In Materialism and Empirio-Criticism [MEC] (1909), 4.4, Lenin, after having established the “contradictory and disconnected epistemological propositions” of Machism, asks: in what direction is empirio-criticism headed? He turns to the recognized disciples of Mach and Avenarius:
Hans Cornelius reproached materialism for leaving no room “for the idea of the continuation of our life after death” and for destroying freedom of the will.
Dr. Hans Kleinpeter denied both the existence of objective truth (the only attainable goal of science is "subjective conviction, not objective certainty") and the existence of other people: “the assumption that there are other minds ... can never be confirmed by experience.”
Another Mach disciple, T. Ziehen, urged a return to pure Berkeleian solipsism.
The English Machians Karl Pearson and William Clifford were likewise unadulterated idealists, the latter characterizing the world as "highly organized experience".
Finally, Lenin turns briefly to the American philosopher Paul Carus, a promoter of Buddhism. Lenin's contempt for Carus is evident: "a leader of a gang of American literary fakers who are engaged in doping the people with religious opium."
Carus advocates the familiar reconciliation of science with religion: “all truth is divine and God reveals himself in science as he does in history." His motto in part: "not a dogma, but religion, not creed, but faith.”
Like many other idealists, both important and minor, Carus takes the category of "experience" as his basis ("Our Monism ... takes experience as its basis and employs as method the systematic forms of the relations of experience"), a fact noted by Lenin earlier throughout MEC.
This is important to underline today when postmodern idealists proceed from the sanctity of "experience" and our poorly-trained Marxists, remembering only a few sayings from Mao ("All genuine knowledge originates in direct experience"), find themselves unequipped to fight them.
Such was the reactionary road taken by empirio-criticism after Mach and Avenarius. The Russian Machians only repudiated Cornelius after the fact of his idealism was pointed out to them.
Worse still, Social Democrats such as Friedrich Adler continued to recommend the study of Cornelius, introducing a downright philosophical reactionary and preacher of fideism as a teacher of philosophy to the workers.
Bogdanov, confused about the broad current of Machism, boasted that by rejecting the "thing-in-itself", empirio-criticism left “absolutely no room” for religion, freedom of the will, and immortality of the soul in its philosophy.
Bogdanov only demonstrated his ignorance of the history of philosophy: consistent followers of Hume did not need the "thing-in-itself" to leave room for these ideas. Likewise, the subjective idealists rejected every kind of "thing-in-itself" and thus embraced religious ideas.
Then as now, “professorial clowns” (MEC 2.4) peddle idealism in “new” barely-disguised forms.
When not openly hostile to Marxism, they claim to “integrate” Marxism with this or that philosophical trend. In 1909: with empirio-criticism, itself a mixture of Humean agnosticism and Berkeleian solipsism. Now: with postcolonialism, identitarianism, and postmodernism at large.
When confronting “radical” theorists like Derrida who redefine matter as “radical otherness,” we must see the link to J.S. Mill’s definition of matter as possibility of sensation, and the doctrine of coordination that Lenin attacked in the early 20th c. Nothing new under the sun.
Lenin shows the way out of the philosophical murk: to establish the true philosophical line of the opponents of Marxism, “not by the labels they give themselves but by the manner in which they actually settle fundamental theoretical questions”.
As Marx said in his Preface, "one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about himself."
Further: to expose the idealist essence of postmodernism, which is fundamentally opposed to dialectical materialism; to rigorously study, clarify, and defend revolutionary Marxism against all its distortions by our own 𝙥𝙧𝙤𝙛𝙚𝙨𝙨𝙤𝙧𝙞𝙖𝙡 𝙘𝙡𝙤𝙬𝙣𝙨.
Lenin's struggle against the empirio-criticists and their even more negligible followers, teaches us that the struggle against eclecticism is not confined to program or strategy, but implicates the "two great camps" (Engels) or "armies" (Mao) of philosophy.
@MaoFem The critique here of eclecticism applies no less to the integration of "Marxism" with radical feminism you uphold, which is simply another form, derived from an earlier time, of the synthesis of incompatible class positions.
As we know, in bourgeois society, "All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify."
Defense of the prejudices of radical feminism (e.g. so-called "sex-class") against challenges from the new feminisms of our period has nothing to do with the ideological tasks of revolutionary Marxism.
And, by positioning itself against new struggles for democratic rights, it is reactionary in program.

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