Forwarded from Anthony (reply to Louis P.)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Wed Apr 10 12:41:16 MDT 2002

Aside to an aside.

Reply to Lou:

My opening note was an aside. For me the important issue in the discussion
isn't what you call the theories of Hobsbawm, Brenner, Lefebvre, et. al. -
but the theory that has been elaborated by Ed in response to them.

However I recognize the two problems Lou mentioned about my aside.

In regard to the first problem - the monopoly on 'Marxism' held by the
academics - I would like to suggest that we start calling the ideas of the
influential academic Marxists 'academic Marxism' or some other rubric to
delinieate it from the ideas of people such as yourself and others on this
list with different versions of Marxism.

In regard to the second, my main point is that there have always been
differences among Marxists about issues like the bourgeois revolutions, and
that we should not give one bad version of the theory the privilege of
being called "the" Marxist theory. My second point is that it would be a
good idea to take the discussion back to the classics, and not submerge the
classics under the ideas of the British and French historians.

Also, I was talking about the ideas of the 'classics' about the bourgeois
revolution, not about their ideas about the relation of the bourgeois to
the socialist revolution (as important as that subject is), so the question
of  'stagism' isn't really involved yet.

Last, while you can not group Marx, Engels, Luxumbourg, Kautsky, Lenin and
Trotsktym together, all of them held views that the 'revolutionary'
character of the bourgeoisie had changed in Europe from the time of the
French revolution to the Paris Commune. None of them viewed the
revolutionary bourgeoisie of the Dutch, British, and French revolutions in
the way Ed paraphrases. And all of them changed their views about the
relation of proletaraion to bourgeois revolution over time - Lenin's views
moved to the left, Kautsky's views moved to the right.

In any case, for me the more important issue in the discussion is
developing a better characterization fo the bourgeois revolutions of
Europe, a better understanding of how they fit into the emergence of modern
capitlaist imperialism, and a better understanding of how other revolutions
- bourgeois, peasant, proletarian  - have been influenced and will be
influenced by them.

Ed's work is in that direction, although I don't think he has quite found
the mark yet.

All the best, Anthony

Louis Proyect
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