[OPE-L:2139] Re: Science and Ideology

glevy@acnet.pratt.edu (glevy@acnet.pratt.edu)
Fri, 10 May 1996 06:52:48 -0700

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Paul C wrote in [OPE-L:2135]:

> The purpose of this group is not exegesis of Marx, but work on an
> outline of political economy. By the term scholastic ideology I am
> compressing two insults into one phrase:

Paul is correct to note that the purpose of OPE-L is *not* _per se_ to study
Marx, but to, hopefully, discuss and advance our understanding of capitalism.
This is, as we all know, not an easy task since it requires that we both
consider the ways in which existing theory is "complete" and the
character and experience of capitalism itself.

This does *not* mean, though, that we can ignore Marx. Obviously, we can
not. An essential task before us, though, is to consider what aspects of
theory need to be developed and for that purpose we can use Marx as a
point of departure or "frame of reference" for discussion, rather than an
"authority" to resolve questions.

There is *no* need for insults on the part of anyone. Marxists have, for
too long, sought refuge from attack with insults and/or quotes from
authority (esp. Marx). We need to transform that practice.

> As to whether this abolishes the need for OPE, no, because political economy
> is much wider than debates on the transformation problem. We have the world
> market, finance, state revenues, the dynamics of accumulation etc to consider.

I'm sure we all agree. This does not mean, though, that debates on the
transformation are irrelevant since our understanding of that *process*
(as distinct from an interpretation of Marx alone) reflects different
understandings of method and value and has implications for how we
investigate subsequent topics such as the ones you list above.

In OPE-L Solidarity,