[OPE-L:8334] Re: 'Gewinnst' from the standpoint of the working class?

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Tue Jan 14 2003 - 09:19:15 EST

A short comment on Michael E's [8324]:

> If the working class is constituted by all those subsumed under the
> value-form of wages, then every worker also has an interest in
> (monetary) gain. Such an interest conforms with capital's interest in
> making a monetary surplus through commodity production insofar as
> capital and wage labour come together by mutual agreement. C
> (snip, JL) Capital and workers have opposed
> interests within their symbiosis on the quantitative level of wages and
> also on how much labour is to be performed for a given amount of
> wage-money.

But, "to win" for workers means something more than monetary gain.
What about the aspiration that workers have for greater leisure time?

Workers are, after all, only wage-earners during part of the day.  Besides
production time there is non-production time and workers seek
collectively and historically to expand non-production time (of course,
without a decrease in their standards of living).

Consequently, two 'ethics' come into conflict: one ethic can be seen in
the bumper sticker "he who dies with the most toys wins", the other
ethic was foreshadowed by a demand from the original 8-hour-day
movement in the US (during Marx's lifetime) "8 hours for work, 8
hours for sleep, 8 hours to do as we will".   The yearning to "do as
we will"  during more of our lives comes into conflict with the
aspirations of capital and the state for us to do as _they_ will.
More broadly then, this yearning for increased leisure time represents
a yearning for freedom over the control exercised by capital and the
state in shaping all aspects of our lives.

Solidarity, Jerry

> I was wondering whether, in your recent post [OPE-L:8305] about old
> films showing the pace of work at the Ford River Rouge plant ("If one
> also views film from the 1920s and 30's and compares it to the 1970's,
> then one can see that the intensity of labor was dramatically higher in
> the earlier period before unionization.") was an effect of fewer frames
> per second in old film?

Interesting question, but there is plenty of evidence that the intensity
of labor decreased from its horrific heights after unionization and
therefore  after workers could fight against speed-up.  Before
unionization in 1941,  there  was the 'Service Department' led by the
infamous Harry Bennett, an armed unit which spied upon workers and
enforced shop rules including  a shop rule against talking (workers weren't
even allowed to talk while having lunch in the plant cafeteria).  This
climate  before unionization --  assisted by the introduction of the 
'5 dollar day' (i.e. Ford attracting wage-earners by paying workers 
wage rates significantly above the average wage in industry)  and the 
existence of an industrial reserve army -- made it possible to increase 
the intensity of labor close to the maximum possible.

> The law of inertia of quotidian social life
Who first explained this so-called 'law'?

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