Episode 74: Marx on the Transformation of Capitalism into Communism
The episode’s main segment is a presentation by Andrew to the first of Marxist-Humanist Initiative’s three public Skype meetings on Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program, recorded on July 31. The presentation focuses on what the Critique says about the differences between capitalism and communism, and about the changes that will be needed to effect a revolutionary transformation of capitalism into communism. Andrew summarizes his forthcoming paper, made available to those in attendance, that provides a detailed analysis of and commentary on the text. His reading is informed by Marx’s conception of the relation between a society’s economic basis and its political and legal superstructure, and it calls attention to ways in which Marx’s critique draws on his concepts of directly and indirectly social labor and his value theory.
At the start of his presentation, Andrew contrasts the standard organizational principle of the Left––“you can think whatever you want, that’s your own private business; what is essential is that you subordinate your thinking to the all-important task of organization-building”––to what Raya Dunayevskaya called the “new ground for organization” that Marx’s Critique created. Andrew also suggests that post-Marx Marxists’ failure to embrace Marx’s ground for organization has been bound up with their failure to appreciate or build upon the Critique’s discussion of the transformation of capitalism into communism.
Marx’s critique of John Gray’s “labor money” scheme and Lenin’s argument that “the postal service [is] an example of the socialist economic system” are discussed in the presentation.
In the episode’s current-events segment, Brendan and Andrew discuss recent pieces by Tara Bilous, a Ukrainian socialist, on resisting Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and resisting the pro-Putin apologetics of Jacobin authors, DSA bodies, and others on “the Left. ”
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