SV: [OPE] Marta Harnecker's Ideas

From: Anders Ekeland <>
Date: Tue Dec 08 2009 - 03:38:27 EST

Hi David,

I was aware that Marx and Engels had written a lot on Ireland, so it is a question if you would call Marx a *major* theoretician on Irland.

Take a look at

and jugde for your self. No major work on Ireland I would say.

That M&E influence Lenin - for sure.

And I can easily pick other examples of excellent books that do not refer that much to Marx. Mandel's "Marxist Economic Theory" is original research - not exegesis.

Roman Rosdolsky's book on "Engels and the question of non-Historic peoples" on the other hand deals in detail with Marx' and Engels' writings since it is an analysing of their ideas.

When Connoly and Mandel writes - seeing their work as a deepening, a elaboration of Marxist (and Marx') methods and principles there is not such a need for a detailed placing of their work in the political/theoretical landscape.

But MHs case is much more like Rosdolsky - she is arguing against practices/theories/conventional wisdom in a highly theoreticallycontested domain were the words - in contrast to Connoly's and Mandel's research - do not have a fairly obvious meaning. I mean - you cannot write sensibly about democracy (or democratic centralism) without clarifying what you mean be refernce to more concrete examples. Of course you can - MH dave done it - but my and Jurriaan's opinion is that it is not very usefull.


> From:
> Sent: 2009-12-07 23:02:27 CET
> To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list []
> Subject: Re: [OPE] Marta Harnecker's Ideas
> Anders,
> You are wrong about Marx and Engels on Ireland. Their work in the First
> International on the Irish question was an important influence on Lenin's
> writing on national liberation, on the issue of the peasantry in the
> Russian revolution and Lenin's understanding of the essence of imperialism
> viz the division of the world between oppressor and oppressed nations, and
> the question of opportunism in the labour movement. For an assessment of
> the importance of Marx and Engel's and Lenin's writings for
> understanding the Irish revolution see Ireland the key to the British
> revolution by David Reed. This is also a detailed account of the struggle
> of the Irish people for self-determination in the 20th century. This was
> published by Larkin Publications in 1984. It is out of print but there are
> copies to be had through Amazon.
> David Yaffe
> At 23:41 06/12/2009 +0100, you wrote:
> >Hi Paul,
> >
> >I think MH needs to refer to historical events, to theories, so that we
> >really - at least better can understand what she means. To write about the
> >need for a party, for democratic centralism without clear empirical and
> >theoretical reference points is to be consciously vague, open to all kind
> >of interpretations.
> >
> >When Connoly writes about Labour in Irish History - as the intro on
> > points out; Connoly "based his argument on a detailed
> >historical account of Ireland?s struggle for freedom an account bettered
> >by few, if any, books since" - so why should he refer much to Marx, since
> >Marx had not been a major theoretician on the Irish struggle for
> >independence, probably Connoly saw his book as an application of hits.mat.
> >
> >But MH - has neither a detailed discussion of concrete historical events,
> >nor a discussion of previous theories or organising for struggle. Each and
> >every paragraph raises more questions than it answers.
> >
> >PB: "Isn't your view very 'academic' and 'professionally' introspective?"
> >Nope, on the contrary - MH writes in a typically ivory tower - or desktop
> >way - far away from realities - probably since she has not to "offend"
> >Castro and/or Chavez - so the critique is mild, soft and general, and
> >consequently of little use.
> >
> >Regards
> >Anders E
> >
> >
> >
> >At 13:27 06.12.2009, you wrote:
> >>Anders,
> >>
> >>why do you think that 'theoreticians' need to be referred to when writing
> >>a book/article on contempoarry issues? If we look at eg Connolly's Labour
> >>in Irish History there is a single passing reference to Marx. Yet it is a
> >>book widely read after its publication, important for the Irish anti
> >>colonial/imperialist movement, and a valuable short text for any modern
> >>reader. If a work is written as a political polemic then there will be
> >>targets and allies, but for a wider audience should we really worry about
> >>geneology?
> >>
> >>
> >>Paul Bullock
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>----- Original Message ----- From: "Anders Ekeland" <>
> >>To: "Outline on Political Economy mailing list" <>
> >>Sent: Friday, December 04, 2009 1:54 PM
> >>Subject: SV: [OPE] Marta Harnecker's Ideas
> >>
> >>
> >>>Hi Jerry,
> >>>
> >>>- MH probably have written extensively on Cuba, Nicargua and Venezuela -
> >>>but it does not show in her principles, Cuba is just mentioned once,
> >>>Lenin, Trotsky, Martov, Dunajevskaja, Pannekoek or Bahro, Uhl,
> >>>Belocerkovski... I have still not read it properly - but
> >>>no theoretician of marxist organisation that I know of seems to be even
> >>>mentioned. Strange - very strange.
> >>>
> >>>- And as Alejandro points out - what she writes and her postions on
> >>>Cuba, Venezuela etc. are "poles apart" (I do not know her position) but
> >>>it does not suprise me if that is the case.
> >>>
> >>>- And why write about the SWPs, the FI? I agree that these were small,
> >>>but was there anything concious, Marxist, cadre organisations thatt were
> >>>bigger? Is not the real difficulty that rev. org. in the mature
> >>>capitalist countries a) are small b) easily split up? IMHO any kind of
> >>>"Ideas for the Struggle" must adress these challenges.
> >>>
> >>>- ASFAICS - is the only organisation that MH mentiones by name is Frente
> >>>Amplio - but that is a rather particular case focussed on "popular
> >>>consultations"
> >>>
> >>>- MH to me looks like a very soft critique of the authoritarian aspects
> >>>of certain Lat.Am leaders/regimes. But since is is so soft, no names
> >>>mentioned, no concrete affair used as an illustration - it is useless for me.
> >>>
> >>>So the question that is interesting is - why do Links promote these
> >>>"truisms" (leaders should listen to the masses etc. etc.) - why do Jerry
> >>>forward it?
> >>>
> >>>Can you throw any light on that issue Jerry?
> >>>
> >>>Regards
> >>>Anders
> >>>
> >>>>From: Gerald Levy []
> >>>>Sent: 2009-12-04 13:37:00 MET
> >>>>To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list []
> >>>>Subject: Re: [OPE] Marta Harnecker's Ideas
> >>>>
> >>>> > If MH had been an OPE member I would have challenged her on that >
> >>>> point -
> >>>> > what is your analysis of Lenin, of Trotsky of the organisational
> >>>> praxis > of
> >>>> > SWP (US), SWP (UK), The FI (United. Secr) - the > Sandinistas, the >
> >>>> Cuban
> >>>> > Communist Party, Chavez etc. etc.
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>Hi Anders:
> >>>>
> >>>>I believe she has written about the last three - all subjects worthy of
> >>>>discussion because of
> >>>>their historical importance. Why do you think that a critical
> >>>>evaluation of
> >>>>the
> >>>>organizational praxis of the first three are of great significance? The
> >>>>SWPs in both nations
> >>>>were never mass political formations [at its high watermark in the early
> >>>>1970s, the SWP (US) had
> >>>>close to 2,000 members]; most of the parties affiliated with the FI (USec)
> >>>>are *extremely*
> >>>>small and relatively insignificant in the political life of their nations.
> >>>>(It sometimes amuses me to
> >>>>see all of the discussion about the SWP-US, primarily by former members.
> >>>>They even have
> >>>>a yahoo group - made up of _former_ members and for years the US-centric
> >>>>'marxmail'
> >>>>list -- ruled over Stalin-like by former SWP membder, Louis N. Proyect --
> >>>>was obsessed with a
> >>>>discussion of that group. It reminds me of former members of Scientology or
> >>>>some other cult
> >>>>getting together to discuss their cult: the difference is that many of the
> >>>>former SWPers haven't
> >>>>really broken with the praxis of that group and look whimsically back on
> >>>>better days - often
> >>>>meaning the time just before they were purged.)
> >>>>
> >>>>In solidarity, Jerry
> >>>>
> >>>>_______________________________________________
> >>>>ope mailing list
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>
> >>_______________________________________________
> >>ope mailing list
> >>
> >>
> >
> >_______________________________________________
> >ope mailing list
> >
> >

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Received on Tue Dec 8 03:44:22 2009

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