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Why do Marxists have a superior grasp on history?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Hygro, Feb 22, 2012.

?

Why do Marxists understand history better? Pick just one (sorry!)

  1. To justify Marxism, you have to justify historical particulars, leading to understand history

    65.0%
  2. Having a good grasp of history leads to an understanding of why Marxism is good

    10.0%
  3. Marx, as a Hegelian historian teaches history effectively, so those who study him learn history well

    10.0%
  4. Marx provided linguistic categories for history, leading to historians trapped into Marxist thinking

    2.5%
  5. I am a Marxist who disagrees with the poll's premise, or has another answer..

    12.5%
  1. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Alternatively, there are too many buggers here who know their history, and I have a hard time remembering them all of the top of my head. :p

    (Incidentally, the USSR is one of the reasons why I don't actually like identifying myself as a "Marxist", because dear buggering Christ I am sick of hearing about that wretched thing. If you call yourself a libcom and wax lyrical about the CNT people don't bring it up nearly as much.)
     
  2. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

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    I rather like the idea that Dachs, me and Masada constitute as "Circle of Extraordinary Gentlemen," as if we're going to go fight Martians with the help of Queequeg and Mycroft Holmes.
     
  3. Joecoolyo

    Joecoolyo 99% Lightspeed

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    You don't fight Martians, don't be ridiculous.

    You fight Zheng He and his fleet of flying battleships.
     
  4. schlaufuchs

    schlaufuchs La Femme Moderne

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    I don't get no respect!

    Nah, but my best response to this question would be that if you take a look at the historiography of most regions and eras, for at least the last 80 years or so, it generally revolves around Marxist vs. Anti-Marxist positions (although in recent years many fields are trending towards more of an incorporationist Post-Modernist position).

    Take The Mexican Revolution, for example.

    From the end of the Revolution to the 60s the trend was Populist. Which was essentially a Marxist position
    the 60s/70s were characterized by Revisionism, essentially an Anti-Marxist position
    and at least from the mid-80s on, the trend has been a Neo-Populist position, which is essentially a weakened Marxist position, or perhaps a more moderate position.

    So I guess really the reason is that the trends in historiography, namely, the great rise in the popularity of Marxist history in the 60s and 70s meant that most historians who have matriculated since have been educated by Marxist or Marxist leaning professors. I expect this trend will change in the coming years as the old guard of professors hired in the 60s/70s now retire and are replaced by new faculty. Nowadays the vogue is to say that the Marxist position had some decent points, but so did some other fields (for example, Neo-Whigism is gaining some ground in some parts of English history now :eek:), so expect to see more of that in the coming decades.

    This is best evinced in the UC Santa Cruz history department who now essentially has no European History faculty :(

    So my position is...rather like Dachs' position...damn. Why does this always happen?
     
  5. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    I wonder how the circle of Extraordinary UnGentlemen (aka, the Marxist historians) fit into this. By prowling foggy back-alleys and dusty Jerryshops hunting down bludgers and showfulmen?
     
  6. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    No, no. Zheng He takes the place of Captain Nemo, except his ship can fly to Mars and he is about 10 million times more awesome.
     
  7. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Ah, sorry. (And I forget Pangur Bán, too, who's the go-to guy for Scottish history.)

    Basically, what we're discovering is that there's a platoon's worth of history buffs around here, and that only a handful of them are Marxists (or Marxist-leaners), while as many Marxists (or etc.) again are in the "non-buff" category. What you could say, I suppose, is that the Marxist:non-Marxist ratio is higher in the history buff category than outside of it, so perhaps that's what we should all mentally revise the OP's question to being about?
     
  8. Richard Cribb

    Richard Cribb He does monologues

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    Actually the only one I know personally who studied Das Kapital from cover to cover is myself (that was in my salad days as an aspiring philosopher; I later took that unfortunate decision to become a historian instead), and I don't think that this is a crucial criteria for being a Marxist. Neither is what you call hope, Marx himself was no historical determinist. So there is still a spot reserved for you...

    Apart from the claim that our current societies are ideologically flexible, I very much agree with all this.

    That might be so, but then I am no bugger, not in any way inclined towards buggery or an aspirant to buggerdom (if such a word exists, at least it ought to). i am through and through a ladies man.
    Honestly, I think my point still stands, with or without a slightly disrespectful smiley.

    For someone sick of hearing about that "wretched thing" you sure like to mention it. And buggery too, for some reason.
    The last sentence is impossible to understand without being translation.

    I thought you would. But (un)fortunately I am not Alan Moore, which is why I used the more sedate sounding term circle instead of league.
    If one should ever fight Martians, I prefer to leave that to Mycroft's brother. Professor Challenger might be useful too.

    That usually does the trick, so why not?
    Ah, those foggy, foggy back-alleys...

    I might have asked this before, but it can bear to be repeated. Where are all those Marxists? I will give the odds of pawn and move to anybody who can tell me about those elusive individuals.
    After having given innonimatu the benefit of doubt and included myself I find that among the regular posters there are the grand amount of 4 (aelf, Cheezy, innonimatu and Yours Truly). Since it is reasonable to include all of us in the "history buff" category (which I assume consist of historians old enough to know some things, history students young enough to know everything, and a few others who for various reasons have an interest in the study of history) we obviously are better represented in said group than outside it. But quality can only weigh up for that much, I am afraid...
     
  9. Abegweit

    Abegweit Anarchist trader

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    This blows my mind even more than the premise of the OP.
     
  10. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Well, like I said, Cheezy, Innonimatu, yourself probably fit into the "history buff" category, while Aelf and myself would not. (If Aelf objects to this, I'm willing to concede it; I'm just going by the fact that he doesn't post in history threads as much as the others.) So we've got two-and-sort-of-one Marxist history buffs, and two Marxists who would be better described as history enthusiasts. That's compared to at least half a dozen non-Marixst history buffs on the one hand, but also to a few dozen enthusiasts in the other. So while it does seem that Marxists are far from predominant in the former category, they are, as you say, disproportionately well-represented. So that's really the question we want to be looking at, rather than a difficult-to-substantiate claim that, all other things being equal, Marxists have a better grasp of history.

    (It could, of course, be observed that Dachs represents an absolute majority of history learnin' on the forum, making whatever theoretical orientation he adopts the best represented by default, but there's no need to complicate things. :mischief:)
     
  11. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    No, you're right. I like reading about history, but it just isn't one of my primary areas of study.
     
  12. Richard Cribb

    Richard Cribb He does monologues

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    So what it boils down to is that this forum is sorely lacking of Marxists. No surprise there.
    I am afraid I was absent when you and whoever else decided that. But perhaps this could have a connection with the "young enough" cathegory I mentioned above.:scan:
     
  13. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    Well, duh. It'd be silly to evince that all those superior in history are Marxists, by definition. That would ironically be anti-historical (as a discipline). Rather the title was the point, Marxists have a superior grasp on history. Than whom? Than non-Marxists. Measured how? In averages. What about controlling for education levels? I'd still argue so, in averages. What about with regards to those who *actually* study history? Well of course not.

    Well of course with your self contradicting fundamentalist theory it should, but I already addressed it briefly in the thread. Unless, of course, we are defining libertarian as denying reality, which I was not opting to do.
     
  14. kochman

    kochman Deity

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    According to? You still haven't shown this, you've only stated your opinion.
    It could easily be argued that they often have a poor understanding of history as well... with revisionism, etc coming into play.
     
  15. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

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    If you think revisionism is a criticism, your opinion on history doesn't really matter.
     
  16. Tarquelne

    Tarquelne Follower of Tytalus

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    Your fault for starting a thread involving Marxism without spending a few hundred words defining the terms of the debate.

    In the absence of such a discussion I took your question in the broadest, most general (or even "vauge") sense possible for "superior", "history", "grasp", "Marxist", and who they're being compared to. I wonder if a better question might have been "Why do Marxists so seldom seem to be total dunces about history?"


    I'd say, btw, you only need to first demonstrate Marxists have a superior grasp of history if you're interested in persuading people to your view or proving something. An unexamined premise isn't something anyone should like having around... but there's only so many hours in the day and it wasn't what you're curious about.
     
  17. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Oh, I get that you meant that, it's just that a lot of people were taking it a bit literally, so I figured it might be worth stating it more fully.

    Presumably he thinks that "revisionism" is interchangeable with "negationism". And that "Marxist" is interchangeable with "Brezhnevite". And that "it can easily be argued" is interchangeable with "I'm just going to go ahead and assume".

    ...So you might be on to something.
     
  18. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    See what you did there? You've just revisionised his point. Ergo, you're wrong.
     
  19. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    Which also proves he is a Marxist.

    Oooo, Kochman and Cribb gonna fiiiiight!
     
  20. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    Forgive me for being a bit platonic and letting the gold separate itself from the clay, but also forgive me for not being platonic and not perpetuating the lie.
    I almost like your question better, but it's less fun. You can say my fault for not defining the terms, but I feel this thread went pretty well so I'm not bothered.

    It was, glad you did.
     

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