Re: [OPE-L] Bloody Capital and Dead Labour Cultural Studies or the Critique of Political Economy? By Mark Neocleous

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Mon Apr 24 2006 - 23:57:54 EDT

>  > I think this is making too much of the metaphor which
>  > is not meant to throw light on the nature of workers but
>  > the nature of capital!
>My point simply was that if capital is undead then so is labor.

Again Neocleous' point is that he was the first to underline
that the vampire metaphor is meant to illuminate how
capital is undead to the extent its appropriation of sensuous labor
is successful.

You did not write about Capital as the undead for the reason
Neocleous specifies.!

>Anyone who has a little knowledge about vampire lore knows
>that those who are bitten by the undead vampires become
>undead themselves.

But that's not the point of Marx's metaphor, to call attention
to the way in which labor is undead. You were focused on that in Fall 2005;
at some point it becomes clear to OPE-L that the point of the metaphor
is that capital is undead.

>  > But I am wondering when you began to describe not labor
>  > but capital as undead.
>I don't recall when I first did so, but it is _clearly_ suggested by the
>very post from 1996 which you asked about since I was pursuing the
>vampire metaphor then and _labor could not be conceived as undead
>unless capital also was undead_.  The two points, from my perspective,
>are simply flip sides of the same metaphorical coin.

I don't think so. You did not write about labor as undead because
it was bitten by an undead capital.  That's the gloss you are putting
on your old
comments  now. What you wrote about is how the dead labor of English
child labor
lived again in the US as investment capital which should thus be
understood as undead labor.  The point seems quite
different from that of Neocleous' interpretation!

But at some point after 1996 your interpretation changes.

Neocleous' piece was published in 2003.

>  > And he did publish that idea in 2003.
>  > It seems to have been circulated in an academic conference, a major
>  > journal and on the web before it was discussed on OPE-L
>1996 came before 2003.

Again the OPE-L discussion in the Fall of 2005 seems to have
appropriated Neocleous' interpretation without acknowledgement.
I find this troublesome.

>  > It is surprising that no reference was made to it in the course of a
>  > lengthy discussion. No one did a google search on marx and
>  > vampires?
>I don't know.  I can't recall doing it, but I might have.  (All I
>really recall
>doing was an MIA search.) *If you do such a search now you will find
>843,000 references!*  I can't imagine any listmember having the patience
>to look through all of them!

Actually if you google Marx and vampires it's the first article that comes up!

>  > Did people really not know about his work on Marx and vampires?
>I can't answer for others.  But, I had no knowledge of any of his writings
>before I received a post sent to the 'mps' (marx and philosophy society) list
>by Andrew Chitty about MN's book  in November which I posted on
>OPE-L that same day.
>It's hardly surprising that OPE-L members wouldn't be familiar with an
>article published in the _History of Political Thought_ journal, is it?

Well people do google.

>  > If so, I wish someone would have cited it.
>You can't cite what you don't know about it.
>You wrote on in the vampire thread, didn't you?

No. I did not. I don't like horror movies.

>(If I recall correctly,
>you lead it in the direction of a discussion of Derrida's specters.)
>You didn't cite Neocleous's article at the time.  I think it's reasonable
>to assume simply that you didn't know about it at the time. Indeed,
>that's what _must_ be assumed about anyone in the absence of proof
>to the contrary.
>Had I known about his working paper ("Bloody Capital and Dead
>Labour") in October  then I would have lost no time letting the
>list know about it.  Of that you can be sure.  (I love a scoop!) Just as
>the very day in November I heard about his book I let OPE-L know
>about it.
>In solidarity, Jerry

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