Re: book promotion

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Mon Dec 01 2003 - 07:42:49 EST

Mike L:  thanks for your reply to my "lob". What I find most
interesting about your reply is that much of it (see below)  could 
have been written by John H, Harry C, or even Tony N.  More
specifically, I find it interesting that Marxists who have very
different methodological understandings and interpretations of
_Capital_ can arrive at similar theoretical and political conclusions.
Another example of this enigma is the intellectual relationship
between Harry C and the late Paul Mattick Sr.  Clearly they
utilized different methodologies and interpretations of _Capital_
but their political  conclusions  were very similar.  Yet,  all of 
these authors would claim that the process of the development of 
theory is integrally connected with political perspective and praxis.  
How is it then that those with very differing methodological and 
philosophical perspectives can still come to very similar political 
conclusions?  What does that then tell us about the character of the
link between the reconstruction of capitalism in thought and 
praxis and political world-view?  

In solidarity, Jerry

        In focusing on the side of workers in the book, one important aspect of the book as it develops emphasizes the way workers produce themselves through all their activities, how every act generates a joint product--- the changing of circumstances and self-change (Marx's definition of revolutionary practice). The emphasis here is upon the nature of workers that capital produces and the way workers produce themselves in a different way through struggle. Capital tends to produce workers who by 'education, tradition and habit' look upon the requirements of capital 'as self-evident natural laws'-- ie., capital tends to produce the workers it needs (cf. Vol I, 899 Vintage). Only insofar as workers struggle do they alter themselves and create the possibility of going beyond capital. The way I put it in this edition at one point (p.189) is: 'Once we recognise that the subjects of this process are human beings and that "revolutionary practice" is essential for building human capacities, then a central question to pose with respect to all struggles becomes--- does this help in the self-development of the working class?'
        The relationship of this perspective to the building of a socialist society is, I think, clear. It points to the necessity to develop forms and relations of production (not narrowly conceived) which allow producers to develop through their activities. Thus, it stresses the importance of self-management in work places and communities rather than the hierarchy and verticalism that characterised 'actually existing socialism' (which I have written about as the 'vanguard mode of production') and the importance of direct solidaristic links rather than connection through market relations--- because a central question is what kind of people are produced (produce themselves) under different relations.

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