Re: [OPE-L] Mandel's dialectics

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Thu Mar 29 2007 - 16:21:14 EDT

> Point 2: I think that class conflicts and class struggles are ENDOGENOUS
> to capitalist development, they help shape it, and I think Marx thought
> so too.
> Workers' resistance to oppressive conditions and terms of work, or
> protests with regard to laws and politics, whatever form they take, are
> simply part and parcel of everyday life in capitalism, the only thing
> that changes, is  their scale and intensity. Sometimes they assert
> themselves in a fairly mute and oblique way, at other times with furious
> intensity and on a massified scale.
> Now this is important, because if you don't really understand what you are
> talking about regarding class conflicts and class struggles, then you
> cannot solve the problem of what Mandel liked to call "the subjective
> factor" either.

Hi Jurriaan:

Trotsky also, if I recall correctly, liked to refer to "the subjective
factor".  Almost certainly, Mandel's perspective on this was shaped by
that of Trotsky. In the "Long Wave of Capitalist Development"  -- again,
if I recall correctly -- Trotsky didn't directly conceive of changes in
working-class activity as a crucial *endogeneous* variable to the long

If Mandel can be faulted for bending the tree too much in one direction,
many other Marxists can be faulted for bending the tree too much in the
other direction.  Within (too) many Marxian perspectives, class and
revolutionary consciousness develop almost automatically, spontaneously
and effortlessly  from capitalist crises and (especially) "decay".

Trotsky attempted, I think, to bend the tree simultaneously in both
directions (in e.g. "The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the
Fourth International") but was less than successful, imo.  On the one
hand, his perspectives on "capitalist decay" were and are problematic and,
otoh, the "subjective factor" is not well theorized in relation to the

Surprisingly, perhaps, decadence (and breakdown theories) are still
popular among many Marxists. [Maybe it has become too ingrained in their
theological perspective?]

In solidarity, Jerry

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