[OPE-L:6554] Re: Re: * poll: who has advanced political econ omy since Marx? *

From: dashyaf@easynet.co.uk
Date: Mon Feb 11 2002 - 15:40:11 EST

Marx wrote a critique of political economy not an abstract tract on 
economics. It was a critique not just of capitalism and the views of its 
most conscious representatives but also of  petty bourgeois views in the 
contemporary working class/'socialist' movement eg Proudhon. Lenin carried 
on in this tradition - a tradition that seems to be sadly lacking today - 
despite the appalling state of both the world and the left movement. Can I 
suggest that comrades look at Vygodski  again - the Story of a Great 
Discovery How Karl Marx wrote 'Capital' for Marx's approach.

Lenin did advance our understanding on the relation of economics to 
politics in a rather challenging way in his pamphlet on Imperialism, as he 
himself makes clear in the preface.  Marxists have been attacking his 
position ever since on the labour aristocracy or the two trends in the 
working class movement. But clearly there is a growing split in the working 
class movement between imperialist and oppressed  nations and and 
increasingly within the imperialist nations themselves. Why  this is found 
to be unacceptable is beyond me. Lenin, building on the work of Marx and 
Engels gave us a materialist understanding of this development - a very 
significant advance in Marxist thought. Can I recommend Imperialism and the 
Split in Socialism Vol 23 p105ff. This really is in the best tradition of 
critique of  political economy. The position needs to be developed 
concretely in relation to today's circumstances.

I have tried to write about this topic in relation to the development 
of  British imperialism in a series of articles in the newspaper Fight 
Racism! Fight Imperialism! - see the FRFI section of 
http://www.rcgfrfi.easynet.co.uk - starting with issue 161.

David Yaffe

At 15:46 11/02/02 +0000, glevy@pop-b.pratt.edu wrote:
>Re Julian's [6548]:
> > I'd be interested the hear the views of better-read comrades than
> > myself on  this -- but do others agree with me that Lenin advanced > 
> the *practical* *critique* of political economy to a marked degree?
>At the risk of sounding heretical, what exactly was that advancement?
>Are you referring to his pamphlet on the 'latest phase' of capitalism 
>which he himself described as a 'popular outline'? (and which he left it 
>to others, e.g. Bukharin, to expand upon) Or are you referring to other 
>works of his on economics?  In looking at his contributions to p.e. I 
>think it is fair to say that he was one of the earliest Marxists to use 
>statistical analysis -- but he was by no means the only author to do so 
>during this period (e.g. see Sternberg's use of statistical materials in 
>his book on imperialism).
>As for his 'critique of political economy', I think that his engagement 
>was more with contemporary radical socialist and anarchist writers and 
>political tendencies than with classical political economy. In other 
>words, his critique was more of socialist and other contemporary political 
>movements than of p.e. as such. Perhaps there is an important 'practical' 
>lesson for us here about the need to engage contemporary debates by 
>Marxists and other radicals rather than just limiting our understanding of 
>'critique' to writings of an earlier time period?
>In solidarity, Jerry

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