Keen

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Fri Nov 3 11:27:37 MST 1995


On Fri, 3 Nov 1995, James Miller wrote:

>    In my opinion, the fundamental purpose of Steve's work
> dovetails with that of the neo-Ricardians, analytical
> Marxists and others. They use their abundant knowledge of
> Marx's work to undermine Marxism. The objective function
> of their work is to add weight to capitalist apologetic
> economics by discrediting Marxism.

Louis: Here again things get dicey. We had somebody on this last by the
name of Justin Schwartz a while back. He started law school and
unsubscribed because he couldn't keep up with his e-mail. He was the
one person whose diarrhea of the mouth (typing fingers?) was worse
than my own.

Justin is a self-described analytical Marxist and made as
much of a fuss about the "problems" with the LTV as Steve or any other
neo-Ricardian. A new book edited by Justin is about to be released by
Humanities Press that is a collection of articles defending market
socialism, Mondragon, etc. I used to have some pretty heated debates with
Justin, as I did with Steve a year or so ago.

By the same token, Justin is also a member of Solidarity and has been
involved in class-struggle activities wherever he has been for more than
a decade. I see no evidence that his theoretical deficiencies on LTV has
turned him into a class traitor a la Edward Bernstein. The truth of the
matter is that all of this controversy over the LTV is a tempest in a teapot.

You will find yourself in the good company of a thousand and one
ultraleft sectarians, some of whom reside on this list, that have the
"correct" position on LTV but whose Marxism is of the most bookish and
sterile sort. These are people who spent most of the 1980's pouring over
the Grundrisse while Justin was working in solidarity with the Central
American revolutions.

Castro was right when he told the delegates to the OLAS conference in
1969 that it was time to put away the books. A true measure of your ideas
is your ability to change objective reality. The Sandinistas did not make
the LTV a litmus test when they asked people to join the struggle against
Somoza.

The real question before Marxists is not the LTV. It is rather the need
to defend a class perspective. This is being attacked from the right by
people like Bogdan Denitch and many of the DSA high muckamucks. But the
politics of the Spartacist League, Maoists and other super-revolutionary
groups is not the "correction" that is needed. What is needed is active
engagement with living class-struggles. Marx did not wait until his
"morale" was restored to fight for a socialist international. Once he became
convinced of the need for proletarian revolution, his life was consumed with
active political struggle. I would quote the old adage about the need to
change the world rather than merely interpret it, but everybody's heard it
too often.


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