In Defense of Rosa Luxemburg
from the Spring, 1973 issue of The Campaigner (9 MB PDF image-file)
page numbers from source included to facilitate comparison
It was as inevitable as the bathetic destiny of countless "angle-trisecters" that none of Luxemburg's critics would have demonstrated a single significant error in either her Accumulation of Capital (1) or her Anti-Kritik rebuttal of the initial attacks on that volume. (2) In each instance, the ill-fated critic has attacked those writings for the purpose of attempting to discredit one or more of the conclusions on which she is devastatingly correct by the overwhelming empirical evidence of a half-century of subsequent imperialist development.
Despite her critics, there is a generally undetected collateral flaw in her statement of the realization of surplus value. Marx would have located her problem immediately. From the internal evidence of her writings, we judge she would have quickly conceded to any qualified critic that she had left an important, subsumed consideration unresolved. However, this single error, a kind of ellipsis in her systematic argument, has no hereditary implications for any of her principal conclusions, and no effort to demonstrate a flaw in those conclusions could have detected the difficulty.
The history of science is filled with similar cases. The successive achievements of the leading mathematicians of the past four centuries, from Kepler onward, constantly confront us with brilliant new conceptions essentially valid for the immediate questions
considered, but which must be profoundly corrected on the basis of evidence of new investigation into new, broader topics of inquiry. The use of the term "wrong" to identify such short-falls not only has a bad smell, but is rather absurd from any meaningful overview of the criteria of progress in scientific practice.
That is the case for Luxemburg's single flaw. Insofar as she is studied only in respect to the immediate issues of "imperialism," "breakdown crisis," "primitive accumulation," and "military economy," she represents not only the most brilliantly -- and uniquely -- vindicated analysis and foresight, but there is not the slightest basis in fact to suggest she was mistaken in situating her achievements as derived directly from Marx's notion of capital-in-general. Not until one acknowledges the correctness of her analysis on these counts is the basis secured for inquiring as to where her approach might fail in application to new or broader inquiries.
Even so, there is an important flaw in her writings.
The present writer has recognized that flaw since his first study of her Accumulation of Capital approximately seven years ago, and has acknowledged that fact in his classroom and related work. However, until the past spring, he has beaten off recurring proposals from students and others that he take up this
matter in print. Outside the ranks of his students and a few others, there existed no readers qualified to follow the argument involved. The general reader would have ignored the theoretical development and simply abstracted the conclusion, the mere identification of her error, to add to his catalogue of "Luxemburg's mistakes." Unless circumstances improved to the extent that we could, in effect, hold the reader responsible for acknowledging that this was her only mistake, it was rather less than pointless to disseminate information into the hands of those unqualified to use it. The principal theoretical issues which had to be fought out respecting the very viability of the contemporary socialist movement were largely those on which she remained absolutely correct. It was only the emergence of the rapidly-increasing left-hegemony of the Labor Committee tendency, especially since the summer of 1971, which has altered the situation among most North American and some European professed Marxists and Marxologists to the extent to make effective published criticism of her oversight possible at this late date.
Part of such favorable developments was our 1972 publication of the first English edition of her Anti-Kritik. Our impending publication of a translation and analysis of her doctoral dissertation (3) reflects our presently leading position of authority in the socialist movement respecting the theoretical reside of Luxemburgology. (4) Otherwise, as a consequence of our growing influence as an organized tendency, the increased adversary importance attached to us by nominally socialist and pro-capitalist opponents, any critic would now risk credibility even in his own circles if he attempted to overlook or brush aside our independent authority in the interpretation of Marx's method and economic theories generally. We are thus situated to effectively police the uses made of our own report on the topic at hand.
During the middle of 1972, as we were mooting the proper form in which to circulate such a report, we received news of an impending Monthly Review Press publication of a second English translation of her Anti-Kritik, to be printed as a companion-piece to N. Bukharin's infamous attack on her in Unter dem Banner des Marxismus. (5) Since both the editor and publisher of that book were well-informed of the outrageous factional circumstances and pervasive falsifications of the Bukharin piece, their collaboration in presenting his slanders as a "scholarly balance" to Luxemburg's Anti-Kritik is an act of monstrous mendacity.
Even so, from our familiarity with reprints from Unter dem Banner des Marxismus, we anticipated that some good could be perversely extracted from Monthly Review's atrocity. Bukharin's slander has not only supplied the model for most subsequent Stalinists' glib falsifications against her, but in a more recent period have also become part of some official "Trotskyist"
catechism. (6) Taking up the wretched Bukharin serves as an efficient means for settling accounts with his disciples, typified by Sweezy (7) and Mandel.
First, we develop the case to show the flaw in her arguments.
The Problem of Overproduction
The most conspicuous feature of Marx's location of the intrinsic contradictions of capitalism, consistently a large feature of Luxemburg's argument, is the issue of overproduction of commodities. This term does not signify the existence of too many products in respect to human need, but represents that circumstance of underproduction for need, in which the aggregate price of the insufficient products presented for sale as commodities is nonetheless in excess of the aggregate means of purchase apparently available. (8)
Marx insists that neither this nor any other fundamental problem of capitalist accumulation can be competently treated until we consider the capitalist system as a totality, (9) or what Luxemburg repeatedly emphasizes -- to the frenzied protests of her critics -- as her "total capitalist" rigor. (10)
The following summation of the problem of reside production, already familiar to the writer's students and readers, (11) identifies the basis for our approach to the origins and significance of such "overproduction." As is our customary pedagogical ruse for initial presentation of such notions, we assume the hypothetical state of development of a capitalist economy in which independent farmers have been eliminated as a separate social-economic class from the main body of agricultural production. Thus, the labor force for agricultural production is simply a part of the working-class population as a whole.
On the premises of Marx's hylozoic monism, we follow the rigor of his analysis of productive and unproductive labor in Part I of Theories of Surplus Value, limiting our definition of the actualized production of use-values to that cooperative labor-power which directly effects material alterations of nature in the immediate form of either material means of consumption or material means of production. That is, that actualized human activity which directly increases the negentropic relative state of nature for higher qualities of human social-reproductive existence, as we outline the case for this in our textbook and in other locations. (12)
Accordingly, resorting to the admissible pedagogical ruse already identified, we divide the entire
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population of the capitalist economy into two major sectors, treated in first approximation as separate, symbolic species-populations. (Note the indicated exchanges of produced members of respective populations and of services between these two species-populations in the accompanying diagram.) The major of these two species-populations is the working-class population, from which the productive labor-force (labor-power) as a whole is extracted, labor-power which may not necessarily be employed in productive labor, but which is socially reproduced, in terms of material and cultural mode, to become labor-power. The other species-population includes capitalists as such, administrators, small shopkeepers, professionals, police, military personnel, bureaucrats generally, clerks, families of employees in "service occupations." The reasons for such distinctions will be obvious in a moment.
The productive labor-force is obtained from the working-class population in the following general fashion.
Firstly, two general categories of the population must be discounted as momentarily not available to be productive labor: firstly, the young, secondly those we think of as beyond "retirement age" in the U.S.A. today. There is no biological determination of "immaturity" which applies absolutely to capitalist working-class populations, as the case of child-labor illustrates. "Youth" as a social category is determined by the duration and mode of maturation appropriate to a certain state of technological development of the productive forces. "Education" symbolizes that point. In general, the more advanced the productive technology, the later the age at which a young member of the working-class population "enters the labor force," to the extent that persons entering the labor-force today with only a high-school or lower level of education are virtually unemployable, or fitted (immediately) only for occupations which are either becoming or ought to become obsolete. The notion of "retirement age'" needs no development here for the special, limited purposes immediately under consideration. (There are vicious fallacies in the prevailing, capitalist notions of "retirement"; there is no justification, in either economic theory or morality, for the notion of dispensable human beings.)
These notions of the age-interval of the potential labor force are sufficiently clear that we need only acknowledge that working-class households demand socially-necessary services, such as those of housewives, and that certain other persons in that age-interval are not immediately employable for one reason or another. The general empirical result is that for each broad smaller age-interval of this "adult" population, there is at any stage of technological and cultural development a more or less definite percentile of the entire population of that group which is part of the
labor-force. After deductions for non-productive employment, such as military, police, clerks, services, etc., we have the total productive labor-force.
The bar to the right of the working-class population in the accompanying diagram represents the total labor-force of actual productive labor-power. (To rid our example of the problem of unemployment in this connection, one may either assume total employment or attribute unemployed persons to households.)
This right-hand bar is divided, by characteristic forms of realization of productive output into three major categories and two sub-categories, as follows.
Since man's productive relationship to nature as a whole implies a continuum of (rising) negentropy -- even by the crude engineering-school notions of "energy" relationships -- the first general cost of social reproduction to be met from the output of total productive labor-power is a use-value Category approximately corresponding to Constant Capital, of "C." (For the moment, we overlook the important, ultimately decisive contradictions between use-value and exchange value determinations for this category.) The amount of C, as a proportion of total realized labor-power, is that mass of repairs to and improvements in nature which preserves at least the equi-potentiality of such nature for continued production in at least the same level of technology and negentropic "efficiency" for tomorrow's production as for today's. In use-value terms, this is one of the immediate direct social costs of reproduction (in the "here" and "now," immediate sense.)
The second major category of direct output costs is that category of use-value output which corresponds in a broad sense to Variable Capital, "Y," for capitalist production. This is the mass of material consumption, required by the entire working-class population, to provide a growing mass of productive labor-power of at least the same quality as today's, in both quality and magnitude. It is not wages for employed labor only! It includes, necessarily, a level of material income and leisure for unemployed, marginally employed, and "welfare" families to qualify their members to become fully productive members of the force of labor-power for tomorrow’s technology. (The admitted failure of capitalism to meet those necessary costs of labor-power reproduction for the entire working-class population is a major contradiction of capitalist accumulation, creating "primitive accumulation" profits from the working-class consumption -- "underconsumption" in Luxemburg's sense of the term -- and also creating apparent population barriers to capitalist expansion itself.)
The residue of total labor-power output, after deducting (C+V), represents apparent "free energy,"
social surplus in the use-value sense, and "Surplus Value," "S," for capitalist accumulation. This is divided into two major sub-categories. The major deduction from Surplus Value is the consumption of the other population of capitalists, clerks, etc., termed by Marx "capitalists' consumption." Although wage-labor in this social category is often of even proletarian social origins, and potentially, politically a part of the working-class population, it has the role of "house servant" to tile capitalist class, and, under capitalism, is part of that capitalist class's consumption in the same generic sense as the household servants of the capitalist family home, etc. This consumption includes not only personal consumption as such, but also office buildings, yachts, military equipment, etc., or "capital goods" whose use is contingent upon the activities of persons in the social category of capitalists' consumption.
The residue of Surplus Value, after deducting capitalists' consumption as defined, "d," is Net Surplus Value, or S' ["S prime"]. Thus, the ratio, S'/(C+V), is the key parameter for social reproduction. As S' represents not only the material basis for capitalists' accumulation, but also the "free energy" basis for expanding the productive forces in both quantity and quality, the ratio, S'/(C+V), has the implication of "negentropy." To be more exact: exponential tendencies, relative to immediate direct costs of C and V, for increases in that ratio determine an implied continuum for which such notions identify the elementary material basis and invariant quality. Rising values of that ratio are the primary "substance" of evolutionary social reproduction in general, as Marx details it. (13)
(Although the self-reflexive character of a comprehensive model of evolutionary social reproduction precludes mathematical representation for reason of the axiomatic fallacies of existing procedures, there are obvious procedures appropriate to both useful, partial descriptions and to relatively short-term economic planning.)
Expanded Reproduction, or the effects of the positive realization of S’/(C+V), Marx's "self-subsisting positive" (14) or "self-expanding value" (15) notions, signifies that the combined value of (C+V), as a proportion of total productive labor-power, decreases. It is also necessary, for reasons beyond our immediate concern here, that the ratio, C/V, must rise in accompaniment to rising values for S'/(C+V), even though the absolute "material" content of V, per capita of the working-class population, must rise, and the proportion of leisure per capita for that population must also increase. (16)
It is now only necessary, before proceeding with the main body of our text, to specify that capitalist payments for Constant and Variable Capitals do not
directly correspond to the socially-necessary use- value determinations as we have specified them here. There are vicious deviations both in classification and in amount of payments. These vicious deviations represent the fundamental contradictions of capitalist accumulation, but absolutely not in the sense of mere "proportionalities" or other notion of potential "trade-offs."
The Fundamental Contradiction (Antinomy)
It should be apparent immediately that there is no explicit provision in this description of social reproduction for the value of "historic" or "Fixed" capitals. Nor should there be. What underqualified economists naively regard as a set of objects corresponding to "Fixed Capital" is merely an aspect of the general alteration of nature by production, an extension of the same general principle of "negentropy" embodied in agricultural improvements. Man's relationship to such useful changes in nature is directly subsumed in the notion of current Constant Capital use-value costs of maintaining "equi-potential" as we have defined the problem above. The intrinsic flaw in capitalist accumulation, as viewed from this vantage point, is the fantastic fiction by which historic (e.g. accounting) valuations of "previously advanced" capital are introduced into determinations of the rate of current profitability of production, a fallacy which aborts the development of the productive forces. This intrinsic or fundamental fallacy of capitalist accumulation actively demonstrates itself to be such.
Immediately we shift our point of view from merely simply reproducing existing production (Simple Reproduction) to Extended or (otherwise termed) Expanded Reproduction. Although the immediate concepts to be applied are specific to capitalist society (or socialist forms immediately transitional from capitalism), the principle underlying Expanded Reproduction is general for all human existence, as Marx himself emphasizes. (17)
Although laymen suffer the widespread delusion today that nature is "naturally” divided into "resources" and "non-resources," even the most preliminary mastery of the facts of human history in general show how transparent is the hysterical fetishism prompting such opinion. Nature, in itself, has no special category of objects properly termed "resources," as distinguishable from implied "non-resources." The notion of a "resource" is subsumed by the specific technologies which enable specific societies to make use of specific aspects of nature, but not to make equally effective use of other aspects of nature. As the dominant technology is altered, "old resources" cease to circumscribe the extent of "resources," as aspects of nature not previously considered such become dominant categories of "natural wealth" for man.
It is the general law of human development that the more successfully any society merely persists, the more "successfully" it is exhausting the relatively- finite "resources" on which continued material existence of that society, in that mode, depends. It is just that which qualitatively distinguishes man as Man from the lower beasts, that he has increased his ecological population potential fantastically over the past few ten thousand years without perceptible alteration in his physical type, without perceptible basis for this improved range of "instinctual" behavior in any genetic determination of his "species powers." What distinguishes man as Man is his Mind, the ultimately deliberative creation of new conceptions, the synthesis through cognition of new invariant qualities of human behavior as a whole, which subsume new technologies and the appropriately corresponding new forms of social organization in general. Man, without altering his biological species nature, represents in the successful ordering of higher forms of society a whole succession of new species in effect, an evolution of species entirely attributable to the determinations of cognition in Hegel's and Marx's related notions of cognition as Freedom to synthesize new conceptions of practice appropriate to the higher quality of mastery of material Necessity. (18)
The primary fallacy encountered in most “models" of analysis of human behavior and existence, reaching their worst widespread forms of anti-humanist degeneracy of outlook in "cultural relativism" and behaviorism generally, is exemplified by the paradigm of "Simple Reproduction." The fallacy of composition, to attempt to adduce the essence of Man either by merely examining his behavior in terms of a fixed mode, or by comparing several fixed modes, obviously viciously excludes consideration of any portion of that decisive array of gross empirical evidence which pertains to what actually distinguishes Man from the lower beasts. It is not accidental that the "sociology" of Talcott Parsons et al., or the behaviorism of a Skinner or Eysenck, have so immediate a correlation with fascist ideology and practice. Their rejection of the most elementary human criteria could only lead to proposed "remedies" which degrade man to the worst sort of Lower Beast he might abstractly imagine. (19)
Once we shift the location of our investigation and conceptualization of the empirical evidence of any society from "static models" of "simple reproduction," to locate the dynamic for Man's historic continuity of existence beyond that mode in the development of new technologies and social forms, only then have we premised the empirical investigation in terms susceptible of meaningful conclusions. This rigor assumes a specific form in studies of capitalist and socialist economy, in which technological development has been institutionalized within the mode of production as the immediate feature of social reproduction.
(We concede that Paul M. Sweezy, among others, has accused Luxemburg of the fallacy of adhering to the viewpoint of "simple reproduction." (20) As should be obvious to anyone who reads her writings, Sweezy is to be regarded as either astonishingly stupid or simply lying to avoid a debate for which he is unprepared. No more outrageous, inappropriate, pathetic slander could be imagined against her as a theoretician. It is ironically fitting, therefore, that it should be Sweezy whose entire special thesis is actually premised on the elementary fallacy of simple reproduction! See below.)
In respect to the pedagogical summary of reproduction given above, the generalization of the notion of development (extended or expanded reproduction) for capitalist or socialist economy is given by a continuum expressing increasing valuations of the social ratio of total labor-power to itself, S'/( C+V). (That is, the terms, S', C, V, aggregate to less than 1.00, each as "percentiles" of total productive labor-power. Rising values for this ratio fulfill Marx's requirement for expanded reproduction and human development generally. (21) Since C and V are increasing, and C more rapidly than V, in the relatively absolute terms given by any preceding per capita ratios for total labor-power, a tendency for an exponential rise in the value of the ratio, relative to existing per capita rates, is the pre- condition for development.)
Such rising social productivity under capitalism occurs as the effect of what Marx terms "universal labor" on an increasingly world-wide network of "cooperative labor." (22) If, and we have repeatedly stressed this empirical approach to that point elsewhere, (23) one uses the ordinary industrial engineering instruments of "bill of consumption," "process sheet," and "bill of materials" to trace out the antecedents of the means of material existence of any worker, the result is the description of a worldwide network of production as the immediate and unique basis for the existence of every, each worker in every, each part of the capitalist world. Examining this simple (if complex) network, it is obvious that any increase in social productivity in any portion of the whole results in generally increased social productivity throughout the whole!
If we use the term "universal labor" as Marx does, to signify creative innovations (e.g., new scientific advances) which can be generally realized through "cooperative labor," (24) we have the germ of his Freedom/Necessity conception (25) permeating his entire method of analysis and particular conceptions from at least his 1845 writings, (26) consistently through the last part of Volume III of Capital. Marx, to speak in terms of theoretical essentials, has located the self-developing Loges of Hegel not within the abstract Necessity of self-perfection of itself as such, but within positive, deliberative (cognitive) changes in the organization of nature, and has determined such
changes to be positive to the extent they result in increased population potential in the first approximation. (27) It is only by adducing empirical evidence of "universal labor," of the development of "universal labor," from the phenomena of total "cooperative labor" that the content of the notion of expanded reproduction, or of cognition, can be effectively adduced.
From the short-term view of capitalist economy, it might appear to laymen that it is the simple ex- tension in scale of capitalist productive technology which accounts for capitalist development. There is a contradictory tendency in capitalist accumulation to produce such an apparent short-term effect of stagnation, but that regressive tendency is contrary to the main dynamic which has enabled capitalism to emerge as a dominant form and extend itself through the world. (28) The dynamic of capitalism's historically positive thrust has been located in the development and realization of major advances in technology through which the definition of "necessary resources" has been broadened as Man's increasing power over nature for perpetuating and expanding his existence.
In general, this increase in technological powers which occurs, even in the crude, engineering-school notions of "energy," as a "free energy" relationship, is merely epitomized by the exponential tendency in power requirements of advancing capitalist technology. Man's ability to keep pace with this requirement demands (Necessity) a corresponding advance in social productivity, or what must appear to be tendencies for exponential increase in the value of the social ratio, S'/(C+V).
To the extent that realized technological progress keeps pace with the relative exhaustion of "natural resources" as defined by old technologies, the social cost of production of any product must be rapidly reduced, thereby reducing the absolute labor-power content attributable to any products carried over from preceding cycles of lower modes of productivity.
Once we attempt to apply the notion of Fixed Capital to a capitalist society undergoing expanded reproduction, the intrinsic or fundamental contradiction of capitalist accumulation becomes clear as such. To the extent that there is undepreciated Fixed Capital at the conclusion of a cycle during which social productivity has increased, the residual Fixed Capital has been devalued as a commodity, provided that the notion of value is that given by labor-power.
It is from this that the so-called "tendency for the rate of profit to fall" arises. (29) If the mass of Fixed Capital were considered equal in price to the mass of Circulating Capital, then a five per cent net increase in the rate of profit on account of Circulating Capital would be approximately offset by depreciation-losses on account of the mass of Fixed Capital's historic valuations.
At such a point, it would seem that the rising social productivity of labor-power would cease to increase the rate of capitalists' profit on aggregate investment. For the same general reason, any further increases in the ratio of Fixed to Circulating Capitals would produce the ironical consequence that rises in social productivity would tend to produce a net fall in the rate of profit on total capitalists' capitals.
Since capitalist prices and valuations (as capitalist valuations) are not immediately determined by productive relations in themselves, there is no secular tendency for the empirical rate of profit of aggregated particular capitals to fall. (30) The credit-monetary process intrinsic to the processes of capitalist circulation permits capitalists to generate credit (monetary expansion) in excess of the equivalent value of total production, as value would be determined implicitly by the price of labor-power.
Consequently, as capitalist prices of commodities are immediately pressed upward by the struggle for liquidity, by the struggle to maintain a competitive rate of profit on total investment (including the valuation of stocks, bonds, mortgages, etc.), the effect of the “falling-rate tendency" is to maintain the rate of capitalist profits by inflation of commodity prices. (In the business cycle as a whole, the use of credit expansion to finance circulation of such overpriced commodities results in the capitalization of a growing potential illiquidity in the monetary system as a whole, leading toward the classical monetary-crisis form of periodic depressions. See remarks on this, below.)
From this standpoint, it should become immediately apparent to the student of Luxemburg's writings that the category of unrealized surplus value she associates with "underconsumption tendencies" is substantially fictitious value from the standpoint of social reproduction as a whole. It is obvious that she is aware of this, in a certain sense, by the way in which she connects the margin of unrealized surplus value to the overproduction of commodities and to the solution to the problem of giving materialized value to fictitious capitals through primitive accumulation. (31)
Complications (Fundamental Antinomy)
The formal difficulty which confronts the analyst at this point of the development is, in part, the fact that stagnation tendencies in capitalist accumulation, occurring as secondary effects of the "falling-rate tendency," inevitably dump margins of real value (as potential value) into the unrealized surplus value category of underproduction. Furthermore, the margin of unrealized surplus value does indeed represent largely the margin of fictitious valuations relative to current production, but many of the unrealized commodities involved, as unsold or potentially unsold, represent
an essential part of the total real value produced. One cannot mechanically, or otherwise arbitrarily, sort out the fictitious valuations embedded in the monetary system from the real values represented by the use-values of the products involved. Such distinctions are immediately feasible for sectors of pure speculation, but these sectors are only a portion of the total problem.
The essential analytical predicament here is that the capitalist accumulation process, since it determines where and how real values are invested, to that extent determines the actual successive states of the underlying total system of social reproduction -- for capitalist society. Capitalist accumulation is not simply a system of paper fictions superimposed upon an en- slaved but otherwise autonomous system of social reproduction. The immediate causal link between successive states of the underlying social-reproductive relations is purchase and sale in terms of capital and capitalist commodity forms. (Kant's Critique of Practical Reason?!)
While it is necessary and possible to abstract the underlying social-reproductive relationships from the monetary-capital superstructure in a certain sense, in capitalist society there is no independent social-reproductive process empirically distinguishable as a lawful process operating according to its own independent laws (Kant's problem). The abstractable existence of the kind of social-reproductive relationships we adduce from study of the economy could be realized in fact only if the entire capitalist superstructure were not only eliminated in fact, but replaced by a new determining superstructure agreeable to the adduced underlying relations, collectivized planning of production and investment according to the adduced Law of Value we have summarized above (Hegel's part-solution). To the extent it is theoretically admissible to abstract an underlying social-reproductive process distinct from capitalist determinations -- and this is not only admissible, but imperative it is legitimate only to the extent that we are at least implicitly conceiving of socialist revolution to provide a real, alternative form of society in which the underlying productive relationships (technology, social-reproductive forms) would be determined by an actual social agency which is not capitalist accumulation (Marx's solution). (32)
Thus, and this is key to understanding most of the motive for Luxemburg's single error, within the bounds of continuing capitalist existence capitalist accumulation must be systematically rewarded as objective, in the sense of objectively lawful for momentarily determining the material form of social-reproductive development of that society. Capitalist accumulation is not merely a superimposition, an arbitrary, "subjective" contingency which can be brushed away once its actual, intrinsic delusions are demonstrated. The problem
which Luxemburg failed to resolve, but a failure which fortunately had no hereditary effect on the specific main conclusions she reached, was that systematically adducing the notion of fictitious capital without thereby discarding Marx' s notion of the historically specific objectivity of the laws of capitalist accumulation for society's reflection of the Law of Value.
There is no reason to suggest she was not aware of such a predicament. Her devastating criticism of Lenin's fundamental, mechanistic blunders in the interpretation of Capital is but one of the numerous appropriate illustrations of her consciousness of the need to maintain knowledge of the lawful essence of human development in general while also adhering, in rigor, to the recognized specificity of the form those general laws assume in particular societies. (33) More compelling is her implicit determination of a specific quantity of required primitive accumulation from non-capitalist sources. This conception demands a determination of a magnitude of nothing but fictitious capital in existing accumulation, a magnitude securing real material value through looting of socially-reproductive (for capitalism) forms of materialized wealth from sources outside the value relations of capitalist production.
This point is reinforced by emphasizing that the same problem of fictitious value is central to the notion of "overproduction of commodities." Marx deals extensively with just that in sections of Capital to which Luxemburg appropriately repeatedly refers in developing her thesis. (34) The systematical arguments of her Anti-Kritik also impel her to defend the theses of Accumulation of Capital by emphasizing the same point.
Finally, the way in which she applies her ambiguously defined notion of a magnitude of fictitious capital, demanding material realization through looting (primitive accumulation), is systematically a notion of such fictitious capital as we develop it, even though she abstains from presenting such a case. The question of where and when her thus-contingent error of ambiguity becomes a practical mistake is what remains to be shown in this immediate connection.
Her failure to adduce the relevant notions of fictitious capital, even where the completeness of her own argument demands nothing less, is her single, major principled error. This admission is potentially a source of major blunders in derived conclusions, which happily enough do not occur in the main results of the writings in which that potentially dangerous error appears. It certainly produced no significant error in any of the major conclusions for which she has been attacked, either by such political eagles as Lenin, or the worms in the socialist chicken-yard, such as Bukharin, Mandel, or Sweezy.
The major practical difficulty of attempting to discuss actual issues of Luxemburg's views is the stubborn insistence of most professed socialists and Marxologists that she was a typical leading proponent of special nostrums described as "underconsumptionism" and "spontaneity." The latter charge, usually defended by specious representations of her attack on the bureaucratic-centralist tendencies of (especially) the pre-1914 Bebel-Ebert "proletarian kernel" faction of the SPD, is shown to be worse than silly by her writings on the Mass Strike policy and her leadership role in the Polish revolutionary organization of that period. (35) The falseness of the charge of "underconsumptionism" is also beyond reasonable doubt, after we have isolated the content usually attributed to that term.
She is, admittedly, largely responsible for developing an important aspect of Marx's writings into a thesis which she associates with the problem of “underconsumption." In essentials, she argues that the advancing of the technological level of productivity demands a corresponding, although not necessarily equal, rise in the material standard of living and leisure of the entire working-class population from which productive labor-power is obtained. (36) This emphasis of hers on Marx's own rejection of a biologically-determined "subsistence wage" she premised on a critique of the positive contributions of Sismondi, completing a project which Marx himself had not finished. (37) On this issue, she ran head-on into the dominant mechanistic prejudices of the Lassallean tradition ("Iron Law of Wages") in both the Social-Democracy (38) and its Russian “orthodox Marxist" students. This conflict shows up as a later issue of the same form in those sillier features of Lenin's Imperialism which have had disastrous influence on later generations. (39)
The significance of her "underconsumption" thesis is that she correctly complements the capitalist dysfunction of underproduction of necessary means of existence and development, by noting also the primitive-accumulation profits obtained by capitalism through paying working-class households as a whole a lower level of material consumption and leisure than is required to maintain the entirety of the working class as a source of modern labor-power, labor-power in terms of the cultural requirements of advancing technology. This underconsumption tendency creates an apparent population-brake on the further realization of new technologies. As she uses this term, underconsumption, it signifies that the total wages and leisure of the working class are generally significantly below the wages and leisure determined by the value of labor-power for modern technology. This vicious discrepancy in capitalist value-relations, her thesis emphasizes, is
neither an episodic, cyclical deviation from a central tendency, nor a mere epiphenomenon of the perpetual greediness and power of employers. Absolutely consistent with Marx's own systematic treatment of the content of labor-power's consumption, she emphasizes that a general underconsumption by the working-class population as a whole as a major, necessary source of primitive accumulation for capitalism.
What is recklessly, falsely attributed to her by street-corner varieties of socialist opinion is an entirely different thesis identified by the term “underconsumptionism." Vulgar "underconsumptionism" of this sort signifies the view formerly associated with a “wages fund" notion of capitalist overproduction, or what is conveniently dubbed “the buy-back problem."
The slight basis for the otherwise far-fetched effort to deny a distinction between Luxemburg's “underconsumption" and the vulgar "buy-back" chimera is that the cited error of ellipsis in her development of the problem prevents her from presenting the sort of devastating variety of critique of the “buy back" view which would have certified her for what she was, one of the most intransigent opponents of the vulgar "underconsumptionist." Her failure to employ our own argument in that special connection is not the main significance of her error; the “buy back" issue is only a symptom of the general range of problems which her omission tends to open up.
The money apparently put into circulation by capitalist production itself is in the order of payments for the elements C, V, and d, being payments to the accounts of Constant Capital, Variable Capital, and Capitalists' Consumption. But the total magnitude of production is C+V+d+S’ , whence it might appear to the shallow-minded that there is necessarily inadequate money put into circulation by production itself to "buy back" the commodities produced by that same capitalist production.
One of the first economists to shout “Eureka!" over such a “discovery" was Parson Malthus. He, and such professed Malthusians as J.M. Keynes, hit upon the "solution" to overproduction of increasing the magnitude of “d" to the limit of S, by increasing the payments to such idlers and parasites as Malthus himself. This same Malthusian nonsense has intruded into certain strata of the socialist movement through the variety of professed Marxian economist which attempts (directly or indirectly) to effect an accommodation of Marx and Keynes. Sweezy is the most notorious if not the purest example of such Malthusian “underconsumptionist" follies.
The source of this “buy-back" hypothesis, from the standpoint of the technicalities of scholarship, is the illiteracy of its advocates. At the outset of Volume III
of Capital, Marx emphasizes the fundamental blunder (e.g., of Bukharin, Sweezy, Mandel) of attempting to construct a comprehensive notion of any of his categories of capitalist accumulation by the limited means of superimposing a reductionist's world-view on the one-sided standpoint emphasized, for pedagogical reasons, in Volume I. In the socialist movement generally, the corpus of “orthodox Marxist economics" was nonetheless developed on the basis of such a mechanistic reading of Volume I. Once that widespread sophomorism is understood, one can readily locate the reasons an insufficiently educated student might imagine that a “buy-back" hypothesis is consistent with the corpus of “orthodox Marxist economics.”
This historic fact is not offset by the references to isolated passages from Volumes III and IV of Capital which appear in some writings of advocates of the “buy-back” hypothesis. What is significant respecting all such ostensible evidences of supplementary readings which the writer has so far examined, is that the exegetical approach applied to the “later" volumes of Capital viciously avoids the most important passages of those same volumes. The “improvement“ of old illiterate rubbish with some scattered evidences of broader research represents in these cases nothing but a deliberate fallacy of composition. Sweezy and others have been engaged in an obvious effort -- we might be permitted to employ the term “fraud" -- to bring the later volumes of Capital into a specious agreement with the mechanistic interpretation crudely imposed upon Volume I.
The extraordinary relevance of that clinical evaluation of Sweezy et al. is that, apart from significant observations in other locations, it is in Volume III of Capital that Marx devotes the majority of his writing to showing why a “buy-back" problem, as such, could not possibly exist for capitalist accumulation! (41)
To “sell” the margin, S’ , of the total product, it is merely necessary that the seller issue credit to the buyer! To the extent that the buyer utilizes the material content of S’ as both wages and means of production in terms of modern technology, the result is a mass of reproduced wealth significantly in excess of the capitalized credit issued!
The howling irony of the “buy-back” hypothesis is that money itself has necessarily and historically developed out of just such credit. Money is in principle only the most general form of the bill of exchange. To see in a mere mass of money a fixed limit to the capacity to sell commodities has no basis in empirical economics, but, admittedly, has long been the central fixation of generation after generation of “funny money" charlatans and the credulous, populist fools who trek after them.
This point is not a mere contingent feature of Capital. It is the central feature of Marx's demonstration of the notion of capital-in-general. It is the heart of Marx's political economy as a whole. Consequently, the person who professes to be expert in Marx's economic theories without mastering this point first, is by definition a wretched impostor. Unfortunately, the majority of professed experts, Luxemburg's better-known critics especially, are chiefly just such cranks and imposters.
What ought to be immediately discernible, even to the intelligent layman, is that the creation of credit between particular buyers and sellers is not a complete solution to the problem of circulation of commodities, but only the first step in the direction of a solution. The shortcoming of simple credit is that the creditor must wait until payment on the debt matured before he can realize the sale as purchasing power for his own use. This problem could not be solved by arbitrarily shortening the debt-service maturities, since the realization of newly produced values depends upon the length of the production cycle in which the value of wage-commodities and means of production are reproduced. The nature of the problem could be posed: What prevents the seller from suffering a greater or lesser degree of “liquidity crisis" during the period the debt is maturing?
The solution to this is quite ably illustrated by consulting a little book, “The Federal Reserve System, Purposes and Functions," issued by the publications office of that same august agency. The same principle is illustrated in the essential features of the history of mercantile capitalism from the middle of the second millennium, B.C. It is embedded in the rise of European mercantile capitalism from approximately the period of the Crusades, in the evolution of banking through the fourteenth century's House of Bardi, the fifteenth century's House of Medici, and the sixteenth century's Augsburg, Antwerp, etc. banking. It is necessary to capitalize the credit issued, i.e., as self-expanding capital. It is essential to have a generalized market for credit instruments, a discount market and a re-discount market, the latter a function fulfilled in today's U.S.A. by the incestuous relationship between the Federal Reserve System and Federal Treasury.
The power of the capitalist system to maintain the distribution of S’ in a semblance of an orderly market lies in the existence of markets through which credit issued is immediately discountable for either money or credit usable by the creditor of the original issue. He must either be able to use the debts he holds against the account of his customers as security for credit from his own suppliers, or he must convert the accounts payable, liens, etc. he holds into cash by selling those claims.
The possibility of sufficient buyers of credit existing to create such a general market for debt demands a buyer of last resort, who himself has sufficient credit to maintain such a market. The possibility of such a buyer existing is located essentially in only one place, the power of the state to tax: the capitalization of the state debt.
The overwhelming historical evidence on this point is admittedly overlooked by the pathetic academic economists who teach from silly textbooks describing "Robinson Crusoe" models, or in the classrooms explaining capitalism in terms of Momma and Papa slaving and saving away for generations in their little store or sweatshop business, creating thereby a Primeval Hoard of capital.
Historically, Europe began to pass out of its feudal forms of social reproduction as such following the onset of the Crusades, (42) with the English thirteenth century reforms and later periods providing the useful immediate fix of reference for the student of such developments. The transformation of feudal social surplus (in the form of “surplus" colonizing populations) into alienable surplus product for debt-service payments to the mercantile banking associates of the Papal Treasury was accomplished by the interpenetration of mercantile capitalist finance with the “competitive military technology" of a constricted, decaying European feudal society turned inward upon itself, cannibalizing as a form of continued social reproduction.
The original axis for credit of this development, echoing ancient tax-farming, was the treasury of the Papacy and the circulation of “Peter's Pence," the state forms of European feudalism. The concentration of magnate-power effected through mercantilist financing of feudal cannibalism undermined the Papacy, creating magnates of that sort, states, whose emerging treasuries (power to tax) provided the basis for further expansion of mercantilist power over the existing society. Although the internal contradictions of this parasitical form of mercantile-capitalist development were reached during the period from the bankruptcy of the Spanish and Portuguese crowns to approximately the point of the English Restoration, (43) and although the shift from mercantilism to the labor-process as the central axis of capitalist accumulation reified most of the earlier transitional forms created, the state debt and treasury have remained the central axis of creation of credit in general. The emergence of the Bank of England, the bitterly-delayed establishment of the U.S. Federal Reserve System, and the present schemes to make the International Monetary Fund the central bank in fact, are essentially evolved rationalizations of relatively more informal capital rediscount markets which attempted, and succeeded to at least a significant extent, in accomplishing the same indispensable functions
for capitalist accumulation.
The principle involved, the principle which makes this point the kernel of Marx's own notion of capitalist accumulation in general, is that the net capacity of a capitalist market to circulate a magnitude such as S' is limited to some multiple of the amount of re-discount market credit newly created at the expense of the state. Ergo, the term, “economics," is essentially a nonsense-term if interpreted in a literal sense (as is evident in the ridiculous “Robinson Crusoe" model-making). The existence of capital is a political question from beginning to end. Not only is property-right in self-expanding-valued instruments itself a political fiction, entirely dependent upon political institutions external to the particular capital itself, but the credit-expansion on which the existence of accumulation depends is located in the state treasury and in the associated political-economic policies of capitalist governments.
There never existed a “laissez-faire" form or "stage" of capitalism, except in the rhetorical fantasies of demagogues and their credulous admirers. “Laissez-faire" existed only as a policy of legalized graft, the right claimed by the most enterprising capitalists to loot the state treasury with the assistance of parliamentary accomplices.
There is nothing exotic in the “multiple" we cited above. The principle involved is essentially a projective transformation of the determination of ordinary banking “reserve ratios." What determines the magnitude of the “multiplier" required is the ratio between the magnitude of all new credit created and the amount of net rediscount purchases required to maintain such a general market for credit-expansion. There are more “sophisticated" relationships between production and circulation which ultimately regulate what the range of the multiplier must be, but we were up to this point considering only the monetary aspect of that phenomenon.
The central point for Marx was this. In capitalist accumulation, we are immediately confronted with two forms, property-titles whose price is immediately determined by a price-earnings ratio, and the values associated with capital, whose value is determined by social-reproductive rates. No comprehensive direct mathematical (algebraic) representation of any connection or correspondence between the two magnitudes is possible! (44) Yet, there is an historical correspondence (coherence) of sorts (45) between capitalist accumulation as such and expansion of the productive forces under capitalism. Where and how is the semblance of such appropriateness determined?
On the monetary side: The re-discount rate determines a general rate of profit (by implication) for aggregate accumulation of price of property-titles,
in respect to the determined rate of expansion of the credit-monetary mass. Adjustments for adjudged relative risk and liquidity of instruments transform the general (monetary) rate of profit into a corresponding price-earnings ratio in the markets for particular kinds of instruments and specific instruments within those categories.
On the real side: The expansion of the credit- monetary system determines the possible rate of realization of commodity production. Furthermore, the rate of expansion of real wealth through rates determined by a general rate of S'/(C+V) for the total capitalist economy, determines the degree to which instruments created by credit-expansion are relatively illiquid: The question whether the entire mass of nominal wealth represented by the aggregate price of property-titles could be converted into real wealth at current capitalist commodity-prices for reproducible forms of material wealth.
I.e., the "general rate of profit."
Taking the capitalist economy as a whole, there is a universalizing determination of shifting rates of capitalist accumulation (a general monetary rate of profit) in monetary terms, and of shifting rates of capitalist accumulation in terms of social-reproductive forces. Within this, the conflict between Fixed and Circulating Capitals under conditions of Necessity for rising rates of productivity of the social-reproductive forces, defines what Marx presents as his unique discovery of capital-in-general.
It is directly from this that Marx's notion of crises arises.
Obviously, the monetary system provides the capitalists with the ability to circulate large masses of over-priced commodities, so that during the major part of the business cycle there is no constriction forcing prices into conformity with values determined by social-reproductive relationships. However, to the extent that the extra profit embodied in such overpricing of sold commodities is capitalized, this causes the creation of a corresponding mass of accumulated debt in the system as a whole, a portion of total debt for which there is no corresponding real wealth.
This paradox is a necessary condition, since the fictitious complement represented by over-pricing does not represent correspondingly added values of wages-goods or means of production, and therefore that added valuation could not contribute future wealth through reproduction.
Moreover, since debt itself is a form of self-expanding value, the expansion of the credit-monetary system must provide for future augmentation of this fictitious capital as well as providing for sale of net surplus values and the margin of over-pricing of new commodities currently sold. So, the debt-form of fictitious capital pyramids additional fictitious capital at the same time that new masses of the same are also being generated de novo from "overproduction of commodities" and pure speculations.
The inevitable result of this is the shifting of the so-called "Phillips Curve." (46) As the ratio of fictitious capital to real production increases, an increasing rate of unemployment will tend to be associated with equal rates of credit-expansion. This is a necessary tendency; since all credit-expansion flows into both fictitious and productive accumulations, a rising ratio of fictitious to productive accumulation determines a corresponding tendency for a declining proportion of full employment generated by equal ratios of credit-expansion.
This process of rising potential illiquidity in the entire system proceeds in the guise of inflationary prosperity until the relationship between the actual rate of productive accumulation and total accumulation reaches a critical point. That point, roughly speaking, is the juncture at which further efforts to maintain approximate full employment by credit-expansion must cause rising rates of inflation, an inflationary acceleration of the sort which leads toward an early general collapse of the entire system. Since the dangers of inflationary collapse are more horrifying than those of depression alternatives (to encapsulate a whole series of analytical procedures), depressions are the usual resolution of the process of fictitious accumulation intrinsic to capitalist accumulation.
What Luxemburg accomplished, without bringing in the full apparatus she should have employed, was to show that the phenomena of imperialism corresponded to such elementary features of Marx's notion of crises. It is obvious from the foregoing analysis that the illiquidity of capitalist accumulation can be temporarily offset as long as capitalism can obtain and absorb reproductive forms of material wealth from a source outside the value-relationships of capitalist production! The conversion of part of the mass of fictitious accumulation into instruments in the form of international loans, provided that the debt-service income of the leans exceeds the value of production exported to the debtor-sector, converts the debt-service collection on these loans into a means of looting natural resources and the product of non-capitalist production in favor of the credit of the lending sector.
Unfortunately, as we have insisted, she used only part of the necessary conceptual apparatus of Marx's notion to demonstrate the point and develop her thesis.
It is a simple historical fact today that she entirely succeeded in her immediate objectives despite the ellipsis.
The problem is that her limited range of analytical apparatus prevents her approach from being applied to resolve the new class of problems manifest in the post-war emergence of a single super-imperialism, the U.S.A. and its satrapies of the Bretton Woods system. Omitting to locate the basis for national capitalist accumulations, as competing imperialist accumulations, in the distinctions predicated by separate rediscount markets (state debts) would prevent her analysis from competently treating the circumstances in which all world capitalist accumulation has been situated on the basis of a single credit-system. Although her correct usage of the notion of primitive accumulation enables her to follow Marx exactly in defining the notion of material boundaries for capitalist accumulation as an historically-specific form, her approach's ellipses would prevent it from demonstrating that the recent outbreak of the so-called "ecology crisis" represents a fundamental breakdown crisis of a more advanced form than she defined for the impending break-up of the system of pre-1914 imperialism. Up through the Second World War, Luxemburg remains the generally reliable and the only source of strategical perspectives for the tasks of the socialist movements. While her analysis has continued useful bearing on certain important aspects of post-war developments, her error prevents her work from being used as the model apparatus for analyzing the process leading into the present, new breakdown crisis.
Bukharin the Slanderer
Nikolai Bukharin, only less so than E. Preobrazhensky (47) or George Lukacs, (48) was one of the better-known literary celebrities among a generation of secondary and tertiary socialist figures whose best work not accidentally shows the enlivening spark of Luxemburg's influence. This fact bears in an important way on the character of Bukharin's attempted literary assassination of her in his "Imperialism and the Accumulation of Capital.” Not only was he at that time the principal literary hack of the Zinoviev-Stalin faction, which occupation predetermined that he would have been assigned to write some vile falsifications against her in any case, but he had been "guilty" of being "too much an admirer" of both Luxemburg and Trotsky in his recent past. His assigned task, in the document which Monthly Review Press now presents, was not only to denounce Luxemburg in terms agreeable to his employer's factional purposes, but to not incidentally degrade himself for "past errors, a hideous practice of public self-criticism" which was already becoming ritual within the ranks of the emerging Stalin machine.
This is not to exaggerate the point, to imply that the electric life permeating leading revolutionaries during the onset and flood of the Russian Revolution was created by personal influences. In the crucible of mass upsurges, even many philistine mediocrities are ennobled to an extent defying evidence of their earlier natures only, too often, to relapse into their old narrowness and stupidity once the tide of up the surge has ebbed. This is not limited to revolutionary upsurges as such. In every mass struggle, the movement of broader masses sweeps across and briefly submerges the traditional barriers of trade-unionist, ethnic, and regionalist parochialism among those sections of the class and its allies drawn into such ferment. The movement of masses, implicitly a new ("soviet") institution, confronts the mind of the participant with immediate possibilities which formerly seemed too distant to occupy the contemplations of vulgar, practical men.
To communicate that important notion, it is useful to employ the lessons of even more modest experiences. Every skilled mass leader learns, often through bitter experience, that the toleration of gambling, drunkenness, swinish conventional relations between men and women, expressions of anarchist pigginess, signify among the workers who tolerate such moral degradations a degeneration of the morality and intelligence of the working-class forces involved, a symptom and result of ebb in the social motion which had ennobled those same workers to become briefly representatives of truly human qualities. (49) In such situations, the experienced trade-union leader not so unwisely hurries to settle for what he can immediately get from the employers, before the tactical moral situation worsens still further.
We do exaggerate -- for the sake of brevity on the point -- in “underestimating" the cardinal significance of the "subjective" factor: It was, on balance at least, the general mass-strike upsurge developing prior to, during, and immediately following the First World War, not the writings or oratory of any individual or party, which lifted even some mediocrities out of their accustomed muck of bourgeois ideology and imbued them briefly with the power to stride events like titans. Despite such momentarily-useful exaggerations of the "spontaneous” aspect of such upsurges, Luxemburg, even after the first moments of the October Revolution, was properly the magical figure for most European revolutionaries. Lenin and Trotsky, strange figures suddenly bursting into flaming bourgeois headlines, were otherwise almost unknown and untested outside the Russian movement. To the socialist movement outside Russia, there was still only one revolutionary figure who towered absolutely above all others: Luxemburg.
Most of today's socialist literature, especially that occupied with the history of the movement, is lies
and myth. What occurred up through the period of the Third World Congress, what men and women actually thought, what touched their intellects and passions from 1914 to 1921, is hidden today behind a fog of lies and circumlocutions, the dense "official Marxist-Leninist" mythology created by one of the most massive and sustained campaigns of character assassination mobilized by a major power against any individual.
Even the Bolshevik Left Opposition, the tiny best of the institutionalized currents to emerge from the wreckage of the old Comintern, for factitious reasons slyly refused to acknowledge its own enormous debt to her direct and indirect influence. As Perlman emphasizes, (50) the nearest approximation of a revolutionary international strategy created by the Comintern was Lenin's and Trotsky's belated, bowdlerized, and fatally compromised comprehension of her "mass strike"/"united front" strategy. Despite the common gossip of various wretched little socialist rags and pamphlets, despite their ritual chanting of wild fabrications to the effect that she, unlike Lenin, "did not understand the importance of breaking with the parties of the Second International," she almost single-handedly launched the campaign for a new international, and fought the leadership of the old international during the same period that Lenin even briefly aligned with those centrists against her! (51)
Not to discount Lenin's massive achievements in the least, the Russian Revolution, which could not have occurred without the joint leadership of himself and Trotsky, was the realization of a new policy (52) which Lenin began to evolve from the day he first realized that Luxemburg had been absolutely right and he absolutely wrong concerning the Bebel-Ebert-Kautsky "proletarian kernal" orthodox leadership of the old international. (53) Lenin was capable of ruthlessly pursued political crimes, such as his unprincipled handling of the Levi affair, and his reckless epithets against Luxemburg during the heat of the later Levi publications of her writings. (54) Unlike such third-ranking Bolshevik figures as the labile Radek or Bukharin, Lenin had the most essential quality of a revolutionary leader, personal character, (55) Even while otherwise recklessly vilifying her principal theoretical achievements (on which in the main she had been right and Lenin badly mistaken), he could not prevent himself from adding, “But ... for us she was ... an eagle," a figure towering above Lenin and all their contemporaries.
Trotsky made a similar admission belatedly, during the same period he finally presented his own and Lenin's “united front" strategy (in the “Germany" writings), rising to her defense against a fresh outburst of even more hideous anti-Luxemburg slanders by Stalin. (56) Trotsky, as he himself mooted the point, lacked the thorough political integrity of a Lenin, (57) but he had at least the integrity to recognize where his relative
weakness lay, and to attempt to correct it, as he did in belatedly attempting to undo the fatal compromise of the Third World Congress. (58)
The extraordinary influence of Luxemburg, during a brief, critical period of the pre-war and later events, was by no means a matter of general respect for the personal heroism of a “mere woman" who had risen to such a leading political position within the German, Polish, and Russian movements. Her theoretical work was the only extant corpus or writings and systematical political argument which corresponded to the emergent reality of that period. Even to sections of the masses who lacked direct knowledge of the quality of her theoretical achievements as such, it was evident that she was the only leading figure whose long-ridiculed, vilified views corresponded to the reality then erupting about them. She was the only figure vindicated as one with the tested powers of comprehension to know what to do next!
Among the leaders of the socialist movement, she was variously admired and more widely feared. In all respects -- mass leader, writer, educator, faction-fighter, theoretician -- there had been no one equal to her since Marx himself. She was, to all the most sensitive young revolutionaries of that period, the most awesome figure of the revolutionary movement.
Lukacs is one of the best known of those young revolutionaries whose entire outlook was profoundly touched by her influence. (59) The value of his writings today, except as a poor man's improvised alternative to the trash of Marcuse and other “leading dialecticians," is mainly the clarity with which Lukacs' visible intellectual degeneration documents the vicious decay among so many cadres as they retreated back to philistinism under the interconnected pressures of general ebb and the Zinoviev-Stalin pogrom to eradicate “the virus of Luxemburgism" from the movement.(60)
Preobrazhensky's New Economics, (61) especially its polemical attacks on the Zinovievite renegade, Bukharin, is an application of conceptions which Luxemburg had stimulated in the ranks of the best Bolshevik thinkers through mainly her Accumulation of Capital. Bukharin, in his writings from the period before his demoralization made him Zinoviev's hack, had shared such influences to only a less effective extent. His reference to the Marxian notion of the “class for itself” was, incidentally, the earlier Bukharin's effort to put the Lenin-Trotsky faction's "united front" strategy (adapted from Luxemburg and Paul Levi) on its fundamental theoretical basis in Marx, (62) Bukharin's most important independent efforts, during the period he was becoming a Bolshevik, are a reflection of the impact of the Accumulation of Capital upon him. (63)
Respecting his filthy composition under consideration here, all the essential contextual facts of the writing are either well known or available in extensive documentation for any writer who attempted to approach that topic with a certain minimal degree of personal integrity. If we ourselves go further than most in adducing certain necessary conclusions respecting the deeper significance of those facts, the facts themselves are so well established and accessible that no honorable scholar would hazard his reputation by representing Bukharin's 1924 filth as even marginally “objective criticism." It cannot be said that we propose to suppress the circulation of that filth. Like the ravings of a psychotic, it has approximately the theoretical merit of clinical evidence for broader insight into the species of moral and intellectual degradation symptomized by it. Psychotics' ravings have a place in the source literature of psychology, provided they, in themselves, are not published as scientific psychology. We insist it should be published and studied, to show not only what Stalinist hacks had to say against her, but to expose the dark origins of most of the wretched gossip repeated ritually against her in the movement today.
The Odd Mr. Kenneth Tarbuck
Let us consider on what various accounts the editor of the Monthly Review book, Mr. Kenneth Tarbuck, is either a fool or prevaricator!
“When Bukharin wrote the present work he was just approaching his apogee as the theoretical spokesman for orthodox Bolshevism...."!!! (64)
A most interesting summation, especially once the reader is informed that Tarbuck is the resident chief British spokesman for a tiny “Trotskyist” cult of followers of M. Pablo. (65) It is such a professed “Trotskyist" who informs us that the Bukharin of 1924, the Bukharin of eternal snail's-pace crawl to socialism, in a perpetual love-embrace of NEPman and Kulak, was then approaching the “apogee” of “orthodox Bolshevism"! It must be that Tarbuck imagines it “good Marxist practice" to turn much more than Hegel on its head, and thus nadirs and zeniths may appear to him in such junctures as would most severely astonish one accustomed to viewing reality right-side-up.
More instructive (and disgusting) is Tarbuck's summary argument for the alleged “objectivity" of Bukharin's criticisms:
"Bukharin wrote this work at a time when there was a campaign being waged against 'Luxemburgism' in the German Communist Party. Thus it assisted those KPD leaders -- such as Maslow and
Fischer -- who wanted to rid the party of its Luxemburgist heritage.... Nevertheless, Bukharin does not attack Luxemburg's integrity and his polemic can not be seen merely as a ploy in a factional fight” !!! (66)
Oh, absolutely not! Provided that one accepts Tarbuck's monstrous rearrangement of history.
He informs us that certain German Communist Party leaders, Maslow and Fischer, “had this thing about Luxemburg going at the time.” The fact is that the campaign against “Luxemburgism" was launched by Gregory Zinoviev, with energetic encouragement from the vindictive little Karl Radek. As to Maslow and Fischer, they were literally fourth-rate leaders of the KPD, who owed their authority entirely to their creator, Zinoviev, following the successive destructions of the previous leaderships: 1) the assassination of Luxemburg by the SPD's imported fascist gangs; 2) the expulsion from the Comintern of the figure who built the VKPD from handfuls to a mass party (Paul Levi), an expulsion effected as Lenin's unprincipled concession to -- guess whom! -- Zinoviev on this point; 3) the expulsion of Brandler and Thalheimer as scapegoats for Zinoviev's and Stalin's German blunders of 1923. Maslow and Fischer were entirely Zinoviev's Comintern hacks, whose policies were whatever mush was currently being dished out to them by the Russians.
Surprise, Mr. Tarbuck! Coincidence, Mr. Tarbuck! Bukharin, at the time of his attack on Luxemburg, was a third-rate hack of the Zinoviev faction in Russia! In “coincidentally" launching a Zinovievite slander against Luxemburg, in a Zinoviev-controlled Comintern publication (Unter dem Banner des Marxis-mus), at a time Zinoviev's four-year pogrom against Luxemburg was being escalated, Bukharin's effort “merely seems to be" a part of a general campaign of falsifications aimed at discrediting every facet of her former celebrity!??
Tarbuck must also make it seem merely coincidental that the political conclusions of Luxemburg's which Bukharin mainly attacks are the same political issues for which the Zinoviev-Stalin faction are hurling slanders at the same moment against the Bolshevik Left Opposition of Trotsky and Preobrazhensky! It is merely coincidental, of course, that a sizeable part of the slanders Bukharin throws against Luxemburg are similar to those he is simultaneously writing against the Left Opposition. As to whether Bukharin refrains from attacking her “integrity," the entire evidence of the piece indicates the contrary.
Oh, certainly, the Bukharin piece is by no means "merely ... a ploy in a factional fight." It is, according to the odd Mr. Tarbuck, largely the purest epiphenomenon
of the abstract, unearthly Logos, which happened to eructate this particular critical gem out of a clear, blue political sky, “accidentally” at the same time that the entire machinery of the Comintern, the employers of Bukharin's more earthbound pen and ink, happened to demand an attack on the last shred of her political reputation! How exceedingly wise and kind of our "Pabloite scholar" to have consented to reveal this wonderful truth to us.
In fact, Tarbuck is by no means the innocent academic lamb misled by his admittedly sophomoric intellectual gifts. Since certain institutions have been so long occupied with searching for the pandemic virus of "Pabloism" in every serving of Fish and Chips, one gags a moment before risking to lend the slightest credence to that mania. Nonetheless, despite the curious Thomas Gerard Healy, (67) there really is a special aberration among socialist sects properly called "Pablosim," and Mr. Tarbuck's four-member British grouping (as of last summer's report of it), like a similarly-sized bakery back-room group in New York City, is an accredited representative of that tendency. Tarbuck's editing of the volume in question here is not accidentally a back-stabber's sort of sly defense of the essential Pabloite thesis. Our innocent Pontius Pilate of a "scholar," Tarbuck is really a shabbily disguised political assassin.
To typify the evidence of this, it is sufficient to show the connection between two particular frauds presented as casual matters of fact in his introduction. The first of these merely sets up the situation for introducing the second, the main point. Characterizing the approach he recommends to adduce the general political implications of Accumulation of Capital and the Anti-Kritik, he improvises the following gems for the archives of political historiography:
"The answer can only be found by placing these economic researches in a political context -- that of Luxemburg's fight against revisionism, and her attempts to warn the German party of the dangers of imperialism and its ascending influence within that party." (68)
The first bit of “explanation" credits Mr. Tarbuck with at least a certain amount of sheer chutzpah, since it is rather well-known, even among the scantily-educated rank-and-filers of today's CP and other groups, that the "revisionism” fight occurred during the 1898-1899 period. Perhaps he imagines that what has been said of Reform or Revolution?, her writing of that earlier period, is worth repetition for her work of 1912. Yet, most of those same rank-and-filers also know, especially since the recent circulation of Nettl's biography, that during the period from about 1907 until her assassination, she was preoccupied almost exclusively in a much more bitter, more fundamental struggle
against her erstwhile allies of the "revisionism" fight, Bebel, Kautsky, et al. The factional context for the Accumulation of Capital and Anti-Kritik is her opposition to the "orthodox Marxism" of the SPD’s "proletarian kernel" center, and to a lesser extent, an attack on the credulous adherence to aspects of the same centrist "orthodoxy" by Russian Marxists, including Lenin himself! Was the bitter attack on Lenin's economic-theoretical bungling and related political errors pervading so much of Accumulation a reflection of her fight against revisionists, Mr. Tarbuck?
It is true, in an irrelevant sense, that she was concerned with the growing ideological adaptation to imperialism within the Second International generally, but it is to lie by deliberate fallacy of composition to cite that concern as the active political issue affecting the intended use of her 1912-16 economic-theoretical writings. What she opposed from the standpoint of her "mass strike" strategy and its later-developed "united front" strategy application, was the "constructivist" outlook of these "orthodox Marxists" who supported a "national stages" policy of socialist strategy, and, in the most advanced capitalist countries a policy of projecting socialist transformations through better attention to both parliamentary "successes" and "building a party base in the existing trade union organizations."
Such misrepresentations by Tarbuck cannot be treated as accidental. It is significant that his efforts to suppress the well-known facts correlate most directly with certain peculiarities of the "Pabloite" chimeras. The most notorious of such peculiarities is Pablo's effort to reintroduce the old "orthodox Menshevik" "national stages” strategy into the body of what Pablo represents as "orthodox Trotskyism"! Although Pablo's former collaborator and aide-de-camp, Ernest Mandel, has also attempted to do much the same in the name of applying the notion of "permanent revolution" (as also did Joseph Hansen), the extreme version of this fantastic phrase-juggling of Pablo's is distinctly the hallmark of himself and his followers, such as Mr. Tarbuck. To identify Luxemburg's central preoccupation in denouncing and exposing such views -- as Mr. Tarbuck's -- would be most inexpeditious for both the editor and his host publishing house.
He really lifts the tent flap on the behind-the-scenes arrangements in the attempt to represent the gist of Bukharin's slanders as a moot issue:
"Bukharin sees Luxemburg's ideas on imperialism as leading her, unwittingly, into the camp of those who believe in an harmonious development of capitalism. He points to her definition of the phenomenon: 'Imperialism is the political expression of the accumulation of capital in its competitive struggle for what remains still open of the non-capitalist environment.' Bukharin argues that her theory of
imperialism has a large voluntaristic element in it which in some ways puts her in the same camp as Hobson." (69)
The essence of Luxemburg's theory of imperialism is that the development of capitalist accumulation depends constantly upon supplementary accumulation, primitive accumulation, through looting natural and human resources of wealth from outside the use-value relations of capitalist production itself. On that premise, she shows that the process of such "combined and uneven development" within essentially (although by no means exclusively) the national bounds -- as by looting national mineral resources, agriculture, etc. -- leads to the successful enlargement of capitalist production to the point that the required margin of primitive accumulation exceeds the rate of possible primitive accumulation for the capitalist economies emphasizing national (semi-autarchical) development. By exhausting the material basis for semi-autarchical development in this fashion, capitalism is forced to break out of such relative bounds into imperialism. "Colonialist" looting is not sufficient for this purpose; international loans, and navies, etc. to enforce the integrity of such debts, are the key feature. Since, she emphasizes, the rate of imperialist development has expanded the productive forces to the degree that there is insufficient rate of potential further looting for all existing imperialist powers simultaneously, the imperialist system was then (1912) approaching a general breakdown crisis, which must either be a period of socialist transformation or the prelude to a new form of capitalist development, a form of auto-cannibalization associated with "military economy."
Not only is Bukharin fully aware of this, but his sole major contribution to socialist theory was the amplification of her views to project a more general "statist" change in capitalist economy as the alternative to successful socialist revolutions during the emerging breakdown period! For him to suggest that her views on imperialism lead her, even unwittingly, into the French "solidarist" or similar “socialist" camps, is absolutely a lie by him!
The Bukharin-Tarbuck alliance grows shoddier in moral character the more exactly we probe its contents, the more we consider the moral effects of Tarbuck's voluntary attachment to it, The issue between Luxemburg and her opponents, throughout the period from 1907 to her assassination, was her strategical conception of the social process of mobilizing the working masses for the conscious seizure of power through the "mass strike"/"united front" strategy, a strategy which Bukharin, as we have noted, several years before his attack had attempted to assimilate and defend. At the time of his break with Lenin and Trotsky, he went over to the "constructivist" thesis of “socialism at a snail's pace" and general conjunctural pessimism respecting the possibilities of socialism in the advanced
capitalist sector. (A kind of early, right-wing Maoist.) In sum, the main thesis, "conjunctural pessimism," which Bukharin is defending against both Luxemburg's writings and the 1924 Left Opposition, is the very thesis which he charges Luxemburg as "unwittingly" supporting!
This same right-wing pessimistic thesis has been the central premise advanced by Pablo and his followers since the late 1940's. Pablo, following faithfully in the traditions of all centrists, like Zinoviev before him, has been characterized throughout his political life by abrupt flip-flops between "revolutionary" adventurism and shameless opportunism. At the end of the Second World War, he shared the conviction embodied in the SWP's “American Theses," that the capitalist system was on the verge of collapse, in which the "Fourth International" would bypass the Cornmunist Parties to zoom into leadership of successful revolutions. (On the premises of its left-centrist variety of "Stalinophobia" the SWP leadership and its supporters could not conceive of "Stalinists" as being confronted with the historic mission of leading a revolutionary upsurge at the critical juncture, and thus refused to acknowledge that leading CP's, on orders from Stalin, had passed an entire new era of capitalist development into the hands of the U.S. capitalists during 1944-45.)
As soon as it became evident, even to Cannon's followers, that there were to be no immediate revolutions in Western Europe or North America, they were plunged from the manic stratosphere to the nadir of political despair. Pablo reacted with a vengeance. Instead of proceeding from the errors of the “American Theses" and the manifest errors of Cannonite "Stalinophobia," and recognizing that the issue of the next opportunity for socialist struggle in the advanced sector had been postponed for perhaps a quarter-century, he flopped into a perspective of centuries without socialist revolutions, centuries during which the power of the Red Army and similar influences might advance socialism through the form of creeping spread of “degenerated workers' states," within which developments and their onset the "Trotskyists" must encyst themselves. Pablo's theses, like the similar views of his then aide-de-camp, Mandel, have each undergone certain modifications since then, but the essential features underlying the surface adaptations to "new realities" have remained the same.
Like Sweezy, Tarbuck's momentary host, who is also hysterical in his soft-spoken fashion at the demand that he hold himself accountable for the predictive implications of his "theories," the Bukharin of 1923 onward, the Pablo cult, have been violent in their rage against the very idea the socialist practice be based on a definite strategy -- i.e., a predictive political-economic analysis of the emerging course of developments, regarded as tasks submitted to the movement. This is the same bitter issue separating the centrists
of the Zinoviev-Stalin faction from both Luxemburg and the Bolshevik Left Opposition. Tarbuck, as a “Pabloite" hack-writer, represents a degenerate form of that same hereditary centrism of the Zinoviev faction.
There are two principal aspects of Bukharin's thesis against Luxemburg. The obvious motivation of the writing, the dominant aspect, is the Zinoviev- Stalin faction's justifiable fear that the Left Opposition would manage to break out of its self-imposed Russian confines by capitalizing on the potential international support available in the fragmented but still-ralliable and still-powerful Luxemburgist traditions in the German movement. Such factional preoccupations are heavily underlined in the curious sort of afterthought “Conclusion" to Bukharin's piece, in which two of the three charges against Luxemburg are absolutely identical with those made against the Left Opposition. The secondary, subordinate feature of the piece as a whole is the hysterically mechanistic reification of Marx's notions which Bukharin drags in in the attempt to justify his faction's slanders against her.
Someone might be tempted to argue mistakenly that Bukharin's mechanistic reification of Capital credits him with at least sincerity in reaching conclusions contrary to Luxemburg's. That is an important, but nonetheless secondary feature of the polemic; there are certain arguments, the most important of which we shall summarize, which do belong to such a category. However, as we shall show, his main charges against her depend upon intentional falsifications.
The following four examples are sufficient to justify that general characterization.
Throughout both the Accumulation of Capital and the Anti-Kritik, she emphasizes that her criticism of the fragmentary concluding chapter of Volume II is based on Marx's own, most emphatic judgments on the same issues in other, more authoritative sections of Capital itself. Bukharin responds to this by, first, defending Volumes I and II against her repetition of the identical point Marx himself makes at the outset of Volume III. (70) (She also makes the point in her section on Volumes II and III of Capital in Franz Mehring's Karl Marx.)
Bukharin's defense of the concluding chapter of Volume II is entirely sleight-of-hand. Where Luxemburg shows that the implications of the incompleted models from that chapter tend to be in opposition to Marx's emphatic stipulations on Volumes III and IV, Bukharin resorts to other parts of Capital to show that Marx does indeed reject the sort of conclusions which Luxemburg insists he would have rejected for the affected chapter! Bukharin represents that as a total discrediting of Luxemburg! (71)
His second gross falsification is his insistence that Luxemburg is irresponsible and silly in attempting to discover any contradiction between capitalist accumulation and expansion of the productive forces. This despite the fact that the definition of "internal contradictions" in Volume III is entirely based on the systematic analysis of just such contradictions! (72)
He resorts to a confidence man's devices again in the effort to discredit her “third person." Luxemburg demonstrates that the contradiction between capitalist accumulation and the development of the productive forces requires capitalism to loot materialized value from "third persons," through such forms as imperialist debt-service on international loans. The complicating feature of this is the need of the metropolitan countries' credit-system to accomplish the circulation of domestic potential" overproduction" through securing material backing of looted overseas wealth for the credit-expansion used in that domestic circulation. Thus, in one of these interconnected moments of the connection, domestic "overproduction" assumes the real but also deceptive form of being domestic overproduction, requiring a "third person" purchaser. This is solved by international loans, which obtain security for growth of its monetary system in the materialized values looted from abroad through international loans' debt-service! Bukharin removes one aspect of this interconnected relationship to degrade her into a "buy back" underconsumptionist, "overlooking" the core of her analysis, that it is the looting of material value from non-capitalist sources, not the "selling" of material value to those "buyers," which is the essence of the whole arrangement! (73)
In a fourth fraudulent exertion, in the effort to show that her notion of imperialism leads her to political errors, he insists that she proceeds from her notion of accumulation to deny the importance of the oppressed peasantry and colonial peoples' struggles. Here he really outdoes himself in chutzpah. The kernel of her entire dispute with Bebel-Ebert-Kantsky during the 1907-14 period of factional disputes within the Second International was her Mass Strike strategy, which denounced the "Sisyphus" perspective of "building a socialist party base in the existing trade unions" as opportunism, as blocking the road to class consciousness by even trade-unionists, by cutting off the ranks of organized labor from common-interest struggles in alliance with the most oppressed proletarians, including, she explicitly underlines to the horrified faces of the centrists, the agricultural proletarians. (74)
Zinoviev, Stalin, and Bukharin employ exactly the same swindle of an argument against Trotsky and Preobrazhensky. The Platform of the Left Opposition, which proposed an alliance of the Bolsheviks and workers with the poorer peasantry, in opposition to the Stalin faction's proposed alliance with the Kulaks, the rich peasantry, was denounced by Stalin and Bukharin,
as the Left Opposition's “underestimation" of the peasantry!
We encounter a similar logic among such professed “Trotskyists" as the Socialist Workers Party, the International Socialists, and such minor cults as the Spartacist League and Workers' League. All of these, proceeding from the same centrist argument as Luxemburg's opponents in the Bebel faction, denounce the policy and strategy of building “united front" alliances of organized labor with unorganized, unemployed, and welfare members of the working class, on the grounds that, as they usually assert in such connections, that struggles around narrow, parochial formations secrete “class consciousness" as an epiphenomenon. Since the social basis for expanded reproduction is the use of the surplus product created by employed labor to productively employ unemployed labor, appropriate conclusions follow. Their “logic," like that practiced less viciously by the CPUSA(!), leads most of these "Trotskyist" groups to unwitting but nonetheless effectively racist practices against the most oppressed strata of the working class. (Simple-reproduction “socialism.")
Despite the conceded fact that Bukharin's reifications of Marx would ordinarily suffice for sharp opposition to Luxemburg's views, the cited and other examples of falsifications suffice to demonstrate that he actually proceeds on the basis of deliberate misrepresentations. Take away those falsifications from his piece, and nothing remains of it itself as a criticism some of her principal conclusions.
The secondary problem of the reification of Marx nonetheless merits examination here as a typification of the commonplace errors of "orthodox" and "revisionist" "Marxist economists" down to the present date. One could properly say that Bukharin's efforts to state the "correct" view of the Law of Value and expanded reproduction represent an hysterically mechanistic misrepresentation of Capital in entirety.
The particular problem is underlined for most efficient address by the poor fellow's conceit that he has accomplished an epistemological victory over the axiomatic fallacies of arithmetic by resorting to "algebra"! (75) This has two implications for his piece.
The first of these two implications is readily dispensed with. Since Luxemburg has already delivered a devastating attack on the "Vienna School" of Otto Bauer respecting the issue of "if only the right algebra," Bukharin is committing a mere falsification of his case by re-advancing a refuted argument without acknowledging even the fact of her refutation. (76)
There is a fundamental epistemological fallacy in
any effort to construct an arithmetic -- or “algebraic”! -- model of expanded reproduction for any purpose but preliminary (e.g., classroom ) statements of certain problems. To insist that such models actually represent the problems to be examined, or can be subsumed in arguments respecting proof of a contended point, is utter nonsense.
Luxemburg herself escapes anything worse than casual entanglement in such difficulties by eliminating further consideration of accounting models after destroying the models of Volume II reductio ad absurdum. (77)
On the premise of that demonstration, she resituates the problem of conceptualized expanded reproduction entirely in the “total capitalist" terms provided, especially, by Volumes III and IV of Capital -- but also presented as an analytical method in the material appended to modern editions of Marx's Critique of Political Economy. She demonstrates the validity of Marx's conceptions for then-modern capitalist economy by showing the embodiment of his conceptions in the emergent system of international loans. (78) The fact of the 1914-33 general breakdown crisis of the old imperialism, the emergence of "military economy" from 1933 onwards, adds to the evidence to the point of not only demonstrating the validity of her own contributions on these subjects, but also demonstrating afresh the empirical validity of Capital.
Bukharin, insipidly deluding himself that he somehow escaped the paradoxes of reductionist axioms by "advancing epistemologically" from arithmetic to algebra (!), constructs thereby the most monstrous mare's nest out of an elementary, soluble problem of rigor.
If he had been competently educated in dialectics and mathematics, he would have recognized that the epistemological fallacies reflected in arithmetic models of expanded reproduction had already been systematically and comprehensively diagnosed -- as epistemological fallacies -- by both Hegel and by such leading mathematicians as Weierstrass, Riemann, Cantor, and Klein. Hegel, resolving the form of the problem of "universals" posed by Kant (and others) before him, recognized the pathetic fallacy of "sense-certainty" in efforts to arrive at "infinities" by asymptotic methods of induction from arrays of particulars. (79) Georg Cantor, prompted to reconsider fundamentals (80) after proceeding from the starting-point of Weierstrass and Riemann, made a rigorous discrimination, essentially identical with Hegel's, between "true" and "bad" infinities ("actual" versus "potential" infinities), locating the implications of this for the problem of "transcendentals." Among less comprehensive well known approaches to the same class of problems, we associate the Russell "meta-mathematical" paradox, and the elegant special case treated by Goedel's famous
two, interconnected hypotheses. The physical content of such problems was extensively explored by Einstein, to an admittedly hysterical wall of incomprehension from most of his would-be peers.
The implication is that any effort to represent comprehensive models of expanded reproduction by "value adding" incremental methods is the most devastating sort of blunder, with the most extreme consequential incompetence in economic constructions themselves. This is the problem involved in the fragmentary state of the concluding chapter of Volume II. The error in that chapter, as far as it proceeds, is that Marx, undoubtedly because of his ignorance of theoretical mathematics, did attempt to give a mathematical representation to notions he had developed elsewhere by directly cognitive methods. The incompleteness of that chapter is not accidental, nor is it, like the sketchy condition of much of Volume III, a matter of Marx's illness's intervention in his completion of these volumes. Marx could not possibly have completed that chapter along the lines it was undertaken -- unless it had been his intention to discredit accounting models per se by reductio ad absurdum methods!
In any case, it should have been instructive to Bukharin and others that Marx offers no conclusions respecting expanded reproduction in that fragmentary chapter! The issue is not that of correcting Marx for any conclusions he offers in that location -- he offers none! -- but of whether the continued effort to solve the problem in this vein of accounting models leads to fundamental errors!
No general conclusion can be offered against Marx on account of this chapter except the cited fact that he obviously was not grounded in theoretical mathematics. Apart from the fact that he was well versed in Hegel's Science of Logic, he was acutely aware and self- disciplined respecting the problem of “infinity.“ Indeed, he elaborates the dialectical method involved at considerable length, repeatedly, in his advancing the reasons for the use of the "total capitalist" rigor as the exclusive basis for reaching competent cognitions respecting any of his categories! His difficulties with mathematics simply represent a "blind spot," in which he failed to focus that power of cognition he so marvelously displays in nearly all other ways.
On the basis of such evidence, there is no need to make a great fuss about the flaw in the concluding chapter of the second volume. Its approach is not only unfruitful, but inevitable leads to wrong judgments, for the most elementary reasons of an epistemology on which Marx based the entirety of his work. It's wrong, epistemologically unacceptable, and that's that. (This flaw is not to be compared with the pedagogical limitations deliberately imposed on Volumes I and II respectively.) (81)
Fortunately, to the extent that Marx avoided such mathematical excursions, avoided the problem of "transcendentals" by proceeding from the conceptual standpoint of "actual infinities," the total capitalist economy, he was not only able to express his conceptions with absolute lack of such stumbling or ambiguity as we see in the cited chapter, but also thus demonstrate that the problems of that chapter -- for him! -- are entirely a reflection of nothing more than his lack of knowledge of -- theoretical mathematics. He had the proper conceptions, but lacked the knowledge necessary to deal with the enticing impulse to give them a formal-logical representation.
There are two ultimately connected reasons for this epistemological difficulty. The more rudimentary of these two is located by recognizing that maximization of the "price-earnings" determination of the price of aggregate capitalist accumulation, and the maximization of the development of the productive forces do not admit of a coherent formal-mathematical interpretation of their interconnections. The more profound, ontological demonstration of the general problem involved could be obtained by attempts to construct a comprehensive model of evolutionary social reproduction for the conditions specified in the present writer's textbook (82)
Such a model, implicit in the portrait of expanded reproduction given above, eliminates the possibility of regarding the counting of numbers of individuals as the basis for studies of reproduction. In addition to such simple actuarial contingencies as mortality, fertility, fecundity, etc., we have to confront the more fundamental difficulty that the value of the individual is not the number "one" but a phasal valuation of the form of tendencies for increase in the ratio S'/( C+V), where that ratio is defined in terms of proportions of the labor force as a whole. Although such a problem of representation can be usefully approached through certain extant procedures, no comprehensive model would be possible without first overcoming the presently unsolved limits of mathematical practice respecting "self-reflexive" continuities in which the basic "elementarity" is not that of simple quantity.
With that background review, the epistemological cretinism of Bukharin, Sweezy, Mandel, et al. is sufficiently proven by pointing to the fact that all of them restrict the problem of representing comprehensive expanded reproduction to "models" which simply add increments of value to a fixed base rate of Simple Reproduction! Thus Bukharin commits the very blunder of which the silly Sweezy falsely accuses Luxemburg: of failing to free himself of the world-outlook of Simple Reproduction! (83)
We recapitulate Luxemburg's essential argument
in the terms of reference given just before this.
Let us consider Bukharin's hypothetical case of Simple Reproduction, in which all the surplus value is consumed as capitalists' consumption. Since any mode of fixed technology involves the cumulative depletion of the "resources" defined by it, perpetuated Simple Reproduction must result in rising costs of Constant Capital, through compulsion to turn from depleted "richer resources" to "marginal resources." If technology does not advance, the rising cost of Constant Capital could be met only by eliminating capitalists' consumption entirely. It would not stop there, but the entire society would consequently collapse in negative accumulation in an "ecological crisis"!
If there is expanded reproduction, not only does this invariably subsume alterations in technology in the direct sense, but even simple expansion in scale, by expanding the division of productive labor, results in advances in technology. Whenever there is expansion of technology, the following alterations in the historic valuations of production occur.
There is, generally, a necessary rise in the quality of labor-power, such that the required levels of material consumption and leisure are raised. In that sense, the absolute costs of labor-power increase. Similarly, the absolute amount of Constant Capital consumption per capita of labor-power increases. Yet, the current reproductive costs of both labor-power and of old forms of Constant Capital are cheapened!
The nature of the relationships involved is that we have underlined to exist for any "model" of evolutionary social reproduction; no comprehensive formal-mathematical model of it is possible. This is not to suggest that expanded reproduction is therefore not deliberate, rational, but simply that its representation involves a class of procedural problems which has not yet been mastered -- apart from direct cognition. Cognition of expanded reproduction is quite accessible, despite the formal problem -- as, indeed, Marx's Capital itself demonstrates! Such cognition leads Marx, through conceptualization of "total capitalist" accumulation and productive forces, to exactly the conceptions of the fundamental contradictions, and their consequences which we have cited above. (84)
There is, therefore, a point at which Bukharin's conceits about “algebraic models" do lead him into conflict with Luxemburg in the most fundamental way. It is obvious that any models based on adding increments to a base of Simple Reproduction -- such as those of Bukharin, Sweezy, Mandel, et al. -- are inherently incapable of defining or suspecting the existence of the fundamental contradictions (fundamental antinomies!) of capitalist accumulation. Since such models, by definition, exclude the systematic devaluation of historic capitals of the Simple Reproduction
base, their constructions must seem to demonstrate to anyone sufficiently credulous that no such contradictions actually exist. On the basis of such "proof," Bukharin limits the contradictions of accumulation to "proportionalities," or, in short, a bad proportioning of the increments. 8weezy, for the same reason, deludes himself to the same general effect, and falls into Malthusian economics (his "underconsumptlonism" thesis). Mandel resurrects the Bukharin school (in his own eclectic fashion) in the guise of "the fundamental principle of competition," degrading the notion of contradictions to that of simple, bourgeois economists' "trade-offs." (85)
This does involve a problem of locating objectivity in capitalist accumulation. On first encounter with the contradictions of such accumulation, the fact that capitalist accumulation exceeds the value of the productive forces realized, one might be initially impelled to insist that the underlying values as determined by social reproduction are uniquely objective and the capitalist valuations merely subjective. Yet the price-earnings valuations of capitals actually determine the fashion in which the successive moments of the real social-reproductive process are realized, what and how capitalists invest. Therefore, capitalist accumulation is objective as immediately determining up to the point that accumulated underlying contradictions in the social-reproductive basis break through the surface to produce crises.
Since the capitalists do proceed immediately from historic valuations of capitals, in accordance with the assumption of adding increments to a Simple-Reproduction base, such an epistemologically false representation of the development of the social-reproductive forces does have an objective correspondence to the short-term impulses of the capitalist system! Yet, through the development of the business cycle toward the next point of outbreak of new illiquidity crisis, this same objectivity is becoming subjective in the sense of an objectively-determined collapse of capitalist valuations during a depression! That is exactly an aspect of the objective contradictions of capitalist accumulation, (86) and an epitome of the problem of "transcendentals."
The reader should now have an appreciation of Luxemburg's cited difficulties in dealing with the representation of this problem, that of contrasting the momentary objectivity of historic valuations of capitals with the unfolding contradictions of those valuations through expanded reproduction over the totality of an economy for the span of a business cycle -- e.g., an "actual infinity" with respect to the particularity of the "here" and "now" of the immediate moment of accumulation. It should be apparent that by locating her analysis of the process in respect to the "actual infinity" of the total capitalist over the span of ordinary
business and larger breakdown cycles, Luxemburg effectively bypassed the implicit fallacies of failing to criticize the "here" and "now" moment of the process to arrive at correct conclusions respecting the connection of that moment to the process as a whole: e.g., the notion of fictitious capitals.
By contrast, Bukharin lacked the equipment to understand the problem competently, even had he not been diverted from simple personal honesty in writing by his prior concern to accomplish intentional falsifications of the issues.
The Tail on the Donkey
The most remarkable feature of the organization of his piece as a whole is that it ends twice. He sums up every argument previously made in what is obviously the concluding portion of his original draft. (87) He pins the Hallowe'en tail to his own ass, so to speak, with an entirely new set of supplementary conclusions. Hallowe'en? -- better said, a Stalinist eternal Night on Bald Mountain! The author of the postscripted "Conclusion" may be Bukharin; the author of his decision to add it is Stalin.
The last two of the three principal charges against Luxemburg in the donkey's tail are identical with Stalin's principal allegations against the Left Opposition of that same period. "Underestimation and incorrect position on the colonial question": the Left Opposition's denunciation of the Menshevik-Kautsky "theory of national stages." "Underestimation and incorrect position on the peasant question": the Left Opposition's alignment with the poor peasantry against Stalin's cronies, the Kulaks. As for the "national question," the issue of Georgia and other locations is a topic in itself.
Such evidence, taken together with the evidence of deliberate falsifications essential to the criticisms, suffices to show the entire piece of Bukharin's -- and our odd Mr. Kenneth Tarbuck -- for what they are. It is therefore appropriate that Monthly Review Press should adorn the dust-jacket of Mr. Tarbuck's and its own collaboration with the portrait of sixty pieces of silver. As Karl Marx wrote: "Crises are usually preceded by a general inflation in the prices of all articles of capitalist production." (88)
1. Schwarzchild, trans., Monthly Review Press, New York, 1964.
2. DeCarlo, Griffin, McAllen, Berl, trans., Campaigner, Vol. 5, Nos. 1,3, New York, 1972.
3. "Die industrielle Entwickelung Polens," Gesammelte Werke, Dietz Verlag, Berlin, Vol. 1/1, 1972. An English translation of this in preparation will be published in the Campaigner together with a critical review by L. Marcus outlining the relationship of this dissertation to her later political and economic-theoretical writings, and analyzing the connections and divergences among her own, Trotsky's, and Lenin's later notions of "combined and uneven development" and "permanent revolution."
4. Lelio Basso, a leading Italian socialist, is continuing his work to restore recognition of her merit along somewhat different lines of approach than our own.
5. Kenneth Tarbuck, editor, Rosa Luxemburg: The Accumulation of Capital, An Anti-Critique; Nikolai Bukharin: Imperialism and the Accumulation of Capital, Wichman, trans., Monthly Review Press, New York, 1973.
6. Ernest Mandel, Marxist Economic Theory, Monthly Review Press, New York, 1968, p. 363: "Rosa Luxemburg's mistake lies in treating the world capitalist class as a whole, i.e. in leaving out competition..." Mandel, going through the motions of registering criticism of Bukharin, actually adopts the entire gist of Bukharin's denial of any fundamental contradiction in capitalist accumulation; Mandel's "competition" is a roundabout way of introducing "proportionalities" (e.g., "trade-offs" ) as the only possible form of contradiction in capitalist accumulation as such. Elsewhere (for analysis, see L. Marcus, "The United States of Europe...," passim, Campaigner, Vol. 5, No. 4, 1972), Mandel does attack the "younger" Bukharin for propagating Marx's "class for itself" conception. This, ironically, occurred during the period Bukharin was an admirer of both Luxemburg and Trotsky. Mandel concurs only with the gist of the attacks on Luxemburg and Trotsky by the "mature," Stalinist Bukharin of "Imperialism and the Accumulation of Capital." More recently, drawing out Bukharin's blunder to its worst possible anti-Marxian conclusions, Mandel has denied the necessity for Expanded Reproduction in the June, 1972 pages of Rouge. (See R. Rose, "Mandel and Mansholt Agree: 'Zero Growth Does Not Go Far Enough,'" New Solidarity, Vol. III, No. 40, Jan. 8, 1973.)
7. Paul M. Sweezy, Theory of Capitalist Development, Monthly Review Press, New York, 1942, pp. 202-7.
8. Typical of relevant passages throughout the chapter, "Ricardo's Theory of Accumulation..." in Theories of Surplus Value:
"(We are entirely leaving out of account here that element of crises which arises from the fact that commodities are reproduced more cheaply than they were produced. Hence, the depreciation of the commodities on the market.)
"In world market crises, all the contradictions of bourgeois production erupt collectively; in particular crises (particular in their content in extent) the eruptions are only sporadical, isolated and one-sided. “Over-production” is specifically conditioned by the general law of production of capital: to produce to the limit set by the productive forces, that is to say, to exploit the maximum amount of labour with the given amount of capital, without any consideration for the actual limits of the market or the needs backed by the ability to pay, and this is carried out through continuous expansion of reproduction and accumulation, while, on the other hand, the mass of producers remain tied to the average level of needs, and must remain tied to it according to the nature of capitalist production." Moscow, Part II, pp. 534-5.
This passage epitomizes, without fully encompassing, Marx's own extensive refutation of Bukharin's falsifications of his view on the issue of depreciation of commodities through rising productivity and on the issue of tendencies for rampant capitalist expansion of production. Note also, more generally: "Crises are usually preceded by a general inflation in prices of all articles of capitalist production. (What, then, happens to the Volume II accounting models? Lyndon LaRouche) All of them therefore participate in the subsequent crash and at their former prices they cause a glut in the market. The market can absorb a larger volume of commodities at falling prices, at prices which have fallen below their cost-prices, than it could absorb at their former prices. The excess of commodities is always relative: in other words it is an excess at particular prices." Ibid., p. 505. For Marx's more general refutation of Bukharin's attacks on Luxemburg, note: "The stupendous productive power developing under the capitalist mode of production relatively to population, and the increase, though not in the same proportion, of capital values (not their material substance), which grow much more rapidly than the population, contradict the basis, which, compared to the expanding wealth, is ever narrowing and for which this immense productive power works, and the conditions, under which capital augments its value. This is the cause of crises." Capital, Vol. III, Kerr, Chicago, 1909, pp. 312-3. See also, pp. 306-8.
9. Capital, Vol. III, pp. 947-1030.
10. The Accumulation of Capital, passim, N.B., pp. 110f.
11. Dialectical Economics, D.C. Heath, Boston, 1973; "Why It Had To Happen?", Socialism or Fascism?, NCLC, New York, 1971.
12. Ibid. Also, L. Marcus, "The United States of Europe...," loc. cit.
13. See comparison of "early" and "mature" Marx in L. Marcus, "The United States of Europe..."
14. 1844 Manuscripts, concluding chapter, passim.
15. Theories of Surplus Value, Part I, pp. 377-400.
16. Capital, Vol. III, pp. 954-5. Also: "The actual value of his labor-power differs from this physical minimum; it differs according to climate and condition of social development; it depends not merely upon the physical but also upon the historically developed social needs, which become second nature." Ibid., p. 1000. "This reduction of the total quantity of labor incorporated in a certain commodity seems to be the essential mark of an increase in the productive power of labor, no matter under what sort of social conditions production is carried on. There is no doubt that the productivity of labor would be measured by this standard in a society in which the producers would regulate their production according to a preconceived plan..." Ibid., pp. 306-7. And, so on, through Capital, especially Vols. III and IV.
17. Capital, Vol. III, pp. 954-5. Discussion of this passage in L. Marcus, "The United States of Europe..."
19. Richard Rose, "A Hindsight on Skinner's Beyond," Campaigner, Vol. 5, No. 2; Richard Cohen, "The Sociology of 'Strength Through Joy,'...," Campaigner, Vol. 5, No. 4, 1972. Blueprint for Extinction, NCLC, New York, 1972.
20. The Theory of Capitalist Development, Monthly Review Press, New York, 1942, loc. cit.
21. See note 17, above.
22. Capital, Vol. III, Chap. 5, Sec. 5, pp. 123-4.
23. Dialectical Economics for extended discussion. Summarized in "Why It Had To Happen" and "The United States of Europe..."
24. See note 22, above.
25. See note 17, above.
27. Marx identifies the "first approximation" significance of simple expansion in population in "Feuerbach," The German Ideology. The next approximation of increase in magnitude of the quality of the population as a whole is the increased "absolute energy" content of (C+V) per capita. However, rising values of S'/(C+V ) determine subsumed increases in the per capita value of (C+V) relative to lower negentropic rates. "Momentary" exponential tendencies for increase in S'/(C+V) implicitly determine all the notions of magnitude which might otherwise be employed to approximate successful reproduction. Provided that the notion of S'/( C+V) is determined for proportions of the entire proletariat in accordance with the pedagogical summary given above, the necessary notion of quality/quantity is set forth. Increase in ecological population potential, for which population is determined by rising values of the rate of increase of S'/( C+V) for the entire proletarian population.
28. The "falling rate tendency" produces a derived tendency to abort the development of the productive forces.
29. Capital, Vol. III, Sec. III.
30. Cf. Joseph Gilman, The Falling Rate of Profit, Cameron, New York, 1958, and the ensuing "Gargantuan" nonsense-debate on this book in Science & Society and other locations of that period. For more of the same nonsense, see E. Mandel, Marxist Economic Theory, pp. 166-70. The consummate banality on this topic is achieved by Michael Kidron's critique of Mandel's cited passage in International Socialism. Where have you gone, Rabelais?!
31. Accumulation of Capital, Chap. IX.
32. Ibid., p. 106: "Ultimately, it was the limitation of their bourgeois mentalities which doomed both Smith and Ricardo to failure. A proper understanding of the fundamental categories of capitalist production, of value and surplus value as the living dynamics of the social process demands the understanding of this process in its historical development and of the categories themselves as historically conditioned forms of the general relations of labour. This means that only a socialist can really solve the problem of the reproduction of capital..."
33. Ibid., p. 317f.
34. Ibid., pp. 339-47. N.B., p. 339: "The adjustments we have tried out on Marx's diagram are merely meant to illustrate that technical progress, as he himself admits, must be accompanied by a relative growth of constant as against variable capital." And, p. 341: "However we may regard the technological alterations of the mode of production in the course of accumulation, they cannot be accomplished without upsetting the fundamental relations of Marx's diagram." (The accounting-model diagram.)
35. "Leninism or Marxism" criticizes Lenin's and Plekhanov's incredible manipulations of the agenda at the second congress of the RSDLP, but this attack -- in the pages of the SPD's German-language theoretical journal -- is what those circumstances of publication should immediately suggest. This is an "Aesopian" attack against the center of the SPD, using the "Russian Question" as a convenient device for advancing the principles at issue in her attack on Bebel et al. The role of the vanguard is very clear: "Its mission is to represent, within the boundaries of the national state, the class interests of the proletariat, and to oppose those common interests to all local and group interests. Therefore, the social democracy is, as a rule, hostile to all manifestations of localism or federalism." (Integer, trans.) In her Mass Strike..., the role of the vanguard -- the decisive role of the vanguard! -- is clearly emphasized. Her motion for the ruthless disciplining of the SPD reformists, her expulsion of Radek from the Polish movement, her attempted expulsion of him from the SPD, are certainly not the hallmarks of a "spontaneist."
36. This takes the form of the "population barrier." The shortage of labor-power amid a surfeit of unemployed labor. See note 16, above.
This set of relations, as Marx notes, is peculiar to the underlying relationships, and is not the immediate form of relations for capitalist accumulation. To have continuous development, it is essential that the material incomes and leisure of the working-class population as a whole increase more or less continuously, and that this increase always occur in advance of the rises in social productivity resulting from improved labor-power. This is exactly opposite to the prevailing capitalist myth (and practice), that the worker ought to be paid today for yesterday's "fair day's work." If a young man begins productive labor at the age of eighteen, in a certain technological mode, he is able to produce at that age only because society first "paid" for his material income and leisure for the preceding eighteen years of his life! "Each according to his work" is the most naked bourgeois ideology! Similarly, the tendency of "for each according to his work" fixes the quality of labor-power for obsolete technology, or technology becoming obsolete, creating the "population barrier" of which we wrote above.
37. Theories of Surplus Value, Part III, p. 53: "I exclude Sismondi from my historical survey here because a critique of his views belongs to a part of my work dealing with the real movement of capital (competition and credit) which I can tackle only after I have finished this book." See, Accumulation..., p. 217f.
38. Marx, "Critique of the Gotha Programme."
39. E.g., his notoriously mechanistic interpretation of the wages of labor-power, forming the basis for his crude economic-political analysis of the "aristocracy of labor" in imperialist countries.
40. Theories of Surplus Value, Part III, pp. 40-63.
41. Chaps. XVI-V.
42. The fallacy of most conventional descriptions of "feudalism" appears to be the result of searching for "pure models." Since feudal reproduction (military colonizing by surplus populations) involves not merely vacant arable land, but populated land, feudal society thrives only as a form of "combined and uneven development." Once feudalism has rid its environs of non-feudal populations, etc., it is already dying. The emergence of the Crusades proper reflects a convergence upon such historical-material limits of continued progressive development of Western European feudalism. Otherwise, the Crusade is simply the intrinsic form of social reproduction of feudalism transformed into the dimensions of hordes. The bounding of feudal expansion during this and the ensuing period introduces the more general emphasis on cannibalization, under which conditions thriving mercantile capitalism reified feudal relations by introducing the generality of an alienable surplus product, etc. The Crusades mark the death-agony of feudalism's "combined and uneven development" mode, in a broad sense, and the beginning of the end of feudalism.
43. The "Great Crisis" thesis associated with the initiative on this point about two decades ago by Eric Hobsbawm. Our analysis of the process involved apparently differs significantly from Hobsbawm's, but on the essential facts of the phenomenon as such, our thesis is broadly the same.
44. This point is made, for reasons opposite to ours, by von Neumann and Morgenstern, The History of Games and Economic Behavior, Princeton, 1953, sec. 2.2.3., pp. 10-11. Much of the formal "proof" for the assumptions of modern varieties of "mathematical economics" is similar to those authors' Procrustean Bed approach, of circumscribing the fundamental laws of the universe by what is agreeable with whatever analytical procedures those "economists" happen to have handy.
45. More generally, problems of sub-systems which are respectively coherent without enjoying relations susceptible of mathematically consistent interpretation.
46. A curve plotting the inflationary consequences of monetary expansion against the rate of unemployment for that rate of expansion. If the Y-axis is inflation and the X-axis increasing unemployment, any shift of the curve to the right. The particular, special sort of development to which we refer here is a process of continuous shifting of the curve, as opposed to momentary shifts.
47. The New Economics, Brian Pearce, trans., Oxford, London, 196.
48. History and Class Consciousness, Rodney Livingston, trans., Merlin, London, 1971.
49. Cf. L. Trotsky, "Lenin's Death," in My Life, for a remarkable summation of this same lawful process respecting the moral and intellectual degeneration of many Bolsheviks.
50. T. Perlman, "Lessons of the Third Comintern Congress," in an upcoming issue of Campaigner.
51. Trotsky mistakenly reports, respecting the pre-1914 SPD factional struggles, "Lenin did not participate in this fight," He is only partially correct in reporting that "Lenin ... did not support Rosa Luxemburg up to 1914." (Stuttgart, 1907, joint resolution against the Bebel-sponsored view.) He, however, documents the most essential point to be made: On October 27, 1914, Lenin wrote to A. Schliapnikov: "... I hate and despise Kautsky now more than all the rest, the filthy, vile and self-satisfied brood of hypocrisy.... R. Luxemburg was right, she LONG AGO understood that Kautsky had the highly developed 'servility of a theoretician' to put it more plainly, he was ever a flunkey, a flunkey to the majority of the party, a flunkey to opportunism...." Rosa Luxemburg Speaks, Pathfinder, New York, 1970, pp. 443-44. Much of Trotsky's defense of Luxemburg suffers from his notorious personal political shortcoming (cf. Joffe's Testament, My Life), in this instance, his continued factitious device of Lenin-hagiolatry.
52. The "April Theses" policy, repudiating the Kautsky-Menshevik "theory of national stages" to which Lenin had mistakenly adhered (and from which his mistaken conceptions on the "national question" derived) until the period of the First World War.
53. Trotsky had been guilty of the same credulousness toward the "proletarian kernel" centrists. From Vienna in 1910: "Today every newcomer finds, in the Western European countries, the colossal structure of working-class democracy already existing. Thousands of labour leaders, who have automatically been promoted from their class, constitute a solid apparatus at the head of which stand honoured veterans, of recognized authority, figures that have already become historic ... there ... stands between the intelligentsia and socialism, like a watershed, in addition to everything else, the organizational apparatus of Social-Democracy." Indeed! -- Bebel, Ebert, Kautsky, Legien, Scheidemann, et al.! (Quoted from Fourth International, Jan, 1966, to whose pages this regrettable folly of Trotsky's opportunist period was consigned to provide "sacred" words of support for the cult of banality around the notorious anti-intellectual, Thomas Gerard Healy.)
54. "The Russian Revolution," Luxemburg's manuscript on the Bolshevik seizure of power and its problems (largely vindicated by subsequent developments) published by her executor, Paul Levi, following his expulsion from the Comintern (as a result of Lenin's fatal compromise with the centrist faction of Zinoviev).
55. "Personal integrity" signifies a large degree of unification of "persona" and deeper "self," eliminating -- or nearly eliminating -- the "normal," diseased form of behavior and judgment in which the outward profession of the "persona" is slyly manipulated by the "inner self's" "psychological needs." The poor wretch of a professed socialist, who is at the same time attempting to be a "true-blue" "orthodox Bolshevik," and also slyly pursues the gratification of his "own, inner felt needs," is a virtual schlemihl, who by virtue of reaching simultaneously for two "souls," has ended up with none. Such persons, persons occupied with their "felt psychological needs," are placed in the leadership positions of the movement at the peril of the future human race.
56. Rosa Luxemburg Speaks, Appendices C,D. The campaign of vilification of Luxemburg began with Radek's insistence, during the fight over the "March Action" adventure concocted by Zinoviev, "now is the time to rid the movement of the virus of Luxemburgism."
57. Joffe's Testament (My Life).
58. Perlman, op. cit.
59. History and Class Consciousness.
60. Radek's proposal; note 56, above.
61. Especially the reply to Bukharin and the opening section on method.
62. Mandel's repudiation of Marx is reviewed in L. Marcus, "The United States of Europe..."
63. Lelio Basso, "An Analysis of Classical Theories of Imperialism," Bertrand Russel Memorial Conference, Sept., 1972.
64. Tarbuck, op. cit., "Editor's Introduction," p. 16.
65. Michel Pablo, a minor Greek Trotskyist who escaped to France and participated in the resistance. Appointed makeshift head of the decimated "Fourth International" at the end of the war. Toward the end of the 1940's, Pablo was plunged, together with his aide-de-camp of the period, E. Mandel, into extreme depression respecting the possibility for socialist revolution in the advanced sector for the remainder of the century. Promoted the "centuries of degenerated workers' states" thesis, proposing that Trotskyist groups encyst as political "time capsules" within CP and peripheral organizations. "Minister without portfolio" for the Ben Bella government for a time. An energetic and talented apparatchnik, occasionally rising to the heroic, a mechanic who usually makes a scandalous mess of important political-strategical and theoretical issues unless kept on a firm rein.
66. Tarbuck, op. cit., p. 16.
67. Titular head of the British Socialist Labour League, since April, 1966 has sometimes been called "the Pope of Clapham Common." Formerly a minor figure in the tiny British "Trotskyist" organization of the 1940's, like Browder abruptly lifted from obscurity over the heads of the group's leadership in one of Pablo's typical Stalin-style organizational maneuvers. Later, broke with Pablo. Retains almost paranoid awe for Pablo's improvisational skills in organization, elevating "Pabloism" into the primary principle of universal evil. "Pabloite" in Healy's lexicon is roughly any professed "Trotskyist" except an outright "Third Camper" who omits to kiss the foot of "The Pope of Clapham Common."
68. Tarbuck, op. cit., p. 15.
69. Ibid., p. 33.
70. Chap. 1, opening fragment.
71. Accumulation, pp. 164-70; p. 155:
"...in a different context, Marx actually shows the question about the 'sources of money' to be a completely barren formulation of the problem of accumulation." p. 311-23. Tarbuck, op. cit., pp. 238-57.
72. p. 293: "The real barrier of capitalist production is capital itself. It is the fact that capital and its self-expansion appear as the starting and closing point, as the motive and aim of production; that production is merely production for capital, and not vice versa, the means of production mere means for an ever expanding system of the life process for the benefit of the society of producers. The barriers, within which the preservation and self-expansion of the value of capital, resting on the expropriation and pauperization of the great mass of producers, alone can move, these barriers come continually in collision with the methods of production, which capital must employ for its purposes, and which steer straight toward an unrestricted expansion of production, toward production for its own self, toward an unconditional development of the productive forces of society. This means, this unconditional development of the productive forces of society, comes continually into conflict with the limited end, the self-expansion of the existing capital. Thus, whilst the capitalist mode of production is one of the historical means by which the material forces of production are developed and the world-market required for them created, it is at the same time in continual conflict with this historic task and the conditions of social production corresponding to it." See also, pp. 306-8, for the section in brackets.
73. Tarbuck, op. cit., pp. 258-68.
74. The Mass Strike...
75. Tarbuck, op. cit., p. 162f.
76. Luxemburg, Anti-Kritik, Part I, pp. 56-7. See also, note 34, above.
78. Accumulation, pp. 416-67. Compare with Capital, Vol. III, pp. 306-8, and Section VII.
79. The Science of Logic, Vol. I.
80. "Grundlagen einer allgemeinen Mannigfaltigkeitslehre."
81. Chap. 1, opening fragment.
82. Dialectical Economics, Chaps. IV-V.
83. Theory of Capitalist Development; cf. Tarbuck, op. cit., Appendix II.
84. Note 72, above.
85. Tarbuck, op. cit., pp. 224-37.
86. Capital, Vol. III, pp. 303-5, beginning: "The barrier of the ...," and ending with: "... limited epoch in the development of the material conditions of production."
87. Tarbuck, op. cit., "5. The Theory of the Capitalist Collapse," pp. 258-68.
88. Theories of Surplus Value, Part II, p. 505.
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