[lbo-talk] Anti-intellectualism

Angelus Novus fuerdenkommunismus at yahoo.com
Mon Dec 19 14:27:21 PST 2011

Carrol wrote:

> The statement in the Manifesto that all history has been a history of class
conflict is manifestly wrong in the light of Marx's critique of political economy, with its central theoretical > pillar of commodity fetishism.

Furthermore, in the Manifesto, M&E wrote that capitalism increasingly strips away ideological mystifications and makes social relations transparent.

In the fetish section of _Capital_, Marx argues exactly the opposite, that commodity society has its own religious and ideological mystifications.

This is the problem with "Worldview Marxism" in a nutshell: the assumption that all of Marx's writings from all periods of his life constitute some kind of coherent and seamless whole from which we can extract an "ism".

Another favorite example of mine is the preface to the _Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy_, which contains a couple of paragraphs that a lot of people like to present as *THE* "Marxist theory of history", leading to a kind of technological determinism on the part of people like G.A. Cohen that Ellen Meiksins Wood has criticized.  And again, in _Capital_, we find Marx presenting an opposite phenomenon: the production of relative surplus value, wherein capitalist **relations** of production impose their own peculiar logic upon the physical production process.

I had an amusing run-in on the anarchist "Libcom" forum some time ago in which some guy accused me and others of being "Capital Marxists", which he had identified as a pernicious ideological trend emanating from Germany which reduced Marx to his economic writings.  To some extent this is unfair, since I love Marx's journalistic and political writings, and I think he was more or less correct in his fight with the Bakuninists in the First International.  But the rational core of this is that, as Carrol is always pointing out, to the extent that we find something like a "system" or a "science" in Marx, it is precisely in those economic writings.

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