[OPE-L:6808] Re: Re: Re: change the world

From: dashyaf@easynet.co.uk
Date: Sat Mar 23 2002 - 07:23:58 EST

There are big assumptions here. Academic discourse has little to do with 
understanding the world from a revolutionary perspective. The pressures are 
too great to be respectable and keep your job. You have to publish all the 
time and this leads to 'discourses' (what an awful word!) which allow 
people to do this with no apparent contribution to a revolutionary 
understanding of reality. This is not a criticism of those who choose to 
work as academics - after all we all need to work to live - but frankly a 
little realism is in order here.

Marx and Engels' position is totally clear on this issue as the Theses on 
Fuerbach and much else makes clear. As has been said in the past many 
times,  Capital is a critique of political economy. Changing the world has 
everything to do with 'Marxist economics'. I would never use such a term 
but the point is clear. I have just helped to organise a tour of two Cuban 
young communists around Britain and something they said might perhaps be of 
some relevance here - 'Practice is the real constituent of truth'.

I am still unclear as to what John and Gerry are saying and probably both 
would agree with what I have argued. Nevertheless as materialists we must 
understand the pressures of work in an academic environment is not 
conducive to a revolutionary perspective....

David Yaffe

At 12:50 20/03/02 -0600, John Holloway wrote:
>     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 arise 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?
>     The thunderous silence on the question suggests that most people on the
>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 organisation? In other words, that praxis and academic
>discourse are quite separate questions, as Jerry seems to suggest (?). This
>seems to me a position that is theoretically and politically unsustainable.
>     John
> >From: "gerald_a_levy" <gerald_a_levy@msn.com>
> >To: <ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu>
> >Subject: [OPE-L:6771] Re: change the world
> >Date: Tue, Mar 19, 2002, 6:19 AM
> >
> >
> >Re John H's [6765]:
> >
> >>     The interesting question is then how one sees the relation between
> >> "love" (or dignity or mutual recognition or whatever one wants to call it)
> >> and value. Is value the negation of love? What then is the relation
> >> between  love and crisis?
> >
> >Value is an expression of the dynamic of  capital.  Expressing it
> >differently,  the value relation represents an organizing principle of
> >capitalism and the particular form that class exploitation takes within the
> >cmp.  To the extent  that the value relation transforms human-beings into
> >(only) wage-laborers,  then I think it does represent the negation of love
> >for we can only _truly_  love -- i.e. realize our potential, to the extent
> >that  it is possible under the cmp,  as real (fully) human beings -- when
> >we break beyond the prisons and shackles of  what value and capital
> >(and patriarchy) have reduced us to.   Thus wage-labor  (itself an
> >expression of exploitation) stands in opposition to human being and love.
> >
> >Love and crisis?   Well, I guess it depends on what kind of "crisis" we're
> >talking about.   Love and solidarity by workers are part of the dynamic of
> >struggle by workers to ensure that the crisis is not resolved on terms
> >dictated by capital (here I am thinking of the crisis that accompanies a
> >periodic downturn in profitability and accumulation.)  The more interesting
> >question is how love plays an increasing role in a  *revolutionary* dynamic
> >by workers and in their awareness of their potential to be "gravediggers"
> >and thereby to be (pardon the expression) "born again".   Far too many
> >Marxists, though, seem to me to have a very mechanistic idea of how
> >a  revolutionary dynamic can arise, grow, and succeed and what connection
> >that has to "crisis theory".   In this connection,  I am reminded of the
> >cartoon on listmember Anwar Shaikh's homepage:
> >http://homepage.newschool.edu/~AShaikh/
> >I think that you're asking the right question -- "How to change the
> >world?" --  but there is no simple answer and answers will arise through
> >praxis rather than mere academic discourse.
> >
> >Well, John  H (and others): what do you think of the above musings?
> >
> >In solidarity, Jerry
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >

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