[OPE-L:3229] Re: Re: Spinoza

From: JERRY LEVY (jlevy@sescva.esc.edu)
Date: Tue May 16 2000 - 06:50:20 EDT

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1) Re Paul Z's [OPE-L:3222]:

> Spinoza introduces the nation that there is no "origin" and no
> "end" (no Subject) to history.

As I noted before I am no authority on Spinoza, so I will reply to
the perspective (as you condensed it above) rather than to the

1) Is there no origin of history? That is probably correct, but
   that is because there were origins of history. I.e. history --
   even when it took an oral or graphic form rather than a
   printed form -- had a variety of beginnings in different
   cultures at different times. The relevent point here is that
   history is produced by humans rather than being determined
   by some mystical force.

2) I would agree that there can be no "end" to history -- unless
   it means the end of our species as in the case of total
   nuclear destruction. If that were the case, there would be
   no one left to write the end even though it had ended. And
   the possibility of *alternative* endings has to be taken
   seriously by the Left.

3) Marx didn't exactly say that communism would represent the
   end of history. Rather, what he suggested at one point is
   that communism represents the ending of the *pre-history*
   of humanity. Yet, I would agree with you that there are
   problems with this perspective in terms of understanding
   the character of a communist society (e.g. some of his
   comments on life under communism seem to suggest that he
   viewed it as a Utopia in which the only struggle that
   would remain would be natural).

4) This is a very unconventional use of the term "subject"
   even within the realm of philosophy. You seem to be
   using "Subject" above as if it were something akin to
   "Course Title". Yet, there *is* a subject of history:
   the subject is the development of humankind. *And*
   there is a subject who writes history (as noted above,
   a plural would be more accurate) who have
   *subjectivities*. And this is a crucial point for
   Marx's [revolutionary] project since it is self-
   activity (class struggles) that brings about change
   and this activity is not determined by mythical deities
   or blind natural forces.


2) Re Andrew's [OPE-L:3223]:

> It was not only the Young Marx, of course, who clung to
> the concept of negation of the negation.

So far, so good.

> It is the culmination of _Capital_, the expropriation of
> the expropriators.

This would have been a great culmination, or ending, to
_Capital_. And it would have been a culmination, or
ending, consistent with many of Marx's other writings.
The only problem is that was *MOT* the culmination or
end of _Capital_. (should read *NOT* above).

Let's look at the empirical evidence in _Capital_.

* Was the culmination or end of Volume 1 this point?


* Was the culmination or end of Volume 3 this point?


So, the empirical evidence on what the culmination of
_Capital_ is does not support your interpretation.

Perhaps you believe that *should be* the culmination of

One *could* argue that this was not the culmination of
_Capital_ due to the incomplete nature of the drafts of
the remaining volumes of _Capital which became Volumes 2
and 3. Yet, I see no evidence that Marx wanted to end
_Capital_ with this point.

*Or*, one could argue that if _Capital_ was intended to
be Book One in the 6-book-plan, then the most proper
place for this conclusion/culmination would be in Book 6
on "World Market and Crises".

Indeed, this seems to be Marx's plan at the time he wrote
the _Grundrisse_. For instance, he wrote:

"the world market the conclusion in which production is
posited as a totality together with all its moments, but
within which, at the same time, all contradictions come
into play. The world market then, again, forms the
presupposition of the whole as well as the substratum.
Crises are then the general intimation which points
beyond the presupposition, and the urge which drives
towards the adoption of a new historic form" (Penguin
ed., pp. 227-28)

Later still (Ibid, p. 264), he wrote:

"Finally the world market. Encroachment of bourgeois
society over the state. Dissolution of the mode of
production and form of society based on exchange value.
Real positing of individual labour as social and vice

So, it seems to me that the point that you believe was
the culmination of _Capital_ was really the point that
Marx wanted to include in the culmination of Book 6 --
or, at least, that's the way he conceived of the matter
at the time that he wrote the _Grundrisse_.

So, one can conclude that either Marx downgraded the
importance of locating this point as the culmination of
his presentation when writing _Capital_ (which would seem
imply, erroneously from my interpretation, that downplayed
the role od his theory in the devlopment of revolutionary
praxis) or that the non-inclusion of this theme as a
*central* theme (the culmination) is a consequence of the
place of _Capital_ within the 6-book-plan. The latter
possibility speaks to the issue of how "complete"
_Capital_ is ... and perhaps how we need to move beyond
the subjects in _Capital_ towards the subjects in Books 2-6
or Book 4-6 depending on your perspective on whether
the subjects of
Books 2-3 were included in _Capital_.

In any even, I think that the empirical evidence is pretty
clear that the "expropriation of the expropriators" was
NOT the culmination of _Capital_.

In solidarity, Jerry

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