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Re: the Communist Manifesto: critique
by Paul Gomberg
16 March 2002 18:06 UTC
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I would like to echo and reinforce kj khoo's comments.

When Marx and others denounced capitalism, the denunciation centered on a
communist vision, a world where human relationships would be unmediated
by money and markets, where production and human society generally would
be oriented toward the needs of the working class. Of course, it is
unfashionable to defend this vision now, but so what?

I take it that those who reject the word "capitalism" also reject this
communist vision of how we could live together. What do they propose to
put in its place?


kjkhoo@pop.jaring.my wrote:

> At 7:09 PM -0500 15/3/02, Andre Gunder Frank wrote in response to:
> >  >Jack Goldstone
> >  >
> >  > Responding to Gunder Frank (14 March 2002):
> >>
> >  > I wholly agree -- many years ago I wanted to jettison the term
> >  > "capitalism," but people cling to it like a lifeboat in a storm.
> >
> >I get the impression that the clinging to "capitalism" by those
> >how reject it [!] is by no means an only an ''academic'' or
> >theoretical or political matter. NO, it is highly [intimately?]
> >personal as well. The ''clinging'' as to a life-boat in a storm
> >is a defense of their very personal idendity, which is tied to
> >their - like mine! - life-long dedication to combatting
> >''capitalism''. So to admit - or even to consider that maybe -
> >there is none and never was any such challenges one's identity
> >in perhaps having to admit having mistakenly followed Don
> >Quijote tilting at will-of-the-whisp windmills. Perhaps that is
> >not a problem for me personally, because I know that I have made
> >lots of other mistakes and because I have and need no identity
> >to defend. Lest any reader wish to propose that we leave such
> >personal matters out of public discussion, permit me to note
> >that this is a case - borrowing from feminists - where the
> >'personal is political'- and theoretical as well as''academic'in
> >the non-pejorative sense of the word -- if any!
> Following in the same, personal, vein, leaving aside the question of
> the existence of "capitalism", other than to note that if the WSJ and
> BusinessWeek, the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise
> Institute think it exists and it is a "good" thing, then it can't be
> altogether a bad thing to be combatting it --
> I think it is not only, or even primarily, a matter of personal
> identity. It is, for me, more importantly a question/sense of loyalty
> to (the memory of) acquaintances, friends and comrades with whom one
> may no longer agree, but on whom one has not turned one's backs, whom
> one is not seeking to denounce.
> I am not, and have never been, much of an activist -- more of a
> talking head, as some might say -- and hence live in fair comfort.
> But too many friends and comrades have sacrificed personal safety,
> comfort, family, etc., too many have lost their youth in detention,
> some have died, for their dedication to combatting that which was
> characterised as capitalism, or dependency, drawing upon theories,
> including such as the (capitalist) development of underdevelopment,
> fought reformism, pursued revolution and the quest for socialism.
> Many are now in the twilight of their lives, some prematurely for the
> privations sustained earlier, believing their lives have not been led
> in vain. They are unknown, except in those small circles who can
> still recall them. They have no careers, no reputations, no books, no
> usable cv's, many not even much schooling, although many could have
> been, as some have subsequently been able to re-engineer themselves
> to be, stellar personalities. They only have the memory of their
> struggles. And they only have those who remember them to recall them
> to others when they are gone.
> I have no personal problem in admitting that I may have been tilting
> at windmills -- what else is new? But I do have a problem in telling
> those friends and comrades that their lives have been (are being) led
> on a lie, that those sacrifices were all for naught, that there
> really is no such system as capitalism. And perhaps I value them more
> than theoretical, conceptual or academic 'truth', a 'truth' that is,
> as should be evident by now, rather fickle. So, I would rather live
> with the term and what they represent[ed] by it -- the metaphor --
> namely, the inequities, injustices and oppression built around and
> into a practice of capital accumulation and wage labour which they
> sought to end, if mistakenly.
> kj khoo

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