[OPE-L:2559] Re: class demarcation

From: Gerald Levy (glevy@PRATT.EDU)
Date: Sun Mar 19 2000 - 16:33:56 EST

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2000 15:43:14 -0500
From: John Holloway <104164.2012@compuserve.com>

Dear Jerry,

        The farther we go, the clearer it becomes that we have very
different understandings of Marx, Marxism and Capital - though not
necessarily very different concepts of politics.

        On your particular points:

1) Jerry said (in OPE-L 2552):

"The antagonism is based on the exploitation of one class by another. To
then explain the antagonism, necessarily requires that one, in due
course, define the classes in an antagonistic relationship to each other."

I think not. The antagonism is prior to the classes, generates the classes.
What is important is to understand the movement of the antagonism.

2) On critique:

 Jerry said:

"the task of critiquing political economy *if* that was
his *major* task, is of of relative insignificance for Marx *as a
revolutionary*. Indeed, how many workers and socialists during Marx's time
had any familiarity with the writings of "political economy"? Moreover, the
intended readers of _Capital_, to the extent that they had any familiarity
with "political economy", would have already rejected those bourgeois
conceptions. Indeed, if *all* _Capital was about was "critique of
political economy", then it was a very poor use of Marx's time and energy
to write that book."

We clearly have very different understandings of the meaning of critique.
By 'critique' I understand not the 'rejection of bourgeois conceptions' but
genetic critique, the attempt to understand the genesis of bourgeois
categories, their origin in the form of organisation of human work.
Critique is the movement of anti-fetishisation, that is the theoretical
recuperation of the power of work or, better, the theoretical recuperation
of the all-constitutive power of human doing. If that is not central to the
revolutionary process, then I don't know what is.

To say that critique is not central to Capital is to say that the concept
of fetishism is not central to Capital, which presumably means forgetting
about Vol.1, ch.1 and everything that follows it.

3) On Vol. III, ch. 52:

Jerry said:

"there is no attack on definitions of class or political
economy in that (brief) chapter."

I understand ch. 52 as integral to the discussion of the Trinity Formula,
namely a critique of the bourgeois conception that is the identity of the
source of revenues that defines classes. Marx rejects this, pointing out
that you would then have an infinite proliferation of classes. And he asks,
as you point out: 'What constitutes a class?' He leaves the question
unanswered, partly no doubt because he has already spent 2,000-odd pages
telling us that it is the relation of exploitation that constitutes
classes. But (returning to point 1) above), understanding the antagonism
that constitutes classes does not require Marx (or us) to define class.

I'm very glad that you opened up (in OPE-L 2556) the question of the
meaning of critique, since it does seem to me that that is the central

Un abrazo,


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