[OPE-L:2437] Re: Re: Re: the employment contract and capitalism

From: Prof. Ernesto Screpanti (screpanti@unisi.it)
Date: Mon Feb 28 2000 - 09:58:33 EST

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Riccardo wrote in [2428]
At 18.29 27/02/00 +0100, you wrote:
>At 18:06 +0100 27-02-2000, C. J. Arthur wrote:
>>As Ernesto S said [23/02] there arises a power
>>relation in which labour has to be extracted from the worker. At the heart
>>of the capital relation is not the peaceful juridical transfer of a
>>commodity (as the labour contract superficially suggests) but continual
>>contestation of its exploitation. Thus the use value of this "commodity"
>>(labour productivity) is not secured ex ante but only known ex post as a
>>result. To answer Steve K this is precisely why value is constituted
>>through the (ex)appropriation of labour.
>I'm not sure this is exactly what Ernesto S. said. For example, ES wrote
>the 23/02:
>"The obbligation to obedience is established by the contract, is legitimised
>by the law of labour, is enforced by a repression system (police forces
>etc.). controlled by the state. When there is the obbligation, the
>legitimation and the enforcement system, then there are the conditions for
>a real subordination. When the employers exert their commands there is a
>real subordination."
>In the last phrase it seems that the distinction you rightly pose between
>ex-ante and ex-post, and the stress on continual contestation of
>exploitation, is lost. "When the employers exert their commands there is a
>real subordination". Here, by the way, not only the command is already
>there in the exchange on the labour market, simply to be 'exerted', but
>also the real subordination is reduced to a struggle between the employers
>and the workers, without passing through the objectification in science and
>technology. I know that Ernesto would probably politically agree with this.
>The problem to me is to understand if he agrees also theoretically, since
>the content of your post, Chris, to me is nothing but the essence of the
>labour theory of value as the theory of exploitation.

Ok. That proposition of mine was inaccurate. What I mean is that there is
real subordination in the labour process when the employers exert their
command. This implies they are able to exert it. But not always they are
able. Workers can resists and build counter-power practices in the factory.
Class struggle occurs in the factory, not only outside it.

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