Re: [OPE-L] vampire blues

From: Riccardo Bellofiore (riccardo.bellofiore@UNIBG.IT)
Date: Wed Oct 05 2005 - 06:40:23 EDT

the problem are not capitalists, but value, 
money, and capital. the issue here is a ghost 
turning into a vampire, passing through 
possession or incarnation, and needing a fluid of 
some other living entity made internal.

you think this is trans-historical? me not.

but, as we say in Italy, amici come prima (friends as before).

and definitely I do not want to push the thing too far.


At 11:21 +0100 5-10-2005, Michael Williams wrote:
>"Perhaps we should have saved this topic for discussion near the
>end of the month ....
>In solidarity, Jerry
>Or perhaps until very early April?
>From: OPE-L [mailto:OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU] On Behalf Of Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
>Sent: 05 October 2005 00:45
>Subject: Re: [OPE-L] vampire blues
>  > in Capital as a vampire? definitely, yes
>Capitalists as blood-suckers is a variation on the trans-historical
>image of the ruling class as parasites.
>Let us consider the vampire analogy -- and all it implies -- more
>The analogy to bloodsucking is colorful but misleading.  It is
>not workers' blood that capitalists survive on, it is by
>capitalizing on what they produce.    The commodity is not
>the blood of workers even if it was produced with workers'
>blood, sweat, and tears.
>There is no distinction that capitalists make between virgin workers
>and experienced ones.  If anything, experiences ones -- to the degree
>that they have more skill -- are more highly prized.   Virginity
>has special meaning in Victorian society when the Dracula myth
>was popularized;  capitalists are willing to exploit both virgins and
>non-virgins equally.
>Sunlight is poisonous for vampires.  Not so for capital.  All
>hours of the day are utilized where possible to accumulate
>capital (and, contrary to the image in Volume 1) consume
>unproductively surplus value.  Also, the extraction of surplus
>value (unlike the extraction of blood by vampires) takes place
>during all hours of the working day rather than only during the
>Vampires are neither living nor dead -- they are undead.  This might
>seem to fit in rather well with the imagery of capitalists as capital
>personified.  It certainly fits in well with the predatory nature of
>capitalists as a class.
>Yet, if capitalists are vampires what does that make workers?
>Once bitten by a vampire one joins the undead and is condemned
>*forever* to slavishly follow the commands of  one's master.
>There is *absolutely* no room for subjectivity or revolt on the part of
>the bitten.  Thus, the only prospect for defeating the vampire must
>come from an *external* source -- i.e. somebody who has never been
>bitten.    This perhaps represents a fantasy of capital but by no
>means a reality.  A good thing too since the working class could
>never be the "gravediggers" of capital and "expropriate the
>expropriators" if that were true.
>Thus, if one believes that this is the message of _Capital_ then
>all hope is lost and all struggle by workers is impossible since
>the bitten can not struggle against their vampire master: their
>blood has been poisoned and they have no will. If this is the
>message then it is not a revolutionary one.
>It is therefore a nice analogy but one that is highly misleading
>if we take it too literally.
>  > my point is that the commodity compels Marx to speak the
>  > language of ghosts and vampires.
>He spoke the language of ghosts throughout his literary career.  For
>fun I did a search at in the Marx archive at 
><> (click
>on Marx's head) by typing in "ghost."   For an atheist, there
>were an enormous quantity of references to ghosts -- and on
>*many* more topics than just the commodity.
>A "specter" is haunting Europe!  It is not the specter of capital, is it?
>Rather, the specter is communism  -- an image that is quite contrary
>to the imagery of workers as lacking in subjectivity and only capable
>of following the commands of their vampire master.
>Perhaps we should have saved this topic for discussion near the
>end of the month ....
>In solidarity, Jerry
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Riccardo Bellofiore
Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche
"Hyman P. Minsky"
UniversitÓ di Bergamo
Via dei Caniana 2
I-24127 Bergamo, Italy
direct    +39-035-2052545
secretary    +39-035 2052501
fax:      +39 035 2052549

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