[OPE-L] Conspiracy theories and Marxism

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Wed Jul 27 2005 - 13:25:48 EDT

Hi Phil and Michael W:

No, I'm not going to talk about the London bombings here.

I'm not really in a position to expand on this subject at the
present time (I am in a public library in Boothbay Harbor)
but I find that the _general_ question of how Marxists have
historically reacted to charges of conspiracy (by the state,
especially) to be of interest.  The prevailing attitude seems to
have been:

a) "show me the proof!"   I.e. scepticism.  Underlying this
attitude may be the liberal bourgeois conception: "innocent
until proven guilty".  But, is this a proper stance to take
towards the state, especially in the context of so many historical
experiences where the state has launched various intrigues and
conspiracies for war, repression, etc.?

b) in general, historical events occur for necessary reasons
tied to the "logic of capital".  I.e. there is a stance that
wishes to eliminate the accidental and subjective factors in
order to show that capitalism is by its very nature exploitive, etc..
That is, the intuition seems to be that conspiracies have no
basic and systemic role in reproducing capitalism.  Yet,
even if this were true, isn't it important to differentiate
between what we believe happens _in general_ from what happens
in a _particular_ case?  I.e.  particular conspiracies could be
important in grasping conjunctural developments.

If one were to compare anarchist thought to Marxian, then I
think that the former is much more receptive to charges of conspiracy
by the state and capital.   Yet, shouldn't we recognize that
conspiracies can and have played important roles in
triggering actions by the state?

In solidarity, Jerry

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