[OPE-L:6789] Re: change the world

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Wed Mar 20 2002 - 22:45:30 EST

Re John H's [6778]:

>     Jerry says "I think that you're asking the right question -- "How to
> change the  world?" --  but there is no simple answer and answers will
> through  praxis rather than mere academic discourse."
>     I imagine nobody on the list would disagree with that. But what has
> changing the world got to do with Marxist economics?

Understanding the world and changing the world are inter-related,
inter-connected tasks for Marxists.  "Philosophers" in Marx's time did
not comprehend this connection (of course, I am referring to the 11th
"Theses on Feuerbach".)

>     The thunderous silence on the question suggests that most people on
> list would say that there is no relation. Do most people feel that Marxist
> economics is about studying the world as it is (the functioning of the
> capitalist system) and that changing the world is a different matter, a
> question of political organization? In other words, that praxis and
> discourse are quite separate questions, as Jerry seems to suggest (?).

No, I don't think that they are "quite separate questions".  Note in
particular the word "mere" above.

Moreover, the connection between theory and praxis is often not so
clear-cut.  I would imagine that there are few theoretical traditions
within  Marxism as  diverse as  a "reading Capital politically" perspective
(a la Harry Cleever) and  (for want of a better term)  a "capital-logical"
perspective (a la Paul Mattick, Sr.).  Yet, in terms of praxis the council
communism of  the late Mattick Sr. and the  "Open Marxism" of Cleever
(and yourself,  I imagine) are not so far apart.  Similarly, Kliman-McGlone-
Freeman have very similar theoretical perspectives on Marx's value theory
but the praxis of  the first 2 (Marxist-Humanism) is quite different from
the Leninism and Trotskyism of the 3rd (even though there is a historical
connection in the sense that the "News and Letters" group arose out of a
split from the Trotskyist  SWP in the US.)  If there is not at least some
"relative autonomy"  between theoretical discourse and praxis then we
would not observe these  apparent paradoxes.  In other words, theory and
praxis are integrally tied to each other but they are not the _same_.

In solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Tue Apr 02 2002 - 00:00:06 EST