'Living Marxism'

Xxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxx
Wed Mar 21 02:45:38 MST 2001

> >And Tom
>Kemp's book on US capitalism was part of their educational kit on the USA,
>regardless of Kemp being also a leader of a rival left group.  The
>'non-sectarian' left, on the other hand, did everything possible to
>prevent/discourage their members reading RCP stuff.
> >As I understand it, their view was that Stalinism had effectively destroyed
>the continuity of revolutionary Marxism, and you couldn't really just latch
>onto a single tradition (like the FI and Trotskyism) to re-knit the
>threads.  You had to recognise that different people had preserved and
>developed strands of Marxism and understand what was positive in a range of
>different people, such as the above, and try to draw the best strands of
>their contributions together.
>Philip Ferguson

I have Tom Kemp's book on US capitalism on my book shelf now. Kemp by
implication talks about the post-war (WW2) economic boom in the US as an
internal economic recovery (increasing levels of productivity caused by New
Deal capitalism, war time stimulants, etc..), and presents it as an
evidence for the _deindustrialization of America_. This being the case, he
is quite silent about the external sources of  this development ( ie.,
imperialism and product cycle changes taking place elsewhere). Not that he
does not mention imperialism, he mentions it on the surface. As one reads
the book, it is a very good historical summary of the US economy, but there
is very little directly related to working class struggle,
anti-imperialism,  anti-capitalism, etc..Political side of the book is very
weak too. For example, Kemp mentions about the Korean war in terms of the
stimulants it generated for the US economy, not in terms of the broader
issues of US imperialism and capitalism. Very off the mark. Need Korean war
to modernize and develop as if it is an economic necessity, rather than an
imperialist domination ? in any case, between Kemp and Cumming's book, I
choose the latter, as a matter of fact.

this being the case, I think there is hardly anything revolutionary about
LM as Philip makes them to be. Although I still don't see how Tom Kemp
(other crowd he mentions, Mattick, Thompson, etc..) relates to LM
_directly_ (do these names give a good reputation to LM?), the recent
issues of the crowd are just a reactionary/libertarian stuff. I have the
suspicion that this is because of something _philosophical_ about LM's
thinking--secterian british leftism--not beause of  its degeneration into
mainstreamism. Also, Stalin bashing does not make them revolutionary. there
are a bunch of Stalin critics out there who are not necessarily marxist.

bye, Xxxx

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
Ph.D student
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
Department of Political Science
135 Western Avenue, Milne 102
Albany, NY, 12222

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