Is history random?
Is history just a series of facts “one after another”? Or is there a structure to history, is there a logic to the way events unfold? If so, what determines the direction of history? Is there such a thing as “progress” from lower levels to higher?
It has become fashionable to deny that there is a logic, a direction to history. Those with this view claim that human will, i.e. the human mind, determines everything. To accept this would mean denying the ability to even understand history. It would become a random series of moments in which humans decide to go this way or that.
A caricature of Marxism is often presented in which Marx and Engels “reduced everything to economics”. This is completely false. As Engels stated: “We make our history ourselves, but, in the first place, under very definite assumptions and conditions. Among these the economic ones are ultimately decisive.” [our emphasis]
In this session, Fred Weston will show that history is indeed governed by laws, and that understanding them will help us intervene in its processes, allowing us to better fight for the communist transformation of society.
Recommended reading: What is historical materialism?
Further reading: The Materialist Conception of History (Plekhanov)