Social Scientist. v 11, no. 124 (Sept 1983) p. 3.

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On Contradictions, Antagonistic and Non'Ant agonistic

THE LAW of unity and struggle of opposites, or what is generally called the law of contradiction, is considered by all Marxist-Leninists as the most important law in the science of dialectical materialism. The statements of Lenin that "in brief, dialectics can be defined as the ' doctrine of the unity of opposites", that "dialectics in the proper sense is the study of contradiction in the very essence of objects", and that the law of unity ofopposites is "the recognition (discovery) of the contradictory, mutually exclusive, opposite tendencies in all phenomena and processes of nature—including mind and society", highlight the crucial place of this law of contradiction in dialectics.1

The word contradiction in dialectical materialist science has a specific scientific meaning and it is erroneous to equate it or confuse it with the common-place meaning of the term, i e, being inconsistent, denying what is first affirmed, being illogical, incoherent and self-contradictory, etc.

The concept of contradiction, in a dialectical sense, conveys the meaning, firstly, that in every object and phenomenon, without exception, both in society and nature, contradiction is present; secondly, that the two essential opposite sides or aspects in a contradiction, at once, mutually exclude and imply each other; thirdly, that it is this unity and struggle of the opposites that is the objective source and motive force of movement and development in all the phenomena of the world; fourthly, that social and class contradictions distinguish themselves from the rest of the contradictions in nature and the universe since the unique element of thinking and consciousness is present in these contradictions;

fifthly, that there are two types of contradictions, namely, antagonistic and non-antagonistic. When the contradiction between the two opposing poles matures or intensifies to its highest degree, the two opposite aspects come to a head-on clash with each other, dissolving the two aspects and resolving the contradiction.

Similarly, the term antagonism has a specific scientific meaning within the context of dialectical meterialism. It should not, of course, be mixed up and equated with commonplace meanings of the word like

*Member of the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

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