Re: [OPE-L] Theories and Practices

From: Ian Wright (wrighti@ACM.ORG)
Date: Wed Dec 07 2005 - 13:07:49 EST

Hi Jerry

If someone denied the basic tenets of evolutionary theory I would
describe them as "anti-Darwinian". I'm using "anti-Marxist" in an
identical way. Being anti-Marxist is absolutely fine by the way, if
one has good arguments. But I get the impression, if I may say so,
that Ruccio is trying to have his cake and eat it -- denying some
basic tenets of Marxism, yet adopting its garb.

For example, Ruccio expresses scepticism that the law of value is an
underlying mechanism that generates empirical regularities:

"The specificity of Marx's concept of value ... instead of being an
expression of an underlying `law' [note scare quotes] of the division
of labor ... is now seen to be a way of focusing on the cultural and
political mechanisms whereby diverse communities are stripped of their
identities and needs in order to be molded into the subjects of a
single economic calculus."

For example, Ruccio suggests there is no economic basis for class, and
that class is socially constructed:

"A poststructuralist approach suggests a reading of Capital that
emphasizes class as the discursive entry point of political economy
instead of being taken as given of the social order."

For example, Ruccio rejects the primacy of economic analysis for a
deep understanding of social reality:

"Thus, the ``economy'' [note scare quotes again] would emerge not as a
primitive foundation, an independent and singular underlying reality,
but as a forced attempt to create a closed space whose principle of
existence is based on negation of social specificity, heterogeneity,
and openness"

So: no law of value, no underlying economic mechanisms that produce
class phenomena, etc. These are some basic tenets of Marx's ideas,
which are questioned in the article. Hence the characterization
"anti-Marxist". I am characterizing the text in the article, not
Ruccio the person.

Best wishes,


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