[OPE-L:6288] Re: Grossman and Luxemburg

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Sat Jan 12 2002 - 10:02:02 EST

>Rakesh wrote in [6286]:
>>  And do not forget that Grossmann praises Luxemburg for defending the
>>  revolutionary core of marxism against revisionists.
>Yes, but this was the position of Lenin, Trotsky and the entire Third
>International.   Even after the ascendancy of Stalin and 'socialism in a
>single country', Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht had the status
>of martyrs.   Their murders were also held up by both Leninists and
>Stalinists alike as examples of social democratic 'treachery' (whether
>there was actual complicity by the SPD representatives in the bourgeois
>government remains unclear, at least to me).  So when Grossmann
>praises Luxemburg on this score he is not exactly sticking his foot way
>out on a limb.  Indeed, paying homage to Rosa the revolutionary has
>always preceded (often vicious) assaults on her theoretical and political
>In solidarity, Jerry
>            -----------------------------------------------------
>                    EPITAPH FOR ROSA LUXEMBURG
>                    Here lies buried
>                    Rosa Luxemburg
>                    A Jew from Poland
>                    Who fought for German workers
>                     Killed by order of
>                     German oppressors.  You who are oppressed:
>                     Bury your differences.
>                                    -- Bertoldt Brecht (1948)
>              ----------------------------------------------------

jerry, whether grossman properly praised luxemburg and was 
sufficiently courageous in challenging bolshevik calumny against her 
is in my opinion a secondary question to the validity of his 
critique of her understanding of the
the nature of reproduction schemes and location of the limits of 
accumulation in the realization of surplus value. Let us say that 
grossman was a coward--does this in  itself invalidate his critique 
of luxemburg's theory of accumulation and crisis? I think this is a 
subtle form of ad hominem argument.

And no one is questioning whether mattick sr was willing to challenge 
the bolshevik witch hunt against luxemburg, yet he accepted the 
validity of grossman's critique of rosa l. Does this not indicate 
that grossman's critique then had independence from his own political 
judgement and thus needs to be engaged on its own terms?

and as i said, grossmann does not accept the bolshevik line in 
theoretical matters. he did not share lenin's assessment that the 
bauer scheme disproved rosa l's argument. Not only because the bauer 
scheme itself revealed in a pure form a limit to accumulation but 
also because it--as was rosa l's own scheme-based reasoning--was 
based on the assumption of, among other things, exchange at value.

Bauer may have indeed allowed swindles between the depts to achieve 
equilibrium growth ( Mattick Sr certainly did not deny the main point 
of Paul Z's critique, though Paul Z does not acknowledge this); 
however, while grossman does not deny that there may indeed be 
validity to rosa l's critique of bauer here, he says that the 
disproportions to which she points could be overcome by way of 
formation of prices of production, though (as grossman himself 
emphasizes) the formation of such could then lead to new sources of 

But these are disequilibria on the use value or technical side of 
accumulation, and Grossmann consciously abstracts from them. He says 
over and over that he wants to focus our attention on the value side 
of the accumulation process.

Grossman's point was that quite independently of what bauer wanted to 
show--the possibility of equilibrium growth--his scheme showed in 
pure form a tendency towards breakdown rooted not in *technical* 
disequilibria between the depts in *exchange* (grossmann himself 
elaborated on just such a possibilities in his dynamics book!) but 
in the production of surplus value or in other words a purely *value 
based* disequilibrium between the accumulation of capital (dead 
labor) and living labor in *the abode of production*.

Grossman also pillories Bukharin and says Lenin's Imperialism 
*explains* nothing. He had a choleric personality, and let us 
remember was not well received in Leipzig in 1949.

And it was the Stalinists esp Varga who then despite their calumny of Luxemburg
propagated a vulgarized underconsumption theory as Richard Day has shown.


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