Saturday, 9 May 2015


Opinions are like arseholes, everyone has got one, however, we would all be full of crap without them. Neither has anyone a monopoly on the truth, which is rarely pure and never simple, as Oscar Wilde stated. When I first came across the subject of the Dialectic, I responded that it sounded too complicated for me but it was pointed out to me, that it was my resposnibility to educate myself about it, if I ever wanted to contribute anything progessive to the future. I found it hard to stomach, coming from an English woman, but I learned in subsequent years, there was much, that is useful, I could learn from the English. 

They tend to be always prepared, before they go into battle, they are organized and they stick together, so it would be foolish with our own history, to ignore this, aside from the Dialectics of Materialism. Being raised a Catholic, I was taught concepts, like the Pope was infallible and while I have a certain respect for the present incumbent, I have learned from experience, that no one is infallibe, especially myself. What I have learned to trust, is the commonsense of experience, both personally and historically, with the proviso of finding truthellers, which are rare. I believe Truth is the most powerful thing on the face of this earth but to find truth and commonsense, I need to have the patience and tolerance,  to listen through the many talking heads that abound. 

This most certainly also applies to what I read or observe on virtual reality screens, which are a far cry from reality. I present below what I believe, are some very important articles, on contemporary political events. I have a lot of respect for political prisoners, who have done time for their community and country, but I also have learned from bitter, bitter, experience, to put no one on a pedestal and I share this health warning, to include everyone, including myself. Ireland desperately needs an honest Dialectic, unrestricted by censorship, disinformation or time constraints It is being currently being poisoned, restricted, censored and interned by low intensity British Dirty War in all of Ireland.


Censor Offender

Republican Sinn Féin North Armagh Combat Scourge Of Drugs In Community

A press release from Republican Sinn Féin about a drugs issue in North Armagh.

Over the May bank holiday weekend a member of the public handed over a quantity of drugs to a member of Sinn Fein Poblachtach which had been found in the Lurgan/Craigavon area.

These were then in turn handed to a local clergyman to arrange for safe disposal. Daire Mac Cionnaith, Leas Uachtarain, Shinn Fein Poblachtach commended the person who handed over the drugs for their civic mindedness.

He said that:
North Armagh is awash with drugs of all sorts, with drug dealers openly dealing on street corners and driving around in high-performance cars. The only response to this crisis must be a community based response. The Republican and nationalist people must work together to combat the scourge of drugs and those who deal them.

It is quite evident that the RUC/PSNI has no intention of dealing with this issue; on the contrary, they seem happy to see our children hooked on drugs and to take advantage of those addicted to use as informers.

We call on all within our community, who are aware of drug dealing to make it known to local activists and work together as a community to rid ourselves of this scourge.

frankie white said...

I know unionists and shinners often use malicious rumours about republican involvement in the drugs trade, but as a resident of North Lurgan I can categorically state RSF are in no place to combat the scourge of Drugs in working class communities, several members of RSF I know for a fact are involved in the drugs trade, some of the old guard have members of their families who are well known drug users and hoods, and the main supplier of drugs in North Armagh, his father was previously associated with RSF.

It may seem like the sort of Sunday World sensationalism that we all rightly scoff at but anyone who lives in Kilwilke or Drumbeg knows exactly who I am talking about.

1:26 PM, May 08, 2015 Daire Mac Cionnaith said...

Frankie as a member of RSF in North Armagh I can state that no member of RSF is involved in the drug Trade and the old guard as you call them also have no association with RSF there blind protection of their family members involved in drugs is a total Disgrace, if you had any evidence of this I would urge you to bring it forward, but like all those who hide behind fake profile's on social media I wouldn't hold out much hope of you producing evidence,

6:10 PM, May 08, 2015

kearney said...

I have been a member of RSF for the past ten year in north lurgan ,and as a member I have never been associated with drugs / drug dealers during this time. I also can assure the people of lurgan that my associates have also never been involved in any such dealings. The people of lurgan know who the drug dealers are. It's easy for people like Mr white to muddy the water by spreading lies and rumours. It is a well known fact that RSF have openly challenged these drug dealers and will continue to do so. There has never bein anyone associated with drugs or drug dealing in RSF and never will . Being apart of RSF means openly challenging these issues that our young people face therefore i strongly suggest that Mr white take into great consideration the consequences that can arise from pointing fingers at the wrong people. Drug abuse and drug dealings will continue if the real culprits are not dealt with.11:38 PM, May 08, 2015

larry hughes said...

Accusations are the easiest thing to sling around. Sadly people love it and thrive on it. I don't live in Lurgan but I have family there and 3 grown up 'kids' so I have an idea of what is going on now and then. I have never even heard the suggestion republicans were dabbling in drugs. So personally I'm inclined to throw that story over my shoulder like a pinch of salt and walk on.9:15 AM, May 09, 2015

Irish republican socialists call on Real IRA to end 'armed struggle'

Internal paper from political wing of Irish group that assassinated Airey Neave is made public, calling armed republican actions ‘self-defeating’

Members of the Real IRA at a republican Easter commemoration ceremony in 2010. The new paper says armed actions are hampering the republican movement. Photograph: Niall Carson/P

Henry McDonald Ireland correspondent

Monday 4 May 2015 18.26 BSTLast modified on Monday 4 May 201519.54 BST

An internal document from the political wing of the Irish terror group that assassinated one of Margaret Thatcher’s closest allies calling on the Real IRA, also known as New IRA, and other dissident republicans to end their “armed struggle” has been made public.

The Irish Republican Socialist party discussion paper describes the hardline republicans’ ongoing armed campaigns as a “self-defeating dynamic”.

The IRSP are the political allies of the Irish National Liberation Army, which in 1979 exploded a booby trap bomb under the car belonging to the Conservative party’s Northern Ireland spokesman and second world war hero Airey Neave in Westminster. The Colditz escapee’s murder in the House of Commons car park catapulted the INLA, then a small splinter organisation, into international infamy. Neave, a strong supporter of unionism, was a close adviser and personal friend to Thatcher, who was elected prime minister a few months after his death.

The intervention in the debate over the future of republican armed struggle is significant because dissidents opposed to the peace process remain on friendly terms with and respect many IRSP and INLA veterans.

In its discussion paper, the IRSP refers to the continued New IRA, Continuity IRA and Óghlaigh na hÉireann: “Sporadic armed actions are not working; they are placing zero pressure upon either the British/Stormont or Free State regimes nor upon the capitalist economic systems which underwrite all of those states.”

Former INLA hunger striker Willie Gallagher said he hoped that the publication of the document on the republican website The Pensive Quill would add to the debate about the efficacy of ”armed struggle”.

Gallagher said: “We are hoping that at the very least the paper will produce some discussion among all the anti-Good Friday Agreement republican family. It’s the first time it’s been made public and no longer behind closed doors ... the debate can be conducted in a comradely fashion.”

In their document, the IRSP claim the continued campaigns of violence are now counterproductive.

The republican socialist movement said the infrequent attacks on police, army and some symbolic targets are simply “...bolstering the budgets of British military intelligence and handing a monthly propaganda victory to those who wish to make partition, capitalism, austerity and overt security measures appear to the general public as the rational state of affairs in Ireland; rational in comparison to actions which only achieve a temporary sense of personal achievement for the individuals involved and their supporters on the ground.”

The wreckage of a car hit by an INLA bomb killing the Tory spokesman on Northern Ireland, Airey Neave, in 1979.

The continuation of the armed campaigns were also hampering the growth of a broad-based leftwing republican alternative to Sinn Féin, the IRSP said.

“Just as advocates of current armed actions assert that they have a right to bear arms in the name of Irish freedom; in the spirit of comradeship we must urge them to consider what duties come with that right. Not least the duty to consider the logistical limitations which come with practicing armed struggle perpetually in a woefully unsuitable environment. And the very real costs of that decision, both to you personally and to the cause of building a capable revolutionary momentum, which the Irish people so dearly need and deserve,” the IRSP document continues.

It noted the increasing number of New IRA, CIRA and ONH members that were arrested and imprisoned in thwarted terror attacks.

“The imprisonment of so many political activists has been a godsend to the state and to opponents of popular political struggle in Ireland and not only in terms of bodies lost on the ground.

“In addition to locking up scores of republicans; Britain has seized the opportunity to tie down remaining activists in an endless cycle of prison-based campaigns; ensuring that the time, resources and energies of militantly minded republicans are eternally deflected from the vital task of building a viable street-based alternative to the corrupt political and economic setup which now exists in Ireland.”

This is the latest critique of armed struggle within the broad-based and often factional wing of republicanism that opposes the Good Friday Agreement and Sinn Féin’s participation in the devolved power-sharing executive in Belfast funded by the UK treasury.

In 2014 Gerard Hodgins, a former Provisional IRA hunger striker and now one of Sinn Féin’s harshest critics in West Belfast, called on the dissident groups to declare ceasefires. Hodgins said that the British state had the surveillance technology to watch the armed organisations “24/7” and that the conditions were not right for continuing armed campaigns.

Earlier this year Hodgins’ warning was echoed by the hardline Irish-American critic of the peace process Martin Galvin, whom the Thatcher government once banned from Northern Ireland in the 1980s.

The Pensive Quill is run by former IRA prisoner Anthony McIntyre. It gives a voice to republicans and republican socialists opposed to Sinn Féin’s peace strategy and opposes any return to violence.

UK: Election 2015: The Horror

By Matt Carr

May 08, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - I didn’t stay up to watch the nightmare unfold last night. The exit polls filled me with such shock, outrage, and disgust that I knew my blood pressure wouldn’t be able to cope with it. After eleven o’clock there was no way I was going to spend any more time in the company of Michael Gove and Andrew Neil and the endlessly cheery and upbeat BBC journalists with their gimmicky nausea-inducing BBC graphics showing the House of Commons filled with virtual reality politicians.

I have never been impressed by Miliband either before the campaign or during it, but the things that this government have done – and which it promises to do – have been so brutal, so dishonest and so horrendous, that I believed that even an electorate that too often seems all too willing to believe anything and accept anything could not give the Tories a mandate. Regardless of the coming Labour meltdown in Scotland, I thought there would be a close result overall, possibly a narrow Labour victory and most likely a hung parliament that would have stymied the Tories and forced Miliband into some kind of progressive, anti-austerity coalition.

After all, you don’t need to be particularly radical to think that proposals like abolishing non-dom status or imposing an energy freeze might appeal even to people whose political passions are as lukewarm as the Labour Party leadership’s, especially when compared with the prospect of five more years of a government poised to introduce the most savage cuts to social welfare since the 1930s. But nope, even those little social democratic sweeties couldn’t bring the electorate round. Instead British – I mean English – voters chose to reward one of the most vicious rightwing governments in British history with a near majority.

It’s a result that was made possible by a sheeplike, frightened and rancorous population that appears increasingly disposed to believe all the lies that it is told by its vile newspapers. It is an irrational, stupid and fearful vote by an electorate that doesn’t even recognize its own self-interest, let alone the interests of others, that has abandoned any commitment to even the most elementary principles of social justice; that didn’t couldn’t even see that Miliband’s tepid, focus-group-manufactured One Nation ‘fairness’ was still preferable to the dismal social cruelty that the government has already inflicted and which is certain to intensify in the next five years.

In doing so the English have demonstrated extraordinary political cowardice. Lacking the gumption to challenge the powerful, they have preferred to elect a government that victimizes the powerless. This is a population that prefers to doff the cap than bite the hand that it thinks feeds; that expresses its digusts with politicians by voting in the worst of them; that drapes itself in the Union Jack and doffs its collective hat to its masters in the hope that it can be like them; that would rather blame the Scots who want to fight austerity than fight it themselves.

I know that this vote doesn’t represent majority opinion either in England or in the UK as a whole; the British voting system ensures that few votes ever do. But the Tories have so far picked up some 30 percent of the vote share. Equally alarmingly, UKip have gained more than 3 million votes even though they have so far only won one seat, and they even managed to increase their vote share in Wales by ten percent.

So we are witnessing an extraordinary disaster for the majority of the population that is not and never will be Conservative, and a catastrophe for the Labour Party in particular. Now as Ed Miliband prepares to depart, the Blairites are sharpening their knives, and there are rumours that David Miliband is flying back to the country. So Miliband will be replaced by Miliband, and they wonder why so few people were convinced by Labour.

Miliband has said that his party was ‘overwhelmed’ by a ‘surge of nationalism’ in Scotland. This is rubbish. Labour could still have won even without the seats it lost to the SNP. Miliband’s pseudo-explanation doesn’t explain why that ‘surge’ took place, or what it was in the SNP’s ‘nationalism’ that led so many former Labour voters in Scotland came to regard Labour as ‘Red Tories.’

Even in Gordon Brown’s constituency, the SNP won with with a 10,000 swing. So much for the big clunking fist who ‘saved the union.’ Labour’s fate was clearly sealed in Scotland long before the election, through years of taking its electorate for granted and through its alliance with the Tories over the referendum campaign. But even during this campaign Nicola Sturgeon continually put forward the idea of a ‘progressive anti-austerity alliance’ on both sides of the border, which Miliband continually rejected.

What a coward and what a fool. Instead he tried to convince the electorate that Labour was the party of social justice, even as he remained committed to an austerity programme of unspecified cuts that was essentially a ‘softer’ version of what the Tories were already planning. He tried to please all the people and ended up pleasing very few of them. He didn’t convince left-leaning voters that he would ‘change the way the country is run’ and he didn’t convince those who already believe in Tory economic ‘competence’ that he could run it more effeciently.

In the end the head boy failed to become PM. He failed to offer a convincing, compelling and inspiring vision of the future to counter the Tories’ crude but effective choice between ‘stability’ and ‘chaos’ or the notion that Labour would damage the fledgling ‘recovery’ that is already faltering. This message was rammed relentlessly home by the rightwing press and even by the Independent, which declared itself in favour of Tory/Lib Dem ‘stability.

The Cameron/Crosby team didn’t just convince a timid electorate that the status quo was better than the future that Labour was offering; they also appealed directly to English nationalism, with a ‘Vote Labour – Get Sturgeon/Salmond’ mantra that will always have traction in a country that always believes it is being unfairly treated and taken advantage of by foreigners of some kind or another, even if those ‘foreigners’ are Scots.

Whatever you think of the SNP’s ability to deliver on its social democratic credentials, its appeal to the Scots electorate is clearly based on very different premises than the beligerent, rancorous, flagwaving, royal baby worshipping, foreigner-hating nativism that is driving English nationalism in its current manifestation.

In Scotland, ‘nationalism’ produced a movement in which a 20-year-old student can overturn a Labour majority of 16,000 in Paisley and Renfrewshire South. In her victory speech Mhairi Black promised that she would fight to end austerity cuts that are hurting communities ‘ both north and south of the border.’

God only knows what might have happened if we had had more people of her age and with her passion and commitment down here in darkest England. Black, and the voters who elected her, have been inspired by a new and postive vision of Scotland’s collective future to take a gigantic leap into the political unknown. Here we have the rancid pseudo-rebellion of Ukip, and a population that is too terrified of its own shadow to abandon a spurious ‘stability’ which promises nothing but the demise of many of the things that it claims to hold dear.

Ironically, voters who may have seen a Tory mandate as a vote for the Union may have helped to bring its demise closer, since it is difficult to imagine how a government like this can keep the Scots on board, when Cameron and his gang of millionaires set about imposing the next swathe of cuts in a country where they no longer hold any mandate at all.

There were some consolations in this debacle; the well-deserved humiliation of the Lib Dems, whose opportunism and ambition for power did so much to make this outcome possible, by keeping in place a government that should never have made it out of 2010. There will hopefully, be the defeat of Nigel Farage in South Thanet.

But these are small crumbs of schadenfreude that cannot compensate for the monumental disaster for progressive politics that took place yesterday. Maybe something positive will come from it. But right now I can’t think what it can be. And I feel ashamed of my country and disgusted with it.

Matt Carr is a writer and journalist, living in Derbyshire England.

Seamus Costello

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Seamus Costello

Wicklow County Councillor

In office

March 1967 – October 1977



Personal details



Old Connaught Avenue, Bray, County Wicklow


5 October 1977 (aged 38)



Political party

Irish Republican Socialist Party

Other political


Sinn Féin (1955–1970)

Official Sinn Féin (1970–1974)


Maeliosa Costello

Seamus Costello (Irish:Séamus Mac Coisdealbha, 1939 – 5 October 1977) was a leader of Official Sinn Féin and the Official Irish Republican Army and latterly of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) and the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA).

He argued for a combination of socialist politics on economic issues and traditional physical force Irish republicanism. He is best remembered for the founding of the IRSP and the INLA. He was a victim of a feud with his former comrades in the Official IRA.

Early life and IRA Border Campaign

Born into a middle-class family in Bray,County Wicklow, he was educated at Christian Brothers College, Monkstown. He left school at 15 and became a mechanic and later car salesman in Dublin.

At the age of 16 he joined Sinn Féin and theIrish Republican Army. Within a year, he was commanding an active service unit in southCounty Londonderry during the Border Campaign, where his leadership skills and burning down of the courthouse in Magherafeltearned him the nickname of "the Boy General".[1] The unit's most publicised actions included the destruction of bridges.

He was arrested in Glencree, County Wicklow, in 1957 and sentenced to six months in Mountjoy Prison. On his release, he was immediately interned in the Curragh prison camp for two years.[3]

He spent his time in prison studying. He was particularly inspired by his studies of the Vietnamese struggle for independence. He became a member of the escape committee which engineered the successful escapes of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and Dáithí Ó Conaill, among others. Costello would later refer to this time as his "university days".
Political activism

After his release, Costello worked to rebuild the republican movement, beginning by building a local base of support in County Wicklow as Sinn Féin's local organiser. Costello strongly supported the movement's left-wing orientation of these years – especially its emphasis on grassroots political activism. He helped found a strong tenants' association in Bray, and also became involved with the credit unionmovement and various farmers' organisations. During this period, he found time to marry a Tipperary woman, Maeliosa, who also became active in the republican movement. Costello was elected to both Bray Urban District Counciland Wicklow County Council in 1966.

After the Troubles broke out in Northern Irelandin 1969, the IRA and Sinn Féin squabbled overabstentionism and the left-wing faction's socialist politics. The Republican Movement divided into Official and Provisional movements in 1969, but Costello remained with the Officials, owing to a greater commitment to left-wing politics. He served as Vice-President of Official Sinn Féin and as a staff officer in the Official IRA.

Costello was opposed to the 1972 ceasefire, started to clash openly with the leadership and with Eoin O'Murchú. Costello was subjected to court martial in 1974. Brigid Makowski, who was called to testify at his court martial in Mornington in County Louth, remarked that "Jesus could have testified on Costello's behalf and it wouldn't have changed the verdict."[5]He was dismissed from OSF in 1974 after the OSF leadership blocked his supporters from attending the party convention.

He enjoyed considerable political support, being elected as chairman of Bray Town Council and topping the poll in his Bray constituency for Wicklow County Council.
Founds INLA and IRSP

At a meeting in the Lucan Spa Hotel nearDublin, on 10 December 1974, the Irish Republican Socialist Party was formed by republicans, socialists, and trade unionists with Costello as the Chairperson.

At a private meeting later the same day, the Irish National Liberation Army was formed with Costello as the Chief of Staff, although its existence was to be kept secret for a time. The new grouping intended to combine left-wing politics with the "armed struggle" against British security forces in Northern Ireland.

Within days of its founding, the fledgling Irish Republican Socialist Movement was embroiled in a bitter feud with the Official IRA. The feud resulted in the attempted assassination of Official IRA leader Sean Garland who was wounded in an IRSP attack near his home in the Ballymun area of Dublin (Garland was wounded six times but survived the attack). Before a truce was reached, three members of the IRSP were dead. Later that same year, Bernadette McAliskey resigned from the IRSP over the failure of a motion that would have brought the INLA under IRSP control, taking over half of the Árd Chomhairle members with her.

In July 1976 Costello was replaced as INLA chief-of-staff by South Derry man Eddy McNicholl, although he still wielded considerable influence within the movement, retaining his position as chairman of the IRSP.

Despite the truce, Costello was shot dead as he sat in his car on the North Strand Road in Dublin on 5 October 1977 by a member of the Official IRA, Jim Flynn, who happened to be in the area at the time.[6] The Official and Provisional IRAs both denied responsibility and Sinn Féin/The Workers' Party issued a statement condemning the killing. Members of an opposing INLA faction in Belfast also denied the killing. However, the INLA eventually deemed Flynn the person responsible, and he was shot dead in June 1982 in the North Strand, Dublin, very close to the spot where Costello died.

Costello is the only leader of an Irish political party murdered to date.

At the time of his death, he was a member of the following bodies:
Wicklow County Council
County Wicklow Committee of Agriculture
General Council of Committees of Agriculture
Eastern Regional Development Organisation
National Museum Development Committee
Bray Urban District Council
Bray Branch of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union
Bray and District Trade Unions Council (of which he was president 1976–77)
Cualann Historical Society

as well as still holding the positions of
Chairperson of the IRSP and
Chief of Staff of the INLA.

His funeral was attended by Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, the then president of Sinn Féin, Michael O'Riordan of the Communist Party of Ireland,Bernadette McAliskey and local Wicklow TDsLiam Kavanagh (Labour), Ciarán Murphy(Fianna Fáil) and Godfrey Timmins (Fine Gael). At his funeral, Senator Nora Connolly O'Brien, daughter of the Easter Rising leader James Connolly, gave the oration.

Of all the politicians and political people with whom I have had conversations, and whom I have had conversations, and who called themselves followers of Connolly, he was the only one who truly understood what James Connolly meant when he spoke of his vision of the freedom of the Irish people

Nora Connolly O'Brien

Dialectical Materialism

Dialectical Materialism is a way of understanding reality; whether thoughts, emotions, or the material world. Simply stated, this methodology is the combination of Dialectics and Materialism. The materialist dialectic is the theoretical foundation of Marxism (while being communist is the practice of Marxism).

"It is an eternal cycle in which matter moves, a cycle that certainly only completes its orbit in periods of time for which our terrestrial year is no adequate measure, a cycle in which the time of highest development, the time of organic life and still more that of the life of being conscious of nature and of themselves, is just as narrowly restricted as the space in which life and self-consciousness come into operation. A cycle in which every finite mode of existence of matter, whether it be sun or nebular vapour, single animal or genus of animals, chemical combination or dissociation, is equally transient, and wherein nothing is eternal but eternally changing, eternally moving matter and the laws according to which it moves and changes.

Fredrick Engels
Dialectics of Nature

"Motion is the mode of existence of matter. Never anywhere has there been matter without motion, or motion without matter, nor can there be."

"Change of form of motion is always a process that takes place between at least two bodies, of which one loses a definite quantity of motion of one quality (e.g. heat), while the other gains a corresponding quantity of motion of another quality (mechanical motion, electricity, chemical decomposition).

"Dialectics, so-called objective dialectics, prevails throughout nature, and so-called subjective dialectics (dialectical thought), is only the reflection of the motion through opposites which asserts itself everywhere in nature, and which by the continual conflict of the opposites and their final passage into one another, or into higher forms, determines the life of nature."

Fredrick Engels
Dialectics of Nature

But dialectical materialism insists on the approximate relative character of every scientific theory of the structure of matter and its properties; it insists on the absence of absolute boundaries in nature, on the transformation of moving matter from one state into another, that from our point of view [may be] apparently irreconcilable with it, and so forth.

Vladimir Lenin
Materialism and Empirio-criticism

With each epoch-making discovery even in the sphere of natural science, materialism has to change its form; and after history was also subjected to materialistic treatment, a new avenue of development has opened here, too. [Ch. 2, The End of Classical German Philosophy]

"For dialectical philosophy nothing is final, absolute, sacred. It reveals the transitory character of everything and in everything; nothing can endure before it except the uninterrupted process of becoming and of passing away, of endless ascendancy from the lower to the higher."

Fredrick Engels
The End of Classical German Philosophy

An example of dialectical materialism applied is the materialist conception of history .

'Dialectical Materialism' was coined by Karl Kautsky and popularised in the Second International after the death of Marx and Engels.

See also: dialectics, materialism, Historical Materialism and Political Economy.


Dialectics is the method of reasoning which aims to understand things concretely in all their movement, change and interconnection, with their opposite and contradictory sides in unity.

Dialectics is opposed to the formal, metaphysical mode of thought of ordinary understanding which begins with a fixed definition of a thing according to its various attributes. For example formal thought would explain: ‘a fish is something with no legs which lives in the water’.

Darwin however, considered fish dialectically: some of the animals living in the water were not fish, and some of the fish had legs, but it was the genesis of all the animals as part of a whole interconnected process which explained the nature of a fish: they came from something and are evolving intosomething else.

Darwin went behind the appearance of fish to get to their essence. For ordinary understanding there is no difference between the appearance of a thing and its essence, but for dialectics the form and contentof something can be quite contradictory – parliamentary democracy being the prime example: democracy in form, but dictatorship in content!

And for dialectics, things can be contradictory not just in appearance, but in essence. For formal thinking, light must be either a wave or a particle; but the truth turned out to be dialectical – light is both wave and particle. (See the principle of excluded middle)

We are aware of countless ways of understanding the world; each of which makes the claim to be theabsolute truth, which leads us to think that, after all, “It’s all relative!”. For dialectics the truth is thewhole picture, of which each view is a more or less one-sided, partial aspect.

At times, people complain in frustration that they lack the Means to achieve their Ends, or alternatively, that they can justify their corrupt methods of work by the lofty aims they pursue. For dialectics, Means and Ends are a unity of opposites and in the final analysis, there can be no contradiction between means and ends – when the objective is rightly understood, "the material conditions [means] for its solution are already present or at least in the course of formation" (Marx, Preface of Contribution to a Political Economy)

An example of dialectical reasoning can be seen in Lenin's slogan: “All Power to the Soviets” spoken when the Soviets were against the Bolsheviks. Lenin understood, however, that the impasse could only be resolved by workers’ power. Since the Soviets were organs of workers’ power, a revolutionary initiative by the Bolsheviks would inevitably bring the Soviets to their side: the form of the Soviets during the time (lead by Mensheviks and SRs) were at odds with the content of the Soviets as Workers’, Peasants’ and Soldiers’ Councils.

Formal thinking often has trouble understanding the causes of events – something has to be a cause and something else the effect – and people are surprised when they irrigate land and 20 years later – due to salination of the land, silting of the waterways, etc – they have a desert! Dialectics on the other hand understands that cause and effect are just one and another side of a whole network of relations such as we have in an ecosystem, and one thing cannot be changed without changing the whole system.

These are different aspect of Dialectics, and there are many others, because dialectics is the method of thinking in which concepts are flexible and mobile, constrained only by the imperative of comprehending the movement of the object itself, however contradictory, however transient.

History: Dialectics has its origins in ancient society, both among the Chinese and the Greeks, where thinkers sought to understand Nature as a whole, and saw that everything is fluid, constantly changing, coming into being and passing away. It was only when the piecemeal method of observing Nature in bits and pieces, practiced in Western thinking in the 17th and 18th century, had accumulated enough positive knowledge for the interconnections, the transitions, the genesis of things to become comprehensible, that conditions became ripe for modern dialectics to make its appearance. It was Hegel who was able to sum up this picture of universal interconnection and mutability of things in a system of Logic which is the foundation of what we today call Dialectics.

As Engels put it:

“the whole world, natural, historical, intellectual, is represented as a process – i.e., as in constant motion, change, transformation, development; and the attempt is made to trace out the internal connection that makes a continuous whole of all this movement and development.” [Socialism: Utopian & Scientific]

It was in the decade after Hegel’s death – the 1840s – when Hegel’s popularity was at its peak in Germany, that Marx and Engels met and worked out the foundations of their critique of bourgeois society.

Hegel’s radical young followers had in their hands a powerful critical tool with which they ruthlessly criticised Christianity, the dominant doctrine of the day. However, one of these Young Hegelians, Ludwig Feuerbach, pointed out that Holy Family was after all only a Heavenly image of the Earthly family, and said that by criticising theology with philosophy, the Young Hegelians were only doing the same as the Christians – Hegel’s Absolute Idea was just another name for God! For Feuerbach, ideas were areflection of the material world and he held it to be ridiculous that an Idea could determine the world. Feuerbach had declared himself a materialist.

Marx and Engels began as supporters of Feuerbach. However, very soon they took up an opposition to Feuerbach to restore the Hegelian dialectic which had been abandoned by Feuerbach, and to free it from the rigidity of the idealistic Hegelian system and place the method on a materialist basis:

“Hegel was an idealist. To him, the thoughts within his brain were not the more or less abstract pictures of actual things and processes, but, conversely, things and their evolution were only the realized pictures of the ‘Idea’, existing somewhere from eternity before the world was. This way of thinking turned everything upside down, and completely reversed the actual connection of things in the world. ” [Fredrick Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific]

Thus, for Marx and Engels, thoughts were not passive and independent reflections of the material world, but products of human labour, and the contradictory nature of our thoughts had their origin in the contradictions within human society. This meant that Dialectics was not something imposed on to the world from outside which could be discovered by the activity of pure Reason, but was a product of human labour changing the world; its form was changed and developed by people, and could only be understood by the practical struggle to overcome these contradictions – not just in thought, but inpractice.

Further Reading: [The Science of Dialectics], by Fredrick Engels, Dialectics of Nature, by Fredrick Engels, an example of dialectics in: The Metaphysics of Political Economy, by Karl Marx; The ABC of Materialist Dialectics, by Leon Trotsky; Lenin's Summary of Dialectics.

See also the Sampler for multiple definitions; Dialectics Subject Section. For examples of Dialectics: references to Examples from History and Society and Examples from Personal Life in Hegel’s Logic; and see the definition on Taoism for a look at an ancient process of dialectics.


Dictatorship means the imposition of a rule on others who do not consent to it. Sometimes ‘dictatorship’ is wrongly used in contrast to ‘democracy’, but ‘democracy’ implies the imposition of the will of a majority, i.e., a dictatorship, on a minority.

The word originates from the dictatura of the ancient Roman Republic, an important institution that lasted for over three centuries. The Dictatura provided for an emergency exercise of power by a trusted citizen for temporary and limited purposes, for six months at the most. Its aim was to preserve the republican status quo, and in the event of a foreign attack or internal subversion of the constitution.Dictatura, thus had much the same meaning as “state of emergency” has today. Julius Caesar gave thedictatura a “bad name” by declaring himself dictator for life.

Right into the nineteenth century, ‘dictatorship’ was used in the sense of the management of power in a state of emergency, outside of the norms of legality, sometimes, but not always, implying one-man rule, and sometimes in reference to the dominance of an elected government over traditional figures of authority.

The French Revolution was frequently referred to by friends and foes alike as a dictatorship. Babeuf’s “Conspiracy of Equals” advocated a dictatorship exercised by a group of revolutionaries, having the task of defending the revolution against the reactionary peasants, and educating the masses up to the eventual level of a democracy, a transitional period of presumably many decades. It was this notion of ‘dictatorship’ that was in the minds of Auguste Blanqui and his followers who actively advocated communist ideas in the 1830s and ’40s.

In general political discourse in the nineteenth century, however, it was quite routine to describe, for example, the British Parliament as a ‘dictatorship’. Given that in most countries the franchise was restricted to property-owners, this usage was quite appropriate, but it was also used to attack proposals for universal suffrage, which, it was held, would institute a dictatorship over the property owners.

Modern usage of the term begins to appear in connection with the Revolutions which swept Europe in 1848. The Left, including its most moderate elements, talked of a dictatorship, by which they meant nothing more than imposing the will of an majority-elected government over a minority of counter-revolutionaries. Terrified by the uprising of the Parisian workers in June 1848, the Provisional Government handed over absolute power to the dictatorship of General Cavaignac, who used his powers to massacre the workers of Paris. Subsequently, a state-of-siege provision was inserted into the French Constitution to provide for such exigencies, and this law became the model for other nations who wrote such emergency provisions into their constitutions. From the middle of the nineteenth century, the word ‘dictatorship’ was associated with this institution, still more or less faithful to the original Roman meaning — an extra-legal institution for the defence of the constitution.

It was only gradually, during the 1880s, that ‘dictatorship’ came to be routinely used to mean a form of government in contrast to ‘democracy’ and by the 1890s was generally used in that way. Prior to that time, throughout the life-time of Karl Marx for example, it was never associated with any particular form of government, everyone understanding that popular suffrage was as much an instrument of dictatorship as martial law.

Dictatorship of the Bourgeoisie

The most democratic bourgeois republic is no more than a machine for the suppression of the working class by the bourgeoisie, for the suppression of the working people by a handful of capitalists.

Even in the most democratic bourgeois republic "freedom of assembly" is a hollow phrase, for the rich have the best public and private buildings at their disposal, and enough leisure to assemble at meetings, which are protected by the bourgeois machine of power. The rural and urban workers and small peasants – the overwhelming majority of the population – are denied all these things. As long as that state of affairs prevails, "equality", i.e., "pure democracy", is a fraud.

"Freedom of the press" is another of the principal slogans of "pure democracy". And here, too, the workers know – and Socialists everywhere have explained millions of times – that this freedom is a deception because the best printing presses and the biggest stocks of paper are appropriated by the capitalists, and while capitalist rule over the press remains – a rule that is manifested throughout the whole world all the more strikingly, sharply and cynically – the more democracy and the republican system are developed, as in America for example...

The capitalists have always use the term "freedom" to mean freedom for the rich to get richer and for the workers to starve to death. And capitalist usage, freedom of the press means freedom of the rich to bribe the press, freedom to use their wealth to shape and fabricate so-called public opinion. In this respect, too, the defenders of "pure democracy" prove to be defenders of an utterly foul and venal system that gives the rich control over the mass media. They prove to be deceivers of the people, who, with the aid of plausible, fine-sounding, but thoroughly false phrases, divert them from the concrete historical task of liberating the press from capitalist enslavement.

V.I. Lenin
First Congress of the Communist International

See Also: The same government: Bourgeois Democracy, save put in the perspective of the ruling class; and Democracy in general.

Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Freedom consists in converting the state from an organ superimposed upon society into one completely subordinate to it; and today, too, the forms of state are more free or less free to the extent that they restrict the "freedom of the state".

Between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.

Critique of the Gotha Programme
Part IV

This dictatorship consists in the manner of applying democracy, not in its elimination,but in energetic, resolute attacks upon the well-entrenched rights and economic relationships of bourgeois society, without which a socialist transformation cannot be accomplished. This dictatorship must be the work of the class and not of a little leading minority in the name of the class – that is, it must proceed step by step out of the active participation of the masses; it must be under their direct influence, subjected to the control of complete public activity; it must arise out of the growing political training of the mass of the people.

Rosa Luxemburg
The Russian Revolution
Democracy and Dictatorship

What, then, is the relation of this dictatorship to democracy?

We have seen that the Communist Manifesto simply places side by side the two concepts: "to raise the proletariat to the position of the ruling class" and "to win the battle of democracy". On the basis of all that has been said above, it is possible to determine more precisely how democracy changes in the transition from capitalism to communism.

The dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e., the organization of the vanguard of the oppressed as the ruling class for the purpose of suppressing the oppressors, cannot result merely in an expansion of democracy. Simultaneously with an immense expansion of democracy, which for the first time becomes democracy for the poor, democracy for the people, and not democracy for the money-bags, the dictatorship of the proletariat imposes a series of restrictions on the freedom of the oppressors, the exploiters, the capitalists. We must suppress them in order to free humanity from wage slavery, their resistance must be crushed by force; it is clear that there is no freedom and no democracy where there is suppression and where there is violence.

V.I. Lenin
The State and Revolution
Chpt. 5: The Economic Basis of the Withering Away of the State

The real tasks of the workers' state do not consist in policing public opinion, but in freeing it from the yoke of capital. This can only be done by placing the means of production - which includes the production of information - in the hands of society in its entirety. Once this essential step towards socialism has been taken, all currents of opinion which have not taken arms against the dictatorship of the proletariat must be able to express themselves freely. It is the duty of the workers' state to put in their hands, to all according to their numeric importance, the technical means necessary for this, printing presses, paper, means of transportation.

Leon Trotsky
Freedom of the Press and Working Class

See Also: The same government: Proletarian Democracy, save put in the perspective of the ruling (working) class; and Democracy in general.


Difference is part of the very first stage of Essence in the genesis of a Notion in the grade of Reflection. Difference is the negation of Identity. The identity of something is defined by what is deemed to be not-equal to it, different. But Difference soon cancels itself through the discovery that 'everything is different', which is the "maxim of Diversity" (inessential difference). Difference is only meaningful where the objects considered are also in some sense identical, and thus passes over into Opposition (essential difference) and Contradiction, the unity of identity and difference.

In recent European philosophy, especially Derrida, quite of lot is made of Difference, but it is noteworthy that Difference is given a systematic development by Hegel in the earliest, most abstract part of the Logic. Marx can be seen developing the concept of Difference in Chapter 3 of Capital.

Further Reading: Hegel on Difference in the Shorter Logic.

Direct Struggle

A theory set out by the People's Will party in Russia. The theory stipulated that revolution could be instigated through terrorism, called a "direct struggle" against the government apparatus. Direct Struggle aimed to show, through terrorism, an "uninterrupted demonstration of the possibility of struggling against the government, in this manner lifting the revolutionary spirit of the people and its faith in the success of the cause, and organising those capable of fighting." (from the Programme of the People's Will, 1879)


Discrete is a synonym for discontinuous, denoting breaks in development, "leaps" in Nature, matter in the form of distinct objects or particles, counting-numbers as opposed to indefinitely divisible magnitudes.

See Also: Continuity and Discontinuity.

Distribution and Exchange

Distribution is the process whereby the total social product is divided up among the population.

Exchange is the practice of trading of different products of equal value, between different individuals or organisations.

In this relation, distribution is determined by the community, exchange by the individual, but the individual is able to exchange only what has been allocated to her in the process of distribution.

Distribution and exchange only arise on the basis of a division of labour which creates a separationbetween production and consumption, and requires a socially determined means of mediating between the two.

But distribution and exchange do not only mediate between production and consumption: they are themselves forces of production. For example, it is the system of distribution which creates the propertyless labourers and it is the system of distribution which is then needed to realise the surplus value acquired by exploiting them.

Thus, the system of distribution and exchange is inseparably bound up with the development of the productive forces themselves. Distribution and exchange are not just external appendages of the labour process, but its life blood.

A system of distribution which provides for the concentration of a social surplus is the fundamental precondition for the development of civilisation; a system of distribution which creates a class of people who have nothing to sell but their labour power and a class of people who own the means of production as their private property is the fundamental pre-condition for the development of bourgeois society. Socialist society, on the other hand, implies a system of distribution which eradicates social inequality and transcends the need for exchange.

Exchange begins as a marginal and incidental practice at the periphery of self-sufficient communities based on Collaboration, and gives rise to the genesis of the form of value which takes on an independent form in money, and on the basis of money arises a developed system of distribution as well as an elaborate social division of labour which is the foundation for the development of all modern forces of production.

The exchange relation is the essential relation of bourgeois society, and Marx takes it as the starting point of Capital in terms of the commodity. Increasingly relations of exchange, and even distribution, penetrate into the labour process itself as a result of the process of socialisation.

See Exchange.

Diversity, the maxim of

The maxim of Diversity – ‘There are no two things completely like each other’ is attributed toLeibnitz.

This maxim is dealt with in Hegel's Doctrine of Essence as part of a series of “Laws” beginning with the Law of identity - ‘everything is equal to itself’, the Maxim of Diversity (or Variety), Opposition, Contradiction and Ground, in which understanding of the essentially contradictory sides of a concept is successively deepened.

Further Reading: Hegel on the Law of Identity in the Science of Logic and Trotsky's ABC of Materialist Dialectics; and Essential Identity.

Division of Labour

The division of labour is a specific mode of cooperation wherein different tasks are assigned to different people. Division of labour is as old as labour itself, stretching back to the birth of the human race.

“This division of labour is a necessary condition for the production of commodities, but it does not follow, conversely, that the production of commodities is a necessary condition for the division of labour. In the primitive Indian community there is social division of labour, without production of commodities. Or, to take an example nearer home, in every factory the labour is divided according to a system, but this division is not brought about by the operatives mutually exchanging their individual products.

“... In a community, the produce of which in general takes the form of commodities, i.e., in a community of commodity producers, this qualitative difference between the useful forms of labour that are carried on independently of individual producers, each on their own account, develops into a complex system, a social division of labour.

“... Wherever the want of clothing forced them to it, the human race made clothes for thousands of years, without a single man becoming a tailor. [Capital, Chapter 1]

More than anything else, human history is characterised by the ever-increasing complexity of the division of labour. The form of the division of labour changes however, passing through a number of distinct phases.

“The various stages of development in the division of labour are just so many different forms of ownership, i.e. the existing stage in the division of labour determines also the relations of individuals to one another with reference to the material, instrument, and product of labour.” [German Ideology]

Prior to the rupture of society into classes, the social division of labour was almost exclusively based on kinship relations, within a relatively closed circle, wherein the character of an individual’s labour was determined by their age, sex and position within the family. This division of labour based on kinship relations continues up to the present day, but with the collapse of tribal society and the formation of social classes there began a new kind of division of labour, based on class relations, including the division between mental and manual labour.

The division of labour has the most profound effect on the forms of consciousness predominating in a given society since such forms can only be, after all the internalised forms of social activity.

During the whole feudal period, the division of labour is still determined along kinship lines, but now on a much wider class encompassing social classes.

With the development of manufacture however, division of labour takes a big step upwards:

“That co-operation which is based on division of labour, assumes its typical form in manufacture, and is the prevalent characteristic form of the capitalist process of production throughout the manufacturing period properly so called. That period, roughly speaking, extends from the middle of the 16th to the last third of the 18th century.

“Manufacture takes its rise in two ways:

“(1.) By the assemblage, in one workshop under the control of a single capitalist, of labourers belonging to various independent handicrafts, but through whose hands a given article must pass on its way to completion. ...

“(2.) Manufacture also arises in a way exactly the reverse of this namely, by one capitalist employing simultaneously in one workshop a number of artificers, who all do the same, or the same kind of work [Capital, Chapter 14]

All subsequent developments in the forces of production correspond to qualitative changes in the social division of labour. In the last hundred years, the most significant markers in the development of the social division of labour are the successive management ideologies which achieved dominance: Taylorism,Fordism and Toyotism.

Up till the present time, the development of the social division of labour has tended to channel individuals into narrowly defined occupations, situating them in a well-defined position in the social division of labour for a life-time. That is to say, no-one is a person, she is rather a labourer in this or thatoccupation. Nowadays however, in the developed capitalist countries, it is rare for someone to work in a specific line of work for more than a decade without being obliged, if not by their own will, to change occupation.

In a socialist society of the future, there would remain of course a highly developed social division of labour, but it is likely that a person who is one day an artist, will be on another a tourist guide, on another a teacher and on another a machinist. It is in this sense that Marx and Engels said:

“In the present epoch, the domination of material relations over individuals, and the suppression of individuality by fortuitous circumstances, has assumed its sharpest and most universal form, thereby setting existing individuals a very definite task. It has set them the task of replacing the domination of circumstances and of chance over individuals by the domination of individuals over chance and circumstances. .... This task, dictated by present-day relations, coincides with the task of organising society in a communist way.

“... the abolition of a state of affairs in which relations become independent of individuals, in which individuality is subservient to chance and the personal relations of individuals are subordinated to general class relations, etc. - that the abolition of this state of affairs is determined in the final analysis by the abolition of division of labour. We have also shown that the abolition of division of labour is determined by the development of intercourse and productive forces to such a degree of universality that private property and division of labour become fetters on them. We have further shown that private property can be abolished only on condition of an all-round development of individuals, precisely because the existing form of intercourse and the existing productive forces are all-embracing and only individuals that are developing in an all-round fashion can appropriate them, i.e., can turn them into free manifestations of their lives. We have shown that at the present time individuals must abolish private property, because the productive forces and forms of intercourse have developed so far that, under the domination of private property, they have become destructive forces, and because the contradiction between the classes has reached its extreme limit. Finally, we have shown that the abolition of private property and of the division of labour is itself the association of individuals on the basis created by modern productive forces and world intercourse.” [German Ideology]

Further Reading:

[In the Iron Age] the second great division of labor took place: handicraft separated from agriculture. The continuous increase of production and simultaneously of the productivity of labor heightened the value of human labor-power. Slavery, which during the preceding period was still in its beginnings and sporadic, now becomes an essential constituent part of the social system; slaves no longer merely help with production -- they are driven by dozens to work in the fields and the workshops. With the splitting up of production into the two great main branches, agriculture and handicrafts, arises production directly for exchange, commodity production; with it came commerce, not only in the interior and on the tribal boundaries, but also already overseas. All this, however, was still very undeveloped; the precious metals were beginning to be the predominant and general money commodity, but still uncoined, exchanging simply by their naked weight.

The distinction of rich and poor appears beside that of freemen and slaves -- with the new division of labor, a new cleavage of society into classes. The inequalities of property among the individual heads of families break up the old communal household communities wherever they had still managed to survive, and with them the common cultivation of the soil by and for these communities. The cultivated land is allotted for use to single families, at first temporarily, later permanently. The transition to full private property is gradually accomplished, parallel with the transition of the pairing marriage into monogamy. The single family is becoming the economic unit of society....

[In overview:] At the lowest stage of barbarism men produced only directly for their own needs; any acts of exchange were isolated occurrences, the object of exchange merely some fortuitous surplus. In the middle stage of barbarism we already find among the pastoral peoples a possession in the form of cattle which, once the herd has attained a certain size, regularly produces a surplus over and above the tribe's own requirements, leading to a division of labor between pastoral peoples and backward tribes without herds, and hence to the existence of two different levels of production side by side with one another and the conditions necessary for regular exchange. The upper stage of barbarism brings us the further division of labor between agriculture and handicrafts, hence the production of a continually increasing portion of the products of labor directly for exchange, so that exchange between individual producers assumes the importance of a vital social function.

Civilization consolidates and intensifies all these existing divisions of labor, particularly by sharpening the opposition between town and country (the town may economically dominate the country, as in antiquity, or the country the town, as in the middle ages), and it adds a third division of labor, peculiar to itself and of decisive importance: it creates a class which no longer concerns itself with production, but only with the exchange of the products -- the merchants. Hitherto whenever classes had begun to form, it had always been exclusively in the field of production; the persons engaged in production were separated into those who directed and those who executed, or else into large-scale and small-scale producers. Now for the first time a class appears which, without in any way participating in production, captures the direction of production as a whole and economically subjugates the producers; which makes itself into an indispensable middleman between any two producers and exploits them both. Under the pretext that they save the producers the trouble and risk of exchange, extend the sale of their products to distant markets and are therefore the most useful class of the population, a class of parasites comes into being, "genuine social icbneumons," who, as a reward for their actually very insignificant services, skim all the cream off production at home and abroad, rapidly amass enormous wealth and correspondingly social influence, and for that reason receive under civilization ever higher honors and ever greater control of production, until at last they also bring forth a product of their own -- the periodical trade crises....

Fredrick Engels
Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State

With commerce the prerogative of a particular class, with the extension of trade through the merchants beyond the immediate surroundings of the town, there immediately appears a reciprocal action between production and commerce. The towns enter into relations with one another, new tools are brought from one town into the other, and the separation between production and commerce soon calls forth a new division of production between the individual towns, each of which is soon exploiting a predominant branch of industry. The local restrictions of earlier times begin gradually to be broken down....

The existence of the town implies, at the same time, the necessity of administration, police, taxes, etc.; in short, of the municipality, and thus of politics in general. Here first became manifest the division of the population into two great classes, which is directly based on the division of labour and on the instruments of production. The town already is in actual fact the concentration of the population, of the instruments of production, of capital, of pleasures, of needs, while the country demonstrates just the opposite fact, isolation and separation. The antagonism between town and country can only exist within the framework of private property. It is the most crass expression of the subjection of the individual under the division of labour, under a definite activity forced upon him -- a subjection which makes one man into a restricted town-animal, the other into a restricted country-animal, and daily creates anew the conflict between their interests. Labour is here again the chief thing, power over individuals, and as long as the latter exists, private property must exist. The abolition of the antagonism between town and country is one of the first conditions of communal life, a condition which again depends on a mass of material premises and which cannot be fulfilled by the mere will, as anyone can see at the first glance.....

Marx and Engels
German Ideology -- Section 3

How far the productive forces of a nation are developed is shown most manifestly by the degree to which the division of labour has been carried. Each new productive force, insofar as it is not merely a quantitative extension of productive forces already known (for instance the bringing into cultivation of fresh land), causes a further development of the division of labour....

Further, the division of labour implies the contradiction between the interest of the separate individual or the individual family and the communal interest of all individuals who have intercourse with one another. And indeed, this communal interest does not exist merely in the imagination, as the "general interest", but first of all in reality, as the mutual interdependence of the individuals among whom the labour is divided. And finally, the division of labour offers us the first example of how, as long as man remains in natural society, that is, as long as a cleavage exists between the particular and the common interest, as long, therefore, as activity is not voluntarily, but naturally, divided, man's own deed becomes an alien power opposed to him, which enslaves him instead of being controlled by him. For as soon as the distribution of labour comes into being, each man has a particular, exclusive sphere of activity, which is forced upon him and from which he cannot escape. He is a hunter, a fisherman, a herdsman, or a critical critic, and must remain so if he does not want to lose his means of livelihood; while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic. This fixation of social activity, this consolidation of what we ourselves produce into an objective power above us, growing out of our control, thwarting our expectations, bringing to naught our calculations, is one of the chief factors in historical development up till now.

Marx and Engels
German Ideology -- Section 1

The great progress of the division of labor began in England after the invention of machinery. Thus, the weavers and spinners were for the most part peasants like those one still meets in backward countries. The invention of machinery brought about the separation of manufacturing industry from agricultural industry. The weaver and the spinner, united but lately in a single family, were separated by the machine. Thanks to the machine, the spinner can live in England while the weaver resides in the East Indies. Before the invention of machinery, the industry of a country was carried on chiefly with raw materials that were the products of its own soil; in England, wool, in Germany, flax, in France, silks and flax, in the East Indies and the Levant, cottons, etc. Thanks to the application of machinery and of steam, the division of labor was about to assume such dimensions that large-scale industry, detached from the national soil, depends entirely on the world market, on international exchange, on an international division of labor. In short, the machine has so great an influence on the division of labor, that when, in the manufacture of some object, a means has been found to produce parts of it mechanically, the manufacture splits up immediately into two works independent of each other.

Karl Marx
The Poverty of Philosophy

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