Dialectical Materialism

Discussions on Communist Part of India (Maoist) (formerly People's War Group) and its operations in Andhra Pradesh
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Postby Anand » September 1st, 2005, 10:23 am

CDRC (Centre for Documentation, Research and Communication) has a web site: www.cdrcindia.org
and E-mail: [email protected]

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Postby venkateswarlu » September 2nd, 2005, 10:35 am

Anand wrote:anandaswarup
Prof Anand, I sincerely believe there is no good concise book in telugu about dialectical materialism. There is a clear need to write one that is accessible to somebody with minimal literacy in contemporary telugu. In hindi Rahulji attempted " Gatitaarkik Bhoutikvaad"-Published. Nanduri Rammohanrao's introduction to philosophy serialized about a couple of decades ago in andhrajyothy weekly and subsequently published as a book is insufficient. I invite you to join me in producing a small abridged translation of a known book into telugu.
Understanding Dialectical Materialism is the Key to changing the World

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What ?

Postby All_Maya » September 2nd, 2005, 12:11 pm

Dear friend,
May somebody briefly explain what is "dialectical materialism " I am confused by looking various definitions in internet...
We all part of MATRIX: THAT is THIS and THIS is THAT..All that not THAT is not necessarily THIS..All that not THIS is not necessarily THAT. Substitute any dual in place af THIS and THAT you will feel that you are approaching TRUTH. !

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Postby Anand » September 3rd, 2005, 6:20 am

All-maya wrote:
May somebody briefly explain what is "dialectical materialism " I am confused by looking various definitions in internet.

This seems to be a problem with many concepts. I found wikipedia gives quick and different versions of the definitions. I am enclosing one version without metaphysics from Heilbronners' book "The Worldly Philosophers" from the chapter on Marx. This sentences are mostly from the book from pages 144-146.
"And when Engels came to visit him ( Marx) and the two struck a strong rapport, that new philosophy began to take formal shape. The philosophy is often called dialectical materialism, ‘dialectical’ because it incorporates Hegel’s idea of inherent change, and ‘materialism’ because it grounds itself not in the world of ideas, but on the terrain of social and physical environment. It envisaged change, constant and inherent change, and in that never-ending flux the ideas emanating from one period would help to shape another. But the dialectical- internal dynamism- aspect of history did not merely depend on the interplay of ideas and social structures. There was another and far more powerful agent at work. The economic world itself was changing; the bedrock on which the structure of ideas was built was itself in movement.
For example, the isolated markets of the Middle Ages began to lock fingers under the impetus of exploration, and a new commercial world was born. The old hand mill was replaced by the steam mill under the impetus of invention, and a new form of social organization called the factory came in to being. In both cases the determining framework of economic life itself changed form and as it did, it forced a new social adoptation from the community in which it was embedded.. “The hand-mill gives you the society with feudal lord”, Marx wrote, ‘the steam-mill, society with industrial capitalist’.
And once such a change had taken place, it carried with it a whole train of consequences. The market and factory were incompatible with the feudal way of life- even though they were born amidst it. They demanded a new cultural and social context to go with it. And they helped in that difficult birthing process by creating their own social classes: the market nurtured a new merchant class, and the factory gave rise to the industrial proletariat.
Society, according to Marx is organized in to class structures, aggregates of individuals in some common relationship- favourable or otherwise – to the existing form of production. As the organizational and technical forces of productions change, social relationships change too; for example the early fights between feudal lords and rising merchants. Thus history is a pageant of ceaseless struggle between classes to partition social wealth. As long as the technics of society change, no existing division of wealth is immune from attack. As the technical base evolves, necessarily it puts increasing strain on the superstructure.
Marx applies this theory to capitalism. For capitalism, the superstructure was the system of private property which is individualistic. The base of industrial production is an organized, integrated, interdependent process. In fact, he applies it to perfect capitalism: no monopolies, no unions. "

How this should lead to the destruction of capitalism is explained on pages 155-162 and some of his predictions that have come true are on page 164.
I must add that I am also learning these things and have no political affiliations. I consider myself vaguely left (my definition: left-concern for others including oneself and right-concern only for oneself). I also feel that the world is too complex now and may be grand theories such as Marxism or ABM (American Business Model) are not universally applicable. But in a diverse country like India, one sees situations where Marxism seems to make sense. How this meshes with other situations quantitatively is a problem for which I do not have any expertise. May be through these discussions and reading we can learn a bit more.
P.S. I also found Edmund Wilson's book ( of which I read only parts) very good. He considers Marx's das Capital more as moral document like the Old Testament. that as well as some situations where even now it seems applicable may explain the appeal of Marxism.

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