[OPE-L:3135] RE: "orthodox" Marxism

andrew kliman (Andrew_Kliman@msn.com)
Wed, 25 Sep 1996 20:52:29 -0700 (PDT)

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A reply to Fred's ope-l 3131.

Fred, I didn't mean any offense. Really. None at all. I'm sorry that I
wasn't clear enough and sorry that I therefore offended you.

What I wrote in ope-l 3109 was: "I dislike immensely the connotations of
'orthodoxy': religion, belief, faith. At the EEA in March, I tried mightily
to distance myself from David Laibman's claim that I and other heterodox value
theorists represent a 'new orthodox Marxism.' [Fred, however, embraces this
label as applied to him.]"

I did not mean to imply at all that you embraced "religion, belief, faith",
the "connotations." And I surely wasn't trying to insinuate "an attempt to
impose a new single dogmatic hegemonic point of view on Marxian scholarship."
I meant that you embrace the LABEL.

(Why did I say "embrace"? If I remember correctly, your attitude to the
*label* was more affirmative than that you kind of liked it; I think you said
you were proud to be called [or to call yourself] a new orthodox Marxist.)

Why did I even mention you in the above context? Simply in order not to act
falsely (and without permission) as your REPRESENTATIVE in this matter.
Period. You have every right to call yourself what you want and to mean what
you want by it.

It is clear to me, and I think it is clear to everyone, that by calling
yourself an "orthodox" Marxist, you do not mean the derogatory things Laibman
meant. I didn't point this out because I so thoroughly took it for granted
that I didn't even think about it. Please note that the term "orthodox
Marxism" is NOT uniformly used in a derogatory fashion: e.g., Lukacs' famous
essay, in which he restricts orthodoxy to *method*. So why would I or anyone
think that by embracing the *label*, you were promoting either faith or a

So if the *label* "orthodox Marxism" is not uniformly derogatory, why do I
protest against it so much as applied to *me*? You got it right: "in these
terms, I would call you an 'orthodox Marxist', but I won't if you don't want
me to for other reasons." That's exactly it --- the other reasons, the ones I
referred to in my post.

Andrew Kliman