BUKHARIN PHILOSOPHICAL ARABESQUES PDF

Before [ edit ] Nikolai Bukharin was born on 27 September 9 October, new style , , in Moscow. With Grigori Sokolnikov , he convened the national youth conference in Moscow, which was later considered the founding of Komsomol. By age thirty, he was a member of the Moscow Committee of the party. The committee was heavily infiltrated by the Tsarist secret police, the Okhrana. As one of its leaders, Bukharin quickly became a person of interest to them.

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In the s, there was a fierce struggle between elements of the Communist Party who favored a slow and incremental transition to socialism based on market relations, particularly in farming, and those who favored a much more rapid pace emphasizing industrialization. The two key leaders associated with each side are Bukharin and Trotsky, respectively. Long before Bukharin had been arrested, the same kind of arbitrary and repressive measures had been meted out to Trotsky and his followers.

However, his five-year plans and agrarian collectivization schemas were carried out in such a haphazard and brutal fashion that the USSR economy would ultimately face a deep crisis. Bukharin was probably the best-known victim of these police state tactics after Trotsky, his erstwhile leftist opponent. As Helena Sheehan points out in her exemplary introduction to Philosophical Arabesques, his confession was marked by subordinate clauses that virtually contradicted the main assertions: "I plead guilty to Although Bukharin was prevented by his jailers from criticizing the Stalinist regime, he nonetheless made implicit criticisms by defending classical Marxism.

It is an attempt to defend Marxism as a philosophy against a wide range of opponents, from 19th century idealism to the kind of obscurantist mysticism that was being churned up by capitalism in its death throes. It is they who are increasingly turning their backs on the intellect, which refuses to serve their ends.

It is they who snatch up stone axes, the swastika, the horoscope. It is they who are starting to read haltingly from the book of history, sounding it out syllable by syllable. It is they who pray to stone goddesses and idols. Fine battles are now breaking out amid the grandiose festivities, and conflict envelops all areas.

In everyday language, idealism is a good thing. When you are an idealist, you live by your convictions and not by mercenary considerations of private gain. In philosophical and political terms, idealism has an entirely different meaning. Fundamentally, idealism posits a world of transcendent ideals or essences that exists independently of the material world.

The job of the philosopher is to penetrate into this higher reality, just as it is the job of the politician to shape society after its hallowed image. Throughout the book Bukharin pays tribute to Hegel who, despite being in the idealist tradition, understood that the Ideal was constantly changing as history moved forward. It was not static, but something that was subject to an unfolding dialectic.

Bukharin put it this way: The dialectical movement of ideas that is found in Hegel, and that reflects real movement in idealist form, contains elements that are highly valuable.

These are the ideas of universal relationship, of movement, of change, and the forms of this movement; here the division, or self-differentiation, of the whole, the revealing of opposites and their interpenetration, serve as the motivating principle. This is the great revolutionary side of Hegel that is restricted and smothered by the elements of idealism and by the idealist conception of the world.

All form is understood here in its movement, that is, in its rise, development, downfall, and extinction, in its contradictions and the resolution of contradictions, in the rise of new forms and the revealing of new contradictions, in the peculiarities and qualities of new forms, which again and again become subject to the process of change.

The great contribution made by Hegel lies in this fearlessness of thought that encompasses the objective dialectic of being, nature, and history. While a belief in Platonic ideals might in and of itself be harmless, the rancid offshoots of idealist thought defended by fascist intellectuals demanded a rebuttal. The collapse of the capitalist economy and the failure of socialist revolution in Europe provided a fertile ground for all sorts of reactionary mystification.

In the chapter titled "On So-Called Racial Thought," Bukharin takes aim at fascist ideology in the same manner that left-oriented scientists have taken on notions of a "bell curve" or any other racial supremacy doctrines. The only way to effectively challenge such theories is to be grounded in a materialist understanding of society that disposes with any essentialist notions of race or blood.

This is obviously the case of Jews being demonized the s. But it also wrong to essentialize the Germans themselves as an anti-Semitic race after the fashion of the "Goldhagen thesis. Bukharin writes: At one time, during the French Revolution, the Germans were regarded as barbarians. Then they were transformed into a nation of dreamers, inhabiting a country of poets and philosophers.

When railroads were first being built it was written of the Germans that they were not fit for commercial-industrial life, and that railroads would conflict with the calm patriarchal-melancholic constitution and character of the German people.

The Germans, it was remarked, were not Italians, with their banks, commerce, overseas operations, industry, and so forth. Later, the German national character became that of the most industry-oriented people in Europe. Now the fascists are fostering militarism, the barracks, bloodthirsty predatory bellicosity, and so on. The country of poets and thinkers has been transformed into a country of mercenaries and praetorians. Although it would be premature to describe the current government in Washington, DC as fascist, there are obvious affinities between Nazism and the Republican Right.

Just as a manufactured hatred and fear of Jewry and international Bolshevism allowed the Nazi state to run rampant over rights once regarded as sacrosanct to the German citizenry, so has Bush whittled away at freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, including the right to privacy. Instead of Jews and Communists, the national security state tries to enforce political discipline through a fear of Islamic radicals and terrorism.

As part of the political and ideological superstructure of the Republican Right, hostility toward science and Darwinian science in particular has become a fixture.

It should not come as a big surprise that Bukharin had to confront the same sort of challenge. In a chapter simply titled "Evolution," he defends the idea of social and biological evolution against any attempts to superimpose teleological or theological schemas on living history. If Bukharin were alive today, one could imagine him picking up his pen or sitting down at his keyboard to mock the whole idea of "intelligent design.

The real historical process, whether in nature or in society, presupposes both gradualness and leaps, and Saint-Simon already divided epochs into "organic" and "critical. Is it true that the universe does not know the collision of planets and stars with one another? Has human society not witnessed the downfall of whole civilizations? Has it not known wars and revolutions?

Does it, despite the gradualness of evolution, really exclude leaps? Let us take the appearance of the adaptive feature, the concrete peculiarity, which selection "seizes upon. But how does it occur, the appearance of such a feature? As a mutation, that is, a leap. Furthermore, the process of selection includes struggle. When, for example, a war between ants takes place, and one ant colony destroys another, is this not a leap?

And so on to infinity. Bukharin along with Leon Trotsky was one of the great prose stylists of 20th century Marxism. Even if you find it difficult to accept a rigorous defense of the much maligned dialectical materialist method, which has been linked to official Soviet doctrine, Bukharin will captivate the reader through his biting irony and his passion.

Unlike Trotsky, Bukharin never had a movement created after his example. This is unfortunate, since his highly flexible and deeply humanitarian approach would seem to resonate with recent directions taken by the Cuban government. In trying to assess his long-term contribution, the publication of books such as Philosophical Arabesques will play an invaluable role. Simply enter your Zip code and click on "Go" to find all local independent bookstores near you in the U.

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Nikolai Bukharin

In the s, there was a fierce struggle between elements of the Communist Party who favored a slow and incremental transition to socialism based on market relations, particularly in farming, and those who favored a much more rapid pace emphasizing industrialization. The two key leaders associated with each side are Bukharin and Trotsky, respectively. Long before Bukharin had been arrested, the same kind of arbitrary and repressive measures had been meted out to Trotsky and his followers. However, his five-year plans and agrarian collectivization schemas were carried out in such a haphazard and brutal fashion that the USSR economy would ultimately face a deep crisis. Bukharin was probably the best-known victim of these police state tactics after Trotsky, his erstwhile leftist opponent. As Helena Sheehan points out in her exemplary introduction to Philosophical Arabesques, his confession was marked by subordinate clauses that virtually contradicted the main assertions: "I plead guilty to Although Bukharin was prevented by his jailers from criticizing the Stalinist regime, he nonetheless made implicit criticisms by defending classical Marxism.

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Philosophical Arabesques

In the s, there was a fierce struggle between elements of the Communist Party who favoured a slow and incremental transition to socialism based on market relations, particularly in farming, and those who favoured a much more rapid pace with an emphasis upon industrialisation. The two key leaders associated with each side are Bukharin and Trotsky, respectively. Long before Bukharin had been arrested, the same kind of arbitrary and repressive measures had been meted out to Trotsky and his followers. However, his Five Year Plans and agrarian collectivisation schemas were carried out in such a haphazard and brutal fashion that the Soviet economy would ultimately face a deep crisis. Bukharin was probably the best-known victim of these police state tactics after Trotsky, his erstwhile leftist opponent. Although Bukharin was prevented by his jailers from criticising the Stalinist regime, he nonetheless made implicit criticisms by defending classical Marxism. It is an attempt to defend Marxism as a philosophy against a wide range of opponents, from nineteenth-century idealism to the kind of obscurantist mysticism that was being churned up by capitalism in its death throes.

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