Re: [OPE-L] Fw: W J Blake clarification requested

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Fri Nov 11 2005 - 12:59:15 EST

>----- Original Message -----
>From: <>Paul Bullock
>To: <>
>Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2005 6:04 PM
>Subject: W J Blake clarification requested
>Dear Rakesh,
>In late 2003 you kindly sent me this attached note, saying Blake was
>a journalist. I was a bit confused reading this since this is not
>what it said/says in his books introduction. Are we talking at cross
>purposes. I referred to William J Blake who in 1939 published the
>'Elements..' used in the email title. But he was a stock exchange
>'worker'(!) and banker, not as you say in the email a journalist!  I
>don't understand how he could have lived in poverty  later.  Is
>there some error on your part or are we talking about different

same Blake and Blech. He emigrated from the US after the War and
lived in poverty in England. As Jerry noted, he was a journalist in
the 1920s

>You say you have 2 MSS from  a  'Blake'... is it not possible to
>publish these ?

I  have a sinking feeling that somehow these two MSS as well as
Shoul's Radcliffe dissertation have been lost in my move; they have
not yet surfaced. By the way, thanks again to Jerry for having told
me about Shoul's dissertation.

I also have this suspicion that Raya Duyanevskaya (a pseudonym I have
been told) was Shoul's nom de guerre. But I have no way of proving it.

>What strikes me is that some of the best material is literally
>unavailable to english readers.. eg  probably the MSS you refer to,
>especially if one is on Imperialism...!!!!

It's not a great book (as Elements of Marxian Economic Theory...An
American Looks...);  quite rambling, not theoretically tight and not
innovative. But massively learned.

And... he is often quite eloquent. From William J. Blake in an
unpublished mss Imperialism from 1948 (I have quoted this passage at
least three times before).

One cannot abstract from the history of capitalism its constant wars,
either at home or in the colonies, its armaments, its large military
establishments, its struggles for plunders, its terrible human and
material costs, and then assert that such things, enormous as they
are, are excrescencies.  The idea of abstraction is dear to these
economists, but it is not an act of legitimate abstraction.  They
choose to assume that an ideal system of production and exchange goes
on: that this system operates without political consequences, that it
can thus be viewed as having a normal existence independent of its
action in most countries, in a large part of the course of economic
history.  Now, abstraction is legitimate as a weapon of exploration.
One can go beneath the great indicative appearance of capitalism and
seek to isolate its law of wages, prices, interest, rent, profit,
etc.  But from that to refusing to consider the costs of its actual
working out, when making a specific analysis, there is no
relationship at all.  The persistent tendencies of any system
culminate in its political manifestations, and wars and destruction
are no more to be reckoned out of the costs of capitalism than its
payments for machinery. The system of supply and demand does not
achieve economic harmony such that it avoids crises and wars. These
inflect its course.  It is a masquerade of inflation, bankruptcy,
boom and bust, fraud, unemployment, race hatred, colonial oppression,
war, devastation, reconstruction. This Satanic medley is what it is:
there is no pure system operating outside of all these
consequences and which would prevail, a Platonic ideal, were it not
disturbed by these recurrent miseries and shame, apparently arising
out of another world?"

If I reread the mss I may change my mind about its importance.
Especially valuable may be the critique of theories of possibility of
international cooperation.

>  and Grossmans full book and several of his articles. Would it not
>be a great service to do something on Blake as an intro to
>publishing his MSS? ( like the service Rick is trying to render to

I have forgotten so much I once knew about his life. I communicated
to Rick Kuhn that one of Stead's short stories is actually about the
many lives of Henryk Grossmann, a good friend of William J. Blake's.
And to truly write about Blake one would have to have read his novels.

>I look forward to your clarification... .

Steve Palmer has put some of Grossmann's work up on the web; I just
have to find Blake's and Shoul's mss and see whether he wants to put
them up to.

>Best regards
>Paul Bullock.

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