[Marxism] Why didn't Lenin go capitalist-Marx political
cbrown at michiganlegal.org
Wed Jun 9 08:31:04 MDT 2004
MP: Sorry. I took it to mean a philosophic concept as used in the writings
of Marx and Engels, implying the process of sublating. Primitive communism
is negated by private property as class antagonism and the negation of the
negation in the form of communist society abolishes all property as class
antagonism by abolishing its last form - bourgeois property.
Marx describes the process of the negation of the negation, in respects to
property as class antagonism as requiring a transition whose political
content is the dictatorship of the proletariat. The impact of property is
not abolished at a stroke but requires a more or less lengthy period.
CB: By "all property as class antagonism" do you mean the same thing as
"private property" ?
The main issue is that social property in the basic means of production
includes by definition an effort to plan the economy as a whole such that
socialist society will not have the mass unemployment and resultant poverty
and alienation that results from the capitalist anarchy of private ownership
and appropriation from social production. The notion is to negate ( probably
in the philosophical sense, but I'm not ready to articulate the entire
dialectic at this moment) or complete the negation of the negation rooted in
the contradiction between social production and private appropriation, what
some call the central contradiction of capitalism.
CB: The bureaucracy's commands would be ignored if not backed by the state
with its repressive apparatus. The bureaucracy is nothing without the state.
MP: I believe the point was that the industrial bureaucracy does not grow
out of the state. The industrial bureaucracy grows of industry. I agree. The
state as a product of class antagonism by definition is the armed protector
of the state.
CB: Ok, but to push it, what means to "grow our of the state" ? If the
state is running the economy, then some of the personnel in the industrial
bureaucracy "come from " the state personnel pool, so to speak. When the
soldiers enforced some of the distrbution of the agricultural product, they
were sort of economic bureaucrats; ok that's an unusual case. But the
"state" is people. The "bureaucracy" is people. "Industry" is people. They
are hierarchies, with different people having powers at different levels.
I guess the question is what is the importance of differentiating the state
from "industry" ?
The fact of the matter is that the bureaucracy is the most dangerous enemyof
the social revolution in all countries during all periods of human history
after the division of labor has been realized in society.
CB: Do you get this from Marx ? Where does Marx discuss "bureaucracy" ?
Where is it in the fundamentals of his political economy.
MP: Marx most famous statement on the essence of the question of bureaucracy
as the material organization of a distinct system of production - say the
feudal bureaucracy, is in his the Introduction to "A Contribution to A
CB: OK. I just read the Introduction. I couldn't find anything on
CB: "The social revolution" is not some non-human thing that creates
revolutionaries. The social revolution is a way of referring to certain
activities of people. Those who carry out the social revolution are
(social)revolutionaries. Proto-social revolutionary activities by people
prepare the ground for direct social revolutionary activities by people.
MP: Actually, Marx proves that the social revolution takes place in the mode
of production as expressed in a ceratin stage of development of the
productive forces or the material power of production.
CB: This doesn't contradict what I said. Marx doesn't prove that it is not
people who develop the productive forces or the material power of
production. He couldn't prove that.
It is people's activities that _are_ "a certain stage of development of the
productive forces" or "material power of production". Marx proves that when
people's activities with respect to productive forces develop in a certain
way, they reach a point where they are inclined to radically change the
"mode" of those activities, that the logic and practice of those activities
comes to make their radical change desirable to a lot of people.
MP: Engels and Marx says point blank that we presuppose the existence of
people as the basis of history. It is not
the consiousness of men that determine their being but their being that
determines their consciousness.
CB: My point is that it is people who are doing the being as well as the
consciousness. "Being" is not the tools or the machines or the computers. It
is the people inventing,making and using these.
The "existing" of the people _is_ the being, sort of ( punning a bit)
The real issue is the revolution in the technological regime taking place
CB: "this process " or "economic logic" is not an abstract thing in the
air.Its content is people acting. Gold does not ascend on its own. Its
ascension is constituted by people's conduct and exchange with each other.
In this sense, it _was_ the activity of a class , the bourgeoisie, that
contributed to undermining feudalism.
Perhaps you mean that the bourgeois were not consciously trying to make
arevolution by their activities with gold, etc.
MP: Actually, what was meant was what was stated. It is the change in the
form of wealth from landed property to what Engles called "movable property"
that undermined economic feudalism and accelerated the exchange of
CB: I was responding to what u said copied below:
MP: A radical return to the political economy of Marx is necessary to make
sense of history. Revolutionaries do not create or make social revolution.
In fact it is the social revolution that creates the revolutionaries. What
began to unravel and undermine feudal economic relations was not the
bourgeoisie, but rather the transition in the form of wealth from landed
property relations to gold or what Engels calls "movable wealth." It is the
ascendency of gold and the growth and spread of metallic money that sets the
stage for the universal emergence of exchange and accelerates the advent of
commodity production. This process - this economic logic, accelerates the
development of the new classes within the feudal property relations called
the bourgeoisie and proletariat. These new classes run directly into the
feudal economic, social and political bureaucracy.
CB: It is the bourgeoisie who do the transitioning in the form of wealth.
This is not an abstract process independent of the bourgeoisie. It may be
that the bourgeoisie are not conscious of the fact that what they are doing
undermines the feudal system, and they don't do it with the purpose of
undermining the feudal system.
But I would reiterate the earlier point I made on consciousness. Marx's idea
is that the social revolutionaries who unravel captialism are more conscious
of the historical dimensions of what they are doing than those social
revolutionaries who unraveled feudalism, thus Lenin's emphasis on class
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