Contribution to a discussion on Marx’s accumulation and crises theory of Capitalism
Bibliographic data: Phil Sutton, A Critique of Luxemburg’s Theory of Accumulation. Independently published, 30 May 2021. Paperback, 98 pages. ISBN-13: 979-8733143033. Per copy: £6.23 Ordering information via Amazon-UK.
«From: The Accumulation of Capital by Rosa Luxemburg (1913):
“Capital accumulation progresses and expands at the expense of non-capitalist strata and countries, squeezing them out at an ever faster rate. The general tendency and final result of this process is the exclusive world rule of capitalist production. Once this is reached, Marx’s model becomes valid: accumulation, i.e. further expansion of capital, becomes impossible. Capitalism comes to a dead end, it cannot function any more as the vehicle for the unfolding of the productive forces, it reaches its objective economic limit.”
This pamphlet critically investigates how Rosa Luxemburg justifies her theory of the accumulation of capital and whether the events of the last century of capitalist development confirm or deny her theory.»
With the rapid propagation of the so-called “Delta” variant of SARS-CoV2 becoming dominant, the Corona-virus pandemic has entered a new phase. First discovered in India, it is reported to be more infectious notably than the “Alpha” variant that spread from the South of England at the end of 2020. Faced with this turn in the pandemic, among concerns about the effectiveness of the vaccinations already administered, and confronted with staggering of the respective vaccination campaigns, several governments in the Western hemisphere have been caught in the middle, and were forced to recede from all too “optimistically” lifting their restrictive measures, notably concerning their night-life, tourism and festival sectors during the summer holiday season. Very rapidly, a widespread tendency showed up to intensify state control of social life (e.g. through the application of the “Corona-passport”) and to forcefully lift vaccination degrees by mandatory vaccination for specific professional categories (notably in health care and hospitals, like in France), or even for whole sectors (like in the USA). In Germany, a.o., the government saw itself forced to hastily reintroduce stricter border controls, notably for those returning from holiday travels abroad in “high risk areas”.
The recent measures by the respective governments have led to a resurgence of “Corona-protests” in these countries, habitually mobilizing a very heterogeneous spectrum of discontent, without any proletarian class character or perspective, but with a marked presence of all kinds of openly right-wing extremist groups, manifesting their anti-social character with increasing aggressiveness. The influence of this amalgam with certain proletarian milieus and political tendencies has incited an internationalist group like the Circulo Internazionalista “coalizione operaia” in Italy to take position, as can be read hereafter in translation.
The Falsehoods of the International Communist Current (ICC) — A critique
Chapter 3: The national question before and after 1914
Extract: “Certainly, the productive forces have developed with the industrial revolution that began in the countries of Western Europe and North America. However, were we witnessing “a step forward in the development of the productive forces on a world scale” before 1914? Not at all, because the first Euro-American countries would limit this development to their geographical area and de-industrialize the rest of the world, destroying all potential for competing economic growth, as the study on the 250 years of capitalism that we have republished clearly shows. To this we add the very telling graph [above], whose data confirm this observation, since in 1750, 80% of industrial production was located in the world outside Western Europe and North America and only 20% in the latter two areas, whereas after a century and a half of ‘capitalist ascendancy’ (1750-1913), we are witnessing a spectacular geographical inversion in this distribution, as production had become almost exclusively concentrated in the Euro-American area (84%) to the detriment of the rest of the world (16%)! In other words, the development of productive forces following the industrial revolution, far from being “a step forward in the development of the productive forces on a world scale…”, remained confined to the Euro-American area to the detriment of the rest of the world. Once again, the reality is strictly the opposite of the idealistic postulates of the ICC. This divergence in geographical evolution is at the origin of the economic bi-polarization of the world between the so-called Developed Countries and what will later be called the Third World.”
Graph 3.1: Distribution of the Manufactured Production in the World (1750 – 1913)
Source: Les mondes insurgés, Altermanuel d’histoire contemporaine , Ed. Vuibert, p. 13.
The data come from: Paul Bairoch, ‘International industrialization levels from 1750 to 1980’ ,
published in The Journal of European Economic History, n°11, 2, 1982.]
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Kronstadt uprising and its defeat we present a small selection of titles from the vast literature available, which we consider of interest in order to go into its wider historical significance and implications:
The Program of the Kronstadt Uprising is presented and analyzed in a chapter of the work by Ida Mett: La commune de Cronstadt. Crépuscule sanglant des soviets (Paris 1938, 1948) [“The Kronstadt Commune. Bloody Twilight of the Soviets”]. It was first published in English by Solidarity, London 1967.
A council communist analysis that came about contemporaneous to the publication of Mett’s work in the West can be read in Willy Huhn’s work “Trotsky – The Failed Stalin” (1952), from which we provide a chapter in translation.
An extensive bibliography and documents‘ collection established by ‘Fragments d’Histoire de la gauche radicale’ (“Fragments of the History of the radical Left“, mainly in French language) in collaboration with ‘Les Révolutions-1917’ is presented at the hand of the authors’ survey text.
Last but not least, we recommend The Retreat of the World-Revolution – The 1921 ‘Kronstadt Tragedy’, an extract from Chapter V: Gorter, the KAPD and the Foundation of the Communist Workers’ International (1921–7) of Ph. Bourrinet’s political historiography The Dutch and German Communist Left (1900–68) (Brill, Leiden – Boston 2017).
The editor, April 26, 2021.
Click to read these contributions to The 1921 ‘Kronstadt Tragedy’ – Beginning of the Counterrevolution?
Apropos of the recently started series The Falsehoods of the International Communist Current (ICC) — A Critique, we have opened a new section on our topics pages, which collects Discussion Contributions on the Question of Capitalism’s Decadence by commentators of this work in progress. At present it contains the following essays:
Decline and Senility of Capitalism with Marx, Engels and Communism.
A critical recapitulation and determination of capitalism’s historical phase (Anibal & materia, May 22, 2020)
Some Key Questions for Luxemburg’s Theory of Accumulation.
Problems for the modern day supporters of Luxemburg’s theory of total dependence on precapitalist markets (Link, November 27, 2020)
Capitalism is coming to an end. But how?
Does China’s further integration into capitalism lead to the latter’s “obsolescence”? Fredo Corvo replies to C.Mcl. (Version of March 14, 2021)
The Decadence of Capitalism. A Discussion
Aníbal & materia (Version of March 22, 2021)
New: Is Decadence an Economic Phenomenon?
Link, May 17, 2021
This section may be updated with new contributions. We invite interested readers to send in their commentaries and/or contributions. Please read the modalities in the Colophon.