A critique of contemporary leftist and Marxist political scene: Underestimation of the Subjective Dimension and theoretical development and renewal

By Fazal Rahman, Ph.D.                                       Written in June 2017

What have centuries of capitalism and imperialism done to human nature and mass psychology?  Why is there so little discussion on this and associated problems of alienation, reification, and dehumanization, which are complex and multidimensional phenomena, requiring great deal of research and thought?  Are leftists, Marxists, and working class immune to these?  Marx frequently commented passionately and eloquently on these issues.  He and some insightful Marxists that followed him, like Che Guevara, put great emphasis on the creation of a New Man, as one of the most important goals of the socialist revolution and building of a socialist and communist society, and considered the human nature, developed under capitalism, to be dehumanized and subhuman.

Related to all that is the question of the importance of the Subjective Factor, in relation to the Objective Factor.  As is self-evident, the objective conditions in the developed capitalist countries have been ripe for a long time for transition to socialism.  It is the flaws and deformations of the subjective conditions and mass psychology that have prevented that from happening.  Hence, in these countries, the Subjective Factor has become much more important than in earlier times.  And yet, so little attention is being paid to its diagnoses, ills, flaws, and deformations.  The work of relatively very few in this area is being ignored, and overwhelming majority of leftists and Marxists is, exclusively and repetitiously, discussing topics that are related to the Objective Factor, and reproducing standard and conventional statements on them, or news items, from various sources, without any significant genuine creativity or originality.

In relation to academia in the Western and other capitalist countries, one can hardly overemphasize the sheeple nature of overwhelming majority of the pet academics, who are, to variable degrees, financial beneficiaries of and enslaved to the politico-economic powers of capitalism and imperialism. They are, overtly or covertly, apologists or advocates of capitalism and imperialism. Relatively few, who dissent from the mainstream and proclaim themselves to be socialists or even Marxists, end up doing more harm than good to the theories and knowledge of Marxism, Leninism, Socialism, Communism, and Revolution, by phony and distorted “creativity”, eclecticism, psychologism, academic prestige-mongering, and excessive subjectivism. Marxism would be incomparably better off without such “creativity” (1).  Unfortunately, overwhelming majority of students, lacking any knowledge, information, or critical research of their own, are easily mislead and brainwashed by the above-mentioned types of academics. Authentic, real, and dedicated socialist and Marxist academics are very rare in the academia, as, with very few exceptions, ones who get there somehow and maintain their integrity, get tossed out, on one phony pretext or the other. Also, the current generation of students, with relatively few exceptions, is, more than anything else, career-and-money-oriented. They look up to the successful academics or other successful professionals, within the system, and hope to become like them. Real political, philosophical, and spiritual truths and integrity are of no or secondary or phony importance to them. They have no passions or ambitions for their discovery or for identifications of the real nature and causes of innumerable evils, injustices, inequalities, and monstrosities of their system or society. Almost all their intellectual and other energies are devoted to career-building and money-making, within the system.. Such mass psychology of the current generation of students is very different than that of the students of 1960s, who were not only seeking such truths, but organizing into large movements and taking actions for changing the system and society, instead of fitting into those.

Almost all the contemporary works of Marxists and Marxist-Leninists are predominantly economistic, even when these include the discussions of deprivations and sufferings of the victims of capitalism and imperialism.  These exclude any mentions, much less analyses, of the predatory and parasitic human natures of the capitalists and imperialists, or those of their victims- who also develop capitalist mass psychology and behavior, even without having any capital, and are also dehumanized, alienated, and reified, within the Advanced Capitalist-Imperialist Technological Societies (ACITS), – or of the nature, causes and origins of such effects on the human natures of human parasites and their victims.

Under these conditions, it can hardly be overemphasized that, in addition to the economic basis, superstructure, productive forces, and relations of production, Marxism and dialectical materialism also include their effects on human nature, and the possibility of transformation of capitalist and imperialist forms of human nature, under capitalism and imperialism, into socialist and communist forms of human nature, under socialism and communism.  It is self-evidently most important to identify and analyze the various specific characteristics, properties, and features of human nature, under capitalism and imperialism, as well as under socialism and communism, and their essences, where these originate and become mass produced.

Certainly new great problems have developed, both in the Objective and Subjective Dimensions of ACITS as well as some problems that were there and developing for a long time, without being identified, or inadequately diagnosed and discussed.  With very few exceptions (For example, 2, 3, 4, 5), these remain unresearched and undiscussed.  Why?

Also, positivistic empirical writings dominate the leftist and Marxist political scene.  Theoretical and dialectical writings are very rare.  Again, Why?

Even though, conventional Marxist theory can explain and give accurate meanings to great variety of empirical facts, especially of the objective nature, it is inadequate to explain or give meanings to some of the most important contemporary subjective phenomena and problems.  Like every other theory, it needs development and renewal in that area, especially in view of the above-mentioned new, unidentified, or inadequately identified problems and phenomena.  The last great renewal and development of Marxist theory was done by Lenin, around 100 years ago, especially with the addition of the theory of imperialism to it.  Even though, Gramsci had emphasized the dialectical importance of Superstructure, in its interaction with the Economic Basis, his investigations also remained very inadequate, in relation to the Subjective Factor. Although there are some good publications on alienation, these have been mostly written in heavy philosophical terminologies and frameworks, which can be quite confusing and hard to interpret.

Writings of the founders of Marxism and Leninism are vast, including on political economy, philosophy, sociology, and current affairs of their times.  That vastness was multiplied subsequently by innumerable Marxists, majority of them updating empirical information and data in various countries.  It is impossible to read all that vast literature individually.  Teams of Soviet writers had attempted to review as much of that as they could, and written excellent abbreviated interpretations of them, making it possible to study and review all that vast literature in that form, in addition to the selected original works.

Far too many Marxists stultify themselves, as well as Marxism, by reading a small portion of that vast literature and engaging in citing quotations, phrase-mongering, and reproducing out-of-context passages, in relation to various issues, problems, and policies, with little or no creativity or originality.  That is why Marx had exclaimed, on one occasion like that, “I am not a Marxist”.  Marxism is not a Bible or Quran, fixed permanently for all times.  It was envisioned to be a dialectically developing science and philosophy, by its founders, constantly renewing, enriching, developing, and integrating new information, knowledge, and insights.  It is obvious that most people- especially in a celebrity-worshipping mass culture, like that of the US- do not have the ability for genuine creativity in a theory, like Marxist-Leninist theory, which involves complex philosophical and politico-economic matters, or for accurate applications of dialectics and dialectical materialism. Marxism-Leninist theory, dialectics, and dialectical materialism are much better off without the possible flawed “creativity” of overwhelming majority of people.  Even dogmatism is better than the unintended or deliberate distortions and perversions in these areas.  However, the minds of such people, in general, are also closed to the real and genuine creativity, renewal, and development, in these areas, by some rare individuals, who have such abilities.  To distinguish the genuine creativity from flawed creativity requires in-depth and broad knowledge and accurate insights in these areas.

In capitalist societies, there are variable types and degrees of contradictions between ideology and psychology of Marxists and other leftists.  Even though, both dominant mass ideology and mass psychology originate in the political economy and culture, individuals and groups can acquire and replace the former with a different ideology, through their class positions in society, living and working conditions, and information, knowledge, and insights gained through studies of enormous Marxist and leftist literature.  However, acquiring a different psychology is incomparably more difficult, even though possible to certain extent.  This is because Marxists and other leftists, like everyone else, live and function within the capitalist political economy, its various institutions, and relations of production, distribution, and exchange, which condition and create their mass psychology and behavior, albeit with individual, group, and class variations.  Within the capitalist political economy, it is impossible for individuals, groups, or classes to have socialist or communist relations of production, distribution, or exchange, or to have socialist or communist mass psychology or behavior.  For example, Marxists may call each other comrades in such societies, but if one of them owns a house and the other rents it, the renter has to pay the rent to the owner; otherwise he/she will face eviction, especially if the owner needs the rent for living expenses.  The relation between two comrades is reified in such a scenario, leading to the inhumanity of eviction , regardless of the financial and other difficulties of the renter, just like the relation between non-Marxist owners and renters.  Contradictions between proclaimed ideology and psychology are also prevalent in innumerable other areas of social life of Marxists, including in Marxist Facebook group and other web sites.  As described below, in case of Marxist Internet Archive Users Discussion Group (MIAUDG), some administrators of these groups are using and treating them as their private fiefdoms, instead of public groups, run in the interests of all the members and public.  In the example of MIAUDG, the contradictions between proclaimed socialist ideology and capitalist private property psychology of the administrator, Doug Greene, are extreme.  However, many others have various degrees of similar contradictions.

Even after the socialist revolutions, the contradictions and conflicts between ideology and psychology are reduced gradually.  Their elimination may become possible at the communist stage of development of the socialist societies.

There is a great need for the development of an interdisciplinary Marxist theory on the Subjective Dimension of the contemporary social reality in the ACITS.  Relatively very recent research information and discoveries in biological sciences, and especially in epigenetics, are of great importance in developing such an interdisciplinary theory.  In fact, as I have background in many areas of social sciences, as well as biological sciences, genetics, and epigenetics, I have developed such a theory, the only one developed thus far, which has been mostly neglected, due to various types of biases, prejudices, stultifications, and ignorance (2, 3,4, 5).

It hardly need to be mentioned that the Left in the advanced capitalist societies, and particularly in the US, is self-defeatingly divided into numerous factions, like non-Marxist and anti-Marxist leftists, Maoists, Trotskyites, Stalinists, Anarchists, Marxists, and Marxist-Leninists, etc., some of which have become addicted to worshipping their celebrities, just like the widespread culture and mass psychology of celebrity worship in the mainstream society- now considered a pathological condition of Celebrity Worship Syndrome-and try to tear each other apart, many times just by throwing labels and slogans at each other, which create Pavlovian reactions in them.

Will Westerners ever confront themselves and their historically and politico-economically developed dehumanizations, inhumanizations, alienation, and reification?  Will they ever see themselves in the historical mirror?  Highly unlikely.  They have gone too far in capitalist and imperialist materialism, technocracy, and worship of capital, money, and things.   Dehumanizations, inhumanizations, alienation, and reification have become normal- selective and socially accepted forms of which are rewarded, some rewarded with the highest political and corporate positions- and not perceived as such.  Only those forms of these that are illegal, mostly on the personal and interpersonal levels are punished.  Within the cultures and mass psychologies of capitalism and imperialism, these will continue to multiply in ever-increasing forms, and will also continue to be exported to rest of the world.

Added on July 22, 2017

Some Marxist Facebook groups and other web sites being run by conceited know-it-all gurus, like their private fiefdoms

I have had brief encounters with two supposedly Marxist Facebook groups, Marxist Internet Archive Users Discussion Group (MIAUDG) and Karl Marx’s Red Reading Room.

MIAUDG is being run by Doug Greene, who is running it like his private fiefdom and is exploding with petty and bizarre infantile dictatorial attitudes and know-it-all pretensions.  In fact, he is extremely stultified and frozen in prefabricated mental structures, which he is arrogantly imposing on the members of that group.

I have an interdisciplinary background in many areas of social and biological sciences, including genetics and epigenetics, and have published specialized as well as interdisciplinary articles in refereed scientific journals.  Epigenetics involves, among other things, environmental regulation of genes and genetic systems (turning on or off of the genes).  During the past twenty years, there has been an explosion of scientific research discoveries in epigenetics, with thousands of scientific research papers published in scientific journals, and many books also published.  Among other things, these discoveries prove the validity of Lamarckian theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics, which has suffered extremist exclusion and biases, by and large, politically motivated, by the scientific establishments of western capitalist countries, for around 200 years, causing great damages to the development of information and knowledge in this crucially important area of biology.

Trofim Lysenko, a Soviet agricultural scientist, had supported the Lamarckian theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics and had tried to explain the results of his experiments and discoveries with that theory.  There was enormous and unrelenting propaganda against Lysenko, his experiments and hypotheses, in the West, which continues unabated. However, as is self-evident now, he was correct in the premises of his hypotheses and experiments, that is, the theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics, even though he could not accurately explain their underlying epigenetic and gene regulatory basis, as the research information and knowledge of these did not exist at that time. Even the validity of some of his experiments and their conclusions is now being demonstrated  (e.g., Song, J., Angel, A., Howard, M., and Dean, C. 2012. Vernalization – a cold-induced epigenetic switch. Journal of Cell Science 125: 3723-3731. Cambridge, UK: The Company of Biologists Ltd.).  He was also blamed for causing great damages to the productivity of agriculture in Russia. Two eminent Harvard University professors and geneticists, Richard Levine and Richard Lewontin, investigated that allegation and found it to be false.  They found that agricultural yields and production in Russia during that period had rapidly and greatly increased(6). The scientific community in the West has been a more than willing participant in the western capitalist-imperialist propaganda machine for such a prolonged period of time, unrelentingly condemning Lysenko, Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin, and other Soviet and other scientists as being nothing but corrupters of science and stooges of their socialist politico-economic system and leaders. As has turned out, the real truth is that members of the scientific community in the West are the ones who have been the stooges of their capitalist-imperialist politico-economic system and leaders.

Like everyone else, Marxists in the West – most of them not even having any knowledge in these areas, were also influenced and brain-washed against the Lamarckian theory and Lysenko, and most of them are still stuck and frozen in that state of mind, even when enormous amounts of scientific research discoveries are proving the validity of Lamarckian theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics, epigenetics, and environmental regulation of genes and genetic systems, and innumerable non-Marxists are switching to these changes and applying them in all the various areas of social, biological, and medical sciences, reinterpreting various issues and problems in the light of these new discoveries.  Logically, Marxists should be more open and interested in these new discoveries, as these support one of the most important goals of Marxist theory, the creation of New Man, with socialist and communist human nature, under socialism and communism, because the change of social and politico-economic environment from capitalism to socialism and communism will make the epigenetic, mass psychological, and cultural transformation of capitalist human nature into socialist and communist human nature possible.  Advocates and apologists of capitalism have always insisted on the immutability of human nature and have attributed all the evils and injustices of capitalism to that immutable human nature, supporting their assertions with self-serving selected parts of Darwin’s theory of evolution, i-e., natural selection acting on mutations, which takes very long time for evolving any new traits, most mutations being deleterious and selected out, and stability of the capitalist system considered a natural process, as a result of the supposed stability of underlying unchanging genetic systems of human traits. They omit those parts of Darwin’s theory that are contrary to their agenda.  Lamarckian theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics has been their greatest nemesis. All that has been one of the most important historical-philosophical- intellectual pillars of capitalism and imperialism, and is understandable as such.  However, for Marxists to also have the same kind of mass psychology in this regard is the greatest of all intellectual-spiritual contradictions, the unmatchable folly and ignorance.  But, it is widespread.

In response to an article on MIAUDG, which reproduced the false propaganda about Lysenko having caused great damages to the Russian agriculture, I posted the information and analysis of Richard Levins and Richard Lewontin, which showed that agricultural yield and production in Russia had greatly increased during that period (6).  I also posted information about the explosion of research discoveries in epigenetics and validity of Lamarckian theory.

Among others, Doug Greene, who runs MIAUDG, jumped in and posted very brief extremely ignorant, arrogant, asinine, and stultified comments, positing himself as being the ultimate authority and judge on this matter, of which he is totally ignorant!  I replied to those in some detail, informing him of the recent revolutionary discoveries in these areas.  However, he turned out to be a hopelessly stultified, brain-washed, and biased anal character, against such crucially important new scientific knowledge and information.

After my last response, I found that he banned me from that group!  I had already lost interest in that group, because of such stultifications and arrogant ignorance.  I only regret having wasted some of time there.

Just imagine, if such people, who act like that with petty little powers in Facebook groups, are able to gain real powers in the dictatorship of proletariat after the socialist revolution!  What havoc they will wreak on socialism and justice!  Unless the dictatorship of proletariat is led by wise leadership, after the socialist revolution, it is very likely to commit great injustices.

The other group, Karl Marx’s Red Reading Room, is also being run by similar Marxist gurus.

With friends like that, Marxism does not need any enemies.

Following is part of the exchanges on MIAUDG:

Fazal Rahman:  This discussion has degenerated into contest between various celebrities in Marxism and dialectics, who passed away long time ago. Even though, the article by Joanne Telfer is thoughtful and tries to integrate and evaluate complex philosophical assertions of many famous writers, many of whom chose to write in confusing and complex language, it also is omissive, contains some important factual and logical errors, and ends up being partially confusionist. It cites Jean Paul Sartre’s position on dialectics in nature, but fails to mention the famous 1961 debate between him and Jean Hyppolite, a Sorbonne professor, on the one hand, and Roger Garaudy of the Political Bureau of the French Communist Party, and Jean-Pierre Vigier, one of France’s leading theoretical physicists, on the other, in which the former two mostly engaged in confusionist philosophical generalizations- without historical, empirical, or scientific examples or evidence- in support of their denials or doubts about the existence of dialectics in nature, while the latter two supported their philosophical conclusions about the dialectics in nature, with various examples of historical, empirical, or scientific evidence.

Hegel, Marx, Engels, and Lenin had written extensively, profoundly, and exhaustively on dialectics and dialectical materialism. Later, Soviet philosophers had further clarified their contents, concepts, and laws (For example, in Fundamentals of Marxist-Leninist Philosophy, Progress Publishers, Moscow). These are far more comprehensive than the contents of Ms. Telfer’s article, which is quite misleading in some aspects of these.

Engels had also made in-depth analysis of evolutionary theory of Darwin to show how it proved one of the basic laws of dialectical materialism, that of transformation of quantitative into qualitative and vice versa. Even though, some particulars related to natural sciences in his book have become outdated, but his dialectical-material approach to analysis of natural sciences and its philosophical generalization remains valid. Most of the scientific discoveries in physics, evolution, genetics, and epigenetics-which demonstrate the existence of dialectics in nature – were made after he passed away.

Nature from its very beginnings produced contradictory parts, which also contained internal contradictions. After the big bang, matter and antimatter were produced. Every particle of matter has an anti-particle. Matter and antimatter, in their encounters, annihilate each other, producing radiation energy. Nuclear transmutation of chemical elements and chain reactions are also examples of dialectics in nature. So are the processes of evolution of species by accumulations of mutations and natural selection, as well as by the epigenetic changes.

In her article, Ms. Telfer seems to be completely unaware of the immense numbers of recent discoveries in epigenetics and gene regulation, which prove the accuracy of theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics, which Trofim Lysenko had used to explain the results of his experiments. There was enormous and unrelenting propaganda against Lysenko, his experiments and hypotheses, in the West, which continues unabated. However, as is self-evident now, he was correct in the premises of his hypotheses and experiments, that is, the theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics, even though he could not accurately explain their underlying epigenetic and gene regulatory basis, as the research information and knowledge of these did not exist at that time. Even the validity of some of his experiments and their conclusions is now being demonstrated (e.g., Song, J., Angel, A., Howard, M., and Dean, C. 2012. Vernalization – a cold-induced epigenetic switch. Journal of Cell Science 125: 3723-3731. Cambridge, UK: The Company of Biologists Ltd.). It is important to note that Stalin was right in having supported the theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics, and Lysenko’s research work based upon that. Propaganda about damages to Soviet agriculture during that time was also false, as concrete data , cited by Richard Levins and Richard Lewontin, two Harvard Univerity professors, showed that agricultural production had increased during that period, as stated by them in the following passage:

“We should note that 1948-1962, the period of Lysenkoist hegemony in Soviet agrobiology, actually corresponded to the period of most rapid growth in yields per acre! Moreover, even a time-delay hypothesis, supposing that the effects of Lysenkoism on genetic research were felt only later, is at variance with the observed continued growth in yields per acre. The data in the table are even more remarkable in that during this period the total acreage occupied by wheat increased in the Soviet Union from 30 million to nearly 70 million hectares, while American acreage shrank from 60 million to 45 million acres. Thus Soviet yields increased in spite of bringing large amounts of new and marginal land into cultivation, while the opposite process was going on in the United States.” (Richard Levins and Richard Lewontin. The Dialectical Biologist. Harvard University Press, 1985, Aakar Books for South Asia, 2009, page 191.)

Ms. Telfer joins that immense political and “scientific” propaganda machine of the Western Capitalism in that regard.

Joanne Telfer:   It’s omissive in the sense that it’s a 7500 word article and not a book on the subject Fazal Karim. The discussion has indeed disintegrated into a contest between various celebrities and this disintegration is entirely predicted by a thesis which suggests that the Marxist dialectic has been carried off and lost in the physics laboratory where it is of little or no use. If we don’t understand all these various socialist authors as real human beings making there own history (to paraphrase Marx) under non self-selected circumstances, they are instead presented as traitors or infallible saints.

I’ve read the famous debate that you refer to but really cannot find anything very useful to extract or quote from it. I made very brief reference to Sartre in my article and come under attack for mentioning him at all. Mainly you will see that I’m constantly referring back to Marx even though I think Lukacs has something very useful to add in his History and Class Consciousness.

Sweeping generalities about how dialectics have been a valuable tool in modern science need to be examined on a case by case basis but if I discovered anything in re-reading the great debate it would be how frequently Heraclitus pops up.

As I understand it Lysenko was convinced that inheritance was Lamarckian and rejected Medel as bourgeois science and the consequences of this were catastrophic for Soviet agriculture. But you want to defend Lysenko and perhaps think all the widely accepted horrors of Stalin were merely Western propaganda. I’m aware of Stalin’s rehabilitation in this sense and the resilience of his popularity in some quarters.

Gerry Joseph Downing Doug Greene, it is true I didn’t deal with his prison notebooks but what I did deal with showed Gramsci for what he was, a groveller to Stalin and an opponent of Trotskyism and Leninism in imposing the Stalinist programme of Bokshevism on the PCI, i.e. the elimination of all opposition to the corrupt bureaucracy then ruling the USSR.

It is also true I didn’t deal with the Stalinist mauling of Dialectical Materialism as advocated by Fazal Rahman above. That there are still advocates of Lysenko’s nonsense theory of inherentance of acquired characteristics shows that is a missing element in the piece. I should add in those two missing elements at a later date.

Fazal Rahman: It would be impossible for YOU to write anything accurate or meaningful about epigenetics, genetics, or the theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics, because you are, evidently, totally ignorant of thousands of scientific research discoveries in these areas, during the past twenty years, as well as of these subjects in general. For your information, I have been a research geneticist and have published many articles in refereed scientific and interdisciplinary journals. In any case, this comment was addressed to Ms. Telfer, and not you.

Gerry Joseph Downing: It’s true I don’t have a great deal of knowledge in your field but I do know what is wrong with Lysenko and I know a man who is far better educated than I am on these matters, Andy Blunden.

Fazal Rahman: Let us leave it at that. One of the most masochistic things one can do is to argue with arrogant ignorance, and I am not a masochist. I also do not like communicating with people who, instead of dealing with facts, information, or knowledge, logically and factually, throw labels like Stalinist, Trotskyite, Hegelian etc., at those, and the people who write them. In my comment, addressed to Ms. Telfer, whose very well reasoned, but partially flawed, article I have read, I only made a factual statement about Stalin having been right in supporting the theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics, and the research work of Lysenko, based on that theory, in the light of enormous amounts of new discoveries, which prove that theory to have been correct. I also briefly cited some examples from physics and evolution in relation to the dialectics of nature, and research of two Harvard University professors, which exposed some of the false propaganda against Lysenko and his work in agriculture. What you did in response to all that factual information was to throw the label of Stalinist at me! I will not respond to you any more.

Doug Greene: Lysenko is bunk. You may as well believe in creationism.

Fazal Rahman:  Doug Greene You too seem to be astoundingly ignorant of enormously important new discoveries in the area of epigenetics and environmental regulation of genes and genetic batteries. For your information, Lysenko is being rehabilitated in Russia, precisely on the basis of these new discoveries. He made some errors in explaining the genetic basis of his own experiments, discoveries, and the theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics, as the research information in epigenetics and gene regulation, which explains that basis, was not there during his time. However, his support for the Lamarckian theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics was correct and, as mentioned in my comment, with documented reference, some of his experiments have been successfully reproduced. You are passing self-confident and ignorant judgments like that, instead of dealing with concrete facts, information, and knowledge. I have made a thorough review of thousands of new discoveries in this area and I know what I am talking about, in contrast to you who does not know what he is talking about and is resorting to such brief ignorant judgment about one of the most important recent developments in biology and science. Why don’t you get informed before you get to the keyboard? I am relatively new to this site and have commented only rarely. I probably will opt out of here, instead of banging my head against such arrogant ignorance.

Far too many Marxists stultify themselves, as well as Marxism, by reading a small portion of the vast literature of Marxism-Leninism, and engaging in citing quotations, phrase-mongering, and reproducing out-of-context passages, in relation to various issues, problems, and policies, with little or no creativity or originality. That is why Marx had exclaimed, on one occasion like that, “I am not a Marxist”. Marxism is not a Bible or Quran, fixed permanently for all times. It was envisioned to be a dialectically developing science and philosophy, by its founders, constantly renewing, enriching, developing, and integrating new information, knowledge, and insights. It is obvious that most people- especially in a celebrity-worshipping mass culture, like that of the US- do not have the ability for genuine creativity in a theory, like Marxist-Leninist theory, which involves complex philosophical and politico-economic matters, or for accurate applications of dialectics and dialectical materialism. Marxism-Leninist theory, dialectics, and dialectical materialism are much better off without the possible flawed “creativity” of overwhelming majority of people. Even dogmatism is better than the unintended or deliberate distortions and perversions in these areas. However, the minds of such people, in general, are also closed to the real and genuine creativity, renewal, and development, in these areas, by some rare individuals, who have such abilities. To distinguish the genuine creativity from flawed creativity requires in-depth and broad knowledge and accurate insights in these areas.

Doug Greene: Says the person upholding Lysenko. His ideas have been thoroughly discredited by scientists and were a disaster when they guided Soviet science.

Fazal Rahman: Obviously, you have blocked the following portion of my comment from your head:

Propaganda about damages to Soviet agriculture during that time was also false, as concrete data , cited by Richard Levins and Richard Lewontin, two Harvard Univerity professors, showed that agricultural production had increased during that period, as stated by them in the following passage:

“We should note that 1948-1962, the period of Lysenkoist hegemony in Soviet agrobiology, actually corresponded to the period of most rapid growth in yields per acre! Moreover, even a time-delay hypothesis, supposing that the effects of Lysenkoism on genetic research were felt only later, is at variance with the observed continued growth in yields per acre. The data in the table are even more remarkable in that during this period the total acreage occupied by wheat increased in the Soviet Union from 30 million to nearly 70 million hectares, while American acreage shrank from 60 million to 45 million acres. Thus Soviet yields increased in spite of bringing large amounts of new and marginal land into cultivation, while the opposite process was going on in the United States.” (Richard Levins and Richard Lewontin. The Dialectical Biologist. Harvard University Press, 1985, Aakar Books for South Asia, 2009, page 191.)

Doug Greene: I will let you have the last word if you think quackery is defensible.

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/…/political-science…

Fazal Rahman: So, when faced with the scientifically documented data and conclusions of prestigious leftist Harvard University geneticists, Richard Levins and Richard Lewontin, you are brandishing the continued slanderous propaganda of “Foreign Affairs”, an intellectual think tank and mouthpiece of American capitalism and imperialism. I am out of here!

Doug Greene later posted a link to an anti-Lysenko Book.  Following are some of the exchanges of other members of the group.  I could not comment, as I had already been banned.

 

Doug Greene shared a link.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/302837.Lysenko_and_the_Tragedy_of_Soviet_Science

Sam Lloyd Haroldson: i mean his mistakes did pave the way for the groundbreaking feild of epigenetics shattering the question of nature v nurture

Like · 1 · 15 hrs

Nathaniel Downes: Science is built on hypothesis, study, data, analysis, conclusion. Lysenko’s science was top notch, and led to new innovations both inside and outside of his field. That his hypothesis was not proven correct does not invalidate the science done. There are far more incorrect hypothesis which have been introduced than correct. That is how science works.

Like · 1 · 13 hrs

Marko Velimir Kobak: I have to say after seeing a bit of discussion on this in the MIAUDG and seeing the Levins and Lewontin quote, that was pretty interesting.

Like · 1 · 13 hrs

Jim Monaghan https://www.marxists.org/subject/science/index.htm

Marxism and Natural Science

Marxist texts concerning natural science

MARXISTS.ORG

Like · 1 · 13 hrs

Doug Greene: Lysenko’s science also operated by having soviet evolutionary biologists killed. I don’t think that’s in the scientific method.

Like · 3 · 13 hrs

Nathaniel Downes: You do know that claim came out of Nazi Germany, and specifed Eugenics scientists.

Like · 13 hrs

Jim Monaghan Helena Sheehan has written a lot on Lysenko. Helena’s background is the Irish Communist Party.http://webpages.dcu.ie/~sheehanh/lysenko.htm

Sam Lloyd Haroldson: evolutionary biologists is a weasel clause there are people who try to say non hetero sexual orientations are not natural from an “evolutionary perspective” by treating the correlation between orgasm and ejaculation as a designed causation intended to encourage growth of species. essentially replacing god with a socially aware species wide survival instinct. eugenics is also another bad path evolutionary biology can take if it is relegated to the rigid guidelines of seeing everything as the common will of species survival. things are more complicated than that.

Like · 13 hrs

Doug Greene: I’m not taking about sexual orientations, I am saying that soviet evolutionary biologists, such as Nikolai Vavilov, who opposed Lysenkoism were killed.

Fazal Rahman.  My following note was not posted as Doug Greene had already deleted my membership.

Doug Greene is talking nonsense here.  Vavilov was not killed.  He died in prison.  According to Levins and Lewontin (7), “Vavilov, a pioneer in plant genetics and the evolution of cultivated plants, wasseized while on a field trip in the western Ukraine and charged with wrecking activities. The particulars included belonging to a rightist conspiracy, spying for England, leadership in the Labor Peasant Party, sabotage in agriculture, and links with anti-Soviet emigres. He was sentenced to death by a military court, and although this was later commuted to ten years’ imprisonment, Vavilov died in prison in 1943.”

Sam Lloyd Haroldson: that specific dude i need to read more on. i was thinkin categorically

Like · 13 hrs

Nathaniel Downes: Nikolai Vavilov was arrested for giving state secrets to the British, something that Britain readily admitted (as the Royal Society of London inducted him in 1941 confirms). His death is due to the war, and how the Nazi’s disrupted food supplies to Soviet prisons where possible. You cannot even remotely claim that Nikolai Vavilov was killed for his science.

Like · 12 hrs

Doug Greene: show proof because the USSR under Stalin had a habit of mass arresting people for supposedly being involved with foreign powers.

Like · 12 hrs

Nathaniel Downes: “Stalin” did, eh? Nice Nazi propaganda there, Doug. It’s not like the Soviet Union had laws, or courts or a police force, it’s all just Stalin.

As for evidence: http://www.jstor.org/stable/769210?seq=1…

Nicolai Ivanovitch Vavilov. 1885-1942 on JSTOR

 

  1. C. Harland, Nicolai Ivanovitch Vavilov. 1885-1942, Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society, Vol. 9, No. 1 (Nov., 1954), pp. 259-264

JSTOR.ORG

Like · 12 hrs

Nathaniel Downes: Can’t be included in the Obituary notices for the Royal Society of London if one is not a member.

Like · 12 hrs

Doug Greene: You know what, if you’re gonna pull the Nazi propaganda card on me then this conversation is over.

Like · 1 · 12 hrs

Doug Greene: There was also no proof offered in your article beyond that he was elected to the Royal Society as a foreign member.

Like · 2 · 12 hrs

Alexander Wise: during a time when the ussr and uk were allies, at that.

Like · 12 hrs

Nathaniel Downes: I can only pull cards dealt. The whole “Biologists arrested and killed” claim is literal Nazi propaganda, and focused on the Soviet push to eliminate Eugenics scientists (which were heavily financed and promoted by Nazi Germany I would note). You asked for proof that Vavilov was a member of the Royal Society, which in turn would verify the statement that he did share information with those outside of the Soviet Union, and I did. I can also post links to his papers which the Royal Society published as well, which was against Soviet law as well.

Now, I don’t agree with the arrest and sentencing, nobody should. Obstructing legitimate scientific pursuit by claiming “state secrets” is not acceptable in my book. However, it is what he was arrested for, something we can and have confirmed. We can disagree with the sentence as much as we want, but it remains the reason why.

Like · 1 · 12 hrs

Nathaniel Downes: Alexander – in 1940 the UK had declared the Soviet Union enemy #1, they were not allies.

Like · 12 hrs

Doug Greene: later also posted the following, prohibiting any posts in defense of Lysenko:  

He seems to be pulling out such asinine statements out of his collection of smartass comments, instead of dealing with issues logically, factually, or scientifically. The idiot does not even realize that he is acting precisely like those who claim the earth was created in six days or who believe in creationism (parts of his smartass comments). Along with Lysenko, he is dismissing and excluding the most important recent development in biology, the emergence of the science of epigenetics and validation of the theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics. My own focus has been not on the defense of Lysenko, as a person or scientist, but on the new science of epigenetics and validation of the theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics, which I had applied in my 1980 and 1982 interdisciplinary epigenetic and biosocial articles. These can be read here on this site.  Fazal Rahman

Doug Greene

Mod post: defenses of Lysenko are not welcome here anymore than claiming the earth was created in six days.

Comments

Jim Farmelant: But it’s still alright if we attack the theory of relativity as bourgeois idealism?

Doug Greene: I’ll complain about that when someone here does it.

Notes

1.  Rahman, F. https://imperialismandthethirdworld.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/brief-partial-and-necessary-critical-reviews-of-some-of-the-stars-of-american-left-michael-hardt-antonio-negri-richard-wolff-stephen-resnick-noam-chomsky-and-chris-hedges-by-fazal-rahman-phd/

 2.  Rahman, F. https://imperialismandthethirdworld.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/biosocial-and-epigenetic-relativity-of-human-nature-relative-to-political-economy-technology-and-culture-by-fazal-rahman-phd/

3.  Rahman, F. https://imperialismandthethirdworld.wordpress.com/2015/03/29/multidimensional-and-complex-nature-and-effects-of-imperialism-on-democracy-society-nature-and-human-nature-updated-by-fazal-rahman-phd/

4.  Rahman, F. https://imperialismandthethirdworld.wordpress.com/2015/12/04/dialectics-of-the-subjective-and-objective-in-the-western-capitalist-technocratic-civilization-development-of-the-greatest-and-most-sinister-alienation-in-history-by-fazal-rahman-phd/

5.  Rahman, F. https://imperialismandthethirdworld.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/regulation-of-political-electoral-and-other-behaviors-of-americans-by-the-devil-god-of-capital-hypothesis-of-its-epigenetic-and-mass-psychological-role-inside-the-mass-mental-apparatus-by-fazal-rahman/

6.  Levins, R.,  and R. Lewontin. The Dialectical Biologist. Harvard University Press, 1985, Aakar Books for South Asia, 2009, page 191.

7.  Levins, R., and R. Lewontin. The Dialectical Biologist. Harvard University Press, 1985, Aakar Books for South Asia, 2009, page 185.

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