(OPE-L) Re: the _struggle_ over the length of the working day

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Wed Jun 11 2003 - 08:45:53 EDT

Re: (OPE-L) Re: the _struggle_ over the length of theRe Rakesh's message dated Tuesday, June 10:

Previously I wrote:

> The quote you are evidently referring to is from Section 5 of 
> XIII ("Main Causes of Attempts at Raising Wages or Resisting 
> their Fall") of _Value, Price and Profit_   (see 
> http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1865/value-price-profit/ch03.htm ). 
> Marx wrote that "In all the cases I have considered,  and they
> form ninety-nine out of a hundred,  you have seen that a struggle
> for a rise in wages follows only in  the track of *previous* changes ..."  

Rakesh asked: 

 > Why not quote the entire paragraph, which reads: <snip, JL> <

It was a long paragraph and I gave the exact location -- and url --
of the paragraph.  I thought that was enough.

Rakesh continues:

> Marx conceives wage struggle here as  "reactions of labour against the 
> previous action of capital."

Your memory, on Monday, had Marx writing that in nine out of ten cases
"workers struggles are in fact defensive."  The paragraph that you cited
does *not* deal with workers' struggles in general -- *or* the specific issue 
under discussion in this thread, namely,  struggles over the length of
the working day -- but _only_ with struggles for increased wages. It
would be a very big mistake, imo, to conceive of workers' struggles as 
_only_ struggles over increased wages.

Rakesh then cites another paragraph 'a few pages down' which shows

> Again Marx has workers responding "against the encroachments of capital", 
> not vice versa.

Again: Marx is discussing *wage* struggles.

Rakesh continues:

> My point here is that Marx may have been wrong to conceive of 
> worker struggles in overly defensive terms.
> Perhaps he could be read  falsely casting the worker struggles as 
> defensive, 

Again: Marx didn't claim that workers' struggles in general are defensive
in nature.

> as responses to the previous actions and encroachments of 
> capital in order to embolden oppressed who would otherwise be fearful of 
> actually offending the powers that be. Perhaps Marx worked around rather 
> than assaulted the inhibitions of the oppressed who could at best see themselves 
> defending but never offending their social superiors?
> Perhaps Marx is a conservative, and theorists like John Holloway and 
> Michael Lebowitz are developing a more uninhibited radicalism.

Marx wasn't a conservative but he may have had a 19th Century 
belief that if  workers are portrayed as victims then the self-awareness of
workers as victims will help mobilize and empower them.  Psychology,
Social and otherwise --  it should be recalled -- was in its infancy when 
Marx was alive.  

In solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu Jun 12 2003 - 00:00:00 EDT