Heightening tension

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Sat Feb 18 15:30:54 MST 1995

[Jefferson seems to be overdetermined to duplicate some of our posts.
This one however is new.]

On 17.2 Doug Henwood wrote
the classically Marxist position, which, as stated by Marx
himself in his famous 1848 Brussels speech, is that since free trade
heightens the tension between capital and labor he cast his vote for free
trade. Anyone want to step into *that* minefield?

Why not?

But I think it needs a bit of work with the mine-detectors. I would like
to return sometime to the free trade issue, because although it presents
itself in a different form, the British Conservative Party is tearing
itself apart in a most interesting and entertaining fashion over Europe.

But to comment on the advantages of a policy that >>heightens the tension
between capital and labor<< -

I don't think that can now be seen as a classical Marxist position, or
put it this way - I don't think there should be classical Marxist
positions. There is Marx's approach to analyzing an extraordinarily
powerful process going on under our very eyes. The Manifesto was written
with remarkable accuracy, bravery and bravado, at the beginning of 1848,
as the dramatic events of 1848 showed.

[By the way, any ideas how the 150th anniversary should be celebrated?]

But the specific reasons concretely why Marx
at that time saw the working class as the grave-diggers of capital, have
changed and the same concrete and dialectical Marxist analysis must also
change its prescriptions too if it is to be consistent.

Unless the forces of democracy and the proletariat have every chance of
overwhelming the enemy, it is unwise just to heighten the tension between
capital and labour. It is unwise to invite the bourgoisie to tremble at
the prospect of a proletarian revolution. Torture is practised now in the
majority of states in the world, even if we can feel for a moment among
friends here.

Therefore I would ask again, is it really the case that no subscriber to
this list is studying the national democratic revolution? - even the events
in Chiapas do not appear to have elicited any comment from quite such a
viewpoint. Is it not relevant to the process of how populist movements
might be combined with a longer term Marxist perspective?

Or, not to be snide, because I think this is a rather remarkable list and
will succeed in finding a way forward about the new application of Marx's
ideas, does the profile of contributions have something to do with the
economic basis of this list?

[How many mines are there is this minefield anyway?]

Chris Burford


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