[A-List] The Age of Materialism Is Over
cbcox at ilstu.edu
Mon Aug 20 17:48:31 MDT 2007
james daly wrote:
O.K. I was indirectly familiar with Tucker, and now I remember seeing
references to Wood, but the bare listing of Tucker & Wood didn't ring
> I couldn't quantify the Marxists influenced by Wood especially, but my
> impression is that they are many, including some on LBO talk.
> Here's one who isn't -- --
> Re: [lbo-talk] Marx and Justice
> And so on. _Marx, Justice, and History_ was edited by Marshall Cohen, Thomas
> Nagel, and Thomas Scanlon. The edition I have is from 1980, Princeton U.
> press. I think Husami effectively demolishes Wood's and any subsequent
> argument that Marx didn't consider capitalism unjust, or that there wasn't a
> sense of justice underlying Marx's vision of a future society.
> Where do you stand, Carrol?
I think it is a false question and an empty argument. Capitalism is
neither just nor unjust, it just is. Arguing about whether it posesses
this or that metaphysical attribute is beside the point.
The post on lbo-talk which impressed me most was that by Jenny Brown, to
which no one ever responded. I have nothing to add to it.
Subject: Re: [lbo-talk] Marx and Justice Date:
Tue, 24 Jul 2007 16:19:05 -0400 (EDT)
From: JBrown72073 at cs.com
Reply-To: lbo-talk at lbo-talk.org
To: lbo-talk at lbo-talk.org
On Jul 22, 2007, at 9:54 PM, Michael Perelman wrote: Marx was trying to
downplay the reformers who based their program on morality. Marx was
saying that the problem was not individual employers unjustly ripping
off their workers. The problem was the rules of the system. In short,
he was denying justice as a basis for political organizing, calling for
what he considered to be a scientific basis.
[DH] Yeah that's the standard line, but do you really believe it? Sure
he was annoyed by the screeching moralists of his day, as am I by their
counterparts today, but why object to capitalism if it didn't offend you
in some moral/ethical sense? What other basis is there for revolutionary
[Jenny Brown]: Listening to Marian Wright Edelman on Democracy Now today
reminded me of everything that's wrong with the moral/ethical approach.
She was defending the SCHIP program against Bush's veto but the appeal
was entirely for "the children," playing on the idea of children being
innocent, deserving etc. blah blah. Why did she not throw in somewhere
that this SCHIP things is a horrible half-measure and what we really
need is national health care? She wasn't about to do it because that
brings up questions in which she can't make this appeal that everyone,
"90% of America," cares about health care for children. She kept saying
that Bush was not properly informed. This whole approach is a way to
avoid acknowledging competing interests, either because she hopes to
avoid offending various Senators or because she really believes that 'if
the powerful only knew...'
The answer to Doug's question about another basis for revolutionary
politics is class (and race, and sex) solidarity born out of the desire
for self-emancipation. Morality is a red herring not only because it
diverts from bourgeois supremacy as a whole to the character of
individual members of the bourgeoisie, as Michael Perelman says, but
because it depends for its appeal on the worthiness of the supplicants.
But to secure my right to health care, I must secure the rights of the
sleaziest, most ne'er do well, least 'worthy' member of my class. I
don't care, though, because it's not about that, it's about a strategy
to win. To be even slightly secure, the gain must be universal. For
Edelman, the appeal to morality is enough, because she's trying to help
others, not herself. She wants to 'save the children,' but that
approach never will, at least not without threats from a more radical
As I mentioned replying to Charles Brown recently in a similar thread,
the difference between 'communist' and 'socialist' in the Communist
Manifesto is that socialist was essentially an idealist, utopian
reformer's word, while communist was the word that was used by workers
interested in self-emancipation.
(Later the meanings changed and even reversed.) According to Engels,
that's why they called it the Communist Manifesto, not the Socialist
Manifesto. Jenny Brown
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