Brenner in context

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Sun Nov 26 10:30:07 MST 2000


>Mac Stainsby asked about the political consequences of the Brenner thesis.
>In order to address this properly, we have to dig deeper into the
>theoretical roots of Dr. Brenner, a UCLA professor. It is widely
>acknowledged that Brenner emerged as a figure within the Analytical Marxist
>school. Although he has not written much that is specifically AM in
>character--his academic focus is history rather than philosophy--he
>obviously shares with his mentor G. A. Cohen a deep desire to delineate the
>specific stage of capitalism in civilization. This kind of theoretical
>obsession is a hallmark of the Second International, which was heavily
>influenced by Social Darwinism. Karl Kautsky, the acknowledged leader of
>the 2nd International, was writing articles for the German socialist press
>filled with formulations derived from Herbert Spencer. Kautsky influenced
>Georg Plekhanov, who was also so deeply into "stagism" that when the
>Russian Revolution of 1917--which defied this approach--became an enemy of
>the revolution, as did Kautsky.
>The other important theoretical influence on Brenner was one Hal Draper, a
>left Shachtmanite whose disciples now run the US group Solidarity, which
>publishes the magazine "Against the Current". While there are a number of
>Trotskyists in the group, the main theoretical orientation of the magazine
>appears to be an unmodified version of Draperism, which entails an
>indifference at best or hostility at worst toward revolutions in the 3rd
>world. This attitude is grounded in a notion that unless the "forces of
>production" have created a powerful working class in European terms, it is
>useless to storm the heavens and overthrow capitalism. You will only end up
>with "state capitalism", "bureaucratic collectivism" or other forms of
>tyranny, no matter the Marxist intentions of people like Fidel Castro or
>Mao tse-Tung. Here are Draper's ruminations on the Cuban revolution:

You'd have to _demonstrate_ the long equation (or free association?)
that you want us to accept: a UCLA professor = Analytical Marxism =
G. A. Cohen = Stagism = the Second International = Social Darwinism =
Karl Kautsky = Georgi Plekhanov = an Enemy of the Revolution = Hal
Draper = Solidarity = _Against the Current_ = Max Shachtman = a
theory of "State Capitalism" & "Bureaucratic Collectivism."  And then
you need to _demonstrate_ that all of the above is indeed synthesized
in Brenner's works, with textual evidence from them.

If we follow this line of reasoning, though, we must, to take just
one example, conclude that C. L. R. James was an enemy of the
Revolution, for he, unlike Robert Brenner, indeed wrote a book called
_State Capitalism and World Revolution_, with Raya Dunayevskaya &
Grace Lee.

Actually, I wonder why you didn't name C. L. R. James as one of the
guilty parties with whom you allege Brenner is associated, since it
was the Johnson-Forest Tendency that introduced the idea of "state


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