RE: [OPE] State theory of money

Date: Sun Jun 07 2009 - 09:15:18 EDT

> (1) "Marxism" is a non-scientific, often quasi-religious ideology;
> (2) Marxism "can function as" and it "has functioned as" the ideology of a
> new exploiting class seeking to transform the world after their own image.
> Yes, it is possible for a well-organised movement to change the world very
> radically, but the change may not be very progressive to the extent that
> their understanding of humanity is very deficient, so that they destroy the
> very things that are conducive to real progress.
No doubt, there have been historically been privileged bureaucracies whose
members have claimed to be Marxists which have tried to rationalize the
sorts of social relations (including their privileged positions) which existed
in those societies with an appeal to Marxism - or, more accurately, their
particular conceptions of Marxism. Were they a class? No, I don't think so.
I would describe them more as a caste. Were they exploitive? Once again, it
depends on what you mean by the term. They certainly benefited from a
continuation of the existing system and could perhaps be said to be - yes,
I know you don't like this term - parasitic, but an exploitive class?
I don't think so but this is a complex historical question open to differing
To say that Marxism 'can function as' and 'has functioned as' ideology
does not mean that Marxism is _necessarily_ ideological. What you consistently
do is gather together all of the many and varied groups and intellectual
traditions of Marxists which have existed historically and put them all in
the same basket - even though there are _huge_ differences in methodology and
historical-political-economic analysis _among_ Marxists. The most charitable
interpretation that I could give to this is that you are over-generalizing.
Outside of that particular historical context (the USSR, et al) - which is
largely a thing of the past - the idea that Marxists are a "class" can not
hold water. How are Marxists in the Netherlands, the US, or, Argentina a
"class"? To lump all of the Marxists in different countries as constituting
a class or a group which wants to be a class is simplistic an erroneous.
You say that that Marxists wish to "transform the world after their own
image". Their own image? Quite literally, that means their own image of
themselves. And what would that be? How do Marxists see themselves?
I would, once again, caution against over-generalization.
> I distinguished Marxism from bona fide research by Marxian scholars shared
> Marx's goals and interested in the same sorts of things that Marx was.
So it's OK fro your perspective to be a certain kind of Marxian so long
as your not a Marxist? You don't seem to recognize that there is no
clear, uncontroversial meaning of "Marxist" and "Marxian".
> I
> furthermore distinguished between a scientist seeking to form a consistent
> theory and verifying what exactly Marx did say, and an ideologist
> elaborating an ideology which he spices up by suitable extracted quotes from
> Marx, and looking to Marx for "scriptural guidance for what to do".
Ah, so your "scientist" attempts to verify exactly what Marx said? Well,
certainly that's a better practice than what you describe as what the ideologist
does, but it is only science if you think that hermeneutics is a science.
Point is that for many contemporary questions, *it really doesn't matter
exactly what Marx said*. It's not a question of whether Marx was right or wrong,
it's not a question _about_ Marx. For all too many Marxists, _every_ question
becomes a matter of what Marx (or other 'founding' figures of Marxism) had
to say and then looking at the real subject matter only through the reflected
image of what these authorities had to say. In my opinion, you have on many
occasions shared this bad practice - despite all of your denials of being a
> Jerry will say something like "the more common fallacy for
> Marxists is the fallacy of division: i.e. the fallacy of believing that what
> is true for the whole is true for the parts". But he provides no proof, and
> provides no names. In fact it cannot be proved, because it is only an
> interpretation with a certain connotation.
Wow. Obviously, you didn't understand the import of my comment - as is
evidenced by the following.
> I assume what Jerry is really
> talking about is liberal ad hominem arguments in an American context. He
> would be better off studying the concept of a hologram.
No, I was talking about a simplistic conception of historical materialism
and political economy which is then applied in the analysis of specific
historical questions and case studies. I thought that was obvious by what
I wrote (especially the part you didn't reproduce), but maybe not.
Insofar as a simplistic conception of historical materialism is concerned,
I am referring to a tendency among Marxists to take the simple narrative
which Marx described in the "Preface" to _A contribution to a Critique of
Political Economy_ and apply those conclusions to each specific historical
instance. As Marx himself notes, he was presenting a _summary_ and
describing _general_ conclusions. I was simply re-stating objections which
have been made by many Marxists over the years to simplistic 'diamat'
interpretations of historical materialism.
An example from political economy would be the following: for those Marxists
who believe that the tendency for the general rate of profit to fall is the
major or ultimate cause of economic crises, there is the presumption that
_every_ capitalist crisis - regardless of historical, temporal,
or spatial context - is caused by and can be understood with reference to
the TRPF. This is an example of the fallacy of division because it is
assumed that what is true in general is also true in each particular
Thus, your assumptions about what I was "really talking about" was wildly
off-target. Not even close.
> I often defend Marx against the Marxists,
Many of the _most_ dogmatic and ideological Marxists also will say that they
wish to defend Marx against the Marxists.
In solidarity, Jerry
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Received on Sun Jun 7 09:21:00 2009

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