[OPE-L:6560] Re: * poll: who has advanced political econ omy since Marx? *

From: glevy@pop-b.pratt.edu
Date: Tue Feb 12 2002 - 09:45:23 EST

Re David Y's [6554]:

> 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. 

OK, what specifically are the petty-bourgeois views in the contemporary working-class/'socialist' movement that are in need of critique today?
> 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.

Are you suggesting that the critique of political economy needs to be more concretely developed today as it relates to positions taken by contemporary working class/socialist movements in relationship to imperialism and imperialist wars?  The inference, in other words, seems to be that many contemporary socialists are 'soft' on the question of imperialism. This is certainly not an inference I would reject -- but I'd like to hear more about *which* groups, tendencies and authors (other than the obvious ones, e.g. social democratic) you believe have this position. 

Another interesting question is whether imperialism as it was  characterized by Lenin in his pamphlet has been altered in significant ways. E.g. Paul C, I believe, once raised this question in relation to what he viewed as the contemporary (in)significance of the export of capital from the imperialist nations. This would make for an interesting thread -- 'how has imperialism changed since Lenin's time?' or 'has imperialism changed since Lenin?'.

In solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat Mar 02 2002 - 00:00:04 EST