From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Tue Dec 16 2003 - 20:41:21 EST

Hi Paul,
         I didn't send this in relation to the Cuba list that we are on; 
that may be a confusion.  Rather, it was a bit of information to add to the 
material that Rakesh sent from Paresh and is, I think, a good indication of 
where Paresh's reading of Marx has taken him. In the Preface to the new 
edition of 'Beyond CAPITAL', I referred to this perspective as follows: 'Of 
course, in one of those ironies that Marx would have appreciated, it was 
possible to find conservatives of various hues quoting scriptures and 
declaring that capitalism's successes and the failures of AES ['Actually 
Existing Socialism"] confirmed that Marx was right.'
         in solidarity,

At 18:12 16/12/2003, you wrote:
>why have you sent this? what was the point of the paper in relation to 
>Cuba now?
>Paul B.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: <mailto:mlebowit@SFU.CA>michael a. lebowitz
>Sent: Monday, December 15, 2003 2:50 AM
>Subject: Re: OPE-L Paresh Chattopadhyay CAPITAL, THE PROGENITOR OF 
>Apropos, here's the abstract for the paper that Paresh wrote for this 
>year's Marx conference in Havana. You'll note his closing line re the 
>Soviet experience--- "Marx, indeed, had the last laugh."
>                                      Two Approaches to Socialist 
> Revolution :Marx vs.Lenin-Trotsky
>Russia 1917
>Following Marx,a society of free and associated producers---socialism---is 
>a product of history,not of nature or arbitrary will.Individuals cannot 
>bring their own social relations under their proper control before having 
>created them.Indeed,new,hier relations of production do not appear  before 
>its matériel conditions of existence have already been hatched within the 
>womb of the old society itself.And if in the existing society we do not 
>find in a latent form the matériel  conditions of production and 
>corresponding relations of circulation for a classless soceity,all 
>attempts at exploding the present society would be don Quixotism.These 
>conditions are basically,first,the existence of the proletariat---« the 
>greatest productive power »----occupying at least a significant position 
>in society,and,secondly,the universal development of productive forces and 
>socialization of labour and production.Given these conditions,socialist 
>revolution begins when capital has reached a situation where the 
>productive powers it has generated---including its « greatest productive 
>power »---can no longer advance on the basis of the existing relations of 
>production.Socialist revolution itself is seen as an immense emancipatory 
>project---based on workers’ self-emacipation leading to the emancipation 
>of the whole humanity---whose very first step is the « conquest of democracy »,
>the rule of the immense majority in the inter est of the immense majority.
>     Against this profound materialist perspective Lenin(and Trotsky) 
> avanced the thesis that socialist revolution could(would) break out where 
> the chain of world capitalism­subject to the law  of unevenand combined 
> development­has its  weakestlink,that is,its productive powers  are least 
> developed .This ‘weakest link’ thesis became a canon of the dominant Left 
> as well as of those sympathetic to the Bolshevik regime. However,they 
> were dismissing Marx too rapidly.Lenin soon real ized that a largely 
> pre-capitalist country with a low level of productive forces and a 
> backward working class required the development of capitalism­of course 
> under a ‘proletarian’ state­in order to reach socialism later.This is 
> seen in Lenin’s own pronouncements of the post-1917 period as well as the 
> corresponding measures undertaken by the new regime.It need not be 
> stressed that the development of capitalism is not the task of 
>Similarly,far from inaugurating a socialist revolution as a 
>self-emancipatory act of the toilers themselves,’conquering democracy’ as 
>a ‘first step’,October 1917 saw the seizure and monopolisation of power by 
>a tiny minority in the name of the toilers independently of and,in 
>fact,behind the back of their already established organs of self 
>administrstion,putting a définite brake on the immense pluralist and 
>democratic process started by the spontaneous revolutionary upheaval of 
>the entire mass of the Russian toilers,,rapidly destroying in the process 
>thetoilers own organsof self-rule.In the event,never able to 
>suppresscommodity and wage relations,the regime,particularly after the 
>civil war,took conscious measaures to widen them rapidly and in the 
>process consummateda bourgeois non-democratic  revolution.Marx,indeed,had 
>the last laugh.
>Paresh Chattopadhyay
>University of Quebec at Montreal
>Michael A. Lebowitz
>Professor Emeritus
>Economics Department
>Simon Fraser University
>Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
>Office Fax:   (604) 291-5944
>Home:   Phone (604) 689-9510

Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office Fax:   (604) 291-5944
Home:   Phone (604) 689-9510

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