(OPE-L) Re: the secret by which the capitalist class maintains its power

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Wed Sep 17 2003 - 20:06:35 EDT

Previously I asked:

4) Is it accurate to say today (i.e. re contemporary
capitalism) that working-class division is the "secret by which 
the capitalist class maintains its power"?

Mike L responded:

        I'm afraid that I would say 'no'--- no more than in 1870 when Marx wrote his letter. The premise is that a united working class in itself would be sufficient to take away that power. However, insofar as the wage-form in itself is the basis for 'all the notions of justice held by both the worker and the capitalist, all the mystifications of the capitalist mode of production...' and insofar as the mystification of capital means that all social productivity and wealth appear to be the result of capital, there is a more fundamental reason for capital's power than the lack of organisation of workers. We have to remember why Marx wrote CAPITAL.

There is another issue as well.  Even if the working class is united, the 
question remains:  unity for what?   In some historical cases, working-
class unity might have been the "secret" by which the capitalist class
maintained power.  E.g. the Peron regime in Argentina was widely 
supported by the organized working class yet it did not represent a threat
to capitalism.  (Claudio,  Alberto:  do you agree?).   There can, for instance,
be class unity around  reformism or social democracy.  A related question: 
unity at whose expense?   If, for instance, there is "unity"  that takes
the form of suppressing demands by segments of the class (e.g.
oppressed national minorities, women, etc.), then is that unity really
capable of challenging class rule by the bourgeoisie?  It strikes me
therefore that achieving the goal of unity is more complex than is
commonly supposed and it by no means *by itself* assures

In solidarity, Jerry

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