See: TANGIBLE PROPERTY
The branch of calculus concerned with finding lengths, areas and volumes, and with the solution of differential equations and related matters. Whereas the differential calculus concerns itself with finding the local characterists of a curve at some specific point, the integral calculus is concerned with the characteristics of the curve as a whole, such as the area or volume which it encloses.
“Already Archimedes (287-212 B.C.) succeeded in proving that the area of
a segment AOB of a parabola is 4/3 times the area of the triangle AOB. (See figure at
right.) Since Greek mathematicians calculated areas by using geometrical methods, which
aimed at converting the given region into a square of equal area, one spoke of the
problem of quadrature, and in the 17th century of the method of exhaustion,
to indicate that the region whose area or volume is required can be exhausted by a
sequence of regions of known area or volume. By means of suitable decompositions of
regions into smaller pieces [Johannes] Kepler (1571-1630) obtained formulae for the volume
of barrels, and [Bonaventura] Cavalieri (1598-1647) developed a comparison principle to
decide when two bodies lying between parallel planes have the same volume. Further
investigations were made by [René] Descartes (1596-1656), [Pierre de] Fermat
(1601-1665), and [Blaise] Pascal (1623-1662) in France, [Paul] Guldin (1577-1643) in
Switzerland, and [John] Wallis (1616-1703) in England. Building on the foundations of
this preliminary work, [Gottfried] Leibniz (1646-1716) and [Isaac] Newton (1643-1727)
independently and almost at the same time, created a satisfactory calculus for the
computation of areas and volumes. Furthermore, they discovered that despite the different
limiting processes involved there is a close connection between the tangent problem [which
is central to the differential calculus] and the quadrature problem. If the definite
integral is regarded as a function of the upper limit of integration, then its derivative
is equal to the integrand [the starting point]. The standard notation for integrals, which
is due to Leibniz, corresponds to this important fact, which is known as the fundamental
theorem of the calculus.
“Side by side with the problem of calculating areas then stands the second main problem, namely that of finding a function whose derivative in a certain interval is equal to another given function. The integral calculus develops a general method of treating these apparently very different problems and of investigating properties of integrals. Together the differential and integral calculus form the foundation for the entire branch of higher [mathematical] analysis and are indispensable for modern science and technology.” —W. Gellert, et al., eds., The VNR Concise Encyclopedia of Mathematics (1975), p. 444.
An awareness of one’s own personal intellectual fallibility, and a personal judgment of the degree of that fallibility which is more or less objectively accurate both in general and within various sub-spheres.
Thus a civil engineer may be appropriately aware that he or she has a better understanding of what makes bridges safe than a non-engineer, while still recognizing that their own knowledge even of bridge safety has its limits. But if they view themself as a much better judge of bridge safety than they really are, then they still lack sufficient intellectual humility even in that specialized sphere.
A substantial and appropriate level of intellectual humility in general has been found to be a good indicator of how much a person trusts science and the views presented by scientists in their areas of expertise. Conversely, a general tendency to dismiss established and prevailing scientific ideas and theories has been found to correlate with limited or sometimes even nearly non-existent intellectual humility. (See the quotation below.)
Marxist-Leninist-Maoists also need to keep this in mind. Of course in general we should be coming to have considerably more knowledge of human society, and the need for, and methods of, making social revolution, than non-Marxists do. But there are still great limits to our knowledge too, and sometimes we are in fact quite wrong about particular issues. This is why we need to use the mass line to learn from the masses themselves. Moreover, on occasion even our knowledge and understanding of MLM theory itself is deficient. For these reasons it is necessary to remind ourselves, from time to time, about the real importance of genuine intellectual humility. If we do not have an appropriate level of that humility we will inevitably make some very serious arrogant mistakes. —S.H. [July 25,2023]
“1.1. Known predictors of trust in science
“While previous research offers some insight into the predictors of trust in science, research is still in its early stages, and only a few factors have been investigated empirically. Among these, evidence strongly suggests that trust in science is largely dependent on political orientation, religiousness, and conspiracy ideation. Additionally, there is some evidence that openness to experience and education level may also be important determinants of trust in science. As such, we hypothesize that education and openness will be positively related to trust in science, whereas political conservatism, religiousness, and conspiracy ideation will be negatively related to trust in science.
“1.2. Intellectual humility as a potential predictor of trust in science
“Despite the lack of [previous] studies, we argue that trust in science may also be associated with intellectual humility, which is defined as an epistemic virtue that encapsulates a nonthreatening awareness of one’s intellectual fallibility. An intellectually humble person is aware of their limitations, open to new ideas, and willing to change their views when confronted with new evidence. These characteristics are highly aligned with the core values of science and may thus contribute to perceived value similarity between scientists and the general public, which is strongly related to various forms of social trust. As intellectually humble individuals make more accurate metacognitive judgments, they are also more likely to recognize the gaps in their knowledge and turn to others for answers they do not have themselves. Additionally, it is worth noting that the nomological networks [or “law-like structures of concepts” —Ed.] of intellectual humility and trust in science substantially overlap; they share some predictors, such as openness to experience, and some outcomes, such as COVID-19 vaccination intentions. Hence, we hypothesize that components of intellectual humility, namely: independence of intellect and ego (i.e., not feeling threatened by intellectual disagreements), openness to revising one’s viewpoint, respect for other’s viewpoints, and lack of intellectual overconfidence, will be positively related to trust in science.”
[From the summary of the study:] “Findings The results showed that political conservatism, religiousness, conspiracy ideation, and openness to experience significantly contributed [i.e., either positively or negatively —Ed.] to trust in science, while education did not. Furthermore, after controlling for these factors, an aspect of intellectual humility, openness to revising one’s viewpoint, emerged as one of the key predictors of trust in science.”
—Nejc Plohl & Bojan Musil, “Assessing the incremental value of intellectual humility and cognitive reflection in predicting trust in science”, Personality and Individual Differences journal, Volume 214, November 2023, 112340, online at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886923002635 [Note: This study provides evidence in support of most of the hypotheses made above, although somewhat surprisingly it found that increased educational levels did not necessarily make people more likely to trust science. References in support of statements made above and in the article can be found there. The fact that more education did not contribute to more trust in science strongly suggests, in our opinion, that American education is not at all focused on the most important and valuable things. —Ed.]
Immaterial “property” in capitalist society, created by human beings, and originally owned either by the creator(s), or else by the company the human creator(s) work for. Included in this broad category are such things as important new ideas, as for example ideas for inventions; writings of all kinds, including books; musical compositions; artistic performances; and so forth. Once created, most such “intellectual property” can be copyrighted or patented (i.e., registered with the government), and for the duration of this legal protection can only be used by others if they buy the rights to do so.
Thus the existence of intellectual property is both a reward and a protection for the original creator(s) under capitalism, and also an obstacle to the rapid use and employment of that “property” by others under capitalism. If, for example, workers at one company invent a better way of producing some commodity such as rubber or steel, other companies are prohibited from using that better method for a substantial period, unless they pay for the rights to do so. The original idea was to reward creators for their ideas and efforts, and thus promote social advances. But ironically, in modern society, the existence of intellectual property more often serves to retard the rapid advance of production and of society in general!
Under socialism, and even more assuredly in communist society, there will be no such thing as intellectual property. Of course the creators of new ideas, new methods, new writings, new works of art, and so forth, will be applauded and will receive wages under socialism just as all other workers do. And under communism, where money does not even exist any more, of course the creators of intellectual advances will have full access in satisfying all their needs just as everyone else does. Human inventions and creations will benefit all of humanity, and right from their very creation.
Those individuals in society who are generally better educated and who typically engage in work which requires considerable intellectual training or involves the presentation and discussion of ideas. This social category includes doctors, lawyers, journalists, writers, professors, scientists, and so forth. Most intellectuals in capitalist society are indoctrinated into the standard (or prevailing) points of view in their specific subject areas, but also more generally into accepting and promoting the basic political and social doctrines of bourgeois society. Those small numbers of intellectuals who are not so indoctrinated find it extremely difficult to find employment, with only rare exceptions. This control and supervision of intellectuals is one of the main ways in which the ruling class indoctrinates the young to support capitalism, to “patriotically” support their capitalist nation and its policies and wars, and to generally refrain from even seriously questioning the right of the rich and their hired politicians to rule society.
Since intellectuals, on the whole, are indoctrinated with bourgeois points of view and prejudices, in capitalist society they tend to strongly oppose social revolution—though many of them may support one or another variety of limited reformism. Of course there are also a small number of revolutionary intellectuals, and their numbers grow rapidly during a revolutionary situation and uprising. However, many of these last minute additions to the revolutionary ranks have only a shallow understanding of what revolution is and why it must continue even after the initial proletarian seizure of power. Many intellectuals will not at first understand that they themselves still have many bourgeois ideas and biases and that therefore they also constitute a long-term danger to the revolution. This is even true of older and more experienced revolutionary intellectuals and ideologists, to some degree. For this reason (among others), the continuing campaign of ideological struggle leading up to the proletarian seizure of power from the capitalists must be continued and even intensified afterwards, and especially among intellectuals. All intellectuals, including even the more revolutionary ones, should come to understand that much of their own thinking was formed in bourgeois society and therefore that they also are still in need of intellectual remolding as the revolution continues and progresses.
See also below, and: INTELLIGENTSIA
“The pattern of praise and punishment [for the two categories of intellectuals] is a familiar one throughout history: those who line up in the service of the state are typically praised by the general intellectual community, and those who refuse to line up in service of the state are punished.” —Noam Chomsky, Who Rules the World? (2016), p. 7.
INTELLECTUALS — Remolding Of
“The question of the intellectuals is above all one of ideology, and it is not helpful but harmful to resort to crude and heavy-handed measures for solving ideological questions. The remoulding of the intellectuals, and especially the changing of their world outlook, is a process that requires a long period of time. Our comrades must understand that ideological remoulding involves long-term, patient and painstaking work, and they must not attempt to change people’s ideology, which has been shaped over decades of life by giving a few lectures or by holding a few meetings. Persuasion, not coercion, is the only way to convince people. Coercion will never result in convincing people. To try to make them submit by force simply won’t do. This kind of method is permissible in dealing with the enemy, but absolutely impermissible in dealing with comrades or friends. What if we don’t know how to convince others? Then we have to learn. We must learn to conquer erroneous ideas through debate and reasoning.” —Mao, “Speech at the Chinese Communist Party’s National Conference on Propaganda Work”, March 12, 1957, SW5:432-3; online at: https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-5/mswv5_59.htm
Intellectuals who form an influential social or political elite. In Russia, in the Tsarist and early Soviet eras, this meant those people in the “liberal professions”, such as lawyers, doctors, university professors, etc. Thus in the Russian context the term ‘intelligentsia’ is nearly equivalent to what we mean by “petty bourgeois professionals” in the U.S. The ‘major intelligentsia’ meant the same as the ‘intelligentsia’ in Russia. The ‘minor intelligentsia’ meant salaried employees (as opposed to wage workers) and moderately educated people who did not have professional occupations.
INTENSIFICATION OF LABOR
[To be added...]
See also: LABOR—Simple vs. Complex, SPEED-UP
[To be added...]
See also below.: NEGATIVE INTEREST RATES, REAL INTEREST RATE
“Interest is therefore nothing but a part of the profit (which, in its turn, is itself nothing but surplus-value, unpaid labor), which the industrial capitalist pays to the owner of the borrowed capital with which he ‘works’, either exclusively or partially. Interest is a part of profit—of surplus-value—which, established as a special category, is separated from the total profit under its own name, a separation which is by no means based on its origin, but only on the manner in which it is paid out or appropriated. Instead of being appropriated by the industrial capitalist himself—although he is the person who at first holds the whole surplus-value in his hands no matter how it may be distributed between himself and other people under the names of rent, industrial profit and interest—this part of the profit is deducted by the industrial capitalist from his own revenue and paid to the owner of capital.” —Marx, TSV 3:470-1 [Addenda].
A term most commonly used in bourgeois sociology (and thus in bourgeois newspapers and other writing) to refer to the various segments of society which have different interests or concerns from each other. However, these different interests are construed very narrowly; thus the interests of the manufacturers might be contrasted to those of the service industry, and the interests of the steel manufacturers are contrasted to those of the construction industry. In other words, what is virtually never referenced are any overall class interests! (Bourgeois ideology tries to hide or deny the very existence of social classes, at least as understood by us Marxists as being the different relationships of large groups of people to the means of production.) Moreover, in practice, the term “interest group” is generally even more restricted to refer especially to groups which the ruling bourgeoisie disapproves of—such as labor unions, environmentalists, proponents of free speech or human rights, anti-war protesters, and so forth. Thus, in bourgeois discourse the term “interest group” often has a very negative connotation, implying that those being referred to are trouble makers, or at least small groups with narrow concerns not representative of the people generally. And this is why politicians all claim to represent “the people” and not private interest groups.
However, in bourgeois sociological theory the term “interest groups” is also used in a more theoretical way to try to explicate their distorted anti-working class conception of “democracy”. (See PLURALISM , definitions 6 through 8.)
“Today, we have powerful, self-interested corporations that benefit relatively few people—and that dominate the many other weakened institutions. The answer, [Nicholas] Lemann argues, must involve rebuilding some of those other institutions and creating new ones. This is democratic pluralism, in which interest groups compete to shape society. ‘It’s impossible to change things without interest groups,’ he writes. ‘In a pluralist system, the way to fight unacceptable views is to outorganize the people promoting them.’” —David Leonhardt, “Injustice for All”, a book review of Nicholas Lemann’s Transaction Man (2019), New York Times Book Review, Oct. 13, 2019, p. 11. [This is another example of how liberals foolishly try to “work within the system” that is ever-more powerfully opposed to the real interests of the working people. —Ed.]
An amount usually calculated as a percentage of the total amount (or prinicipal) loaned or invested which is paid to the investor during a given period (such as each month or each year), or else which is added to the principal to be paid back later.
Interest rates fluctuate based on the state of the capitalist economy, the changing demand for loans, the availability of money which banks or the rich seek to loan out, and so forth. Moreover, interest rates are in the modern capitalist-imperialist era purposely manipulated by the capitalist state depending upon whether they are most concerned at a given time to encourage more investment or to limit inflationary pressures.
For at least a century the basic prevailing interest rates for invested capital fluctuated around a long-term average of about 2% annually. [See: Marco Del Negro, et al., “Global Trends in Interest Rates”, NBER Working Paper #25039, Sept. 2018.] However, over the past couple decades, and especially since the advent of the financial crisis which began in 2008 as part of the Great Recession, world interest rates have been forced down by the U.S. Federal Reserve and other worried capitalist governments who as of 2018 are still trying to bring about a full economic recovery from that major crisis. Real interest rates (after factoring in inflation) have been around 0%, and in some periods in some countries even negative! This is additional proof that the crisis is by no means over and is in fact still developing.
See also: NEGATIVE INTEREST RATES, REAL INTEREST RATE
INTERESTS (Politics and Ethics)
Of course there are the familiar concepts of money interest and of being interested in (curious about) something. But in philosophy there is a different concept (objective or beneficial interest), namely, something which objectively benefits or is to the advantage of someone or a group. This meaning of ‘interests’ is the most fundamental concept in all of social science. A focus on beneficial interests is the key to understanding both politics and ethics.
For an extensive discussion of the word ‘interests’ in this sense, and its fundamental importance in ethics, see my work in progress, An Introduction to the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Class Interest Theory of Ethics, online at: https://www.massline.org/Philosophy/ScottH/MLM-Ethics-Ch1-2.pdf, especially Chapter 2. —S.H.
See also below and: CLASS INTERESTS, MATERIAL INTERESTS
“People always have been the foolish victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and they always will be until they have learnt to seek out the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises.” —Lenin, “Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism”, LCW 19:28.
INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE
The things which objectively benefit the people, especially considered overall and in the long run. In MLM usage, this phrase assumes we are talking about the people in the Maoist sense, that is, the proletariat and its allies, as opposed to the enemy (the bourgeoisie and its agents and allies). The most central interest of the people in the long run is the revolutionary transformation of capitalism into communism.
“Our point of departure is to serve the people whole-heartedly and never for a moment divorce ourselves from the masses, to proceed in all cases from the interests of the people and not from the interests of individuals or groups.... Communists must be ready at all times to stand up for the truth, because truth is in the interests of the people; Communists must be ready at all times to correct their mistakes, because mistakes are against the interests of the people.” —Mao, “On Coalition Government” (April 24, 1945), SW 3:315.
“In a word, every comrade must be brought to understand that the supreme test of the words and deeds of a Communist is whether they conform with the highest interests and enjoy the support of the overwhelming majority of the people.” —Mao, ibid, SW 3:316.
INTERESTS OF THE WHOLE PEOPLE
This is a phrase which is generally used to talk about the population as a whole, without reference (even by implication) to specific social classes. As such, there are more often appropriate opportunities for revisionists to use the phrase than for revolutionary Marxists!
See also: “PARTY OF THE WHOLE PEOPLE”
INTERESTS — Short-term versus Long-term
The things which benefit the people, their beneficial interests, may be either short-term or long-term. Of course both are important. It is in the short-term interests of a worker that he or she have a good dinner tonight. It is in the long-term interests of the worker that his or her class makes social revolution, overthrows capitalism, and seizes political power for the proletariat and its allies. Which is more important? Well, we all recognize that long-term interests are in some sense more important, even though if too many short-term interests are disregarded we might all die of starvation! Both short-term and long-term interests must be addressed to some degree, even though addressing long-term interests very often involves purposely ignoring some short-term interests. That is just the way the world is. Satisfying our long-term needs and interests typically involves sacrificing some of our short-term needs and interests.
“Policies of benevolence are of two kinds. One is concerned with
the people’s immediate interests. The other is concerned with their long-term
interests, such as resisting U.S. aggression and aiding Korea and building heavy
industry. The first is a policy of lesser benevolence and the second a policy of
greater benevolence. Both must be taken into consideration and it is wrong not to
do so. Where then is the emphasis to be placed? On the policy of greater benevolence.
At present the emphasis in our policy of benevolence should be on the construction
of heavy industry. Construction takes money. Therefore much as the livelihood of the
people needs to be improved, this cannot be done to any great extent for the time
being. In other words, while we do have to improve the people’s livelihood, we must
not make too much. To make allowance for the policy of lesser benevolence is to go
off the right track.
“Now some friends put lop-sided stress on the policy of lesser benevolence; in effect, they wanted us to give up the war to resist U.S. aggresssion and aid Korea, and now they want us to give up the building of heavy industry. We must criticize this erroneous view.” —Mao, “Our Great Victory in the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea and Our Future Tasks” (Sept. 12, 1953), SW 5:119.
Interkit is the shortened form of the Russian phrase meaning “International China”. However, this actually became the working name of the Soviet Union’s international alliance of revisionist anti-Chinese (i.e., anti-Maoist) parties and countries during the Sino-Soviet ideological struggle, and also of their reactionary international ideological campaign itself.
After several years of preparations, in December 1967 the state capitalist and social-imperialist Soviet Union launched a series of coordinated “active measures” in a campaign called the “China International” or Interkit, which was a massive joint international ideological, propagandistic, and disinformation attack on Mao and China. Interkit ran from the late 1960s until 1986. (By 1986, of course, it was clear to the Soviet Union that China had become just as anti-Maoist as it was itself!)
See also the book, The Interkit Story: A Window into the Final Decades of the Sino-Soviet Relationship, by James Hershberg, et al., (2011), available at: https://www.bannedthought.net/USSR/CriticismOfChina/TheInterkitStory-2011.pdf
“[W]hile the ideological, political and even military aspects of Moscow-Beijing
tensions have been analysed in great detail, very few studies exist on how exactly Moscow was
able to keep its allies in the ‘fraternal parties’ in an anti-China camp during the Split. In
this purpose, Interkit (derived from the Russian word for China, ‘Kitai’), first convened in
Moscow in 1967, served as a forum where the International Department of the Soviet Politburo
essentially tried to dictate the China policies of respective allied states.”
—Zhong Zhong Chen, London School of Economics, “‘Interkit’: An International Against China? Policy Coordination and National Interests in the Soviet Bloc in the Second Half of the Cold War”.
See: SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE, OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCES
See: BOOKS [Hofstadter/Sander quote]
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS OF TRADE UNIONS
See: RED INTERNATIONAL OF LABOR UNIONS
[As used by the U.S. State Department and other representatives or defenders of U.S. imperialism:] “A technical term referring to the United States and whoever happens to agree with it.” [Noam Chomsky, Who Rules the World? (2016), p. 51.]
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF MARXIST-LENINIST PARTIES AND ORGANIZATIONS (International Newsletter)
[Not to be confused with the “ICMLPO (Unity & Struggle)”, see below.] Sometimes informally called the ICMLPO (Maoist). This is a very loose federation of parties and organizations which support Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought, or perhaps in some cases a version of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. This conference meets every 2 or 3 years. However, a number of the most important Maoist parties in the world, such as the Communist Party of India (Maoist), do not belong to this grouping and have not participated in these conferences. The ICMLPO (International Newsletter) has a website at: http://www.icmlpo.de
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF MARXIST-LENINIST PARTIES AND ORGANIZATIONS (Unity & Struggle)
[Not to be confused with the the “ICMLPO (International Newsletter)”, see above.] This loose federation is also known as the ICMLPO (Hoxhaist). This is an association of parties and groups which condemn modern revisionism, but also oppose Maoism. They follow instead the ideas of Enver Hoxha of Albania, and tend to be extremely doctrinaire. Most of the groups are also extremely small. The official homepage of the ICMLPO (Hoxhaists) is at: http://www.cipoml.net/
“INTERNATIONAL DIVISION OF LABOR” [Soviet Imperialist Doctrine]
A doctrine that was used by the social-imperialist Soviet Union to “justify” the restrictions it placed on what other countries in its sphere of control could or had to produce, based in reality mostly on what was of the greatest benefit to the Soviet economy itself.
“‘International division of labor’ is a device by which the Soviet Union squeezes and bleeds the ‘fraternal countries’ in what it calls the ‘socialist community.’ In the words of the renegade clique in the Kremlin, what the ‘community’ members should or should not produce in the ‘international division of labor’ is determined by their ‘most favorable natural and economic conditions.’ Actually the ultimate decision hinges on the needs of the Soviet state monopoly capital. The Soviet Union uses ‘international division of labor’ to force some C.M.E.A. states to provide it with primary agricultural and mining products and reduce some others to virtual processing plants for the Soviet economy. According to the principles guiding ‘international division of labor,’ products which are needed by a member country and conditions for whose manufacture are available cannot be produced if they are not included in the ‘division of labor.’ On the other hand, products listed in the ‘division of labor’ must be produced even if they are not wanted in large quantities by a member country. The Soviet Union, however, is not subject to these restrictions.” —Note in Peking Review, #46, Nov. 11, 1977, pp. 25-26.
In class society there is very little which can be considered to constitute any system of stable and significant international law. The anarchic nature of capitalist economic production is well known. But what is less frequently openly acknowledged is the anarchic nature of world politics in international capitalist society, especially in the more modern era of capitalist-imperialism. There are of course a great many international agencies and agreements, but these agencies and agreements are most often ignored with impunity by the most powerful imperialist countries whenever they deem their own narrow exploitative interests so demand.
Thus while the International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, Netherlands, began functioning in 2002, and officially has 122 member countries (as of 2019), the most arrogant imperialist county, the United States, is not a member and refuses to recognize the court’s authority to prosecute Americans—no matter how serious the crime, and no matter how exhaustive the evidence.
The broader political order is governed by the United Nations. But here again the basic structure of the UN was purposely set up so that all the most important decisions (assigned to the so-called Security Council) are subject to the veto power of the major powers which emerged as victors at the end of World War II. Would ordinary criminals mind if they were subject to a court whose verdicts they could veto with impunity? Of course not. And the big imperialist powers today, who engage in crime after crime, including endless wars of aggression, are in effect under no constraints from the UN whatsoever.
“International law”, as it exists in the era of capitalist-imperialism, is basically one horrendous joke.
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF)
An international agency set up at the end of World War II by the victorious capitalist-imperialist powers led by the United States whose purpose is to try to institutionalize the exploitation of rest of the world by the imperialist powers controlling it, and at the same time to stabilize the international financial system and deal with the serious financial problems that continually arise within it. Although the fund officially became a specialized agency of the United Nations in 1947, it continues to be dominated and controlled by the U.S. with the support of the other traditional imperialist powers (especially Britain, France, Germany and Japan). In essence it is the international bank which enforces the monetary dictates of these imperialist powers on the other capitalist countries of the world. It is the central bank of the current World Imperialist System.
Over the 70 years of its existence so far, the IMF has focused on such things as resolving balance of payments deficits—especially on the part of “Third World” countries—by forcing these countries to devalue their currencies (thus making their products available more cheaply to the imperialist exploiters). The IMF, therefore, is a major tool of the imperialists in continually intensifying their exploitation of the workers of other countries. The IMF also puts heavy pressure on its member countries to allow the full convertibility of their currencies into U.S. dollars and other currencies—which again facilitates the transfer of profits to the imperialist ruling classes in the dominant countries.
The IMF operates with the “carrot and the stick” approach. It will issue loans to countries suffering major trade deficits which will allow them to continue exporting their products—that’s the “carrot” part. But it then demands the devaluations and/or other changes beneficial to foreign imperialism in exchange—that’s the “stick” part. However, this whole technique is showing ever-increasing difficulties and strain. Although according to bourgeois economic theory the forced devaluations should allow the indebted countries to eventually run trade surpluses and pay off their debts, things are not actually working out this way. (One basic fact that is ignored here is that all capitalist countries need to almost constantly expand their debt levels in order to keep their economies going in the first place.)
On an international scale the IMF is currently the primary “lender of last resort”. Thus the IMF has recently been the leading bank trying to cope with the chronic and totally unsustainable debt growth in the world by itself becoming a major source of “serial lending” (with new larger loans necessary in order to pay off older, smaller loans), in a desperate attempt to keep the world economy functioning. Near the end of 2015 the U.S. ratified an agreement to expand the capital of the IMF to improve its short-term prospects of keeping the world financial system fairly stable. But at the same time it is forcing some rules changes on the IMF that will make serial lending more difficult (at least with countries such as Greece). Mixed signals such as this raise serious questions about how successful the IMF can be in coming years, and it is certainly the case that the ever-greater expansion of world debt must come to a crashing end at some point.
See also: RECESSIONS—Predicting [“Harper’s Index” quote]
“INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST OWNERSHIP” [Soviet Imperialist Doctrine]
Another doctrine that was used by the social-imperialist Soviet Union to “justify” Soviet domination of the economies of other nominally “socialist” countries in its sphere of control. This was actually an excuse to set up Soviet-controlled multinational (or transnational) corporations which could freely operate in (and exploit) their “fraternal countries”.
Now that China has become a capitalist imperialist country it is of course doing the very same thing, though without bothering with most of the phony “socialist” ideological trappings.
“Since the beginning of the 1970s, the Soviet social-imperialists have been loudly preaching about establishing a ‘common ownership,’ or ‘international socialist ownership’ in the ‘socialist community.’ The Soviet ruling clique asserted that ‘contradictions have arisen between one-nation ownership and the productive forces of an increasing international nature.’ Therefore, to solve these contradictions, so their argument goes, it is necessary to set up a ‘common ownership’ in the ‘community.’ The Soviet-controlled C.M.E.A. has set up a number of ‘international economic joint companies,’ among them the international atomic instrument joint company and the international textile-machinery joint company. The Soviet Union has gathered into its hands the power on all important issues and is monopolizing everthing in these ‘joint companies’ for the purpose of directly controlling the key industrial departments of the member states.” —Note in Peking Review, #46, Nov. 11, 1977, pp. 27.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
An international holiday promoting women’s equality and celebrating the contributions of women to the people’s struggles. It is now celebrated on March 8, each year.
International Women’s Day was first organized by Clara Zetkin and the international revolutionary socialist movement in March of 1911. [More to be added...]
INTERNATIONAL WORKINGMEN’S ASSOCIATION
[Afterwards often called the “First International”.] This was the first major organization of the militant international proletariat. Marx played an important role in it. It was founded in London in 1864, and held congresses in Geneva (1866), Lausanne (1867), Brussels (1868), Basle (1869), and the Hague (1872). At its peak, the official journal of the IWA said that it had 8 million members, though police reports claimed only 5 million.
The disruptions of the anarchists led by Bakunin, especially after 1871, were a major factor leading to the demise of the IWA. It formally disbanded in Philadelphia in 1876.
The Internationale is the anthem and fighting song of the international working class. It is often sung by militant groups of workers and students while raising their right clenched fists. The original French poem was written in June 1871, just after the fall of the Paris Commune, by the French revolutionary Eugène Pottier (1816–1887). The words were set to original music by the worker/composer Pierre De Geyter (1848–1932) in 1888. The lyrics have been translated into about 100 languages, and the song is widely sung around the world. Here is the 2-stanza version of the translation (by Charles Kerr) which is most often sung in the United States:
Arise, you prisoners of starvation!
Arise, you wretched of the earth!
For justice thunders condemnation:
A better world’s in birth!
No more tradition’s chains shall bind us,
Arise you slaves, no more in thrall!
The earth shall rise on new foundations:
We have been nought, we shall be all!
’Tis the final conflict,
Let each stand in his place.
The international working class
Shall be the human race
We want no condescending saviors
To rule us from their judgment hall,
We workers ask not for their favors
Let us consult for all:
To make the thief disgorge his booty
To free the spirit from its cell,
We must ourselves decide our duty,
We must decide, and do it well.
’Tis the final conflict,
Let each stand in his place.
The international working class
Shall be the human race
For further information about the Internationale see the Wikipedia entry.
INTERNET — Regulation or Suppression of by Reactionary Governments
As the Internet developed around the world and has come to be in near-universal use and of extreme importance to people, the reactionary bourgeois governments of the world have become more and more alarmed by it, and have sought to control it politically. What was originally hoped to be a major boost to free speech everywhere has instead become ever more closely monitored and controlled in more and more countries. Fortunately, there are still at least some independent web sites in some countries, which criticize the evils of capitalist-imperialist society and even call for socialist revolution. It is unclear how long this revolutionary criticism of present-day society will be allowed to continue on the Internet. And even now, where the Internet is under the total control of reactionary ruling classes, the people should work to develop alternative communication methods, no matter how “old fashioned” or crude.
Fortunately, sometimes the government suppression of information sources like the Internet can backfire! See the case of Egypt in 2011 in the quote below.
“Governments that are in denial about impending change will find themselves battling to
control their citizens. The authors cite Egypt as one example. On January 28th 2011 the Mubarak government
shut down the internet in anticipation of protests. That caused activists to pour onto the streets, perhaps
hastening the regime’s end.
“Suspending the internet may be a blunt instrument but controlling it can be an effective tool. China and Iran like to do this a lot. Other countries are more subtle. Turkey, for instance, constantly adjusts its levels of filtering depending both on the whims of authorities and public demands. The authors call this the ‘sheepish’ model of filtering.”
—“Technology and the future: Feel the Force”, The Economist, May 4, 2013, p. 81, which is in part a review of the book The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business, by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen (2013).
INTERPENETRATION OF OPPOSITES
See: POLES OF A CONTRADICTION [Engels quote]
INTERPRETATION — Of MLM Texts
Who has the “right” to interpret or reinterpret revolutionary texts, such as the writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Mao and the many other lesser contributors to the science of revolutionary Marxism? Is it only the most educated and knowledgeable individuals? Is it only the “approved” experts and authorities in the dominant revolutionary party in each country?
Religions, sects and cults almost always take the position that only their own official top “authorities” or gurus have the right to reinterpret their doctrines, let alone to modify or change them in any significant way. This, for example, is the stance that the Roman Catholic Church takes with regard to its religious scriptures. (See: COUNCIL OF TRENT)
But this is not the way it is in science, or at least it is not the way it should be in science, including within our MLM revolutionary movement that is trying to operate in a scientific manner. Anyone has the right to suggest interpretations, re-interpretations, corrections, modifications, or other changes to our revolutionary theory and practice. Of course, each MLM party or organization, and even each individual in those groups, also has the right to accept or reject each of those suggestions! Mao stated that “Anyone, no matter who, may point out our shortcomings” and that if they are right we will correct them. [“Serve the People” (Sept. 8, 1944), SW 3:227.] Mao was speaking of our actions and activities. But the same is actually true of our scientific theory itself, which governs and leads to those actions. If we discover that aspects of our theory need to be reinterpreted or changed, in order to better serve the people and the revolution, we will do so.
However, we certainly do not lightly reinterpret or change even the secondary elements of our revolutionary theory! We Marxist-Leninist-Maoists also have our authorities who we have learned through long experience and struggle to trust and follow, certainly in general. And most of all that means the well-earned authority of the greatest creators of our theory themselves: Marx, Engels, Lenin and Mao. However, it is not true that we will never disagree with any of these great revolutionary theorists! But it is true that this should only be done after very careful consideration, and after thorough and open discussions of where and why there might—on rare occasions—be a need to do so. MLM science is a living science. It is not complete, finalized and settled for all time. Conditions change, and sometimes that means that revolutionary theory may need to be reinterpreted or to change along with it.
And it is for this reason that, especially when our revolutionary movement faces new or intensified dangers and problems, that some comrades may start to think about alternatives to aspects of our theory and program. Will they be right or wrong? Perhaps, most of the time they will turn out to be wrong. But, just maybe, sometimes they will turn out to be right—as Mao turned out to be correct about the brand new method of revolutionary warfare he developed appropriate to mostly rural and semi-feudal China during the first half of the 20th century—Protracted People’s War. Struggling amongst ourselves about the appropriateness and correctness of reinterpretations and modifications to our MLM revolutionary theory is part and parcel of our overall revolutionary struggle in general. —S.H.
INTERSECTIONALITY [Contemporary Liberal/Radical Sociology]
A concept which attempts to overcome the narrowness and isolating aspects of identity politics by emphasizing that most people are not characterized by any single “identity”, but rather by multiple identities which “intersect” and interact with each other. Although the intentions of those upholding this theory of intersectionality are positive, they generally still fail to understand that there is one “identity” in the world today which is overall far more central than the others—namely, one’s class identity. Treating all identities as being on a par, even if we recognize that they “intersect”, is still a grossly insufficient outlook on which to base a program of struggle to end all the many forms of discrimination that exist within capitalist society. If the struggle does not have as its main focus the elimination of capitalism, then it can never be completely successful in eliminating discrimination—no matter to what extent those involved have an outlook of “intersectionality” and recognize and oppose other forms of discrimination and oppression in addition to those directed at themselves.
Intersectionality is a term coined by American civil rights advocate
Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw to describe overlapping or intersecting social identities and
related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination. Intersectionality is the
idea that multiple identities intersect to create a whole that is different from the
component identities. These identities that can intersect include gender, race, social
class, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, age, mental disability,
physical disability, mental illness, and physical illness as well as other forms of
identity. These aspects of identity are not “unitary, mutually exclusive entities, but
rather...reciprocally constructing phenomena.” The theory proposes that individuals
think of each element or trait of a person as inextricably linked with all of the other
elements in order to fully understand one’s identity.
This framework, it is argued, can be used to understand how systemic injustice and social inequality occur on a multidimensional basis. Intersectionality holds that the classical conceptualizations of oppression within society—such as racism, sexism, classism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia and belief-based bigotry—do not act independently of each other. Instead, these forms of oppression interrelate, creating a system of oppression that reflects the “intersection” of multiple forms of discrimination. —From the Wikipedia entry on Intersectionality at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersectionality (accessed on June 21, 2017).
[Ethics:] An intrinsic good or intrinsic value is something that is good or valuable in itself, and without considering further goals, needs or interests. Thus for most of us, love and friendship are intrinsic goods, as are most other things which result in joy or pleasure. It would seem that the opposite of an intrinsic good might be an “extrinsic good”, but most often the term used is instrumental good, which better brings out that the thing is useful as an instrument toward achieving some further goal or interest. Of course, many things are both intrinsically and instrumentally good, such as a good meal which is enjoyable in itself and also useful in continuing our lives and giving us the energy to pursue our other goals and interests.
Among the standard dictionary definitions for intuition are: 1) “Quick and ready insight”; 2) “immediate apprehension”; 3) “knowledge or conviction gained by intuition”; 4) “the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference”. [Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed. (1993).]
Occasionally people imagine that intuition in one or more of these senses is thus a mystical thing, an inexplicable thing, or even “evidence” of the existence of gods, ESP, or the like! Actually, the existence of sometimes accurate intuitions is evidence that the brain is often capable of coming to good decisions based on its internal connections of ideas and facts which are not part of immediate consciousness. In other words there is often more rationality to intuition than is obvious even to the person with the intuition—let alone to others. And for this reason, even correct intuitions are not an argument for philosophical idealism.
But intuition too needs to be trained; it gets more sophisticated and more accurate the more one has consciously studied the matter at issue. The intuitions of a trained medical doctor are very likely to be much more accurate than the intuitions of a layman about a health problem.
“intuition A mode of understanding or knowing characterized as direct and immediate and occuring without conscious thought or judgment. There are two distinct connotations which often accompany this term: (a) that the process is unmediated and somehow mystical; (b) that it is a reponse to subtle cues and relationships apprehended implicitly, unconsciously.” —Arthur S. Reber, Dictionary of Psychology (1985).
“[A]n intuition is not an argument.... I trust my intuitions: I do not ask you to trust them. My appeal to intuition need not be misunderstood. I may open a case on the grounds of intuition: I do not rest the case on the grounds of intuition. If I did so I would have no case. An intuition poses a question, not an answer. And an answer to the question renders an appeal to intuition superfluous.” —Paul Ziff, American analytic philosopher, Semantic Analysis (1960), p. 9.
A term coined by the bourgeois philosopher Daniel Dennett to refer to little stories or considerations which are “designed to provoke a heartfelt, table-thumping intuition—‘Yes, of course, it has to be so!’—about whatever thesis is being defended.” [Dennett, Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking (2013), pp. 5-6.] In other words, something which promotes a specific viewpoint or theory in a particularly convincing sort of way. A thought experiment is one sort of intuition pump. The viewpoint or theory promoted may actually be correct or incorrect, good or bad, and the specific intuition pump may therefore be something which serves a positive or negative role in social discourse.
An example of an intuition pump with a negative influence was the supposed “proof” of the existence of God before the scientific theory of evolution was elaborated by Darwin: “How else to explain the existence of human beings and the other animals and plants?” However, once evolutionary theory had been elaborated, it itself became a powerful and positive intuition pump supporting the view that there is no good reason to believe in God after all! (Note that even this specific positive intuition pump is by itself not conclusive; it is conceivable that some “god” created life and human beings through the means of evolution. A scientific proof that God definitely does not exist is possible only by coming to understand that mind and mental phenomena are of necessity high level ways of looking at (i.e., functions of) the activity of brains or their physical equivalent, and therefore no “disembodied mind” (as God is supposed to be) can possibly exist. Nevertheless, even just an understanding of the basic scientific principle of evolution already goes a long way towards undercutting the ancient crude, semi-plausible rationale for believing in God.)
1. The view that intuition is the primary source of knowledge, or important parts of it. Henri Bergson was one prominent idealist philosopher who championed this view.
2. [In ethics:] The view that moral terms such as ‘good’ or ‘right’ are indefinable in other terms, that the meanings of these moral terms are “self-evident” and can only be understood through one’s “intuition”. G.E. Moore was one of its leading advocates.
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