MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of People



Venizelos, Eleftherios (1864-1936)

Cretan. Leader of anti-Turk rebellion. Premier of Greece l910-15. From 1915 he was constantly in and out of the Government in a tussle with King Constantine. In June 1917, Constantine was forced to abdicate, and Venizelos brought Greece into the war on the side of the Entente. Resigned 1920, and staged a short come-back in 1923.

Vergès, Jacques (1925-2013)

Born in Thailand to a Vietnamese mother and a French father, Vergès grew up on the island of Reunion. He left his home at seventeen to join the French Resistance, fighting in Italy with the Gaullist Forces Françaises Libres. At the end of the war Vergès joined the French Communist Party, though it was as a representative of Reunion that he was elected to the Bureau of the International Union of Students. He was secretary of the movement, which was based in Prague, at the time of the Slansky trial.

From this early period his primary focus was the anti-colonial struggle, and, having returned to France and become a lawyer, during the Algerian War he was the key member of the committee of lawyers that defended FLN fighters tried by the French authorities. His strategy, called the “strategy of rupture,” denied the French state any right to judge the acts of the militants in its custody. Among his clients was Djamila Bouhired, who was tried for her role in the planting of the bomb at the Milk Bar in Algiers during the Battle of Algiers. She was able to escape the death penalty, and she and Vergès later wed. With Algeria having obtained its independence Vergès settled there, founding the revue Révolution Africaine.

In 1970 Vergès disappeared, not reappearing until 1978, and his exact whereabouts remain unknown. He would only say that he was somewhere ‘far to the east of France,’ and there has been speculation that he was in Eastern Europe, Palestine (whose cause he loudly espoused) or Cambodia, with his old comrade Pol Pot. Ever the provocateur, Vergè defended almost any figure hated by the French government or the west in general, from Klaus Barbie to Khieu Samphan to Carlos to the lawyer of the Baader-Meinhof group Klaus Croissant. A prolific writer, he also became an actor in his final years.

See Jacques Vergès Archive.


Verkhovsky, A. I. (1886-1941)

Tsarist officer. Under Kerensky he was Major-General commanding the Moscow District. Counter-revolutionary until April 1919, then joined the Red Army. Held commanding posts, but worked mostly in training. Professor of the Red Academy from 1927.


Vereeken, Georges (1898-1978)

Taxi driver, central committee member of the Belgian Communist Party, had been one of the pioneers of the Left Opposition in Belgian and until 1934 one of the principal leaders of the Belgian section (Brussels Federation) and member of the International Secretariat. He led the minority hostile to entrism into the Socialist Parties by the Left Oppositionists in France and Belgium and had been the main leader of the International Communist League.


Verri, Pietro (1728-1797)

Milanese nobleman, government official and Enlightenment philosopher. After an ill-fated love affair, a break with his family and a deep intellectual crisis, Verri arrived on the scene in 1757 with his sharp satirical annual, Il gran Zoroastro. After a brief stint in the Austrian army in 1759-60, Verri returned to Milan, where he quickly fell in among the Italian Enlightenment figures of the day, notably Cesare Beccaria.

With Beccaria and his own brother, Alessandro Verri, he founded the "Società dei Pugni" in 1761, a discussion group concentrating on public policy and economics. From 1764 to 1766, the group published the Enlightenment journal, Il Caffè.

Verri began publishing tracts on economic questions in 1760.   In 1763, he produced his Meditazioni sulla felicità, a treatise on hedonistic ethics along the lines of Helvétius (spiced with Rousseau), thus making him one of the fathers of utilitarianism. It was Verri who pushed Beccaria into making his seminal contributions to utilitarian social philosophy.

After Il Caffè was closed down and the group dispersed, Verri took up a variety of posts in the Austrian administration.  He used this time to publish some of his most famous utilitarian tracts: his 1773 Discorso and his 1777 treatise denouncing the use of torture.

Verri's 1771 Meditzioni sull' economia politica was perhaps his greatest contribution to economic theory. Verri argued that price depends on the "apparent abundance" of a good and the "need" for it. He defines "need" as a species of pain which humans seek to minimize activity and industry. For Verri, "needs" are not mere desires but must be expressed with payment, thus they can be considered "demands" in the modern sense. Following Beccaria, Verri noted that abundance increases with number of offers (i.e. sellers) and "needs" with the number of sellers. He notes that the value of a commodity varies directly with need and inversely to abundance. In this manner, Verri can be regarded as an important predecessor of the Marginalist Revolution.

Verri's quantitative work includes not only admirable attempt at calculating the balance of payments, but also the first mathematical expression of a demand curve. On economic policy, Verri followed the radical laissez-faire positions advocated by the Physiocrats. Interestingly, he disagreed with Hume's "reflux" principle, arguing that balance of payments adjustment occur not through prices but rather through the levels of aggregate economic activity (thus making him an early Keynesian).

In his official capacities in the Austrian administration, Verri tried to push many economic and administrative reforms through, with little success.  In 1772, Verri was vice-president, and then, in 1780, president, of the Chamber of Counts.  He retired from public life in 1786 and lived on long enough to welcome the French Revolution.

From History of Economic Thought.