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[Xmca-l] Re: Erratic Marxists

Thanks for an informed reading of Varolufakis through an informed reading
of Marx, David.


On Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 3:44 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

> I often imagine people like Varolufakis skipping through the parts of
> Capital not devoted to economic models, the way that the rest of us skip
> through the economic modelling. On the evidence of his criticisms
> ("ommission" and "commission") of Marx, Varolufakis he has not seriously
> read Marx's non-economic work or studied his career as a political
> revolutionary. Only in that way could Varolufakis come up with his
> erratisms, which really only reflect his own erratic reading practices.
> How else could Varolufakis conclude that Marx did not take much interest in
> the effect that his ideas had on the leaders of the workers' movement? Marx
> saw bureaucratic practices in the working class movement and decried the
> International being taken over by bureaucrats, college professors and
> liberal do-gooders long before anyone else. The reason why nobody reads the
> section of the Manifesto where he and Engels did this is simply that they
> did it so effectively that hardly any of the people mentioned in it were
> ever mentioned again. Or consider his struggle over the "Gotha Programmae"
> or his fight with Lasalle, or (to take up Annalisa's notion of left wing
> libertarians) with the Bakuninists. The criticism that he did not
> personally take up the fight against Stalin himself is patently silly: when
> Marx died, Stalin was exactly four years old, and the Soviet Union was more
> than three decades in the future.
> Varolufakis' s account of Marx's "error of commission" is even more silly:
> it is simply a refusal to rise to the level of theory. Varolufakis deduces
> from the incompleteness of a mathematical model (something which is really
> inherent in the whole idea of a mathematical model) the futility of
> mathematical models of labor in general and of Capital in particular.
> Varolufakis really has to have a look at Andy's article on "Reading
> Capital".
> http://home.mira.net/~andy/works/reading-capital.htm
> Marx isn't in the business of explaining to capitalists how their own
> system works. He is in the business of explaining to workers why it is not
> true that strikes are just short term solutions bound to pull down the
> workers' standard of living in the long run and why it is also not true
> that strikes are permanent solutions that can lead to the elevation of
> workers into the middle class. He has precisely the economic model required
> to do this.
> It's worth noting, perhaps, that Marx was not a working-class intellectual
> himself. Even though he shared the conditions of life of some of the most
> wretched members of the working class (and the infant mortality rate in his
> family shows this), he also insisted on having servants and had his
> daughters taught French and piano rather than a trade. But Marx's work was
> one of the things that made working class intellectuals possible in the
> social sciences in the first place (previously there were working class
> intellectuals, but they were people like Michael Faraday, who got into the
> hard sciences through reflecting on physical phenomena encountered in
> manual labor). I think that is why people like Varolufakis are grateful to
> him. But the rest of us have non-erratic reasons for gratitude.
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> On 22 February 2015 at 03:56, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:
> > Hi mike and all and sundry types whether ideologues or nay!  :)
> >
> > Yes, I found that quote that you pulled out to be a most poignant thought
> > as well.
> >
> > What I respond to in Varolufakis's article, which I will have to learn
> how
> > to pronounce properly (anyone know where the emphasis is?), is that he is
> > transparent where he agrees and where he is critical with Marx. I find
> this
> > to provide more access to what Marx said, and it enables me to engage a
> > little better with the material because it removes the messiah from the
> > man, even if his message may be listing to the prophetic.
> >
> > There is an apparent movement to completely erase progressive liberalism
> > as ineffectual which is accomplished by grouping it all together with
> > traditional conservatism and contain them all in an assorted box of
> > chocolates called neo-liberalism, and from that containment there is a
> sway
> > toward the fizzy pop of libertarianism, but there are, it seems, two
> kinds
> > of libertarians ones who get there from the right (the tea party), and
> ones
> > who get there from the left (Occupy).
> >
> > It is a fight for liberty, but not as we would think. It is a fight for
> > The Brand of Liberty as the platform. The bizarre thing about this is, it
> > is in every person's fiber to want liberty, so how the liberty-right and
> > the liberty-left are to be distinguished is going to be an interesting
> > debate.
> >
> > Who owns the word "libertarian" anyway? Oddly to try to create a new word
> > out of liberty might be "libertine," but that has too fleshy a sensation
> > for most people's political sensibilities! What about libertitian?
> > libertanian?
> >
> > I've never heard of an erratic Marxist? Has anyone heard it before? When
> I
> > search it, all that comes up is Varolufakis.
> >
> > Kind regards,
> >
> > Annalisa
> >
> >
> >

It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an object
that creates history. Ernst Boesch.