Re: [xmca] Marx and Engels works quoted by LSV

From: Steve Gabosch <stevegabosch who-is-at>
Date: Wed Dec 03 2008 - 15:48:06 PST

I think a study of what specific writings by Marx and Engels that
Vygotsky actually read and incorporated into his thinking - and where
and how he specifically reflected these influences in his writings -
would be a valuable contribution to the study of Vygotsky's work.

For example, Engels' Dialectics of Nature (an unpublished manuscript
itself) had been recently published in Russian when Vygotsky wrote his
unpublished manuscript "The Historical Meaning of the Crisis in
Psychology" in 1927. The influence of Engel's thinking on dialectics
and science on Vygotsky is quite evident.

What I see as a very sophisticated aspect of the influence of Marx and
Engels on Vygotsky is his ongoing discussion and employment of what he
called the "genetic-historic" method, based on the method that Marx
used to describe and explain the development of the capitalist mode of
production and exchange in Volume I of Capital. This is the method
Ilyenkov elaborated in his 1960 book, The Dialectics of the Abstract
and the Concrete in Marx's Capital. Generally speaking, this is the
method of historical materialism. The application of this analytical-
explanatory method to psychology may be, in the long run, one of
Vygotsky's most important, far-reaching, and enduring contributions to
modern social thought. I believe that the clarity and power of this
method is one of the reasons why Vygotsky's work on psychology and
social relations is so refreshing, penetrating, and outstanding.
Vygotsky's genetic-historic method shines a light not found anywhere

Ongoing confusions about the relationship of Vygotsky and Marxism have
been created by at least four sources. First, the elimination of
Vygotsky from Soviet literature by the Stalinist ban and erasure of
his work in the 1930's through early 1950's did enormous damage to the
relationship of Vygotsky's work to Marxism, it relationship to
psychology in general, and even it relationship to itself. Second,
some Western publishers and translators, such as the 1962 English
language abridged translation Thinking and Speech (entitled Thought
and Language), eliminated Vygotsky's references to Marx and Engels.
Third, Vygotsky is referred to in certain university courses in terms
of the zone of proximal development, and perhaps other ideas, but his
relationship to Marxism is not regarded as important, if it is even
mentioned. Fourth, to my knowledge, Vygotsky is virtually unknown
within most of the Marxist-identified political currents around the
world, and is therefore not promoted by many political Marxists as a
Marxist theoretician.

Andy, (my hat is off to him once again for his work on Marxist
Internet Archive), has laid valuable groundwork for a scholarly study
of the relationship of Vygotsky and Marxism. Peter Moxhay just
mentioned he has figured out a lot of correlations between Russian and
English versions of Marx and Engels, which would be essential to write
this study in English. Who else has done work that would help with
this question of Vygotsky's reading of, and his writings referring to
Marx, Engels? And perhaps other Marxists (e.g., Plekhanov, Trotsky,
Lenin)? Mike mentioned Van der Veer. Kozulin has addressed aspects
of this, so has Elhammoumi, as has Veresov. Some of the introductory
and other supporting material in the Plenum Collected Works is helpful
in his regard. What other writers/researchers come to mind?

- Steve

PS I wasn't aware that Marx's 1844 Manuscripts only first appeared in
German as late as 1932. I knew it was quite a while before it was
available in English - well over 100 years since it was written.
According to Bottomore it first appeared in English in 1959. I wonder
what year it first appeared in other languages - French, Russian,
Spanish, etc. Out of curiosity, Andy, if you know, what year did
Dunayevskaya produce her translation of the 1844 Manuscripts in English?

On Dec 3, 2008, at 5:57 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:

> Supplementary to that ...
> I think "My relation to my environment is my consciousness" is LSV's
> precis of the famous first chapter of The German Ideology
> which is in the first section of V. 3 of the Russian edition of the
> CW:
> BTW, Marx never actually says it as flatly as that.
> If you can read Russian, then the above URL is the best resource for
> checking Marx-Engels quotes from the Russians. Unfortunately,
> is lacking a Russian administrator at the moment and we
> have only a small collection of Marx in Russian.
> Also, the 1844 Manuscripts were first deciphered and translated into
> English by Raya Dunayevskaya, but as a supporter of Trotsky her work
> was ignored to by the Stalinists.
> Andy
> Andy Blunden wrote:
>> I was just going from memory as well Bruce. The Economic and
>> Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 was first published by the
>> Institute of Marxism-Leninism in Moscow in German: Marx/Engels,
>> Gesamtausgabe, Abt. 1, Bd. 3, 1932. I have always believed that LSV
>> knew about the material prior to that, but now I don't know what I
>> based that on.
>> I think Achilles is right. This is going to need some work. I have
>> been trying to figure out where LSV's favourite quote comes from:
>> "My relation to my environment is my consciousness" which the
>> editors of LSV CW cite as from "K. Marx and F. Engels. Works, Vol.
>> 3, p. 29." But I cannot find it anywhere, and not in Vol. 3 of MECW
>> published in 1975. I'll keep chasing this one.
>> Andy
>> Bruce Robinson wrote:
>>> I'm going from my fallible memory here as I haven't got ime to dig
>>> out references... The German Ideology was first published (in
>>> part, I think) in German in 1902 in Mehring's 'Aus dem
>>> literarischen Nachlass von Marx und Engels'. The 1844 Manuscripts
>>> surfaced and were certainly known in the USSR in 1932 or 1933
>>> (though I'm not sure if they were published then). Ryazanov, the
>>> head of the Marx-Engels Institure which worked on these
>>> manuscripts was purged and died in 1938. The planned complete
>>> Russian editon of Marx and Engels' work was abandoned in the 30s.
>>> LSV was clearly familiar with the German Ideology. Andy, I was
>>> wondering what direct evidence there was for saying he was
>>> "acquainted" with the 1844 Manuscripts.
>>> I think the 1844 manuscripts were first published in English in
>>> the 50s. Stuart MacIntyre's book "A Proletarian Science" gives a
>>> table of which of Marx's works were available in English before
>>> 1939. It does include some of the early works but not the
>>> manuscripts.
>>> Bruce Robinson
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Andy Blunden"
>>> <>
>>> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
>>> Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2008 10:54 PM
>>> Subject: Re: [xmca] Marx and Engels works quoted by LSV
>>>> Achilles, I own all 50 volumes of the English language MECW, plus
>>>> I have transcribed a good proportion of it at
>>>> I also have the LSV CW, so if you have a particular difficulty
>>>> just ask me and I can probably tell you the answer. As the
>>>> volunteer on responsible for the Marx-Engels Archive
>>>> I get frequent questions of this nature.
>>>> It is true that in Vygotsky's lifetime much of Marx's corpus was
>>>> not translated into Russian let alone English and published. I
>>>> don't think this is a matter of Stalinism, just that the work of
>>>> publishing is vast, and is still on going to this day: MEGA2 (CW
>>>> German) has just been published, going beyond what was in MECW
>>>> published 1975-2005.
>>>> In particular, the 1844 Manuscripts which contain a lot of Marx's
>>>> early speculations about language, human nature and so on, were
>>>> only just discovered and being deciphered in those years, and
>>>> Vygotsky was privileged to be acquainted with them. Likewise, The
>>>> German Ideology, was left by Marx and Engels as a mass of
>>>> crumpled manuscripts, and deciphering them, with all their
>>>> important observations, took time.
>>>> Andy
>>>> Achilles Delari Junior wrote:
>>>>> Greetings for all
>>>>> Can you help me with one more operational question?
>>>>> In the English and Spanish editions of the Collected
>>>>> Works from Vygotky, there are many quotations to
>>>>> Marx in which we cannot directly know what re the
>>>>> actual works quoted, because Vygotsky used a Russian
>>>>> edition of the "Works" of Marx and Engels. Well, I
>>>>> wish to ask you:
>>>>> Is there some available index of that Marx and Engels
>>>>> works quoted by Vygotsky, in which we can recognize
>>>>> the original titles, in order to map what actual works
>>>>> he actually had accessed? I have notice that in stalinist period
>>>>> some Marx works
>>>>> was not availlable, mainly the young "idealist" Marx.
>>>>> Do you confirm this notice? Even you can't help me with this
>>>>> index... more important
>>>>> would be any help in order to give me clues about the
>>>>> marxists texts actually read by Vygotsky.
>>>>> Thank you very much.
>>>>> Achilles
>>>>>> From:
>>>>>> To:
>>>>>> Subject: RE: [xmca] Is there something about/from the
>>>>>> musicologist Volochinov?
>>>>>> Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2008 20:10:53 +0000
>>>>>> Thank you very much David,
>>>>>> Your contribution set me a little confused,
>>>>>> because I had another information from other
>>>>>> source, but now I believe that this source can
>>>>>> be not so trusty. It is the biographical description
>>>>>> of V.N.V. at Russian Wikipedia, as follow:
>>>>>> "Учился на
>>>>>> юридическом факультете
>>>>>> Петроградского университета, в 1916
>>>>>> прервал образование
>>>>>> В начале 1920-х жил в Витебске,
>>>>>> опубликовал несколько статей о
>>>>>> музыке."
>>>>>> "He learned in the juridical department of Petrograd University,
>>>>>> at 1916 interrupted the
>>>>>> formation. At the beginning of the 1920’s
>>>>>> leaved in Vitebsk, published several articles about
>>>>>> music."
>>>>>> I had believed that we could find some of these articles... And
>>>>>> now I do not now about the existence of these
>>>>>> articles, because your note.
>>>>>> Well, it's fine... You make me to doubt... And to doubt
>>>>>> is very important in order to make dialog goes on.
>>>>>> Thank you again.
>>>>>> Best wishes,
>>>>>> Achilles.
>>>>>>> Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2008 19:36:48 -0800
>>>>>>> From:
>>>>>>> Subject: Re: [xmca] Is there something about/from the musician
>>>>>>> Volochinov?
>>>>>>> To:
>>>>>>> Dear Achilles:
>>>>>>> I'm no longer sure that Volosinov was a musicologist. The only
>>>>>>> thing I really know about this is the reference to him by as a
>>>>>>> musicologist by Michael Holquist in the introduction to "The
>>>>>>> Dialogic Imagination", p. xxii, and I don't really trust this,
>>>>>>> because Holquist is trying desperately to prove that Volosinov
>>>>>>> could not have written "Marxism and the Philosophy of
>>>>>>> Language" and it is therefore the work of his hero Bakhtin. In
>>>>>>> this he is certainly wrong.
>>>>>>> I don't see much musicology in Volosinov's work, except the
>>>>>>> much-misunderstood passage where VNV says that the word is a
>>>>>>> "neutral" sign. This is often interpreted to mean that VNV
>>>>>>> believed in non-ideological language. That is absurd, and it
>>>>>>> only shows how very non-neutral our understanding of
>>>>>>> "ideology" has become.
>>>>>>> For VNV ideology simply means the production of ideas, and
>>>>>>> language that does not in some way engage with the production
>>>>>>> of ideas is hardly language. What VNV does mean is that the
>>>>>>> word is not like a number or a musical note, both of which
>>>>>>> have become functionally differentiated and dedicated signs
>>>>>>> within a specific field of semiosis and which cannot really be
>>>>>>> used outside of them.
>>>>>>> Volosinov was clearly influenced by Wolfflin's book on
>>>>>>> painting. But I'm pretty sure he wasn't a painter!
>>>>>>> David Kellogg
>>>>>>> Seoul National University of Education
>>>>>>> --- On Mon, 12/1/08, Achilles Delari Junior <
>>>>>>> > wrote:
>>>>>>> From: Achilles Delari Junior <>
>>>>>>> Subject: [xmca] Is there something about/from the musician
>>>>>>> Volochinov?
>>>>>>> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
>>>>>>> Date: Monday, December 1, 2008, 7:25 PM
>>>>>>> Greetings for all,
>>>>>>> One more operational question to you:
>>>>>>> Is there some wrote production about/
>>>>>>> from the musician Volochinov related to
>>>>>>> music itself, semiotics of music and so
>>>>>>> on?
>>>>>>> There are some musicians in Brazil at Unicamp interested in
>>>>>>> understand musical
>>>>>>> genres aided by bakhtinian theoretical framework, and I had
>>>>>>> the notice that Volochinov was the musician of Bakhtin's
>>>>>>> Circle...
>>>>>>> Can you confirm this information to me
>>>>>>> and give me some biographical suggestions?
>>>>>>> Best wishes
>>>>>>> Thank you very much, one more time. Achilles...
>>>>>>>> From:
>>>>>>>> To:;
>>>>>>>> Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2008 18:37:39 -0600
>>>>>>>> Subject: RE: [xmca] Access to articles and discussion
>>>>>>>> CC:
>>>>>>>> Hi -- I think that at just about every sociocultural-related
>>>>>>>> conference I
>>>>>>> have been to, someone I've been talking with says that she
>>>>>>> reads XMCA but
>>>>>>> never speaks up. These are always people who are doing good
>>>>>>> work and have
>>>>>>> something that needs to be heard. Andy's right, Mike does the
>>>>>>> job of picking
>>>>>>> up the new voices. It's something we should each make an
>>>>>>> effort to do.
>>>>>>>> Helena
>>>>>>>> ________________________________________
>>>>>>>> From: [xmca-
>>>>>>>>] On Behalf
>>>>>>> Of Andy Blunden []
>>>>>>>> Sent: Monday, December 01, 2008 5:30 PM
>>>>>>>> To: Tamara Ball
>>>>>>>> Cc: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>>>>> Subject: Re: [xmca] Access to articles and discussion
>>>>>>>> Thanks Tamara.
>>>>>>>> Yes, I think the acknowledgment of new voices, when they
>>>>>>>> speak, is vital. Mike always does this, but I think it is
>>>>>>>> quite wrong for the rest of us to just leave that role to
>>>>>>>> Mike, who has enough to do. So, thanks!
>>>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>>> Tamara Ball wrote:
>>>>>>>>> My humble suggestion is this:
>>>>>>>>> that those of you more experienced and comfortable with the
>>>>>>>>> XMCA
>>>>>>>>> discussion forum keep vigilant watch for new voices whenever
>>>>>>>>> they do
>>>>>>>>> emerge and then respond. Use the response also as a space
>>>>>>>>> for your
>>>>>>> own
>>>>>>>>> assertion, to be sure(perhaps one you would have made
>>>>>>>>> anyway), but
>>>>>>> even
>>>>>>>>> the notation of "re:" as the slightest acknowledgment of
>>>>>>> that new voice
>>>>>>>>> is alluring and validating. Any thoughtful response will do
>>>>>>>>> - but in
>>>>>>> my
>>>>>>>>> opinion, better if it is not only "sweet", encouraging or
>>>>>>> gentle but
>>>>>>>>> rather truly responsive and generative. In my own novice
>>>>>>>>> experience,
>>>>>>>>> intimidation is linked to a feeling of irrelevance which
>>>>>>>>> comes with
>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>> frayed edges of a thread that is not continued in some way or
>>>>>>> another.
>>>>>>>>> As Andy suggests, workload is always an issue of course, but
>>>>>>>>> I do
>>>>>>>>> understand that there are ways that participation in the
>>>>>>>>> parlance of
>>>>>>>>> this forum can actually *decrease* workload by creatively and
>>>>>>>>> expeditiously negotiating ideas or problems central to the
>>>>>>>>> work each
>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>>> us has in front of us.
>>>>>>>>> For instance I am in heat of writing a grant proposal that I
>>>>>>>>> hope
>>>>>>> will
>>>>>>>>> lead to a multi-year post-doc position that will allow me to
>>>>>>>>> expand
>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>> work I am already involved with at the Center for Adaptive
>>>>>>>>> Optics (
>>>>>>>>> electro-engineering, astronomy and optometry research
>>>>>>>>> center with a
>>>>>>>>> strong education component). I can imagine exploring more
>>>>>>>>> powerful
>>>>>>> ways
>>>>>>>>> to shape the structure of that work through conversations
>>>>>>>>> here that
>>>>>>> are
>>>>>>>>> also linked to the more central debates at hand.
>>>>>>>>> Tamara
>>>>>>>>> On Nov 30, 2008, at 5:40 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> Well I'm not one of those who vote and don't discuss but
>>>>>>> I am willing
>>>>>>>>>> to have a guess at issues here, and maybe people will be
>>>>>>>>>> provoked
>>>>>>> into
>>>>>>>>>> correcting me?
>>>>>>>>>> I have had brief discussions with several people either
>>>>>>>>>> offline
>>>>>>> or via
>>>>>>>>>> FaceBook who have expressed an interest in xmca discussions
>>>>>>>>>> but
>>>>>>> say
>>>>>>>>>> (basically) they are not clever enough to contribute.
>>>>>>>>>> Having been
>>>>>>>>>> assured that this is absolutely not the case, they later go
>>>>>>>>>> on to
>>>>>>>>>> become contributors. For some, it is that fear of speaking
>>>>>>>>>> up and
>>>>>>>>>> maybe getting their heads bitten off. In other cases, I am
>>>>>>>>>> sure,
>>>>>>> it is
>>>>>>>>>> a simple matter of the insanity of academic workloads already
>>>>>>> driving
>>>>>>>>>> people to the edge.
>>>>>>>>>> I have racked my brain and failed to come up with a viable
>>>>>>>>>> means
>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>>>> resolving this, other than being civil and respectful in
>>>>>>> discussions.
>>>>>>>>>> When I asked about Bobath, someone who had never spoken
>>>>>>>>>> before
>>>>>>> spoke
>>>>>>>>>> up saying "At last something I feel qualified to speak
>>>>>>> on." Likewise,
>>>>>>>>>> when I asked for help for my brother with his daughter's
>>>>>>> maths
>>>>>>>>>> problems, loads of really helpful and knowledgeable people
>>>>>>>>>> spoke
>>>>>>> up.
>>>>>>>>>> But the general debate, people seem to find intimidating. And
>>>>>>> yet, in
>>>>>>>>>> my experience, unjustifiably so.
>>>>>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>>>>> Mike Cole wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>> I fear that at present the article to be made available free
>>>>>>> for
>>>>>>>>>>> discussion
>>>>>>>>>>> at Taylor and Francis
>>>>>>>>>>> has not been released. The ever-lengthening duration of
>>>>>>> Thanksgiving
>>>>>>>>>>> holiday
>>>>>>>>>>> has probably not
>>>>>>>>>>> helped matters. Consequently, many, probabaly most, members
>>>>>>> of xmca
>>>>>>>>>>> do not
>>>>>>>>>>> have access to the
>>>>>>>>>>> article in question by Stetsenko and Sawchuk. We are working
>>>>>>> on it.
>>>>>>>>>>> The issue of discussion of article in MCA that are not made
>>>>>>> available
>>>>>>>>>>> free
>>>>>>>>>>> is even more difficult and we
>>>>>>>>>>> are working on that too. We have a situation where often two
>>>>>>> or more
>>>>>>>>>>> articles are ones that people want
>>>>>>>>>>> to discuss but we are unlikely to get T&F to offer the
>>>>>>> journal for
>>>>>>>>>>> free. So
>>>>>>>>>>> we are discussing with them
>>>>>>>>>>> the cost of electronic versions so that acces to people
>>>>>>> without the
>>>>>>>>>>> financial means to get access can
>>>>>>>>>>> be handled in a viable way.
>>>>>>>>>>> Simultaneously, I would not that more than 30 people voted
>>>>>>>>>>> to
>>>>>>> discuss the
>>>>>>>>>>> Sanino article, but to date, very
>>>>>>>>>>> few people have availed themselves of the opportunity they
>>>>>>> obtained
>>>>>>>>>>> for the
>>>>>>>>>>> group by their votes. I take
>>>>>>>>>>> this to be a problem and would appreciate suggestions for
>>>>>>> making XMCA
>>>>>>>>>>> a more
>>>>>>>>>>> multi-voiced forum for
>>>>>>>>>>> discussion. Might the overwhelming majority of people who
>>>>>>> voted for
>>>>>>>>>>> discussion of this article but who have
>>>>>>>>>>> failed to comment on it help me and others understand what
>>>>>>>>>>> is
>>>>>>> a foot.
>>>>>>>>>>> Is it
>>>>>>>>>>> amplification or amputation, perhaps some productive
>>>>>>> transformation,
>>>>>>>>>>> that is
>>>>>>>>>>> required
>>>>>>>>>>> The academic semester/quarter draws to a close in the United
>>>>>>> States. The
>>>>>>>>>>> stock market is open in Asia. The people of Mumbai,
>>>>>>>>>>> Peshewar,
>>>>>>> Ramadi,
>>>>>>>>>>> Eastern Congo, flood raviged Brazil and elsewhere bury their
>>>>>>> dead.
>>>>>>>>>>> The polar
>>>>>>>>>>> bears, I hear, are enjoying a cool winter, but word is
>>>>>>>>>>> sparse
>>>>>>> from
>>>>>>>>>>> that part
>>>>>>>>>>> of the world. The future beckons. What is that she is
>>>>>>>>>>> holding
>>>>>>> in her
>>>>>>>>>>> hand?
>>>>>>>>>>> Or is it behind our backs?
>>>>>>>>>>> mike
>>>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>>>>>>> <>
>>>>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>>>>> Andy Blunden +61 3 9380 9435
>>>>>>>>>> Skype
>>>>>>>>>> andy.blunden
>>>>>>>>>> Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:
>>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>>>>>> <>
>>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>>> Andy Blunden +61 3 9380 9435
>>>>>>>> Skype andy.blunden
>>>>>>>> Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:
>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
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>>>> --
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>>>> andy.blunden
>>>> Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:
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