The Tyranny of Theory cover


The Tyranny of Theory

A Contribution to the Anarchist Critique of Marxism

by Ronald D. Tabor

Does Marxism equal totalitarianism? Are the ideas of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels somehow responsible for the horrors of Communism? Or were Communist societies simply an aberration - the result of a profound misreading of Marxian concepts, the unfortunate outcome of objective conditions, or the work of perverse, power-hungry individuals?

In this volume, Tabor argues that, despite the apparently libertarian vision of Marx and Engels, the roots of totalitarianism lie within Marxism itself. Focusing on central facets of Marxist theory – its conception of the state; the notion of the dictatorship of the proletariat; the analysis of capital; the materialist conception of history; and dialectical materialism — Tabor argues that the sources of despotism can be traced in all of these.

However, Tabor contends, Marxism’s totalitarian logic is especially apparent in two of Marxism’s most fundamental notions: (1) the belief that the state, in the form of the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” can be utilized to establish a free society; (2) a philosophical outlook that insists that human society, history, and the cosmos as a whole can be convincingly explained by, and subsumed under, one logically consistent world view, its own. Seen philosophically, then, Marxism must be understood as a form of totalizing rationalism that seeks to impose itself on humanity (and the Earth) by means of a monolithic state.

Ronald D. Tabor is a long-time revolutionary activist and writer (author of Trotskyism and the Dilemma of Socialism [with Christopher Z. Hobson], and A Look At Leninism). A Marxist for many years, Tabor was active in SDS, a member of the International Socialists, and a founder of the Revolutionary Socialist League. After years of study, Tabor became critical of Marxism and embraced anarchism, becoming involved in the Love and Rage Revolutionary Anarchist Federation. He is currently part of the collective that publishes the Utopian magazine and a member of the First of May Anarchist Alliance.

ISBN 978-1-926878-12-6
20.5 cm x 13.2 cm; 488 g
358 pp, perfect-bound



 	  INTRODUCTION  The Crisis of Marxism and the Opportunity  for Anarchism

	  CHAPTER  1    Marxism and Its Historic Responsibility

	  CHAPTER  2  	The Marxist Theory of the State
 	  Relative Scarcity and Human Nature                       
 	  The State as an Instrument of the  Ruling Class           
 	  The State as an Element of the  Superstructure             
 	  The Tendency of the Capitalist  State to 
 	  Expropriate the Capitalists                                     
 	  The Contradictions of the State
 	  CHAPTER 3  	The Dictatorship of the Proletariat
 	  Critique: The Statist Thrust of  Marxism                   
 	  The State: a Passive Phenomenon?                           
 	  Dictatorship of the Proletariat,  or
 	  Dictatorship over the  Proletariat?                           
 	  Nationalized Property: the Essence  of the Dictatorship,
 	  and the Outcome of History                                   
 	  Nationalized Property = the  Expropriation of the Workers     
 	  The Paris Commune                                            
 	  The Sources of Marxian Statism                              
 	  Hegelian Political Philosophy                                
 	  The Perfect State  
 	  CHAPTER 4		Capital: Karl Marx’s Analysis of  Capitalism – Part 1
 	  I.  Marx’s Method                                                                  
 	  Critique:  Circular Reasoning                            
 	  II.  Commodities, Value, and the Role of the Market         
 	  Critique:  the Internal Contradiction of the Commodity  
 	  The  Phenomenology of Labour                          
 	  Philosophy,  Not Science                                   
 	  III.  Surplus Value                                                                    104
 	  Critique:  Moralism or Science?                         
 	  Exploitation  by Definition                                
 	  Exploitation:  Only Economic?                          
 	  Economics  as Determinant                               
 	  Economics:  Science of Human Behaviour?          
 	  The  Return of Circular Reasoning   
 	  CHAPTER 5	  	Capital: Karl Marx’s Analysis of  Capitalism – Part 2
 	  IV.  The Accumulation of Capital                                         
 	  Critique:  Humanity Dominated by Its Products
 	  Capital:  Nothing But Congealed Labour?            
 	  The  Means of Production: Purely Material          
 	  Productivity  of Labour or Productivity of Capital          
 	  Exploitation:  Scientifically Demonstrated?         
 	  The  Labour Theory of Value                             
 	  V.  The Formation of the Average Rate of Profit                
 	  VI.  The Tendency of the Rate of Profit to Fall                   
 	  VII.  Economic Crises                                                               
 	  VIII.  Tendencies of Capitalist Development                           
 	  Critique: Socialism: the Logic of Capitalist Development?
 	  Dialectic  of Labour?                                        
 	  Marx’s  Theory as a Whole                                 
 	  Humanity:  Defined by Labour?                          
 	  Humanity:  the Symbolic Species                        
 	  The  Logic of Marxism                                      
 	  The  Ironies of Marxism 
 	  CHAPTER 6  	The Materialist Conception of History
 	  Historical Materialism: an Attempt  at a Summary    
 	  Critique: Two Definitions of  Materialism              
 	  Marxian Theory: Explanatory or Predictive?           
 	  Some Tenets of Historical  Materialism                   
 	  1.   The Class Struggle                                   
 	  2.   The Mode of Production                          
 	  3.   The Stages of History                               
 	  4.   Base and Superstructure/Social Existence and 
 	  A Summary of Points            
 	  Marx and Hegel Once Again   
 	  Marxist Messianism 
 	  CHAPTER 7 	Marxist Philosophy – Part 1
 	  Is There a Marxist  Philosophy, and If So, What Is It?      
 	  Marxian Dialectics               
 	  Marxism and Science            
 	  Marxism and Philosophy  
 	  CHAPTER 8  	Marxist Philosophy – Part 2
 	  Marxism, Knowledge  and Truth                          
 	  Marxism and Morality          
 	  Determinism and Freedom     
 	  The Tyranny of Theory