There is no genuine liberatory struggle without dialectical materialism: or, one reason why Maoist philosophy is way more important than you might think

cw sex mention

A friend of mine posted this video with this comment, and below was my commented response to their question.


the prevailing philosophy in our society views the world simplistically, as built out of monoliths and trash. things either always work some certain way (specifically, they work in a way that is easy, pleasing, and beneficial to the ruling class and the nation+gender+sexuality that primarily composes the ruling class), or else they are broken and garbage. e.g., all women are sexual PEZ dispensers, or else they are broken, messed up by some uninteresting, vile pollution in the world–they are not “real” women, or else the person interacting with them may not be a “real” man.

this is in contrast to dialectical materialism, which states that all things are composed of a struggle (or some set of struggles) of intertwined and opposing forces, and that each of those forces is itself composed of a struggle (or some set of struggles) of intertwined and opposing forces, all the way down. not that the truth is unknowable–but that all things in the world are fractally complicated, eternally¬†changing, and must be examined in an all-around, thorough-going, holistic (that is, taking into account its relationship with all involved external factors) way if we are to grasp what is really going on with them.

in the short-term it benefits the privileged to view things in this monolithic, mechanical way–it cuts out a lot of extra mental effort for them; and what’s more, when they impose this worldview on others with less privilege using their ability to do violence, they create a terroristic regime where the oppressed–who at least on some level know the world to be more complicated because the way they are forced to live reveals undeniable truths that do not conform to the ruling-class story about reality–must somehow find a way to put on a face and an attitude where they pretend like they believe and see things in this same black-and-white, monolithic way.

living with this knowledge that things are complicated while simultaneously carrying out the terror-imposed play-acting as though things are as simple as the ruling class imagines creates a pervasive neurosis among the oppressed and exploited that (a) because the oppressed must focus on play-acting for so long, and with such intensity of focus, reduces their ability to easily determine the truth, thus forming an obstacle to arriving at and becoming certain of revolutionary truths; (b) debilitates them and makes it harder to struggle even when they do see clearly; (c) appears to the ruling class to be an endemic weakness, thereby continuously re-confirming their perception that everyone else is just a broken version of themselves, and thus that they alone are fit to rule.

it should be stated that (a) in particular is the soil of what Marxists call revisionism. those who have not broken with this mechanical way of thinking are unable to grasp all the various factors at work, and so in their attempts to re-shape society are bound to re-create capitalist mechanics in whatever spheres of society they have not started to understand in a thoroughly dialectical materialist way.