[Marxism] political economy-- errata

S. Artesian sartesian at earthlink.net
Sun Sep 20 17:25:46 MDT 2009

Hey, I got that reversed-- the diggers were the communists, the levellers 
were the "political economists."  Oh well, it's the thought that counts.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "S. Artesian" <sartesian at earthlink.net>
To: "David Schanoes" <sartesian at earthlink.net>
Sent: Sunday, September 20, 2009 5:34 PM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] political economy-- errata

That address is the only place that I know where Marx uses the term.  In the
same address he give another example of this "political economy,"  in the
'demonstration value' of the cooperative organizations.

I think it's safe to say Marx was not arguing for the development of an
alternate political economy along the lines of the Ten Hours Bill, or
cooperatives, as a viable path to socialism.

>From the rest of Marx's work, I think it is more than safe, but accurate, to
say Marx proposes no "alternative,"  "radical" political economy,  but its

If I might ask the list's indulgence, let me provide a characterization of
"political economic" vs. "social" from the history of the development of
capitalism which might demonstrate that the difference is more than
semantic, more than minor .  I am referring to the difference between the
"levellers" and the "diggers" up to, during, and after, the English
Revolution and the ascent of Cromwell.

The levellers, for all their radicalism, supported, defended private
property-- believing in a political equality, a formal equality, where "each
man can enjoy his own property."

The diggers believed that private property was, or would become, by
necessity unequal, and the formal liberty, equality, and freedom established
by the revolution would be undermined and destroyed by the political economy
of private property.  The diggers proposed, and enacted, not just use of
"the commons" by private property owners large or small, but the abolition
of private property and thus conversion of the commons to a communism.

The levellers were communists-- agrarian, idealistic, utopian to be sure,
but communists.  The diggers were "radical" political economists, so to

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