[OPE-L:2627] Re: Critique

From: Gerald Levy (glevy@PRATT.EDU)
Date: Tue Mar 28 2000 - 19:29:14 EST

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In [OPE-L:2625], Paul Z wrote:

> 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.

Well, let's consider this.

* Do you now think that there is an element of commodity fetishism in the
way in which the factory worker conceives of the assembly line or the
office worker conceives of the computer on her/his desk? Although
elements of constant fixed capital, these objects (things) seem to have a
power over their lives. Indeed, workers sometimes give them "names" (often
expletives) and conceive of the machines as their enemies.

* What about, since you mentioned time, the time clock? Note the quote
that you give above.

* What about the commodity output? E.g. do many workers not conceive of
automobiles as social beings often giving "them" (note how the language
itself promotes this usage) "names" and talking to the cars? Note, also,
how the auto manufacturers recognize this, and incorporate it within
advertising (and aren't TV commercials "things" with a power over human
minds) when they frequently name models after living beings, e.g.

* And there is money, of course. Remember the famous quote in Volume 1
from Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens" concerning gold? Have you never seen
someone kiss or caress lovingly their paycheck?

* Don't workers sometimes conceive of *themselves* as commodities and/or
machines, e.g. as mere "cogs in a wheel"? In this case there is an
inversion where human beings come to conceive of themselves as machines.
Isn't this inversion also seen in the objectification of women (and men)?

All of these are very much part of the day-to-day, minute-by-minute
experience of workers.

In solidarity, Jerry

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