Re: [OPE] "Parasitism"

From: Gerald Levy <>
Date: Sun Jan 25 2009 - 10:55:55 EST


The historical problem with Marxism is NOT the following:

"it's very important to understand the huge difference between Marx and Marxism.'

On the contrary, the "Marxist disease" has been dogmatism and authoritarianism.

As a matter of historical fact, what has passed for intellectual discourse among Marxists has
simply been an appeal to authority - Marx - with differing sides trading quotations.

Yes, there have been important differences between Marx and different intellectual and
political traditions in Marxism.

BUT, always and everywhere referring back to what Marx wrote and by inferring or
explicitly stating that Marx's perspective was superior to others is not going to move
discussion forward. It is a trap, like quicksand, that will take away the footing
of participants and sink any discussion.

In this particular discussion (as in many others) we were NOT having a discussion
about Marx's perspective. We were having a discussion about CONTEMPORARY
CAPITALISM. Indeed, in the message which I wrote which you originally replied to,
I made no claim whatsoever about what Marx's perspective was. So, when you said
what you believe Marx's perspective was, that was REALLY beside the point. I
simply will not allow myself to be hijacked into that discussion because I know
as a practical matter from experience that as soon as I, or someone else, makes
a claim about Marx's perspective then the discussion gravitatates to a discussion
about Marx. And, that's is not what I am concerned with now.

So, the next time I raise or discuss a topic which is not about Marx and you persist in
attempting to hit me over the head with Marx quotes then I will ignore you.

> Isn't it high time then, to stop giving credence to the Marxist forgeries of what Marx really
> argued and believed, so that we can find better solutions?

The reality is that the discussions historically tended precisely to focus on whether
a perspective was a "forgery", as you put it. That's a major part of the problem!
Your way has been tried many times and failed many times: we have well over
a century of history to demonstrate this. If we want better solutions we have
to come up with them ourselves and not look simply to what a long dead revolutionary
from another period in capitalist history had to say and write.

> If we just go around with emotional hostility calling people "parasites" willy-nilly, without proof,
> we just damage our own credibility and invite the charge of "class racism".

I made no "emotional" or "moralizing" claims about parasitism so, once again, your
objections miss the target.

> If it was true that all capitalists were simply parasites, then capitalism would have been overthrown long ago.

That comment makes no sense whatsoever.

> Point is, Marx himself recognised that the "managerial function" combines a productive function with a social control function in various admixtures.

Point is that whether or not that is the case, it is wholely besides the point.

> Thus, managers are not by definition parasitic, it depends very much on the nature of the function.

Were we talking about managers?

In solidarity, Jerry

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Received on Sun Jan 25 10:58:00 2009

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