Re: [OPE] Recent serious theoretical discussions: reply to Dogan

Date: Fri Apr 04 2008 - 06:49:37 EDT




"Well OK then just to finish
this dispute (I have to get on with other things):"

??? ??  ??? ??? OK.

"Dogan's idea about
the "fundamental contradiction between use-value and exchange-value"
might have some validity if Marx's Das Kapital was simply a study of
the circulation of commodities. But as Marx himself says, it is not
simply a study of circulation of commodities, or of simple commodity
production, but rather a study of the capitalist mode of production, in
which the central contradiction (however much obscured) is between
Capital and Labour. 

Marx's own argument was that authors such as Adam Smith and David
Ricardo often confused the characteristics of simple commodity exchange
with capitalist commodity exchange, thereby overlooking what is
historically specific to capitalism. This difference could be
understood only by referring to the specific "social relations of
production" defining each of the two.

This central contradiction between Capital and Labour is "dialectical"
according to Marx, in the precise sense that capital and wage labour
depend on each other for their existence, yet they also have
conflicting interests which, consequently, have to be mediated
continuously, with a whole apparatus of carrots and sticks. Behind the
exchange relation between commodities is a social relation between

??? ??  ??? ??? Fine. But you do not attack my claim here. This is exactly what I am trying to say when I refer to the separation of labourers from their ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? means of production as the precondition of commodity production. This social relation is also embodied in commodity. In other words, I ??? ??? ??? ??? am referring to the sphere of production. 

Marx famously said that, historically speaking, capital arrives into
the world violently, "dripping with blood and gore from every pore"
(the reference is not to menstruation, but warfare). Why? As Rosa
Luxemburg explained in her book "The Accumulation of Capital", because
the property relations which its existence presupposes do not emerge
just naturally out of commodity trade - the possession by some of a
source of capital accumulation is predicated on the dispossession of
others, which necessarily involves a power conflict between different
interests. Hence, the quest for market expansion is inextricably bound
up with the overthrow of previous social structures and property
rights, through a continuous series of wars which enrich some and
impoverish others. But Marx himself did not arrive at such an insight
through a "philosophy of dialectics" - he gained that insight through
studying historical facts.

??? ??  ??  ??  Historical facts can be studied in many ways as there are so many schools of historians. Marx studies them from a particular ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? philosophical or dialectical point of view.

In his writings on the "philosophical tendencies of bureaucratism",
Leon Trotsky explained how, after riding to power and privilege over
the backs of the workers, the Marxist-Leninist bureaucrats develop a
certain fondness and propensity for discoursing about "dialectics".? In
this respect,? dialectics offers the advantage that any premise can be
flexibly deduced from any other premise to suit one's purpose; any idea
can be connected "dialectically" to any other. However, Trotsky
recognized this kind of dialectics is totalitarian. Why? Because the
bureaucrat defines his vision of the totality in advance, so that his
inferiors may be cajoled to conform to it and think accordingly - the
whole purpose is to impose that totality on the workers, like it or
not. Thus, this "dialectical totality" is merely the philosophical
justification and rationalization of bureaucratic power. It is a sad
thing when modern Marxists succumb to the same nonsense - and I say
this as someone with a lengthy experience of bureaucratic absurdities.

??? ??  ??  ??  Obviously you do not understand much of dialectics. This is Popperian nonsense.


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