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

From: Andrew Brown (A.Brown@LUBS.LEEDS.AC.UK)
Date: Wed Oct 26 2005 - 04:51:14 EDT

Actually I think the notion of 'undead' is entirely in keeping with Riccardo's position and Marx's.
Yes constant capital is dead labour but the whole point is that, as part of capital, dead labour *actively* feeds off the living. So it isn't ordinary dead labour, it is *not* analgous to dead people per se. Rater it is analogous to a dead person who is active and interacting with the living. Now, one way of putting this is that value is 'ghostly'. This is exactly how Marx does put it prior to introducing the capital form. However, in the capital form then its not just a ghost but a blood (living labour) sucking ghost so the switch to a vamprie analogy, to the 'undead', seems entirely appropriate. 
Many thanks

	-----Original Message----- 
	From: OPE-L on behalf of Jerry Levy 
	Sent: Tue 25/10/2005 13:59 
	Subject: Re: [OPE-L] The HM [Haunted and Mysterious] Conference

	>  If capital is dead labour sucking living
	> labour to grow as more dead labour, where's
	> the problem in the analogy with vampires?
	You have not watched enough Gothic horror films.
	Vampires in literature and film are NOT dead -- they
	*UNDEAD*.    The vampire analogy that you, following
	Marx, are asserting would only work if the capital
	represented  _undead_ labor  and  when bitten by the
	vampire-capital workers become _slaves_ to capital.
	That, however, makes no sense if it meant to describe
	the exploitation of workers by capital.
	It is worthwhile to recall that Bram Stoker began research
	for _Dracula_ in 1890 and published that book in 1897.
	This, of course, was decades after the first edition of Volume I
	of _Capital_ was published (1867). This suggests that the
	vampire that Marx was thinking of when he wrote the famous
	vampire quote was _not_ Dracula_.   It's also worthwhile
	noting that the Dracula Myth was (very!) loosely based on
	the legend of an actual historical character -- Vlad the
	Impaler, a Rumanian royal from the 14th Century.  It
	was Stoker, however, who transformed the bloody Vlad
	the Impaler legend into a _vampire_ legend.  Note further
	that the vampire legend is also associated with the superstitions
	that arose in Medieval Europe under feudalism and in that
	sense are cultural remnants of feudalism that survived into
	the modern bourgeois epoch.  For the analogy to work (no
	pun intended) wage-workers have to be re-conceived as
	*not* workers.
	In solidarity, Jerry

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