Re: [OPE-L] status equality

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Sat Feb 12 2005 - 16:57:49 EST

> Jerry, perhaps first you (and hopefully others) can provide an
> interpretation of Engels here:
> ...the equality and equal status of all human labour, because and in
> so far as it is human labour, found its unconscious but clearest
> expression in the law of value of modern bourgeois political economy,
> according to which the value of a commodity is measured by the
> socially necessary labour embodied in it.
> From Anti-Dühring by Frederick Engels 1877


My interpretation is that Engels is confused.
To begin with,  all human labour under capitalism does not have an
equal status.
Next, the _clearest_ expression of  equality of human labour
produced under the bourgeois mode of production is to be found
in bourgeois political doctrines, e.g.  in "The Rights of Man" or
"The Declaration of Independence".
Next, the "law of value" as stated above is not that developed by
"modern bourgeois political economy" but that developed by none
other than Marx and Engels themselves. Note especially the reference
to "socially necessary labour."

> But I don't understand your point. You do not think that meal sharing
> embodies struggles over relative social status or the dissolution
> thereof. Sharing a lunch counter in the Jim Crow South?

My point is that, contrary to your earlier claim,  *dining together does
not establish status equality*.   In tens (perhaps hundreds?) of millions of
households, parents dine together with children.  This does not establish
status equality between parents and children.  In many of those same
households, men dine together with women.  That does not establish
status equality between men and women or between husbands and
wives, etc.  Indeed,  this *lack of equality* is reflected in many
culturally-specific customs associated with the meal: e.g. who does
the cooking and 'serving',  the size of portions,  who eats first, etc.  At
many of those same meals, brothers and sisters dine together. That
does not establish status equality between brothers and sisters. That
also is reflected in many customs associated with family dining.

Also outside of the family, dining together does not establish status
equality.  When 'dating' there are customs in different social
formations that reflect the different statuses of those who are
eating together. (E.g. Who pays? Who picks the spot to eat? Who
orders?, etc.)  We as faculty  can dine with students, e.g. in a
school cafeteria.  No student would be so naive to think that this
establishes status equality between students and faculty.  We as
faculty also have the misfortune of  sometimes dining with college
presidents and deans.  Neither administrators nor faculty would be
so naive to  believe that the act of dining together establishes
status equality  between college administrators and faculty.  If
a worker dines at the same table in a plant cafeteria with her or
his supervisor, this does not establish status equality. Etc.Etc.

> I am not getting your point.

Status equality is not implied by marriage.

I'm tiring so I'll leave it at that for now.

In solidarity, Jerry

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