>I'm going to repost what Dr. Wolff said because he can elucidate this better than I can. It seems like your distinction between surplus value and surplus is like a distinction without much of a difference tbh
It's not "my" distinction, it's formulated by Marx and Engels at large in Capital I, II and III, and it's literally on Wikipedia:
<Labor costs and surplus-value are the monetary valuations of what Marx calls the necessary product and the surplus product, or paid labour and unpaid labour.
You can read about the development of theories of surplus in classical economy, collected and systematized by Marx, here:
>If surplus value exists only in relationships between capitalists and workers what about when the enterprises the workers work in is run by the state? Wouldn't the state actors become the new capitalists?
Sure could. You would have to substantiate that though, in which way the state was capitalist, e.g. hired and fired workers. I haven't seen anybody actually making that argument.
Now what does Wolff say?
>Orthodox Marxists in the former USSR and elsewhere understood its collapse as that of socialism.
This is very strange terminology here - Orthodox Marxists (with a capital O and a capital M) usually refer to the Second International before Lenin asserted dominance, referring to pre-WWI Kautsky or Plekhanov.
>This conception of socialism neglected the organization of surplus within Soviet enterprises. It missed completely that the surplus appropriators inside state enterprises were Soviet state officials, the famous Council of Ministers, who acted similarly to private-capitalism ’ s board of directors selected by major shareholders.
The council of ministers didn't appoint managers, and where does Wolff rationalize that they acted like "a board of shareholders"? In no shape or form became it a task of Soviet enterprises to shake out dividends.
>The Soviet workers themselves did not collectively appropriate the surpluses they produced inside the enterprises or industries where they worked.
What does he mean by this? If they were to consume it, it would literally not be surplus. If they invested surplus into the areas fledged out by Marx, they are pretty much in line with Marx here? Where was the private appropriation?
>That is why we have applied the term state capitalism to this system.
Capitalism without surplus-value, interesting. This quite literally the worst critique you could make, at least Unorthodox Trots and Leftcoms usually refer to Marx in some way. Wolff just seems to want to reduce everything to workplace organization which is just localism. In capitalism, you do not become less alienated if the staff votes on who has to clean the toilet tomorrow. This is honestly the same shit that Lassalle thought, even worse. It obscures the real, underlying economic relations. He criticizes the influence over state institutions (an omnipotent "Council of Ministers") over the economy, when socialism is indeed the establishment of a political supremacy
over economic anarchy, while in capitalism, it is the opposite (economic anarchy asserting supremacy over politics).
>And capitalism's ability to keep growing and adapting make heavily being on the retreat also something really difficult to bring to fruition imo.
Capitalism's adaptability may have been certainly underestimated by Marx himself, but the fundamental laws of capitalism do not change, this includes reoccurring crises and a falling rate of profit, two things socialist economies do not have to deal with (even though there were other problems, obviously).
I also contest Wolff's assessment of the complete lack of worker power in the USSR: That really is silly. Page 140 and following of this work talks about workplace participation in the USSR:
Meh, Marxism-Leninism is still, by far, the most quantitatively and qualitatively biggest tendency of the communist movement worldwide and holds power in several states. There have always been setbacks but no other tendency even comes remotely close; it's also that most other tendencies are stagnating in theory development quite terribly.