Discussion:
Won´t break a promise, but.
(too old to reply)
Néstor Gorojovsky
2010-01-14 12:14:37 UTC
Permalink
I promised to the moderator not to answer S. Artesian?s obvious
twisting of history and facts.

I will just say that on the 1870 issue I stand with Marx and Engels,
against him.

Ultra leftism is a serious infantile (sometimes senile) health
disorder of communism.

But history-telescoping ultra leftism is simply a ridiculous game only
worth of laughter and derision.
--
N?stor Gorojovsky
El texto principal de este correo puede no ser de mi autor?a
S. Artesian
2010-01-14 20:43:01 UTC
Permalink
Nestor wrote-- well, Nestor wrote what he always writes: "won't break a
promise to the moderator," "too busy," "ultra-left," "telescoping of
history..." Nestor really should set that up in his email as his automatic
"out of office" response. Save him some time in his busy day.

But.... the issues aren't exactly explored when Nestor's phones in his usual
response.

The issues are: exactly what were Marx and Engels supporting in their
support of Prussia; how strong, unequivocal was this support; what
constitutes "progressiveness;" and how does "national unity" manifest its
"progressiveness." Certainly volumes can, and have been written, on these
subjects.

Nestor in a second piece provides extensive quotes from Mehring on the
situation to bolster his argument of Marx's and Engels' wholehearted
endorsement of Prussia, and support for Prussia's war as a war of national
unity. Except... the sections provided don't include the public statements
of Marx which were clearly much less "wholehearted" than Nestor would like
us all to believe-- I think that is evident even in the Marx's statement
that "we must take the mess as it is," and "it's pleasant to be at a
distance..."; except the sections provided counterpose Marx's and
Schweitzer's views to Liebknecht and his liberal romance with the princes
and electors, as if anything other than wholehearted endorsement of Prussia
is endorsement of Vienna, princes, and electors.; except the excerpts do not
identify exactly what and how national unity manifests itself as and in
progressiveness.

I think it's clear that Marx continually cautions against "wholehearted"
endorsement of Prussia And I think we need to provide some sort of measure
for the "progressiveness" of national unity as accomplished by-- an emerging
bourgeoisie, or its military and even landlord substitutes.

I'd like to concentrate here on the US Civil War, because-- full
disclosure--.. well first, it's something Nestor repeatedly and frequently
uses to bolster his arguments about "national fronts" [and by the way, he is
reverse telescoping of the issue of national fronts-- taking struggles from
1860-1870 and advancing them one hundred, one hundred plus years as if those
conditions and relations were still dominant in the countries of Latin
America, Asia, Africa]; secondly, it's something, along with Reconstruction,
I study pretty much continuously; and thirdly, I need to buy some time to go
back and review not just Marx's position on Prussia, but the actual
developments after Prussia's victory.

We can saying-- the US Civil War was "progressive" in that it created the
fundamental national unity that allowed for the development of the
productive forces, and the expansion of US capitalism. That's one way to
look at it, but that's an incomplete picture as it abstracts national unity
from precisely the social relations of production, and the conflict between
those means and relations of production that precipitated conflict.
"National unity" is fetishized as "progressive," as "developmental," just
as the expansion of capitalist production is fetishized as "development."
This leads to historical over-valuation of the bourgeoisie, and
mis-identification of both what the progress is, and how ANTAGONISTIC that
progress really is.

Regarding the US Civil War--it's not the national unity that is the
progressive component; it is not uniting the nation under capitalism that is
progressive; it is not the expansion of capitalist production relations that
is unantagonistically progressive. It is the destruction of the slave
relations of production that is, and is solely, the progressive feature.
That capitalism is compelled to do this to clear the field is a necessity of
capitalism, but we don't need to make a virtue of capitalism from its
necessity-- a necessity that it embraces reluctantly. While some would like
to give wholehearted support to the bourgeoisie in this task, the
bourgeoisie themselves only gave half-hearted support to this-- temporizing,
equivocating throughout, seeking to limit the commercial damage from the war
be sitting on this side, then that side of the fence. I'm pretty sure that
if the Confederacy hadn't destroyed so much of the property of the B&O
railroad, the B&O would have been an even more reluctant "supporter" of the
Union than it was-- if that was possible.

No matter, it was what is was, AND what it wasn't. We know that it wasn't
the bourgeoisie who demanded an end to slavery-- it was the free soil
farmers, workers
and some of the urban petty bourgeoisie [as was my personal favorite,
Benjamin F. Butler] that drove forward the struggle for the union to become
the struggle against slavery. There are those who want to abstract from the
struggle against slavery a "national front," a joint project of "national
unity," of "progressive" "development" of productive forces and make the
abstraction the CAUSE to which wholehearted support must be given. History
however doesn't support that. Lincoln begins and maintains for sometime
that the struggle is for union and union alone-- and that if he could
maintain the union without changing a thing about slavery he would. He does
not attack slavery in the border states. He prohibits, initially, Union
generals in reconquered territory from declaring emancipation. Lincoln's
greatness, and he is a great figure, resides in his recognition that more
was at stake than simply national unity, than creating a national market,
than curbing the South's claims on Cuba, California, Kansas--, that at stake
was the need to destroy an organization of property and labor that prevented
not just the "progressive" "development" of "productive" "forces," but also
prevented any prospect of human emancipation, and so Lincoln embraces that
emancipation of slaves as the necessary condition for victory.

The "progressive" moment for the Republican party, for the bourgeoisie,
for Northern capitalism is not contained solely in the Civil War-- which is
one of the reasons that arguing for "wholehearted" support for the
bourgeoisie on the bourgeoisie's terms is so fruitless. That moment extends
into, and is most critical in, the aftermath of victory-- in Reconstruction.
And what is the bourgeoisie's record in that? Is it worthy of wholehearted
support? How in fact is it possible to give the bourgeoisie wholehearted
support in anything when they themselves support nothing, except their own
possessions, wholeheartedly? How do you support the US bourgeoisie in the
Civil War on the basis of "national unity," "national front," "national
market," "progressive" "development" of the "productive forces," when in
fact it is precisely that national unity the makes the bourgeoisie restore
the Southern plantation system, when it is precisely that national front
that bourgeoisie establish by incorporating the Southern white ruling class
as its partner in creating the national market, in "developing the
productive forces"?

Look at the period of the Civil War and Reconstruction-- actually look at
the "career path" of one man, Thomas Scott of the Pennsylvania Railroad.
Scott, holding at one time the rank of colonel in the US Military Railroad
Administration, works diligently, actually brilliantly, as the field
officer overseeing the
movement of the Army of the Potomac west by rail to relieve Rosencrans, and
develop the logistical support-- the "lift" capacity-- that ensures the
Union victory. The same Scott, envisioning a national rail network
penetrating the South after the war, works closely with Reconstruction
governors to gain control of railroad properties, and where he can't, he
leases from the Reconstruction governments, convict labor, chain-gang
African-American labor to build and extend his railroads-- Scott leases
entire prison populations in Georgia; the same Scott in 1870-1871 cuts a
deal with the Redemptionist [and KKK] forces in the South, withdrawing his
"financial" support from Reconstruction governments in exchange for
guarantees regarding access and ownership of rail properties. The same
Scott is the man who, in the brokered compromise after the election of 1876,
delivers the necessary Congressional votes to elect Hayes in return for the
withdrawal of Federal troops; the same Scott received approximately
$30,000,000 in Federal guarantees on the bonds of his bankrupt Texas and
Pacific Railroad. This same Scott during the great railroad strike of 1877
was quoted as urging Hayes to "feed" the strikers a "lead diet for a couple
of days" to break the strike. And it's the same Hayes who withdrew the
Federal troops from the South who now dispatches Federal troops from city to
city to arrest and shoot the strikers.

There exists a critical point of transition for the bourgeoisie-- a point
when they move from being simply timid, treacherous, cowardly as they were
in the revolutions of 1848 to being more than incapable of "progress," but
rather direct opponents of "progress," forced and eager to restore the
modified forms and relations of "uncapitalist" property and labor to power
in order to secure accumulation. Now I think that point is clearly reached
for the bourgeoisie in 1869. And that point of transition is always present
during the bourgeoisie's "emancipatory" "progressive" "national front"
manifestation.

So... so our wholehearted support is not for the bourgeoisie, for the
development of the productive forces abstracted from their social relations
of production, for "national unity," but rather for the emancipation of
labor. We recognize a moment when the development of capitalism may [but
not necessarily] allow, create an opening for the struggle for that
emancipation; we recognize also, that the emergence of a struggle as one
for "national unity" a "national front," "national self-determination,"
is itself but a moment, an initial manifestation of class struggle, of the
need for the emancipation of labor; and that the emancipation of labor must
supercede, overcome, notions of a national front, of a national struggle.

In a later post, Mark cautions Tod Cod against comparing US apples to
Prussian oranges [or vice-versa]. I quite agree, but it is truly Nestor is
trying to equate apples and oranges without examining what actually
transpires in the cultivation of both, or either.


----- Original Message -----
From: "N?stor Gorojovsky" <nmgoro at gmail.com>
Shane Mage
2010-01-14 22:24:31 UTC
Permalink
In this thread there seems to be a consistent meme: "Progressive"
Berlin versus "Reactionary" Vienna. Technologically that seems
justified--Hitler and his V2 rockets, without which we wouldn't yet
have the satellites by which this communication has become possible,
sprung from Hohenzollern Berlin, not Habsburg Vienna. Historically,
though, capitalist technological progress since Bismark has been
destructive of the workingclass movement which Marx and Engels
(correctly, IMO) identified as the sole social force capable of
achieving real historical progress instead of advanced technological
barbarism. There however is another type of human progress: the
permanent advancement of the cultural and spiritual endowment of
mankind. And here there is absolutely no contest. Berlin has given
virtually nothing (Hegel is the sole exception) to our cultural and
spiritual heritage. No city has given more than Vienna.


Shane Mage
This cosmos did none of gods or men make, but it
always was and is and shall be: an everlasting fire,
kindling in measures and going out in measures."
Herakleitos of Ephesos
Tom Cod
2010-01-14 22:58:50 UTC
Permalink
That's why the Austrian Empire in this period was known as a "prison house
of nations"?
Post by Shane Mage
Berlin has given
virtually nothing (Hegel is the sole exception) to our cultural and
spiritual heritage. No city has given more than Vienna.
Shane Mage
This cosmos did none of gods or men make, but it
always was and is and shall be: an everlasting fire,
kindling in measures and going out in measures."
Herakleitos of Ephesos
________________________________________________
Send list submissions to: Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
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Shane Mage
2010-01-14 23:32:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tom Cod
That's why the Austrian Empire in this period was known as a "prison house
of nations"?
It was so known to some, including the Tsars of Russia and Serbia. To
others (Otto Bauer, Rosa Luxemburg) it was also the cadre within which
the proletariat was to establish a multinational socialist republic.
Of course, such were not the concerns of Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler,
Freud, Klimt, et. al. But it is no accident that pre-1914 exiled
Russian revolutionaries took refuge in Vienna, not Berlin.
Post by Tom Cod
Post by Shane Mage
Shane Mage
This cosmos did none of gods or men make, but it
always was and is and shall be: an everlasting fire,
kindling in measures and going out in measures."
Herakleitos of Ephesos
Mark Lause
2010-01-15 03:27:04 UTC
Permalink
Ah, twentieth century Austria enters into this, now.

Just what do you think "historical materialism" means?

Let's try sticking to apples when we're sorting apples. The First American
Revolution establishing the United States probably bears better resemblance
to the events that established a unified German state. Marx, Engels, Lenin,
etc. were all quite clear on that subject, weren't they? But, the American
Revolution involved territorial acquisitions that made the Prussians look
like philanthropy. Indeed, the Prussians came these limited gains a lot
more easily than the Americans came into theirs. Indeed, an argument could
be made that the entire reason for the First American Revolution had less to
do with tea and taxes than the desire of the colonial elite to set aside the
British Proclamation of 1763 restricting white expansion against the
Indians. There was nothing, NOTHING positive about the change of rule from
British to American on the frontier.

Of course, by this new standard of "moral equivalencies," I suppose the
American Revolution was a bad idea and Marx was just a cranky philosopher
having a bad hair day....

ML
Tom Cod
2010-01-15 15:53:10 UTC
Permalink
Or as Dr. Johnson put it at the time, isn't it ironic that "the loudest
yelps for liberty come from the drivers of slaves"
Post by Mark Lause
There was nothing, NOTHING positive about the change of rule from
British to American on the frontier.
Of course, by this new standard of "moral equivalencies," I suppose the
American Revolution was a bad idea and Marx was just a cranky philosopher
having a bad hair day....
ML
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Mark Lause
2010-01-15 16:23:44 UTC
Permalink
Marx and virtually everybody in the Marxist tradition saw the founding of an
independent American nation as fundamentally progressive. The quote of
Brother Cod against the advocates of American independence implies that, as
I suggested, his "moral equivalencies" yardstick offers a different
assessment.

I am pleased to note that this is, at least, fully consistent with his
arguments that German unification was not progressive.

I suppose the next question is whether the establishment of a state power
anywhere had any progressive content, insofar as it involved the
institutional subjugation of the majority to the interests and will of a
minority class and the sexercise of a ruling class authority in a
self-interested, unjust and immoral fashion.

ML
S. Artesian
2010-01-15 16:45:48 UTC
Permalink
Exactly what constitutes "progressive," Mark?

Marx is not a "progressive." Marx's work does not hinge upon, and if fact
rejects, the positivist notion of "progress." On the contrary, Marx's
analysis is based on "necessity," on the essential negation, and
self-negation of the relations between property and labor. At every point
in Marx's analysis, capitalist "progress" is co-joined with destruction,
debilitation--- "dripping blood and filth from every pore" as it comes into
the world, and maintaining itself by converting the "drip" into a torrent.
The "progress" is, and is only, in the creation of a condition of labor that
propels, compels, necessitates, capital producing the basis for its own
abolition.

To recognize that capital does that out of necessity does not require, out
of necessity, that capitalism be endorsed as progressive, deserves
wholehearted support... etc. etc. In the matter at hand-- the unification
of Germany under Prussia and through the Franco-Prussian war, Marx does not
speak of "progress" in his public addresses. We find no ringing
endorsements of victory to Prussia, no demands for revolutionary defeatism
on the part of the French section of the IWMA. We do find caution. We do
find quite restrained characterization of the war, on the Prussian side, as
defensive, with the warning that if it is allowed to become offensive, then
the worst of worlds awaits the working classes.

The conflict, the difficulty in this restrained endorsement is that there is
simply, absent independent organization of the working class against the
war, any way to prevent a "defensive war" for national--read capitalist
since there is no such thing unto itself as a nation abstract from the
social relations of production--survival becoming an offensive war for
conquest.



----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Lause" <markalause at gmail.com>
Mark Lause
2010-01-15 17:40:17 UTC
Permalink
We don't need to quibble about "progress" or "progressive."

Let's use the term you suggest... National unification is a "necessity" for
bourgeois development. Bourgeois development is a "necessity" for the
proletariat to come to power. American national unity and independence was
necessary to the development of the bourgeois forces there, as was the same
in Germany. The class that doesn't rule doesn't get to pick the means by
which these things happen. Slaveholding cotton planters or inbred junkers
may wind up objectively assisting in the process.

At least, that's the way it's always been looked at in the Marxist
tradition. Without being dismissive of the issue, the "moral equivalencies"
standard is a different matter.

ML
S. Artesian
2010-01-15 21:53:03 UTC
Permalink
I did not say national unification was a necessity to bourgeois development.
I said Marx's analysis of capitalism does not hinge on "progress" or
progressive, but rather on necessity, on capital's compulsion to reproduce a
social relation of labor, land, property that will in become the basis for
the negation of capitalism. I said that what capitalism may do out of
necessity need not be considered a virtue, and may not even be necessary in
all times at all places. The key to the transformation is precisely that
in the bourgeois development of Germany, is that the development of
"national capitalism" is not constructed by the bourgeoisie, but by the
Junkers-- with the Prussian state acting as the mechanism for ensuring
capital accumulation, for creating an analog bourgeoisie. This sort of
process is repeated, with many and critical variations, in Latin America, in
Japan, etc. One need only study the history of the Mexican Revolution from
1910 on to see just how little 1) national unity actually contributes
"development," is "progressive," 2) is necessary for the proletariat 3)
"clears the field" so to speak of various "pre-capitalist," archaic
relations of land tenure and landed labor.

Now it's hard to know for one thing what is meant by national unity. It may
have meant something in the late 18th, early 19th century. It certainly did
not mean that same thing by 1830, 1848, and certainly not by 1870.

So suppose we pick a definition for national unity? Obviously, the unity
you are referring to is not national unity at all, but the domination of an
economy by a specific classs with a specific relation to the means of
production. The national unity,or national salvation you keep referring to
is nothing other than the domination of capital through and by a "locally"
autonomous ruling class. Well, history has certainly shown that such a
configuration is NOT a necessity of, for, and by capitalist development.
National unity has not been part of capital's necessity since -- pick a
date, 1905, 1870, 1879-- my favorite is 1869.

National unity is a limit, a historical moment, in capitalist development.
It may be necessary under some conditions-- like England in the 16th, 17th
centuries; like France in the 18th, 19the centuries--to capitalism. But
national unity, and bourgeois development most certainly were not essential
to the proletariat in, let's pick an example just of the air-- essential to
the proletariat in Russia in the 20th century. The struggle in Russia was
explicitly not a struggle for a national capitalism, for a national unity,
for a national liberation. It was explicitly a struggle against just those
things. 1917-- or 1905-- aren't 1870? Exactly. And 1870 wasn't 1792,
1640, or even 1860, National unity, bourgeois development most certainly
was not essential to the proletariat and it's revolution.

Sure there's a Marxist tradition that says national unity is essential to
bourgeois development and bourgeois development is essential to the
proletariat and within that tradition you find... the Mensheviks, Plekhanov,
the latter day saints of the Second International, stagists of all sorts,
CP's official and unofficial, the 3rd International's "China team,"
insisting on the subordination of the Chinese workers to the KMT, the 3rd
International's Popular Front Team, insisting on the subordination of the
Spanish workers to the national unity government of the liberal democrats,
trade union bureaucrats, social democrats etc. Yep, there sure is that
tradition-- except it isn't exactly a very noble tradition. IMO it's
certainly more accurate to describe that as a miserable tradition.

There of course is another tradition in Marxism, a tradition embodied in
Rosa Luxemburg, Bordiga, the some of the left and council communists; a
tradition that includes even Trotsky and Lenin at their best, i.e. in the
actual struggle for revolutonary power.

Returning a moment to Latin America, we can look at Bolivia during the post
WW2 period, and the rule of the MNR and ask was "national unity" necessary
for bourgeois development in the 1952-1964 period? Was such national unity,
defined as the development of an autonomous capitalism under the rule of a
local bourgeoisie ever achieved? Was it, is it, even possible? Was it,
did it, contribute one iota to the proletariat's development, or on the
contrary was the MNR's national rule predicated on forestalling,
pre-empting, destroying the prospects for proletarian revoluton? More than
that, we can and must go further back into Bolivia's history and explore why
a national capitalism, a locally autonomous "democratic," liberal, expansive
capitalism and a bourgeoisie to match did NOT develop in Bolivia; and if we
are diligent in that exploration, we'll see that that failure is precisely
not the result of "foreign," "advanced" capitalism with its foreign
bourgeoisie suppressing "national unity" and a "national bourgeoisie."--
unless of course, you want to call the legacy of the Spanish conquest and
viceroyalty advanced capitalism.

These are not historically abstract issues, as the conflict comes at the
point where it always comes in these matters-- at the point when we ask
"What is to be done?" We're told Marx and Engels supported Prussia;
Prussia's victory being the prerequisite for the unification of Germany and
the advance of German capitalism. I certainly don't think that view is
correct. I think the war gave Prussia every opportunity to impose that
unification, to cover aggrandizement with unity, to cover conquest with
defense, but I am absolutely convinced looking at the growth of industry and
railroads in Germany-- and the use of railroads by Bismarck in this conflict
[supposedly-- and I have only read this in one paper years ago, and haven't
taken any time to confirm or refute it-- Bismarck closely studied the
North's use of railroads during the US Civil War], that with or without this
war that unification would have been accomplished. But let's say it
wouldn't have been accomplished, so the victory of Bismarck was essential to
that national consolidation. Now Marx explicates a critical conflict in
revolutionary policy-- at one and the same time, "supporting" the "national"
struggle, while supporting Bebel's point of principle in not voting a
"farthing" for the government. The very ackwardness here, this conflict,
points to the need to proceed quite cautiously whenever somebody throws up a
"national unity" or a "national struggle" as an opposition or an
alternative to specific, independent, proletarian class struggle against
their own bourgeoisie.

If it is indeed the case that "national unity" must proceed the
proletariat's self-conscious struggle for power-- if "national unity
governments" actually represent a mechanism for advancement of that struggle
simply because those governments represent "progress," i.e. capitalist
development, then we have to know if we stand with Marx's "first principle
of our party," and not vote a farthing for those governments, or if that
principle does not apply-- and indeed when Kirchner wants to take control of
pension funds, or shift foreign reserves from the central bank to a
dedicated debt payment fund; when Morales submits a budget that includes
funding of the military and funding for land reform; or even when such a
government proposes funding for the construction of dams, roads, etc.do we
vote those farthings? And if so, when the same governments seek to induce
VW, or Intel, or Telefonica to relocate production to their countries-- do
we vote those farthings too, because after all that's capitalist
development, and capitalist development is essential for the proletariat?

This has nothing to do with morality. It has everything to do with class
struggle.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Lause" <markalause at gmail.com>
Tom Cod
2010-01-16 02:28:37 UTC
Permalink
Very well stated point of view. I think your analysis is of a piece with
Trotsky's much bandied about theory of "Permanent Revolution" and your
bringing up of the Mensheviks and their analysis I don't think is unfair at
all either. Maybe some of those for whom this is an issue close to their
heart can jump in at this point. As to Prussia in 1870, however, I think
the factual basis for this "necessity" or non-necessity is somewhat slim.
Prussia and its minions were by no means like the underdeveloped
semi-feudal states of the Third World or even of Tsarist Russia. For
example in 1870, Prussia alone had more miles of railroad track than all of
France (by 1900 Germany would surpass Britain in industrial production
becoming the # 2 world industrial power behind the US). Thus the national
question in Germany, whether it needed to be resolved by the Junkers, with
or without the support of the workers-tepid or enthusiastic, was simply not
that compelling as Prussia had become such a massive force of gravity at
that point that its satellites would have been merged into in short order no
matter what. And let's not forget the French people and workers in this
analysis and the tragic outcome of the Commune a year later which these
nationalists- or imperialists-played a role in perpetrating. In other words,
the Reich was not an oppressed nation, in fact it was in this period that it
immediately jumped into to seizing colonies in Africa and the South Pacific.
======================================================================
Sure there's a Marxist tradition that says national unity is essential to
bourgeois development and bourgeois development is essential to the
proletariat and within that tradition you find... the Mensheviks, Plekhanov,
the latter day saints of the Second International, stagists of all sorts,
CP's official and unofficial, the 3rd International's "China team,"
insisting on the subordination of the Chinese workers to the KMT, the 3rd
International's Popular Front Team, insisting on the subordination of the
Spanish workers to the national unity government of the liberal democrats,
trade union bureaucrats, social democrats etc.
Lüko Willms
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
Permalink
S. Artesian (sartesian at earthlink.net) wrote on 2010-01-15 at 11:45:48 in
about Re: [Marxism] Freya von Moltke, Part of a Core of Nazi Resistance, Is
Post by S. Artesian
The conflict, the difficulty in this restrained endorsement is that there is
simply, absent independent organization of the working class against the
war, any way to prevent a "defensive war" for national--read capitalist
since there is no such thing unto itself as a nation abstract from the
social relations of production--survival becoming an offensive war for
conquest.
The independent organisation of the working class in Germany was
facilitated by creating the unified nation state (although it was still hampered
by the particularism of the various aristocratic fiefdoms composing it).


Cheers,
L?ko Willms
Frankfurt, Germany
--------------------------------

Tom Cod
2010-01-15 19:26:54 UTC
Permalink
Let's get this straight, your previous quote was a "trick question"? You
emphatically state that the American Revolution had nothing progressive
about it and then I concur in part with that statement and then you play
gotcha and turn around and say that actually it was good because "everyone
in the Marxist tradition" say so! Uh, ok but, what kind of cult reasoning
is that? Oh heretic me!

For what its worth, the right wing patriots agree with that to the extent of
seeking to censor school books that mention that Washington was a slave
holder or in that in anyway encourage critical thinking about our past and
its myths. I know you don't agree with that obviously. Although I didn't
agree with you entirely, I thought your intervention in the discussion
around alleged rapes by the Red Army in World War 2 was entirely wholesome,
that arguments that seek to dismiss the same on the basis of the
historically necessity of the victory of the Soviets etc were morally
bankrupt. I'm dismayed that you don't see this issue as it relates to human
slavery, but then again there's a whole tradition in this country of denying
or trivializing that, of seeing "the other" or the infidel as bad, but not
ourselves. It was refreshing to read about Charles Sumner's speeches on the
floor of the Senate in the 1850s describing and denouncing slavery, one of
which ("The Crime Against Kansas") almost got him beaten to death on the
spot, which lay this out and which were in some ways ahead of their time,
even by the standards of today's jaded intelligensia ("The Barbarism of
Slavery").

Yeah, although I respect Marx and Engels and the other dead white men
"Greats" of history, it is entirely misguided to fall into a mindless
cultist mentality of unalloyed veneration that causes us to compromise our
individual judgment and our responsiblity to actually think things out for
ourselves. That means not cherry picking out facts and reasons to support a
conclusion in advance that we're emotionally attached to in the manner of
creation science. Moreover, there's a certain amount of what Karl Popper
referred to as "the poverty of historicism" in suggesting that things had to
or were destined to proceed in a certain way. Who says America would not
necessarily have united if it had stayed in the British Empire? look at
Canada. For what its worth, a substantial section of the American
population at the time backed the crown including Thomas Edison's father and
grandfather who were leaders of the "Unionist" militia in New Jersey, and
were each known as "The Old Tory" in their day. Ironically, Edison's father
Sam came to the US in the 1830s after a being involved in a failed uprising
against British rule in Canada where the family had fled. This says nothing
of the role of the British army in freeing slaves in the South, most notably
by Lord Dunmore but that's another lengthy topic. Finally, I didn't know
there was a party line on these historical issues or that raising questions
about it would cause such castigation. Oh, I didn't say German unification
wasn't "progressive", what I questioned was Germany's war on France at that
time.

I have my own humanist views based on the exercise of my critical faculties
and if that doesn't fit in with someone's particular shibolleth, then so be
it. Please, I don't claim to be a "Marxist". I've got a lot of experience
resisting ideological bullying, first during my years in "Christian"
boarding school and then in the cult world of "the trotskyist movement".
This whole outlook plays into the hands of those who castigate Marxism as an
odious morally bankrupt outlook rooted in Machiavellian like machinations
and grandiose psuedo scientific precepts in which human rights are entirely
dispensable. Fortunately, this caricature of "marxism" is not what has
hegemony in the progressive movement. As with Darwin, defending Marx's
progressive legacy is not advanced by turning him into a demi-god. The
Stalinists tried that with results we all know about.
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Marx and virtually everybody in the Marxist tradition saw the founding of an
independent American nation as fundamentally progressive. The quote of
Brother Cod against the advocates of American independence implies that, as
I suggested, his "moral equivalencies" yardstick offers a different
assessment.
I am pleased to note that this is, at least, fully consistent with his
arguments that German unification was not progressive.
I suppose the next question is whether the establishment of a state power
anywhere had any progressive content, insofar as it involved the
institutional subjugation of the majority to the interests and will of a
minority class and the sexercise of a ruling class authority in a
self-interested, unjust and immoral fashion.
ML
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Mark Lause
2010-01-15 23:02:48 UTC
Permalink
There's no point in exchanging emails with people who don't read what you
write or read it as stating 180 degrees opposite of what it does state.

I now draw upon Nestor's wisdom and withdraw into a pious silence.

ML
S. Artesian
2010-01-15 23:17:12 UTC
Permalink
Are you talking to me?

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Lause" <markalause at gmail.com>
<sartesian at earthlink.net>
Sent: Friday, January 15, 2010 6:02 PM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Freya von Moltke, Part of a Core of Nazi
Resistance,Is Dead at 98
Post by Mark Lause
There's no point in exchanging emails with people who don't read what you
write or read it as stating 180 degrees opposite of what it does state.
I now draw upon Nestor's wisdom and withdraw into a pious silence.
ML
Tom Cod
2010-01-16 02:53:43 UTC
Permalink
OK, here's the response of the Prussian high command to all of this:


======================================================================
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======================================================================
There's no point in exchanging emails with people who don't read what you
write or read it as stating 180 degrees opposite of what it does state.
I now draw upon Nestor's wisdom and withdraw into a pious silence.
ML
________________________________________________
Send list submissions to: Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
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New Tet
2010-01-16 06:48:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Shane Mage
In this thread there seems to be a consistent meme: "Progressive"
Berlin versus "Reactionary" Vienna. Technologically that seems
justified--Hitler and his V2 rockets, without which we wouldn't yet
have the satellites by which this communication has become possible,
sprung from Hohenzollern Berlin, not Habsburg Vienna. Historically,
though, capitalist technological progress since Bismark has been
destructive of the workingclass movement which Marx and Engels
(correctly, IMO) identified as the sole social force capable of
achieving real historical progress instead of advanced technological
barbarism. There however is another type of human progress: the
permanent advancement of the cultural and spiritual endowment of
mankind. And here there is absolutely no contest. Berlin has given
virtually nothing (Hegel is the sole exception) to our cultural and
spiritual heritage. No city has given more than Vienna.
I doubt it.

Italy, almost alone, brought civilization to the region now occupied
by Vienna. And to Italy the Greeks, among others.
Post by Shane Mage
From mercantile Venice, Florence and Milan sprung "cultural and spiritual"
treasures about which Vienna could only later wax lyrical.
Post by Shane Mage
From London and points south came men of letters an wit that transcended
their age. Is Shakespeare's contribution to this vast inheritance any less
than the greatest of Mozart's or Beethoven music?

Hey, I totally agree that Vienna is the source of the some of the finest
music ever composed by the human mind and spirit, but dude, Vienna
ain't the source of most (let alone all) the art, culture and knowledge
Western civilization now commands.
--
View this message in context: http://old.nabble.com/-Marxism--Won%C2%B4t-break-a-promise%2C-but.-tp27160385p27187230.html
Sent from the Marxism mailing list archive at Nabble.com.
Lüko Willms
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
Permalink
Shane Mage (shmage at pipeline.com) wrote on 2010-01-14 at 17:24:31 in
about Re: [Marxism] Freya von Moltke, Part of a Core of Nazi Resistance, Is
Post by Shane Mage
Berlin has given
virtually nothing (Hegel is the sole exception) to our cultural and
spiritual heritage.
How about David Bowie?


Cheers,
L.W.

L?ko Willms
Frankfurt, Germany
--------------------------------
Lüko Willms
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
Permalink
S. Artesian (sartesian at earthlink.net) wrote on 2010-01-14 at 15:43:01 in
about Re: [Marxism] Freya von Moltke, Part of a Core of Nazi Resistance, Is
Post by S. Artesian
Nestor in a second piece provides extensive quotes from Mehring on the
situation to bolster his argument of Marx's and Engels' wholehearted
endorsement of Prussia, and support for Prussia's war as a war of national
unity. Except...
that the war was not a Prussian war, but a Prussian led German war, and
the workers did not endorse Prussia, but the German unification, which was a
historic necessity for both the capitalist class and the working class (and
executed for them by the landed aristocracy, because the bourgeoisie was
too weak and too cowardly in 1848 to unify the German nation under their
leadership).


Cheers,
L?ko Willms
Frankfurt, Germany
--------------------------------
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