[OPE-L] Marx-Engels and cooperation

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Mon Oct 29 2007 - 18:39:00 EDT

"There is no systematic treatment of co-operation in the sense of the co-operative movement or particular forms of cooperative production in Marx and Engels's work, but there are more references to the subject, and more favourable ones, than is often supposed. Lowit (1962) has collated them helpfully... (...) Marx was impatient with those who could not see capitalism as riven with contradiction, not all of which was compatible with its continued existence. During the 1860s and '70s, he insisted upon the possibility and (partial) visibility of communism in working-class practice and "in the lap of capitalist production'. His views on cooperation, in the sense used here, were part of that insistence. Since they have not been emphasized much in the subsequent history of dominant forms of Marxism, they are worth highlighting through quotation. "The vulgus is unable to conceive the forms developed in the lap of capitalist production separate and free from their antithetical capitalist character" (Capital, III, ch. 23)."

- Stephen Yeo (Sussex University), "Cooperative association", in Bottomore/Harris/Kiernan/Milliband, A dictionary of Marxist Thought, p. 95.  

In the "vulgus" category we may safely include vulgar Marxists, and sundry McDonald's-bashing "anti-capitalists". The new society of the future of course becomes a very mysterious thing, if you cannot even recognise its development within society as it is.


PS- the whole quote is here http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ch23.htm

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