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Showing posts with the label Materialist Conception of History

The choice is ours to make

Marx’s motto was to “Doubt everything”.

In an age where the internet provides us with unlimited access to the direct sources there appears to be no limits to the misunderstanding and distortion of Marx. In books and articles there is continuous reference to Marx, attacking him from all sides for claims that he never made. Many critiques basically accuses Marx of a economic determinism which makes men puppets in the hands of economic forces and the Materialist Conception of History interpreted as economic determinism is found in a collection of Marx’s critics.

Marx’s approach to history is explained in his Preface to a Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy and in the Communist Manifesto. Marx’s scientific method was to proceed by simplifying concrete and complex manifestations into an abstraction, which becomes less and less complex until reaching the simplest conception. Then, by systematically adding complicating factors there is a return journey towards empirical realit…

The Real World

The materialist conception of history (or historical materialism or the economic interpretation of history) has never consisted of the crude view that hunger alone, the eagerness to satisfy the material needs of the stomach, is the driving force of history. But the materialist conception of history certainly arises out of the basic observation that people (as Engels said at Marx’s funeral) “must have food and drink, clothing and shelter, first of all, before they can interest themselves in politics, science, art, religion, and the like.”

The supporters of the materialist conception of history have never been so dogmatic as to declare that economic forces are the only forces that make history. What they have argued is that, among the factors of history, economic forces have the final say.

Those who advocate the materialist conception  of history do not deny the influence of the mind, never ignore the power of ideas, never under-estimate the importance of the mental or spiritual factor…

Some Socialist Theory

Another audio file of the Socialist Thinkers series can be found at Darren's blog .

This time it is the Russian Marxist George Plekhanov and the Materialist Conception of History .

And once again the speaker is Stephen Coleman .