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Isaak Illich Rubin

Isaak Illich Rubin

Isaak Illich Rubin was born on 12th June, 1886. A member of the Social Democratic Labour Party (SDLP) he joined the Menshevik faction in 1903. Rubin took part in the 1905 Russian Revolution but eventually concentrated on his career as a lawyer.

After the Russian Revolution in 1917 he concentrated on his career as an academic. However, he continued to be involved in politics and in 1920 was elected to the Menshevik Central Committee. In 1923 he was arrested by the secret police (OGPU). On his release he dropped his political work to concentrate on his academic studies and teaching.

In 1926 he joined the Marx-Engels Institute where he worked under David Riazanov. According to Victor Serge: "I was on very close terms with several of the scientific staff at the Marx-Engels Institute, headed by David Borisovich Riazanov, who had created there a scientific establishment of noteworthy quality." Over the next few years Rubin emerged as one of the most influential interpreters of the work of Karl Marx. Rubin published several books and articles on Marxism, including Abstract Labour and Value in Marx’s System (1927), Marx's Theory of Value (1928) and A History of Economic Thought (1929).

On 23rd December 1930, Rubin was arrested by the secret police and charged with participation in a plot to establish an underground organization called the "Union Bureau of Mensheviks." Rubin's sister later reported: "They put Rubin for days in the kartser, the punishment cell. My brother at forty-five was a man with a diseased heart and diseased joints. The kartser was a stone hole the size of a man; you couldn't move in it, you could only stand or sit on the stone floor. But my brother endured this torture too, and left the kartser with a feeling of inner confidence in himself, in his moral strength."

The OGPU now decided to change their tactics. On 28th January, 1931, he was taken to the cell of a prisoner named Vasil'evskii. The interrogator told the prisoner: "We are going to shoot you now, if Rubin does not confess." Vasil'evskii went on his knees and begged Rubin: "Isaac Il'ich, what does it cost you to confess?" According to his sister, "my brother remained firm and calm, even when they shot Vasil'evskii right there". The next night they took him to the cell of a prisoner called Dorodnov: "This time a young man who looked like a student was there. My brother didn't know him. When they turned to the student with the words, 'You will be shot because Rubin will not confess,' the student tore open his shirt at the breast and said, 'Fascists, gendarmes, shoot!' They shot him right there."

The killing of Dorodnov persuaded Rubin to confess to being a member of "Union Bureau of Mensheviks" and to implicate his friend and mentor, David Riazanov. Rubin's sister continued the story: "Rubin's position was tragic. He had to confess to what had never existed, and nothing had: neither his former views; nor his connections with the other defendants, most of whom he didn't even know, while others he knew only by chance; nor any documents that had supposedly been entrusted to his safekeeping; nor that sealed package of documents which he was supposed to have handed over to Riazanov. In the course of the interrogation and negotiations with the investigator, it became clear to Rubin that the name of Riazanov would figure in the whole affair, if not in Rubin's testimony, then in the testimony of someone else. And Rubin agreed to tell the whole story about the mythical package. My brother told me that speaking against Riazanov was just like speaking against his own father. That was the hardest part for him."

V. V. Sher was another witness who gave evidence against Riazanov. One of his friends, Victor Serge, argued in his book, Memoirs of a Revolutionary (1951): "Of course his heretical colleagues were often arrested, and he defended them, with all due discretion. He had access to all quarters and the leaders were a little afraid of his frank way of talking. His reputation had just been officially recognized in a celebration of his sixtieth birthday and his life's work when the arrest of the Menshevik sympathizer Sher, a neurotic intellectual who promptly made all the confessions that anyone pleased to dictate to him, put Riazanov beside himself with rage. Having learnt that a trial of old Socialists was being set in hand, with monstrously ridiculous confessions foisted on them, Riazanov flared up and told member after member of the Politburo that it was a dishonor to the regime, that all this organized frenzy simply did not stand up and that Sher was half-mad anyway."

Roy A. Medvedev, who has carried out a detailed investigation of the case, argued in Let History Judge: The Origins and Consequences of Stalinism (1971) that the Union Bureau of Mensheviks did not exist. "The political trials of the late twenties and early thirties produced a chain reaction of repression, directed primarily against the old technical intelligentsia, against Cadets who had not emigrated when they could have, and against former members of the Social Revolutionary, Menshevik, and nationalist parties."

Rubin was sentenced to a 5-year term of imprisonment. This testimony of Rubin was used in building a case against Riazanov, Nikolai Sukhanov and other colleagues at the Marx-Engels Institute. Riazanov was dismissed as director of the institute in February 1931, and expelled from the Communist Party. Riazanov was arrested by the OGPU but as he refused to confess he did not appear in court and instead was sent into exile to the the city of Saratov.

Rubin was released in 1934 and sent to Aktyubinsk, Kazakhstan. According to his sister: "He got work in a consumer cooperative, as a plan economist. In addition he continued to do his own scholarly work.... My brother told me that he did not want to return to Moscow, he did not want to meet his former circle of acquaintances. That showed how deeply he was spiritually shaken by all that he had been through. Only his great optimism that was characteristic of him and his deep scholarly interests gave him the strength to live."

In the Great Purge of 1937 Rubin and David Riazanov were arrested and accused of being involved with Leon Trotsky against Joseph Stalin. It is believed he was executed on 25th November, 1937.

The Marxian theory of value builds on the concepts: abstract labour, value, exchange value and money. If we take money, the most complex and most concrete aspect of these concepts, and by examining the concept of money make the transition to exchange value, as the more general concept underlying money; if we then move from exchange value to value, and from value to abstract labour, we are moving from the more concrete to the more abstract concept, i.e. we are following the analytical method.

But, Marx says, however necessary the use of the analytical method is in the first stage of scientific enquiry, it cannot satisfy us in itself, and it must be complemented by another method. Once we have traced the complex phenomenon back to its basic elements by means of analysis, we have to take the opposite direction and, starting from the most abstract concepts, show how these develop to lead us on to more concrete forms, more concrete concepts. In our case, this progression from the simpler concepts to richer and more complex ones would be the movement from abstract labour to value, from value to exchange value and from exchange value to money.

Marx calls this method ‘genetic’, at one point, because it enables us to follow the genesis and development of complex forms. Elsewhere he terms it the dialectical. I hope we can also agree to describe the first method as the analytical, and the second (which includes both the analytical and the synthetic method) as dialectical.

Marx indicates that he considers the dialectical method to be the only one which solves scientific questions satisfactorily. Accordingly, we have to subject the problem which interests us, the question of the relationship between labour and value, to investigation not only by the analytical method, but by the dialectical as well.

Marx gives many examples to show in what respect the analytic method is inadequate. I should like to quote three examples here.

Concerning the theory of value, Marx says “Political economy has indeed analysed, however incompletely, value and its magnitude, and has discovered what lies beneath these forms. But it has never once asked the question why labour is represented by the value of its product and labour time by the magnitude of that value.” (Capital I p.80).

In another passage, devoted to the theory of money, Marx says: “In the last decades of the 17th century it had already been shown that money is a commodity, but this step marks only the infancy of the analysis. The difficulty lies, not in comprehending that money is a commodity, but in discovering how, why and by what means a commodity becomes money.” (Capital I p.92) Here, as we see, the dialectical method differs once again from the analytical.

Finally, at a further point while discussing religion, Marx repeats the idea which he has stated before, that it is obviously much easier to discover by analysis the core of the curious religious conceptions, than conversely, it is to develop from the actual relations of real life the corresponding forms of those relations. The latter method is the only materialistic and consequently the only scientific one (Capital I p.372 note 3).

During the trial of the so-called "Menshevik Center," the defendant Rubin, one of Riazanov's protégé, suddenly brought his name into the case, accusing him of having hidden in the Institute documents of the Socialist International concerned with war against the Soviet Union! Everything that was told to the audience was engineered in advance, so this sensational revelation was inserted to order. Summoned on that very night before the Politburo, Riazanov had a violent exchange with Stalin. "Where are the documents?" shouted the General Secretary. Riazanov replied vehemently, "You won't find them anywhere unless you've put them there yourself!" He was arrested, jailed, and deported to a group of little towns on the Volga, doomed to penury and physical collapse; librarians received the order to purge his writings and his editions of Marx from their stocks. To anybody who knew the policy of the Socialist International and the character of its leaders, Fritz Adler, Vandervelde, Abramovich, Otto Bauer, and Bracke, the fabricated charge was utterly and grotesquely implausible. If it had to be admitted as true, Riazanov deserved to die as a traitor, but they merely exiled him....

Was there then no basis of truth at all in the trial of the "Menshevik Center"? Nikolai Nikolavevich Sukhanov (Himmer), a Menshevik won over to the Party, a member of the Petrograd Soviet from its inception in 1917, who had written ten volumes of valuable notes on the beginnings of the Revolution and worked in the Planning Commissions with his fellow defendants Groman, Ginsberg, and Rubin, did have a kind of salon, in which talk between intimates was very free and the situation in the country as of 1930 was judged to be utterly catastrophic, as it undeniably was. In this circle, escape from the crisis was envisaged in terms of a new Soviet Government, combining the best brains of the Party's Right (Rykov, Tomsky, and Bukharin, perhaps), certain veterans of the Russian revolutionary movement, and the legendary army chief Blucher. It must be emphasized that for practically three years between 1930 and 1934, the new totalitarian regime maintained itself by sheer terror, against all rational expectations and with every appearance, all the time, of imminent collapse.

This is what I learned from my brother. When he was arrested on December 23, 1930, he was charged with being a member of the "Union Bureau of Mensheviks." This accusation seemed so ridiculous that he immediately submitted a written exposition of his views, which he thought would prove the impossibility of such an accusation. When the investigator read this statement, he tore it up right there. A confrontation was arranged between my brother and Lakubovich, who had been arrested earlier and had confessed to being a member of the "Union Bureau." My brother did not even know Lakubovich. At the confrontation, when Lakubovich said to my brother, "Isaac ll'ich, we were together at a session of the Union Bureau," my brother immediately asked, "And where was this meeting held?" This question caused such a disruption in the examination that the investigator interrupted the examination right there, saying, "What are you, a lawyer, Isaac Il'ich?"

My brother in fact was a lawyer, had worked in that field for many years. After that confrontation, the charge that Rubin was a member of the "Union Bureau" was dropped. Soon after, my brother was transferred to Suzdal. The circumstances of that transfer were so unusual that they were bound to inspire alarm and fear. On the station platform there was not a single person; in an empty railroad car he was met by an important GPU official, Gai. To all of Gai's attempts at persuasion, my brother replied with what was really true: that he had no connections with the Mensheviks. Then Gai declared that he would give him forty-eight hours to think it over. Rubin replied that he didn't need forty-eight minutes....

The examination at Suzdal also failed to give the investigators the results they wanted. Then they put Rubin for days in the kartser, the punishment cell. But my brother endured this torture too, and left the kartser with a feeling of inner confidence in himself, in his moral strength.... Then he was put in the kartser for a second time, which also produced no results. At that time Rubin was sharing a cell with lakubovich and Slier. When he came back from the kartser his cellmates received him with great concern and attention; right there they made tea for him, gave him sugar and other things, and tried in every way to show him their sympathy. Telling about this, Rubin said that lie was so amazed: these same people told lies about him, and at the same time treated him so warmly.

Soon Rubin was put into solitary confinement; in those circumstances he was subjected to every kind of tormenting humiliation. He was deprived of all the personal things he had brought with him, even handkerchiefs. At that time he had the flu, and walked about with a swollen nose, with ulcers, filthy. The prison authorities often inspected his cell, and as soon as they found any violation of the rule for maintaining the cell they sent him to clean the latrines. Everything was done to break his will.... They told him his wife was very sick, to which he replied: "I can't help her in any way, I can't even help myself." At times the investigators would turn friendly, and say: "Isaac ll'ich, this is necessary for the Party." At the same time they gave him nighttime interrogations, at which a man is not allowed to fall asleep for a minute. They would wake him up, wear him out with all sorts of interrogations, jeer at his spiritual strength, call him the "Menshevik Jesus."

This went on until January 28, 1931. On the night of January 28-29, they took him down to a cellar, where there were various prison officials and a prisoner, someone named Vasil'evskii.... to whom they said, in the presence of my brother: "We are going to shoot you now, if Rubin does not confess." Vasil'evskii on his knees begged my brother: "Isaac Il'ich, what does it cost you to confess?" But my brother remained firm and calm, even when they shot Vasil'evskii right there. His feeling of inner rightness was so strong that it helped him to endure that frightful ordeal. The next night, January 29-30, they took my brother to the cellar again. This time a young man who looked like a student was there. When they turned to the student with the words, "You will be shot because Rubin will not confess," the student tore open his shirt at the breast and said, "Fascists, gendarmes, shoot!" They shot him right there; the name of this student was Dorodnov.

The shooting of Dorodnov made a shattering impression on my brother. Returning to his cell, he began to think. What's to be done? My brother decided to start negotiations with the investigator; these negotiations lasted from February 2 to 21, 1931. The charge that Rubin belonged to the "Union Bureau" had already been dropped in Moscow, after the confrontation with Lakubovich. Now they agreed that my brother would consent to confess himself a member of a program commission connected with the "Union Bureau," and that he, Rubin, had kept documents of the Menshevik Center in his office at the Institute, and when he was fired from the Institute, he had handed them over in a sealed envelope to Riazanov, as materials on the history of the Social Democratic movement. Rubin had supposedly asked Riazanov to keep these documents for a short time. In these negotiations every word, every formulation was fought over. Repeatedly the "confession" written by Rubin was crossed out and corrected by the investigator. When Rubin went to trial on March 1, 1931, in the side pocket of his jacket was his "confession," corrected with the investigator's red ink.

Rubin's position was tragic. He had to confess to what had never existed, and nothing had: neither his former views; nor his connections with the other defendants, most of whom he didn't even know, while others he knew only by chance; nor any documents that had supposedly been entrusted to his safekeeping; nor that sealed package of documents which he was supposed to have handed over to Riazanov.

In the course of the interrogation and negotiations with the investigator, it became clear to Rubin that the name of Riazanov would figure in the whole affair, if not in Rubin's testimony, then in the testimony of someone else. That was the hardest part for him, and he decided to make it look as if he had fooled Riazanov, who had trusted him implicitly. My brother stubbornly kept to this position in all his depositions: Riazanov had trusted him personally and he, Rubin, had fooled trustful Riazanov. No one and nothing could shake him from this position. His deposition of February 21 concerning this matter was printed in the indictment and signed by Krylenko on February 23, 1931. The deposition said that Rubin handed Riazanov the documents in a sealed envelope, and asked him to keep them for a while at the Institute. My brother stressed this position in all his statements before and during the trial. At the trial he gave a number of examples which were supposed to explain why Riazanov trusted him so much...

Putting the problem in such a way ruined the prosecutor's plan. He asked Rubin point-blank: "Didn't you establish any organizational connection?" Rubin replied, "No, there was no organizational connection, there was only his great personal trust in me." Then Krylenko asked for a recess. When he and the other defendants got to another room, Krylenko said to Rubin: "You did not say what you should have said. After the recess I will call you back to the stand, and you will correct your reply." Rubin answered sharply: "Do not call me any more. I will again repeat what I said." The result of this conflict was that, instead of the agreed three years in prison, Rubin was given five, and in his concluding speech Krylenko gave a devastating characterization of Rubin like that of no one else. Everyone interested in the case could not understand why there was so much spite and venom in this characterization.

Rubin set himself the goal of doing everything in his power to "shield" Riazanov.... At the trial the possibility of defining in this way his position with respect to Riazanov gave Rubin a certain moral satisfaction. But these legal subtleties made little sense to anyone else. Politically Riazanov was compromised, and Rubin was stricken from the list of people who have the right to a life worthy of man. Rubin himself, in his own consciousness, struck himself from the list of such people as soon as he began to give his "testimony." It is interesting what my brother felt when they took him back to Moscow from Suzdal. When, sick and tortured, he was put into the sleigh, he remembered, in his words, how self-assured and internally strong he had been when he came to Suzdal, and how he was leaving morally broken, destroyed, degraded to a state of complete hopelessness. Rubin understood perfectly well that by his "confession" he had put an end to his life as an honorable, uncorrupted worker and achiever in his chosen field of scholarship.

But that was not the main thing; the main thing was that he was destroyed as a man. Rubin understood perfectly well what repercussions his confession would have. Why had Rubin borne false witness against himself? Why had he also named Riazanov? Why had he violated the most elementary, most primitive concepts of human behavior? Everyone knew with what mutual respect these two men were connected, Rubin and Riazanov. Riazanov who was considerably older than Rubin, saw in him a talented Marxist scholar who had devoted his life to the study and popularization of Marxism. Riazanov had trusted him unreservedly; he himself was bewildered by what had happened. Here I want to recount an episode, a very painful one, the confrontation between Rubin and Riazanov. The confrontation took place in the presence of an investigator. Rubin, pale and tormented, turned to Riazanov, saying, "David Borisovich, you remember I handed you a package." Whether Riazanov said anything, and precisely what, I don't remember for sure. My brother right then was taken to his cell; in his cell he began to beat his head against the wall. Anyone who knew how calm and self-controlled Rubin was can understand what a state he had been brought to. According to rumors, Riazanov used to say that he could not understand what had happened to Isaac Il'ich.

The defendants in the case of the "Union Bureau" were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment, and all fourteen men were transferred to the political prison in the town of Verkhneural'sk. Rubin, sentenced to five years, was subjected to solitary confinement. The others, who received terms of ten, eight, and five years, were placed several men to a cell. Rubin remained in solitary confinement throughout his imprisonment. During his confinement he continued his scholarly work. Rubin became sick in prison, and lip cancer was suspected. In connection with this sickness, in January, 1933, he was taken to Moscow, to the hospital in Butyrskaia Prison. While in the hospital Rubin was visited twice by GPU officials who offered to make his situation easier, to free him, to enable him to do research. But both times Rubin refused, understanding the price that is paid for such favors. After spending six to eight weeks in the prison hospital, he was taken back to the political prison in Verkhneural'sk. A year later, in 1934, Rubin was released on a commuted sentence, and exiled to the town of Turgai, then an almost unpopulated settlement in the desert. Aside from Rubin there were no other exiles there.

After several months at Turgai, Rubin was permitted to settle in the town of Aktiubinsk.... He got work in a consumer cooperative, as a plan economist. In addition he continued to do his own scholarly work. In the summer of 1935, his wife became seriously sick. My brother sent a telegram asking me to come. I went right away to Aktiubinsk; my brother's wife lay in the hospital, and he himself was in a very bad condition. A month later, when his wife had recovered, I went home to Moscow.... Only his great optimism that was characteristic of him and his deep scholarly interests gave him the strength to live.

In the fall of 1937, during the mass arrests of that time, my brother was again arrested. The prison in Aktiubinsk was overcrowded, the living conditions of the prisoners were terrifying. After a short stay in the prison, he was transferred somewhere outside of Aktiubinsk. We could find out nothing more about him.


ISAAK ILLICH RUBIN PDF

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Isaac I. Rubin e sua história do pensamento econômico

Abstract: This paper presents Isaak Rubin’s History of Economic Thought. After a brief description of his life and work, the paper discusses Karl Marx’s attempts to write a critical history of the political economy and, in connection with this, the paper analyses the meaning of Rubin’s History of Economic Thought.

Keywords: Isaak Illich Rubin (1886-1937) Karl Marx (1818-1883) history of economic thought critique of political economy. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B14 B24 B31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 16 pages
Date: 2013-04
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Isaac I. Rubin e sua história do pensamento econômico

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Persecution and death

Rubin was arrested on December 23, 1930, and accused of being a member of the All-Union Bureau of Suzdal, where he was placed in solitary confinement and subjected to sleep deprivation. [2]

On January 28, 1931, Rubin was brought to another cell, where he was shown another prisoner and told that if he did not confess, the prisoner would be shot. Rubin refused and the prisoner was executed before him. The process was repeated the next night. After the second shooting, Rubin negotiated a "confession" with his interrogators, who insisted that he implicate his mentor David Riazanov as a member of a secret Menshevik conspiracy. [2]

Rubin served most of his prison term in solitary confinement, during which he continued his research as best he could. When he fell ill with a suspected cancer, he was removed to a hospital and encouraged to make further confessions in return for favourable treatment, but declined the offer. He was released on a commuted sentence in 1934 and allowed to work in Aktyubinsk, Kazakhstan, as an economic planner. Rubin was arrested once more during the Great Purge in 1937. After this arrest he was never seen alive again. [2]


Essays on Marx’s Theory Of Value

Many believe illivh can be rejected or accepted, but that either position has no bearing on the rest of Capital Vol I-III.

The most fascinating aspect of this books is Rubbin thesis that Marx’s theory of the commodity fetish underlies his ENTIRE economic analysis, and the nodal point at which all subsequent theories of capitalism emerge from. Many books published in our time make this claim and I wonder if Rubin might be their source. Marcelo Silva rated it it was amazing Oct 10, Rubin, a trained lawyer and an economist, outwitted his isaaj interrogators and the first charge was dropped he was then transferred to a cell in Suzdalwhere he was placed in solitary confinement and subjected to sleep deprivation.

If I thought that the sea of commentary on Marx was endless, Rubin turns that sea into an ocean.


Essays on Marx’s Theory Of Value

Research within the history of economic thought has focused only little on the development of economics under dictatorship. Thanks for telling us about the problem. This paper attempts to show how a country with a relatively large and internationally established community of He was executed in during the course of the Great Purgebut his ideas have since been rehabilitated. John rated it liked it Feb 09, If I thought that the sea of commentary on Marx was endless, Rubin isaa, that sea into an ocean.

Essay’s on Marx’s Theory of Value was published in Want to Read saving…. As a result of this failure to fully cooperate with his prosecutors, Rubin was sentenced to five years in prison. Isaak Illich Rubin Russian: Oct 29, Griffin MB rated it it was amazing.

His main rbuin Essays on Marx’s Theory of Value was published in We analyze the complex il,ich of ideas, scholars, and their institutional context, and conclude that subsequent repression was arbitrary, suggesting that no clear survival or career strategy existed in the Stalinist system, due to a situation of fundamental uncertainty. Many believe it can rubni rejected or accepted, but that either position has no bearing on the rest of Capital Vol I-III.

At Menshevik TrialRubin refused to confirm the existence of a Menshevik organisation.

Isaak Illich Rubin – Wikipedia

Rubin’s elegant, cogent and straightforward explanation of the theories of commodity fetishism and value to be read in conjunction with some of his other work widely available on the Internet makes it the perfect introduction and companion to the first chapter of Capital I – and no praise can surely be higher than that.

Jason rated it it was amazing Nov 03, Rather, it is present in objective relations.

Sam Whitehill rated it it was illlch Mar 11, In this sense, it is impossible to put an end to the value form by decree and the plan in a certain way reproduces elements of rubbin value form, including fetishistic results.

Exchange theory of value. What Marx shows is that the it is the political economy that allows and makes that fetish and that reification an objective result within the historical time of capitalism.


Isaak Illich Rubin

PADA 25 November lalu, Isaak Illich Rubin, genap berusia 124 tahun. Tak ada catatan tertulis dimana figur kita kali ini dilahirkan, kecuali bahwa ia dilahirkan di Rusia, pada 1886.

Misteri tentang tempat dan tanggal lahirnya, seakan mencerminkan sejarah kehidupannya yang kelam. Tidak banyak catatan tertulis yang mengulas dirinya, kecuali sebuah catatan harian dari saudara perempuannya, B.I Rubina yang terselip di lembaran kertas buku karya Roy A. Medvedv. Padahal, sebagai ekonom, namanya sejajar dengan ekonom-ekonom terkemuka Rusia yang berkibar di dunia Barat, seperti Yevgeni Alekseyevich Preobrazhensky, Nikolai Dmitriyevich Kondratiev, atau Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin.

Sebagai ekonom, Rubin menulis beberapa buku teori ekonomi Marxis, seperti Abstract Labour and Value in Marx’s System (1927), Essays on Marx’s Theory of Value (1928), Ricardo’s Doctrine of Capital (1936-7), dan A History of Economic Thought (1979). Dari beberapa karyanya ini, Essays on Marx’s Theory of Value dan A History of Economic Thought, dianggap sebagai karyanya yang paling berpengaruh. Ekonom Jim Tomlinson menulis, berbeda dengan ekonom Rusia saat itu yang karya-karyanya secara teoritik sangat abstrak dan fokus pada perdebatan tentang industrialisasi kontemporer, karya-karya Rubin sangat berbeda. Rubin lebih memfokuskan perhatiannya, di satu sisi pada komponen sentral dari ekonomi Marxis dan di sisi lain tentang konsep ekonomi pra-Marxis. Karyanya A History of Economic Thought, mengulas tentang pemikiran ekonomi sejak era Merkantilisme hingga John Stuart Mill. Menurut Tomlinson, inilah buku sejarah pemikiran ekonomi Marxis yang paling sistematis yang pernah diterbitkan dalam bahasa Inggris. Sementara melalui karyanya Essays on Marx’s Theory of Value, Rubin secara sistematis dan teliti menunjukkan bahwa perhatian utama Marx dalam studi ekonomi politik bukanlah pada pertukaran di antara barang-barang di pasar, tetapi pada pertukaran antara produser barang-barang tersebut yang independen tetapi saling berhubungan yang terekspresikan pada pertukaran di antara barang-barang tersebut di pasar. Intinya, fokus kajian ekonomi Marxis tidak bermula pada sisi pertukaran, tetapi berangkat dari sisi produksi.

Namun, baiklah kita akhiri sampai disini pembahasan konsepsi Rubin tentang teori Nilai-nya Marx, yang sungguh sangat kompleks itu. Kali ini, saya akan bercerita tentang nasib malang yang menimpa ekonom, yang disebut-sebut sebagai salah satu tokoh Marxis-Hegelian awal sebelum Georgy Lukacs.

Latar belakang

Awal abad ke-20, imperium Rusia memasuki masa senjanya. Salah satu kekuatan terbesar di Eropa ini, mulai terpincang-pincang mempertahankan kekuasaannya dari berbagai “rongongan yang datang dari dalam maupun dari luar.” Pada 8 Februari 1904, Jepang mendeklarasikan perang terhadap Rusia. Namun, beberapa jam sebelum deklarasi perang diterima Moscow, Jepang tiba-tiba menyerang pangkalan angkatan laut Rusia di Asia Pasifik. Perang Jepang-Rusia ini, seperti diketahui, akhirnya dimenangkan Jepang, yang kemudian memberi inspirasi dan kepercayaan diri kepada negara-negara Timur yang terjajah, bahwa mereka bisa juga mengalahkan negara-negara super power di Barat. Dari dalam negeri, pada 1905 terjadi Revolusi di Rusia yang ditandai oleh pemogokan buruh, pemberontakan petani dan militer. Akibat revolusi jilid I ini, Tsar Nicholas II pada 1906 terpaksa melakukan reformasi politik dengan dibentuknya State Duma of the Russian Empire, atau lebih dikenal dengan nama Parlemen Duma.

Tetapi sogokan politik Tsar ini tidak menyurutkan aktivitas perlawanan kalangan revolusioner di Rusia kala itu. Bahkan, sebaliknya, pembentukan parlemen itu memberikan kepercayaan diri bahwa jika kekuatan revolusioner bersatu maka bukan hanya sogokan yang diberikan Tsar, melainkan kekaisarannya sendiri yang hancur. Namun persatuan di kalangan revolusioner Rusia tak pernah benar-benar terjadi. Mereka terbagi atas tiga kelompok besar: Bolshevik, Mensehvik, dan Sosialis Revolusioner. Dari ketiga kelompok ini, yang paling besar secara organisasi adalah Sosialis Revoluioner, disusul Menshevik, baru Bolshevik. Lucunya Bolshevik itu sendiri bermakna mayoritas sementara Menshevik berarti minoritas, dimana sebutan berdasarkan hasil pemungutan suara di dalam kongres Partai Sosial Demokrat Rusia (PBSDR).

Singkat cerita, imperium itu terbukti ambruk pada Oktober 1917. Revolusi Oktober sendiri merupakan sebuah rangkaian aksi-aksi revolusioner menentang Tsar, yang bermula pada bulan Februari 1917. Pada awal revolsui ini, kelompok revolusioner yang paling berpengaruh di kalangan Soviet (Dewan Buruh) Petrograd adalah Menshevik dan Sosialis Revolusioner. Namun ketika situasi revolusioner semakin mendidih, justru partai Bolshevik yang dipimpin Lenin-lah yang akhirnya memimpin dan menuntaskan revolusi tersebut. Sehingga Revolusi Oktober disebut juga sebagai Revolusi Bolshevik.

Nah sejak dari Revolusi 1905 hingga 1917, Rubin terlibat aktif di dalamnya. Secara organisasi, ia pertama kali bergabung ke dalam Bund, sebuah partai Sosialis Yahudi yang eksis sebelum revolusi. Selanjutnya ia bergabung dengan kelompok Menshevik. Tetapi, pada 1924 ia memutuskan untuk meninggalkan dunia politik dan mendedikasikan diri pada studi-studi ekonomi. Pada 1936, ia bergabung ke dalam Institut Marx-Engels yang dipimpin oleh David Borisovich Ryazanov. Karena prestasi dan ketekunannya, Rubin lantas menjadi tangan kanan Ryazanov di institut tersebut.

Sementara itu, pada 1921 Lenin mulai jarang muncul ke publik setelah menderita penyakit stroke. Pimpinan partai sehari-hari praktis dikendalikan oleh Joseph Stalin yang menjabat sebagai sekretaris jenderal Partai Komunis Uni Sovyet (PKUS). Ketika Lenin wafat pada 1924, kekuasaan partai dan negara sepenuhnya berada di tangan Stalin. Dan mulailah jaman terror, pembunuhan, pemenjaraan, pembuangan paksa kepada mereka yang dianggap membahayakan keutuhan partai dan revolusi Bolshevik, yang sebenarnya membahayakan kedudukan Stalin. Ironisnya, pembersihan berdarah ini pertama-tama justru ditujukan kepada lingkaran terdekat pimpinan partai dan kalangan revolusioner lainnya.

Pantang Menyerah

Salah satu tokoh yang diincar oleh rejim Stalinis adalah David Ryazanov. Secara politik, sebelum Revolusi Oktober, Ryazanov adalah pengikut Menshevik. Ia baru bergabung dengan Bolshevik pada awal Februari 1917 dan mendukung Soviet Petrograd dalam menentang pemerintahan sementara di bawah pimpinan Pangeran Lvov. Karena Rubin adalah tangan kanan Ryazanov, maka dirinya pun dituduh bersekutu dengan bosnya untuk menentang Stalin, partai, dan revolusi.

Akibatnya bisa diduga, Rubin ditangkap dan dipaksa untuk mengakui bahwa tuduhan terhadapnya adalah benar. Sungguh sebuah praktek politik yang biadab. Menurut penuturan B.I. Rubina, alasan di balik tuduhan terhadap kakaknya, karena Rubin pernah bergabung dengan organisasi Biro Buruh Menshevik. Untuk membuktikan tuduhannya, tukang jagal Stalin mengonfrontasikan Rubin dengan tersangka lainnya Mikhail Yakubovich. Yakubovich sendiri, dalam sebuah interogasi yang sarat penyiksaan, telah menyangkal keberadaan Biro Buruh Menshevik itu, sehingga otomatis tidak mungkin Rubin menjadi anggotanya. Tetapi, para petugas tak bisa menerima kesaksian itu, sehingga mereka terus menyiksa Yakubovich untuk mengakui bahwa organisasi itu eksis dan Rubin adalah salah satu anggotanya. Karena tak tahan siksaan hingga lumpuh, Yakubovich terpaksa membenarkan tuduhan itu.

Dalam pertemuan itu, terjadilah dialog berikut:

Yakubovich: “Isaak Illich, lupakah kamu bahwa kita pernah bersama menghadiri satu sesi pertemuan di Biro Buruh Menshevik?”

Rubin: “Ok, di mana pertemuan itu dilaksanakan?”

Pertanyaan Rubin ini langsung diinterupsi oleh petugas, “Hei Isaak Illich, memangnya kamu itu siapa? Kamu pikir dirimu pengacara sehingga boleh bertanya?”

Karena menolak untuk mengakui tuduhan, Rubin kemudian dibuang ke sebuah daerah terpencil bernama Suzdal. Setiba di stasiun tak ada seorang pun yang tampak. Untuk sesaat ia hanya ditemani suara klakson dan gerigi roda kereta yang perlahan menjauh. Ia kemudian dijemput oleh seorang pejabat tinggi partai di Suzdal, yang bernama Gai. Setelahnya Gai segera menginterogasi Rubin dengan tuduhan yang sama.

“Aku beri kamu waktu 48 jam untuk berpikir dan mengakui keterlibatanmu di Biro Buruh Menshevik,” ujar Gai.

“Aku bahkan tak butuh 48 menit untuk menjawab: Tidak,” jawab Rubin.

Karena tetap bersikukuh, Rubin akhirnya dijebloskan ke penjara yang disebut Kartser. Rubina, menulis, “Kartser adalah sebuah batu yang sengaja dirancang untuk menampung satu orang saja. Anda tidak bisa bergerak kemana-mana kecuali hanya berdiri dan duduk. Padahal saudara saya yang berumur 45 tahun itu mengidap penyakit hati. Tetapi ia tidak menyerah dengan penyiksaan itu. Ketika ia keluar dari kartser, kepercayaan dirinya semakin meningkat sehingga ia kembali digiring ke kartser.”

Di penjara yang kedua kalinya ini, ia kembali bersua dengan Yakubovich. Lebih dari sebelumnya, sang ekonom ini mengalami penghinaan yang parah, sehingga menderita depresi. Kondisi buruk ini justru dimanfaatkan oleh para jagal Stalinis untuk mendesaknya agar mengakui semua tuduhan. Mereka mengabarkan kalau istrinya sedang sakit, dan menawarkan kesempatan untuk menjenguk jika bersedia menerima tuduhan. Rubin tetap menolak, tak sedikitpun ia menyerah. “Aku tidak bisa menolongnya, bahkan aku tidak bisa menolong diriku sendiri.” Penderitaan belum berakhir, karena kini ia diinterogasi setiap malam tanpa boleh memejamkan mata.

Hingga akhirnya, antara malam tanggal 28-29 Januari 1931, mereka membawanya ke luar dari kartser menuju ke sebuah ruangan bawah tanah, dipertemukan dengan seseorang bernama Vasilyevskii. Kepada Rubin mereka mengatakan, “jika kamu tidak mengaku, maka kami akan membunuh orang ini sekarang juga.” Dengan penuh ketakutan Vasilyevskii memohon kepada Rubin, agar ia mempertimbangkan keteguhan hatinya. Tapi Rubin tetap diam seribu basa, dan Vasilyevskii pun meregang nyawanya saat itu juga.

Pada malam tanggal 29, Rubin kembali digiring ke ruang bawah tanah itu. Kali ini ia dipertemukan dengan seorang mahasiswa yang tidak dikenalnya. Kepada pemuda tersebut, para jagal Stalinis itu mengatakan “kami akan menembakmu karena Rubin tidak mau mengaku.” Tanpa diduga si pemuda segera membuka bajunya dan berteriak, “polisi fasis, tembak aku sekarang juga” sambil membusungkan dadanya. Saat itu juga pistol menyalak.

Kali ini, Rubin patah semangatnya. Sikap berani pemuda, yang kelak diketahui bernama Dorodnov itu membuatnya berpikir ulang tentang sikap kerasnya selama ini. Di dalam kartser, ia kemudian memutuskan untuk mulai bernegosiasi dengan para investigator pada tanggal 2 hingga 21 April 1931. Ketika pada Maret 1931 ia diajukan ke pengadilan, di saku jaketnya telah tersedia dokumen yang berisi kesaksian bahwa ia adalah anggota dari komisi program dari Institute Marx-Engels yang tugasnya adalah membangun hubungan dengan Biro Buruh Menshevik. Tugasnya adalah mengangkut dokumen-dokumen dari kantor pusat Menshevik ke institut untuk diserahkan kepada Ryazanov. Seluruh kesaksian palsu ini kemudian ditandatangani oleh Nikolai Vasilyevich Krylenko, hakim berpengaruh saat itu.

Di pengadilan, seperti layaknya permainan sirkus, Krylenko mencecar Rubin dengan pertanyaan seputar hubungannya dengan Ryazanov.

“Apakah kalian mempunyai hubungan organisasial?”

“Tidak, tidak ada hubungan organisasional apapun, itu hanya karena jiwa besar Ryazanov hingga ia mempercayaiku.”

Karena jawaban tidak sesuai yang diinginkan, Krylenko memutuskan agar sidang dihentikan sejenak. Setelah itu ia menemui Rubin di ruang lainnya dan mengatakan, “Isaak, kamu tidak mengatakan apa yang seharusnya kamu katakan. Setelah reses ini aku akan panggil kembali kamu untuk sidang, dan kamu harus menjawab dengan benar.”

“Tak ada gunanya kamu panggil aku, karena aku akan mengatakan hal yang sama,” ujar Rubin.

Hasil dari perbincangan itu, Rubin diputuskan terlibat aksi kontrarevolusi dan dihukum penjara selama empat tahun, satu tahun lebih banyak dari perjanjian ketika ia bersedia mengaku. Kembali dirinya di kirim ke Suzdal, dengan kondisi kejiwaan yang berubah total. Moralnya jatuh, kepercayaan dirinya runtuh. Dan yang paling disesalinya, ketika ia menyebut nama Ryazanov, sosok yang paling dihormatinya, yang telah memercayainya tanpa syarat untuk mengelola institut. Penyesalan ini tak kunjung usai dan makin parah. Jika rasa bersalah itu menderanya, Rubin segera membentur-benturkan kepalanya ke dinding penjara.

Keputusan akhir pengadilan akhirnya turun, dimana seluruh anggota “Biro Buruh” dijatuhi hukuman yang bervariasi. Rubin kebagian jatah selama 5 tahun, lalu dikirim ke penjara politik di kota Verkhneuralsk. Hebatnya, walaupun di penjara dan diperlakukan layaknya binatang, Rubin tetap menekuni studi-studi ekonominya. Tapi, daya tahan fisiknya akhirnya runtuh. Rubin jatuh sakit, diduga kanker lidah. Pada Januari 1933 ia dikirim ke Moscow dan dirawat di sebuah rumah sakit yang berlokasi di penjara Butyrsjaya.

Setahun kemudian, Rubin dipindahkan ke kota Turgai untuk menjalani tahanan kota. Turgai adalah kota mati, karena hampir tidak ada penduduk yang tinggal menetap. Beberapa bulan kemudian, ia dipindahkan ke kota lain, yakni Aktyubinsk. Pada masa itu pula, istrinya tergeletak di rumah sakit dan kondisi kesehatan Rubin juga kian memburuk. Hingga kemudian, datang musim gugur pada 1937, dimana penangkapan besar-besaran dilakukan oleh rejim Stalinis. Rubin kembali masuk penjara.

Di penjara ini, Rubin tidak bertahan lama, ia ditransfer ke tempat lain yang tak ada seorang pun tahu, termasuk Rubina saudaranya tempat ia berbagi cerita. Kecuali karya-karya ekonominya yang cemerlang, jasad Rubin hilang tak berbekas hingga kini.***

Coen Husain Pontoh
Mahasiswa Ilmu Politik di City University of New York (CUNY)

Kepustakaan:

I.I. Rubin, “Essays On Marx’s Theory of Value,” Black Rose Books, 1990.

Jim Tomlinson, “On Rubin,” Marxism Today, March 1980.

Roy A. Medvedev, “Let History Judge The Origins and Consequences of Stalinism,” Columbia University Press, 1989.

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Monday, 26 August 2013

Isaak Illich Rubin

B. I. Rubina, Memoir (undated)

This is what I learned from my brother. When he was arrested on December 23, 1930, he was charged with being a member of the "Union Bureau of Mensheviks." This accusation seemed so ridiculous that he immediately submitted a written exposition of his views, which he thought would prove the impossibility of such an accusation. When the investigator read this statement, he tore it up right there. A confrontation was arranged between my brother and Lakubovich, who had been arrested earlier and had confessed to being a member of the "Union Bureau." My brother did not even know Lakubovich. At the confrontation, when Lakubovich said to my brother, "Isaac ll'ich, we were together at a session of the Union Bureau," my brother immediately asked, "And where was this meeting held?" This question caused such a disruption in the examination that the investigator interrupted the examination right there, saying, "What are you, a lawyer, Isaac Il'ich?"

My brother in fact was a lawyer, had worked in that field for many years. After that confrontation, the charge that Rubin was a member of the "Union Bureau" was dropped. Soon after, my brother was transferred to Suzdal. The circumstances of that transfer were so unusual that they were bound to inspire alarm and fear. On the station platform there was not a single person in an empty railroad car he was met by an important GPU official, Gai. To all of Gai's attempts at persuasion, my brother replied with what was really true: that he had no connections with the Mensheviks. Then Gai declared that he would give him forty-eight hours to think it over. Rubin replied that he didn't need forty-eight minutes.

The examination at Suzdal also failed to give the investigators the results they wanted. Then they put Rubin for days in the kartser, the punishment cell. My brother at forty-five was a man with a diseased heart and diseased joints. The kartser was a stone hole the size of a man you couldn't move in it, you could only stand or sit on the stone floor. But my brother endured this torture too, and left the kartser with a feeling of inner confidence in himself, in his moral strength. Then he was put in the kartser for a second time, which also produced no results. At that time Rubin was sharing a cell with lakubovich and Slier. When he came back from the kartser his cellmates received him with great concern and attention right there they made tea for him, gave him sugar and other things, and tried in every way to show him their sympathy. Telling about this, Rubin said that lie was so amazed: these same people told lies about him, and at the same time treated him so warmly.

Soon Rubin was put into solitary confinement in those circumstances he was subjected to every kind of tormenting humiliation. He was deprived of all the personal things he had brought with him, even handkerchiefs. At that time he had the flu, and walked about with a swollen nose, with ulcers, filthy. The prison authorities often inspected his cell, and as soon as they found any violation of the rule for maintaining the cell they sent him to clean the latrines. Everything was done to break his will. They told him his wife was very sick, to which he replied: "I can't help her in any way, I can't even help myself." At times the investigators would turn friendly, and say: "Isaac ll'ich, this is necessary for the Party." At the same time they gave him nighttime interrogations, at which a man is not allowed to fall asleep for a minute. They would wake him up, wear him out with all sorts of interrogations, jeer at his spiritual strength, call him the "Menshevik Jesus."

This went on until January 28, 1931. On the night of January 28-29, they took him down to a cellar, where there were various prison officials and a prisoner, someone named Vasil'evskii. to whom they said, in the presence of my brother: "We are going to shoot you now, if Rubin does not confess." Vasil'evskii on his knees begged my brother: "Isaac Il'ich, what does it cost you to confess?" But my brother remained firm and calm, even when they shot Vasil'evskii right there. His feeling of inner rightness was so strong that it helped him to endure that frightful ordeal. The next night, January 29-30, they took my brother to the cellar again. This time a young man who looked like a student was there. My brother didn't know him. When they turned to the student with the words, "You will be shot because Rubin will not confess," the student tore open his shirt at the breast and said, "Fascists, gendarmes, shoot!" They shot him right there the name of this student was Dorodnov.

The shooting of Dorodnov made a shattering impression on my brother. Returning to his cell, he began to think. What's to be done? My brother decided to start negotiations with the investigator these negotiations lasted from February 2 to 21, 1931. The charge that Rubin belonged to the "Union Bureau" had already been dropped in Moscow, after the confrontation with Lakubovich. Now they agreed that my brother would consent to confess himself a member of a program commission connected with the "Union Bureau," and that he, Rubin, had kept documents of the Menshevik Center in his office at the Institute, and when he was fired from the Institute, he had handed them over in a sealed envelope to Riazanov, as materials on the history of the Social Democratic movement. Rubin had supposedly asked Riazanov to keep these documents for a short time. In these negotiations every word, every formulation was fought over. Repeatedly the "confession" written by Rubin was crossed out and corrected by the investigator. When Rubin went to trial on March 1, 1931, in the side pocket of his jacket was his "confession," corrected with the investigator's red ink.


Watch the video: and the fallacies of old and new Rubin schools - (January 2022).