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Some thoughts on Riccardo's [OPE-L:2962]:
I had asked Riccardo for a list of authors who he thinks have been
underrated in the last decades. He listed:
Luxemburg, Grossmann, Mattick, Sweezy, Dobb, Meek, Napoleoni
* Luxemburg: As noted previously, the interest in _The Accumulation
of Capital_ in the 1970's was largely connected to interest in
the subject of imperialism and related subjects like trade
and development. The interest in Luxemburg's life was broader,
though (and connected in part to the rebirth of the feminist
movement). Indeed, a poster of Rosa (and/or posters of Che'
and Huey Newton) were almost signature items identifying the
homes of radicals. btw, wasn't the full-length Polish film
on her life ("Rosa"?) made in the 1980's? (an excellent and
inspiring film, imo).
* Grossmann: To the contrary of Riccardo's position, the interest
in his work has been relatively strong in recent decades, imo.
In large part, this is because his works were only translated
into English relatively recently. Thus, _The Law of
Accumulation and Breakdown of the Capitalist System_ was
printed in English by Pluto Press in 1992 -- as an *abridged*
version (the full translation has still not been published
in English). Prior to that time, those who couldn't read
German (or obtain copies of translations into other languages
that they could read) had to rely on secondary sources (e.g.
Sweezy, Mattick, Shoul's 1947 dissertation on "The Marxian
THeory of Capitalist Breakdown", etc.) for information on
Grossmann's theoretical perspectives.
* Mattick: he may be underrated by many Marxists, but there has
remained an interest in his writings throughout the period.
Indeed, btw, there are Web sites where one can download many
of his writings. Part of this interest is more related to
interest in "Council Communism" than to his theoretical
writings. Relatedly, there has been interest in some circles
on his perspectives on the subject of state capitalism.
I don't think his writing style made the spread of his ideas
any easier and some of his later books (like _Marxism -- last
refuge of the bourgeoisie?_) may have been ignored by academics
who are Marxian because of their confrontational and
accusatorial nature. btw, what do you think about Mattick Sr.'s
writings on Keynes? :-)
* Sweezy: I think there has been a decline of interest in the
entire "Monthly Review school" since their peak in the mid-
1970's. (When Paul taught a class at the New School on
"Reading and Using Capital" in Fall, 1975, it was taught in
an *auditorium* btw, who knows the OPE-L member who was
his "Teaching Assistant" for that class?). Yet, Paul (and the rest
at _MR_) still keep writing and speaking (which is pretty
amazing for someone who was born in 1910!) and has a certain
following. *What* particular aspects of his thought have been
under-rated/under-valued by contemporary Marxians?
* Dobb and Meek: There was a tremendous interest in the writings
of Sweezy, Dobb, and Meek in the 1970's. Perhaps the decline
in interest in D & M might be related to a decline of interest
in their political perspectives? Much of what Dobb, in
particular, wrote about socialism, planning, and the USSR seems
very dated today, imo.
* Napoleoni: Not much has been translated into English. And of the
two books that have been published in English, _Economic
Thought on the Twentieth Century_ (NY, John Wiley & Sons, 1972)
was not that incisive (it's useful, though, as a reference
to an introductory course on the history of economic thought).
Most of his work (along with much of the work of Italian Marxist
writers from the 60's and 70's) remains untranslated.
As for Riccardo's other comments, I agree that a sectarianism whereby
"each stream goes on as if other Marxian streams are the best [should
read, worst, JL] enemy" is a major issue. This mutual antagonism
can perhaps best be observed in the way in which surplus approach
theory has been treated by other streams and vice versa. At times --
especially in the late 70's and early 80's -- exchanges between these
groups appeared especially antagonistic and nasty. This was largely
determined initially by the tone of Steedman's book. Perhaps the
polemical nature of the exchanges has cooled -- but that is largely
because different "streams" have chosen to *ignore* each other in
recent decades. What is worse ... treating other Marxian
perspectives as "enemy" perspectives or ignoring them altogether?
I'm not sure, but I do think we can do a lot better.
I also agree that there needs to be more translations of secondary
works (e.g. of Wagner -- whose writings Nicky asked about not
long ago). But, by whom? Let's face it -- if you add-up all of
those internationally who are Marxians interested in the field
of political economy, that number is getting increasingly
*smaller* (especially as compared to the 1970's). Where will we
find the intellectual resources to accomplish this task *along
with* the other pressing theoretical (and political) tasks that
need to be done?
In solidarity, Jerry
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