The memorization of theory: A revolutionary approach or a dogmatic approach




by Jan Makandal

May 18, 2015


2015-05-11-more-valuableIn one of Stephanie McMillan’s Affirmations (at left), she offers an alternative to memorizing existing theory: that instead we do our own homework and produce our own theory.


Is that specific affirmation correct? Can theory really be learned? Do we really need to memorize theory to understand concepts such as autonomy?


The first question is, where do ideas come from? Ideas, organized thought, are theories. A good point of reference is a text and a movie produced in the period of revolutionary China titled: “Where Do Correct Ideas Come From?” In fact, Stephanie’s affirmation is in unity with the line of thought in that text.


Theory is not reality, but an interpretation of that reality. That simply means that what we have inside the complexity of our brains is not reality. It is subjective thought process which can be a materialist interpretation of reality or a metaphysical (idealist) interpretation of the reality.


So far, humanity has produced two main fundamental fields of interpretations of reality: 1] a materialist interpretation 2] an idealist interpretation. The materialist interpretation is based on the attempt to interpret phenomena from their internal contradictions. The idealist interpretation is the attempt to interpret the external contradiction and confuse it with the internal.


What is Proletarian Theory?



by Proletarian Alternative

(September 1, 2014)


Proletarian theory [dialectical and historical materialism] is the most advanced theory of the working class. It is in constant development, never a done deal or set of formulas that could be fit onto objective reality. Even Marx and Engels went through a set of rectifications and deepening of proletarian theory, especially after the Paris Commune. They transitioned from being social democrats [non-proletarian revolutionaries] to being proletarian revolutionaries.


Thus we encounter some level of eclecticism in Marx; for example he spoke of profit both as an added sum, and as a societal form of organization in which the center pole is surplus value. Surplus value is the source and origin of all types of capital and of capital accumulation [except early mercantile capitalism to a certain extent].


At this time we identify Marxism as proletarian theory. Marxism-Leninism was a necessary political demarcation from other theories claiming to be the theory of the working class. We do believe this demarcation has reached a point of maturity. It is time for the working class to reclaim our theory.