Comment on Desultory Heroics: ‘The Skripal Poisonings and the Ongoing Vilification of Putin’


‘This was the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since World War II, they told him; very, very serious’. Why should post the second capitalist world war over the redivision of areas of exploitation be the cut-off point? It was the US capitalist class that first and twice employed ‘nuclear agents’ on the Japanese, when they were trying to surrender, as a warning to the Soviet Union and all socialists. Whatever the West – particularly the US capitalist class – and their agents criticise anyone for, they have done over and again and worse themselves.

Big picture (not one that focuses on individuals, as the agents of capital want you to do): the crisis of capitalism continues to deepen as the world moves from capitalism to socialism just as inevitably as it moved from feudalism to capitalism. MOABs, black ops and psy ops can and will impede this, just as the development of capitalism was opposed, but nothing can stop it.

Why? Not because I like socialism, but because consciousness is secondary and derivative of what is primary – the necessity of nature, reflected in the level of development of the productive forces. It is this that has to be understood. Not only Trump with his bullying bluster, but all political leaders and all individuals are secondary to this.

The Russians will never be forgiven by the capitalist class and their agents for having had the world’s first and successful socialist revolution (military from those same nations now expelling Russian diplomats invaded Russia after the revolution and were defeated). The denigration and now open vilification of Putin points to scores still to be settled. Further, the number of nuclear weapons the Russians possess is on a par with those of the American capitalist class, both far exceeding those of any other nation.

Driven by the crisis of capitalism, the vilification of Putin is a necessary, deliberate and significant step towards revitalising the division between the capitalist West and Russia, China and North Korea.


Shanghai maglev train

Engels wrote brilliantly in 1894: ‘The war in China has given the death-blow to the old China. Isolation has become impossible; the introduction of railways, steam-engines, electricity, and modern large-scale industry has become a necessity, if only for reasons of military defence. But with it the old economic system of small peasant agriculture, where the family also made its industrial products itself, falls to pieces too, and with it the whole old social system which made relatively dense population possible. Millions will be turned out and forced to emigrate; and these millions will find their way even to Europe, and en masse. But as soon as Chinese competition sets in on a mass scale, it will rapidly bring things to a head in your country and over here, and thus the conquest of China by capitalism will at the same time furnish the impulse for the overthrow of capitalism in Europe and America’ (Engels to Friedrich Adolf Sorge in Hoboken; London, November 10, 1894, Marx Engels, Selected Correspondence, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1982, 450-451).

What Engels got wrong was that China would become capitalist. What he got right was the impact the development of such a huge nation would have on the world.

In order to compete with China, the West will have to become socialist!

The Chinese Communist Party has shown itself, particularly since Deng Xiaoping, to be adaptable, to be able and willing to learn – both from its experience, that of the Chinese people and of the Soviet Union. Lenin saw the need for the NEP but because of his hatred for the bourgeoisie and his theoretical commitment, it was insufficient. The Chinese have learnt essential lessons from this, all at great cost.

But they have had their revolution. Politically, socially and philosophically they are way ahead of the West and, with the potential of the size of their population, any other nation.


Top image and post/bottom image

Lenin: the theory of knowledge of dialectical materialism – part twenty-three


Freedom and Necessity

Engels says: “Hegel was the first to state correctly the relation between freedom and necessity. To him, freedom is the appreciation of necessity. ‘Necessity is blind only in so far as it is not understood.’ Freedom does not consist in an imaginary independence from natural laws, but in the knowledge of these laws, and in the possibility this gives of systematically making them work towards definite ends. This holds good in relation both to the laws of external nature and to those which govern the bodily and mental existence of men themselves – two classes of laws which we can separate from each other at most only in thought but not in reality. Freedom of the will therefore means nothing but the capacity to make decisions, with knowledge of the subject. Therefore the freer a man’s judgment is in relation to a definite question, the greater is the necessity with which the content of this judgment will be determined…. Freedom therefore consists in the control over ourselves and over external nature, a control founded on knowledge of natural necessity (Naturnotwendigkeiten).” (5th German edition, pp. 112–13.)

V.I.Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-criticism: Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975, 170


Part twenty-three/to be continued…

Full text at Marxists Internet Archive

Lenin: The Theory of Knowledge of Dialectical Materialism – Part Sixteen


Causality and Necessity in Nature (continued)

“From the contingency of order, purpose and law in nature, theism expressly infers their arbitrary origin; it infers the existence of a being distinct from nature which brings order, purpose, law into a nature that is in itself (an sich) chaotic (dissolute) and indifferent to all determination. The reason of the theists…is reason contradictory to nature, reason absolutely devoid of understanding of the essence of nature. The reason of the theists splits nature into two beings – one material, and the other formal or spiritual” (Werke, VII. Band, 1903, S. 518-20).

Thus Feuerbach recognises objective law in nature and objective causality, which are reflected only with approximate fidelity by human ideas of order, law and so forth. With Feuerbach the recognition of objective law in nature is inseparably connected with the recognition of the objective reality of the external world, of objects, bodies, things, reflected by our mind. Feuerbach’s views are consistently materialist. All other views, or rather, any other philosophical line on the question of causality, the denial of objective law, causality and necessity in nature, are justly regarded by Feuerbach as belonging to the fideist trend. For it is, indeed, clear that the subjectivist line on the question of causality, the deduction of the order and necessity of nature not from the external objective world, but from consciousness, reason, logic, and so forth, not only cuts human reason off from nature, not only opposes the former to the latter, but makes nature a part of reason, instead of regarding reason as a part of nature. The subjectivist line on the question of causality is philosophical idealism (varieties of which are the theories of causality of both Hume and Kant), i.e.., fideism, more or less weakened and diluted. The recognition of objective law in nature and the recognition that this law is reflected with approximate fidelity in the mind of man is materialism.

V.I.Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-criticism: Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975, 138-139


Part sixteen/to be continued…

Lenin: The Theory of Knowledge of Dialectical Materialism – Part Fifteen

Causality and Necessity in Nature

The question of causality is particularly important in determining the philosophical line of any of the recent “isms”, and we must therefore dwell on it in some detail.

Let us begin with an exposition of the materialist theory of knowledge on this point. Feuerbach’s views are expounded with particular clarity in his reply to R. Haym already referred to.

“‘Nature and human reason,’ says Haym, ‘are for him (Feuerbach) completely divorced, and between them a gulf is formed which cannot be spanned from one side or the other.’ Haym bases this reproach mainly on §48 of my Essence of Religion where it is said that ‘nature may be conceived only through nature itself, that its necessity is neither human nor logical, neither metaphysical nor mathematical, that nature alone is that being to which it is impossible to apply any human measure, although we compare and give names to its phenomena, in order to make them comprehensible to us, and in general apply human expressions and conceptions to them, as for example: order, purpose, law; and are obliged to do so because of the character of our language’. What does this mean? Does it mean that there is no order in nature, so that, for example, autumn may be succeeded by summer, spring by winter, winter by autumn? That there is no purpose, so that, for example, there is no co-ordination between the lungs and the air, between light and the eye, between sound and the ear? That there is no law, so that, for example, the earth may move now in an ellipse, now in a circle, that it may revolve around the sun now in a year, now in a quarter of an hour? What nonsense! What then is meant by this passage? Nothing more than to distinguish between that which belongs to nature and that which belongs to man; it does not assert that there is actually nothing in nature corresponding to the words or ideas of order, purpose, law. All that it does is to deny the identity between thought and being; it denies that they exist in nature exactly as they do in the head or mind of man. Order, purpose, law are words used by man to translate the acts of nature into his own language in order that he may understand them. These words are not devoid of meaning or of objective content (nicht sinn-, d. h. gegenstandlose Worte); nevertheless, a distinction must be made between the original and the translation. Order, purpose, law in the human sense express something arbitrary.

V.I.Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-criticism: Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975, 137-138


Part fifteen/to be continued…