Re: [OPE-L] David Gordon Memorial Lecture

From: dlaibman@JJAY.CUNY.EDU
Date: Thu Aug 25 2005 - 17:19:30 EDT

Jerry (et al),
  The URPE Summer Conference was, as usual, quite stimulating and
enjoyable.  I am not authorized to give an official evaluation, of
course, but ...
  OPE members present: Allin C., Gil (of course!).  Not sure who else.
Robin Hahnel spoke in a plenary with Allin, along with Gar Alperowitz.
Another presentation was Rick Wolff and Steve Resnick, on the USSR from
their "surplus approach" perspective.  Overall theme of the conference
was "Alternatives" -- which some of us at least don't mind interpreting
as a call to discuss *socialism* -- and I would say a beginning was
made in this regard.  Check for the full program.
   One thing I would say is that the audience responses to socialism
presentations (including my talk) as one person described it to
me, "socialism 101."  The questions, while friendly, tended to be
elementary and digressive, rather than focused on theoretical issues
and on differences among the various alternatives presented.
Responding to the matter of the role and fate of markets in a maturing
socialist society (and prospects for their transcendence or abolition),
one questioner asked me if I thought *flea markets* would be
abolished!  (She apparently enjoys them.)  Robin H. later said that he
has encountered that question before, although I had not.  I don't
think I answered it very well, but subsequently I have thought of a
good answer, which is to use the question as an opportunity to think
about the social relations underlying markets.  I.e., if we "think"
flea markets as fun places in which to find unusual or antique
household goods, knick-knacks, etc., shouldn't we also think them from
the point of view fo the casual tradespeople who have to try to make a
living selling merchandise in that way, and about the larger political
economy that creates a class of people consigned to the informal sector
because they have no -- well -- *alternatives*!  It is always the
underlying social relations that matter.
  Well, that's not a real summary of the conference, just a few
  Best to all,

----- Original Message -----
From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Wednesday, August 24, 2005 4:48 pm
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] David Gordon Memorial Lecture
> Hi David L:
> (Other than your paper) was there anything particularly
> interesting, scandalous or exciting that happened at the
> URPE Summer Camp?  Were there any other OPE-L members
> present (like Gary? or Gil? or ...?).
> In solidarity, Jerry
> PS to Paolo:  I'm not back yet.  I'm still on passage
> -- but I'll be returning to the life on land and
> work next week. :-( The comment that you made was in
> reply to a message authored by Jurriaan which I forwarded
> to the list.
> -----------------------------------------------------
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