“Dialectical thinking is a brake on the tendency to assume that things will continue to be the way they are, only more so, because it reminds us that every paradigm contains the seed of its own undoing.” (Louis Menand)
[an example of how Marxist-Leninism and Ultra-Leftism coincide]:
“One realizes that Trotsky’s enthusiasm for freedom is less a positive than a negative affair, that it is expressed mainly in indignation against other people who will not let his side be free.”
(Edmund Wilson. To The Finland Station. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012, pg. 518)
“[Trotsky to the Mensheviks at the first congress of the Soviet dictatorship:] ‘You are pitiful isolated individuals,’ he cried at this height of the Bolshevik triumph. ‘You are bankrupt; your role is played out. Go where you belong from now on-into the rubbish-can of history!’ These words are worth pondering for the light they throw on the course of Marxist politics and thought. Observe that the merging of yourself with the onrush of the current of history is to save you from the ignoble fate of being a ‘pitiful isolated individual’; and that the failure so to merge yourself will relegate you to the rubbish-can of history, where you can presumably be of no more use. Today, though we may agree with the Bolsheviks that Mártov was no man of action, his croakings over the course they had adopted seem to us full of far-sighted intelligence. He pointed out that proclaiming a socialist regime in conditions different from those contemplated by Marx would not realize the results that Marx expected; that Marx and Engels had usually described the dictatorship of the proletariat as having the form, for the new dominant class, of a democratic republic, with universal suffrage and the popular recall of officials; that the slogan ‘All power to the Soviets’ had never really meant what it said and that it had soon been exchanged by Lenin for ‘All power to the Bolshevik Party.’ There sometimes turn out to be valuable objects cast away in the rubbish-can of history-things that have to be retrieved later on. From the point of view of the Stalinist Soviet Union, that is where Trotsky himself is today; and he might well discard his earlier assumption that an isolated individual must needs be ‘pitiful’ for the conviction of Dr. Stockman in Ibsen’s Enemy of the People that the ‘strongest man is he who stands most alone.'”
(Edmund Wilson. To The Finland Station. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012, pg. 511)
“In the most serious of undertakings of [humankind], we are forced to distrust the mentality which resists having its pattern upset: there is always the danger that it might fail to take into account of the emergence of important new factors.”
(Edmund Wilson. To The Finland Station. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012, pg. 509)
“The reader of Trotsky finds [themselves] involved in something in the nature of an issue of personal allegiance to the author. Trotsky is not content, as Lenin was, to present the course of events, which he or another in this or that case may have interpreted more or less correctly: he must justify himself in connection with them.”
(Edmund Wilson. To The Finland Station. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012, pg. 504)
A vanguard is different from a leadership, even in metaphor (if you can excuse the military metaphor). It exists only because it’s at the front – if the direction changes, the vanguard changes. Whoever catches up to the vanguard – no matter how many – becomes the vanguard. If no one follows the vanguard, it ceases to be one.
For socialism-from-above, leadership and vanguard are the same – either something to be, or to resist, or that they already are.
A socialist-from-below is someone who’s own socialism-from-above is an issue for them.
Nowadays, the thing that “takes up the most space” in neo-anarchist activist circles is “call-out culture.”
In this, they resemble the Maoists, who have their preferred method of public shaming.
“As for refutation, we can say that ‘no philosophy has been refuted’ but equally so that ‘each one has been refuted, and is true.'”
(Georg W. F. Hegel. Lectures on the History of Philosophy 1825-6: Vol. 1 (translated by Robert F. Brown). Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2009, pg. 147)
“The mightiest spirit is the one that has bound the most hostile element within itself.”
(Georg W. F. Hegel. Lectures on the History of Philosophy 1825-6: Vol. 1 (translated by Robert F. Brown). Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2009, pg. 145)