis is temporary or terminal!

The problem is, of course, dialectical, involving the unavoidable causal interactions of multiple simultaneous factors, which can, and indeed do, wholly dissociate in what is termed an Emergence or Revolution, of what appeared to be a wholly stable, even permanent situation.

The best Mankind will ever be able to do in such situations, is monitor those crises, both as they occur now, and as they have in the past, as ultimately providing sufficient evidence of some interpretable forms, as are generally left behind in the resultant surfaces of the ground, which are later turned into permanent records, sometimes revealed, but also ever more often fairly deeply buried beneath our feet.


Geologist researching past cataclysms in Greenland

Clearly, Philosophy, is NOT as the idealists see it - merely the Discipline of Human Thought - but, on the contrary, it is the Discipline for our Understanding of Everything, including Material Reality, and its indisputable ongoing Development.

But, crucially, the long established stance, in both all the Sciences, and in most Reasoning, has, for millennia, been what we call Plurality, which can only ever deal with a trajectory of merely Quantitative Change, whereas, for example, the whole clearly evident Emergence of Life, from NON-Living Matter, simply must totally refute such a simplifying stance, as being wholly inappropriate - for actual Qualitative Changes would MOST certainly have occurred, in such dramatic developments, which would have to physically and chemically explain such Qualitative Changes - always totally impossible via Plurality.

Indeed, though the development of the very first Intellectual Discipline - Mathematics, was made possible only via the invented special relational-premises of the Greeks, they were Totally Pluralist, and could never be the basis of any other Intellectual Disciplines, which just have to handle Qualitative Changes causally, rather than merely descriptively, and after the fact, so enabling at least the overall trajectories of such changes to be made sense of.

But, as distinct from damaging total calamities, the vast majority of natural situations are NOT straightforward avalanches of Change, but always involve whole sets of multiple simultaneous and interacting processes - usually significantly always involving whole sequences of differing Cycles, though, at the same time, of similar Qualitative Changes, resulting in very unusual trajectories involving both long-lasting interludes of "Balanced Stabilities", which were preceded in their final formation, by a series of multiple Crises, and always, at some terminating stage, are totally dismantled in a general, everything-involved dissolution, which then rather quickly builds a wholly new Balanced Stability upon the changed products and properties of that Dissolution.


Emergence theory is an extension of Dialectical Materialism by this author (Jim Schofield)


Now, the Earth, as an affected body within the Solar System is NOT as Newton might have believed, majorly determined by Geometry and Gravitation, but also subject to other influences and past collisions, to maybe cause its Spin, its axis Tilt, and its capture of a Moon, plus an evidently constant Solar Wind of energetic Charged Particles from the sun, and whatever caused it to develop an internal Magnetism and extensive Magnetic Field.

And, just to concentrate upon its Global Atmosphere, with constant angular momentum throughout, but with different radii beteen the Equator and areas closer to the Poles, the surface will be moving at very different speeds an affecting the local atmospheres differently.

While the different angles of the Sun's rays onto its curved surface as well as the Day/Night on/off nature of that Radiation will all affect various areas of the Atmosphere differently too!

Finally the Earth's Orbit around the Sun is elliptical rather than circular so there will be Yearly variations in the radiation reaching earth at different times and places.

Indeed, all of these will be modified by the Earth's Spin, there will be multiple cycles, all of them constantly repeated but at different rates and different amounts of external heating from the Sun!

And the Question must arise, "Why is the Weather usually so ordered, within a season, and what might both make this happen, and, alternatively sometimes appear to approach chaos?"


30 January, 2020

Democracy, Socialism & Leadership


Is Capitalist Democracy even possible?

We live in a Capitalist Economic System, and have done so for such a long time that most people consider that it must be the best. It didn't seem to have been imposed by War, but ultimately by the clear successes of Capitalist Enterprises in competition with alternative forms of economic organisations: they evidently must have been victorious in the Market Place!

But, nevertheless, it was never ever a free choice of individuals - a genuinely democratic decision - as to what sort of Economic workplaces there would be. Such decisions were still only taken by people with sufficient Money and Power, who were in a position to make and implement such decisions for everyone else.

Even after the English Revolution in the 17th centiry, with the King executed, and Parliament victorious, the vast majority of ordinary people who had ensured that victory still had NO say whatsoever in what was to replace the Old Regime. Ordinary citizens had NO vote to elect Members of that Parliament, who exclusively represented those who already had wealth, but now also had the Power, which used to reside solely with the Monarch.

But now, Oliver Cromwell, a landowner in Parliament, and then a military leader of the New Model Army in the field, after victory became the Lord Protector of the New Regime, and had established that position by both Status, but also by Force! Many of the reins of power which had been in the hands of the King, were now in Cromwell's hands, and he was perfectly clear what he had to do with them.

And the Diggers and the Levellers who had fought alongside him against the King, were now his enemies, and absolutely nothing that they had fought for, was granted to them. For, once in power all the taxes, tariffs and other income of the State were now directed via Cromwell's priorities!


Diggers and Levellers


Parliament had been increasingly dominated by wealthy farmers, landowners and traders, and had never represented the bulk of Working people, so from their Victory in leading an "Alliance of All The People", they naturally set about what was in their own interests alone, and for many that enabled the beginnings of Capitalist production and organisation.

So, what was evidently continuing fight for Democracy all about? Was it ever, in the minds of its leaders, about "Power to the People"?

The answer must be clearly "NO!"

It must always look as though that was its objective, but in truth was only ever to be a facade, behind which the Wealth and Power of those now in charge was to be maintained and greatly enhanced.

And looking at the current Chaos in British Politics, is that not still the case?

And, once such a success had been achieved in Britain, it was evidently possible elsewhere too. So, the British colonists in North American were next, and then it was France, but the difference was now up-front and from the outset a clear promise of "Democracy For ALL!" was necessary to bring together the necessary Alliance to carry the Revolution to Victory.

But, of course, involving the enfranchisement of only those with the wealth to implement the now well-established objective of Capitalism!

Democracy

or

Liberté Egalité et Fraternité


were the necessary slogans, so may have been the marshalling demands for the People, but they were never the real intentions of the Revolutionary Leaders!

Indeed, some lessons were learned, so by the time of the 20th century Revolutions, indeed Vanguard Parties equipped with committed Marxist leaders were now not only inevitably involved, but were the only guarantors of the demands of the workers and peasants, and ultimately the only possible leaders. The Slogan of the Russian Bolshevik Party was

Bread, Peace and Land!

somewhat different, I think you will agree.

But notice that whatever was achieved, whether sufficient or not, now just had to be via a Revolution, and with a very different set of Alliances upon each side! It had to be led by a Vanguard Revolutionary Party, informed by a Marxist critique of Capitalism! And, no alliances with Liberals could any longer be trusted.

And even if such a Revolution were successfful, it would elicit invasions from Capitalist Nations on all sides, and if those failed, which they certainly did in the case of Russia, then such a Rogue State would be effectively isolated from trading worldwide. And, even long-duration pressures and defensive expenditures would be inflicted upon such a State as in the Cold War, could be, and indeed were implemented!

In the end only World Revolution could ever guarantee the success anywhere!

Now, the self-proclaimed Socialist Parties in the various combatants in the First World War, ALL supported their own individual countries. Whereas in Russia the Bolsheviks agittated vigorously againat the War, even within the Army and Navy of the Russian State . Only the Bolsheviks in Russia, on successfully taking the power, pulled out of that War between Capitalist Nations.

And, after the war, they re-named their Party The Communist Party, and set about the worldwide construction of an International Organisation of genuine Socialist Parties to replace the prior International that had been the objective of Marx himself, but which had been vigorously attacked from within by Anarchists and the Social Democrats, who had turned it into a toothless Talking Shop alone!

The Question was not only an appropriately theoretically-equipped Revolutionary Party, but also one having a resolute Anti-Capitalist Leadership!

And, even within Russia the Revolution was not yet assured.

For it had replaced the Capitalists with a State Appointed Bureaucracy, without extending Democracy into all the Workplaces nationwide: and the Bureaucracy, instead, established itself as a privileged Elite, rather than a real Socialist Leadership!

Two vital components must be ensured at the hearts of Revolutionary Parties worldwide.

  • First, the commitment to the continuing development of the Philosophy of Marxism, termed by Marx himself as Dialectical Materialism (contrary to what many think, this did not happen in the USSR. 

Especially, in its crucial extension to The Sciences, which was never undertaken in the past!


  • And Second, in its commitment to Workers' Control in their workplaces, to combat the emerging of a privileged Bureaucracy!


Finally, what is currently called Democracy, in literally all countries in the World, must be totally dismantled, as it is currently the stongest bastion to the Rule of Capitalism: as significant modifications have turned it into its very opposite!

Money now dominates everything!





The ones spending the most money selling themselves and manipulating communications get elected! Also, the electors have no means of questioning or even mandating their chosen representatives.
And instant re-call and replacement is totally impossible. Even the initial selection of Candidates for Office is now rarely left to the members of the Party Branch they are to represent if elected! And innumerable other changes, which have been instituted to concentrate power in a centralised elite within the Party.

Democracy itself must be renovated to deliver what it was intended to achieve in its conception!



Postscript:


But, there are still problems, that are not easy to address!

In the early 20th century, several leading Bolsheviks were impressed by the Empirio Criticism of physicists Henri Poincare and Ernst Mach, which was a Positivist alternative to strict Materialism, and it caused Lenin to immediately suspend other theoretical work to urgently write the book Materialism and Empirio Criticism, which emphatically condemned such a philosophical retreat.

And, it achieved two things: it pulled back those leading Marxists in the Bolshevik Party - realising their mistake! And also it confirmed the intellectual Leadership of V. I. Lenin in the Party.

Later, in July 1917, in the interlude between the two revolutions of that year, the Kronstadters arrived at Bolshevik Headquarters, armed to the teeth, demanding that a leading Boshevik to both lead and speak for them in making the demands upon the Kerensky Government to resign.

Literally everyone at Bolshevik headquarters were against it, knowing that it was too soon, and it would undoubtedly fail.

But Lenin disagreed!

These are our people, and when the time comes we will be able to count upon them - but if we tell them now to go home, we will rightly lose their trust.

Though warning it is probably too soon, they would nonetheless, be led to the Winter Palace by Trotsky, to show whose side we are on.

And that is what happened! It did fail, and Trotsky was jailed, and Lenin had to hide in Finland,

BUT, in October when the time was right! The Bolsheviks said "NOW!", and the Kronstadters stormed the Winter Palance, and the Second, this time Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, was carried through to success.

Again the tactical Leadership of Lenin was vital...

Switch to the present day in the UK!




Jeremy Corbyn gets elected to the Leadership of the Labour Party by an extended membership of the Party, and goes for Policies much further to the left than Party was used to.

But most of the Labour MPs in Parliament were NOT chosen by their Party Branch members! During the Leadership of Tony Blair, he had changed the rules, so that the central leadership provided all Party Branches with a list of suitable candidates as MPs - none of whom were remotely Left. He even renamed the Party New Labour!

And, their Blairite MPs were against Corbyn from the start - they did everything they could to remove him, and played a major role in Labour's recent historic defeat. They undermined the shift to the Left at every turn.

The necessary structures of a Real Democracy must support effective leadership, while opposing bureaucratic elites attempting to win power by NON DEMOCRATIC means!

Not easy. But vital. 

20 January, 2020

Avoiding Global Catastrophe




We Must Unify the Struggles of the Left


Two significant problems currently stand in the way of the essential political actions absolutely necessary to dispense with the clearly evident causes that produce most of the debilitating issues of today - which together can only be due to the Capitalist System, underpinning all of the difficult aspects and problems that we encounter.

For nothing less could possibly make any real and lasting difference!

But, being confronted with such a seemingly impossible-to-achieve solution will always then impel people to focus their anger-and-actions upon a current single evident problem (climate change, refugee crisis, Palestine, Brexit, fracking, stop the war coalition) now being addressed. And the apparent lack of any wide-ranging, integrating stance, more or less guarantees the inevitable downturn and final ebbing away of support in all such individual-and-separated actions.

The first difficulty is that clearly and evident separation of all the necessary and growing struggles, which, when so isolated from one another, and with no evident, overall-solving-objective available, can never individually have the necessary wherewithal to actually visualise any real Change-in-the-System, and, no matter how legitimate those single issues are, they will definitely only swiftly build to a maximum, and then decline, ENTIRELY due to each isolated struggle's unavoidable Lack of achieving any Persisting Success!

Surely, the dynamism of such struggles has to be understood to address this recurring problem?

For, the "purely moral" isolation often involved does NOT naturally indicate a necessary wider scaling-up-of Protest, into something both more general, and with a wider range of other related and important struggles - with common causes.

And crucially, a unifying-political-form of organisation, encompassing the extended, clearly-related range of issues, and a consequent coherent, comprehensive and integrated Programme of what has to be done, AND ALSO, necessarily, a series of Objectives to be concretely achieved, on-the-road to a Final permanent Political Transformation of the situation, will be vital in sustaining the necessary momentum of all the struggles.

I was immediately energised by the Extinction Rebellion response to the clearly accelerating Global Warming and consequent Climate Change (caused by the unsustainable growth of Global Capitalism), and the also clearly evident increasing undermining of the usual Climate Stability, into instead the possibly catastrophic outcomes for both the Planet and its Peoples.


The recent official attempts to re-frame Extinction Rebellion as extremist, even terrorist in nature, really reveals that power feels threatened by this mass mobilisation of school children!


I have been involved in a wide variety of such struggles, all my adult Life, and have seen the Rise and Fall of totally legitimate, but almost always separated movements, which, even when they succeeded, have NEVER left behind a sufficient political change to defend and maintain any gains. So, though the solution seems clear enough - the Unity of such Struggles is never ever achieved both concretely or organisationally!

YET, the argument frequently and vigorously insisted upon by many organisers of such actions is that widening the struggles will drive away supporters of this particular individual issue, and hence cause it to fail...

NO! it will fail precisely because the wider basis for the problem still remains, and at the first opportunity any gains will be removed again.
I was greatly stimulated by the remarkable actions of those energised to both help, and then to vigorously demonstrate, after the terrible Grenfell Fire Disaster in London: there were many angry, energetic, articulate and organising people powerfully moved to do what they could.

But it rose to a crescendo, and finally ebbed away.





Such great people should have been integrated into a bigger force-for-change, but where are they now?

What a waste of love, energy and talent!

Now, we have to reveal exactly why this never happens.

I am a Working Class person, who got an Education and thereafter a series of posts in Educational institutions, from Schools to Universities, in three different countries. I was, throughout my adult life, involved in political struggles, and consequently ended up involved in one organisation or another, but though they all had what they considered was an overall unifying stance, the leaders both didn't, and indeed couldn't, have meant it.

The leaders were invariably from the Wrong Class!

And, the level of understanding of these leaders, though often sophisticated, and well-read, was always inadequate to powerfully energise both their members, and those they were attempting to help or recruit.

I have subsequently met many of my past-colleagues from such organisations, again later in life, and they had all reverted-to-Class, and found my continuing commitments embarrassing, and even often pretended that they didn't recognise me, and kept out of my way!

So I was, over time, in a variety of Political Parties.

NOTE: I am a physicist, but a steadfast opponent of the then and now current Copenhagen Stance, which is still today the consensus position in Modern Sub Atomic Physics, so, in my youth, I looked around for an alternative stance! I finally found it in a book entitled Materialism and Empirio Criticism, which criticised the at-the-time-of-its-writing, increasingly popular ideas of Henri Poincaré and Ernst Mach, who were termed Positivists. The stance of the writer of that book, a certain V. I. Lenin, was brilliant, philosophically, but he was no physicist. So, finding out that Lenin was a Marxist, I joined the Communist Party, expecting to find what I needed there.

But it wasn't available!





It took me some time to find out, but I never found anyone who wanted to discuss the problem, and finally realised that the version of Marxism which they subscribed-to, resided solely in a series of books covering a particular area of studies, which certainly did not include Physics! No one was an active practising Marxist, though they all insisted that they were.

And throughout my political life, in various Parties, I found the very same problem. A consistent, coherent and comprehensive stance was simply not involved.

So, more generally, the separation of struggles COULD NOT be integrated via a shared theoretical stance - for nobody involved seemed to have one.

Now, even supposing such a comprehensive Marxist Stance actually existed, and I could understand it, several difficulties were still inevitable...

Not least was its comprehensive application to Modern Physics - a truly mommoth task: then a facility for applying it to political compaigns and objectives, and finally, perhaps most difficult of all, the means by which all the various struggles including new ones (as they arose) could be presented from an integrated critical position - absolutely essential to formulating the correct policies for them all, and sufficiently energising to my auditors to integrate them all into a coherent and extendable overall campaign.

I feel I have finally got somewhere with the first two of these objectives.

But now, at 80 years old, and almost blind, I feel I will not complete the third...

That, perhaps, will be your task!

05 January, 2020

Special Issue 67: Holistic Materialism Addendum





This Special Issue of SHAPE is an addendum to the original two part series entitled Holistic Materialism published last year.

The original series constituted a set of loosely related papers by Marxist theorist Jim Schofield concerning his philosophy of science, and his application of Holism and Dialectical Materialism to the sciences, especially particle physics. This has been a historical and epistemological project as much as it has been a philosophical and scientific one. In order to understand the mistakes and impasses we are presented with in science today, it is imperative to go back and have some understanding of how knowledge and philosophy have evolved over human history.

But what exactly is Holistic Materialism? Holism is a word that means different things to different people, a seemingly vague term that is often abused and misused - ‘holistic medicine’ for example covers all sorts of pseudoscientific nonsense no empricial researcher would care to be associated with. However Holism as a philosophical concept refers to something quite specific, and for Jim Schofield it is encapsualted in its opposition to the Pluralist position (not to be confused with pluralism), which sees all entities and laws as separable - capable of being isolated and studied in isolation - but more importantly, that this separability will somehow unlock the truth of how things in reality work. Essentially it is the philosophy of reductionism and this underpins almost all contemporary scientific research.

Jim Schofield’s work is a unique critique of the hidden assumptions which underpin all science.

This is not the first time the term Holistic Materialism has been used, however. We see it linked to biology and 19th century naturalists in the writing of Ernst Mayr.

“The discovery of the similarity between dialectical materialism and the thinking of the naturalists is not new. Several authors have called attention to it, particularly Allen... He starts quite rightly: “The process of natural selection is as dialectical a process one could find in nature.” Allen thought that the dialectic viewpoint of the naturalists had been lost between 1890 and 1950... Allen asserts that the “holistic materialism” of the naturalists had failed to incorporate two important dialectical views. First “the notion that the internal change within a system is the result specifically of the interaction of opposing forces or tendencies within the system itself.”
The Roots of Dialectical Materialism (Mayr, 1997)

In the work of Schofield we see this kind of holist view of natural systems but very much informed by the dialectics of Karl Marx. It is not enough to see the interconnected-ness of things but realise how natural dominances emerge, to the point of seeming universal, and also how these dominances can come crashing down as their internal contradictions finally play out. It is in these crucial events that we see the Emergence of the wholly new. In these papers we see how Pluralist science prohibits access to this fundamental feature of reality, and that while those 19th century naturalists may have hinted at the way forward, holist science is something new.

In this additional set of papers we address Mayr’s contribution directly, including his full paper The Roots of Dialectical Materialism as part of this publication.

Jim Schofield’s initial conspectus (also included here) is critical of Mayr’s positioning of early Naturalists as instrumental in the development of Marxist theory, but also acknowledges Mayr’s work as potentially very valuable to the further development of Marxism, philosophically, and in aiding the difficult progression towards a holistic scientific method.





The World Socialist Web Site, published by the International Committee of the Fourth International, certainly considered Mayr’s work important to Marxism, publishing a detailed obituary of this great thinker upon his death in 2005. In this piece Walter Gilberti writes:

“Mayr’s life-long interest in the fundamental questions that continue to animate the biological sciences, combined with his exceptional longevity as a working and thinking scientist, engendered in him a profound appreciation of its history. In particular, he stressed the importance of a study of the history of scientific concepts (natural selection, e.g.). He wrote: “Preoccupation with this sort of conceptual history of science is sometimes belittled as a hobby of retired scientists. Such an attitude ignores the manifold contributions which this branch of scholarship makes” (1982). He stated further: “One can take almost any advance, either in evolutionary biology or in systematics, and show that it did not depend as much on discoveries as on the introduction of new concepts.... Those are not far wrong who insist that the progress of science consists principally in the progress of scientific concepts” (1982).”

This is certainly similar to Schofield’s view and the approach taken by this retired scientist, also trying to better understand how science works, and how it fails to work, through theory. Scientific Concepts are vital here, as Mayr suggests. However objective one’s data may seem to be, it is only through the frame of key concepts that interpretation and understanding begin.

Holistic Materialism is just such a concept - a frame for understanding our scientific findings by adopting the much wider view that is necessary, in such a complex and interconnected world.

03 January, 2020

Leonard Susskind's Reality (wholly defined by Mathematics)




Idealist & Pluralist 
Reality

In a couple of series of Lectures by Leonard Susskind of Stanford University, he totally defines both Sub Atomic Physics and Cosmology solely via his beloved Lingua Franca - Mathematics. "The Math" in question is wholly Pluralist, as defined in the Greek Intellectual Revolution of the 5th century BC, and is only actaully applicable to Pure Forms - that is Forms that are forever qualitatively FIXED.

It was the necessary FIXITY of ALL the relations involved that made possible the totally New devising of Simplified Relating Abstractions. For, it was these, and these alone, that enabled its intrinsic properties. But they are only true about such forms and literally nothing else.

So in promoting Mathematics to being this Lingua Franca (wholly illegitimately) of both General Reasoning and all of The Sciences, the Greeks were using that language where it could NEVER be used, unless all the features in those disciplines were somehow completely qualitatively unchanging: and that is impossible! So, in their both arriving at the defining of all Natural Laws as eternal, and, and thereafter, using ONLY a Pluralist Rationality in both Science and Reasoning to illegitimately manipulate those significantly distorted bases to deliver all the rational consequences generatable from those bases.

And the Forms of Mathematics are not only pluralistic, but also totally idealistic too: for they represent only the simplest, purest Forms, which only very rarely apply in the situations that are addressed. And take this incorrect stance even further, as the Pure Forms of Mathematics are fitted-up to an adjusted Reality, by using Pluralistically arranged-for experimental data to complete the felony!

Now our Stanford Lecturer covers his Physics and Cosmology entirely by means of Mathematical Rationality, which is of course wholly illegitimate in both areas.

His auditors ask him questions that require Physical answers, but he allows absolutely NO deviation to his own steadfast purpose: he admits of no possible deviations from his own super confident techniques. At best he arrives at echoes of conclusions aquired elsewhere, but NONE outside of the premise that Formal Equations encapsulate the whole truth, and all deviations from such Truths are the aberrations. The Essences are embodied in his maths-based manipulations. He is a competant mathematician, but a poor Physicist and Cosmologist!

Different "realities" made possible by the ideality of Mathematics...



You can now read the finished paper in Issue 68 of SHAPE Journal entitled Susskind's Universe


.

The State II


Anarchists "Smash the State"

The Key Purposes of the Revolutionary State

Now, anarchists were, and still are, totally opposed to the idea of a Socialist State (or indeed to any kind of State at all), and they instead extol the virtues of democratically-run local communes and grassroots action.

It was The Anarchists that brought The First International Association of Working People, organised by Karl Marx, to total collapse.

Marx had insisted that a Socialist State was vital, providing both centralised resources and services to all, and protecting the new system from threatening opponents. Negotiating with other states on a global basis, would be essential - at least for a time.

It would definitely be even more imperative, after a successful Revolution, as most, if not all other states would still be under the prior kinds of Regimes, driven to protect their own Capitalist interests, and would consider the very existence of the Socialist State an exemplar for their Working People, and hence a threat to the current rulers too.

But, returning to the Anarchists, Subsequent History has shown that they were wrong, and Marx was indeed right! For, after the Sucess of the Russian Revolution - England, the USA and even Japan sent in armies to put down the Revolution, but due to a strong State-Organised Red Army of The People, they were all successfully defeated.

And, even after the Revolution, there were still ex-owners and even so-called Social Revolutionary Parties (based on the peasantry and still strong in the truly vast countryside), who continued to work against the new regime. It definitely required a State-wide organisation to root them out, or everything gained by a People's Revolution would be lost - most Revolutions do indeed fail.

And, in addition, opposing and surrounding Capitalist Powers worked incessantly to isolate the new State, particularly in Trade and Commerce, and even sent in agents allied with internal opponents, and even criminals, to undermine the nascent socialist Economy, and smuggle out valuables originally targeted for confiscation by the State to be taken from the wealthy as The Property of the People.

And, many different and previously non-existant Public Services had to be devised, built and organised on a vast scale, literally from scratch - and from immense Defensive Military Forces, on the one hand, and a totally new National Health Service, and a Quality Education System at all levels not just for the rich, but for Everybody and, finally, of course, Public Transport too - Russia was a truly enormous country! 



And, the intended country-wide Democracy, to be based upon People's Councils (or Soviets), was initially miniscule, and needed both resources and guidance, so that individual isolated organisations didn't all make the same mistakes all over the country.

What a tremendous undertaking! Yet with a majority of the People energetically-on-board. Remember, everything that had existed previously was constructed and maintained by, and to serve the needs of, the wealthy landed Gentry and the then Ruling Class, with the Tsar at its head. Absolutely nothing had served the needs of the workers - either the Peasants on the Land, or the Workers in the Factories.

Whole droves of agents. hangers-on and even servants to the Prior Ruling Class and their institutions, were now "demoted" to ordinary working class status - and of course they didn't like that one bit!

So, the enormous task of building a new, fairer society, had to undertaken with the whole country locked in Civil War with the Royalists and their supporters, while also being ravished by Armies of Intervention, aiming to put down the Revolution and re-instate the Old Regime.

And all this in the biggest physical country on Earth!

They needed to be organised Country-Wide - and that had to be via the State apparatus - how else could it have been done?

And, not only did they do it! BUT also the leaders of the Revolution - The Bolshevik Party, knew not only why they need a State, but also its dangers! For Lenin had long explained that, in the longer run, on the way to Communism - there would be a deliberate Withering Away of the State!

But, this was a completely new kind of Revolution. There was no nascent Capitalist Class, held back by a Feudal Regime. For, in spite of the Feudal monarchy, Capitalism was growing apace and welcomed by the Ruling Class. The Capitalists were certainly not siding with any Socialist Revolution.  Maybe the February Revolution of 1917 removed the Tsar, but the Revolutionry Tide hadn't yet finished, the October 1917 Revolution, this time led by the Bolsheviks, was for terminating Capitalism too.

And, all objectives were achieved - at least initially!

But, all Revolutions attempt the apparently impossible, by which is meant - that they attempt to establish the Wholly New. NO prior patterns were ever available for guidance: in fact every Emergence of any kind is inevitably prefaced by a series of major crises in the prior situation, which always finally culminate in the System's Total Collapse. And only then does a very different series of alternative constructive attempts occur, which, initially at least, also fail.

But, nevertheless, they can and do finally culminate in a wholly New and final breakthrough into a self-maintaining success - a new stable system.

The Origin of Life was such a Revolution, as was the Emergence of Consciousness in Human Beings. But, even these were not achieved without devastating calamities along the way!

And this one was surely typical of the real biggies, like Life and Consciousness: it would be a truly major Emergence Event, and would require a long gestation period to remove all unwanted liabilities left over from the past. And, as distinct from the other major Emergences, this one involved, for the very first time, conscious participants and organisations, who were aware of the occurrence of such events, and not only could they consciously intervene, but so could and did the defenders of the previous System. 

The problem with anarchists is that they don't understand Emergence. The Revolutionary State is the attempt to build and defend the new stability - without this consolidation of power Capitalism will return with ease. 

27 November, 2019

26 November, 2019

Brexit: Manufacturing Consent?

While there are certainly some convincing left-wing arguments for leaving the European Union, none of these featured in most Leavers' reasoning in 2016, in the original push for a referendum or in the current Tory party's attempts to manufacture consent for a no-deal Brexit.

As the UK sits at the precipice of another general election, we must try and understand why and how the Conservative Party, and large parts of the economic elite, are doing this. The media (most major newspapers and television news including the BBC) are certainly pushing for this outcome and are engaged in a substantial propaganda war against Jeremy Corbyn and Labour.

It's worth re-visiting this great documentary, Manufacturing Consent (1992), featuring the ideas and work of Noam Chomsky. In this film Chomsky asserts that the media always works this way, in the interests of vested interests and big money. Brexit and this current election are no different.



Play




Play and its role in learning


I have been watching a BBC TV documentary about the role of Play on animal learning (especially in the young). The general conclusion was that Play was more important than it is usually given credit for.

But, any analysis of such things must start from a sound basis - one which must necessarily address a great deal more than the accumulation of just everyday knowledge and skills.

Indeed, to really get at the processes involved, it cannot be purely an aggregating mechanism, but also, in some way, informatively address unavoidable crises, and even the Emergences of the Wholly New.

Now, useful contributions can be made without such a stance, but it will never address the significant Qualitative Changes that are the essential ingredients in real Development - or The Evolution of Undertsanding, rather then the aggregation of Knowledge only.

So, though many of the points made were of some value, they could not address the more important questions.

Let us look once again at the Play of young animals in their early years, but let us consider it in terms of the diverse capabilities endowed to the animal in question by its Quantitaive Evolution!

For embedded in the baby animal, from birth, is a complex system of bones and muscles capable of a significant number of movements and abilities passed on to it by it Evolution over, perhaps, millions of years. The potential for what that animal could do, is already built into its form, and certainly NOT due to its actions and experience.

So, what is the primary role of Play?

It is to reveal to the individual the built-in potential of its inherited form, but as a form of pleasure and fun, rather than mere functional exercise - to encourage them to do it all the time. Part of that inheritance will be the endorphins and pleasurable emanations also released by such new movements.

It is a process of already available discoveries of the young animal's built-on potential, BUT, it is not how they discover the wholly New.

And it is not how Evolution takes place!

In the most advanced animals, like us, it is NOT how they qualitatively change their understanding of things! That is a very different process which has been termed Emergence, and must never be confused with the incremental accumulation of Knowledge, which ultimately just recreates what is already knowable.

Indeed a valid alternative word for what an Emergence reveals is that it delivers a Revolution: and such can be both in their Living Processes and in their Thinking. But in the latter it is NOT merely New Knowledge!

And, it is never merely an addition in either sphere: it is always cataclysmic and destructive. For it to occur, elements of what went before, first get challenged, in a series of usually overcome Crises, but ultimately do deliver the Emergence, where these have to finally cause an overall Collapse of the Old System, in what seems to be a debilitating Dissociation, but in so-doing it also dismantles the self-maintaining features of the past stability, and thereby enables a natural construction of a wholly New System.

This is always totally unpredictable from the prior seemingly permanent Stability.

And, if you dont believe it.....What was the Origin of Life, and the much latter Appearence of Consciousness? What was the Neolithic Revolution, when Mankind, after hundreds of thousands of years, switched from being Hunter/Gatherers to Farmers and Domesticators of Food Animals?

Also what were the English, American, French and Russian Social Revolutoons?

And why is all of this not a part of the Thinking of Mankind?





It is due to one of these Revolutions that took place 2,500 years ago in Ancient Greece - The First Intellectual Revolution, where the breakthrough was to assume the fixety of all fundamental categories, Names and even Concepts, by the universal adoption of The Principle of Plurality. For this excluded Qualitative Changes from Mathematics, Reasoning and even Science, where it still rules to this day!

The interesting thing about Play is that it limits what has to be passed in via genetic Materials, for in many animals and all plants literally everything that is needed is passed on in genetic material, but when Play is passed on, it both reveals the potentiality of bodily capabilities and also teaches the young animal how to use them in different ways - its more flexible.

There is NO training in flying insects how to fly, it is genetically transmitted: but in Humans Beings and many higher animals the transmission of playing, and parental care is far more efficient, if longer to acquire. Needless to sat Humans have an exceedingly long Childhood, while certain seabirds, for example, "fly" and swim straight from the nest, and are effectively "on their own" within weeks!

Evolution has equipped the higher animals in very different ways via actual Emergences, though they have never been clearly evident until Darwin and Wallace's revelation of Natural Selection, though even they didn't fully understand exactly how these radical developments occurred - they just discovered that they had happened.

The philosophical Revolution that began to tackle Qualitative Change did in fact begin seriously in the early 19th century, via the criticisms of Formal Logic by the German Idealist Philosopher Hegel, but he only applied his Dialectics to Human Thinking, and the task of applying it effectively across the board, and particularly in Science has only begun to make inroads there in the 21st century, with the recent successful attack upon the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory.

Now, there is still an enormous amount yet to be addressed, but Qualitative Change occurs in literally Everything so the current domination of Plurality in most Intellectual Disciplines, has still got a long way to go. Apart from the recent application to Sub Atomic Physics, the only extensive and indeed, at the time comprehensive prior definition and application to concrete Reality was undertaken in the Study of Capitalist Economics by Karl Marx in the 19th century, but both denounced and suppressed by an academia dominated by the pro Capitalist Ruling Class across the World, clearly because Marx's conclusion was the necessity for a Socialist Revolution...

The State I


What is the State and whose interests does it work for?

The State: Now, Post-Revolutionary & Ultimately Desired


Now, the unavoidable and constant defining problem, for the vast majority of ordinary Working People, historically (and even now) has always been: who is in control of the State in which they live, for it is is absolutely never in the hands of the majority.

Now, when the difficulties of living under such circumstances, though never good, can and do get altogether too much to bear, so there can be, and, indeed, often has been, some kind of revolt, which, when it proceeds to general fighting action against the whole State, is termed a Revolution.

Indeed, a colleague was recently able to identify almost 800 violent revolts against their current overlords within our known Social History. It wasn't as rare as you think!

But, literally no Society is totally homogeneous - possessing of the same needs and desires throughout all its inhabitants. Militarism and Wealth has always accrued to minorities of individuals, which has always divided Society into various Classes, with the consequence that the majority is kept virtually powerless, and a relatively tiny Elite is therefore maintained in overall and lucrative control - even in supposed democracies.

And, that Elite has always necessarily gathered around itself a penumbra of somewhat privileged retainers and servants, who see their future solely in terms of the Elite they serve.

But, the majority have no say, AND also importantly NO means to overthrow the incumbent regimes, until, that is, some form of major crisis also affects even those who thought they were safe, and new temporary alliances between parts of the Middle and the Lower Classes, which could possibly challenge the Elite's Control.

The Middle Classes could, of course, never do that by themselves, though certain armed sub groups certainly could carry out successful coupe d'états- such as The Army, for example! But, it was The People-in-Arms in Russia, during the First World War, that ultimately sided with the suffering People, because that is also exactly who they too really were.

But, in most Revolutions, nascent New and increasingly powerful Classes - like Landowners, Manufacturers, Merchants and Traders, who then had sufficient financial wherewithal, and had promised the Lower Classes exactly what they desired to form into a capable Revolutionary Alliance, but who could also separate from that coalition upon success to deliver a new privileged elite!

In the English Revolution, the Parliament - representing the wealthier Landowners, chose Oliver Cromwell, as their leader, and who built his New Model Army, largely out of the Peasant Class, but who then developed their own ideas and associations like the Diggers and the Levellers, and who certainly had much more radical ideas than the wealthy Middle Class. Yet together they defeated the Royalists and decapitated the King! But, thereafter, the successful Revolution did literally nothing for the Peasants.

Upon Victory, the alliance fell apart (or more accurately was cleansed of its lower orders), while the privileged layers within the Army were easily converted into a means of maintaining the now established New Order. Indeed, Cromwell is still, to this day, reviled in Ireland for his brutal putting down their own Rebellion.

And then, slowly at first, but soon reaching colossal proportions the Peasants were driven from the land by Enclosures by the Landlords, to make way for much more profitable Sheep Farming, and also to increasingly supply Workers for the new Capitalist Factories appearing everywhere.

The promises to ordinary people of:

Liberté, Egalitéet Fraternité

were soon forgotten after the French Revolotion, and it was becoming clear that, every such Revolution, would not be completed without a change in both the Economic and the Political Systems too! It meant that the toiling masses had to be equipped with an agenda for the New State, developed from their needs and desires, and independent of those from more privileged prior comrades in arms, and involved themselves in a continuing fight to establish it, even after such a supposed initial Victory.

But, in Russia the nature of the New Revolutionary State, even though it was finally achieved decisively by the Toiling Masses, had effectively just transferred ownership of the Means of Production into the hands of a New State Bureaucracy.

The workers still had no direct control!

And, predictably, the new arrangement generated its own privileged Elite - Communist Party leaders and bureaucrats.

What was being undertaken in such a Revolution had to have those involved adequately informed by an understanding of all of this, and equipped with both a Powerful Theory and Developed Practice to produce the Conscious Engine Room both of and for the Toiling Masses. The Class had to have a dedicated Revolutionary Party to ensure its real success, which had also learned lessons from the mistakes of the past.

25 November, 2019

Is Revolution a Natural Part of all Development?



Natural Revolution

SHAPE Journal is proud to present a new film by Michael C Coldwell and Jim Schofield.

This is a film about revolution.

A film about how revolutionary emergences are a natural and crucial part of all developing reality. 

Based on a wide-ranging discussion between Marxist philosopher and scientist Jim Schofield, and filmmaker and researcher Michael C Coldwell, this essay film explores diverse themes, from Stalinism to the evolution of language, from the origin of life on earth to the failure of the 1960s revolutionary movement. The visuals are ripped and mashed from Youtube - archive footage, newsreels and films from the 20th century. Music is supplied by Conflux Coldwell and the Urban Exploration collective.

19 November, 2019

27 October, 2019

Special Issue 66: The Origin


Papers on Emergence and Abiogenesis - The Origin of Life on Earth



This edition collects my key papers addressing the Origin of Life and introduces my theory of Truly Natural Selection - the idea that matter itself undergoes a kind of evolution, and that this process eventually lead to life emerging on our planet.

This is part of an ongoing examination, by this author, of Emergences - those crucial events whereby all truly new entities originate.

Several sets of papers, upon this topic, have been published by this theorist before in the journal, but it can’t be, and certainly isn’t, a totally completed project. Indeed, the most important part of such a task, is always to divide yourself off from the Millennia-old, and very well established amalgam of different stances unified by both a belief in the Principle of Plurality on the one hand, and the age-old validator of “If it works, it is right!” on the other. And, truth-be-told, you only detach yourself from that well-entrenched position, in a series of stages, as you realise yet another weakness in the Old, made clear by an emerging appreciation of the strength of the New.

Now, I also feel that I cannot expect my readers to follow the same devious path as I have been forced to take, so there are times when a full re-statement of certain arguments, including a great deal of what has already been published before seems completely unavoidable. And this is just such a situation!

And, it is also very important, for the additions and extensions are via the Holist and Dialectical approach to science and understanding, as against the usual Pluralist and Formal Logical approach. This major transfer turns out to be both profoundly difficult and easily self- torpedoed, by unconscious and habitual returns to the old methods.

Now, as these methods have been used to both demolish the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory in Sub Atomic Physics, and the revelation of the world of Mathematics as actually being in Ideality, rather than Reality, and finally a wholly original stance upon the Origin of Life on Earth, it is clearly important to get as clear a description of the methods involved as possible.

25 October, 2019

Avoiding Global Catastrophe by Unifying the Struggles of the Left


Extinction Rebellion must challenge Capitalism or it will achieve nothing.

Two significant problems currently stand in the way of the essential political actions absolutely necessary to dispense with the clearly evident causes of both accelerated climate change and profound social inequality - the Capitalist System that dominates our planet.

For nothing less could possibly make any real and lasting difference!

However, being confronted with such a seemingly impossible-to-achieve solution (global system change, no less) will always then impel everyone to focus their anger-and-actions upon a current single issue or evident problem which seem capable of being addressed. And, the apparent lack of any wide-ranging and integrating stance for our activism, more or less guarantees the inevitable downturn and final ebbing-away of support in all such individual-and-separated endeavours! The underlying cause isn't dealt with and so these burgeoning movements can ultimately achieve nothing.

The first difficulty is that clearly and evident separation of all the necessary and growing struggles, which, when so isolated from one another, and with no evident, overall-solving-objective available, can never individually have the necessary wherewithal to actually visualise any real change-in-the-system, and no matter how legitimate those single issues are, they will definitely only swiftly build to a maximum, and then decline, ENTIRELY due to each isolated struggle's unavoidable lack of achieving any persisting success.

Surely, the dynamism of such struggles just HAS to be understood!

For, the "purely moral" isolation often involved does NOT naturally indicate a necessary wider scaling-up of protest into something both more general, and with a wider range of other related and important struggles - with common causes. And crucially, a unifying-political-form of organisation, encompassing the extended, clearly-related range of issues, and a consequent coherent, comprehensive and integrated Programme of what has to be done, AND ALSO, necessarily, a series of clear Objectives to be concretely achieved, on-the-road to a Final permanent Political Transformation of the situation, will be vital in sustaining the necessary momentum of all the struggles.

I was immediately energised by the Extinction Rebellion response to the clearly accelerating Global Warming and consequent Climate Change, and the also clearly evident increasing undermining of the usual Climate Stability, into instead the possibly catastrophic outcomes for both the Planet and its Peoples.



I have been involved in a wide variety of such political struggles all my adult Life, and have seen the rise and fall of many totally legitimate, but almost always separated social movements, which, even when they succeeded, NEVER left behind a sufficient political Change to defend and maintain those gains! So, while the solution seems clear,  the Unity of such Struggles required is never ever achieved both concretely or organisationally.

YET, the argument frequently and vigorously insisted upon by many organisers of such actions is that the widening the struggles will drive away supporters of this particular individual struggle, and hence cause it to fail! This is certainly the flawed reasoning behind trying to keep Extinction Rebellion "apolitical" - which basically means, don't criticise Capitalism!

Quite the opposite - it will fail precisely because the basis for the problem still remains, and at the first opportunity any gains will be removed again.

I was greatly stimulated by the remarkable actions of those energised to both help, and then to vigorously organise and demonstrate after the terrible Grenfell Fire Disaster in London: there were many angry, energetic, articulate and organising people powerfully moved to do whatever they could.


Justice for Grenfell

But, like so many other protest movements, it rose to a crescendo, then finally ebbed away...

Such great people (mostly powerful grassroots voices from that community) should have been integrated into a force-for-change, but where are they now?

What a waste of love, energy and talent!

Now, we have to reveal exactly why this never happens.

I am a Working Class person, who got an Education and thereafter a series of posts in Educational institutions, from Schools to Universities, in three different countries. I was, throughout my adult life, involved in such struggles, and consequently ended up involved in one organisation or another, but though they all had what they considered was an overall unifying stance, the leaders both didn't, and indeed couldn't, have meant it.

These people were invariably from the Wrong Class!

And, the level of understanding, though often sophisticated, and well-read, was always inadequate to powerfully energise both their members, and those they were attempting to help or recruit.

I have subsequently met many of my past-colleagues again later in life, and they had all reverted-to-Class, and they found my continuing political commitments embarrassing, and even often pretended that they didn't recognise me, and kept out of my way!

So I was, over time, in a variety of different leftwing Political Parties - but none, in the end, could do anything.

I came to revolutionary politics via an odd route. Despite my working class roots as I was far from class-conscious as a youth. 

I am a physicist, but a steadfast opponent of the then and now current Copenhagen Stance, which is still today the consensus position in Modern Sub Atomic Physics, so, in my youth, I looked around for an alternative stance. I finally found it in a book entitled Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, which criticised the at-the-time-of-its-writing, increasingly popular ideas of Henri Poincaré and Ernst Mach, who were termed Positivists.

The stance of the writer of that book, a certain V. I. Lenin, was brilliant, philosophically, but he was no physicist.


Lenin's Materialism and Empirio-Criticism

So, finding out that Lenin was a Marxist, I joined the Communist Party, expecting to find what I needed there... But it wasn't available!

It took me some time to find out, but I never found anyone who wanted to discuss the problem, and finally realised that the version of Marxism which they subscribed-to, resided solely in a series of books covering a particular area of studies - and that certainly did not include Physics!

No one was an active practicisng Marxist, though they all insisted that they were. And throughout my political life, in various Parties, I found the very same problem. A consistent, coherent and comprehensive stance was simply not involved.

So, more generally, the separation of struggles COULD NOT be integrated via a shared theoretical stance - for nobody involved seemed to have one!

Now, even supposing such a comprehensive Marxist Stance actually existed, and I could understand it, several difficulties were still inevitable. Not least was its comprehensive application to Modern Physics - a truly mammoth task: then a facility for applying it to political campaigns and objectives, and finally, perhaps most difficult of all, the means by which all the various struggles including new ones (as they arose) could be presented from an integrated critical position - absolutely essential to formulating the correct policies for them all, and sufficiently energising to my auditors to integrate them all into a coherent and extendable overall campaign.

I feel I have finally got somewhere with the first two of these objectives.

But now, at 80 years old, and almost blind, I feel I will not complete the third...

That, perhaps, will be your task!

_________________________________________________________________________________

Harriet Fraad is good on this, demonstrating how current political issues of racial and sexual discrimination intersect profoundly with class oppression through a long (and continuing) history of exploitation and invasion by the rich and dominant ruling class. 



02 October, 2019

Issue 66: Holistic Materialism I





This is the first in a special two part series entitled Holistic Materialism. These issues constitute a set of loosely related papers by Marxist theorist Jim Schofield concerning his philosophy of science, and his application of Holism and Dialectical Materialism to the sciences, especially particle physics. This has been a historical and epistemological project as much as it has been a philosophical and scientific one. In order to understand the mistakes and impasses we are presented with in science today, it is imperative to go back and have some understanding of how knowledge and philosophy have evolved over human history.

But what exactly is Holistic Materialism? Holism is a word that means different things to different people, a seemingly vague term that is often abused and misused - ‘holistic medicine’ for example covers all sorts of pseudoscientific nonsense no empricial researcher would care to be associated with. However Holism as a philosophical concept refers to something quite specific, and for Jim Schofield it is encapsualted in its opposition to the Pluralist position (not to be confused with pluralism), which sees all entities and laws as separable - capable of being isolated and studied in isolation - but more importantly, that this separability will somehow unlock the truth of how things in reality work. Essentially it is the philosophy of reductionism and this underpins almost all contemporary scientific research. Jim Schofield’s work is a unique critique of the hidden assumptions which underpin all science.

This is not the first time the term Holistic Materialism has been used, however. We see it linked to biology and 19th century naturalists in the writing of Ernst Mayr.

“The discovery of the similarity between dialectical materialism and the thinking of the naturalists is not new. Several authors have called attention to it, particularly Allen... He starts quite rightly: “The process of natural selection is as dialectical a process one could find in nature.” Allen thought that the dialectic viewpoint of the naturalists had been lost between 1890 and 1950... Allen asserts that the “holistic materialism” of the naturalists had failed to incorporate two important dialectical views. First “the notion that the internal change within a system is the result specifically of the interaction of opposing forces or tendencies within the system itself.”

The Roots of Dialectical Materialism (Mayer, 1997)

In the work of Schofield we see this kind of holist view of natural systems but very much informed by the dialectics of Karl Marx. It is not enough to see the interconnected-ness of things but realise how natural dominances emerge, to the point of seeming universal, and also how these dominances can come crashing down as their internal contradictions finally play out. It is in these crucial events that we see the Emergence of the wholly new. In these papers we see how Pluralist science prohibits access to this fundamental feature of reality, and that while those 19th naturalists may have hinted at the way forward, holist science is something new.

01 October, 2019

Workplace Democracy and Democratic Ownership



"Workplace Democracy and Democratic Ownership: moving from theory to strategy". Richard Wolff and Gar Alperovitz at Left Forum, 2013.



Some very interesting and unexpected revelations come out of this debate - worker co-ops alone will solve nothing as they will inevitably recreate all of the same problems regarding market competition and consumption that you get with laissez-faire capitalism - the only difference will be workers rather than bosses will have to become cutthroat in order to survive. 

So what is the solution? Society must control the economy, not the other way around. Top-down Stalinist type controlled economies didn't work either - so what does the relationship between society and the workplace need to be in order to make work work for the benefit of all?

Gar Alperovitz hints at a possible way out looking his work with steel workers in Youngstown Ohio in 1977... democratic community ownership of companies and resources, rather than worker cooperatives, as a way of really democratising the means of production (and distribution and digital infrastructure, in the modern world), and subsequently the entire economy.

25 September, 2019

The Diverse Tasks for Revolutionaries


Revolution of the Mind

The essential modern extensions to a Marxist analysis of Capitalism are clearly underway with contributions like those of David Harvey. And, Richard Wolff correctly extols the virtues of Worker Co-ps as an alternative to Capitalist forms of production.

But these contributions are by no means sufficient to build an effective revolutionary organisation, capable, when a genuine revolutionary situation emerges, of leading the Working Class to finally overthrow Capitalism. Indeed, literally nowhere are such organisations being built!

I know because I spent a good part of my adult life in professedly Revolutionary organisations, yet none of them were anywhere close to being up to the competences required. And it was not just in their political organisation, or even their policies: they were, in retrospect, emasculated shadows of the real thing - embodied in such as the Russian Bolsheviks.

And, they were not only very top-down in their bureaucratic organisation, but also lamentably lacking in developing the essential and radically different Philosophy of Marxism - Dialectical Materialism!  Indeed, even their reasoning was dominated by the old Formal Reasoning, which had led to Hegel's attempt to correct its pluralist disabilities, via his instituting into it the directly contrary Dialectical Approach.

And as a professional physicist, I couldn't even raise any interest in the primary-philosophical-task still outstanding among self-professed Marxists - namely, both the philosophical, and the physical, defeat of the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory in Modern Sub Atomic Physics. Indeed, in bringing it up, I was admonished for using it to avoid the pressing day-to-day rasks of political Activism!

None of the parties I joined were general Dialectical Materialists: they were, in fact, well out-of-date, and inadequate purely economic Marxists, and political activists only, and they never discussed Marx's actual revolutionary philosophy at all. It most certainly did not guide their activities, or their publications.

Yet, it was undoubtedly Marx's creation of the wholly new philosophical standpoint of Dialectical Materialism, that enabled all his consequent contributions. But as a single individual, addressing the whole gigantic area of Capitalist Economics, he never had the time to address all the other crucial areas in the same way.

And, the most important of these, Science, has still not been addressed by any of the "Marxist" groups.

Marxism can only advance if it is diversified...