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On Capital, Real Socialism, and Venezuela:
An Interview with Michael A. Lebowitz
by Gülden Özcan and Bora Erdağı
Gülden Özcan and Bora Erdağı: In some of the interviews you gave, you
talked about your own everyday life experiences that led you to discover
that Marx's total critique of capitalism is an unfinished project. In
this discovery, you emphasized elsewhere that your class background and
political struggle you were involved in have played an important role.
Let's first begin with your book Beyond Capital: Marx's Political
Economy of the Working Class (Palgrave Macmillan, 1992) in which you
came to a conclusion that, although Marx wanted to deal more deeply with
the subject of "human needs," it had never been realized as he focused
more on his revolutionary project of "demystifying capital" than
completing his epistemological project. Before getting into the details
of your arguments in Beyond Capital, could you explain once again for
your Turkish readers the road that took you to write this book?
Michael A. Lebowitz: First of all, let me stress that demystification of
capital is an essential revolutionary project. Marx answered the most
important question of all -- what is capital, what is this world of
wealth that stands opposite and over us? If we don't understand what
Marx revealed, then even when we struggle against capital, we are most
likely to be struggling against "unfairness" -- unfair wages, unfair
working conditions, unfair distribution of income, unfair taxes, etc.
And, in the absence of struggle, it's likely that we will blame the
victims -- i.e., that we look upon problems as our own fault, the result
of our own deficiencies, and that therefore the burden is upon us if we
want to do better.
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