[OPE-L:4277] re: Marx's unpublished writings

Michael_A._Lebowit (mlebowit@sfu.ca)
Tue, 4 Mar 1997 00:58:12 -0800 (PST)

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In message Mon, 3 Mar 1997 06:56:17 -0800 (PST),
Paul Cockshott <wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk> writes:

>> In short, the central point raised by Heinrich's reading of the two
>> manuscripts side- by-side is that we've been mistaken about the
>> integrity
> of
>> Volume III, that "Engel's edition can no longer be considered to be
> Volume
>> III of Marx's Capital." Ie., Marx's Vol. III is one of his unpublished
>> works, and Engels' version has lower status than works unpublished in
>> Marx's lifetime like the Grundrisse, 1861-3 Mss, etc--- precisely
>> because it has been altered in significant ways not revealed by Engels.
> Why does the status of a document go higher or lower depending upon
> whether Marx or Engels wrote it. Surely the criterion should be more how
> logically coherent, theoretically elegant and empirically accurate it is?

What I should have said is lower status *as a representation of Marx's
work*. After all, there is this tendency to treat the Grundrisse, the
1861-63 Economic Manuscript, the "missing Ch. 6" of Vol I, etc as
interesting, revealing *but not of the status* of Vol III. It seems to me
that the report on Marx's original text by Heinrich means we can no longer
treat Vol. 3 as Marx's, and that the sooner that original manuscript becomes
available in various languages, the better for the work of Marxist
Frankly, I don't think this is separate, though, from the criterion of
logical coherence and theoretical elegance. On these questions at least, I
do view Engels as lower than Marx. A good example is Engels' article on
Marx's Contribution where Engels argues with respect to the logical and
historical methods that the logical is "nothing else but the historical
method, only divested of its historical form and disturbing fortuities. The
chain of thought must begin with the same thing with which this history
begins and its further course will be nothing else but the reflection of the
historical course in abstract and theoretically consistent form." Compare
that to Marx's Introduction to the Grundrisse (and for that matter to his
criticism of Proudhon and his "historical order" in the Poverty of
Philosophy. What is clear is that Engels did not understand the concept of
an organic system and how one grasps that (which Marx insists is not the
historical order), which suggests further that he didn't understand
dialectics and Hegel--- or at least, that his understanding of these was
lower than Marx's, far lower. Incidentally, this is one of those very areas
where the Soviet editors obfuscate the differences between Engels and Marx--
probably not understanding dialectics and Hegel either.

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
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