Re: Engels/Morgan's works on ancient societies

1st July 2015, 16:31

The nonsense regarding allegations of a 'stageist' conception of history amounted to what is essentially a misunderstanding that could only be one without Hegel. The Hegelian logic was that after something occurs, only then does it become inevitable - and that everything proceeding the present-day follows a "linear, rational" trajectory only with the reference point of present day conditions in place - i.e. if things did not occur the way they did, things would now be different, and so on.

The accusation that Marx and Engels ascribed to a "linear" model of historical development is so disgustingly blasphemous that it almost is not even worth addressing, for it was the philistine positivists who conceived a "linear" conception of not only historical development, but thought. Hegel's, and later Marx's conception of history was anything but linear, in fact quite the opposite was true, it went through spirals, zig-zags (as Lenin put it) and so on.

It [Asiatic Mode of Production] refers to the social formation present before the Greek revolution after the mythic age, vis a vis the Persians. The near east and Persia before alexander
The problem, however, is the misunderstanding of private property and private landed property as one and the same. Marx states in volume 3 of Capital that:

Should the direct producers not be confronted by a private landowner, but rather, as in Asia, under direct subordination to a state which stands over them as their landlord and simultaneously as sovereign, then rent and taxes coincide, or rather, there exists no tax which differs from this form of ground-rent. Under such circumstances, there need exist no stronger political or economic pressure than that common to all subjection to that state. The state is then the supreme lord. Sovereignty here consists in the ownership of land concentrated on a national scale. But, on the other hand, no private ownership of land exists, although there is both private and common possession and use of land

The point is not so much that no private "possession" of land as such exists, but that the utilization of the land is subordinate to a centralized public works system (i.e. for example an irrigation system), rather than merely as property. Hence, there wasn't such a thing as "landlords", but there obviously existed private property.

Taken from a source, the following sums up Marx and Engels' conception of oriental despoitsm:

1. Natural economy based on the unity of agriculture and handicrafts with a fixed division of labour. In the case of India and Egypt the division of labour is based on a caste system.
2. Communal (state) ownership with communal and individual possession of the land
3. Public works as a precondition for settled agriculture forming the basis of the state.
4. Surplus appropriation by the state from villages in the form of a tribute (unity of tax and rent)

This was as true for Akkadian civilization (with #2 being more confused) as it was most certainly and unequivocally true for Persia, India and China. Even in Ancient Egypt, which is known to almost have been something akin to a command economy, small plots of land existed and were owned "privately". The problem however is how one defines "private property" in pertinence to landed property. Certainly it was property, but not landed property in pertinence to the whole basis of production. The ability to own land entailed certain privileges and a kind of ceremonial, socially recognized honor, but it was still heavily regulated in a centralized manner so much so to the point where it might be more akin to an administrator than some kind of autonomous farmer. If such a categorization remains insufficient, then these societies can hardly be conceived as "Feudal" for the same reason that Marx dismissed the idea that India was a feudal society, because of the absence of serfdom among a plethora of other reasons, namely the exaltation of land.

If the notion of the Asiatic mode of production did not apply to these civilizations, that is very well - but neither could feudalism. The Asiatic mode of production, in addition largely did apply to the societies that received its label by Marx and Engels, but Marxists obviously could not go about dismissing the intricacies of each according society with such a broad term, for there was obviously quite a difference between the Indus River Valley civilization and the later Indian society, and likewise an abundance of differences between ancient Persian society and Persia under the Safavids. The usefulness of the term was never to dismissively designate societies as following a certain 'stage' and leave it at that, but to broadly describe certain societies with similar characteristics, that were likewise at a similar stage of development.
Originally Posted by will franklin View Post
The issue we're discussing correctly assumes that Engels cited Morgan, whose scheme was unilinear.
That Engels cited Morgan's empirical findings has nothing to do with whether Engels adhered to a "unilinear" scheme of social development. Engels described the evolution towards present day society, not some kind of abstract model which designates that all social formations will lead to 19th century industrial capitalism. That is beyond vulgar.

For example, ancient Greeks and Romans most certainly possessed factories. They likewise paid (exploitative) wages. Armies that won enslaved the losers to work in mines to extract metals for weapons, and in fields depleted by males serving in the army of conquest. In this respect, i believe that it's far more informative to see how exploitation and capitalism (the comodification of labor) changes throughout the years.
What is ridiculous here is that wages probably more or less existed in every social formation following the advent of private property, your notion of "exploitation" is versed solely on moral, rather than scientific grounds. No there was nothing capitalist about this exploitation, given the absence of generalized commodity production. Such an understanding is contingent upon the notion that history does not exist, that it merely denotes the evolution of everything that presently exists "manifesting" through different forms. We end up with "exploitation" and "capitalism" being timeless historical facts that simply "evolve" differently. But these are merely abstractions we inaccurately project onto previous historic epochs. We might be able to find several "apparent" similarities, but these will only ever be appearances - we will never get an iota closer to understanding these societies by their own merits and function.

To say that the stage-ism of Engels was perpetrated by the Soviet Bloc is to fundamentally agree with Koliakowski: without the appearance of the soviet state, both Engels and Marx would have been long-forgotten.
The reason this is a rather desperate assertion, one that might flatter us Marxists, is the fact that Marx and Engels's popularity in the west had grown so large even before the Bolshevik revolution in such fields as sociology that Lenin himself spoke of how liberals were on to white-washing his vitality. Western Marxism took an entirely different course than did official Soviet doctrine, and it is patently obvious that if anything the existence of the former greatly hindered the ability for those in the west to correctly recall Marx and Engels. The idea that Marx and Engels were somehow forgettable, irrelevant thinkers that merely became the bizarre idiosyncrasy of the Soviet state is a special kind of bullshit that could only possibly be cooked up in the minds of those desperate bourgeois ideologues who try to discredit, de-legitimize and slander them in every way fathom possible.
But again, this is a misunderstanding of what constitutes private property, rather than possession, which Marx acknowledged existed in societies characterized by the Asiatic mode of production. No one doubts that there was fluidity in transactions between possession of land, but it was not "property" insofar as one could do as they pleased with it, or use it for the sole purpose of self-aggrandizement. Generally, land use was subservient to national prerogatives, which you yourself show in the Code of Hammurabi. The reason for this was the precariousness of agriculture, but this was not approached in an indirect manner - centralized powers, whether royalty or temples, directly recognized and acted upon the holistic implications land use had for the nation. In feudalism, "this" generally did not amount to much more than Trinoda necessitas. Keep in mind that the Asiatic mode of production was only conceived vis-a-vis both ancient and feudal societies, wherein private ownership of land directly formed the foundation of the economies.

Of course there were exceptions in the scale of interference by centralized powers - but the example you provided for Egypt concerned what appeared to be two religious institutions, and it is well known that the religious powers in Asiatic societies were directly responsible for processes of production - in fact, this was so much so that initially anthropologists were led to believe that all land was directly owned by the respective temples and religious institutions in Asiatic societies. The fact that such exemptions were made in the first place suggests that it was not a widespread, generalized condition of production but exceptional. Land could be bought and sold, but this might be more akin to selling and buying the rights to administrate something if anything (though not an entirely accurate generalization, of course) - and there were many privileges in doing so, high social stature, etc.

When conceiving a mode of production, one must focus on the foundational basis of all production, which in this case was the organized agricultural basis that was dependent and subservient to the public works irrigation system.
Originally Posted by will franklin View Post
Morgan indeed described the ‘evolution towards modern-day society’ in terms that were rather concrete—not in any way abstract. Yet to say that Engels cited Morgan in his own work is to belabor the point: 60% of Engels’ text is a direct extrapolation of Morgan. In fact, it’s fair to say that Engels’ book is a gloss on Morgan, pure and simple; it’s a way for the Marxist to understand Morgan, as it were.

‘Unilinear Evolution’ is pejorative, pure and simple. It was Boas’ term for the rather hopeless task of ‘describing the “evolution towards modern society”. For him, it also meant conjuring up a particular scheme of evolution towards the present and cherry-picking data for proof.
What you fail to understand is what constitutes "evolution toward modern-day society". Now frankly, it doesn't fucking matter what Morgan believes, because Engels cited his DATA - he had no regard for Morgan's scheme of unilinear evolution. Frankly, this makes perfect sense, because the point of difference between Engels and Morgan was precisely along hte lines of how they conceived social development - the idea that because Engels may have cited Morgan's direct, empirical findings somehow constitutes an extrapolation of Mogan's IDEAS regarding the evolution of society is fucking nonsensical - because it would warrant the non-existence of historical materialism itself and it would have simply allowed Engels to adopt Morgan's conception of social change. Ultimately, while Morgan provided specific scientific insight vis a vis the social, that went beyond his empirical research - such as the profound insight with regard to kinship relations as well as his ability to demonstrate the connection between the "base" and "superstructure" to a minor extent, his conception of history - devoid of Hegel - was bourgeois to its core, it was inherently metaphysical prattling of "timeless facts" of life. If one actually READS Marx and Engels, one finds that the idea that there is a universal "scheme of development" is completely devoid in their works, it was a creative invention of later bourgeois-romantic "Marxists" in the Soviet Union and elsewhere who conceived this. The reality is that it is rather basic to Hegel's logic that only after something happens, does it become inevitable all along - things do not HAVE to happen, but because they did, they fit a general scheme of development that shapes present day society. And this philistine franklin, confronted with this basic fact, commits the unforgivable error that every haughty, arrogant and intellectually disabled bourgeois ideologue does in translating such complexity to some kind of bizarre platitude that they can easily dismiss.

The reality is that 'evolution towards modern day society' means PRECISELY that - how our general condition, here in now, has come to be. In fact, what is so painfully FUCKING stupid about your assertion is that not even Engels was naive enough to think this - the whole fucking POINT of the Asiatic mode of production was that these societies had no general, spontaneous tendency to follow the same path that Europe did in its historical development, and that only with association into the wider capitalist global totality, via free trade, were these societies able to change in such a way that would invoke historic synchronicity with Europe. It is beyond ironic that you level the accusation of "uni-linear development" when the pre-requisites to capitalist accumulation are DIRECTLY acknowledged to be non-existent in societies without association with capitalism in Europe, when even feudalism is acknowledged to not have taken afoot in such societies. Of course it rests on flimsy foundations to conceive Safavid Persia, India and China as all being historically on par with Ancient Egypt in terms of their social development - as these societies were clearly more advanced, but it warrants a specific understanding of social relations in those societies that does't have to conform to Europe's history, and no one made pretenses otherwise. That is why the term is so ambiguous in the first place - Marx simply was stressing that these societies in no meaningful sense could be conceived as feudal, and that the key to understanding their development laid in considerations that weren't found in Europe.

“Well, old-time anthropology had its roots in historicism that was founded by a generic zeitgeist of evolution. We, today, simply know better”.
Except that this could have been known, and was known in the 19th century, perhaps even before then by HEGEL, of whom both Marx and Engels were disciples. "We, today" if this is you, know infinitely less, because you're privileged with the ideological inclination to think that the 19th century has been cast into the dustbin of irrelevancy, that this epoch merely consisted of "figures", spectacles with no independent substance of their own - never mind the 40 years of tireless investigation and theoretical sophistication, all of this is now converted into a stupid aesthetic cliche' of "well back then everyone had metaphysical ideas about the evolution of society". You want to criticize Marx? Then you must do so in a way that meets him eye to eye - you must acknowledge that Marx, for his OWN time period was "wrong", that he COULD have known better but did not. What evidence demonstrates otherwise? And what is fucking idiotic is that Marx EXPLICITLY stated the congruency between his conception of history and Darwin's conception of natural history, which only the philistines conceived as some kind of "unilinear" universal scheme of development. The lesson of Darwin is that yes - a scheme of evolution in natural history is necessary, but ONLY in conceiving the natural world TODAY. This EXACTLY holds true for Marx and Engels. So what teleology is to be found here? The fact of the matter is that it is YOUR error in being unable to fathom this basic fact, that because something happens does not mean it HAD to happen, it does not mean that we must convert it into some kind of metaphysical-ontological platitude so you idealist philistines can comprehend it.

Now to a Marxoid, this might pass as a triviality--much as, say, stuffing little girls in a closet in Yekaterinburg and shooting them. But to an anthropologist, trotting out this nonsense discredits the trotter as a armchair speculator—much as a one who claimed to be a French historian would state that De Gaulle lost the Battle of Waterloo.
Thank you for revealing the inherently unscientific basis for your attacks on Engels, you worthless fucking philistine, thank you for revealing the inherent ideological, moral dimension behind your opposition to Marxism. This, however, could have been known to anyone with a careful eye, so perhaps I personally ought to thank you less than those viewing this thread. Yes, of course it is viewed as a "triviality" that Tsar's kids were killed to Marxists, that is why the executioner fell into a steep depression, was received with contempt even by ardent Bolsheviks, and remained remorseful about the act. But let's not pretend - it was necessary, and we are absolutely unashamed in condoning it, and only a fool who puts his sentimentality before his dedication to the holistic cause would have hesitated. I mean, tell me, would it have been worth strengthening the morale of the white butchers, who I can promise were responsible for the death, rape, and mutilation of children, conceiving it as a triviailty because they were doing god's work? Let me ask you a quick question, would your beloved system, and the ideology which sustains it for a second allow the life of a few little girls to not only hinder its EXISTENCE, but get in the way of profit in the immediate sense? The logic of us "Marxo-paranoids" is that we ought to make heavy sacrifices for the greater good, but the logic of capitalism is sexually enslaving little girls as an extension of the commodification of sexuality in general. You hypocritical piece of fucking shit, you're going ot sit here and lecture us about your moral qualms with the "ends justifies the means"? Well FUCK YOU, you SADISTIC scum are so morally depraved that you can't even follow through with THIS logic, i.e. there seldom even has to be justification for the bloody butchers of capital, it is a given that she must be fed annually with blood-sacrifice in war and in hell.

But as it is to say, it is absolutely FUCKING nonsensical to assume that because of the erroneous conclusion drawn by ANY scientist that it discredits the entirety of their work. All it would reveal is the specific error in the methodology they used in pertinence to the erroneous conclusion, that is how a critical thinker processes information, not a worthless philistine who makes over-reaching claims to make himself comfortable and call it a day, i.e. "Capitalism has always existed, same thing, same story". Are you LITERALLY a fucking idiot? For fuck's sake, was there never error in Darwin? Isaac Newton also dabbled in mystical nonsense, does this go to discredit him in his entirety? You could argue that the same methodological foundations which led to a pretense to the dietary habits of "savages", but how did he come to this conclsuion? First, you don't offer us what this means. If it concerns hunter-gatherers, it is not a far-reaching assumption to think that this was their diet, and how could it be? It depends on what is meant here by "savages" - any Marxist would know that the tribal, pre-civilized societies were not hunter-gatherers at all, and this was outlined very specifically, and very extensively in Engels' work. In pertinence to the designation of pre-neolithic peoples as savages, this had nothing to do with giving them inherently Hobbsean moral qualities (which, as it happens, Marx and Engels did not - by designating the epoch as one of primitive Communism, not post-apocalyptic free-for-all hell), because the term was deeply ingrained into any conception of pre-civilized societies in the west, most especially during the 19th century, it was not a point of controversy to speak of "savages" as it is today. This shoudl be very basic, if not for someone hell bent on distorting information and trying to discredit Marx and Engels in every which way possible.

But to reiterate, no, it is absolutely IDIOTIC to fucking claim this discredits him as an anthropologist, all it shows is how unscientifically you approach such issues, what a fucking intellectually lazy philistine you are. And for the record, no one gives a fuck about your "credentials", as far as we're concerned, you're full of shit - and if not, you're still objectively wrong. If you're not full of shit regarding your credentials, rather than bestowing upon you some kind of aura of legitimacy, it discredits the educational establishment in our society.

but far too little to construct an evolutionary scheme that would encompass all societies at all times.
The correlation was drawn from detailed accounts of pre-civilized Greece which was also largely based on kinship systems. As it happens, the phenomena extended far beyond the native Americans, which means that they had more to work with then them - detailed historical accounts which show a correlation.

Otherwise, marx was in error about ‘generalized commodity production’. If you convert England into one big factory, your raw materials and food will have to come from elsewhere-- from within a larger frame of reference. These probably won’t be produced by capitalism per se. Such is the modern insight of Negri & Hardt….capitalism has always existed.
So, in your inability to actually properly conceive generalized commodity production for what it means, therefore drawing a STUPID fucking abstraction, apparently this confirms that capitalism has always existed? Even if your stupid fucking abstraction worked, it would not mean that capitalism has always existed, it would mean that 'generalized commodity production' does not exist because within the frame of reference that we might call the global economic totality, it would constitute simple commodity production because now England can be converted into "a single factory" (but the point is that IT COULD NOT BE). The problem is that the global capitalist totality DID NOT ARISE until very recently in history, and any FUCKING idiot can know that England's imports from pre-capitalsit societies introduced capitalist relations to thsoe societies, and this was precisely the basis of Marx's support for the introduction of free trade, and the colonization of both India and in China (until the perpetual basis of previous social bonds was done away with - when we can clearly see Marx become more sympathetic toward Indian independence, as well as the independence of colonized peoples across the globe - on the condition that they would transform their project into a revolutionary one, lest they be "taken by the devil", in reference to the Algerians). The global economic totality, the "world economy" did not exist during antiquity, it did not exist during the Middle Ages either, it ONLY was wrought out into existence during the development and rise of capitalist production.

What is most especially fucking idiotic is that even if we take your BULLSHIT with a grain of seriousness - it is very well that England was an industrial capitalist society whose raw materials and resources came from non-capitalist social formations, but how the fuck does this work when THE ENTIRE WORLD EXISTS IN A GLOBAL TOTALITY in the 21st century, where virtually no society can be conceived as pre-capitalist? Please point out to me where our "resources" derive today, that "won't be produced by capitalism per se" (again, a FLIMSY assumption to begin with, because nothing can be "produced by capitalism", rather production is conducted in a specific way, which constitutes capitalist relations - which actually knocks your whole basis of argument to the fucking ground insofar as one cannot be "outside" capitalism if one is part of the totality, as was the case of colonized India and Africa, IT IS STILL PRODUCED BY "CAPITALISM"). But most of all, the most laughably stupid extrapolation we can draw from this is the idea that this sum how sums up Empire, which was written specifically to refer to our postmodern geopolitical epoch and not some timeless fucking fact of history. So no, capitalism has not always existed, and cannot have always existed, simply because capitalist relations themselves extend beyond mere abstractions like "wage labor", "markets" and the presence of factories, it amounts to a totality of specific relations to production, specific processes of production, which has never before been present in any historic epoch. For an empiricist idealist, this is impossible to grasp - the idea that one thing can change into another, you commit the predictable error of thinking that everything that exists, has to be some kind of quantitative extension of something which previously existed. That is not how the evolution of the mind, and reason works, nevermind the evolution of societies themselves.

The Marxist version of ‘exploitation’ is hardly ‘scientific’. Rather, ontological-speculative. Otherwise, some really smart Marxist would have been able to covert labor values into prices, as LTV demands. This is the infamous ‘transformation problem’, btw.
On second thought, since really smart people would realize that the labor inputs have no quantitative values themselves, they wouldn’t be able to be transformed, after all. Then the really smart would say that Marxoid efforts to do so are similar to their efforts in conjuring up non-existent nut& berry foraging savages to support their version of unilinerar evolution…err…’evolution towards modern-day society’.

My version of ‘exploitation is the Ricardian of c+v+p=Cost. This gives an inverse relationship between ‘v and p, assuming you can do the algebra. All factory owners everywhere and at all times have used this, thereby causing an intellectual crisis within the ranks of the Marxo-paranoid.
As it happens, it does not turn out to be a problem at all - because the point of controversy, as is anything that pertains to Marx, rested in a fundamental MISUNDERSTANDING of the relationship between value and prices. In fact the whole basis of Bortkiewicz's critiicsms was the fatal assumptions of physicalism, that value ALWAYS corresponds to the quantifiable physical existence of the commodities, and Simultaneism, the notion that the prices of inputs and outputs are simultaneously determined. But never mind all of that, the Temporal Single System Interpretation did will to dispel this nonsense, but it's rather cute that you bring up arguments that Marx himself long-discredited in the midst of your inability to conceive Marx beyond the baseless criticisms of him. But nevermind any of that. Nevermind whether the transformation problem would have been problematic after all. Never-mind whether we need to re-work the foundations of our conception of value. IT DOES NOT STAND that this now somehow gives exploitation in capitalist society "moral" qualities that can be applied to pre-capitalsit social formations, IT DOES NOT STAND that the basis of Marx's understanding of exploitation was "speculation" ANY MORE THAN ANY OTHER ECONOMIC WORK IS SPECULATION, because in case you didn't fucking know, Marx was very careful about his methodology - nothing in Kapital amounts to mere "speculation", and if you want, I'll be happy to wipe my ass with you in pertinence to the "speculative" nature of the theory of value too, though I suspect this would be saved for a different thread. The fact of the matter is that exploitation still can only be conceived in a scientific manner in pertinence to its existence in capitalism, which STILL gives it a unique fucking character. As we will show bellow, you don't have the faintest idea as to what constitutes exploitation beyond stupid moral platitudes:

Fine roman brass was made in a roman factory by underpaid , ‘exploited’ workers. The copper, nickel and tin came from mines using slave labor. ‘Same old story.
Except for the fact that exploitation does not amount to being "underpaid", in fact, every idiot knows that in capitalism workers are paid their labor value - it has nothing to do with being "underpaid" as such, it is infinitely more complex. But nevermind that, the fact of the matter is that slave labor does not constitute the foundation of capitalist society, the atrocious conditions that which workers live in "developing" economies were present in industrial societies in western Europe as well, to conceive it as "slave labor" might be a cute analogy, but to have the audacity, the degree of stupidity to claim that it is exactly the same as slavery in ancient Rome is so fucking stupid I might laugh to death. here's a fucking hint, you philistine piece of shit - THE FACT THAT WE, IN A SELF-IRONIC WAY CALL IT SLAVERY WHEN IT IS SOLD TO US AS SOMETHING ELSE MEANS IT IS NOT SLAVERY. In Ancient Rome, you didn't have dumb fuckers talking about "Same old' thing, it's slavery" cynically, they KNEW it was slavery and it was institutionalized on that basis, not only in law, but in the public sphere of conceiving reality. You're drawing abstractions from present day society, digging deeply to try and find similarities in pre-capitalist social formations, and proclaiming that you've somehow struck gold when you manage to project your abstraction in such a vague, ambiguous way that there is a semblance of similarity. The fact of the matter is that it was not the "Same old story", it barely counts as a decent fictionalized allegory if anything. This is really the trick of ideology and reification- you find a semblance of similarity, divorced from its specific totality and context, and hark on about how "Yup, there it is, same old thing, we're just too stupid to see it!". You conceive the world cyclically, and for that reason you will never understand it. You DARE make pretenses to the "unscientific" nature of us Marxists? I mean, you DARE fucking attack us on this basis when your understanding of history LITERALLY amounts to "armchair" up the ass, 'Ol grandad drawn platitudes about life? I can't fucking believe what I'm talking to.

To de-legitimize and discredit Marx as credible on the left, yes.
Good luck you little shit, because I'm not going anywhere. So far, you've failed miserably, but let's see what you have to say yet. Either we're dealing with a bunch of sock-puppets, or there is somehow a general spontaneous inclination for people to join this site thinking they've magically discredited Marxism, but nevermind that. Keep trying to "dsicredit" Marx, I won't give you any room to breath, count on that.

Translated into Red-diaperese, this means that Marx’s ‘assurance’ that Capitalism is a passing stage only endows history with a teleology that far more resembles god-is-coming mumbo-jumbo than naturalism.
Meanwhile, we are supposed to adhere to some mystical idea of the "circle of life" in pertinence to scientifically conceiving historical development, whereby capitalism now constitutes some kind of timeless historic existence - where the FUCK do you draw the line? Because there was some limited trade between hunter-gatherer groups, did capitalism now exist in pre-history too? The only thread in common is the inability to conceive the reality of CHANGE, which is why all the vulgarists of Darwin metaphysically attempted to apply his ideas vis a vis biology to humans as though they were timeless laws, incapable of knowing that the biological cannot be a substitute for the social anymore than the atomic is a substitute for the biological. The fact of the matter is that only philistines as yourself can prattle of "teleology", but it is erroneous to say that "capitalism is a passing STAGE" anyway, becuase the whole point of Marx's understanding of capitalisms's destruction is that Communism derives from its premises, Communism is therefore a "part" of capitalism, not some far of, distant future that we will inevitably "gravitate" towards. That is why Marx said the first two classes in history are the proletariat and bourgeoisie, in a sense, because from their antagonism can the intricacies of ALL class warfare throughout history be understood, as a result of the precarious nature of capitalist relations, their regular destruction and creation, formal equality before the law where all that is solid melts into air, i.e. where class relations are no longer directly codified in law but dissonance between the formal democracy of the state and our capitalist relations is crated. All of this was outlined in marx's conception of the state very early on in his life, in distinguishing it from PREVIOUS forms. Because capitalism creates the foundations of a socially self-conscious society, which no society was ever capable of being - even in "planned" economies like Egypt, where fixed labor relations existed, this was mandated superstitiously and ritualistically.

If it offends your sensitivities that yes - life is not a circle, that we might very well be living in the end times, kindly go fuck yourself, use your tears as lubrication too. Take a look at the past one hundred years and tell me how this follows a fucking "cycle" seen before in history. How you philistines would love it if human population followed the same pattern historically - that every thousand years, 7 billion live on the Earth only to decline in an eternal boom and bust cycle. Such is the nature of the vulgar eastern spiritualism that encompasses the religious basis of capitalism in the 21st century.

I also understand that belief in such drivel supports Stalinism. This is because Marxism says that because capitalism can be overturned, any means justifies this end. In this regard, my so-called affiliation with Austrian skool economiks looks pretty good: they’re far less wrong than you people.
Are your morals somehow etched into the foundations of the cosmos? Go on, cry about "Stalinism" to cowardly excuse your dismissal of Marxism, we have nothing to apologize for. Capitalism can be overturned, this statement is self-evident once one does away with the metaphysical, superstitious ideas which sustain the idea that it cannot be. Left without that, you're left with some stupid and cheap agnosticism. The trick with that though, is that you either believe, or you don't, it is not a passive stance. Both have implications that concern science.

To transform capitalism into workable socialism, first you need to rid yourselves of these Marxo-people.
I begin to suspect you're not even a socialist, so it happens that it would be mighty convenient of us to "rid" ourselves of Marxism so we'd become the punching bag of you bourgeois ideologues, you scum, merely the "idealistic" yin of the "cold truths" bourgeois yang. But fuck you anyway: Marxism is here to stay, and this isn't a dispute between two fields of "respectable" gentlemen on the same page. Our goal is to annihilate you, to annihilate not only bourgeois society, but bourgeois thought, superstition and darkness. To you who oppose socialism, if we offend you, we plainly have nothing to say to you. Such is the nature of a class war. There can be no "compromise".

Re your citation from Marx: an economist can say that social relations are ‘eternal’, yet with or without harmony. Marx, OTH, is saying nothing more than if and only if social relations are understood as transient (not eternal) will my theory of the overthrow of capitalism hold true.
It does not matter if this is a "convenient" reality, for Marx did not have to justify his Communism with the reality that social relations change. Hegel, who was not a Communist, already understood this, as did the culmination of those dealing with history were able to see: Social relations DO objectively change, and to say otherwise means to dabble in abstractions with no regard for the substance of the changes themselves. In other words, you might be able to pathetically try and say Rome was capitalist, but you will never have the ability to scientifically assess how Roman society changed into feudal society, and how this changed into capitalist society - the basis of CHANGE will always be beyond you. The reality is that Marx's Communism allowed him to think OUTSIDE the bourgeois metaphysics in pertinence to the social in the same vein that the Humanism of the Renaissance allowed thinkers to understand reality outside the doctrine of the church. Social relations are not eternal, and even YOU acknowledge this, you merely base your point of reference in where the breaking point is. Social relations in hunter-gatherer societies are not identical with social relations in Ancient Egypt, not in any meaningful sense that would allow us to meaningfully approach those societies, so why didn't Marx just stick with the platitude from Rousseau, that it was between "pre-civilization" and civilization that was the point of change?

The idea that social relations change is unfounded even by its linguistic constitution. If you have the SAME THING in two different totalities, and contexts, it no longer is the same thing, because it possesses a different relation to the world. You can talk about how "society changes" but that categories intristic to societies do not change, but HOW THEN CAN WE CONCEIVE THE PROCESS OF CHANGE? How then does society "change"? Are you suggesting that man cyclically invents computers, only to lose the knowledge of them, and so on? This is nothing short of METAPHYSICAL ONTOLOGY, it has NO basis in science, it is merely a "scheme" of conceiving the universe in a way that allows you to avoid critically evaluating it for what it is. You cannot explain this process in a matter of depth that correlates with the depth of empirical difference between societies, you instead designate this through ideology, making things unknowable.

The fact, however, is that ‘eternal/natural’ and ‘transient/evolutionary’ capitalism are counterpoised hypotheses which must be proven true of false by the facts. But again, you and Marx present only feel-good wishes.
They are, because qualifications for capitalism are given, and those qualifications are followed through by distinguishing them from previously existing societies. The basis of these qualifications, in addition, is highlighting relations to production which previously did not exist. How the FUCK is manoralism, serfdom a form of capitasilm, for example? In trying to find the least common denominator, you LOSE SIGHT of the actual, independent BASIS of such societies, how they tick and so on - by digging for marginal militarists with our society. You don't need "proof" either, because it is assumed to be a given as it is designated ideologically. You might say that "Domination" or "classes" have always existed, that "laborers and the propertied" always existed (ignoring peasants, of course), but these are abstractions divorced from the essence of the according societies.

And you seem to have no fucking idea as to what constitutes a counter-imposed hypothesis. The idea that social relations change was always an ideological category, it was never subject to critical evaluation. Following your logic, the idea that the cosmos can be understood scientifically without astrology is also a counter-imposed hypothesis that must be proven with "facts". But it is a practical act, which contains its own proof, likewise so does the ability to critically understand societies by merit of their own doings. I mean, you can try to CALL, abuse the word "capitalism" to make it apply to previously existing societies, but what's left is the absence of a critical understanding of those societies, just a bunch of stupid fucking abstractions projected upon them which are alien to their substance and basis. The temporal nature of capitalism, is ALREADY proven by facts, because those differences in regards to the production process OBJECTIVELY EXIST, how one approaches them is not enshrined into their objective existence of course, but they exist OBJECTIVELY -so the question comes as to whether we approach them critically, or dismiss them with ideological platitudes. I do not have to justify doing the former any more than Kepler had to justify doing away with astrology, because IT IS A PRACTICAL ACT.

My point as an anthropologist is that your ‘anthropological’ evidence is false, because Morgan’s thesis is unsupported.
No, EVIDENCE is EVIDENCE, it can be false or true, but it basis of validity is NOT drawn from the conclusions drawn by the person who yielded the data. Are you literally that stupid? This is basic logic, that false conclusions are derived from data does not mean that the data is false, that evidence is false. For FUCK's sake.

Lastly, were the ‘specific factors’ as alluded to by Marx really that specific? This, again, circles back into the same evolutionary vs fixed argument as before. Strange to tell, Marx presents no facts, merely blustering, self-assertive rhetoric.
Yes, they were specific, how could they not be? Do you even understand words? Something is either specific or it is broad - did Marx make broad genralizations regarding the social? No, he critically provided a basis by which it can be evaluated and understood, yes the "specific factors" are specific to capitalism, because despite your desperate attempts to draw "some" similarities with previous societies, these similiariteis exist in an entirely different context in relation to an entirely different totality. It's as stupid as trying to say shoe production is timeless, because people always made shoes - HOW did they make shoes, what KIND of shoes, WHY, etc. and so on. These are all practical utilization of language and words - so WHAT DO YOU MEAN when you claim capitalism is timeless, and why? Did wage-labor form the basis of Roman production and the economy? No, slave labor did. Did wage labor form the foundation of agricultural production (therefore all production) in feudalism? No, again, serfdom did. Did wage labor exist in Roman society, and Feudal society? Yes, but was it the foundational basis of production? Did it constitute a UNIVERSAL basis of production in regard to labor? NO, IT DID NOT. Let's go on further. Did currency exist in Rome? Yes. Did UNIVERSAL currency exist in Rome? No, this is unique to CAPITALISM. Did profit exist in ancient societies? Yes. Does profit on the basis of M-C-M exist, rather than the opposite? NO, because a universal measurement of commodities DID NOT EXIST before capitalism. Your stupid fucking ABSTRACTIONS only work if we IGNORE the specifialities of what they entail. That's the trick.

But go on with your attempts to "discredit" Marx. I will be here, as always.
It's like saying only one species exists, because all share a common ancestor, all have "DNA, reproduction" and so on. Each according epoch outlines, and emphasizes the essential features of all previous history. Julius Caesar, Alexander, etc. were considered virtuous pagans and were portrayed in a manner that encapsulated ideas of chivalry, and yet today the qualities we admire in both of them are their "calculating" political prowess and so on, in other words, features and qualities that are respected for the capitalist. Ancient society was conceived in terms of duty and obligations. And yet we do not so much see this as the essential features of those societies - for even though "duty" and "obligation" have existed in every society, what makes them essential characteristics was the reality that they were the essential ideological virtues of feudalism.

Oh, and finally, if Marx believed in "god-is-coming-mumbo-jumbo" how then do you get off explaining the fact that Marx ACTIVELY participated in the workers' movement, in the Communist movement? If it is as you say, why wouldn't Marx simply decide to just sit back and let "history take its course"? Because he did NOT believe this - he recognized that the victory of Communism, though very possible, is contingent upon the conscious will, dedication and skill of Communists. The whole point of historic self-cosnciosuenss is that there is no "god is coming mumbo jumbo" and that there is, likewise, no metaphysical laws ingrained that demonstrate capitalism to be something timeless, that approximate our present struggle as one that fits within the general scheme of ALL WORLD-HISTORICAL POLITICS. According to you, we Communists have not only capital to fight, but some metaphysical entity designated as the "culmination of human civilization", as though the groundings of practices is somehow owed to how "old" - "they" are. Not aware in fact that capitalism self-sufficiently can sustain itself independently of what happened in the past in this sense, it does not need to consult the Patricians of Rome or the Pharaoh to reproduce itself, not directly, not indirectly, not at all.
Originally Posted by will franklin View Post
Of course Morgan used his fieldwork on The Iroquois as an example of the particular ‘stage of evolution’ that he gave them. He also used his fieldwork on Plains Indian kinship systems. Why would he not?
Because again, a point of similarity was conceived in evaluating pre-civilized Greek kinship bands, among others I've already fucking pointed out. You commit the basic error in assuming that Morgan, and later Engels, made pretenses to a "universal" stage of human evolution SOLELY from the kinship studies derived from the Native Americans. But this is hardly the case - the extrapolations were drawn from both the kinship studies, and an evaluation of present-day accounts of societies who were in similar stages of social development. Even so, the point of Engels was not to draw grand conclusions about "human evolution" but to wrought out the very basic implications that the kinship systems among the native Americans had for their respective societies, and how societies with similar kinship systems had the same implications. And for the record, I find it doubtful that even Morgan claimed that the primary diet of all savages was "nuts and berries" as this makes little sense as a form of "speculation" even without data. Are you going to try and tell us that Morgan had no notion of geographic diversity, i.e. that the primary diet of savages in the arctic, or desert dwelling nomadic peoples ate nuts and berries? No, of course not. One begins to recognize that the entire basis of argument you've constructed has been built PURELY on a straw man. You have done nothing more than continually misrepresent Morgan.

That you think that these are ‘positivist’ afflictions is as interesting to me as your denial of the evil character of the USSR and the labeling of American intervention in WW2 as ‘imperialist.
It's absolutely fucking shocking that someone who makes pretenses to "science" uses words like "evil" to describe societies. Really, what the fuck am I reading? The "evil character" of the USSR? Lo and behold, the same mechanisms which allow you to have your backward, broken epistemology, sustain notions inherently outside of the domain of scientific inquiry like "evil". As far as a critical analysis of this word goes on a scientific level, its fundamentally ideological implications, the positivist will tell us that nothing can be said - that it is simply an "unknown" - they might concede its lack of scienticity, but what makes them a positivist, or an empiricist, is precisely their assertion that it cannot be known at all. Hence the scienticity of Marxism: Even if Engels was 100% empirically wrong, we are still in a position to convert what is assumed ideologically by bourgeois ideologues into real knowledge that is up for critical evaluation. So keen are these philistines who prattle of "science" to buttress what is irrevocably unscientific about their conception of the world, as using catch phrases like "All of this is taught in school". In other words, "authoritative" knowledge for them has literal connotations, bound up precisely with real authority itself.

Why could I not say that what you're taught in the schools of the Soviet Union is a basis for "legitimate" knowledge? Why could I not say: "Also taught in schools is the reality that in bourgeois societies, scientific methodology is subordinate to the prerogatives instilled by ruling ideology" vis a vis Soviet schools? The typical response you will hurl here is one of laughter out of pure arrogance: Which conveys CONFIDENCE in legitimacy, which is sustained by nothing more than raw power in approximation to the reproduction of human life. There is nothing about schools in the west which makes them "less biased" or "more true" than schools in the Soviet Union that is beyond practicality (i.e. in approximation to their respective societies). You couldn't even make much pretenses to inferior practicality, because there was absolutely nothing inferior about Soviet science - and while philistines love to prattle of lysenkoism, it's still nowhere near as abominable as scientific racism, evolutionary psychology, or the innumerable pseudoscientific currents produced in capitalist society like astrology, etc.

all that can be done is to demonstrate the differences.
At least you're honest in recognizing that such differences aren't grounded in mere theoretical disputes, but real, practical social differences. Your'e a bourgeois ideologue, we're Communists. We, quite simply have nothing to say to you in this regard. We don't seek to convert you, we don't seek to win you over anymore than we do the bourgeoisie themselves. Take for example the basic example of a slave rebellion. Is this a product of a misunderstanding? What does the master, and the slave - what do they have to say to each other? Nothing!

But you can most certainly bet that we will expose you for what you are. We will expose you when you make pretenses to the divine, to nature, or finally - to 'science' as shields to hide behind. And it's really that simple.

Rather, computational Physics uses it as a tool that obtains predictable results.
That is because it has a practical purpose, with the point being that scientific truth is not grounded merely in its 'testability' (for there is ambiguity here), because truth does not exist outside of the domain of human practice. Truth is nothing more than a conceived relationship between man and the world that exists independently of him, it is PRACTICAL. Truth, in this sense, is an inherently human category, and to say otherwise is to assume that the universe around us is embedded, innately, with essential "human" characteristics independently of a human relationship to it.

I suppose ‘marxist economics’ means anything marxists want it to mean at the time that they say it.
Wow, you demonstrate such stunning familiarity with Marxist economics! Are you fucking kidding me? Thsi is how illegitimate ideas are designated ideologically - they are merely assumed to be a random association of "words" that are formed and the whims of the individual, rather than that of the gods. But we Marxists are atheists - in practice. We do not have gods, we do not need pretenses to some kind of higher legitimate authority in order to conceive the world around us, it does not stand that "Marxist economics" is an arbitrary term.

It’s sort of a world-view thing, such as calling the shooting of children at Yekaterinburg “murder” instead of ‘objective-social justice rendered to members of the oppressor class who, even as children, stand objectively guilty, in the concrete dialectical sense’.
Who practically conceives the shootings this way? Again, you dishonest piece of fucking shit, I already pointed out that the main perpetrator remained remorseful for the rest of his life, and was received with hostility even by fellow Bolsheviks. Because something is necessary does not mean it is any less of a tragedy. Again, I ask again:

I mean, tell me, would it have been worth strengthening the morale of the white butchers, who I can promise were responsible for the death, rape, and mutilation of children, conceiving it as a triviailty because they were doing god's work? Let me ask you a quick question, would your beloved system, and the ideology which sustains it for a second allow the life of a few little girls to not only hinder its EXISTENCE, but get in the way of profit in the immediate sense? The logic of us "Marxo-paranoids" is that we ought to make heavy sacrifices for the greater good, but the logic of capitalism is sexually enslaving little girls as an extension of the commodification of sexuality in general. You hypocritical piece of fucking shit, you're going ot sit here and lecture us about your moral qualms with the "ends justifies the means"? Well FUCK YOU, you SADISTIC scum are so morally depraved that you can't even follow through with THIS logic, i.e. there seldom even has to be justification for the bloody butchers of capital, it is a given that she must be fed annually with blood-sacrifice in war and in hell.

Indeed though, you are right to ground it in purely an ideological dispute, one of legitimacy. Of course a bourgeois ideologue is going to be fucking horrified by the act, just like all the hypocritical pieces of shit are horrified by the reign of terror (when in reality, the deaths at the hand of the guillotine were hardly significant historically, within the context of the absolutist French monarchy) solely because this time it was gentlemen who received the bad end of the stick. Bourgeois ideologues are horrified when figures of power that posses an aura of legitimacy are killed, because vested in them is all meaning, all that is holy and good. Vested in them is the only sense of security, meaning and life - for without them lies the infinite abyss of freedom, and all the anxiety it inspires. Do not for a fucking second try to pass off the horror of the death of the Tsar's kids, which was in the context of the civil war itself anything but significant, as anything more than the trauma of regicide in your feeble little fucking mind.
Originally Posted by QueerVanguard View Post
Where, when? If he did, he was probably being satirical. Proudhon was the racist who wanted to exterminate Jews and supported the Confederates during the Civil War.
This moron is probably referring to Marx's comments about Lassalle. He fails to not only get the quote wrong, but completely fuck up in at least getting the context right. The reality is that using the word "Jewish nigger" hardly contains connotations of the genetic, innate inferiority of blacks or anything of significance about Jews (who, incidentally, Marx "ethnically" belonged).
Originally Posted by will franklin View Post
Since there is only speculation and legend as to the kinship terminology and organization of 'pre-civilized' Greeks, you cannot cross correlate this non- data with that of the observed and recorded Plains Indians.

That the first humans were nuts 'n berries foragers is plainly stated in his book. Ditto that they practiced communal marriage. Not only is this speculative nonsense, but also neither ethnography nor paleontology show this. Quite the contrary.
Again, it derived from extensive studies regarding societies in similar historic epochs, and today we know that the conclusion drawn by Engels about kinship relations in such tribal societies was true: Beyond the plains indians. Again, you keep making hte error in assuming that SOLELY from studying the plains Indians was the conclusion drawn. You make it as though no extensive studies on kinship relations in other studies were done beyond "speculation", but this is hardly the case. You keep making pretenses to changes in "times", but regarding the study of antiquity, the methodology used to interpret it wasn't somehow so inferior as to warrant us to ignore it in the 19th century:

Thus far Grote. And Marx adds:

“In the Greek gens, the savage (e.g. Iroquois) shows through unmistakably.” He becomes still more unmistakable when we investigate further.

For the Greek gens has also the following characteristics:

7. Descent in the male line.

8. Prohibition of marriage within the gens except in the case of heiresses. This exception, and its formulation as an ordinance, prove the old rule to be valid. This is further substantiated by the universally accepted principle that at her marriage the woman renounced the religious rites of her gens and went over to those of her husband, being also inscribed in his phratry. This custom and a famous passage in Diccarchus both show that marriage outside the gens was the rule, and Becker in Charicles directly assumes that nobody might marry within his own gens.

9. The right of adoption into the gens. This was exercised through adoption into the family, but required public formalities and was exceptional.

10. The right to elect chieftains and to depose them. We know that every gens had its archon; but it is nowhere stated that the office was hereditary in certain families. Until the end of barbarism the probability is always against strict heredity, which is quite incompatible with conditions in which rich and poor had completely equal rights within the gens.
If this is mere "speculation", it sure is rather creative speculation. Is it so bizarre to assume that societies whose relations to survival are similar would, in turn, have similar kinship relations? It is not. Likewise, hunter-gatherer societies have been observed to be similar in this regard across the board, and hte point of difference almost always lies in: Level of influence by outsiders (inuits), historic changes (Complex HG societies), etc. - all characteristics that are conceivable as a point of distinguishing such societies "culturally", gravely opposed to the unscientific notion of culture simply developing at random with "not enough data" to draw conclusions as to where it derives.

When there is speculation, in the book, inferences and probabilities are presented as precisely those, i.e. "but it is nowhere near stated that the office was hereditary in certain families. Until the end of barbarism the probability is always against strict hereditary, which is quite incompatible with conditions in which rich and poor had completely equal rights within the gens". The reason this cannot be assumed to be "speculation" is the reality that it stands to reason that societies that emerged to civilization developed in a similar manner, with "cultural variance" being nowhere near sufficient enough to dictate reproductive practices for societies virtually in the same epoch.

More to the point, the Boasian Revolution that overturned 19th century evolutionary schemes (again, which he pejoratively called 'unilineal') emphasized that present day 'primitives' were in their own way as evolutionary as Western industrial societies. Studying those deemed less 'advanced' in the present world gives no insight into prehistory.
Except that such a conclusion could have been drawn in the 19th century with the same so-called poverty of data: This statement is purely a platitude. Primitive societies which still exist clearly were not on the road to civilization, because it is this they managed to avoid doing (I.e. most egalitarian hunter-gatherer societies have to strictly regulate it). But is there an objective criteria of development and advancement? Yes, there is - and this is not disputable. Some productive practices are more advanced and complex than others, but even if this were not the case, the point of reference is OUR society, the same society which has sustained the field of anthropology, etc. in the first place, meaning that a society is only less developed insofar as the point of development has its basis in modern day capitalism, which has, evidently, inherited world history and complete global hegemony.

Clearly prehistorical societies were less advanced, because most of them ceased to exist.
Originally Posted by will franklin View Post
So can we cross-reference this trait to, say, the warlike Iroquois, who were constantly fighting not only the Huron but also with each other? Well yes, of course; but what's important is that this represents a human adaptation--not an evolutionary stage.
What you fail to understand is that your criticism of Engels merely amounts to a banality, which any idiot was capable of observing. In fact, if we conceive the basic scheme of "evolution" leading up to modern day society, slavery and then feudalism, it is rather easy to recognize that both of these historic epochs were a result of "human adaption", but this does not make them any less rife with implicit social antagonisms that would lead to historic change. In conceiving different systems as merely "human adaptions" to changing ecological backgrounds, what is missing is the reality of how man constitutes his own environment through labor, and thereby 'adapts' to it. So, so to speak, the Iroquouis did not passively 'adapt' to some background, but underwent social changes that led them where they were. The problem with primitive societies that remained in the 19th century (Say, besides the Iroquois, wherein the introduction of agriculture to North America was far later than in the rest of the world), is that they possessed essential characteristics which made them resilient to social change, the neolithic, and so on. But the grand majority of primitive (Hunter-gatherer societies) were shaped, and were in contact with various other historic societies throughout the iron age and beyond. The native Americans here, whom we assume did not go through this, are of unique importance.

What is important here is that it is probable to assume that yes, the Iroquois could very well have conjoined into a civilization, it is not ridiculous to assume that they were at a stage of development that was not infinitely stable. And frankly, the argument derives from a straw man itself - evolution is only conceived insofar as it shaped society as it exists now, which amounts to recognize the DIRECT social changes which led to 21st century global capitalism. A universal scheme of development of course makes little sense, becasue again, in many modern day primitive societies there are no implicit predispositions to neolithic practices, in fact, these are societies which several colonial, and civilized societies tried to subordinate through missionaries and agricultural practice,s and all miserably failed - hence why they still exist.

None the less, different historic EPOCHS are conceivable insofar as they proceeded modern day society. These are meaningful because thy outline the stages of world history, which leaves no room for "adaptations".

This, in turn, is positively cross-referenced against a now-huge template of both ethnography and archaeology from America. Then of course, we have astounding, 20,000 year old sequences in places such as an-Natuf, in present-day Lebanon. Warlike strata vs peaceful, masculine vs feminine. 'Evolution' seems to mean nothing more than winning wars and taking slaves...
And you mistaken the symptomatic for the casual. Societies do not, by random, become "masculine" or "feminine" which then determines their social character, rather, their sexual character derives from social changes. There is no reason to believe, and there stands absolutely no evidence of war existing in pre-neolithic society, we have yet to find any cave paintings, any forensic evidence to suggest this beyond a few bashed skulls which, suffice to say, do not constitute evidence for war. Of course, ironically, it was Engels who believed that war was common in primitive societies, that primitive Communism was only of "the tribe", but we know now that it is infinitely more likely that other bands served as, rather than competitors, outlets for those who leave their respective bands to join another when angry, trade and so on.
Originally Posted by WF
What sticky, to say the least, is that Marx and Engels, following Hegel, envisioned an inner logic of sorts which would make these constant episodes of genocide and ethnocide follow the dictates of progress. This, they erroneously coded into a metaphysic of dialectical materialism.
No, you keep dodging the fundemental point, which is simply that Hegel, and Marx and ENgels afterwards, concerned WORLD HISTORY, which simply concerned understanding the processes of change that HAD to be inevitable with the reference point of the EXISTENCE of present-day society. That does not mean that at the time, they were inevitable, but that insofar as they led to existing, present-day society (INSOFAR AS PRESENT-DAY SOCIETY EXISTS) they had to be inevitable. This is why Hegel dealt with an entirely different form of logic, and the idea that there's some kind of linear evolution in history is alien to the Hegelian tradition.

This is why erroneous conclusions like:

all societies, regardless of their assessed ‘level’, have equally undergone change.
Are meant to support the notion that each society is equally advanced. But this is far from the case, because while every society had to undergo change to even exist in the 19th century, unless it was completely isolated from any external human contact, which is rare, this does not meant that the intricacies of change, or change in what Hegel would call spirit would be equal. Again, the point is not that the Iroquois were on the road to a North American Mycenaean, because the implicit predisposition to change which would be necessary have to be thoroughly evaluated by the society's own merits. As we know, developments in a society can occur which can precisely hinder development, as was the case in various civilizations in Asia, or various primitive societies that must regularly maintain a strict egalitarian conduct. Engels claimed that Marx was simply demonstrating the processes of change in the social field that Darwin did in the biological field. Likewise, contra to what the metaphysical idealists like to claim, animals do not intentionally "adapt" or "evolve", rather, their unique constitution is simply testament to their survival. The same goes for the survival of various social formations - if they were not as they were, they would have changed, or would change eventually.
Originally Posted by will franklin
At the heart of the problem (the Quinean web, so to speak) is the false assumption that there really was a stage called 'primitive communism'.

The observation of so-called 'primitive societies does not support such a claim in the sense as they would serve as a model as to how societies back then (time undetermined) were structured.
What you fail to understand is that all primitive Communism entails is the absence of private property. As far as anyone can tell, this is observable to have existed universally not simply by examining modern day primitive societies, but evaluating the oral traditions, archaeological renditions of earlier societies, and so on. The observation of primitive societies most certainly do not serve a viable model for how societies "back then" were structured, but the difference is that one can isolate and evaluate how the direct influence of civilized societies has impacted them, etc. - for example, the Inuits still abide by the 19th century British sexual morality that was imported to them. Likewise:

In my own field of anthropology, examples are to diverse to cite them all: Mead's Samoans were friendly and sharing (communal?): thirty years later they were observed to have all the dignity of a bunch of drunks at a white-trash North Georgia Confederate bar.
Mead's observations remain valid, because as it happens, drastic changes in the lives of the Samoans had occurred in the contemporary period between her observations and that of her critics, so much so that they were visited by missionaries, many adopted Christianity, and so on.

His seminal work, Primitive Society was entitled with a strong sense of irony; so-called 'primitives' weren't. In terms of local adaption, they were as evolved--or more so--than anyone else.
Again, as I've stated, this is meaningless. This is akin to saying that mice are "just as evolved" as gray wolves - of course they're just as evolved, that doesn't mean mice are as complex as gray wolves are. What is meaningfully ironic about this? To repeat myself - AGAIN:

Except that such a conclusion could have been drawn in the 19th century with the same so-called poverty of data: This statement is purely a platitude. Primitive societies which still exist clearly were not on the road to civilization, because it is this they managed to avoid doing (I.e. most egalitarian hunter-gatherer societies have to strictly regulate it). But is there an objective criteria of development and advancement? Yes, there is - and this is not disputable. Some productive practices are more advanced and complex than others, but even if this were not the case, the point of reference is OUR society, the same society which has sustained the field of anthropology, etc. in the first place, meaning that a society is only less developed insofar as the point of development has its basis in modern day capitalism, which has, evidently, inherited world history and complete global hegemony.

Clearly prehistorical societies were less advanced, because most of them ceased to exist.

Are meant to support the notion that each society is equally advanced. But this is far from the case, because while every society had to undergo change to even exist in the 19th century, unless it was completely isolated from any external human contact, which is rare, this does not meant that the intricacies of change, or change in what Hegel would call spirit would be equal. Again, the point is not that the Iroquois were on the road to a North American Mycenaean, because the implicit predisposition to change which would be necessary have to be thoroughly evaluated by the society's own merits. As we know, developments in a society can occur which can precisely hinder development, as was the case in various civilizations in Asia, or various primitive societies that must regularly maintain a strict egalitarian conduct. Engels claimed that Marx was simply demonstrating the processes of change in the social field that Darwin did in the biological field. Likewise, contra to what the metaphysical idealists like to claim, animals do not intentionally "adapt" or "evolve", rather, their unique constitution is simply testament to their survival. The same goes for the survival of various social formations - if they were not as they were, they would have changed, or would change eventually.

The fact that they're "just as evolved" is only testament to their enduring existence, it does not mean such societies are advanced, and furthermore, what you fail to understand is that if the point of reference is present-day society, we can assume that the in the process of history, of what we would call world history, the people's who compose our present day capitalist totality, or in the case of the 19th century, western Europe, had also undergone an epoch that was similar to the "primitive" societies in question. The difference is that these primitive societies most likely developed some kind of anomalous mechanism of historic hindrance, in the same vein that some complex HG developed a hindrance to the neolithic, but the existence of this anomalous characteristic by no means makes them just as "advanced", it merely makes them just as alive as societies. This is why conceiving such societies in terms of whether their development simply "lagged behind" a few thousand years is rarely meaningful, and sometimes outright wrong. So in this case, the scheme of development that allows us to conceive such societies as primitive remains legitimate, because again, those factors which contributed to the endurance of those societies are merely anomalous characteristics, not substitution for some kind of 'advanced' social formation.

This thematic point of Lowie comes from Boas who, in turn, wrote (as a good socialist!) that only a Darwinian, naturally selective version of evolution was acceptable for any natural science.
Which is meaningless in pertinence to such social questions. This is why fields as sociobiology, biological anthropology, ETC. are worthless abominations. The social field constitutes one that is entirely irreducible to that of the biological, so while Darwin's ontology, if you want to call it that, remains valid (that, for example, organisms do not intentionally "adapt", rather, adaptations are merely testament to their existence and survival, and that the same goes for societies), it is vulgar to substitute an extrapolation of zoology for a critical understanding of history. And we could imagine this is why vulgarists like Lowie were, in fact, practitioners of a vile kind of racism.

Now as you recall, the Hegelian motor of evolution was a geist: learning experiences of a progressively less-oppressive life were passed on. Marx, in turn, linked the dialectic to increasingly productive forces.
That is a rather stupid platitude, one that not only proceeded Hegel, but was ALIEN to Hegel. The point of Hegel was precisely the opposite - that men and women do not, and can not learn ANYTHING from history, and that all changes, or all enduring characteristics of a society are due to their immediate affirmative necessities, "place" in the present application. This is the point of totality, that "each age and each nation finds itself in such peculiar circumstances, in such a unique situation, that it can and must make decisions in reference to itself alone." To speak of a "hegelian motor of evolution" is also a bad misreading of Hegel, for Hegel - world history again pertained solely to the developments of 19th century Europe and before, so as it happens, an objectively existing motor of history existed that constituted the progression between the past and present-day society. Geist then does not refer to "learning experiences", it refers to the culmination of the collective social existence of a society, it refers to that element in a historic peoples that endures, that makes them most certainly definitive. Geist refers to the culmination of a definitive national existence, which is why Marxists should eb tempted to say that the highest expression of geist for a nation is internationalism, i.e. that for example, Internationalism simply does not refer to "freedom" from the concrete nation, but the transcendence of the spirit of a nation, inherited by the working class, and the "culmination" of all of its aesthetic difference, values, and so on, into its own negation. I.e. we might say that you go from Charlemagne to the Paris Commune.

In short, lots of what anthros do now is to study the effects of new and better instruments on cultural elements such as kinship, etc. But again, the Darwinian adaptivity is specific to any particular culture, and not always successful. Part of the anthroplogical discourse is to show failure--for example, The Easter islanders.
"Again", this does not concern world history as such, but those who were left behind from it. Meaning, not to say these people are "less human" (my god, it's stupid that I must even clarify this), but if you want, these societies are anomalous mutations, "freaks" of social history, and it does not concern a passive ADAPTIVITY as such (being that humans are not like the tortoise) but the active menas by which humans constitute their own environment, by merit of their social relations to each other and therefore production. Social relations form out of the necessity for survival, yes, but this is what Hegel recognizes as the absence of spirit. In this sense, Hegel himself was eons ahead of scum like Lowie, in that he recognized that the absence of spirit in primitive people's had nothing to do with their biological constitution, and in reference to those who had tried to say Africans were "less evolved' or whatever by merit of their appearance, Hegel claimed that all humans, European or otherwise are "not that different" PHYSICALLY than the ape. Hegel's point was that civilization, and history, are absolutely irreducible to humans physiologically, and that these matters concerned SPIRIT, they did not derive from the innate biological properties of any peoples, but from the summation of the intricacies of their social relations.

So the whole essence of Hegelian/Marxian resided within its stages which are supposed to resemble, in form, the evolution of hominids. It's this--not the general, common-sense notion of accumulation via diffusion--that's nonsense. But without this formal scheme, there's no 'Marxism' as such. Rather, again the same old shared, common sense notions that 'explain' why New Guinea tribes that practice cannibalism carry aps and have email addresses.
No, again, this is the irk of scientific racists, quite on the contrary the difference is that "stages" don't resemble anything, they are sufficient unto themselves as a fundamentally different SOCIAL dimension, which dictates the biological (i.e. as the biological might dictate the material, even if bound by it). "Accumulation" via diffusion is alien to the notion of history being conceived in terms of EPOCHS, wherein radical changes occur that rupture the foundations of society, that lead to revolution and so on. THIS is the change in spirit, not some kind of passive accumulation of previous knowledge, but quite on the contrary, through violent antagonisms that exist only for themselves which DICTATE how all previous history is even conceived. This is why, as you claimed, the introduction of technology to New Guinea tribes didn't have to historically change them that significantly, because historic change involves antagonisms WITHIN the social process, within social relations, not simply passive "captivity" to changing environments.

And of course, said evolutionary scheme had to have had a beginning form, lost in the conjectural mists of history. Otherwise, the scheme doesn't work! So that takes us back to communal marriage and nut's n berry picking, yes?
No, it doesn't. And frankly, you keep talking a bunch of bullshit, misrepresenting Morgan's works. You would not have us believe that Morgan thought that primitive peoples who dwelled in areas that did not grow nuts and berries, actually ate these. That Morgan might have got the diet of primitive peoples wrong originally doesn't change the truth of the fact that primitive peoples did not have agriculture of any kind, that if htey weren't picking nuts and berries, you bet your fucking ass htey were picking something else. Who cares about the specifialities of "nuts and berries"? How is this SIGNIFICANT? The underlying point is that they had to make due with their surroundings, how is this even a point of controversy? Regarding communal marriage - again, communal marriage, group marriage, WAS the de-facto form of marriage in primitive societies. The predispositions to monogamy, and the irk, simply did not exist. Of course many primitive people today are monogamous, but this is because of their endured contact with other peoples throughout history, or again, is testament to their anomalous, ahistoical character as social formations. To claim that all social formations are somehow too different to extrapolate a wider understanding of how primitive humans lived is ridiculous insofar as it ignores how the differences between these societies are always trivialities, much like the differences between Japanese capitalism and American capitalism. These are still the same mode(s) of production!
Originally Posted by will franklin View Post
All societies have always defined 'private property' as usufruct-entitlement, which is universal. For example, it's written into the French constitution that the ultimate guardian of the nation's economy is the state itself. Standards for french 'ownership is that which is to the benefit of the collective.
The collective summation of the capitalist totality as a whole, yes. It doesn't come as a surprise that property is legally conceived in terms of how it benefits the sum-total of relations of privet property in general. How the fuck do you expect this to be mediated? It stands to reason that "the state exists as an instrument of the ruling classes" would not be inscribed into the French constitution anymore than it would be in codified law in say, the Aztec empire. That is because relations of private property are contingent upon societies that do not possess social-consciousness, i.e. ideology must exist to sustain the existence of class. And no, private property did not exist before the events that led to the Neolithic revolution, even personal possessions were seldom defined and regulated to have existed. Either way, private property was never conceived in terms of personal possession anyway, instead, it took an inherently ritualistic, and often times spiritual role - clearly divorced from the prerogatives of man's physiological needs, contra to the bourgeois notion of the "egoist" rational man who sees property as an extension of "maximizing his fitness" and so on.

Many societies grant both personal usufruct and define basic property limits within an extended family, or clan. looking outside the clan--yet within what the observer would still see as a 'culture' of linked clans, there are frequent inter-clan wars over entitlements. In other words, there is 'communism' only within what's defined as a 'family, whether extended or nuclear.
"Many societies", but none of theses societies being primitive ones, of course - that is, societies without agriculture. Considering Hunter-gatherer bands consisted of more than individual families, considering inter-marriage between different bands existed, it makes absolutely no sense that wars were commonplace, most especially considering the fact that human survival, throughout its 190,000 odd years of existence, was already very precarious as a result of natural catastrophes and the driving of big game into extinction virtually everywhere humans migrated to en masse. If 'warfare' was commonplace in primitive societies, then we would at least have some archaeological evidence to confirm this, in the form of cave paintings and weapons of war, and most especially, the existence of mass-graves. These didn't exist until shortly before the Neolithic revolution, which suggests that they most likely were a result of the development of complex hunter-gatherer societies. In any case, no, there was nothing even remotely similar to private property as it has existed for the past 10,000 or so years.

** The data itself doesn't even support the 'theory'.
That is only if one approaches the data like a fucking child, i.e. one can extrapolate, based on existing data, the degree of insight it gives us about pre-historic societies because of the ability for us to cross-reference them with the various legends, myths, oral accounts of not only those societies, but accounts of pre-history in various civilizations. It might even be probable that the story of Adam's fall from paradise might have been an extension of this, but we might never know.

What we also find is that hunting existed prior to the full emergence of h sapiens. This, in and of itself destroys any speculation based upon foraging.
What's your point? Chimpanzees (bonobos and common chimps) both engage in "hunting", but in any case, yes it's true that hominids that proceeded homo sapiens engaged in hunting. What's your point, however? The emergence of bipedal apes, by "freeing the hands" were able to more amply transform nature to their will, in approximation to their growing social complexity (as shown by physiological changes in the brain), no one even knows what you're talking about.

No communal property, no communal marriage, no foraging. So what do you propose? To take all of the anthropologists to Yekaterinburg, stuff them into a closet and shoot them, too?
Except communal property, group marriage and foraging were all integral characteristics of pre-historic human society. It is probable that the monogamous practices of primitive peoples in South America, Africa, etc. were introduced externally, or whose introduction coincided with the necessity to adjust to the social changes that which such enduring primitive society forged an oasis. Does your argument somehow amount to the fact that because species before homo sapiens sapiens engaged in hunting practices, that there was "no foraging"? What the fuck are you even talking about? In any case, yes, we'd do well to take all the scumfuck biological anthropologists, stuff them in a closet, and shoot them.

Otherwise, your evolutionary comparison of different animals (wolves. mice) to the development within one particular (h sapiens) begs the obvious question: biological adaptivity of all three indicate that present speciation follows natural selection.

Biologically speaking, to say that wolves are more 'evolved' than mice is nonsense. To comare putative levels of human development to mice/wolves distinctions is daffy, even for a marxoid.
Can you actually shut the fuck up if you're so confused? What instills you with such confidence to respond this way, when you don't even know what I'm talking about? My comparison with different animals had NO PRETENSE TO HUMANS BIOLOGICALLY WHATSOEVER. if you actually READ my fucking post: they are sufficient unto themselves as a fundamentally different SOCIAL dimension, which dictates the biological (i.e. as the biological might dictate the material, even if bound by it). It's absolutely of no surprise you're repeating the same psueod-darwinist myths in your conception of the human species. Namely, humans are capable of history, animals are not, humans change their surroundings with labor, animals cannot. Conceiving humans in terms of passive "adaptations" that are testament to their biological survival, in the same vein as that of a species, is beyond fucking stupid and likewise entirely paradoxical ideologically and linguistically (to designate man as an animal pre-supposes a frame of reference which designates ITSELF as something "not animal", and this famously encapsulates the enigma of the pseudo-darwinists: Can man be fully conscious that he is solely motivated by "primeval" instincts? Would consciousness of this "ruin" it, so to speak? More importantly, if man is conscious of all the "purely genetic" foundations of his consciousness, is his consciousness altered?) but more importantly, it ideologically designates the domain of the social uncritically, which makes it unscientific. Homo sapeins sapiens has existed for 200,000 years, while history has existed for some 10,000. As eusocial animals, human "adaptation" can only be physiological predispositions to plasticity and subordination to the social, to the whims of the collective summation of their existence. Unlike animals, whose behavior is almost purely autonomous, with autonomous organisms needing to rely on 'innate instincts' for survival the less social they are, humans did not have to "adapt" for certain behaviors in order to exist, because as far as the environments of humans, which weren't nearly complex enough ALONE to warrant such complex behavioral traits - passive environments shared by a plethora of other species, conceiving human "adaptations" in terms of passive adjustments to enviroments is beyond fucking stupid.

Finally, you totally miss the fucking point of my analogy, which was: This is akin to saying that mice are "just as evolved" as gray wolves - of course they're just as evolved, that doesn't mean mice are as complex as gray wolves are.

Can you even FUCKING read? Human development can be compared in terms of complexity in the sphere of language, science, divisions of labor, ideology, ETC. - it's something every bumfuck idiot knows, even those cultural relativists. My point is that, evne though some primitive society might have endured, they specifically had to develop certain characteristics that are testament to their endurance, if not for this - then anomalous characteristics which prevented them from transitioning to the systematized cultivation of plants and the domestication of animals. What makes the Americas interesting is the fact that the neolithic revolution occured thousands of years after it did on the other side of the Road, which might not seem like much - but if we put into perspective the fact that the Aztec empire came into existence in the 15th century, it shows that indeed many societies WERE "not fully developed", i.e. were rife with antagonisms that could have made them predisposed to changing drastically. This could have been true for a confederation of tribes in North America as anywhere.

But aside from that, it is a stepping stone to scientific racism. Question: Do you think that different races have "selected" for different behaviors, etc.? Do you think that race exists?

Last, Hegel was ambiguous, to say the least, on the question of volition. the master/slave dialectic somehow gets buried in the subconscious, leaving us consciously aware of only the 'cunning of history' that appears on the surface to be nothing but a slaughterhouse. Only the Hegelians can reveal to us the deeper truth. This is not interesting.
I mean, you clearly don't have a fucking idea about what you're talking about. If morgan can be dismissed because he erroneously claimed that nuts and berries was the initial diet of primitive societies, than will here can be dismissed if he's touting complete bullshit knowing full well the extent of his ignorance. Are you actually schizophrenic? Like holy shit, first we go from the "master/slave dialectic" in the subconscious to the "cunning of history" being nothing but a slaughterhouse? Not only do you blatantly abuse words, you also blatantly abuse cheap quotes extrapolated from Hegel. What you fail to understand is that anyone can be a "Hegelian", i.e. someone who reads Hegel seriously. You're trying to paint a picture that there's some kind of hereditary caste called "the Hegelians" who can only reveal a deeper truth, but that's just as meaningful as claiming the same of those who ascribe to Darwin's evolution. If you're so ignorant that you can't conceive Darwin, it sais nothing that "only Darwinians can reveal to us the deeper truth". It just means that, plainly, you're ignorant.
Originally Posted by will franklin View Post
I've already said that capitalism is universal insofar as you use the definition given by Marx himself: the commoditization of labor. People everywhere and at all times have had the ability to calculate the use-value of another person's work against both alternative factors of production and replacement costs.
Again, this is nothing but an unscientific ABSTRACTION meant to find a least common denominator in all of human history. The point was NOT that what distinguished labor relations in capitalism was "the ability to calculate the use value of another person's work against both alternative factors of production and replacement costs", for that would indeed define labor so broadly as to apply to just about any social labor. But again, we see the fundamentally Ideological character of this extrapolation merely by the terminology, i.e. as though the "cunning, calculating" capitalist has always existed. But someone living in feudalism most certainly would not conceive labor in terms of "rationally judging it against both alternative factors of production and replacement costs", but in obligations and in duty. The same goes for slave societies: We therefore can see that the means by which the ideologues of each historic epoch conceive the existence of labor-relations in previous epochs, is COMPLETELY constrained ideologically by their present-day prejudices. I mean, you come to us "marxoids" and criticize our 'stageism' for extrapolating universal characteristics based on empirically evaluated primitive societies, but you go ahead and claim that CAPITALISM IS UNIVERSAL AND HAS ALWAYS EXISTED? What distinguishes capitalism, that is, generalized commodity production, universal currency, essential production constituted on relations of wage-labor (not secondary "manifestations" of wage labor but the productive foundations of life themselves being wage-labor relations), and so on. The capitalist totality has not existed anywhere in any society, in any "form" before its emergence in western Europe. You might "try" and argue that the property laws during the so-called Islamic golden age resembled capitalist relations, but even this rests upon very flimsy foundations.

So where, here, is 'private property' if you aren't permitted to pay your workers what you want? Even the randoids are more formally correct than the marxiods in saying that taxation is nothing more than wealth transfer that mitigates against true private property.
Why do taxes exist? Why do such regulations exist? Not because some external entity called "the state" acts for its own sake in forming a universal dissonance with individual proprietors, but because such measures are necessary in defending the foundations of "true private property", the power of labor and the necessity of property regulating labor is contingent upon its mediation through an entity whose loyalty is beyond any individual capitalist, which is why Marx noted that the English bourgeoisie were "intelligent" insofar as they recognized the necessity of not allowing the loyalty of the state to fall upon themselves as a class individually, because this would do nothing but cripple the state itself and subordinate it to the infighting between individual competing capitalists. Hence, formal democracy, universal civic rights, and so on, were built upon the necessity of creating a trans-propertied entity which could directly mediate the myopic nature of the individual capitalist by, in essence, "thinking in the long term" for him. As the bourgeoisie will cross-economically conspire with each other as brothers in contempt, so too will the proletariat coordinate large scale organization and activity (which includes demands for higher wages). The libertarian fantasy is assuming that individual proprietors exist autonomously, divorced from a wider productive totality. Tell me, without the existence of the state, where the fuck would this "true private property" be? How could private property be sustained? This is why Marx, from Hegel, correctly recognized the unique nature of the bourgeois state in that nothing even remotely similar to it has ever previously existed.
Originally Posted by will franklin View Post
Lowie's research on 'primitives'--even assuming falsely that the study of these societies somehow offer us an indication of how prehistoric humans lived-- gives no indication of communal marriage, communal property, or foraging as primary food subsistence.
That is because of the absence of a rigorous, scientific conception of the social dimension of these "primitives". It most likely ignores factors like the existence of agriculture, level of influence with surrounding societies, and so on. Communal marriage (there might be ambiguity here in terms of ceremonial significance, i.e. if there was no "communal marriage" then there certainly was socially accepted extra-marital sex), the ABSENCE of property (Yes, philistine, what a wonder, isn't it? It wasn't "communal property", the very discourse of property did not enter into these societies at all, shocking, right?), and foraging as primary food subsistence (which would have to depend on surroundings, it obviously was not in the arctic), were all held in common as the basis of primitive society, without 'cultural' variance.

Originally Posted by will franklin View Post
Given the same brain hard-wiring for all members of h.sapiens
Exploitation is just as reducible to "hard-wired" processes in the brain as using a fucking keyboard, it's so stupid how these philistines think. Are you literally this fucking stupid? Here's a hint, you worthless piece of shit, if the basis of social relations was in "hard wired' mechanisms in the brain, there would be no history at all. Or, at the very least, all historical changes would be passive human adaptations to geological changes. This is the result of degenerate academics who, upon revelation that there is no god, conceive sociology in terms of zoology. But we've already been over this.

I mean, this dolt comes to us prattling of "evidence" and is trying to make the case that capitalism existed, somehow, in hunter-gatherer social formations. What the actual fuck? How the FUCK does this even work as an ABSTRACTION, as one of those stupid pretenses to allegory you bourgeois philistines try to make? It doesn't even fucking work! What's next, sex = capitalism because using someone's genitals constituted exploitation? I'm trying very desperately to see how you're actually going on, seriously trying to say that capitalism is "natural". At any rate, I'm surprised you haven't been banned yet, considering your previous comments about black juries and the irk - as well as your open admittance to not being a revolutionary.
Can we ban this one now? What, is he just going to come everyday, solely in this one thread, to regurgitate the same bullshit? He clearly isn't for revolution, he doesn't even appear to be a fucking leftist.

Originally Posted by will franklin View Post
Marx offers a false promise of a communal future that's based upon a falsification of history as 'primitive communism'.
No, it is because Marx recognizes that the basis of "markets", if we are supposed to contrast it with the "communal", an already false - idealist - dichotomy, is in private property, and that the proletariat has absolutely no means by which it can transform itself into some new propertied class. The negation of the proletariat is Communism, the end of classes, and the negation of the bourgeoisie is the proletariat - the propertied-less, the exploited. Keep touting that "primitive Communism" as it was conceived was a "falsification of history" when to deny it amounts to pure delusion.

Consequently, goods were gradually taken out of the communal pot of redistribution, to be sold. Likewise, those without title to land found life much better as an exploited worker in the pottery and bronzework factories rather than given his/her 'metadosis' back on the farm.
There was never a "communal pot of redistribution", because Aristotle wasn't the founder of Athenian society. What you are insinuating is that because of the disparity between classical ethics and "the reality" that this somehow constitutes a basis for the ethics to reflect practice, but this ignores the fact that the stoics of Rome (as well as all enlightenment thinkers), too, had egalitarian fantasies all the while being ruling class functionaries. The point is that these "ethics" express ideological truths that could only be expressed through fantasy. Will here wants to tell all of us that Athens was somehow an example of a failed "Communist experiment" (gag). He goes on to repeat stupid fucking arguments about "workers in factories" that have already been decimated, namely, that these were hardly exploited workers in the sense of how exploitation was conceived, because the basis of production was in slave labor, not generalized wage labor.

Saying that it's a constant, ongoing struggle to keep humans from exploiting each other for the sake of their own power is hardly apologetic.
No, it's much worse actually, it is attempting to trivialize a the imminence of a struggle that derives from our present condition as being an eternal problem of mankind, which makes our struggle just as futile as the 200,000 years of human history wherein apparently we're supposed to believe capitalism existed.
Originally Posted by will franklin View Post
With or without f-bombs, 'conceptions' aren't 'scientific'. Rather, the're ideas that have not found a way to become a testable hypotheses.

Real Marxists know this, and accept the rules:devise a testable research strategy that's based upon the general concept that a material, economic infrastructure predicts a particular infrastructural feature. A Marxist is what he/she is because of hypothesizing the direction of the causal arrow in any particular case.
No, because the qualifications for "testability" vis a vis the social being reducible to numbers is an impossibility. Hence, your positivist epistemology will never properly reconcile itself with any field that concerns the social, or even humans directly. Marxism does not make a pretense to some new empirical claim that we have faith scientists will somehow discover in the future, instead, it merely OPENS UP the basis for a scientific evaluation of social processes, free from bourgeois ideological obfuscation as did humanism from religious doctrine, or Greek mathematics from mysticism. This is why Marx is as true in 1880 as he is in 2015, his method remains the same, and it remains as omnipotent. The conception of the social dimension, just as the conception of the astronomical being divorced from the theological, IS scientific, it is a FIELD that is opened up to scientific inquiry. This is why people are grasping at straws if they think any new "empirical" evidence can "disprove" Marxism, because Marxism concerns a scientific understanding of processes, not a series of claims with pretenses to the empirical that never change. Marxism is not some kind of holistic hypotheses, it is a scientific paradigm, it is a scientific movement.

The point of a scientific conception of the social would then be to evaluate the workings of a society by merit of its own processes. That means words like "primitive" are used very carefully with great consideration for, for example, the level of external influence and inclusion into a wider totality, how specifically this effects the society, the presence of agriculture or a transition to it, ETC.
Originally Posted by will franklin View Post
Human behavior is qualified all of the time. That's because social scientists try to see human behavior as natural as possible; the language of nature is math.
Which then becomes a game of ideological tautologies, because conceiving human behavior as "natural as possible" implies a wide array of assumptions, namely that our present social formation is as "natural" as the gorilla or chimpanzee troop. My point is not that human behavior isn't the subject of concern to "social scientists", the cosmos, after all, were extensively studied and examined much earlier than the emergence of astronomy during the Renessiance. The point is that this was not scientific, as the study of the cosmos couldn't be divorced from the theological, metaphysical, or ideological designations inevitably bound up with its approximation to humans (i.e. the Greeks, for example, proposed that our solar system was composed of perfect orbiting spheres/circles, i.e. they could not think outside of this metaphysical holism). Likewise, attempting to conceive human behavior as "natural as possible" betrays a profound prerogative to designate it ideologically, because the social field, history, itself is not up for critical evaluation, only its consequences are.

For this reason, all of the 'examples' you've provided rely on tacitly recognized axioms from which ONLY AFTER we are able to work with numbers. My point is that it is impossible to directly quantify the background of designation itself, i.e. - it is for this reason we, for example, get nonsensical drivel about how "Intelligence" among other things (i..e political views) are heritable because of twin studies, unable to account for other variables, like shared proximity of social space, which makes "scientists" ignore class differences (NOT simply income differences) in measuring differences in "environment", moreso, even creating ridiculous dichotomies about what is our 'environment' and what is heritable, as though humans are merely passively shaped by their "environment". The reality that twins are more likely to share "beliefs", leads them to believe there is a genetic basis for it, completely impervious to the reality that shared physiological development in a similar social setting, of course will make humans more similar in other regards - for such stupid preferences are largely chosen at random. This is why when one twin is reared in a rural setting, and another in an urban setting - surprise surprise, they turn out to be vastly different. If we take evolutionary psychology, which rests upon false premises about taking Darwin to his "logical conclusions" vis a vis humans once scientists realize that god isn't real after all, and that there is no soul, and conceive sociology in terms of zoology.

[]Lots of classical accounts indicate that 'kapelike' behavior offered higher returns for an individual than 'metadosis'. In other words, the Aristotelian, clan-bases (gens ) redistribution scheme of communism turned out to be an ideology. But red-crayon peeple can't see this---only real Marxists can.[/QUOTE]

To call this "Communism" is fucking nonsensical, when one takes into account the realities of its contingency of relations of private property, and so on. Again, this fetishism of the "communal" that we even find in Plato is by no means a direct reflection of the economic realities of antiquity, merely abstractions through which ruling ideology was expressed.