[Marxism] Guenter Reimann: Casting a critical eye on capitalism

Jack Cade jack.cade at btinternet.com
Tue Mar 8 07:50:31 MST 2005

>From the London Guardian Tuesday March 1


Acknowledging that "in the shape of capital, the instruments of
production dominate and pump dry the living labour power of the
wage worker," Reimann concluded that "the dictatorship of the
state bureaucracy becomes increasingly a dictatorship over the
capitalist entrepreneurs, the small as well as the big business

Two more analyses of fascist economics, The Myth Of The Total
State (1941) and Patents For Hitler (1942), soon followed.
However, realising that the fall of capitalism was probably not
imminent, Reimann set about demystifying the financial controls
of industrialism and secured a job with the International
Statistical Bureau.

Shortly after the war, he testified before Congress, and was
instrumental in engineering the repeal of the US Trading With The
Enemy Act. Shipments of care packages were immediately sent to
German civilians in dire need of food, medicine and clothing - an
achievement later recognised by the German government, which
honoured Reimann shortly before his 100th birthday with the
Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit, the country's highest
civil honour.

Although he considered returning to Germany to participate in its
reconstruction, Reimann remained in New York out of a sense of
responsibility to his two children, the product of a shortlived
marriage to the activist Miriam Weber. He nevertheless maintained
close relations with his homeland, initiating a lively
correspondence with Herbert Wehner, the future chairman of the
German Socialist party, which was later published in book form.

Taking advantage of his position at the epicentre of world
capital, Reimann intensified his search for the appropriate
bearings and tools to scrutinise global finance without
institutional encumbrance. International Reports On Finance And
Currency, which he founded in 1946, engaged leading financial
figures as correspondents, and provided an uncompromising
analysis of world markets. Subscribers included governments and
central banks, and chief executives and national leaders actively
courted his expertise. 

Such men would, no doubt, have been surprised to discover that
Reimann's understanding of capitalism derived from the position
of desiring its overthrow. Remaining vehemently opposed to the
tyranny of both state and market, his vision of individual
freedom was rooted in the small-scale communalist models that he
saw in the early work of Mao Zedong. Friendships with such
renowned figures of the left as Karl Radek, George Padmore, Freda
Utley and Mario Pedrosa testified both to Reimann's passion and
international standing.

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