Anarchism / Marxism debates

David Welch david.welch at
Fri Aug 20 15:49:55 MDT 1999

I think maybe you are confused Louis, socialism or nothing rhetoric may recruit
students but it doesn't wash. I'm not familiar with the parts of Marx's
writings that discuss Russia but it seems unlikely that he would have denied
that capitalism could develop in Russia, since that would be at variance with
the theory described in Capital.

But I think you missed the point I was trying to make, the privations
visited on the Columbian masses will not lead to either collapse or to
revolution (socialism or barbarism) nor will a general crisis, because
capitalism unlike previous social systems can revolutionize its own
conditions of existence. Therefore it would be possible for capitalism to
overcome the problems you describe. If the left proclaims the final
crisis, the only choices are socialism or barbarism then it will probably
end up looking rather foolish.

Louis Proyect writes:
> Welch:
> >(or perhaps because) of its contradictions capitalism is a highly dynamic
> system. Because of this dynamism there no necessity for a final apocalyptic
> >crisis or even for a point at which capitalism could be said not to be
> >growing anymore, not historically progressive, etc.
> Welch, you are totally confused. The mature Marx did not view capitalism as
> historically progressive. If he did, then he would have advocated its
> spread in rural Russia. But in letters to the Russian populists, he views
> such a development as inimical to a peasant-based revolution, which could
> have sparked uprisings in Western Europe. For the mature Marx--and for
> us--the only historically progressive movement is socialism.
> Furthermore, capitalism is not "dynamic". For example, in capitalist terms,
> Colombia has a very "dynamic" economy, but socialists would have to be out
> of their mind to describe it in that fashion. Colombia, a nation of 35
> million souls, produces cocaine, coffee and flowers for the consumers in
> industrialized nations while many people lack sufficient caloric intake,
> while infants die from diarrhea because the water in the countryside is
> filthy. What is dynamic about this?
> Capitalism has all of the "dynamism" of rapidly metastasizing tumors. Its
> growth is totally unregulated, irrational and subject to crushing slumps.
> If you discovered a tumor the size of a grapefruit on your buttocks, would
> you go to a doctor on the occasion of your next checkup and report that you
> are in great shape because of the dynamic growth on your rear end?

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