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

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Tue Sep 23 2003 - 07:51:18 EDT

Paolo -- you raise some interesting questions.  In examining the
"Illusions created by competition" or exposing the Trinity Formula,
Marx did not hold that capital was consciously aware that the 
illusions were illusions.  Yet, in the letter in question -- immediately
after writing "It is the secret by which the capitalist class maintains
its power",  he adds "And of this that class is well aware." To what
extent then is capital, and are individual capitalists, aware of the 
nature of its/their own rule?  In developing a layered theory, at what
point is class subjectivity introduced?  Can we fully comprehend 
class behavior, divisions, and awareness so long as class members 
are presumed to be wearing "character masks" ?

In solidarity, Jerry
  The book, "Persistet inequalities", by Botwinick, was an attempt to lay down the theory of competition upon which to understand that divisions within the working class are a necessary result. These divisions systematically created by the process od competition, divisions which set one segment of the working class against another, much in the way described by Marx (think about southern italians workers laboring in the north), clearly become part of the domination of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie. 
  There is however another level of analysis which should be related to intra-class divisions and this is the ideology proper to the capitalist social relations. 
  All colleagues in OPE-L know: 1. the capitalist producrion process is a process among things bought by capital. As a result the product and productivity of labor appear as an attribute of capital; 2.Original capital as a result of labor; 3. Profits as springing from total capital rather than by its variable part alone; 4. Profits as salaries of management; 5.Wages as payment for labor and not for labor power. These are all aspects of the social relations which Marx tried to de-mystify exactly for the reason that these were appearances which couvered the exploitative nature of the system. 
  How should we relate this to Marx analysis of the Irish case? Is there a continuos of analysis? How could this more general and abstract level be interwoven with the more concrete analysis presented in Marx´s quotation?   
      "This antagonism [between Irish and English workers] is artificially kept alive and intensified by 
      the press, the pulpit, the comic papers, in short by all the 
      means at the disposal of the ruling classes. It is the secret 
      of the impotence of the English working class, despite their 
      organization.  It is the secret by which the capitalist class 
      maintains its power.  And of this that class is well aware." 
      (Marx-Engels, _Selected Correspondence_, pp. 289-90). 

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