[OPE-L:4584] In defence of Lutheran Marxism

Alan Freema (a.freeman@greenwich.ac.uk)
Fri, 28 Mar 1997 04:54:59 -0800 (PST)

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Many thanks to Allin [4577] for a very sympathetic response on exclusions.
One small point: Allin asks what would happen if mainstream economics
accepted TSS as the:

"revised standard version of what Marx 'really' meant"

If TSS becomes a standard version, we have failed.

We do not need a new standard version of Marx. We need an end to the
whole practice of having standard versions. This practice is what has
allowed economics to suppress Marx. It frees them of the obligation to
discuss what Marx says, and releases them to discuss instead what
*Sraffa or Sweezy* says about Marx.

It isn't necessary, to refute the inconsistency proof, that anyone
become the standard. It is only necessary that economics stop
ignoring the alternatives. To be precise, it is required that:

(i) Economics recognises there exist readings of Marx that show him
consistent. That is, it is made to stop substituting Marx Popes
for Marx himself.

(ii)the Marxists stop pretending there is a Pope and in particular,
stop fighting for who should be it. Instead they should assess
what Marx thought and said on the basis of reason and evidence,
instead of authority.

The two go together. By seeking a Marx Pope, the Marxists provide
economics with the exact device it needs to exclude Marx. They
substitute a discussion on Papal injunctions for a consideration
of Marx's critique.

Moreover it is because the Marxists put their energy into deciding who
should be Pope, that they get so angry with each other.

This is stupid. What is necessary is to abolish the Papacy.

If we give up the whole idea of designating an authority to speak for
Marx, we can not only have a civilised discussion, we can perhaps oblige
economics to a real response to Marx's critique, instead of a fake debate
on Papal fallibility.