Two Cents

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Nov 3 14:07:28 MST 2000

>Just the contrary. My emphasis above is Lenin in context, not *pure stagism*.
>To my knowledge, pure stagism is associated with the 1)evolutionary socialism
>of Bernstein and 2)vulgar materialism of Kautsky ( Rosa Luxemburg to a
>extend). This variant of Marxism assumes that full establishment of
>relations is a necessary pre-condition for a full establishment of socialism.

This is an important point. If you look at the conclusion to Brenner's NLR
article, you'll find the sentence:

"Thus so long as incorporation into the world market/world division of
labour is seen automatically to breed underdevelopment, the logical
antidote to capitalist underdevelopment is not socialism, but autarky."

So what is this thing called autarky? Interestingly enough, in the journal
article on world systems theory I referred to yesterday, the main knock
against Wallerstein is his support for "autarky" in places like North
Korea. This is just a fancy way of saying that he believes that capitalism
and economic development are incompatible. I myself advocate autarky and
the more the better. If it is *that* kind of autarky.

Now for people clustered around the journals Against the Current and New
Left Review, this is not a popular opinion. They are not interested in
those kinds of unsightly "Stalinist" states with hero worship and free
medical care. What kind of self-respecting revolutionary would find
something good to write about North Korea. That's for Monthly Review and
people like Marty Hart-Landsburg.

If you listen to Jim Devine, Robert Brenner's number one fan on PEN-L and a
diehard "socialism from below" advocate, there is little to distinguish
Cuba or North Korea from Jamaica or South Korea. I don't regard this as
Marxism, but a form of "stagist" idealism inspired by Rosa Luxemburg. When
Trotsky tried to describe the USSR in scientific terms, he said that it was
a society in transition between capitalism and socialism. To use the term
'socialism' as an alternative to 'autarky' the way that Brenner does above
is to strongly suggest that he embraces a kind of Hal Draper third camp
idealism. Of course, since he takes great pains to conceal his politics, I
might be wrong. But then again, I might be right.

Louis Proyect
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