June 14, 2024

Marxism-Leninism represents the culmination of centuries of intellectual development of humanity. The direct through-line and development of the system of thought of Marx, Engels and Lenin is built on centuries upon centuries of evolution in philosophy. This process has been driven along by successive developments in the relations of production and the productive forces themselves.

The profundity of the dialectical materialist world outlook lies in the understanding that the universe is fundamentally interconnected, part of a unified whole that exists in a perpetual state of motion and we as social beings are active agents in this ever moving totality.

The two aspects of dialectical materialism must be grasped. First, materialism asserts that reality is objective and knowable. What is true is true, regardless of the subjective interpretation of any given observer. This means in essence that the whole of reality is material – there is no supernatural or external force playing a role in the world. Further, ideas and consciousness are a part of the totality of the material reality. Mind is a product of matter. “Matter is not a product of mind, but mind itself is merely the highest product of matter.”[1]

Second, the dialectical understanding of reality is founded on the understanding that all of reality is one self-contained, interconnected whole in a permanent state of motion, of development. “Motion is the mode of existence of matter. Never anywhere has there been matter without motion, nor can there be.”[2] The dialectical understanding of the universe, substantiated by the findings of modern science, analyzes the motion and change of all phenomena in their interconnection to each other and in their development through time. The dialectical method understands that the universe is one great whole, but it is not static or unchanging. Instead the universe and all within is constantly developing, with qualitatively new phenomena emerging over time as the result of development. This development is not random no matter how complex or disconnected individual things within the universe may seem. Rather, the dialectical materialist maintains that all motion is governed by definite, discernable laws. Grasping these laws, identifying the nature and direction of development enables the profundity of dialectical materialism to become a truly revolutionary force in history, systematized as Marxism-Leninism.

Armed with this understanding of the dialectical and material nature of reality, we may begin to analyze human social life in its development through time: history. Considering things in their totality and in their development, we can see that history has consisted of a series of changes in the mode of production, driven along by a struggle between different social classes at each nodal point of transition concluding their struggle either in “common ruin” or in the triumph of one class over the other, followed by a revolutionary reconstitution of society. The dialectical materialist method allows us to see that each mode of production is the product of an amalgam of millions upon millions of decisions made by individual people within the material conditions they find themselves born into. As we can see, the individual consciousness of each person is a product of biological evolution, of social development, and further that the decisions and actions taken by individuals do not happen in a vacuum but situated within, shaped by, the totality of the world around them. Thus, a slave cannot simply will themselves to freedom, but must actively choose to fight for freedom against the slave owners. Herein lies the profound, revolutionary character of Marxism-Leninism — for not only is it a philosophy which most accurately describes reality, but also serves as an immediate spur to action. While we may consider things in their totality and motion, mind itself is a form of matter, our choices, our wills emerge from reality and play an active role in development: we are all, conscious or not, active agents of history.

Sources

  1. Frederick Engels, Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy
  2. Frederick Engels, Anti-Duhring