Andrew Kliman & The “Marxist Humanist Initiative”

July 2024 Forums General discussion Andrew Kliman & The “Marxist Humanist Initiative”

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  • #80946
    Ozymandias
    Participant

    This guy has just published a new book about the fall in the rate of profit.   http://www.marxisthumanistinitiative.org/economic-crisis/new-book-the-failure-of-capitalist-production.html   Any use?

    #87099
    DJP
    Participant

    Possibly. The other books I read by him where quite good.

    #87100
    DJP
    Participant

    Just picked up a copy of Kliman’s new book the other day. There’s a lot of empirical stuff in there and won’t be able to give it the attention it needs for a couple of months but a few interesting things from the first chapter.Kliman pays attention to the falling rate of profit, though not claiming that this leads to the ultimate collapse of capitalism, argues that such a thing is a background factor to the present crisis.Another section of the book is a critique of various underconsumptionist theories.An initial impression is that Kliman may not be too far away from the views expressed in this SPGB study guide:http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/education/study-guides/study-guide-economic-crises

    #87101
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Another interesting analaysis of the present slump (“The First Depression of the 21st Century) here, by Anwar Shaikh. The text of this talk (which is not quite the same) can be found here.What is interesting, apart from his emphasising that capitalism is not geared to meeting effective demand and bringing out the relationship between the rate of interest and the rate of “profit of enterprise”, is that he concludes by saying that eventually world capitalism will recover from the present depression (even if not for ten years) and that this puts him in a tiny dwindling minority. Not quite of course because we say this too even if it is a bit of a downer for all those who think capitalism is collapsing or about to collapse soon. To tell the truth, I sometimes find myself reluctant to express this view when discussing with people who believe this as it could demotivate them and makes us appear less anti-capitalist than them. Still, the truth must be told.

    #87102
    Brian
    Participant

    “To tell the truth, I sometimes find myself reluctant to express this view when discussing with people who believe this as it could demotivate them and makes us appear less anti-capitalist than them. Still, the truth must be told.”I know the feeling but the fact is – truth?- that capitalism is going to eventually collapse but not the way the collapse theorist envisage it.  From the standpoint of social evolution it’s a fact that a revolutionary transformation in the mode of production only occurs once society starts withdrawing support from the old mode of production.  The pace of this withdrawal gathers strength once the benefits of the new mode of production become understood, apparent and obvious – and are brought into being.  Resulting in the eventual collapse of the old social relationships.However, you have to explain also that the collapse of capitalism is not inevitable and this is a lazy persons approach. In short, with this explanation demotivation rarely occurs but is focused on the necessity for engaging in the revolutionary process.  Why? Because you have provided the realisation that unless people engage in the revolutionary process the collapse of capitalism only remains a possibility not a probability.  And in effect you have changed a negative into a positive.When I’ve used this approach on ts 3 TZM and at chapter meetings not once did I have a rebuttal.  In fact it encouraged questions on the details of the revolutionary process (how, why and when).So in fact capitalism is going to collapse once a majority in society no longer support it.  And that only becomes a truth once it has occurred.

    #87103
    DJP
    Participant

    Generally those who speak of “the collapse of capitalism” are usually speaking about something automatically occurring out of the workings of capitalism itself. People who don’t know how to read properly think that Marx says this in Capital, when he in fact says the opposite. The problem with these collapse theories is that they lead to incorrect practice.When I’ve been speaking to Occupy people there is a similar problem with regards to common misunderstandings regarding bankers and the banking system. You have to be careful to not look like you are defending banking capitalist when explaining how things are, but at the same time point to the real problem.Capitalism won’t collapse of its own accord, it needs to be pushed over.

    #87104
    DJP
    Participant
    #87105
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I see from the Events section here that Andrew Kliman is coming to England next month. There’s a shorter video of him here speaking a couple of years ago.You’re right he is good on explaining why the current (and past) crises have not been caused by a fall in consumer demand (as “underconsumptionists” claim) but rather by a fall in investment demand caused by a fall in profitability (though not necessarily for the reasons he gives, which in the first part of this video seem a bit schematic: can productivity increase that fast in a relatively short period?).He’s also good in explaining  (as in the second part of this video from 2009)why , therefore, an increase in consumer demand (as asked for sincerely by trade unionists and insincerely by Trotskyist groups) is not the way out of the slump, but would in fact tend to prolong it. In fact, in the second part of this video, he is pretty insistent in saying that, although of course workers should try to apply the brakes to the downward pressures on their living standards, measures aimed at countering “underconsumption” won’t work and should not be put forward and that only socialism and production for use is the solution.But does anyone know what he means by socialism? Is it the same as us?

    #87106
    Brian
    Participant

    “But does anyone know what he means by socialism? Is it the same as us?” Why not ask him and build an article around his reply?

    #87107
    DJP
    Participant
    ALB wrote:
    But does anyone know what he means by socialism? Is it the same as us?

    They definately see communism as a moneyless, stateless society. Though they may think that a transitionary society is necessary. See this section of their website:http://www.marxisthumanistinitiative.org/alternatives-to-capital/what-must-be-changed-in-order-to-transcend-capitalism.html

    #87108
    DJP
    Participant

    Re-reading the page I linked to above it would seem I got the wrong impression that they are suggesting a transitional society at all. Still there are some obvious differences.

    #87109
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Yes, he is very good on why a “transitional society” between capitalism and socialism is an impossible contradiction in terms, but I see he comes out in favour of the “labour-time voucher” system mentioned once by Marx as one way of allocating consumer goods in a “first phase of communist society ” (had it been established in 1875).”Labour-time vouchers” seems to be an American disease. What with the SLP, Parecon and now Kliman and the Marxist-Humanists all favouring it. Still, it could have been worse. At least they accept that socialism does involve the end of commodity-production as production for the market and the end of money as the medium of market exchanges. Not that a labour-time voucher scheme could have lasted for any length of time before collapsing back into commodity-production, despite Marx’s tepid blessing for the conditions that obtained in 1875.Having said this, there is one who has moved beyond this — Paul Mattick (father). This is what he wrote in 1970,ie after a further 100 years development of the forces of production:

    Quote:
    In the advanced capitalist countries, that is, in the countries where a socialist revolution is possible, the social forces of production are sufficiently developed to produce means of consumption in overabundance. More than half of all capitalist production as well as the unproductive activities associated with it (totally disregarding the productive forces which are not exploited) surely have nothing to do with real human consumption, but only make sense in the irrational economy of capitalist society. It is clear, then, that under the conditions of a communist economy, so many consumption goods could be produced that any calculation of their individual shares of average socially necessary labor time would be superfluous.

    That’s more like it. Mind you the Marxist-Humanists are not likely to think too much of Mattick after his hatchet job on their founder, Raya Dunayevskaya (that first appeared in the Western Socialist, then the journal of our companion parties in the US and Canada).

    #87110
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Here’s an example, from a talk by David Harvey, of the sort of “underconsumptionist” explanation of the present crisis (fall in working class effective demand) that Kliman criticises.

    #87111
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Andrew Kliman on the “Contradictions of Capitalism’s Value Production”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O47sXexnM9A#t

    #87112
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Marxist-Humanist like Raya Dunayeskaya believes that capitalism collapsed on 1930 and it was saved by state capitalism. It was a wrong analysis made by her and News and Letter,  because capitalism will not collapse by itself, and the  crisis of 1930 started to recuperate after world war two. News and Letters and the Marxist-Humanists do not have the same conception of socialism-communism as we do, they are a reformist organization.I think Paul Mattick has a much better understanding  of our actual crisis than Andrew Kilman and all the members of the Marxist-humanist trend. Most of the members of News and Letter have been influenced by Dunayeskaya, and some type of cult was created about her writings, and around her personalitySome Marxist-humanists has rejected Lenin’s conception of the vanguard party, but they think that the Soviet Union was a socialist country until Stalin established state capitalism, which is also an incorrect analysis, that is another differentiation between the WSM and the MH.  it is very  close to the analysis made by Leon Trotsky.Some of their members came from the Trotskyite movement, and Dunayeskaya which was the head of the MH movement was one of the personal secretary of Trotsky, she broke with him based on the Hitler-Stalin pact that he supported, but she did not break  away from BolshevismEven that they have rejected some aspect of Leninism, they are Leninists and they think that Lenin adopted a different stand after he read the Science of Logic of Hegel.  Their stand is that Lenin and Trotsky were great socialist revolutionary, and we think that Lenin was a nationalist revolutionary, but he was not a socialist revolutionaryI think Lenin was the same Lenin before and after he read Hegel, and  The State and the Revolution is the worst distortion made to Marx in regard to the conception  of the state, and Lenin was the same Lenin before and after he wrote Materialism and  Empirio-criticism. The problem of Russia was not Stalin, the problem of that country was the mode of production established by the Bolsheviks since the very beginning, those are others  differentiations between the WSM and the MH

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