[OPE] Reply to The Thinker

From: GERALD LEVY <gerald_a_levy@msn.com>
Date: Tue Mar 10 2009 - 16:19:18 EDT

> For Marxists, the analysis of abstract labour stops at the factory gate, because
> it has only to do with the exchange of "the commodity". They have a theory of
> circulation, of not production.
Actually, more Marxists have the opposite prejudice: they recognize exploitation
at 'the point of production' but their analysis fails them outside of the factory
gates - they have a (partial) theory of production rather than a theory in which there is a
_unity_ of the processes of capitalist production and capitalist circulation. But,
since neither value-form theorists nor you make this mistake, we can ignore this for now and
get back on track.
> The value-form theorists are concerned only with the forms of manifestation of
> value, not its content. In fact, there is no content, only forms, because value is
> money, and money is abstract labour, it is all the same thing. It is a banale and
> crude theory. For thinkers, it is moreover a reification of the concept of abstract labour.
I guess you are speaking for all "thinkers"....
You ask rhetorically: why should you take these (banal, crude, non-thinker) people
seriously? Well, I can't very well argue with that, after all, can I? If someone isn't
really a "thinker", so unlike yourself, then what's the point of taking that person's
thoughts seriously? True to your word, you have not taken their ideas seriously.
I do, though, because I appreciate more what their intellectual project is and what
it has accomplished. While it's true that value-form theorists haven't made much headway
on the super important theoretical and political issues of the day (such as the "transformation
problem"), they have made modest contributions towards integrating a theory of capital and the
state (Reuten and Williams), the theory of capital and the world market (Tony Smith), and
even critical Marxology (Arthur, Reuten, T. Smith, M.Williams) . None of these intellectual
endeavors (or new projects, like the relation between mathematics and systematic dialectics)
count for much, I guess, if you are the Thinker since the Thinker's thoughts on these subjects
has already hardened into concrete.
> Indeed, Marxism is the reification of Marx. That is partly I think why Marx said "I am not a Marxist".
There is such irony in claiming that a school of thought that doesn't simply
attempt to say that 'Marx was right' and mindlessly echo his words, but
rather attempts to critically access his perspectives along with those of
all others, is a "reification of Marx". It is not the value-form theorists who
reify Marx but rather the worst offenders, imo, are those Marxists who deny
that they are Marxists but who look at every question by considering - indeed
by citing chapter and verse of the Authority's (Marx's) writings - whether a
perspective is faithful to Marx's own perspective (as if Marx never had more
than one perspective on any topic).
Of course, I realize that these words will not convince a True Thinker....
In solidarity, Jerry

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Received on Tue Mar 10 16:24:55 2009

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