David W. Harvey is a professor at The City University of New York. He is an avowed Marxist. The Wikipedia biography of Dr. Harvey states that in 1961 he was awarded a Ph. D. degree by Cambridge University. His field of teaching is anthropology and geography. According to the Wikipedia biography of Dr. Harvey “. . . he positioned himself centrally in the newly emerging field of radical and Marxist geography.”
Following the financial crisis of 2008 Dr. Harvey presented a talk about “The Crises of Capitalism” from a Marxist perspective. A video of this talk is available on YouTube at http://www.thersa.org/events/video/archive/david-harvey-the-crises-of-capitalism
After viewing the video I sent the following communication to Dr. Harvey via email:
Dear Professor Harvey:
At the suggestion of an acquaintance I watched you speak in a video on YouTube, about “The Crises of Capitalism.”
This was my first ever hearing of a talk by a Marxist college professor. I was impressed, but not in the usual sense of the word.
I am about two years older than you. We have lived through the same era and we both know about life as it has been experienced by ordinary people in the collectivist dictatorships of the 20th century.
I am interested in Marxism, not as an enthusiast, but rather as a pathologist would be interested in sickness and disease.
I was impressed by your ability to touch quickly and lightly on a number of subjects in a 24-minute address, all the while avoiding mention of the means of bringing about the ends you advocate: halting the accumulation of capital and seizing control of capital already accumulated, for the supposed benefit of the collective.
These ends could be achieved only by political means implemented in the way Mao Zedong put it so candidly in 1927: “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”
Have you not read The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression (1999)? As you may know the book chronicles in detail the murder of 100 million people in the name of the ideology of communism. It is a cooperative work of several French writers, some of whom are fallen away Marxists. The authors say that communism in practice was a tragedy of planetary dimensions.
This book points out that one of the basic tenets of Marxism, the class struggle, led to class genocide, the mass murder of people considered class enemies. You know all this, don’t you?
The idea of what is called capitalism has a negative image in the minds of many people. However, what passes for capitalism today is badly flawed, not by the inherent characteristics of individual ownership of property and free enterprise, but rather by the crony capitalism of businesses that seek protection from competition and favors from the political state.
I have provided quite a different view of capitalism and socialism in chapter 16 of a book that I am publishing serially on the internet. The title of the chapter is “The Paradox of Capitalism and The Paradox of Socialism.” The link to this chapter is https://www.capitalismtheliberalrevolution.com/chapter/the-paradox-of-capitalism-and-the-paradox-of-socialism/
Frederic G. Marks
9 Responses to Questions addressed to a Marxist college professor