Re: [OPE-L] The HM [Haunted and Mysterious] Conference

From: Riccardo Bellofiore (riccardo.bellofiore@UNIBG.IT)
Date: Wed Oct 26 2005 - 04:12:33 EDT


I don't know what created to you so many problems 
in the title of my paper. I think it is a good 
piece of scholarship(though I am the last you 
should say that, I know!), based on a close 
rereading of Capital (also in the original): but 
the analogy takes a couple of lines (and the 
title) ... As for Marx, I think my reference to 
vampres should be read in the context of my paper.

You are right: I saw gothic films, but I am not a 
fan of horror stories, so my culture here is 
lacking. Though I liked very much "They live", by 
John Carpenter, 1988, which is quite up to the 
point here, though not a gothic horror stories, 
don't you think?

But my use of the vampire analogy is going 
exactly in the opposite direction of Ian. Marx's 
vampires are very active, they are parasites but 
the reality we are talking about does not exist 
without this activity. Here we have one of the 
most distinctive differences between capital and 
other modes of production.

The problem is that capital is a very special 
kind of subject: it is a pseudo subject, but it 
is THE Subject.

For the rest, Jerry, I find your mail 
enlightening. Thanks. Btw, you show quite 
convincingly the vampire analogy is recurrent and 


At 0:00 -0400 26-10-2005, Jerry Levy wrote:
>  > Marx was clearly referring to vampire bats, who live off other
>>  animals by sucking their blood: the analogy was intended to imply
>>  that capitalists were parasites.
>Hi Ian:
>While I agree that the analogy was intended to suggest that
>capitalists are parasites [NB: one could claim that in _any_
>class society, the ruling class is parasitic], I do not agree with
>your suggested interpretation -- especially the assertion that
>Marx was "clearly" referring to vampire bats.
>Against that interpretation, I offer the following:
>1.  Even during Marx's time and culture, the meaning of  "vampires"
>and "vampire bats" had two quite different meanings.
>2.  As far as I can determine, Marx never referred to vampire
>3.  Let us recall that Marx used the vampire analogy _repeatedly_
>throughout his life.   A  listing of  the works where he referred to
>vampires includes:
>-- Justification of the Correspondent from the Mosel (1843)
>-- The German Ideology (1845)
>-- The Holy Family (1845)
>-- Neue Rheinsiche Zeitung, No. 297 (May, 1849)
>-- Class Struggles in France (1850)
>-- 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon (1852)
>-- Letter to Engels (6/22/1867)
>-- The Civil War in France (1871)
>If you read these other instances in which he referred to vampires,
>I think it's pretty clear that he was referring to vampires,
>not vampire bats.
>4.   The analogy that he was making regarding capitalists and
>workers was of a member of one _species_ preying upon
>members of the _same species_.  Even though vampires are
>undead, they were once living human beings, not an altogether
>different species.  In this sense, the vampire bat analogy would
>not work as well for what Marx was trying to convey.
>5.  The analogy to vampires  has a lot more literary flair and
>meaning within the culture of Marx's time than the more
>mundane analogy to vampire bats.
>Would you care to re-consider?
>In solidarity, Jerry

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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