Re: [OPE-L] Occupy/Resist/Produce Versus Value/ Exploitation/ Globalization

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Sat Oct 22 2005 - 08:57:28 EDT

> It depends on what the accusation is: if the accusation is that value
> is separated from capitalist exploitation in the workplace, then
> "trans-historical" (or multi-system accounts of value) need not stand
> accused just because they cannot say that wherever there is value
> production, there is capitalist exploitation (or even some form of
> exploitation through appropriation of surplus value, if there are
> systems of value production in which no exploitation occurs).


So, from your perspective, there isn't any necessary connection
between value and exploitation?

Let me suggest another interpretation:  the social relations
characteristic of workers' owned and controlled firms which
produce products for sale is NOT value and NOT exploitive.

Those workers are NOT exploited -- and it makes no sense, imo,
to refer to how workers can "exploit themselves".   While they
are connected to the capitalist economy because their products
are sold on commodity markets,  there is a very real sense in
which they are NOT part of the value relationship.

Coincidentally, I saw the movie "THE TAKE" last night at a Union-
sponsored monthly film series called "Labor Goes to the Movies."
The poster for this film series for 2005-06 is at:
Information on "The Take": .
I highly recommend this film.  Some of the issues raised in the
"bottom up" social movements in Argentina following the 2001
economic crisis are related to the debate that we had this Spring
between Mike L and John H and others.  (Perhaps Alberto and
Claudio have some first-hand experience with these social
movements in Argentina?)  In any event, given this context, I think
that the topic of workers' ownership control of factories (and offices,
etc.) should be something that we should talk about.

Now, here's the way I see it:  There is obviously a sense in which
the products made in these factories are _valued_ -- we can see
this both on the market and through transfers of products among
worker owned factories.  The workers themselves obviously think
that what they are doing is _of value_ to themselves, their families,
their communities, and their class.  However,  the social relationship
that they are part of is NOT value.  Indeed, as a social and class
relationship, there is a real sense in which their activities help to
undermine the social relationship that we call value; they are
subversive of value.

Clearly, they themselves do not believe that they are exploited.
Yet, they produce products with the intention of sale which
have a use-value and an exchange value.  Some might then say that
the products so produce express value; I would say that the products
are valued on the market and come therefore to have a price but
this does not mean that they express value; rather,  those products
might be thought of expressing ANTI - value.

In solidarity, Jerry

> >Consider the case of  commodities produced by producer
> >cooperatives in which there is worker ownership and control.
> >Clearly, the products produced by these cooperatives are
> >produced in order to be sold.  They also typically have a use-
> >value and an exchange value.  They thus represent value from
> >the perspective of those who believe that a particular social and
> >class relationship (that between wage-labour and capital) is not
> >required for the constitution of value.  Yet, there is clearly no
> >exploitation which necessarily arises in the case of the producer
> >cooperative.  Hence, the link between value and exploitation
> >is broken and the concept of value can exist without exploitation
> >in the workplace.   Paul's charge is thus misdirected:  rather
> >than being directed against value-form theorists and others who
> >emphasize the role of exchange, it should instead be directed
> >at those who have a trans-historical conception of value.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sun Oct 23 2005 - 00:00:02 EDT