[OPE] Science and scientology

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Fri Jun 05 2009 - 13:49:43 EDT

So now you guys have decided that there should be "a clear distinction
between Marxology and a positive Marxian research program". What a luminous
insight! What amazing profundity! What subtlety of scholarship! The
reference to "research program" seems to be a reference to Imre Lakatos, but
actually Lakatos mentions various different components of a research
programme, namely:

- hard core hypotheses
- a protective belt
- positive and negative heuristics
- auxiliary and ad hoc hypotheses

In those terms, there is nothing per se "unscientific" about Marxological
concerns - and actually, the best scientists are fiercely dogmatic about
their central scientific beliefs, even although they know that they could be

The problem is not with Marxology, or with research or politics in the
tradition of Marx, but with the pretensions of Marxism.

Marxism is an ideology, a quasi-religious ideology which rationalizes
certain values and feelings, but it has itself almost nothing in common with
science or real scholarship, anymore than Catholicism, Liberalism or Judaism
are "scientific". It's just that the specific ways in which science and
ideology are related, range from the very simple to the very complicated.

Marx himself hated the pretentious pomposity of the very idea of "Marxism",
and Engels referred to "Marxism" only with the greatest hesitation. When the
New Marxist-Leninist exploiting classes refer to Marxism as a "scientific
ideology" they are stating a contradiction of terms, because there is
nothing scientific about ideology, and Marx & Engels never said there was.

It looks to me that after being Marx's faithful servant for many years,
Jerry has now reached the stage of "critical criticism", or, to use modern
language, "critical theory". The question is then raised, "what the purpose
of the criticism should be", what the point of the criticism is.

This kind of discussion occurred when I was a student youth in 1979-80;
evidently, for some people, it is still an actual controversy. To me it's
funny how, instead of orienting to the most advanced thinking, Marxists
latch onto all kinds of obscure debates from the distant past.


PS - since Anders Ekeland objects to my reference to the new Marxist
Exploiting Class, I will now give him an concrete example, referring in this
case to the Trotskyite Exploiting Class.

In the mid-1980s, I translated an article by Ernest Mandel "Why I am a
Marxist" from German (Well, the real title was "People are the supreme
beings for people"), and about ten years later, the Dutch Trotskyite Robert
Went asked if he could publish it in the book "The Legacy of Ernest Mandel"
edited by Gilbert Achcar. Reasonably generously I said yes, I do not
requirement payment or copyright, but in exchange, I do want a copy of the
book when it is published. What happened? Not only did I never see the
proofs, but my translation was re-edited by another guy, I think Wilfrid
Dubois, without my knowledge or permission, and he is credited in the book
as co-author of the translation (even although, as a matter of fact, he
edited only a few sentences, choosing a less literal rendering than I
provided). I never received the copy of the book as I was promised, and had
to buy it, in order to find out what they had done with my translation. When
I asked Robert Went to return the manuscript of my bibliography on
international statistical literature on profitability trends which I lent to
him, he said "he had lost it". Shortly thereafter he finished his Phd, and
got himself a status job with the Dutch Treasury Department, receiving rich
helpings of tax money at last, to finance his lifestyle. He formally dropped
out of the Trotskyite cult and joined the Green Left although he continued
to discourse abstractly about globalization. This small vignette illustrates
the manipulations of the New Marxist Exploiting Class very clearly. This
class seeks to exploit the worker, extract, parasitize and alienate his
product (or labour, money, energy, time...), in order to enrich itself and
enhance its own status, but in reality, whatever the clever propaganda, it
treats the worker with nothing but contempt. When I asked the librarian of
the international centre of the Fourth International in Amsterdam what had
happened to particular publications in their collection (I had donated about
a thousand dollars worth), he explained that, er, items regularly got stolen
by Trotskyite visitors. Would you want people like that to gain real power,
would you like them to become the government? I most certainly wouldn't, I
regard them as my bitter enemy, the enemy of the creative class, and the
enemy of all good people. I was a fool to donate anything to them at all,
and I was a fool to associate with them. When people think that my concept
of the New Marxist Exploiting Class is just a laugh, that is because they
have no lived experience of the bureaucratic Marxist class themselves, and
therefore, they do not understand the modalities of exploitation and
swindling utilized by these Marxist cults. Plus, of course, they have no
knowledge of the real history of social classes and bureaucracies. It is not
accidental that the Marxist exploiting class has never theorised bureaucracy
and taxation in any comprehensive way - these topics remain shrouded in
mystery, precisely because they are the very source of the wealth, power and
status appropriation of these exploiters, behind all their leftist
propaganda. They rail on and on about the evils of profit, but they think
nothing of it, if the state simply confiscates a third or half of the new
product value and a quarter or a third of of your salary as by right,
without contracting to offer anything specific in return, and without giving
any say in how the money is used, except a vote every 3-4 years for
parliamentary candidates who mostly turn their backs on the voter as soon as
they are elected! At least if you own stocks, you can sell them if you don't
like what the issuing company is doing!


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