See: HYDROGEN BOMB
HAI RUI DISMISSED FROM OFFICE [Old style: HAI JUI DISMISSED FROM OFFICE]
This is a stage play which was revised and reissued in 1961 by its author Wu Han, a Vice-Mayor of Beijing, for the political purposes of opposing Mao Zedong and his revolutionary line in China, of attempting to secure the rehabilitation of deposed Defense Minister Peng Teh-huai, and to encourage all those on the right in China who sought to criticize and discredit Mao and the Left.
Wu Han was a (non-Marxist) historian, and the play is nominally about a Ming Dynasty official, Hai Rui, who was unjustly dismissed from office by an arrogant emperor. In actuality the revised play was an allegory about the dismissal by Mao and the CCP of Peng Teh-huai as Defense Minister. The rightists and revisionists in the Party objected to that dismissal, and sought to force Mao to return Peng to power. (Peng sought to emulate the professional military policies in the Soviet Union, and opposed the emphasis that Mao and the Left wanted to continue putting on political education in the People’s Liberation Army.)
However, a few years later, in November 1965, Yao Wenyuan wrote an important article entitled “On the New Historical Drama Hai Jui Dismissed From Office” which exposed the real right-wing political aims of that play. It was published in Shanghai, but suppressed in Beijing. This led to considerable political commotion throughout the country, which became one of the first battles of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. And it soon led to the fall of both Wu Han and the Mayor of Beijing, Peng Zhen [Peng Chen].
HAIRCUT [Capitalist Finance]
1. Bourgeois slang term for the amount of reduction in the value of an asset (usually in percentage terms), from its current market value, when it is being used as collateral for a loan (which in turn is usually taken out for the purposes of financial speculation). For example, if $1000 worth of U.S. Treasury Bills are being used as collateral there might be a 10% “haircut”, meaning that this collateral would only serve for a loan of $900. With $1000 worth of some riskier asset (such as stock options), the haircut might be much larger, say 30%, and suffice only to receive a loan of $700. However the lender has a lien on the entire asset (with a value of $1000 in these cases) in the event of a default on the loan. (Example taken from the Wikipedia.)
The size of the “haircut” is thus an important factor in the degree of leverage the speculator can arrange, and an increase in haircut percentages in times of financial instability can lead to greater degrees of peril for speculators in Repos and similar gambles.
2. More generally, any reduction in the value of an asset, or set of assets, forced by an outside agency (such as the government). For example: U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is faulted by critics “for not imposing haircuts on AIG’s counterparties (mostly big banks) as part of the insurance company’s bail-out....” [Economist, Jan. 19, 2013, p. 32.]
HAMAGUCHI ASSASSINATION INCIDENT
The attempted assassination of Japanese Prime Minister Osachi Hamaguchi by fascist militarists on November 14, 1930.
“The economic crisis of world capitalism in 1929 gave Japan’s economy
some rude shocks. Industrial and agricultural production was seriously curtailed. Class
contradictions in the country grew acute. The workers’ movement and peasants’ movement
were surging forward. In these circumstances, the contradictions within the Japanese
ruling circles were sharpening all the time. Right-wing fascist organizations which were
unbridled in their activities stepped up their collusion with officialdom and the
“Installed in June 1929, the Hamaguchi cabinet took over intact the reactionary policies at home and abroad of its predecessor the Tanaka cabinet. In the spring of 1930, the Hamaguchi cabinet signed the ‘London Naval Treaty,’ after having arrived at a compromise with the United States and Britain on the llimitation of the strength of auxiliary vessels. The military authorities and reactionary Right-wing organizations considered the time most opportune for advocating militarism. They took advantage of the signing of the treaty to charge the government with weakness and incompetence and called for transformation of the domestic ‘system’ to consolidate the reactionary military dictatorship.
“On November 14 that year, members of the Right-wing organization ‘Patriotic Society’ (Aikokusha) made an attempt on the life of Prime Minister Osachi Hamaguchi at Tokyo Station, seriously wounding him. At the end of the year, officers of the General Staff and Ministry of War organized the ‘Cherry Club’ (Sakurakai). The following March, they plotted a coup d’etat to set up a ‘transformation regime’ to be headed by War Minister Kazushige Ugaki. Internal strife killed the plan. Reijiro Wakatsuki, boss of the ‘Constitutional Democratic Party’ (Minseito), assumed the premiership in April and the pace of preparations for unleashing a war of aggression was quickened. Meanwhile, he did his utmost to creat public opinion for aggression against China, and there was a great deal of ballyhoo at the time of ‘Manchuria and Mongolia being the Japanese lifeline.’ In 1931, the ‘September 18 Incident’ took place, and Japan invaded and occupied northeast China.” —“For Your Reference” note, Peking Review, #50, Dec. 11, 1970, pp. 13-14.
HAMPTON, Fred (1948-1969)
An important young African-American revolutionary and leading member of the Black Panther Party who was assassinated at the age of 21 by Chicago police and the FBI in a notorious joint attack on December 4, 1969. Hampton was an inspiring and effective revolutionary leader, and the U.S. government was desperate to put an end to his speaking and organizing work. Hampton had been drugged by an undercover FBI agent and was sound asleep when the attack on his apartment occurred:
“At 4:00 a.m., the heavily armed police team arrived at the site, dividing
into two teams, eight for the front of the building and six for the rear. At 4:45, they
stormed in the apartment.
“[Another Panther member] Mark Clark, sitting in the front room of the apartment with a shotgun in his lap, was on security duty. He was killed instantly, firing off a single round which was later determined to be a reflexive reaction in his death convulsions after being shot by the raiding team; this was the only shot the Panthers fired.
“Automatic gunfire then converged at the head of the bedroom where Hampton slept, unable to wake up as a result of the barbiturates that the FBI infiltrator had slipped into his drink. He was lying on a mattress in the bedroom with his pregnant girlfriend. Two officers found him wounded in the shoulder, and fellow Black Panther Harold Bell reported that he heard the following exchange:
“‘That’s Fred Hampton.’
“‘Is he dead?... Bring him out.’
“‘He’s barely alive.’
“‘He’ll make it.’
“Two shots were heard, which it was later discovered were fired point blank in Hampton’s head. According to Deborah Johnson, one officer then said:
“‘He’s good and dead now.’
“Hampton’s body was dragged into the doorway of the bedroom and left in a pool of blood. The officers then directed their gunfire towards the remaining Panthers, who were hiding in another bedroom. They were wounded, then beaten and dragged into the street, where they were arrested on charges of aggravated assault and the attempted murder of the officers. They were each held on US $100,000 bail.”
—Wikipedia article on Fred Hampton, (accessed on Jan. 28, 2013). Further information about Fred Hampton and his murder is available there. For even more extensive information about Fred Hampton’s life and his cowardly assassination by the government, see the book The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther (2010), by Jeffrey Haas.
“We expected about twenty Panthers to be in the apartment when the police raided the place. Only two of those black niggers were killed, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark.” —FBI Special Agent Gregg York, FBI Secrets: An Agent’s Expose, by M. Wesley Swearingen, (Boston: South End Press, 1995)
“You can kill the revolutionary, but you can’t kill the revolution.” —Fred Hampton
HAN CHAUVINISM [In China]
Beside the numerically overwhelmingly dominant Han nationality in China, there are more than 50 minority nationalities, who (in 1977) made up 6% of the total population, but who inhabited regions making up 50% to 60% of the total area of China. The Han nationality had a long history of chauvinism toward these other nationalities. The Guomindang [Kuomintang] denied that many minority nationalities existed in China, and labelled all those except the Han nationality as “tribes” who they attempted to forcibly assimilate into the Han culture, and at the same time oppressed and exploited them. This Han chauvinism was qualitatively lessened after the success of the 1949 Revolution, though by no means completely eliminated. Since the return to capitalism after Mao’s death, Han chauvinism has again been on the rise, in parallel with (and in large part leading to) rising minority nationalism especially in Tibet, Xinjiang Uygur Zizhiqu [Sinkiang], and other western provinces of China.
“Eighth, we must go on opposing Han chauvinism. It is one kind of bourgeois ideology. The Han people are so numerous, they are liable to look down on the minority nationalities and not to help them wholeheartedly, so we must relentlessly fight Han chauvinism. Naturally, narrow nationalism may arise among the minority nationalities, that also is to be opposed. But of the two the chief one, the one to be opposed first, is Han chauvinism. So long as the comrades of Han nationality take the correct attitude and treat the minority nationalities with real fairness, so long as the nationality policy they follow and the stand they take on the question of nationality relations are entirely Marxist and do not reflect bourgeois viewpoints, that is to say, so long as they are free of Han chauvinism, it is comparatively easy to overcome narrow nationalist views among the minority nationalities. At present there is still a good deal of Han chauvinism, for example, monopolizing the affairs of the minority nationalities, showing no respect for their customs and folk-ways, being self-rightous, looking down on them and saying how backward they are. At the National Conference of our Party last March, I said that China could not do without its minority nationalities. There are scores of nationalities in China. The regions inhabited by the minority nationalities are more extensive in area than those inhabited by the Han nationality and abound in material wealth of all kinds. Our national economy cannot do without the economy of the minority nationalities.” —Mao, “The Debate on the Co-Operative Transformation of Agriculture and the Current Class Struggle” (Oct. 11, 1955), SW 5:229-230.
HANSEN, ALVIN (1887-1975)
An American bourgeois economist and follower of John Maynard Keynes, who not only popularized Keynes’s ideas in the United States, but also extended them to some degree. He taught at Harvard University and had many graduate students who themselves became well known Keynesian or semi-Keynesian (“Bastard Keynesian”) economists, including Paul Samuelson and James Tobin.
See also: STAGNATION THESIS
See also: WORK (Revolutionary)
“Hard work is like a load placed before us, challenging us to shoulder it. Some loads are light, some heavy. Some people prefer the light to the heavy; they pick the light and leave the heavy to others. That is not a good attitude. Some comrades are different; they leave ease and comfort to others and carry the heavy loads themselves; they are the first to bear hardships, the last to enjoy comforts. They are good comrades. We should all learn from their communist spirit.” —Mao, “On the Chungking Negotiations” (Oct. 17, 1943), SW 4:58.
A term used in India: literally, “army of thugs”.
See also: HERMAD
A term used in India and south Asia, often even in English articles, for a labor strike.
See also: BANDH
HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS
See: UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE
HEDGE FUND [Capitalist Finance]
A private and aggressively speculative investment fund usually managed by Wall Street insiders for the benefit of themselves and other very rich investors. The first hedge funds were designed to try to preserve capital during economic and financial downturns, which is why they have that name. (“Hedging” against market downturns.) But the nature of most hedge funds today is that of highly speculative operations hoping to make profits far above those achievable through ordinary investments in stocks and bonds. They often speculate in foreign currencies and their exchange rates, the prices of bulk commodities, and in higher profit (but riskier) foreign investments. This leads them to shift large amounts of “hot money” rapidly from one investment to another, and from country to country. They frequently use sophisticated forms of arbitrage, sometimes based on complicated mathematical models. In addition they often rely on better financial information, on insider knowledge (though that is supposedly illegal), high-speed computers to make rapid market trades, and other methods which—in effect—allow them to cheat other investors.
In most countries hedge funds are only very loosely regulated, if at all. They have grown rapidly in recent decades and are a major indication of the financialization of the U.S. and world capitalist economies. They are an additional destabilizing factor in contemporary capitalism. As of around 2010, U.S. hedge funds have assets under management estimated to be more than $1.9 trillion dollars.
See also: LONG-TERM CAPITAL MANAGEMENT
HEDONISM [In Ethics]
The view that ‘good’ means pleasure (or relief from suffering), or that everything is (or should be) done for pleasure (or to relieve suffering).
Hedonism: Maximizing Pleasure and Minimizing Pain. Another
very common ethical theory is that pleasure is the greatest good, and pain the greatest
evil. Therefore, morality consists in striving to maximize the amount of pleasure for
everyone, and striving to minimize the amount of pain. Like most ethical theories, this
sounds fairly plausible at first, but cannot withstand even a cursory critical
For one thing, human beings have many other needs and interests besides pleasure and avoiding pain, and far more than just those two things goes into making the good life.
Suppose some society could be constructed where everyone (or at least most people) were both very happy and as free of all pain as could reasonably be arranged. But suppose this society was also an authoritarian dictatorship, where people had no political freedom, no control over their own lives, were severely exploited, and so forth. Perhaps this might be some sort of fascist society where the people were nevertheless psychologically “happy” because of both extreme indoctrination and the liberal availability of hallucinatory drugs. Obviously this would be a nightmare society, and not at all a moral society. Even a somewhat milder version of this sort of thing, such as is pictured in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932), is a horrible nightmare.
The roots of this ethical theory, too, go way back. Epicurus (341-270 BCE) held that the practical goal of philosophy was to secure happiness (or at least to avoid all discomfort), and that pleasure was the sum total of happiness. The modern theory of “promote pleasure, minimize pain”, however, derives primarily from the utilitarians (most of whom would be better called “hedonists”, if that did not have such negative connotations). Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), in particular, is responsible for giving utilitarianism its hedonistic twist. Utilitarianism, as its name suggests, was originally concerned more with “utility” or “usefulness”, but critics raised the question of “useful for what?”, and that led Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and other utilitarians into this very one-sided hedonist perversion of what was originally a much more sensible ethical theory. [...]
Experiments have been done on lab rats that clearly demonstrate that there is a whole lot more to “the good life” than merely experiencing even the most intense feelings of pleasure. In the brains of all higher animals (and perhaps many of the lower ones as well), there is a region known as “the pleasure center”. Tiny wires have been inserted into this region of a rat’s brain, and things set up so that when the rat pushes a lever, its pleasure center is stimulated. The pleasure is so intense that the rat keeps pushing the lever over and over again, until it is physically totally exhausted and unable to continue. It may not even eat, drink, or do anything else. And eventually it dies. Human drug addicts are sometimes perhaps in a similar situation, although they generally still have the sense to at least pull away for some food, water, and sleep once in a while. Nevertheless, it should be obvious from examples like this that the simple-minded theory that “happiness and the avoidance of pain” are all that matters cannot reasonably be considered to be the sole basis of either the good life or of any sort of morality. —S.H., An Introduction to the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Class Interest Theory of Ethics, Chapter 1, section 1.2C, from the draft of 6/14/07 as posted at: http://www.massline.org/Philosophy/ScottH/MLM-Ethics-Ch1-2.pdf
HEGEL, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (1770-1831)
German idealist philosopher who conceived of the world as a single organism developing through stages via its own internal dialectical logic, and gradually coming to embody reason.
Hegel’s most important and positive contribution to philosophy was his development of dialectics, which was adopted by Marx and then reconstructed in a rational, materialist form.
In ethics, Hegel emphasized the collective nature of morality and argued that it could not be understood except in terms of the social relations within the family, among individuals, and within the state.
See also: Philosophical doggerel about Hegel.
“Hegel’s logic cannot be applied in its given form, it cannot be taken as given. One must separate out from it the logical (epistemological) nuances, after purifying them from the mysticism of ideas: that is still a big job.” —Lenin, “Conspectus of Hegel’s Book Lectures on the History of Philosophy” (1915), LCW 38:266.
“Although Hegel himself was an admirer of the autocratic Prussian state, in whose service he was as a professor at Berlin University, Hegel’s teachings were revolutionary. Hegel’s faith in human reason and its rights, and the fundamental thesis of Hegelian philosophy that the universe is undergoing a constant process of change and development, led some of the disciples of the Berlin philosopher—those who refused to accept the existing situation—to the idea that the struggle against this situation, the struggle against existing wrong and prevalent evil, is also rooted in the universal law of eternal development. If all things develop, if institutions of one kind give place to others, why should the autocracy of the Prussian king or of the Russian tsar, the enrichment of an insignificant minority at the expense of the vast majority, or the domination of the bourgeoisie over the people, continue for ever? Hegel’s philosophy spoke of the development of the mind and of ideas; it was idealistic. From the development of the mind it deduced the development of nature, of man, and of human, social relations. While retaining Hegel’s idea of the eternal process of development, Marx and Engels rejected the preconceived idealist view; turning to life, they saw that it is not the development of mind that explains the development of nature but that, on the contrary, the explanation of mind must be derived from nature, from matter.” —Lenin, “Frederick Engels” (1896), LCW 2:21.
HEGELIAN DIALECTICS VS. MATERIALIST DIALECTICS
“By the way, half intentionally and half from lack of insight, he [Dühring] practices deception [in his review of volume I of Marx’s Capital]. He knows very well that my method of presentation is not Hegelian, since I am a materialist and Hegel is an idealist. Hegel’s dialectics is the basic form of all dialectics, but only after it has been stripped of its mystical form, and it is precisely this which distinguishes my method.” —Marx, Letter to Ludwig Kugelmann, March 6, 1968, in Marx-Engels Selected Correspondence (Moscow: 1975), p. 187; in a slightly different translation in MECW 42:544.
“My dialectic method is not only different from the Hegelian, but
is its direct opposite. To Hegel, the life-process of the human brain, i.e.,
the process of thinking, which, under the name of ‘the Idea,’ he even transforms
into an independent subject, is the demiurgos of the
real world, and the real world is only the external, phenomenal form of ‘the Idea.’
With me, on the contrary, the ideal is nothing else than the material world reflected
by the human mind, and translated into forms of thought.
“The mystifying side of Hegelian dialectic I criticized nearly thirty years ago, at a time when it was still the fashion. But just as I was working at the first volume of ‘Das Kapital,’ it was the good pleasure of the peevish, arrogant, mediocre, epigones [inferior imitators] who now talk large in cultured Germany, to treat Hegel ... as a ‘dead dog.’ I therefore openly avowed myself the pupil of that mighty thinker, and even here and there, in the chapter on the theory of value, coquetted with the modes of expression peculiar to him. The mystification which dialectic suffers in Hegel’s hands, by no means prevents him from being the first to present its general form of working in a comprehensive and conscious manner. With him it is standing on its head. It must be turned right side up again, if you would discover the rational kernel within the mystical shell.
“In its mystified form, dialectic became the fashion in Germany, because it seemed to transfigure and to glorify the existing state of things. In its rational form it is a scandal and abomination to bourgeoisdom and its doctrinaire professors, because it includes in its comprehension and affirmation recognition of the existing state of things, at the same time also, the recognition of the negation of that state, of its inevitable breaking up; because it regards every historically developed social form as in fluid movement, and therefore takes into account its transient nature not less than its momentary existence; because it lets nothing impose upon it, and is in its essence critical and revolutionary.
“The contradictions inherent in the movement of capitalist society impress themselves upon the practical bourgeois most strikingly in the changes of the periodic cycle, through which modern industry runs, and whose crowning point is the universal crisis. That crisis is once again approaching, although as yet but in its preliminary stage; and by the universality of its theatre and the intensity of its action it will drum dialectics even into the heads of the mushroom-upstarts of the new, holy Prusso-German empire.” —Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Afterward to the Second German Edition (Jan. 24, 1873), (International ed., pp. 19-20; Penguin ed., p. 102-3).
A conception of dialectics in which an initial state or situation (the “thesis”) is transformed via its opposite (the “antithesis”) into a new state (the “synthesis”). Although this is sometimes a helpful way of looking at particular cases of dialectical development, it is also rather simplistic or misleading in other cases.
It is often stated that Hegel himself did not use this terminology, but at the very least the idea is frequently implicit in his writings. Similarly some Marxists have looked down on this terminology, though the creators of revolutionary Marxism have sometimes used these terms themselves.
See also: NEGATION (In Dialectics) (and especially the quote from Mao there), NEGATION OF THE NEGATION, SUBLATION
“Triad (Greek, trias)—in philosophy it is the formula of three-stage development. The idea of three-stage development was first formulated by the Greek Neo-Platonic philosophers, particularly by Proclus, and was expressed in the works of the German idealist philosophers Ficte and Schelling. The triad was, however, developed most fully in the idealist philosophy of Hegel, who considered that every process of development traverses three stages—thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. The second stage is the negation of the first, which transformed into its opposite by transition to the second stage. The third stage is the negation of the second, i.e., the negation of the negation, which means a return to the form existing at the outset that is now enriched by a new content and is on a higher level.” —Note 47, LCW 1. [The note goes on to state that (in some cases at least) this triad notion is a scheme into which reality has been forced quite artificially.]
“And so [according to the Narodnik Mikhailovsky], the materialists
rest their case on the ‘incontrovertibility’ of the dialectical process! In other words,
they base their sociological theories on Hegelian triads. Here we have the stock method
of accusing Marxism of Hegelian dialectics, an accusation that might be thought to
have been worn threadbare enough by Marx’s bourgeois critics. Unable to advance any
fundamental argument against the doctrine, these gentlemen fastened on Marx’s manner
of expression and attacked the origin of the theory, thinking thereby to undermine its
essence. And Mr. Mikhailovsky makes no bones about resorting to such methods. He uses
a chapter from Engels’s Anti-Dühring as a pretext. Replying to Dühring,
who had attacked Marx’s dialectics, Engels says that Marx never dreamed of ‘proving’
anything by means of Hegelian triads, that Marx only studied and investigated the real
process, and that the sole criterion of theory recognized by him was its conformity to
reality. If, however, it sometimes happened that the development of some particular
social phenomenon fitted in with the Hegelian scheme, namely, thesis—negation—negation
of the negation, there is nothing surprising about that, for it is no rare thing in
nature at all. And Engels proceeds to cite examples from natural history (the
development of a seed) and the social sphere—as, for instance, that first there was
primitive communism, then private property, and then the capitalist socialization of
labor; or that first there was primitive materialism, then idealism, and then scientific
materialism, and so forth. It is clear to everybody that the main weight of Engels’s
argument is that materialists must correctly and accurately depict the actual historical
process, and that insistence on dialectics, the selection of examples to demonstrate
the correctness of the triad, is nothing but a relic of the Hegelianism out of which
scientific socialism has grown, a relic of the manner of expression. And, indeed, once
it has been categorically declared that to ‘prove’ anything by triads is absurd, and
that nobody even thought of doing so, what significance can attach to examples of
‘dialectical’ processes? Is it not obvious that this merely points to the origin of the
doctrine and nothing more?” —Lenin, “What the ‘Friends of the People’ Are” (1894), LCW
[It should be noted that years later Lenin made a deeper investigation of Hegel’s dialectics, and at that time developed a further appreciation for the concepts of dialectical contradiction and negation, though of course he never adopted the simplistic notion that all phenomena must necessarily conform to the Hegelian triad scheme. —S.H.]
HEGEMONY [Pronounced: huh-JEM-mah-nee]
Domination, or predominent influence over others, or over other countries. When Alexander the Great became Hegemon over the Greek world, that meant he was the big boss. In the modern capitalist-imperialist world, hegemony is a word often used to describe the domination by imperialist countries like the U.S. over “Third World” countries.
Hegemony is also a matter of concern in the ideological sphere, where preparing the ground for revolution means in considerable part undermining the current bourgeois ideological hegemony in the working class. (Antonio Gramsci is one person who talks a lot about this, though often in rather obscure ways.)
See also: NEO-COLONIALISM
HEIDEGGER, Martin (1889-1976)
German existentialist philosopher who was influenced by (and sympathetic to) Naziism. Many of the roots of his worldview go back to German Romanticism and to a focus on people’s conception of their place in the world. His book Sein und Zeit (1927) [Being and Time] attempts to discuss the very abstract concept of “Being” (or existence—but note the mystical capital “B”!) in the usual absurdly obscure and incoherent metaphysical way. According to Heidegger, modern humanity has lost the “nearness and shelter” of Being (whatever that means exactly!) and we are no longer at home in the world as primitive human beings were. This actually seems to be a reflection of bourgeois angst in the midst of their own decaying social world order.
Heidegger’s notorious 1933 speech, “The Role of the University in the New Reich”, called upon Germany to move itself upward into the primordial realm of the powers of Being (whatever that means!) under the leadership of the Nazi party. His seminars of 1933-35 likewise bring out the major Nazi influence on Heidegger. [See: Emmanuel Faye, Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy in Light of the Unpublished Seminars of 1933-35, Yale, 2009.] Many adherents of Continental Philosophy, including some on the self-proclaimed “Left”, have tried to excuse Heidegger as having had only a minor flirtation with Naziism, but the evidence shows it was much more than that. (He was a member of the Nazi party from 1933 until 1945.) It is hard to understand what anyone can see of value in Heidegger, let alone what those into contemporary academic “Marxism” imagine that they see there!
HEISENBERG UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE
A principle within quantum mechanics that states that certain complementary pairs of physical properties of particles—such as position and momentum—cannot both be precisely known at the same time. In other words, the more accurately one of the two complementary properties is known, the less accurately the other can be known at that time. According to Werner Heisenberg, the idealist German physicist who first formulated this principle, this is due to the supposed fact that that below very tiny thresholds the combination of these pairs of complementary properties actually have no well-defined values at all! A much more sensible (and more materialist) interpretation of this principle is just that it is not a statement about reality itself being “undefined” below tiny thresholds, but rather a statement about the limitation of the theory and equations of quantum mechanics itself to determine what that reality is below those tiny thresholds.
In much popular usage the term “uncertainty principle” is misused or abused, or at least is quite misleading. One example of this is the common confusion between the uncertainty principle and the related, but somewhat different, “observer effect”—that an act of observation or measurement itself has an effect on the properties of the thing being observed, or in other words changes it. Of course this is certainly not always the case in the macroworld, and recent research indicates that it may not always be the case in the microworld either.
A coiled shape, such as that of a telephone cord; i.e., a spiral in three dimensions.
See NEGATION OF THE NEGATION for a pictorial illustration and further discussion in relation to DIALECTICS
“Human knowledge is not (or does not follow) a straight line, but a curve, which endlessly approximates a series of circles, a spiral. Any fragment, segment, section of this curve can be transformed (transformed one-sidedly) into an independent, complete, straight line, which then (if one does not see the wood for the trees) leads into the quagmire, into clerical obscurantism (where it is anchored by the class interests of the ruling classes).” —Lenin, “On the Question of Dialectics” (1915), LCW 38:363. [A fuller version of this quotation is included in the entry for HUMAN KNOWLEDGE .]
HELVÉTIUS, Claude Adrien (1715-1771)
French materialist philosopher of the Enlightenment. Marx points out that Helvétius based his views on Locke, and summarized his philosophy as follows: “The sensory qualities and self-love, enjoyment and correctly understood personal interest are the basis of all morality. The natural equality of human intelligences, the unity of progress of reason and progress of industry, the natural goodness of man, and the omnipotence of education, are the main features of his system.” [MECW 4:130]
HERACLITUS OF EPHESUS (c. 535-c. 475 BCE)
Early Greek philosopher who emphasized many important dialectical themes such as the constancy of change. While Heraclitus himself seems to have understood the underlying unity of the world despite its pervasive and inherent dialectical contradictions, his later follower Cratylus put forward many idealistic views such as that there is no single ultimate reality.
“It is not possible to step into the same river twice.” —Heraclitus, quoted by Plato in his dialog, Cratylus.
“Conflict is the mother of all happenings.” —Heraclitus, illustrating his deep appreciation of dialectics.
“Nature loves to hide.” —Heraclitus. [The profound idea here seems to be that the true and correct understanding of the world can only come over time though very extensive and careful investigations. —S.H.]
See: THINK TANK
HERMAD or HARMAD
A term used in India for an armed goon or thug, often of lumpenproletarian origin. The revisionist and social-fascist so-called Communist Party of India (Marxist) [or CPM] has organized hermad gangs in the state of West Bengal to attack the masses and mass movements (such as those of the Adivasis in the Lalgarh area), and to serve as an auxiliary force to the police in working to suppress the rebellions of the people against their exploitive and oppressive rule on behalf of the capitalists and landlords.
HERZEN, Alexander [Aleksandr Ivanovich] (1812-1870)
Prominent Russian revolutionary democrat, materialist philosopher and author. He is sometimes called the “father of Russian socialism”, but was more clearly one of the fathers of Russian radical populism (the Narodniks and later the Socialist-Revolutionaries). He is credited with creating the political climate that led to the emancipation of the Russian serfs in 1861.
“HIC RHODUS, HIC SALTUS!”
[Latin: “Here is Rhodes, here is where you jump!”] An epigram which is the traditional Latin translation of the punchline from Aesop’s fable The Boastful Athlete . It is quoted by Hegel and then by Marx, and references the story of a man who boasted that when he was in Rhodes he performed a tremendous athletic leap that was witnessed there. The epigram calls his bluff: “OK, let’s say this is Rhodes; let’s see you jump here and now!” The idea is that we don’t want to just hear you tell of all the wonders you can do, we want to see them for ourselves!
Hegel also gave a version of the same idea in German which translates roughly as: “Here is the rose, here is where the dance should be.” Marx quotes the epigram in The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte and also in the last sentence of Chapter 5 in Capital.
For a longer and more thorough explanation see: http://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/h/i.htm
HIDDEN-VARIABLES INTERPRETATION (of Quantum Mechanics)
The view that while quantum mechanics correctly describes the probabilities affecting the behavior of particles in the micro-world based on the average behavior of individual particles, that there are nevertheless specific cause-and-effect processes at work which determine the behavior of each individual particle. Since these specific and deterministic causes are not yet known to us, they are called “hidden-variables”. This interpretation of quantum mechanics is, therefore, a materialist one (as opposed to the notorious Copenhagen Interpretation and the Many-Worlds Theory).
Albert Einstein promoted the Hidden-Variables theory: “I am quite convinced that someone will eventually come up with a theory whose objects, connected by laws, are not probabilities but considered facts.” [Quoted in Timothy Ferris, Coming of Age in the Milky Way (1988).]
A common euphemism in contemporary bourgeois financial circles for junk bonds, thus making these highly risky investments more attractive to suckers (“investors”).
HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING — U.S.
The long developing economic crisis of capitalism took a major turn for the worse beginning in 2008. This has affected more and more aspects of society. In the chart at the right, from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, we see just one of the ways in which American education has been slashed because of the crisis, and the resolve of the ruling class to take out the crisis on the backs of the people rather than trim their record corporate profits. Only two states have been able to increase their higher education funding per student during this period, the two small states that have a (temporary) oil-shale boom.
“In the past five years, state cuts to higher education funding have
been severe and almost universal. After adjusting for inflation:
• States are spending $2,353 or 28 percent less per student on higher education, nationwide, in the current 2013 fiscal year than they did in 2008, when the recession hit.
• Every state except for North Dakota and Wyoming is spending less per student on higher education than they did prior to the recession.
• In many states the cuts over the last five years have been remarkably deep. Eleven states have cut funding by more than one-third per student, and two states — Arizona and New Hampshire — have cut their higher education spending per student in half.”
—“Recent Deep State Higher Education Cuts May Harm Students and the Economy for Years to Come”, by Phil Oliff, et al., of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 19, 2013. [The report goes on to point out that these cuts have led to huge increases in tuition costs, layoffs of large numbers of college teachers, reductions in courses offered, and other long-lasting harm to higher education in the U.S.]
HILFERDING, Rudolf (1877-1941)
A prominent Austrian-German semi-Marxist economist and social-democratic (revisionist) theoretician and politician, known especially for his 1910 book, Finance Capital, which Lenin made extensive use of in preparing his important work Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. For a discussion of Hilferding’s book, see the separate entry for Finance Capital.
Though trained as a medical doctor, Hilferding shifted more and more into writing for the Social-Democratic publications of Austria and Germany, especially on economic subjects. Karl Kautsky was his mentor, and Hilferding became one of the top leaders of the Social-Democratic Party of Germany.
In response to Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk’s bourgeois attack on Marxist economics, Hilferding wrote a widely read defense of Marx. But in other writings he disagreed with the many suggestions in Marx that capitalism might eventually suffer a catastrophic economic breakdown. Later on he carried that questionable opinion to a really ridiculous extreme when he suggested that modern finance capitalism, in the form of monopolistic trusts and cartels, had (or would soon) become “so organized” that it should be able to eliminate economic crises entirely! (See: “Organized Capitalism”) This showed that his understanding of the causes of capitalist economic crises was also incorrect. (He was a partisan of the falling rate of profit theory of economic crises.) However many of his conceptions of how capitalism had changed in the imperialist era, which he discussed at length in Finance Capital, were indeed basically correct.
After the defeat of Germany in World War I and the removal of the Kaiser (emperor), Hilferding was on two occasions the Finance Minister in the bourgeois social-democratic governments, including during the period of hyper-inflation, which he and the government were quite inept at dealing with. These Social-Democratic governments were also responsible for the policies that led to the murder of many genuine communist revolutionaries, including Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.
Since Hilferding was a Jew (and at least nominally a “socialist”), he had to flee Germany when the Nazis came to power in 1933. He lived in Denmark, Switzerland and then France, where he was arrested and turned over to the Gestapo (German political police) during World War II. He died in 1941 while in their custody, almost certainly murdered by them.
A reactionary Hindu nationalist. In India there is a federation of Hindutva groups called the Sangh Parivar, which strongly leans towards fascism. Included in this federation are the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteers Organization, or RSS), the Bharatiya Janata Party (“Indian People’s Party”, or BJP), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council, or VHP), and the Bajrang Dal (the youth wing of the VHP). Gangs of individuals from these groups often operate as fascist thugs and attack not only communist revolutionaries, but also people adhering to different religions including Muslims and Christians.
HINTON, Joan (1921-2010)
American physicist who abandoned physics in outraged disgust after the U.S. used the atomic bomb to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II, and who later became a Maoist and farmworker in China. She was the youngest scientist who worked on the Manhattan Project which produced the first atomic bombs, but was heartsick after the U.S. totally unnecessarily used the bombs to murder hundreds of thousands of civilians in Japan. She became an outspoken peace activist and opponent of nuclear weapons.
In 1948 Hinton went to China on what was initially intended to be just a prolonged visit. But she remained there the rest of her life, living in a rural cooperative or people’s commune (when they existed). Together with her husband, Erwin Engst, an American dairy-cattle expert, she designed and constructed continuous-flow milk pasteurizers and other farm machinery. She was an ardent supporter of the Chinese revolution and Mao Zedong, and didn’t waver in her revolutionary enthusiasm. In 2008 she said: “Of course I was 100 percent behind everything that happened in the Cultural Revolution. It was a terrific experience.”
Joan Hinton’s brother was the well-known writer about revolutionary China, William Hinton. (See below.)
HINTON, William (1919-2004)
[To be added... ]
Marxist social science; the science of society including its most general laws and features, its origin, the motive forces leading to its change and development; the application of dialectical materialism to society. The principles of historical materialism include (but are by no means limited to) the following important points:
1) That human society and history can be understood scientifically;
2) That, however, material production is the basis of social life, and social consciousness is the result of social being;
3) That people tend to believe that which is in their own material interests to believe;
4) But that the dominant ideas of any age are those of the ruling class;
5) That society and history are made by the people, by the masses of human beings;
6) That, however, the prevailing mode of production conditions and sets limits to the changes which can be made in society at any given time;
7) That human society is composed of social classes defined primarily by the relationships of different groups of people to the means of production;
8) That the history of society, since classes first developed in ancient times, is the history of class struggle;
9) That “at a certain stage of their development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production.... From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into fetters” [Marx, Preface to a Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (Peking: 1976), pp. 3-4.];
10) That “at that point an era of social revolution begins” [Marx, ibid.];
11) That society must ultimately progress to the stage of communism where classes have ceased to exist;
12) That between capitalism and communism there must be an intervening transition period (socialism), which can only be the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.
There are whole areas of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist theory which are really subsidiary parts of historical materialism. One such is the MLM theory of ethics based on class interests; another such sphere is the mass line theory of revolutionary leadership.
In social science (properly so called), historical materialism is the central organizing theory, and very little in society makes any sense except in terms of it. The fact that (for ideological reasons) so few people in the U.S. today are at all acquainted with historical materialism thus explains why so many are utterly perplexed by what is happening in the social world all around them. Society, rich & poor, economic crises, politics in general, international wars, and so forth, are all quite mysterious to them because they lack this central organizing theory to make sense of it all.
See also: SOCIAL SCIENCE
HISTORICAL MATERIALISM [Book by Bukharin]
Nikolai Bukharin was reputed to be one of the leading theoreticians (after Lenin, of course) of the Bolshevik Party. In 1919 Bukharin and Yevgeni Preobrazhensky wrote a book called The ABC of Communism which was a commentary on, and a much more detailed exposition of, the Bolshevik Party programme adopted at the Eighth Party Congress in March of that year. That volume was meant to explain the Programme, its social context, and the reasons why it said what it did, to the workers and rank-and-file members of the Party. Just how good it was in doing this is open to debate. In any case, in 1921 Bukharin published his book Historical Materialism, which covered a lot of the same topics but in a much more abstract and theoretical sort of way. On the whole, this is a less successful and more philosophically and theoretically dubious book than the earlier volume.
While this book is called Historical Materialism, it does not do a very good job of bringing out and emphasizing the main principles of historical materialism [see entry above]. Bukharin took bourgeois sociology seriously, and studied it extensively. As his liberal bourgeois sympathizer, Alfred Meyer, notes, Bukharin “sought to read, digest and incorporate in his writings a great deal of contemporary bourgeois sociology”. This book shows that strong tendency, and it is in effect sort of a blend of Marxist points of view and bourgeois sociological views and ways of presenting things. This leads to a lot of verbiage, with the central ideas of historical materialism being somewhat lost or greatly deemphasized. Bukharin does criticize many specific statements by bourgeois sociologists, but at the same time he still takes their writings seriously overall and himself adopts many of their same modes of thinking.
Even Bukharin’s presentation of important Marxist ideas is done in an inept way. For example, his chapter on classes and class struggle comes at the very end of the book, when that should really be a much stronger central theme throughout the work.
Instead, a major theme throughout the book (and not just in the chapter on dialectical materialism) is Bukharin’s highly dubious equilibrium theory. His weak understanding of dialectics comes out in other ways as well, as in chapter VII where he presents four stages of revolution as being sequential, when in fact the “mental revolution”, the “political revolution”, the “economic revolution” and the “technical revolution” must quite clearly interpenetrate each other to considerable degrees. Other serious philosophical errors also occur in the book, as for example his treatment at several points of the very important concept of interests as being only a psychological question, and not an issue of what objectively benefits people. [Cf. p. 149 in the Ann Arbor paperback edition.] In general, the discussion of ethics is quite weak.
Bukharin’s Historical Materialism was viewed as an important presentation and defense of Marxist theory back in the 1920s, both in the Soviet Union and around the world. After that time, however, the book was pretty much forgotten, and this is just as well. Overall, students of MLM will miss little or nothing of value if they just skip this book. —S.H.
[In the sense used and wrongly criticized by Karl Popper:] The view that history has a pattern, that laws or trends underlie its development, and that at least to some degree the future may be predicted and shaped once these patterns or laws are recognized.
See also: ANTI-HISTORICISM
HISTORY — As Comedy
“History is thorough and goes through many phases when carrying an old form to the grave. The last phases of a world-historical form is its comedy.” —Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: Introduction (1843-44).
HOBBES, Thomas (1588-1679)
English mechanical-materialist philosopher. He held the view that morality and law represented a precondition of civilization and the emergence of human beings from the natural, animal state (“the war of all against all”). Hobbes said that humans are selfish by nature, and therefore must be ruled by an absolute monarch. He claimed that people agree to this by accepting a “social contract”. His ethical theory was essentially one of crass expedience, and failed to recognize or explain altruism and kindness.
See also: Philosophical doggerel about Hobbes.
HOBSON, John A. (1858-1940)
An English bourgeois social reformer, liberal-pacifist, economist and prolific author, best known for his important book Imperialism.
In his earlier books Hobson favored an underconsumptionist explanation for capitalist economic crises and denied the truth of “Say’s Law” (long after Marx did so, but also long before Keynes). This made his views anathema to the bourgeois economics establishment which forced him out of his university position. He was then hired by the Manchester Guardian to be their South-African correspondent. While covering the Second Boer War, Hobson formed the idea that political imperialism is the direct result of the expansive forces of modern capitalism. When he returned to England he strongly condemned the Boer War and English imperialism in general in a series of articles and books. In 1902 he published his magnum opus, Imperialism, which made him world famous. Lenin made extensive use of this book when preparing his own very important work, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916).
“This author ... gives a very good and comprehensive description of the principal specific economic and political features of imperialism.” —Lenin, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, LCW 22:195.
HOLBACH, Paul Henri Dietrich d’ (1723-1789)
French materialist philosopher and atheist.
“HOLLOWING OUT OF THE LABOR FORCE”
A bourgeois media euphemism for the fact that the working class in the U.S. (and many other countries) is being driven down in a major way, with real wages declining (especially for new jobs); health, retirement, and other benefits being slashed, or even entirely eliminated for many workers; more and more part-time work instead of full-time jobs with some limited security; the elimination of unions, and the decided weakening of those few which remain; and a generally continuing decline in the percentage of the population which even has a job at all.
See also: LOW WAGES IN NEW JOBS
HOLY FAMILY [Book by Marx & Engels]
[Full title in English: The Holy Family, or Critique of Critical Criticism. Against Bruo Bauer and Co.] This was the first joint work by Marx and Engels, and was written in the fall of 1844 and published (in German of course) in February 1845 in Frankfurt-am-Main.
“‘The Holy Family’ is a mocking reference to the Bauer brothers
and their followers grouped around the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (General
Literary Gazette). While attacking the Bauers and the other Young Hegelians
(or Left Hegelians), Marx and Engels at the same time criticized the idealist
philosophy of Hegel.
“Marx sharply disagreed with the Young Hegelians as early as the summer of 1842, when the club of ‘The Free’ was formed in Berlin. Upon becoming editor of the Rheinische Zeitung (Rhine Gazette) in October 1842, Marx opposed the efforts of several Young Hegelian staff members from Berlin to publish inane and pretentious articles emanating from the club of ‘The Free,’ which had lost touch with reality and was absorbed in abstract philosophical disputes. During the two years following Marx’s break with ‘The Free,’ the theoretical and political differences between Marx and Engels on the one hand and the Young Hegelians on the other became deep-rooted and irreconcilable. This was not only due to the fact that Marx and Engels had gone over from idealism to materialism and from revolutionary democratism to communism, but also due to the evolution undergone by the Bauer brothers and persons of like mind during this time. In the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Bauer and his group denounced ‘1842 radicalicalism’ and its most outstanding proponent—the Rheinishe Zeitung. They slithered into vulgar subjective idealism of the vilest kind—propagation of a ‘theory’ according to which only select individuals, bearers of the ‘spirit,’ of ‘pure criticism,’ are the makers of history, while the masses, the people, serve as inert material or ballast in the historical process.
“Marx and Engels decided to devote their first joint work to the exposure of these pernicious, reactionary ideas and to the defense of their new materialist and communist outlook.
“During a ten-day stay of Engels in Paris the plan of the book (at first entitled Critique of Critical Criticism. Against Bruno Bauer and Co.) was drafted, responsibility for the various chapters apportioned between the authors, and the ‘Preface’ written. Engels wrote his chapters while still in Paris. Marx, who was responsible for a larger part of the book, continued to work on it until the end of November 1844. Moreover, he considerably increased the initially conceived size of the book by incorporating in his chapters parts of his economic and philosophical manuscripts on which he had worked during the spring and summer of 1844, his historical studies of the bourgeois French Revolution at the end of the 18th century, and a number of his excerpts and conspectuses. While the book was in the process of being printed, Marx added the words The Holy Family to the title. By using a small format, the book exceed 20 printer’s sheets and was thus exempted from preliminary censorship according to the prevailing regulations in a number of German states.” —Note 2, LCW 38:563-4.
HOME EQUITY LOAN
A loan received from a bank or other financial institution either through taking out a second mortgage on your home, or else through “refinancing” (renewing the terms of your existing mortgage so that the bank owns more of your home and you own less of it). Often this also entails substantially higher mortgage payments.
During the housing bubble of the mid-2000s, the value of homes was rapidly rising, so many American “home owners”—at the predatory urging of the banks—foolishly took out home equity loans. Home equity loans peaked in the 4th quarter of 2005 at an annualized rate of one trillion dollars! This was a major boost to consumer spending and the economy. But when the bubble began to burst in 2007, and then developed into the “Great Recession”, many of these people lost their jobs, or were otherwise unable to meet their enlarged mortgage payments, and ended up losing their homes.
“Until the early 1980s, homes in the US were mostly owned by the families living in them. By 2008, all that changed. Now US homes are actually owned—about 60 percent of the average home—by mortgage lenders. The families in them own the other 40 percent of the home’s value. The average US home ‘owner’ actually owns less of his or her home than the mortgage lenders do. Home ‘owners’ have become more like renters: owning ever less of their homes, they can remain only so long as they pay monthly to the lenders who own ever more.” —Richard D. Wolff, Capitalism Hits the Fan (2010), p. 145. [In the 1960s and 1970s Americans on average owned about two thirds of the market value of their homes. In the aftermath of the recent collapse of house prices, many “home owners” now now owe more on their home than it is worth! —S.H.]
[In the long-discredited theory known as “preformationism”:] A very tiny adult human being that in past ages was naïvely believed to inhabit a sperm cell and which supposedly became a mature individual merely through merging with an egg cell and then increasing in size.
[In the philosophy of mind:] The equally naïve theory that there is something like an entire “little man” inside a human head who processes incoming information from the senses and comprehends it. This leads to an infinite regress, since presumably that little man would require an even smaller little man in his head, and so forth! This theory arose because people could not yet make sense out of how ideas and other mental phenomena arise in the functioning of a material brain.
“Many of us ... imagine a little person inside the head watching sensory inputs, then telling the muscles what to do. It took a long time for scientists to realize that ascribing thought to a little person inside the head is the equivalent of asking, ‘What makes a car move?’ and answering, ‘Another little car inside’ rather than ‘An engine.’ But to explain thinking, it is all too easy to argue in a circle. And that classic beginner’s mistake is not always innocuous; it sets you up to view a fertilized egg as also containing a little person inside.” —William H. Calvin, “The Fate of the Soul”, Natural History, June 2004, p. 55. [Calvin suggests elsewhere in this article that this naïve conception is one of the reasons that many people oppose abortion and wrongly view it as being a form of “murder”. —S.H.]
See also the HORIZONTALISM entry below.
“The term ‘horizontalism,’ from the Spanish horizontalidad,
was first used in Argentina after the 2001 popular rebellion there. In what we can
now see was a dress rehearsal for the current global [Occupy] movements, Argentines,
during an economic crisis, went out into the streets by the hundreds of thousands.
Banging pots and pans (cacerolado) and serenading officials with ‘Que se
vayan todos, que no quede ni uno solo’ (‘They all must go, not even one should
remain’), the protesters forced out five consecutive governments. In the process
they formed the first neighborhood assemblies grounded in horizontalidad,
a word that had not been used previously. Movement participants described
horizontalidad as the most natural way to listen and to connect to one
another. They rejected representative democracy and the empowerment of leaders that
such delegation of authority entailed, for this kind of politics was thought to have
caused the crisis in the first place. The spirit of horizontalidad
simultaneously emerged in workplaces and movements of the unemployed and then into
the fabric of countless social relationships, where it was seen as a tool to create
more participatory and freer spaces for all—a process of awakening and empowerment
similar to that which Eduardo Galeano portrays as occurring in Utopia.
Horizontalidad has since become a word and expression used throughout the
world to describe social movements seeking self-management, autonomy and direct
democracy.” —Marina Sitrin, “Horizontalism and the Occupy Movements”, Dissent
magazine, Spring 2012. (Ms. Sitrin is one of the theorists of the
[While the absence of genuine democracy in Argentina and the entire world as it exists today is certainly an extremely serious problem, the commentary above misdiagnosed this as the basic “cause" of the Argentine economic crisis. The real fundamental causes are the workings of the capitalist-imperialist system, and the exploitation of many of the lesser developed “Third World” countries by the imperialist powers, currently led by the United States. The lack of genuine democracy in Argentina and the world is itself another consequence of imperialist bourgeois class rule. The economic and social problems in Argentina—including the absence of real democracy—cannot be overcome until Argentina undergoes an anti-imperialist, socialist revolution.
[While it is true that the spontaneous movement of the masses in Argentina did depose several governments in turn, in the end this movement dissipated and the bourgeoisie reestablished full control. The rebellion collapsed, and no successful revolution proved to be possible in the absence of serious revolutionary organization and leadership. See the entry immediately below on HORIZONTALISM for more on this topic. —S.H.]
HORIZONTALISM [In Politics]
An anarchist-like theory that argues that there need not be, or even “cannot be”, any central leaders, leadership bodies, or developed structure to successful people’s movements and social revolutions. Instead, this theory envisions that all decisions will be made via “direct democracy”, where everyone concerned participates in person, without any representatives or leaders. Something like this theory has often been implicit in traditional anarchist thinking, though the term ‘horizontalism’ itself first arose in Argentina in 2001 [horizontalidad: see above entry], and has mostly been popularized since then by individuals seeking to draw grand theories from the very limited initial euphoric experience of the Occupy Movement in the U.S. and similar spontaneous mass movements in other countries (especially Spain and Greece). Such “horizontalist” practice has never been successful in achieving any major and lasting goal, any place in the world. Instead, it is a phenomenon often associated with spontaneous mass movements, which inevitably fall apart and end in disillusioned failure for the masses who were involved.
Marina Sitrin, a theorist who developed within the Occupy Movement in the U.S., presents the argument for horizontalism this way:
“The intention of the thousands of assemblies taking place around
the United States [in the Occupy Movement], as well as in Greece and Spain, where I
have been most recently, is to open spaces for people to voice their concerns and
desires—and to do so in a directly democratic way. These movements emerged in
response to a growing crisis, the heart of which is a lack of democracy. People do
not feel represented by the governments that claim to speak in their name. The
Occupy movements are not based on creating either a program or a political party that
will put forward a plan for others to follow. Their purpose is not to determine ‘the’
path that a particular country should take but to create the space for a conversation
in which all can participate and in which all can determine together what the future
should look like. At the same time, these movements are attempting to prefigure that
future society in their present social relationships.
“The Occupy movements throughout the United States, Spain, and Greece all have sought to use direct democracy to create horizontal, nonhierarchical social relationships that would allow participants to openly engage with each other. The term ‘horizontalism,’ from the Spanish horizontalidad, was first used in Argentina after the 2001 popular rebellion there.... [See the entry above for more on Argentina.]
“In addition to cultivating horizontalidad, Occupy movements have also created new territories in which forms of direct democracy can flourish. The alternative structures and actions of the Occupy movement have emerged in these new geographic spaces of assembly. Here basic necessities, such as food, legal support, and medical care are coordinated. Novel actions have included the occupation of homes in the United States to prevent evictions and of cash offices in hospitals in Greece so people do not have to pay the newly imposed cost of health care. Towns and cities across the United States have created barter networks, generated alternative adjudication processes, and instituted free childcare. I know of one village in Northern California where people are using an alternative currency and another town outside Albany, N.Y., that has set up a free medical clinic. This is all self-organized horizontally.
“... [T]he Occupy movements will continue to grow. The question for the future is not how to create a plan for what a better country will look like, but how to deepen and broaden the assemblies taking place and how to enhance participatory democracy in the process.
“... [W]hile there are many challenges ahead, the Occupy movements have been and will continue to be successful.” —Marina Sitrin, “Horizontalism and the Occupy Movements”, Dissent magazine, Spring 2012.
Unfortunately, even as Ms. Sitrin was writing, the Occupy movement was falling apart,
and in the year and more since then it has virtually disappeared. Of course the Occupy
movement was a very positive thing, and there are many lessons to be learned from it. But
one of the most important of these lessons is that organization and leadership must develop
from the mass movement if that movement is ever to be successful over the long run. When
you look at Ms. Sitrin’s presentation there are many striking aspects to it. First, it
is remarkable how much of it is really only liberal utopianism. It posits changing
society without really changing it all that much. It doesn’t mention capitalism or
socialism! It doesn’t even mention social classes! It tacitly supposes that capitalist
society can be reformed into some utopian paradise, and that the rulers of society will
allow this to happen without resorting to violence to stop it. It imagines that this can
all be accomplished even without mass organization, even without any leadership arising
from the masses, even without a revolutionary party, and even without an actual social
Well, it is easy to laugh at the total naïvete of this theory of “horizontalism”, and its petty-bourgeois class basis. How a world of billions of people could operate by constant “direct democracy” and without any leadership or organization is absolutely incomprehensible. But there is behind such horizontalist fantasies a valid worry: How can we trust our leaders and our representatives to really represent the interests of the people, and to truly lead us in satisfying those interests over the long term? People like Ms. Sitrin and most of those thousands who were in the Occupy movement have very correctly given up on the establishment Democratic and Republican parties in the U.S. They quite properly do not trust those parties, and their “leadership”, to represent the interests of the working class and ordinary people. They see the rich, “the 1%”, are running things in their own interests, and they also see the failure of revisionist regimes of the Soviet Union and contemporary capitalist China to do things in any fundamentally different way.
But what they don’t see is that there is another way of generating leaders and organization from the masses and the mass movement. What they don’t see is that there are methods of leadership (especially the mass line) through which such a leadership can lead the mass movement in a truly democratic way. And what they don’t see is that the people can be educated to keep a close eye on their leaders, to rotate them from the masses, and to knock them down again if they even begin to put their own interests above those of the people. They don’t know about the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China, and what has been learned from that about how to do an even better job of governing our leaders in the future. These are some of the important things we need to explain to the people in the course of demonstrating them in our own revolutionary practice. —S.H.
“Not a single class in history has achieved power without producing its political leaders, its prominent representatives able to organize a movement and lead it.” —Lenin, “Urgent Tasks of Our Movement” (1900), LCW 4:370.
HORN, Joshua S. (1914-1975)
“Dr. Joshua S. Horn lived and worked in China from 1954 to 1969 as
an outstanding surgeon and an involved political person, serving the people through
a firm understanding of the unity of politics and medicine.
“Active in the English workers’ struggles of the 1930s, Dr. Horn visited China in 1937 as a ship’s doctor after giving up a lectureship in anatomy at Cambridge. In 1939 he joined the British Communist Party. While serving as a surgeon during World War II he developed a special interest in traumatology, the treatment of severe injuries.
“In 1954 he left a secure post as a consultant surgeon in England and went to China with his family to make what he thought would be his ‘best political contribution.’ His book Away With All Pests, which describes the achievements of revolutionary medicine in China, is a fine memorial to his work and the development of his political consciousness. Its publication, like his other writings and his extensive speaking tours throughout the United States and Europe, helped build friendship with China. In word and deed he set an example of internationalism.
“Dr. Horn died on December 17, 1975, in Peking after a long illness. His friends will remember him for his sense of humor, his liveliness, his enthusiasm, and the revolutionary outlook that inspired his work and service.”
—D. Sipe, adapted from his obituary about Joshua Horn, in New China magazine, vol. 2, no. 1, June 1976, p. 4.
HOT MONEY [Contemporary Capitalist Finance]
Large (or “bulk”) deposits of money controlled by investment managers which are shifted rapidly from one bank or financial institution to another in search of the highest short term interest rates. This occurs not only within a single country, but in this age of more globalized finance, also internationally. The existence of trillions of dollars of “hot money” is one of the major factors leading to the intensification of financial crises in individual countries, partly by promoting speculation in various currencies. The flow of hot money into a country for a period can make it seem that its balance-of-payments situation is good, but also makes it vulnerable to a very sharp change in that regard if the money is suddenly pulled out of the country. Hot money is one of the many “innovations” of modern finance capitalism that tremendously amplifies the instability of the entire world capitalist economy.
HOUSE UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE
A committee of the U.S. Congress which focused on attacking communists and even liberal reformists. The viciousness of this committee was matched only by its remarkable ignorance.
“Although not as famous as its later McCarthy hearings, the 1938 HUAC testimony had memorable moments. For example, at one point a congressman asked whether Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe was a Communist and inquired if ‘Mr. Euripides’ was guilty of teaching class consciousness.” —Michael Edmonds, Wisconsin History magazine, Spring 2011, p. 48; original transcripts in Investigation of Un-American Propaganda Activities in the United States: Hearings, vol. 4, U.S. Gov. Printing Office, 1938-1944, pp. 2857-8.
[Question from the HUAC Committee:] “Do you have the opportunity to
inject into your plays... the beliefs of communism?”
[Joseph Papp:] “Sir, the plays we do are Shakespeare’s plays... I cannot control the writings of Shakespeare.”
—Testimony at a HUAC hearing in June 1958; quoted in Newsweek, Nov. 23, 2009, p. 55.
The total income of all the workers in a given household, from all sources (including not only wages, but also interest and investment income). (Gross income is the income before the payment of income taxes; net income is after the payment of income taxes. Usually the unqualified term “household income” means gross household income.)
The “average household income” is the total of all household income for the country or region divided by the number of households. The “median household income” is the value for which 50% of all households have a greater income and 50% have a smaller income. For most purposes the median income is a much better social indicator since the average income is generally grossly skewed in capitalist society because of the vast incomes of the small number of very rich households (the bourgeoisie).
The graph at the right shows the percentage change in the median household income in the U.S. since 2000. Note that the rate of decline has been speeding up as the current economic crisis intensifies.
Household income is not the same as personal income, since there is typically more than one person in a household. The term family income is often used as a synonym for household income, though the U.S. Census Bureau defines household income in a slightly broader way (and including all those who live in the same home even if they are not part of a single family).
“The economic boom that peaked in 2007 represented the first time that median real (that is, inflation-adjusted) incomes did not recover to their previous peak before declining into the next recession. More ominously, family incomes have yet to recover, even though the recession ended three and a half years ago. That has brought the total decline in real incomes to nearly 9 percent since 2000. So where has the economic growth from the recovery gone? Much of it has gone to corporate profits, as companies took advantage of the high unemployment rate and the ability to shift production globally to hold down wages in the United States.” —Steven Rattner, “America in 2012, as Told in Charts”, New York Times, Dec. 31, 2012.
HOUSEHOLD RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM
The system of agricultural organization in the Chinese countryside that Deng Xiaoping and his fellow revisionists instituted to replace the collective form of peasant organization (leading to the People’s Communes) that had been carefully developed step-by-step under Mao’s leadership during the socialist era. Under the Household Responsibility System each family is once again on its own as it was for centuries in the old pre-revolutionary society.
An asset bubble in the prices of houses. In other words, a tremendous and unjustified rise in the prices of houses due to massive government financial support and/or one form of private speculation or another.
In the 1997-2007 period in the U.S., for example, and especially in the latter years from 2003-2007, many speculators began buying houses—often not in order to live in them themselves—but in order to sell them again later after the prices rose some more. Even for many of those who did live in these houses in the meantime, this was close to pure speculation, which was promoted by banks and the government through low or non-existent down payments and very low interest rates. This particular housing bubble was also promoted by banks through securitization of mortgages in the form of CDOs. This allowed the banks to escape any risk on the mortgages they had already issued, and continue to issue new risky mortgages to those with “sub-prime” (poor) credit.
Housing bubbles, like all asset bubbles, always pop eventually, and the 1997-2007 bubble began to pop in late 2007. (House prices actually peaked in 2006, but at first the declines were quite small.) However, even though episodes of bubble popping can be dramatic, it takes time for them to completely deflate. Sometimes they are even partially reinflated for a while. Thus while the recent U.S. housing bubble has considerably deflated from its peak, it is still a substantial bubble. For that reason, the government is going to great lengths (and great expense) to try to “prop up” the housing market, or, in other words to try to reinflate the present housing bubble. “The government is literally plowing trillions of dollars into the U.S. mortgage market to keep it afloat”, said Guy D. Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance in October 2009.
Housing bubbles are a common development in advanced capitalist countries in the imperialist era. There was a huge housing bubble which popped in the Great Depression of the 1930s and a bigger bubble which popped in the late 1980s-early 1990s with the Savings & Loan Crisis. But by far the biggest housing bubble, especially in the U.S. but also in Britain, Spain and other countries, is the current one which is by no means resolved yet.
“Should we let housing prices fall? Many smart people say we should.
It seems increasingly clear that we must. For how long can the government prop them
up? Are we never to have a private market in mortgages again? Yet what happens if we
let them fall? Arguably many banks would once again be ‘under water.’ Enthusiasm for
another set of bailouts is weak, to say the least. Our government would end up
nationalizing these banks and it still would be on the hook for their debts. The blow
to confidence would be a major one. I increasingly believe there is no easy way out
of this dilemma and it is a major reason why the U.S. economy remains stuck. Housing
prices must fall, yet ... housing prices must not fall.” —Tyler Cowen, a bourgeois
commentator, on the website MarginalRevolution.com, Sept. 8, 2010; as quoted in
The Week, Sept. 24, 2010, p. 48.
[This is one of the many specific contradictions that the U.S. capitalist economy has gotten itself into. About 80% of U.S. bank loans are in the form of mortgages, and for many decades now the heavy government promotion of housing debt is one of the major factors that has been keeping the economy from sinking into a new depression. So they must continue to promote this housing bubble. But it is getting ever more difficult and costly to do so, and the bubble must more completely collapse in the end. That is their current predicament. —S.H.]
“Since 1997, we have lived through the biggest real estate bubble in
United States history—followed by the most calamitous decline in housing prices that
the country has ever seen.
“Fundamental factors like inflation and construction costs affect home prices, of course. But the radical shifts in housing prices in recent years were caused mainly by investor-induced speculation....
“The great housing bubble of the 2000s was diffused widely through the population and didn’t owe its beginnings to any single promotional scheme. The bubble became so big apparently because of a number of kinds of financial promotion—of subprime mortgages, no-down-payment mortgages, securitized mortgages and other innovations.” —Robert J. Shiller, “Before Housing Bubbles, There Was Land Fever”, New York Times, April 20, 2013. [Shiller is a bourgeois economist and a leading expert on housing prices.]
HOUSING QUESTION, The [Pamphlet by Engels]
A collection of articles, soon also issued as a pamphlet, that Engels wrote in 1872-1873 for the publication Volkstaat about the serious housing shortage for workers in Germany at that time. These articles also examined the various reformist nostrums proposed for dealing with this problem, and criticized and exposed them and their proponents. His central point was that a policy of housing reforms cannot possibly replace the revolutionary program of the proletariat because “it is not that the solution of the housing question simultaneously solves the social question, but that only by the solution of the social question, that is, by the abolition of the capitalist mode of production, is the solution of the housing question made possible.”
This work by Engels is available online at: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1872/housing-question/index.htm
“In this book Engels deals with a secondary consequence of the economic
law of development of capitalism—the housing question. He shows how not only bad and
unhealthy housing, but a housing shortage and high rents, affecting not only the working
class but large sections of the middle class also, result from the rapid development of
industrial capitalism. He discusses various schemes proposed for solving the housing
problem, and concludes that this problem is integrally connected with capitalism and that
only by the ending of capitalism will the housing question be finally solved.
“It first appeared in the form of three articles in the German socialist press in 1872—when the industrial boom following the end of the Franco-Prussian War, and the rapid growth of cities, had made the housing problem loom large in Germany. The articles are strongly polemical in character—directed against petty-bourgeois socialists (revivers of the discredited ideas of Proudhon) who were pushing the housing question into the forefront and pretending that their quack remedies for it would transform society.
“What are the principal questions dealt with in the articles?
“1. Engels exposes the fallacy of those socialists who fancy they can transform capitalism by a few legal reforms.
“2. Engels deals with the proposal to solve the housing problem by ensuring that every worker shall own ‘his own little house.’ He shows that this is a utopia, and moreover not a socialist proposal but a thoroughly reaactionary proposal. And in this connection he explains the true economic relation between landlord and tenant and the nature of house rent. The landlord-tenant relation is not like the relation between capitalist and worker, but is based on an ordinary sale and purchase transaction between two citizens. The landlord sells the use of the house to the tenant.
“3. Engels proves that the capitalists, while forced to agree to various steps to alleviate the housing problem, do not want to solve it; and that housing schemes initiated by the capitalist state do not solve it either. He enters in some detail into questions of building societies, state aid for housing, factory housing schemes, town planning.
“4. Engels shows how, with the seizure of power by the proletariat, exiting housing can be utilized for the benefit of the working class; and he shows how the eventual solution of the housing question will be bound up with the abolition of the antithesis between town and countryside.”
—Maurice Cornforth, Readers’ Guide to the Marxist Classics (London: 1952), pp.39-40.
HOXHA, Enver [Family name pronounced HO-juh] (1908-1985)
The First Secretary of the Party of Labor of Albania, and the leader of that country from the end of World War II until his death. He also held various powerful government positions during most of that time. For both nationalist and ideological reasons Hoxha opposed Tito and Yugoslavia, and thus sided with Stalin and the Soviet Union against them. Hoxha was thus presumed by many to be an anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist, though the form of the supposed dictatorship of the proletariat in Albania was highly undemocratic for the working class as well as the bourgeoisie and society was not truly advanced in the direction of communism.
Hoxha and Albania sided with China in the Sino-Soviet Split. However, after Mao’s death (and especially from 1978 on) Hoxha began defaming Mao along with the actual capitalist-roaders in China. Both Hoxha’s theorizing and his actual leadership of Albania were quite erroneous, and not many years after his death the regime he led collapsed.
For a defense of Mao and Maoism against the unfounded attacks of Hoxha, see “Enver Hoxha Refuted”, by N. Sanmugathasan, General Secretary, Ceylon Communist Party, at: http://www.bannedthought.net/SriLanka/Sanmugathasan/HoxhaRefuted.htm
HOXHAISM [HOXHAIST PARTIES]
After the death of Mao and the capture of the Chinese state by the revisionists and new bourgeoisie within the CCP, many revolutionaries around the world became somewhat disoriented. When Enver Hoxha (see above) broke with China, but also began criticizing Mao, some of these people really lost their bearings and decided to follow Hoxha as their guru. The so-called International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (Unity & Struggle) is one association of such groups. None of these parties or groups has amounted to very much, but some of them still exist in very attenuated form. They are noted for their ultra-dogmatism and formulaic approach to revolution.
See: HOUSE UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE
HUA GUOFENG [Old style: HUA KUO-FENG] (1921-2008)
The designated successor to Mao Zedong as the Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, who was also the Premier of China and thus for several years the top leader of both the Party and government of China. He performed ineptly, arrested or alienated the more Maoist forces in the Party, and was outmaneuvered in the struggle for power by the more bourgeois reactionary forces led by Deng Xiaoping.
“Hua Guofeng” was his Party name (or nom de guerre); his real name was Su Zhu. He was born into a family of poor peasants and completed primary school, but probably received no further formal education. He joined the revolutionary ranks in 1935 when the Communist forces reached his area following the Long March. His early career was as a cadre in Hunan province and he was involved in directing land reform work there in the early to mid-1950s. Hua served as Party secretary in the province beginning in 1970.
During the Cultural Revolution Hua, with the support of Zhou Enlai, was named to the preparatory group for the establishment of the new Revolutionary Committee of Hunan. He was first elected as a member of the Central Committee of the CCP at the Ninth Party Congress in 1969. In 1973 he became a member of the Politburo, and was then appointed Deputy Premier and head of public security (1975-76). After Zhou Enlai’s death in January 1976, Hua Guofeng became Premier. In his last days Mao designated Hua to succeed him as Party Chairman. In addition to the Premiership and Party Chairman position, he also was soon designated as the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, thus holding all the top formal positions of power in his hands.
The official story is that the “Gang of Four”, Mao’s closest followers including his widow Jiang Qing, were planning a coup to overthrow Hua and his associates, but that Hua pre-empted this by arresting the “Gang of Four” and their top supporters. [It is still not completely clear what the precise actual situation was then, but the fact remains that Hua arrested and overthrew the “Gang of Four” in his own coup supported by the reactionary forces.]
Hua Guofeng then brought the Cultural Revolution to a complete end and began reversing some of its policies. It seems he was attempting to move the economy back toward the Soviet-style bureaucratic and commandist form of the late 1950s in China. However these backward steps were not enough for the more bourgeois forces in the Party, and especially for Deng Xiaoping who also hungered for yet another return to personal power. With the support of the large number of national bourgeois forces still within the CCP, Deng outmaneuvered the hapless Hua and forced him into early retirement. Hua was forced to resign as Premier in 1980 and was formally replaced as Party Chairman in September 1982.
Despite the major and prolonged campaigns within the CCP during the 1966-1976 period against capitalist roaders, they were still a very strong presence in the Party. This was because so many non-Marxist nationalists had joined the Party during the anti-imperialist struggles and the period of the New Democratic Revolution. Probably the only way a bourgeois restoration could have been avoided over the long run was to keep the Cultural Revolution going at one level or another on a more or less permanent basis. Hua did not understand that it was essential to do this.
From a historical standpoint Hua Guofeng must be viewed as a somewhat pathetic transitional figure whose own insufficient grasp of Marxism and insufficient revolutionary zeal ended up playing into the hands of Deng Xiaoping and the bourgeoisie.
See HUKOU SYSTEM below.
The system of household registration and residency permits in China which dates back to ancient times, but which has also been a prominent feature of the People’s Republic of China. A registration record officially identifies a person as a resident of some locality and includes other information including the person’s parents, spouse, and date of birth. In Chinese the formal name of this system is huji, and a hukou is the residency status of a person. But informally, hukou is also the name for the system, and that is what this registration system is called in English.
In 1958 the PRC officially promulgated the family registration system to establish some general social stability and to control the movement of people from rural to urban areas. During the socialist period the government was attempting to keep the migration from the countryside to the cities from occurring in a premature and disorderly fashion. In general, the movement to the cities was limited to the workers and families needed to fill the new jobs which were opening up in the rapidly expanding socialist industries there.
In recent decades, since the restoration of capitalism in China, the hukou system has been officially kept in place. But to accomodate both local and multinational capitalist corporations, and their need for cheap labor from the countryside, it has generally not been enforced. This has led to tens of millions of migrant workers living technically illegally in the cities, and having no rights to public housing, education, and other social benefits there. This has created a massive and growing social problem of gross discrimination against migrant workers. Since migrant workers are not allowed to enroll their children in urban schools, most of these children must remain with their grandparents or other relatives in the countryside, which means they are in effect forcibly separated from their parents. By 2005 there were as many as 130 million of these “home-staying children”, as they are called in China, with parents living away from them in distant cities.
In many respects, the lives of migrant workers in China are similar to that of illegal migrant workers in the U.S. and other “advanced” capitalist countries. They are needed and exploited by urban capitalists, but they are paid extremely low wages and are denied many rights and benefits that other people have. This discrimination against well over a hundred million migrant workers in China is one of several important factors leading to rapidly increasing social unrest. In recent years, although the central government loosened its control over the hukou system, it mostly just transferred this control and discrimination to the local governments. And although the movement of people to the cities became unofficially allowed, the super-exploitation and discrimination against them that awaited them there was as bad as ever. That part of the hukou system still continued unabated.
However, in December 2013 the Chinese government announced that it would be ending the hukou system, some aspects of it immediately, and some aspects gradually over time. This is being done for several reasons. The increased social unrest caused by mistreated migrant workers in the cities was seriously worrying the ruling class. And the government has somewhat changed direction by even more strongly promoting urbanization. It came to the conclusion that it would actually promote economic development to increase the speed of urbanization in China. This view may have some partial validity to it, though it also may well end up promoting the creation of massive slums in China if more and more of the millions of rural people being rapidly moved to the cities are unable to find jobs.
See also: AGNOSTICISM, KNOWLEDGE, REFLECTION THEORY, THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE
“For the most valuable result ... would be that it should make us extremely distrustful of our present knowledge, inasmuch as in all probability we are just about at the beginning of human history, and the generations which will put us right are likely to be far more numerous than those whose knowledge we—often enough with a considerable degree of contempt—have the opportunity to correct.” —Engels, Anti-Dühring (1878), MECW 25:80.
“But as for the sovereign validity of the knowledge obtained by each individual thought, we all know that there can be no talk of such a thing, and that all previous experience shows that without exception such knowledge always contains much more that is capable of being improved upon than that which cannot be improved upon, or is correct.” —Engels, ibid.
“Human knowledge is not (or does not follow) a straight line, but a curve, which endlessly approximates a series of circles, a spiral. Any fragment, segment, section of this curve can be transformed (transformed one-sidedly) into an independent, complete, straight line, which then (if one does not see the wood for the trees) leads into the quagmore, into clerical obscurantism (where it is anchored by the class interests of the ruling classes). Rectilinearity and one-sidedness, woodenness and petrification, subjectivism and subjective blindness—voilà the epistemological roots of idealism. And clerical obscurantism (=philosophical idealism), of course, has epistemological roots, it is not groundless; it is a sterile flower undoubtedly, but a sterile flower that grows on the living tree of living, fertile, genuine, powerful, omnipotent, objective, absolute human knowledge.” —Lenin, “On the Question of Dialectics” (1915), LCW 38:363.
[Intro material to be added... ]
“Herr Proudhon does not know that all history is but the continuous transformation of human nature.” —Karl Marx. [Citation to be added.]
The rights of individuals within society, which of course depend upon the particular society. As one would expect, however, bourgeois thinkers attempt to portray the rights which obtain for the bourgeoisie under the capitalist system—including the right to exploit other people—as the set of human rights which should hold always and everywhere.
1. [Broad sense:] The view that values human beings above all else, which seeks to maximize human freedom and the achievement of human potentialities, and which finds the locus of ideology in human beings themselves. [Add Mao’s quote: Of all things in the world people are the most precious...] In this broad sense, Marxism-Leninism is the most consistent form of humanism.
2. [Narrow, bourgeois sense:] A petty-bourgeois perversion of the above, which attempts to accomodate itself to private property and bourgeois values, decries the use of violence (even if it is in the interests of the people), and opposes revolution.
HUME, David (1711-1776)
Scottish subjective idealist philosopher and historian. He was an extreme empiricist and philosophical agnostic. He was one of the originators of utilitarianism, but he also held (inconsistently) that moral beliefs cannot be rationally justified and are based on mere custom.
In economics Hume put forward a quantitative theory of money and favored free trade. He was a friend and adviser to Adam Smith.
See also: Philosophical doggerel about Hume.
The supposed mystery that a small class of rulers can (most of the time!) manage to control and govern the vastly more numerous masses who they exploit and oppress. Here is the euphemistic way that Hume himself originally put it (of course without any reference to social classes or exploitation!):
“Nothing appears more surprising to those who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few.” —David Hume, The First Principles of Government (1742).
While certainly regretable, Hume’s “Paradox” should not be too surprising to Marxists who understand that one of the basic principles of historical materialism is that the dominant ideas of any age are those of the ruling class. While the rule of “the few” over “the many” can unfortunately last for a long time, in historical terms the rule of the exploiters and oppressors is still precarious. All it takes is one grand moment of revolution to topple the bastards!
HUNDRED FLOWERS MOVEMENT
A public campaign launched by Mao in May 1957 which was intended to promote the frank and open discussion and criticism of the Communist Party of China and the new revolutionary government by the broad masses, including intellectuals. The famous slogan that Mao raised was “Let a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend!” But it was also firmly stated by Mao that this would have to occur within the framework of upholding the revolution, the new socialist system, and the continued leadership of the CCP. However, many reactionary elements popped out of the woodwork and seized the opportunity to attack socialism and the revolution. This in turn led to the necessity of cracking down on these class enemies in a new anti-rightist campaign. But even after that, the true principles of the Hundred Flowers Movement were still upheld by Mao. (This is a point seldom understood by bourgeois critics of Maoist China who always equate “democracy” with opposition to socialism and communism.)
HUNGARY — 1919 Proletarian Revolution
Communists managed to lead a revolution and briefly seize power in Hungary in the aftermath of World War I and the October Revolution in Russia. Proletarian power was proclaimed on March 21, 1919. A Soviet-style government was set up at a session of the Budapest Soviet of Workers’ Deputies in the form of a Revolutionary Government Council made up of People’s Commissars—including both Communists and Social-Democrats. The leader of the Hungarian Communists, and the revolutionary regime, was Bela Kun.
The Hungarian Soviet Republic only managed to survive until August 1919, when it succumbed in an unequal struggle against the superior forces of foreign interventionists and counter-revolutionaries at home, who were supported by traitorous Social-Democrats.
HUSSERL, Edmund (1859-1938)
German idealist philosopher and founder of the philosophical school known as Phenomenology. His ideas are based on previous idealist philosophers, and especially Plato, Leibniz and Franz Brentano. Overall, Husserl should be considered to be a subjective idealist in that he believed that the object of cognition does not exist outside the consciousness of the subject.
Husserl abandoned his early attempts to turn philosophy into a strictly defined science, and instead took up a position highly critical of science and scientific thinking in philosophy. Husserl’s views were quite influential in bourgeois thought, and became the foundation of German existentialism, especially that of Heidegger.
HUXLEY, Thomas Henry (1825-95)
English naturalist and close associate and defender of Charles Darwin, and popularizer of evolutionary theory. He was nicknamed “Darwin’s bulldog”. Also a prominent agnostic (a term which he coined), with regard to the question of God’s existence.
A nuclear weapon which generates the largest portion of its enormous energy through fusion reactions (the merger of forms of hydrogen atoms to produce helium atoms). The other form of nuclear weapon is the fission bomb in which energy is released through a chain reaction of splitting uranium or plutonium atoms. Fission bombs are used to trigger hydrogen bombs.
“A hydrogen bomb is a weapon which in practical effect is almost one of genocide.” —Enrico Fermi, Nobel Prize winning physicist, quoted in Scientific American, Nov. 2000, p. 109.
HYNDMAN, Henry Mayers (1842-1921)
A founder and leader of the Social-Democratic Federation in Britain and later one of the founders of the British Socialist Party. Hyndman was always one of the leaders of the Right wing of the socialist movement in Britain and a complete opportunist. In 1916 he was expelled from the BSP for putting out propaganda in support of the imperialist war. He was also hostile to the October Revolution in Russia and supported imperialist intervention by the West against Soviet Russia.
“Although Hyndman was a talented writer and public speaker, many members
of the SDF questioned his leadership qualities. He was extremely authoritarian and tried
to restrict internal debate about party policy. At an SDF meeting on 27 December 1884,
the executive voted by a majority of two (10-8), that it had no confidence in Hyndman.
When he refused to resign, some members, including William Morris and Eleanor Marx, left
“In the 1885 General Election, Hyndman and Henry Hyde Champion, without consulting their colleagues, accepted £340 from the Tories to run parliamentary candidates in Hampstead and Kensington, the objective being to split the Liberal vote and therefore enabling the Conservative candidate to win. This ploy failed, and the two SDF’s candidates won only a total of 59 votes. The story leaked out, and the political reputation of both men suffered from the idea that they were willing to accept ‘Tory Gold’.” —From the Wikipedia article on Hyndman (as of Feb. 28, 2010).
Very rapid and “uncontrollable” inflation. Of course inflation is always really controllable; the government just needs to stop the printing presses pouring out so much new currency. But this might in turn lead to the complete collapse of the government because of its inability to pay its bills, which is why they are reluctant to do so in these circumstances.
See also: CHINA—Hyperinflation In, ZIMBABWE—Hyperinflation In
[As used in science:] A tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test its logical or empirical consequences. [Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed.] Quite often competing hypotheses are developed, only one of which will eventually be proven correct or at least become the generally accepted theory explaining the phenomena in question.
“HYPOTHESIS, THEORY, LAW mean a formula derived by inference from
scientific data that explains a principle operating in nature. HYPOTHESIS implies
insufficient evidence to provide more than a tentative explanation [a hypothesis
explaining the extinction of the dinosaurs]. THEORY implies a greater range of
evidence and greater likelihood of truth [the theory of evolution]. LAW implies
a statement of order and relation in nature that has been found to be invariable under
the same conditions [the law of gravitation].” —From the entry for HYPOTHESIS
in Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed.
[The use of these terms in Marxist discourse is generally the same or very similar to this. However, on a few occasions Marx referred to tendencies as “laws”, as in Part 3 of Volume III of Capital, “The Law of the Tendency of the Rate of Profit to Fall”. A few modern Marxists, under the influence of postmodernist ideology, have gone so far as to claim that most or even all laws in social science are “only tendencies”! See: SCIENTIFIC LAWS—As Mere Tendencies. Nearly all Marxists, however, use the words HYPOTHESIS and THEORY pretty much the same as they are generally used in modern science. —S.H.]
“The form of development of natural science, in so far as it thinks,
is the hypothesis. A new fact is observed which makes impossible the previous
method of explaining the facts belonging to the same group. From this moment onwards
new methods of explanation are required – at first based on only a limited number of
facts and observations. Further observational material weeds out these hypotheses,
doing away with some and correcting others, until finally the law is established in
a pure form. If one should wait until the material for a law was in a pure form,
it would mean suspending the process of thought in investigation until then and, if
only for this, reason, the law would never come into being.
“The number and succession of hypotheses supplanting one another – given the lack of logical and dialectical education among natural scientists – easily gives rise to the idea that we cannot know the essence of things (Haller and Goethe). This is not peculiar to natural science since all human knowledge develops in a much twisted curve; and in the historical sciences also, including philosophy, theories displace one another, from which, however, nobody concludes that formal logic, for instance, is nonsense.” —Engels, Dialectics of Nature (1883), “Notes and Fragments”, online at: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1883/don/ch07c.htm
[As used in recent bourgeois economics:] The lingering effects of a recession which continue to retard economic growth years after the recession is officially deemed to be over.
As bourgeois economists define recessions, they are “over” when production (GDP) starts to increase again, even if the rate of increase is very slow, and even if production still has not reached the level that existed before the recession began! However, this is being called “hysteresis” only when over a longer multi-year period the rate of GDP growth still does not fully recover and remains significantly lower than the rate of growth before the recession began. In particular, the term is being used in the aftermath of the Great Recession which is officially dated from December 2007 to the summer of 2009. For bourgeois economists, economic growth since then has been puzzlingly sluggish and they are struggling to understand why that is. They invoke the unscientific concept of “potential output” under capitalism, comparing what rates of growth actually are to what they imagine they “should be” or “would be” if the crisis had not arisen.
Standard bourgeois theory has no good explanation for this hysteresis or lingering retardation of the capitalist economy, hence all the scratching of heads that is now going on. However, the answer is actually rather obvious from the Marxist standpoint: the overproduction crisis is simply not truly over. According to Marx, capitalist economic crises are resolved by the development of new markets (where that is possible) or else through the destruction of the great excess of productive capital which has accumulated since the previous crisis. If those things cannot be done, or at least not fully done, then the crisis will continue indefinitely, at one level or another.
“Many macroeconomics textbooks describe recessions as temporary
declines in aggregate demand, when actual output drops below potential output, followed
by a recovery period when output returns to potential. However, a number of studies of
deep recessions around the world find that recessions have highly persistent effects on
output. These effects, sometimes labeled ‘hysteresis,’ could arise because a recession
reduces capital accumulation, scars workers who lose their jobs, and disrupts the
economic activities that produce technological progress.
“Experience since the global financial crisis and Great Recession of 2008-09 has strengthened the evidence for long-term effects of recessions, since output in many countries is still highly depressed in 2014, with many forecasters predicting little recovery in the next five years....
“In Long-Term Damage from the Great Recession in OECD Countries (NBER Working Paper No. 20185), Laurence M. Ball uses OECD estimates of potential output in 23 countries to quantify the long-term damage from the Great Recession.... Ball finds that the recent recessions have had dire effects on economies’ productive capacity, as measured by OECD and IMF estimates of potential output. In most countries, the fall in potential relative to its pre-crisis trend has been almost as large as the fall in actual output. Consequently, the countries with the deepest recessions have also experienced the greatest long-term damage. By aggregating the 23 countries in his sample, the author finds that the loss of potential output relative to the pre-crisis path is 8.4 percent in 2015. To appreciate the size of this loss, note that Germany accounts for 8.2 percent of the aggregate economy. The total damage from the Great Recession is slightly larger than the loss if Germany’s entire economy disappeared.” —Les Picker, NBER Digest, November 2014. [NBER is an important association of U.S. bourgeois economists.]
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