[OPE-L:3262] Re: Spinoza [partial reply to Andrew]

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Thu May 18 2000 - 13:46:36 EDT

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First, for those who read French, an important Marxist work on Spinoza is
_Hegel ou Spinoza_, Paris: Maspero, 1979.

Below are a few, short replies to Andrew (thanks for giving me food for
thought). I'm working on Dunayevskaya just these last weeks and find it
more productive to answer Andrew by posting that analysis, when done. So,
expect more later, including replying to Andrew's mathematics of
reproduction in 3157.

Paul Z.


"Andrew_Kliman" <Andrew_Kliman@email.msn.com> said, on 05/17/00 at 02:43

>A reply to OPE-L 3231.

>As for Marx, I cannot take seriously Paul's suggestion that, with his
>embrace of the negation of the negation, "Marx was having a bit of fun
>with words." A diehard, lifelong "professional" revolutionary, the head
>of the movement, reaches the culmination of his most important
>theoretical work, on which he has labored for 31 years; reaches the main
>point of his entire life's work, the transcendence of capitalism; and
>decides to joke around. Let's be real.

Fine, drop it. I don't use it in my paper. It was just A possibility.

>As for Paul's word-counting, we've been through that already. I find it
>not surprising at all that the negation of the negation appears in
>_Capital_ at the appropriate point, the transcendence of capital, and
>only at the appropriate point. As far as I know, "The expropriators are
>expropriated" appears only once as well.

Word counting? First, it is here "phrase counting" -- once in 4000 pages.
But, yes, I'm sorry. I think it is of some importance that the phrase
appears SO RARELY. Value, on the other hand, appears all over the place,
e.g. But of course I cannot stop Andrew, Dunayevskaya, and others from
making a big deal out of one use of one phrase in 4000 pages -- they don't
have so very much else to lean on in work Marx published :-).

(I offer Andrew a possible reply: "Paul's commentary on Sieber is no more
convincing than my use of one use of one phrase".)

>Paul also suggests that Marx perhaps embraced negation of the negation as
>a "metaphor." What could this mean? Negation of the negation is a
>logical form, an abstraction of real processes....

See Althusser for further explanation. In any case, to write that
"negation of the negation is ... an abstraction of real processes" asserts
that would need proof.

>Paul continues: "You and Raya Dunayevskaya offer:

>4) Marx had a "break" in his thinking in 1844 and he never left that
>theoretical space."

>I don't think there was a break and I don't think that was Dunayevskaya's
>argument either. She argues instead that the 1844 manuscripts,
>specifically Marx's grounding of the dialectic of negativity in real
>human becoming, was the crucial "philosophic moment" of his later
>development. But her metaphor is that of Prometheus bring fire to earth
>and, before he could do so, he first had to have the fire. Marx got his
>Promethean vision from Hegel prior to 1844 and prior to 1843 when he
>became an exponent of proletarian revolution. In short, she argues for a
>continuity of Marx's Marxism from 1841 (his dissertation) through 1883.

Contra Andrew's reading: Dunayevskaya says that Marx discovered in 1844
"a new continent of thought and revolution" (her Chapter IX, _Rosa
Luxemburg, Women's Liberation, and Marx's Philosophy of Revolution_,
1982). It was driven, she says, by "Marx's concept of Alienated Labor
which broke [sic!] through all criticism [of bourgeois society]. That
discovery changed all else [sic!]. That 'self-clarification,' stretching
from April to August [1844], disclosed the inner connection between
philosophy and economics, philosophy and politics, subjective and
objective; it created a new beginning, a new totality of theory and
practice". It was sustained by a reformulation of Hegel's "'negation of
the negation', which Marx had called 'a new Humanism'" (pp. 122, 125,
49-50 fn. 33, respectively).

Sounds to me like a 1844 "break" that Dunayevskaya thinks occured!

Althusser also proposes a "break" only later and of different substance.

>If I wanted to be witty, I'd say that Althusser's interpretation is based
>on reading into Marx words that he never wrote or intended to write. But
>seriously, I just don't buy the method of playing one text against
>another. It *presupposes* precisely what it needs to *prove*, namely
>that there is no coherent whole, but a bunch of ruptures that have left
>only discordant fragments in their wake.

>From my own experiences there are "notebooks" I have myself have written,
but I would NOT want to be seen by others as reflecting my more developed
thoughts. If Andrew should see this reply as a projection onto Marx's
decisions of what to publish and what not to publish, so be it. But it is
very common in scientific research. (Andrew and others have to UPGRADE
unpublished texts to defend their position more adequately; UPGRADE to
accomplish a leveling almost everything Marx ever wrote to the same
intellectually status as the 1872-75 French, or at least 1867 German,
edition of the _Capital_.)

Finally, I don't say a "bunch of ruptures" and "discordant fragments" as
the result of all of Marx's work; Andrew makes that as an alternative

Paul Z.

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