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[Xmca-l] Re: Analysis of Gender in early xmca discourse



Hi Annalisa
Thank you for the prompt and relevant response.
I trust it won't feel like mansplaining if I bullet point my comments in
reply - this is a large debate and I'm unsure of how best to elucidate the
essence of any disagreement.
First, apologies since, at present,I cannot give a link to Dunayevskaya's
book - it isn't on the MIA - Marxist Internet Archive in her section:  I'll
have a look on another site that might include it.

   - I haven't followed any thread about the gendering of science(s) /
   logic(s) - Marx and Engels were, well Marx definitely, sexist and
   culturally racist, but I was using 'scientific' in the sense of an analysis
   of data, starting from its essential 'seed', in the case of *Capital*,
   the commodity, and following through, as I describe below, to examine the
   working processes that arise from that starting point.
   - I will have to look up 'confirmation bias', so I cannot say that I and
   my material don't suffer from it.
   - It is interesting that you laud Piketty for his analysis of data,
   unavailable to Marx. From a Marxian/Marxist pov, Piketty's conflation of
   *wealth* with *capital, *is a primary, categorical error. Wealth  /
   money becomes capital only when it is invested in productive capacity / is
   capable of reproducing its value and adding a *surplus value,* which
   will allow for further accumulation of productive capacity. Money interest
   and rent are one form of the total surplus value arising from *capitalist
   production.*
   - Clearly, today's world contains systems, processes and factors which
   were absent from late C19 world with its societies and processes, but I am
   of the opinion that the process, analysed arguing from the abstract level
   of essence and building up to the concrete processes, by which value is
   created and surplus extracted from human labour through the capitalist
   exploitation of wage earners enslaved in the wages system has not changed.
   - I feel that it is somewhat superficial to suggest that the hours spent
   by Marx, note taking from official Blue Books and Parliamentary reports and
   current newspaper reportage, wasn't an antique but deeply effective and
   up-to-date 'drilling down' into his world, comparable with any Google
   search.
   - And Fred Engels, his collaborator for years, brought his knowledge of
   management at Engels and Barmen ( I remember seeing one of my mother's
   cotton reels with the company name on it, long before I was interested in
   any of this stuff ☺), as well as his research in the factories and stews of
   Manchester - so there was, I would counter,  a valid continuing collection
   of contemporary data by the pair of them.
   - I am also of the opinion, desperately sadly, that ending the law of
   value through international communist revolution is a consummation, though
   devoutly to be wished, very far from possibility at this moment.
   - There are a variety of Marxist grouplets trying to figure out the
   solution to that problem (me as an individual, too), but the question of
   the *politics* necessary to persuade enough people that the Marxist
* critique
   of political economy* means that we need to produce simply for human
   need, not for corporative profit, is at present escaping us.
   - Your final, fire kindling metaphor applies to that situation too 😕.
   - I have every trust that, if Andy Blunden, follows this thread, he will
   correct / refute any errors in my short introduction to Marx, so that I am
   not leading other followers into culs-de-sac.

Again, I value the inclusiveness of the fact of your reading and
responding, meaning I have the opportunity to contribute.
Best
Tom

On 5 November 2016 at 18:40, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:

>
>
> Hi Tom,
>
> Thanks very much for your post and sharing a text that might be beneficial
> to the thread.
>
> Is it possible for you to scan this chapter and post it to the list? It
> would contribute to the thread significantly, and I would certainly see you
> as an ally in collaboration with what the thread initiated if you did it,
> rather than being relegated to a lurker. Please join us, and anyone else
> interested.
>
> If being scientific means being logical, and being logical means gendered,
> then certainly that can present problems. But if being scientific means
> avoidance of confirmation bias, then I'm all for it.
>
> What I don't understand concerning Marx, and I do not mean to be insulting
> in any way; this is a real question... He served a very important purpose
> and he is historically valuable, so I do not doubt that. What troubles me,
> especially after reading some of the Piketty book, Capital in the
> Twenty-first Century, is that Marx could not get his hands on the data to
> determine if his analyses were correct. Now Piketty (an economist) says in
> some ways Marx was right, but in others he was wrong. If there is someone
> being scientific about it, I'd say Piketty is. But the reasons Marx was
> wrong where he was wrong is because the data doesn't support his notions.
> Piketty explained his own work was to basically collect the data that Marx
> could not, now that the internet being what it is, that's basically the
> project of the book. But somehow it is heretical to have doubts about Marx,
> and that is why I said what I said, Tom. If Marx was a scientist, then why
> not be skeptical of him, just as any other scientist among us?
>
> I'd certainly be interested in hearing from a person who had doubts in
> Darwin, not because they are creationists, but because they saw something
> in the theory that caused them to have doubt, and they want to follow the
> seam of that doubt. That seems very scientific to me.
>
> I hope that doesn't make me a full-blooded capitalist for saying these
> things.
>
> Anyway, I want to make the point that there is a privilege given to Marx
> as if he were a prophet and his utterances cannot be at all mistaken. He
> was a single man living in a time of economic upheaval and change, and he
> thought about it, he talked about it, and he wrote about it. And what he
> wrote viscerally resonated for people who suffer from the injustice
> inherent in the system, I cannot dismiss that and do not mean to. However
> history continues and technology continues in their development, and the
> view from the train of history isn't always flat and predictable. So how
> can it be that we anticipate that the worldview of Marx's train compartment
> will be identical to ours? Should we assume that the tools he fashioned
> then will work now?
>
> Piketty draws that out, he is looking at the problem scientifically, I'd
> say. The publication of the translation in the US really freaked out all
> the capitalists, as I recall. Both Piketty and Varoufakis, that other
> famous lefty-economist, have remarked vociferously (maybe Varoufakis more
> than Piketty) that economics (in the university and elsewhere) *as a
> science* is a shambles and have almost come as close to saying the state of
> the discipline is no different then reading tea leaves (my words; their
> sense about it).
>
> Last year I had been reading the first chapter of La Pensée Sauvage by
> Levi-Strauss and I really admired his observation that scientific thinking
> begins with the science of the concrete. Maybe that is what is referenced
> here as associative thinking or chaining, not sure. What is somehow
> off-putting is that associative thinking frequently gets short shrift, when
> it is the very kindling for higher conceptual thinking. But it seems like
> airing dirty laundry to admit to doing that kind of thinking or encouraging
> it. I did not get to the 2nd chapter on totemism (yet), but I sense that
> Levi-Strauss's work was to eliminate the hierarchies of human cognition
> because of his sense of social justice, having lived through the
> destruction of WW II, which we all know was begun because of a stubborn
> belief in a hierarchy of mental ability connected to unscientific notions
> of race. I wonder (which I would likely learn if I got deeper into the
> text) if he comments upon the idea that any hierarchies that do pertain to
> thinking and cognition are functional but not value laden, in terms of
> class or caste, intelligence versus stupidity, literacy vs illiteracy, etc.
> That's what I sense from his work, intuitively.
>
> I feel the analogy of functional hierarchies very much when I've been
> building fires these past weeks. There is a trick to building the fire from
> paper and kindling to catching a log so the fire really starts to warm up
> the house and take the chill off. It's true you can't just go from kindling
> to logs and the flames must be of a certain caliber to light the log, so
> there must be intermediary and transitional pieces of wood to make the fire
> inevitable, while also contained. It also helps to have a bellows or to
> blow really hard to fan the fire. If there is not enough air the flames at
> the beginning do go out. There is more attention and care required at that
> stage.
>
> So to all you fire builders out there, you might know what I am talking
> about.
>
> Still wondering if anyone will discuss what is meant by chaining.
>
> But thanks Tom, I hope to hear from you more, and others.
>
> Kind regards,
>
> Annalisa
>
Status: O