12 January 2011

Introduction to “Development, Rural and Urban”

Development, Part 0

Development Is Ours

Introduction to 10-part Course: “Development, Rural and Urban

Some Relevant Quotations

The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.
Marx/Engels, Communist Manifesto, 1848

Communism = Soviet Power + Electrification
V I Lenin, 1921

What we want is to combine in our process of inquiry the action of the forms of thought with a criticism of them. The forms of thought must be studied in their essential nature and complete development: they are at once the object of research and the action of that object. This is Dialectic, instead of being brought to bear upon the categories from without, it is immanent in their own action.
G W F Hegel, Shorter Logic (1830)

“When I use a word, Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master, that’s all.”
Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, 1871

“The free development of each is the condition for the free development of all”
Marx/Engels, Communist Manifesto, 1848


“Development”, like many other powerful words, including “Freedom” and “Democracy”, had a meaning in revolutionary philosophy long before it had a vulgar bourgeois economists’ meaning.

Part of the purpose of our studies is therefore always, and with deliberation, to reclaim the political language that our revolutionary predecessors pioneered and left us, and to take it back from the bourgeois demagogues who constantly try to steal it.

Development is the interior unfolding of a unitary phenomenon or system, propelled by the struggle of opposites within it. Development is the essence of dialectics. It is dialectics in motion. It is the essence of change. This revolutionary meaning of the word “development” is the only one that has a clear definition and an intentional purpose. It is the development of people.

The vulgar economists’ definition of the word “development” is a vague gesture in the direction of more infrastructure, lowering the cost of doing business, a higher GDP, and other such “indicators” or presumed generally-beneficial goods expediently selected to suit the occasion. In the US slang, it is “motherhood and apple pie”.

On the grander occasions, the brandished indicators may be an internationally-endorsed set of arbitrary “development goals”, which, though globally celebrated, nevertheless fail to rise above the ad hoc and the eclectic, because they continue to evade the dialectical meaning of “development”.

The obfuscation of the word “development” is deliberate. This is because in actual human society, development is class struggle, with winners and losers. There is no such thing as “win-win” class struggle. There is no such thing as a “tide that lifts all the boats”. Some of the boats are tied to the bottom.

Bourgeois economists, and Imperialism generally, although it has manifestly failed worldwide to employ people and to provide for them adequately, is obliged to pretend that there can be such a thing as generally-beneficial development that does not challenge the capitalist system. Hence they have stolen our word and hidden its meaning, in an attempt to deceive us. We must take it back.

Picture: Filonov’s representation of Lenin and the “GOELRO” plan for the electrification of the Soviet Union.

This course

This new ten-week course is called Development, Rural and Urban. We will try to look at development historically, philosophically, and topically.

Our course begins as we commence the Local Government Elections period, including questions of Local Economic Development (LED) and of democracy. The latter consideration must include the re-organisation of the SACP into Voting District (VD) branches.

The first text in this series will be posted on or before 16 January 2011.

Three courses running at any one time

Communist University has a corresponding blog at http://domza.blogspot.com/, where these posts can be read by any member of the public, and commented upon there.

Two sister forums are running simultaneous courses. You are welcome to partake, or recommend these courses to friends.

One is the SADTU Political Education Forum, with its blog at http://sadtu-pol-ed.blogspot.com/. The course running there during the first quarter of the year will be “No Woman, No Revolution”.

The other is “CU-Africa”, which has a blog at http://cuafrica.blogspot.com/. The course running there during this quarter will be “Basics”.

Please share these links with friends and comrades.


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