[OPE-L:6289] Re: recent science and society and Fred M's interpretation

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Sat Jan 12 2002 - 09:52:19 EST

Alejandro Ramos <aramos@btl.net> said, on 01/11/02:

>>The very first sentence is the type I find annoying in Grossman:

>Is only the absence of Lenin in the list what annoys you?

He cites Pareto, Labriola, Schumpeter, Wildbrandt,  Englaender, Paul
Douglas, Mehring, Schmidt, Hilferding ('above all'), and Dobb.  To answer
your question directly, I'd have to say 'no', but you or others may find
another omission annoying.  I am annoyed because Grossman was obviously
doing his homework and yet when it came to the figure who so much
conditioned Marxist economics (Lenin) he backed away.  Furthermore, he was
not a party member and in 1941 was even in New York.  

Anyway, I simply think that one doesn't 'stop short' on Lenin, when Lenin's
position is so clearly the same.  Put another way, the failure to take on
Lenin's economics put a stamp of legitimacy on Lenin overall and there is
NO one within Marxism that I know of who made at least a somewhat
systematic attempt until Rosdolsky (please correct me here if I am wrong). 
Luxemburg has a few pointed comments in her *Acc. of Capital* making her
position clear enough, and Plekhanov had a 1905 footnoted comment, but what
else is there before Rosdolsky?  Of course, for us now, we can sometimes
forget that before 1917, Lenin was not THE leader of international Marxism,
but one of many.

The first part of the Grossman article says that the key to the difference
between Marx and the classicals is stated by Marx himself: "Marx obtained
the differentiation of the 'dual character' of the labor represented in the
commodity, which in his own eyes constituted what was 'fundamentally new'
in theory' [Grossman, p. 38, citing Marx to Engels, 8 Jan. 1868]. 
Personally, I've yet to decide was is THE KEY(S) differences between Marx
and the classicals, but I do agree with Grossman to the existence of a
break from the Classicals, whether he cited Lenin to the contrary or not.


>>Grossman pulls a similar operation against Sismondi.  In 1924 he is quite
>>appreciative of Sismondi (a French original article appearing in Warsaw),
>>while in 1934 his tune is completely different regarding Sismondi (he must
>>have read Lenin's views on Sismondi in the meantime since now his remarks
>>are indisquishable from Lenin's).

>It's difficult to believe that Grossmann didn't know Lenin's writing on
>Sismondi in 1924. Perhaps, at that point he wasn't "obliged" to "pay
>tribute" to Lenin while in 1934  ... well... Moscow's trials were in 1933,

I had also thought it difficult to believe that Grossman hadn't read Lenin
on Sismondi by 1924, and went through many emails with Rick Kuhn and we
couldn't come up with a better answer than that he most probably hadn't. 
Being Polish, Grossman may have known Russian well enough to read Lenin's
*Sismondi* but we could not confirm this (his wife did know Russian well,
but they separated around this time).  The fact is that there is no
citation by Grossman to Lenin's 1897 *Sismondi* in the 1924 article (it
would have been an obvious citation for him, while he does cite, for
example, Luxemburg's *Acc. of Capital*) nor before, but the CHANGE in
attitude between the 1924 and 1934 is noticeable.

Rakesh denies any change between 1924 and 1934, but here is Rick Kuhn:

"Grossman did not refer to Lenin's earlier, systematic critique of Sismondi
as a forerunner of the Russian populists.  In a work with which Grossman
was familiar, Luxemburg (1913, especially pp. 189, 287), had cited
'Ilyin's' study (Lenin, 1897) in several places.  My views on this point
have been claarifed in discussion with Paul Zarembka.  When Grossman (1934)
wrote a brief encyclopeida entry on Sismondi in 1934, he drew heavily on
Lenin's criticisms.  Following Lenin, as opposed to his own earlier
position, he characterized Sismondi as an underconsumptionist." ("Henryk
Grossman, A Marxist Activist and Theorist: On the 50th Anniversary of His
Death", R.P.E., Vol. 18, 2000, p. 155, fn. 47).

The Moscow trials began in 1937.


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