Re: [OPE-L] Raya Dunayevskaya, Bernice Shoul, and Henryk Grossmann

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Sat Nov 12 2005 - 12:29:12 EST

>  > Yet it remains true that RD basically took over Grossmann's
>>  interpretation of Capital without ever citing him. She even
>>  speaks of the third volume as Marx's closest approximation!
>>  She repeated HG's criticism of Luxemburg. My point
>>  is of course political: as a leader of anti Stalinist political
>>  organization she could not admit what she had to admit
>>  as a scholar--her 'economics' were taken from a political
>>  Stalinist. Mattick dealt with the problem much more honestly.
>Rosdolsky and Mandel, both Trotskyists,  were influenced
>by Grossmann and had no problem citing his works in a
>favorable context.   Of course, _many_ have read both
>RD and HG -- yet none (save you) have attributed intellectual
>dishonesty to RD.   Your 'political' point attributes a personal
>and intellectual dishonesty to Raya Dunayevskaya

Have you once refuted my claim that RD's interpretation of
Capital is virtually identical to HG's, right down to the claim
of successive approximations, to a shortage of mass of
surplus value crisis theory, to a critique of Luxemburg's
use of the reproduction schema and underconsumption?
Do remember that you claimed that RD's interpretation
of Capital was quite different from HG's. That is absolutely
false. But no one is expecting for  you to admit that you are
wrong. We know that you do not do that.
Whether RD was Shoul or came to know of Grossmann
through Shoul or came to know of Grossmann directly,
she simply failed to cite her source. And I think
it is obvious why she so failed.

>which is
>contrary to what I have read about her life and heard about her
>from those who knew and wrote about her.  While I am not a
>great fan of her writings, especially her perspectives on state
>capitalism,  I have a lot of respect for her political life: by all
>accounts (except yours)  she was a committed, brave, and
>_honest_ revolutionary --  someone who told the truth the way
>she saw it even at a great personal risk and cost to herself.

Well she would have compromised herself as a anti Stalinist
revolutionary had she admitted her de facto teacher of economics.
In fact RD's cult followers once told me that Mattick was a Stalinist!
This supposedly because he was honest enough to admit a debt
to Grossmann.

>btw, the idea that Dunayevskaya and Shoul were the same
>person assumes that no one in New York City while Shoul
>taught at Brooklyn College and Bard College  and Boston
>at UMass would have noticed the similarity!

  I don't find this surprising at all.
Who in America would have read Shoul's dissertation or HG's work
to know the similarity with her interpretation of Capital in Marxism and
Freedom? The only one who would have
immediately noticed the similarity (or rather RD's debt) was
Mattick Sr, and his critical review focused on her Hegelian
theory of freedom

>  Yet, RD was
>a quite well-known figure on the anti-Stalinist Left by this
>time and she had supporters and opponents in both locations.
>The idea that RD would have, without anyone taking notice,
>worked for capital and the state (the government of Puerto
>Rico and the Gillette Corporation) is also absurd.

I really don't know much about Shoul. But Sohn Rethel worked
for a major corporation. People have to survive. I don't think
the revenue of News and Letters would have been enough.

>In solidarity, Jerry
>PS: While I'm not going to tell them, I can assure you that
>an attack on the integrity of RD will not go unnoticed by
>members of the News and Letters Committees  --

it should not go unnoticed. They should have to admit the source of
their source. And then they will be left with her true original work--
the incomprehensible use of Hegel's Absolute to ground a vague, if
not meaningless,
theory of freedom. And my goodness the reliance of Hegel of all people
for a radical theory of bottom up freedom. Maybe Dominico Losurdo
would agree but at least he makes a vigorous and comprehensible case.


>including 2 former OPE-L members.  I'm not sure you
>comprehend how many people will feel that your claim
>is insulting.

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