[OPE-L:2625] Re: Critique

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Tue Mar 28 2000 - 16:16:15 EST

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>Andrew, your post was very usefull to me. It made me thing about the
>question of essence and appearance. In fact, if essence and appearance do
>not coincide then science ( in our case, the study of capitalism), in
>unraveling how capitalism works must necessarily unravel as well how its
>mode of working produces illusions, false consciousness, ideology. In
>this sense, the analysis of fetichism cannot be something lateral to
>issues such as labor power, exploitation, accumulation, crisis. It can
>only be an intrinsic part of the analysis. No wonder it appears in the
>analysis of the commodity; the wage; simple reproduction (context:
>initial capital as a value reproduced by labor as opposed to the idea of
>it being the result of a primal capitalist labor); profit as seemingly
>arising from circulation time (context: critique of Ricardo
>qualifications of the law of value); the appearance of profits as arising
>from all capital employed (context: transformation of surplus value into
>profit, first chapters of vol III); profit of enterprise as wages of
>supervision; interest bearing capital. It emerges at all level of
>analysis. That is no coincidence.
>Paulo Cipolla

Paulo, With few exceptions the human body is covered with skin. We must
get behind the skin for human anatomy. The skin is real but it is hardly
the whole ballgame. In more senses than one, the following quotation is

    "On leaving this sphere of simple circulation or of exchange of
commodities, which furnishes the "Free-trader Vulgaris" with his views and
ideas, and with the standard by which he judges a society based on capital
and wages, we think we can perceive a change in the physiognomy of our
dramatis personae. He, who before was the money-owner, now strides in
front as capitalist; the possessor of labour-power follows as his
labourer. The one with an air of importance, smirking, intent on business;
the other, timid and holding back, like one who is bringing his own hide
to market and has nothing to expect but -- a hiding." (Marx, *Capital*,
last paragraph Part II).

The violent struggle between the two main classes I referred to between
the Homestead, PA steel workers and the Carnegie/Frick capitalist is a
dramatic lifting of the commodity veil, but only to the world OUTSIDE the
workplace; inside the skin was already removed.

In other words, workers' understanding is typically already beyond that
stage of being deeply masked by the commodity veil, altho the veil is much
thicker in merchandising, banking, stock broking, etc.

All this is why I asked Andrew "who educates us" to know the important
themes within Marx. Over-emphasing "fetishism" is a failure to
incorporate the material reality of the hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute
("damn it; why doesn't that clock move!"), every day and night workplace.


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