[OPE-L:2599] Re: Re: Critique [but no definitions]

From: nicola taylor (nmtaylor@carmen.murdoch.edu.au)
Date: Fri Mar 24 2000 - 22:46:11 EST

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Paul writes [OPE-L:2584]
>John, you still are leaving the issue of Marx's theoretical struggle for
>"definitions" suspended in the air.

John doesn't seem to believe that class is definable, so any struggle in
this direction is a waste of everyone's efforts, anyway.

>Through your reification of fetishism/anti-fetishism, capitalists
>disappear as active Sob's and workers are no longer victims of domination
>and exploitation. Issues of working 12 fucking hours and getting 1 back
>-- issues of surplus value -- vanish. Bill Gates laughs as you have
>forgotten about that charming little hut he has had built for himself and
>for his beautiful wife by thousands upon thousands of worker hours. And
>Micron's CEO laughs at forgetting those women in El Salvador struggling to
>make enough microchips to keep their jobs; women who only have to get
>their anti-fetish act together to reach... what? serfdom, slavery,
>communism -- who knows, since anti-fetishism has replaced concern over who
>controls what means of production how?

I agree with Paul that capital IS 'class for itself' everytime a ten year
old Philipino child works twelve hours a day, seven days a week cutting
sugar cane for twenty cents a day. Moreover, I wonder what sort of
'subjectivity' the children themselves have left in them after such a life.
 To say this is not to define workers as "them" - or victims - but to make
a statement about what is happening to people, and how life might be
different. That said, I'm not convinced that we are doing any justice to
John's argument by stating the obvious. Surely, the *structures* of
capital are not everything; and *processes* of formation of alternative
forms of social consciousness, might conceivably require the suspension
(rather than the interrogation) of what we think we know (see Bloch).

>But then maybe I don't understand you at all. Maybe Jerry understands you
> "There is no contradiction between saying that workers *are* victims
>of capital and at the same time saying that they are *more than* victims."
>In any case, I never expected to have to support an idea of the type 'if
>workers are victims, ergo, we must have a Leninist revolutionary party',
>with which you and Jerry might be in agreement were one to notice workers
>as victims. And I don't even know where to begin critiquing such a
>statement as "the possibility of the self-emancipation of the working
>class, can only be approached through a critique of fetishism". What is
>that "ONLY" doing there, as if anyone of us knows how we are to get our
>revolutionary act together, that there is ONLY one true path?
>Paul (who, at his own peril, does not apologize for being direct).

Good point. What indeed is that ONLY doing there?? Seems to me that
antifoundationalists (is that's what you are John?) almost always tend to
obscure, but never quite dispense with, the foundations in their own
arguments. Paul, at least, is clear about where he is coming from - and
obviously not at all worried about being labelled sectarian!

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