Re: [OPE-L] Zusammenbruchtheorie and reformism

From: Riccardo Bellofiore (riccardo.bellofiore@UNIBG.IT)
Date: Tue Dec 07 2004 - 05:14:30 EST

At 8:50 -0500 6-12-2004, Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM wrote:


your second set of phrases, the one I underlined, actually expresses
what I think too.

your first set of phrases is unclear to me. probabbly you mean
passivity attitude, not reformism. If capitalism goes towards
economic catastrophe, then crises and instability will mount, so
reformism strictly speaking is useless. However what I wan,ted to say
is that Marxian theory, and also the one by Luxemburg, may affirm the
possibility in some periods of reforms within capitalism (say: higher
real wages, less working hours etc) without impairing the fundamental
antagonism and even tendency to crisis (or even catastrophe)

I guess that Luxemburg was right here, even within collapse theory.
She answered to Bauer that collapse is not a susbstitute for
revolution (look at the Anticritique. More than that, and decisive:
collapse may turn into barbarism rather than socialism,
authomatically (Geras is very good on this point).

The point is another one. Collapse theory seems to me wrong. I would
go even further (but I will advance that I will NOT discuss this now
on the list). I think that Luxemburg believed, as Marx, that
capitalist development will create a homogeneous working class with
concentration and centralization of capital etc. Now, the
contemporary capitalism is accumulating surplus value dividing more
and more the working class. This simply means to me that the
reunification process - from below - must be constructed, starting
not from ideals but from objective social relations, without hoÓwever
thinking that this reunification is spontaneously produced. This, if
you think, is a further argument supposrting the undelining phrases


>Catastrophe theory could be used as a rationalization _for_ reformism.
>I.e. if there is some sort of automatic mechanism that inevitably drives
>capitalism towards economic catastrophe and social-political crisis
>from which it is incapable of overcoming (even though there are
>counter-tendencies that can delay for a long historical period this
>result),  then -- so long as the catastrophe isn't immanent -- *why
>not become a reformist*?
>If, however, the future of capitalism is uncertain (i.e. mechanisms
>that assert inevitability do not exist) and whether there will or
>will not be an anti-capitalist revolution depends on the self-
>organization and activity of the working class, then this
>constitutes a strong argument for revolutionary organization
>and activism.
>In any event, reformism is not primarily a 'theory-driven'
>political movement.  Rather,  reformist theories are primarily
>_ex post_ rationalizations for reformism and opportunism.
>In solidarity, Jerry

Riccardo Bellofiore
Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche
"Hyman P. Minsky"
Via dei Caniana 2
I-24127 Bergamo, Italy
direct    +39-035-2052545
secretary +39-035 2052501
fax:      +39 035 2052549

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