[OPE-L:2575] Re: Critique

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Tue Mar 21 2000 - 07:17:18 EST

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John Holloway <104164.2012@compuserve.com> said, on 03/20/00 at 11:12 PM:

>Chapter 19 (English) is entitled "The Transformation of the Value ... of
>Labour-Power into Wages". How do you understand that if not as a critique
>of fetishism? The first sentence of Capital says "the wealth of those
>societies, in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents
>itself as an 'immense accumulation of commodities.'" How do you
>understand 'presents itself' if not in terms of the critique of
>fetishism. the seecond paragraph begins: "a commodity is, in the first
>place, an object outside us". How do you understand that, if not in terms
>of fetishism? How do you understand the question of form (value-form,
>money-form, capital-form etc) if not in terms of the critique of
>fetishism? Why is it that Marx makes the question of form the key
>distinction between his approach and that of bourgeois theory? And so on
>and so on and so on through almost every paragraph of the three volumes.

If you are using "value" and "fetishism" synonymously, there is no reponse
I can give.

To me, "fetishism" was a very specific concept as discussed in the
relevant 12-page section. If it were meant to illuminate EVERYTHING its
status would have been MUCH MORE obvious by a much more greater discussion
by Marx.

>2) Paul Z. says in OPE-L 2565, in reply to Andrew K:

>"No, *Capital* is about the exploitation and domination by one social
>class over another in the specific form of the capitalist mode of
>production. It is NOT principally about workers being "dominated by the
>product of her/his own hand".

>This brings us back to the old rigid we/ them class demarcation favoured
>by Paul C. and Jerry.

I think I need to hear how you respond to the issue of the numerous
definitions Marx provides. You've avoided this issue.

>...The object we study (capitalism, for example) presents
>itself to us a 'thing outside us', exactly as Marx says of the commodity.
>We can either accept that self-presentation of the object as a thing
>outside us and study it objectively, or we can try to understand how that
>'thing' is the objectified extension of our own subjectivity. The former
>method confirms and reproduces our own powerlessness. The latter method,
>the critical or dialectical method or scientific method (Marx), tries to
>understand the world in terms of our own subjectivity and the negation or
>objectification of that subjectivity.

You propose being objective about our subjective. But to be objective
about our subjective is to "separate" the issue of inquiry from ourselves
and to produce (or attempt to produce) knowledge.

>"Critique is ONLY the movement of anti-fetishization or INCLUDES the
>movement of anti-fetishization among other factors?"

> Simply that: critique is the movement of anti-fetishisation,
>nothing else. We start from the fetishised appearances of 'things' and
>try to understand both that they are products of our own doing and (the
>return journey, as Marx calls it in the Grundrisse)...

As presented, this seems to be getting rather close to blaming the victims
(the workers).

Paul Z.

>"P.S. John, do you know anything of Juan Pablo Perez Sainz? He was
>working on topics close to your own, but I have lost complete track of
>him. Thanks for any info."

>I think he was working in FLACSO, Costa Rica, about eight years ago, but
>I've lost touch. He may still be there. Perhaps someone else knows?


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