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On Tue, 16 May 2000, John Holloway wrote:
> I wonder whether, in the justified efforts to throw out the dirty CP
> bathwater with its reconcilationist Hegel, Althusser/Negri/you have not
> unnecessarily thrown out the negationist Hegel as well.
To negate capitalism is the essence of Marxism, Hegel or no Hegel. Take
Luxemburg, e.g. She didn't need Hegel to be fight capitalism (right up to
her death) with every bone in her body.
> On the question of definition: capitalism defines social relations:
> it rigidifies them and presents them as positive and immutable. Marx's
> method, it seems to me, is to recognise those definitions, but always in
> the perspective of transcending them. Thus, for example, capital defines
> people's doing as labour, and their capacity to do as labour power. It is
> important, I agree, to understand that process of definition. But that's
> what it is - a process of definition which denies that which is defined:
> people's capacity to do is denied in its definition as labour power. If we
> stay at the level of definition, without trying to understand the tension
> (suppression) which any definition implies, then we turn Marxism into a
> science of the reproduction of capitalism, rather than a
> science-against-capitalism. That wouldn't matter, perhaps, if we had a
> guaranteed happy ending at the end of the day, but, as we don't, it matters
> a great deal.
Neither I nor Althusser nor Luxemburg would object to what you write
above and all would struggle against turning Marxism into a servant of
the capitalist class. All of us are clear that another mode of production
would open entirely new kinds of struggle and "definitions".
Thanks for your reply. Paul Z.
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