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

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Wed Oct 26 2005 - 16:12:57 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 <snip, JL>

Hi Riccardo:

I'm sure it _is_ a good piece of scholarship.

The problem wasn't with the title of the paper _per se_.
The problem that I had was your claim about _how literally_
this metaphor and analogy should be interpreted.

Recall earlier discussions this month on the list about (what
I view as) the metaphors of embodiment, crystallization, and

What I wanted to show in this thread are the dangers of taking
the ghostly and vampire-like analogies _too_ literally.

You might recall that this is not the first time on this
list when the question of metaphors, literary allusions, and
analogies in _Capital_ and other writings on political economy
by Marx have come up for discussion: it represents a tension
between those who advocate "embodied" and/or "congealed"
interpretations of value and others who resist those interpretations,
including value-form theorists.

> <snip, JL> ... As for Marx, I think my reference to
> vampres should be read in the context of my paper.

Fair enough.

> 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?

I also very much enjoyed "They Live" (despite an overly
long gratutitous fight scene and a cheesy ending) but
I think it is a work of science fiction and a political
satire, not a horror film.

Other science fiction films worth remembering in the
context of the ghoulish nature of capital are "Solyent
Green" with Charlton Heston and E.G. Robinson (a futuristic
plot where the main food conglomerate sells recycled human
meat for human consumption) and "Coma" (where the body parts
of people who are in a coma are harvested and sold by a
private firm to the highest bidder).

> 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.

Well ... I think that Ian makes a valid point when he
claims that the purpose of the analogy was to suggest
a parasitic relationship.  This was an important
point for Marx to make _politically_: i.e. if capitalists
are parasites then it points the way towards _workers'
control and ownership_ as a feasible alternative to

Replying to Andy B:

*Even if* capital is "undead",  workers are not like
those who have been bitten by vampires.  Don't you
see why?

In solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu Oct 27 2005 - 00:00:03 EDT