[OPE-L:7951] Re: Re: John Holloway on time

From: John Holloway (johnholloway@prodigy.net.mx)
Date: Thu Nov 07 2002 - 08:36:57 EST

Dear Rakesh,

    Many thanks for your comments. 

    Yes, I think I agree with what you say. Yes, alienated activity is prior
to the proletarians in the way that you say. To start from proletarians
independent of their activity is to treat them as victims, as objects; to
start from their activity, their doing, is to see them/us as subjects and
open the possiblity of revolution. 

    Your verb-entities and noun-entities are interesting, though
verb-entities still involve a freezing of verbs as nouns, don't they. Could
we imagine a world of verbs? Could we write a comprehensible article without
nouns? Is that any more ridiculous than asking if we could live without
fetishes, if we could support the intensity of a self-determining society?
Or are we too damaged?

    In any case, I think that breaking down noun-entities is a precondition
for thinking about revolution. But that's what Marx says when he says that
capital is not a thing but a social relation.

    Your comments are very welcome - it's great to have things expressed the
other way around.

>From: Rakesh Bhandari <rakeshb@stanford.edu>
>To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
>Subject: [OPE-L:7908] Re: John Holloway on time
>Date: Tue, Nov 5, 2002, 1:36 AM

>Dear John,
>I am sure unsure of what I say here that I hesitate to submit it. 
>There may well be non sequitars and philosophical howlers, but I'll 
>take a chance given our no citation policy.
>Well, I do agree of course that proletarian doing is the doing of 
>workers and thus cannot have ontological or conceptual priority over 
>the doers themselves; it would seem that  this process of alienated 
>labor is ownership attributable with respect to a substantial agent, 
>viz. the worker. Of course some processes, e.g, the erosion of a 
>shoreline or the vibrancy of a magnetic field, are not really the 
>machinations of identifiable things/agents/substances. But the labor 
>process is surely the doing of workers.   Yet doesn't alienated 
>laboring activity have (either conceptual or ontological) priority 
>over proletarians since the latter are constituted by (or in and 
>through) the former? Wouldn't Werner Bonefeld agree?
>  I read you to mean that we can't understand proletarian labor simply 
>as the activity of proletarians since the latter are a product of or 
>constituted by  the former.  Proletarians do not only produce use 
>values and surplus value but also constitute themselves and their 
>condition.  Unlike machines whose parts no matter how well they work 
>together have nothing to do with building machines,  proletarians as 
>a class are in fact a self-organizing and self-reproducing entity. A 
>machine implies an external agent, a machine maker; a living organism 
>is self-organizing entity. In living activity Marx found a basis for 
>a philosophy of vital materialism on the basis of which he broke with 
>mechanical materialism implicit in the Englightenment and positivism.
>  Marx  discovered in the proletariat not only privation and exclusion 
>but also the active principle or the activity which makes and remakes 
>the world. As Marx and Engels say in reply to Feuerbach in the German 
>Ideology, man is not a sensuous object but a sensuous activity. Marx 
>defines man as a verb, not a noun; he is a philosopher of activity or 
>process, not substance.
>If we consider storms and heat waves verb-entities rather than noun 
>entities such as dogs and oranges, perhaps we should consider the 
>proletariat as a self constituting verb entity, not a noun entity 
>such as an agent or a thing. Perhaps thinking of the proletariat as a 
>verb entity rather than a noun entity makes it easier to talk about 
>what would be entailed by the self abolition of the proletariat (an 
>expression also from the German Ideology)?  What does the critique of 
>nouns and perduring things in favor of the verbs or processes by 
>which they are constituted suggest in terms of workers' understanding 
>of their own ("noun") identities? That their own identities are not 
>perduring things but no less results of their own alienated activity 
>than commodities? Moishe Postone develops this theme, if I remember 
>John, if these comments do not make any contact with what you are 
>tying to say, please feel free to ignore them, and I shall leave 
>behind the ideas which I have in my head from another mss.
>All the best, Rakesh

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