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I broke with their pretensions of intellectual competence. During the 1952-1958 period, I was still clinging to the persuasion that these existing organization forms were necessary as a sort of initiating instrument for a real socialist movement, but by approximately 1952 I was also convinced that the socialist movement would never develop a competent programmatic-theoretical outlook unless I developed it. By the end of that period, by about 1959, I regarded the socialist movement, only as a potential recruiting ground, an illusion which I abandoned by about 1966, setting out to create a new socialist movement de novo.
Apart from my cultural background in general, there were four specific currents of work and concern which led into my work of the 1952-1953 period. First, in general, I had broken with mathematics as philosophy by 1942 - as a result of recognising in the axiomatic features of mathematics paralogisms of the sort I understand from the combined vantage point of Descartes, Leibniz and Kant. Second, I sought a solution to this problem from the standpoint of biology, and connected this to a third area of study, Norbert Wiener's work of the late 1940s. Finally, from combined experiences of work and association with family consulting practices, I was becoming an effective practical economist in respect to industrial economics. My searches for a way out of the stultifying varieties of mathematics I had rejected had led me to an initial discovery of Riemann in 1942, and, after intensive progressions through relativity theory before and after the war, to the discovery of Felix Klein and Georg Cantor during the 1951-1952 period. With the aid of Klein, Cantor suddenly made Riemann's point comprehensible to me.
These, combined with my resentment against socialist philistinism, led me to three ultimately converging projects of the 1952 period. The first was a working out of the Apollonian, Promethean and Dionysian archetypes. The second was a putting-together of my conceptions of "automation", rejecting the accepted interpretations of Turing's formulations. The third was my attack on the central economic error in Marx's Capital, the error centered in the problematic final chapter of Volume II.
Although Marx's conception of extended reproduction is explicitly focussed on the technological transformation of the productive forces, and although he applies this directly to define the essential contradiction of capitalism, his systematic (algebraic and quasi-algebraic) elaboration of the accumulation and circulation processes excludes that fact from the development, as the problematic final chapter of Volume II emphasizes. This flaw in Capital ought to be immediately and glaringly obvious to anyone with significant practical experience with the application of new technologies to industry.
Although I regarded this undertaking as a correction of Marx's texts then before me, I did not imagine myself as correcting Marx's actual views. First, Marx's method, consistently applied, leads to nothing but the conceptions which I developed for economics. Second, Marx's conception of the internal contradictions of capitalist accumulation depends upon such conceptions. Thus, for Marx to arrive at a conception differing from my own signified a glaring inconsistency in Marx's elaborated work. It was not until I progressed beyond a first study of Rosa Luxembourg's Accumulation of Capital, in 1965, and later had the totality of the Theories of Surplus Value at my disposal, that I regarded myself as correcting Marx's intention. From 1952 into the late 1960s, I regarded my economic-theoretical work as correcting the inadequacies of Capital as a whole, a correction which included correction of errors of formulation in the text, especially where Marx's incompetence in mathematics comes to the fore.
Despite this prolonged hesitation to regard myself as correcting an intended error in Marx's theoretical work, I never regarded Marx's authority as doctrinal, but only that of the most important theoretical predecessor for my own work. By 1966, when I began the one-semester class on which the organization was later founded, I had not yet reached the point of regarding myself as significantly correcting Marx's intention, but
nonetheless I did regard my own program of cadre-development and orientation as superseding Marx's. From the outset, I regarded Marx's socialist theory as inadequate (in the Spinozan sense of "adequate"). I never had the conception of founding a "true Marxist" association.
At the height of my adolescent burst of passionate study of Philosophy, I began and continued for a time, the practice of filling up notebooks with commentaries and short essays, a practice which was first prompted by my working through Leibniz's Monadology and the Leibniz-Clarke correspondence. Some of these from my fourteenth year turned up in a family attic-rumaging five years ago, and are perhaps still extant among my now widely scattered personal effects. I was amused, during my discovery of those relics, to note how impassioned the neo-platonic point of view was in those enraged assaults on the problems of noumena and phenomena. I cite this to account for the fact that my impassioned concern then was the necessity of scientific discovery, of breaking beyond the limitations of established knowledge on important questions. To such a neo-platonic outlook, the Aristolean (sic) conceit of "true Marxism" is wholly alien. No authoritative figure has ever been for me anything but a useful and more or less important predecessor.
That is not merely my personal character. It is the character of the Labor Committees as a whole. Some are astonished that we, a political organization, should be preoccupied with breakthroughs on the frontiers of scientific knowledge, and that we have actually contributed to the advancement of scientific knowledge in this course. This character of the organization, of making and otherwise directly participating in revolutions on the frontiers of knowledge in many fields, is a reflection of the process of recruitment and association we represent. The neo-platonic commitment I provided, as the seed-crystal for the organization beginning 1966, is the essential character of the organization. It is our characteristic practice, to pull together the shards of the best available knowledge in many fields of relevant inquirv, and to employ that assembled material to the purpose of contributing basic advances to human knowledge in those dimensions. Karl Marx is not our leader. We have superseded Marx on all crucial points, in the manner in which the latter part of the twentieth century ought to have begun, at least, to have superseded the late quarter of the nineteenth.
The answer to the question is summarily stated in a two fold way.
We have never been Marxists, except as regarding Marx as the highest preceding advancement of essential human knowledge. We are not bound to anything Marx said, etc., but are merely bound to account in a scientifically-rigorous way for our correction of any important contribution of Marx's. More profoundly, as we change we do not change. As we develop, we express a continuous principle of development, which does not change.