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ProfWolff965 karma

This one is easy: most folks have come to believe that Marxism is about the role of the state in the economy, a role presumed to be huge etc. Nothing could be further from the truth. Marx had little interest in the state, wrote very little about it, etc. He was interested in relationships among people as they produced the goods and services they needed to live. He felt that those relationships in capitalism were not good for people and that we can and should do better....and he tried to figure out how we might get to alternative, better economic systems.

ProfWolff610 karma

What matters most is Marx's method, his way of asking questions about any economic system. He wants to focus on the workers and how they are organized, who produces and who gets profits and how their relationship shapes society and them individually. These are questions very different from the narrow technical focus of mainstream economics today. Marx also understood how all systems change. Literally they are born, evolve and die. Slavery did; feudalism did, capitalism will....this alone is a perspective contemporary economics avoids like a bad smell.

ProfWolff477 karma

Marx understood that armed struggle has often been part of basic social change (its how slavery was finally defeated, how capitalism overthrew feudalism, etc.). He likewise grasped that it would be foolish to imagine that somehow the passage from capitalism to what comes next would not likewise be accompanied by armed struggles. And he surely wanted the workers to be armed to avoid their being slaughtered by the armed forces of the status quo. But that is a strategic conception light years from the NRA's promotional activity to boost gun sales for Ruger, Smith and Wesson, etc. Distributing arms to those who want buy or accumulate them, especially within the framework of a deeply committed right-wing organization committed to capitalism in principle is something altogether different.

ProfWolff425 karma

No, I dont think that. My focus on worker cooperatives is aimed to add something left our by earlier anti-capitalist movements, with a few exceptions. Earlier critics saw a big role for the state; I dont. They wanted major social changes, with which I agree, but those needed a major change inside the relations among people in production. Changing a corporation from private to state leaves open whether and what kind of changes may or may not occur inside enterprises. For me, a democratic society requires to be based on a democratization of the workplace. That was not generally done in the USSR or China and thus stands as a key lesson of what we need to do to make changes here that are different from the failures there to revolutionize and democratize the workplace. Hence worker coops as a focus.

ProfWolff368 karma

With all due respect, what Marx wrote in the notebooks and pamphlet on the Paris Commune is tiny by comparison with his magnum opus, Capital and the companions Theories of Surplus Value. Those writings reflect and demonstrate the relative unimportance of the state in how he saw a post-capitalist economic system. The state was important as a means to get there, to express popular will and assist in the transition from a capitalist to a post-capitalist society. And there, the labor theory of value (which Marx took and altered from Adam Smith and David Ricardo) is useful as it lays bare the relationships in production that, in Marx's view, are the key objects to change in moving beyond capitalism.