djones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Tue Aug 20 17:49:30 MDT 1996
More comments on *Aufhebung*
"To base one's theory on how capitalism transforms into socialism on
passges [from *Capital*] is founded on the belief that Caiptal volumes
I-III gives a complete systematic and scientific account of capitalism and
its destiny. It is to see *Capital* as essentially complete when it is
As the writer mentions, however briefly, Grossmann who believed *Capital*
to be complete also polemicized against those, quoting *Capital* or not,
thought that the system could peacefully pass on to socialism on the basis
of institutional developments recognized or not by Marx.
My reading of Marx's letter to Engels of 4/30/68 suggests to me in what
ways the most powerful missle ever fired at the heads of the bourgeoisie
was indeed fully constructed. All the categories of political economy had
been redescribed in terms of value and surplus value; the mystery of the
falling profit--the asses' bridge of classical political economy--had been
solved; the connection between the development of capitalism and the
constitution and intensification of class struggle had been demonstrated.
Moreover, as already mentioned, Marx did actually develop theories of the
supposed lacunae in his theory--a theory of foreign trade, a theory of the
wage (albeit at a high level of abstraction) and a theory of competition.
Aufhebung also polemicizes (correctly) against "the notion of decline and
decay" as "seen from as evolving from the contradictions between the
incresaing socialization of the productive forces--the increasing planning
and rationality of production versus the anarchy and irrationality involved
in capitalist appropriation through the market--the former is good, the
latter bad. The solution implied by this way of conceiving the problem
with capitalism is to extend planning to circulation sphere as well, but
both these sides are capitalists--the proletariat does not take just take
over capitalist control of the capitalist labor process and add control
over consumption, it transforms all areas of life--the social regulation of
the labor process is not the same as its capitalist regulation."
Well, yes, this is why Grossmann is so critical of Taylorism as a physical
and social threat against the working class. Moreover, all this was said
before and more rigorously by Grossmann. What do you think his critique of
Bauer's disproportionality theory is about? Nothing of course but the
limits of attempting to fix the market or the circulation process through
planning! This is not an original criticism but lifted from the theorist
who is then pilloried. Contemptible! Anways, Mattick's *Economic Crisis and
Crisis Theory* is a much more carefully argued review and critique of
alternative crisis theories.
The Aufhebung argument does quote *one line* (!) of Grossmann's critique of
Hilferding (who has been translated in unabridged form but no so such luck
for the real theoretical voice of revolutionary Marxism!).
At another point, our critics suggests that the orthodox theorists were
more concerned with collapse than proletarian self-emancipation. No shame
in distortion here. Leaving aside the contents of Hilferding's debates
with Max Adler (also never translated!), perhaps our sublime critic should
point out that the whole critical thrust of Grossmann's critique of
Hilferding was that right wing social democracy had abandoned the real and
forceful confrontation between workers and capitalists in the factories,
mines and fields. Would this have been too much to simply mention?!
Perhaps someone else will want to mention in what ways Grossmann and
Pannekoek were actually agreeing and in what ways they actually diverged.
This is tricky.
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