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Re: the Communist Manifesto: critique
by Louis Proyect
24 March 2002 14:36 UTC
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On Sat, 23 Mar 2002 21:59:18 -0500, Trich Ganesh wrote:
>Two comments: (1) Marx himself almost never uses
>the term  "capitalism": in volume 1 - the only
>one of the three (or four)  volumes to be
>published in his lifetime - the term appears
>almost  accidentally, in two (or three)
>different places; (2) to reject the  existence
>or otherwise of the concept "capitalism" is not
>to reject  as non-existent the effects
>of processes of capital accumulation
>that are worldwide and continue to shape and re-
>shape world  history.

My only caveat is that we don't confuse "capital accumulation" with 
the process of savings and investment that occurs with publicly owned 
firms in postcapitalist societies. That was the bone of contention 
between me and Harry Cleaver a couple of weeks ago when discussing 
Cuba. If a privately owned sugar plantation during Batista's reign 
plowed profits back into machinery, etc. (and shopping trips to 
Miami), that's capital accumulation. If the same plantation becomes 
people's property and plows the profits into machinery, medical 
clinics and schools, that is not capital accumulation. Capital 
accumulation is a term that does not make sense abstracted from the 
total ensemble of class relations. In Cuba, the decisive fact after 
1959 is that the masses imposed their political will on the economy 
by dint of their armed power. This aspect of Marx's thought that goes 
by the controversial (in some circles) term "dictatorship of the 
proletariat" is often given short shrift in academic Marxist circles. 
This is equivalent to removing the revolutionary core of his thought.

Louis Proyect, lnp3@panix.com on 03/24/2002

Marxism list: http://www.marxmail.org

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