[OPE-L:4276] re: Marx's unpublished writings

Michael_A._Lebowit (mlebowit@sfu.ca)
Tue, 4 Mar 1997 00:58:03 -0800 (PST)

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Jerry wrote in 4274:

> Engels may have had a political (or ideological) rationale for making V3
> appear as "complete" as possible.
> Let's remember that after V1 was published, Marx's work came under attack
> from many directions. Engels, it appears, wanted to make _Capital_ seem
> more complete in order to claim, as he did in many places, that the
> publication of V3 would answer so many questions and put the bourgeois
> critics in their place.


> So, having already said both privately and publicly, how the publication
> of V3 would silence Marx's critics, he had much at stake -- politically
> and personally -- in making V3 appear to be complete. Perhaps this helps
> explain some of the above.
> Also, it should be remembered, that following the publication of V1, and
> especially following the death of Marx, Social Democrats were eagerly
> awaiting the publication of the remaining sections of _Capital_. This was
> especially the case since the anticipation of the "transformation problem"
> was already suggested by bourgeois critics. Thus, the publication of V3 in
> "complete" form was seen as an important political task in terms of
> defending the "scientific socialist" perspective from bourgeois and other
> detractors.
> In solidarity, Jerry

Please understand that I am not at all criticizing Engels for publishing
the volume in the form he did; there was at the time a political imperative.
(I do think, however, he could have been clearer in indicating the
fragmentary nature and his own interpositions.) Rather, the problem is that
Engels, for all his good will, was not Marx (which he was the first to
admit),and this raises problems for scholarship which has proceeded under the
assumption that the text was only Engel's work in the areas that he
explicitly indicated. Gramsci's comments in his notebooks are to the point

"There is no need to underrate the contribution of the second [Engels] but
there is no need either to identify the second with the first [Engels with
Marx] nor should one think that everything attributed by [Engels] to [Marx]
is absolutely authentic and free from infiltration. It is certain that
[Engels] demonstrates a disinterest and a lack of personal vanity which are
unique in the history of literature, but this is not the point: nor is it a
question of dubting [Engels's] absolute scientific honesty. The point is
that [Engels] is not [Marx], and that if one wants to know [Marx] one must
look for him above all in his authentic works, those published under his
direct responsibility."

Selections from the Prison Notebooks (L&W, 1971:385)

I do think there are real differences between Engels and Marx and will have
something to say about this in replying to Paul C.

in solidarity,
Michael A. Lebowitz
Economics Department, Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C. Canada V5A 1S6
Office (604) 291-4669; Office fax: (604) 291-5944
Home: (604) 872-0494; Home fax (with warning): (604) 872-0485
Lasqueti Island (250) 333-8810