[OPE-L:7362] Re: [Andrea Vitale] 'Quaderni di Operai Contro' (Vitale): Marxism as science of workers' liberation]

From: Riccardo Bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Date: Sat Jun 08 2002 - 06:12:30 EDT

At 3:02 -0400 8-06-2002, ope-l administrator wrote:
>-------- Original Message --------
>Subject: "Quaderni di Operai Contro" (Vitale): Marxism as science of
>workers' liberation
>From: "Andrea Vitale" <a.vitale@tin.it>
>To: <ope-admin@ricardo.ecn.wfu.edu>
>Dear Riccardo,
>it is probably superfluous to say that the fact that Marx has sometimes
>used a very caustic style against his opponents, including derision, it
>is not sufficient to justify one in doing the same. By the way, I don't
>think I have said so in the last email. Moreover, a mistake would remain
>such even when it is done in good company.
>What I wanted to emphasize was not merely an issue of style of
>discussion. In the Quaderni of Operai Contro we have singled out
>tendencies in Marxism (Algebraic Marxism among the others) which we
>believe have limits and contradictions. We have explicitly denounced what
>(we believe) are the errors and the (implicit or explicit) theoretical
>consequences of the ideas supported by concrete individuals. In doing
>this, we referred to what these people have written and thus made very
>circumstantiated and documented criticisms against them.
>The reason we have made all that, is that we believe the first step the
>workers have to make to re-appropriate Marxism as mean of their
>liberation is to free Marxism of all those tendencies that are completely
>separated from the workers themselves.
>Probably this is not that far from something that you have underlined in
>more that one occasion, namely that the "analytic" and the "political"
>part of Marx, science and revolution, are inseparable.
>Of course, although my theoretical positions can be quite different from
>yours, if we agree on the point above about Marxism, I think it would be
>very interesting and useful to discuss the motivations that lead us to
>write Quaderni of Operai Contro.
>What I called there "Algebraic Marxism" is the erroneous and
>contradictory attempt to compute values on the basis of linear equation
>of "production". But, more importantly, this algebraic tendency is
>nothing else that an attempt to reduce Marxism to a mere bourgeois
>economic theory.
>I guess that I have at some extent demonstrated this thesis in the
>Quaderni of Operai Contro.
>If one does not agree with that, I am ready to discuss it into detail. It
>is necessary to make Marxism the science of workers' liberation. Marxism
>separated from workers, separated from the actual process through which
>they become a class, treated as a "simple" science, capable only to
>interpret the world, it is nothing.

Dear Andrea,

	I agree with most of all you say in this letter. And I 
recognize there is a similarity between us in stressing the close 
link between analysis and politics in Marx.

	Where, may be, we disagree, is here:

(i) I think it is wrong to make the battle of ideas, within Marxism 
as elsewhere, resorting to a caustic line which sometime borders into 
the insult. Specifically, I disagree with Algebraic Marxism and other 
tendencies in Marxism (even those who criticise analyses based on 
linear euqation of 'production' but still hold that the matter lies 
in some kind of 'formal', mathematical solution of the 
transformation: for me, the 'truth' in Marxism is before and after 
the transformation, not in some kind of algorithm) . And I agree one 
has to struggle againts them. But I think this must be done, 
everywhere, even - so to speak - in the shopfloor, recognising their 
contributions, where there is any: and there are (Pala and Giussani 
have done contributions and serious work). Also because this style 
I'me criticising easily permits others to evade the critique.

(ii) I would resist the idea that in Marx, or in any 'tradition' of 
Marxism, we find the total solution of our theoretical and political 
problems. I think there are 'open' problems in Marxism, and I think 
there is a bourgeouis political economy (not only vulgar economy) 
after Ricardo and Marx. But may be you agree on this.

	That said, of course, I agree with your last phrase 100%. I 
only would qualify saying that, separated from workers, Marxism is 
not even "capable to interpret the world". It simply becomes a branch 
of academic knowledge. Now, what is funny is that this last kind of 
criticism I don't think cannot be applied either to Pala and 
Giussani, the second outside the University and the first marginal in 
it; it applies much more to Marxists in the USA, for example, where 
they have been able to get academic positions and are doing academic 
research, sometimes of high value, without however much contacts with 
workers's truggle besides an purely idelogical one (but may be my 
knowledge here is false or partial).

	Sorry for writing in bad English, but I hope you understand 
what I mean.


Riccardo Bellofiore
Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche
Via dei Caniana 2
I-24127 Bergamo, Italy
e-mail:   bellofio@unibg.it, bellofio@cisi.unito.it
direct	  +39-035-277545
secretary +39-035 277501
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