[OPE-L:7299] Re: 'De omnibus dubitandum' [was: interpreting Marx's texts]

From: dashyaf@easynet.co.uk
Date: Sat Jun 01 2002 - 07:51:49 EDT


The only answer I can give to the first part of your response is that 
arguing and developing Marx's standpoint against the critics at least helps 
those coming new to Marx's writings to accept that Marx was not the 
'inconsistent' theorist the critics make him out to be. That total surplus 
value equals total profit, and total value equals total price is of 
enormous importance as you are no doubt aware. This makes the point that 
all capitals share in the oppression and exploitation of workers throughout 
the world whatever their claims. I remember one revolutionary writer using 
this argument in the1970s against those who believed there were good and 
bad multinationals in relation to the exploitation of the apartheid South 

The second point is jesuitical. The notion of critique of the 'critical 
critics' is not that of Marx, which had clear revolutionary implications. 
The test of the truth of a theory is a question of practice. We have a 
different view of the theory of scientific thinking and you are aware of 
this point. There is too much to argue about to go over all this again. I 
am satisfied that Marx's position is consistent, if that were not the case 
one could not continue to develop the theory. As I believe I learnt 
studying under the dreadful Karl Popper, 'anything follows from a 
contradiction'. so an inconsistent theory would be no use to anyone.

Enough of this!

In solidarity

David Yaffe

At 21:07 30/05/02 -0400, you wrote:
>Re David Y's [7289]:
> > I think that the discussion of this issue has been settled,
>in so far as the antagonists have taken sides. Nevertheless
>Fred's articles are important for understanding Marx's position
>and I value them and assume future students of Marx will do as
>well. The point, as I keep on saying, is to change the world and
>develop and extend Marx's standpoint to make this possible.
>Some people think that this means first to criticise Marx and more
>often than not end up destroying the revolutionary core of Marx's
>writings. My position is contrary to this - it is to apply and extend
>that revolutionary core to today's conditions. That is the real test
>of Marx's standpoint. <
>A question:  from *your* perspective, how does the  *continuing*
>exploration of and debate about the transformation of values into
>prices of production help, in the year 2002, to change the world?
>A comment: at the core of Marx's revolutionary perspective was his
>profoundly anti-authoritarian stance towards all that went before him.
>*No one* was spared critique, even those he in many ways identified with
>and learned from philosophically and politically.  Thus, his favorite
>motto:  'De omnibus dubitandum'  ('doubt everything').   This was Marx's
>standpoint -- without which a  thorough-going critique of political economy
>would not have been possible -- but is it the standpoint of Marxists?  I
>would say that the Marxists who follow Marx's *example* of being _critical
>to all_ are in a distinct minority.   Those who insist that Marx's writings --
>like the writings of  all other authors that are relevant to understanding 
>subject matter (capitalism) -- must be subject to *critique*, rather than 
>being applied, are operating from a tradition that is inspired by the
>example of Marx and many other revolutionaries in thought and praxis.
>If we do not 'apply' this revolutionary anti-authoritarian stance, then we
>can not 'apply' his  revolutionary perspective to today's conditions.
>In solidarity, Jerry

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