[Marxism] Here is the Marx section

Mehmet Cagatay mehmetcagatayaydin at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 21 02:45:08 MDT 2009

Mr. Perelman, thank you for sharing the sketch of your forthcoming speech in Turkey with us. I intend to present my critique after I read the finished version of it. For now, I'd like offer a couple of thoughts albeit they are not mine but no regrets since we often don't have any thoughts of our own. 

In this debate I second S. Artesian, political economy should be brutally criticized and exterminated whenever it is stumbled upon. But one must also add: if it really exists today. With a footnote in Capital Marx makes it clear what he means by political economy: "Once for all I may here state, that by classical Political Economy, I understand that economy which, since the time of W. Petty, has investigated the real relations of production in bourgeois society in contradistinction to vulgar economy, which deals with appearances only, ruminates without ceasing on the materials long since provided by scientific economy, and there seeks plausible explanations of the most obtrusive phenomena, for bourgeois daily use, but for the rest, confines itself to systematising in a pedantic way, and proclaiming for everlasting truths, the trite ideas held by the self-complacent bourgeoisie with regard to their own world, to them the best of all possible worlds." In
 the sense of Marx's usage of the term, it is certainly impossible to refer to contemporary political economy which deals with the real relation of production since our prominent economist who often deserves the Nobel Prize is a sort of witch doctor whose fundamental occupation is to apply the game theory to economics. Even though I would prefer psychoanalysis as a companion to economics, one must be contend with what one gets. Besides, contemporary economics is just as inextinguishable as religion, it will makes sense of the most mind-blowing scientific discovery long before the Marxists recognize what they discovered. Therefore, struggle against the vulgar economy is to struggle against the world whose theoretical aroma is vulgarity. I agree with you and Turkish comrades on that we undoubtedly need a fresh theoretical enthusiasm of 21st century that will hopefully enable us to grasp the particular reality of modern forms of capitalist production. But
 at the same time I have a firm doubt that any great theoretical leap forward will itself be grasped and assimilated by capitalist witchcraft. Here I will quote Badiou's response to the same question:

"The part of Marxism that consists of the scientific analysis of capital remains an absolutely valid background. After all, the realization of the world as global market, the undivided reign of great financial conglomerates, and so forth – all this is an indisputable reality and one that conforms, essentially, to Marx's analysis. The question is: where does politics fit in with all this? I think what is Marxist, and also Leninist - and in any case true - is the idea that any viable campaign - against capitalism can only be political. There can be no economic battle against the economy. We have economist friends who analyse and criticize very well the existing systems of domination. But everything suggests that on this point, such knowledge is useful, but provides no answer by itself. The position of politics relative to the economy must be rethought, in a dimension that isn't really transitive. We don't simply fall, by successive representations, from
 the economy into politics. What kind of politics is really heterogeneous to what capital demands? - that is today's question. Our politics is situated at the heart of things, in the factories, in a direct relation with employers and with capital. But it remains a matter of politics - that is to say, of thought, of statements, of practices. All the efforts to construct an alternative economy strike me as pure and simple abstractions, if not simply driven by the unconscious vector of capital's own reorganization. We can see, for example – and will see more and more - how so many environmentalist demands simply provide capital with new fields of investment, new inflections and new deployments. Why? Because every proposition that directly concerns the economy can be assimilated by capital. This is so by definition, since capital is indifferent to the qualitative configuration of things. So long as it can be transformed or aligned in terms of market value,
 everything's fine.

The only strategy worth the name is a political struggle - that is to say, a singular, active subjectivity, a thought-praxis. We are in the phase of experimentation."

I guess here you agree with Badiou since you pointed out that the biggest challenge is "how do we find a way to engage people?"   




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