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4200Re: [GreenLeft_discussion] More questions on the theory of the labor aristocracy

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  • Jonathan Strauss
    Jan 21, 2004
      So many questions, Bob!

      On your question of sources of inspiration, which I
      guess indicates a desire for some direction in
      reading, I'll confess to being pretty (totally,
      really, but the name sounds familiar now) about Eugene
      Varga. So I did a quick google search and read
      <www.wesleyan.edu/css/readings/Barber/post5.htm>. From
      that (that is, my reading and immediate reaction) I
      would say this is not relevant. Of course capitalism's
      efforts to stablilise itself are relevant to
      reformism, but form no more at most than a context in
      which (as I've already indicated) the relationship
      between monopoly superprofits and opportunism in the
      working class movement develop.

      As for your remarks that "both Peter Boyle and Jon
      Strauss speak confidently about a conception of an
      accomplished and complete construction they dub
      historical materialism, and I assume they are
      referring to the kind of constructions put forward by
      Doug Lorimer in his collection-of-extracts-come-book
      published by the DSP ... I'm just looking for a few
      brush strokes to give me and others who may be
      interested some idea of the evolution of this school",
      I would, if being defensive, take them as another
      attempted barb, but to be fair, you didn't use any
      overt invective here.

      So I'll just say your perception and assumption are
      wrong. There is no (DSP?) "school" with a special
      construction of historical materialism. I don't recall
      that I've ever had any thorough discussion of
      methodological questions with Peter Boyle (or Doug
      Lorimer, for that matter). My key influence in
      methodological thinking, through reading, other than
      the writings of Marx and Engels, is not Lorimer's book
      - which I confess I've not read in full(!) - but E.P.
      Thompson's The Poverty of Theory, because of its
      suggestions about how to "read" Marx and Engels.

      Lenin's writings are significant as a revolutionary
      application of the same method. I'm not sure his
      "observations [of his own] place and time ... become
      part of the general theory" as you claim. You'll need
      to say which empirical observations you believe follow
      this course

      Jonathan Strauss

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