Friday, 16 April 2021

The Economic Content of Narodism, Chapter 4 - Part 14

Struve adopts the position also of a Professor standing above classes handing down Moral Law based upon a critique of practical reason, but such an approach inevitably results in bourgeois conclusions. The AWL and SWP stand on opposite sides of the barricades, but the conclusions from their opposing positions are equally bourgeois. The consequence of the SWP's position is that the working-class subordinate itself to assorted reactionary, petty-bourgeois nationalists or worse, whilst the consequence of the AWL's position is that the working-class subordinate itself to imperialism. The irony is that both organisations claim that they are in favour of an “independent working-class”

“This attempt to rise above classes leads the author to extreme haziness in stating his points, a haziness so great that the following bourgeois conclusions may be drawn from them: in opposition to the undoubtedly correct thesis that capitalism in agriculture (as capitalism in industry) worsens the conditions of the producer, he advances the thesis of the “benefit” of these changes in general. This is the same as if someone were to argue about machines in bourgeois society and refute the romantic economist’s theory that they worsen the conditions of the working people by proofs of the “benefit and blessing” of progress in general.” (p 472) 

The Narodniks would undoubtedly respond to Struve that what Danielson feared was not rising productivity, but bourgeoisdom. The same was true of the earlier Sismondists, they wanted progress but not bourgeois progress, because of the evils that capitalist production entailed. In the end, they came down on the side of opposition to progress, rather than accept the evils of capitalism. They were right, as Marx says in Theories of Surplus Value, Chapter 9, in pointing out that the progress was not possible without those evils, as against those economists who tried to refute the existence of such a correlation, but, in opposing progress, to avoid those evils, they were being reactionary. 

“There is no doubt that technical progress in agriculture under our capitalist system is connected with bourgeoisdom, but the “fear” displayed by the Narodniks is, of course, quite absurd. Bourgeoisdom is a fact of actual life, labour is subordinated to capital in agriculture too, and what is to be “feared” is not bourgeoisdom, but the producer’s lack of consciousness of this bourgeoisdom, his inability to defend his interests against it. That is why it is not the retardation of the development of capitalism that is to be desired, but on the contrary, its full development, its thorough development.” (p 472)

No comments: