[OPE-L:4452] Re: Grossman and possible sand castles

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Sun Nov 05 2000 - 16:15:15 EST

In [OPE-L:4450], Rakesh Narpat Bhandari <rakeshb@Stanford.EDU> said, on

Major point:

>>... Grossman was part of an effective
>>machine to break Luxemburg's sword drawn against the bourgeoies order and
>>both Stalinism (an accomplice to her theoretical murder) and socialism
>>democracy (an accomplice to her personal murder) had good reasons for
>>doing so.... [PZ]

>Grossman defended her vision of breakdown on a different theoretical 
>basis. Grossman was a fierce critic of the Austro Marxists; this  theory
>is diametrically opposed to the disproportionality argument of 
>Preobrazhensky and the underconsumptionism of Varga (his ideas seem  to
>have had little influence on the debates in Stalinist Russia by  Richard
>B Day's excellent account The Crisis and the Crash). [RNB]

There is NO reference to "breakdown" in her entire *Accumulation of
Capital* until one gets to the very last paragraph.  There is even an
explicit statement from her that she does NOT offer foundation for a
"vision of breakdown" ["in order to demonstrate the pure implications of
capitalist reproduction we must rather consider it quite apart from the
periodical cycles and crises" (first chapter, p. 35)].  

So, right off, we see the caliber of this reading of Luxemburg.  And
Grossman is supposed to used as a new "foundation" for Marxian theory?

This lack of care regarding Luxemburg's theoretical work became so common
that I've become quite accustomed to checking for accuracy.

>If it's  theoretical independence from Stalinism and Social Democracy you
>want, then Grossman will do you fine and Mattick is both theoretically \
>and politically opposed. [RNB]

If you think Grossman was independent of Stalinism, try Martin Jay *The
Dialectical Imagionation*, p. 17: "Grossmann's politics were grounded in a
relatively unreflective enthusiasm for the Soviet Union".   Rick Kuhn has
wording more nuanced but quite similar in substance and with more research
behind him.  In my judgement, you could be on more solid ground accepting
this observation and either saying it doesn't matter for his economic
theory, or reconsidering your statement "I am still seeking to put Marxian
theory on the foundations of Grossmann, Blake and Mattick Sr."

Paul Z.

Paul Zarembka, editor, RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY at 
******************** http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/PZarembka

P.S. Two minor points:

>Well there is this criticism that she did not allow for how the 
>averaging of the profit rate may eliminate the surpluses. I asked  what
>you made of this important criticism.

I replied in 4434: "I don't own a copy of Mattick's *Anti-Bolshesik
Communism* and what I used is back in the library.  In any case, I don't
understand the passage above which you cite."

>>Luxemburg's *Accumulation of Capital* is almost 450 pages of dense theory
>>plus she wrote a long *Anti-critique*.

>I have read the latter, plus Reform and revolution, and the Junius 
>Pamphlet, a couple of biographies, her critique of Bolshevism and  other
>writings. It's not like I have been pursuing a serious  bourgeois

I have only been focusing on her economic theory.  

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