[OPE-L:6561] Re: Re: Re: * poll: who has advanced political econ omy since Marx? *

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Tue Feb 12 2002 - 14:44:09 EST

re David's 6554

>  Can I suggest that comrades look at Vygodski  again - the Story of 
>a Great Discovery How Karl Marx wrote 'Capital' for Marx's approach.

I have never read this book.

>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.

With the globalization of production--the partial break down of the 
intl division of labor of industrial and raw material nations-- and 
the deskillinmg of the former labor aristocracy, any material basis 
for the labor aristocracy seems to have broken down. I say this 
knowing that you will take it as provocative.

>  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

Bush's recent budget proposals do not suggest that he intends to 
corrupt and coopt the working class!

If trade union leadership is conservative, it would seem to be more 
the result of the system of collective bargaining than the 
bourgeoisification of the mass of workers from the spoils of 

Yet I would agree that the US left as a whole has not proven itself 
able to give an unblinkered look at US foreign policy in the Middle 
East, including US military occupation of the Gulf.

It is my opinion that there has been a kind of virulent American 
racism that is directed at Arabs alone (though of course Iranians are 
not much less vulnerable). This leads to fantasies of their total 
defeat or total annihilation, and those fantasies have infused 
cinematic culture in particular.  This helps to stifle debate in the 
US about the nature of US foreign policy in the Arab world in 

Sadly, my efforts on this list to keep the discussion about the so 
called oilism thesis (i.e., US foreign policy is best understood as 
an attempt to secure the uninterrupted flow of oil to the US) that 
had been subjected to critique by Cyrus Bina ten years ago did not 
much succeed.

I also tried to raise discussion a couple of years ago of David E 
Spiro's book The Hidden Hand of American Hegemony which is on 
petrodollar recycling. But no one seemed interested. Bina told me 
that he thought it was a solid book.

So I am surprised how little careful political economic analysis 
there has been of US foreign policy in the Middle East even as US 
policy has been arguably genocidal, e.g., significance of pricing of 
oil in dollars, recycling of petrodollars, economic significance of 
arms deals (and the massive endemic corruption),  the nature of the 
partnerships between US companies and OPEC govts when entering into 
upstream and downstream operations,  consequences of Saudi Arabia 
capturing  some of Iraq's former export markets, the security 
arrangements the US has with the Gulf states, the role of migrant 
workers in the Gulf and the effects of their remittances on home 
countries (e.g., my grandfather hold told me that there was quite a 
bit of hostility in the Bombay riots from poor Hindus against poor 
Muslims who were imagined to have grown fat on Gulf remittances, etc).


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