From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Thu Nov 23 2006 - 15:52:16 EST
>Quoting Rakesh Bhandari <bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU>: > >> >In the problematic within which I am working, the key category is >> >not the free subject, whose existence I believe to be a philosophical myth >> >reflecting the requirements of the juridical/moral >> >level of the state apparattus, but labouring capacity. >> >> >> Abstract laboring capacity or potential is difficult to talk about >> because we always >> only see it instantiated in one concrete form of another. a > >No more than many other scientific abstractions. Energy, which >is a close analogue in Marx's discourse, also exists in concrete >forms, but that does not make potential energy any less valid >as a concept. > >We can do empirical measurements of abstract labouring capacity, this >is what the capitalist discipline of work-study does. It quantifies >the average amount of time to perform a task with the average worker. >We know that workers can be transferd between tasks, this is the >key to the abstraction. Just as energy can transfer between forms, >so can abstract labour in two ways: > >1. In any society by a reallocation of individuals between tasks >2. IN commodity producing society by the exchange of embodied labours. The capacity for what kind of work and labor do humans have? > > > >> So it may >> be no less a metaphysical >> concept than free will. Slave makers have always denied that slaves >> have the same capacities >> or potentials that they do on the basis of what slaves do. >> > >Yes, but this is class ideology, just like the racist ideologies >about different labouring capacities of black and white peoples. > >I agree by the way, that race is a social rather than a genetic >category, but as such it has clearly had real effectivity. OK. > > >> At any rate,there is indeed an important difference in the dynamics >> of human and >> ant slavery because in the former slaves are either individually or >> collectively >> resisting in hidden ways or struggling to buy manumission or >> ingratiating themselves to win favor or risking death in the attempt to >> escape. > >I think this is an unsafe generalisation. Slaves certainly have struggled >for freedom, but whether this is universal is quite another issue. >Ingratiation >is also another strategy that will have been common. So you see no difference in the kind of ingratation a slave is capable of as compared to a dog? And you don't think that affects the dynamics of slavery differently than your pet relationship? > But it is not >clear that either of these are uniquely human. I have a dog that is >the very image of servile ingratiation, and bulls for example, have >at times to be subject to considerable constraint. Which is under genetic control. The responses by slaves are not that; there are degrees of freedom here and choices in a meaningful way. That makes slavery the institution it is with the dynamics it has. It's just a bad metaphor to read that back into the animal world or the world of animal husbandry. > > >> >> This is one reason why the human mode of slave production has an >> essentially different dynamic >> than the ant mode of slavery. > >This may be true, but one should not assume that insect societies >are free from class conflict, recently the struggles of worker bees have begun to be documented and understood. The class struggle of worker bees? No citation. Is this a joke? I'm done. Rakesh > > >> >> You dismiss the question of whether ants have behavioral equivalents >> to these forms >> of resistance by saying that the question arises out of a humanist >> problematic. Saying that of course >> does not prove that ants do have behavioral equivalents. > >Agreed, it just means that the significance attached to it >may be different. > > >> >> >> And I certainly deny that slaves (or slave masters) are free to make >> the world any way they wish--I have not said anything which implies >> a naive belief in the power of free will; how they respond will >> depend on constraints out of their control, but those constraints > > never eliminate the degrees of freedom which slaves as members of the >> homo sapiens species have. That is, slaves are homo sapiens not the >> beasts and animals slave masters have historically thought that they >> were. > >Obviously slaves are constrained. The very ideology of free will has >always depended on the contradistinction between the situation of >the free citizen and the slave. What I was getting at was that you >locate the key difference between the situation of human and other >animal property in the subjectivity of the slave, I locate it in >their labouring capacity. Thus elephants, however cruel their treatment, >and whatever their subjective capacities - which may be as great >as our own - are not slaves as their labour is not redeployable >into any trade or profession. > >The hypothetical neanderthal captives would have been slaves, since >their labouring capacity would have been equivalent to the hominids >controlling them. > > >> And human slavery also cannot be compared to ant slavery for >> functional reasons. >> Human slavery is motivated by conspicuous consumption, maximal >> profit making and/or sexual pleasure. Entomology has nothing to teach >> us about this. > >I suspect that there is a more basic biological imperative. >Look at the comparative survival and reproduction rates of >slave owners versus non slave owners. The slave owners will >have been better fed and more likely to see their children >survive. This trait is shared with ant slavers. > > > >> > >> >I would say that slaves are those subordinate organisms whose >> >labouring capacity is equivalent to that of the enslaving species. >> >> >> Well this seems to say that slavery is then an intra homo sapien affair! >> YOu don't agree with Jerry that even elephants are enslaved. And wouldn't >> the domesticated ants no longer have the same laboring capacity has >> the slave making ants, so >> no slavery among ants by this definition, right? > >As I understand it, the labouring capacity of the slave ants >is the same as the masters. >> > >---------------------------------------------------------------- >This message was sent using IMP, the Internet Messaging Program.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu Nov 30 2006 - 00:00:06 EST