Re: (OPE-L) Re: Paresh Chattopadhyay 'Capital, The Progenitor of Socialism'

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Mon Dec 22 2003 - 13:34:59 EST

At 11:15 22/12/2003, jerry wrote:
>Mike L asked:
> > What in the [...] abstract that I sent leads you to view Paresh as a 
> revolutionary?
>Even if the following wasn't necessarily  Marx's perspective on the "first 
>(see _The Communist Manifesto_  for 10 recommendations for what to put
>into effect immediately after the insurrection), isn't it a revolutionary 
>In solidarity, Jerry
>  Socialist revolution itself is seen as an immense emancipatory 
> project---based on workers’ self-emancipation 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 interest of the immense majority.

         Do you think it is?
         Here is that statement with the part that precedes it:

>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.

         Sounds a bit like Gerry Cohen's position--- about which I 
commented as follows:

>In this framework, how do we explain the continued existence of 
>capitalism? Cohen reasons that it follows from this thesis that capitalism 
>‘persists because and as long as it is optimal for further development of 
>productive power and ... is optimal for further development of productive 
>power’ (Cohen, 1978: 175). In short, there is a very simple answer to 
>those ‘anomalies’ noted in Chapter 2 that ‘confront Marxism as its 
>refutation’: capitalism is not yet at the point where its relations of 
>production are fettering the development of productive forces. We go 
>beyond capital only when it is no longer ‘optimal,’ only when the 
>productive forces have been developed to the point when they have outgrown 
>their capitalist shell.[1] For Marx, Cohen (1978: 150) proposes, the 
>         takes place because the expansion of productive power has been 
> blocked, and the revolution will enable it to proceed afresh. 
> The        function of the revolutionary social change is to unlock the 
> productive forces.
>And, this point would surely come, Cohen offers, because Marx thought 
>‘high technology was not only necessary but also sufficient for socialism, 
>and that capitalism would certainly generate that technology’ (Cohen, 
>1978: 206. Emphasis added).
>             What does this Marxism offer to all who would reject 
> capitalism? Wait. Wait until capitalism runs out of steam. Indeed, the 
> true revolutionaries would appear to be those who speed the development 
> of the productive forces, the agents who generate that ‘high technology’! 
> This ‘conservative Marxism’, however, differs rather significantly from 
> the Marx and Marxism outlined in this book.
>[1] The primacy of productive forces thesis also can yield the 
>conservative inference that the rejection of ‘actually existing socialism’ 
>in the last century is proof that socialism by its very nature fetters the 
>development of productive forces. However, see Lebowitz (1991).

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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