From: John Ransom <ransom@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 2 Oct 1997 14:00:58 -0400 (EDT)
On Thu, 2 Oct 1997, Doug Henwood wrote:
> John Ransom wrote:
> >What does it mean to battle on behalf of truth as opposed to questioning
> >the status of truth? We battle on behalf of truth when we think the truth
> >will set us free. In this sense the truth is something that stands opposed
> >to the world as it is, confronting it with an ought of some kind. I've
> >always thought of Hegel as much more of a leftist than a rightist because
> >he is willing to oppose his abstract, presently unrealized but present in
> >nuce, concept of the truth of Spirit against its "actual" but in some
> >sense "unreal" manifestations.
> Huh? Have you ever read any neoclassical economics? Any social institution
> (unions, the welfare state, regulations) that stands in the way of their
> textbook model of markets must be smashed. Reality must conform to the
> model! And I never thought of neoclassical econonomics as leftist in any
I don't follow.
> >But Marx did not want to separate that off
> >from his political views. His study of the internal mechanics of the
> >capitalist system was always connected to a vision of the world as it
> >should be. Every line of _Capital_ is infused with this vision.
> This grossly overstates the case. Every line of Capital may be infused with
> a fundamental understanding of capitalism as a system of exploitation. But
> as for "the world as it should be" - on this Marx was notably silent.
> Almost every line of Capital is about analyzing capitalism as it existed in
> his day and how it came to be. You may not agree with the analysis, but
> that's another story.
No, Marx is not silent.
Let us finally imagine, for a change, an association of free
men, working with the means of production held in common, and
expending their many different forms of labour-power in full
self-awareness as one single social labour force. All the
characteristics of Robinson (Crusoe's) labour are repeated
here, but with the difference that they are social instead of
individual. All Robinson's products were exclusively the
result of his own personal labour and they were therefore
directly objects of utility for him personally. The total
product of our imagined association is a social product. One
part of this product serves as fresh means of production and
remains social. But another part is consumed by the members
of the association as a means of subsistence. This part must
therefore be divided amongst hem. (_Capital_, Vol. 1, trans.
Ben Fowkes, Vintage, pp. 171-172)
There are more along the same lines. Capitalism is a society that stands
in the way of this imaginary association, and every line of the critique
of capital is charged with this vision. It is the incredible combination
of analytic brilliance and utopian promise that made _Capital_ such a
> Besides, isn't your view of Foucault infused with a notion of how the world
> should be? This version of Foucaultian Truth has its own normativity, no?
> "We shouldn't view Truth this way, we should think of it that way." And why
> should we?
Well, not necessarily because we want a different world to live in.