Re: [OPE-L] The lump of surplus value fallacy and the Moseley paradox

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Sat Jan 12 2008 - 18:19:51 EST

I believe the contradiction you are pointing to comes from an incorrect definition 
of unproductive labour.

Dave and I give a definition in the S & S article that he cites which, we think,
resolves these contradictions.

Some of the 'unproductive' workers employed by the state turn out to be productive on closer examination.

Paul Cockshott
Dept of Computing Science
University of Glasgow
+44 141 330 3125

-----Original Message-----
From: OPE-L on behalf of Jerry Levy
Sent: Sat 12/01/2008 3:48 PM
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] The lump of surplus value fallacy and the Moseley paradox
> There is a real contradiction of interests between unproductive
> workers and productive workers.

Hi Paul C:

That depends on which group(s) of unproductive workers you
are talking about.

There are unproductive workers employed
(a) by the state;
(b) in unproductive sectors
(c) in firms which also employ productive workers.

In most cases, the interests of unproductive workers coincide with the interests of the working class as a whole (of which they are part). This is often not the case with the police or military which can (in part) have a repressive role re the working class. In  practice, organized workers - whether they be productive or unproductive - enter into coalitions and federations with each other.  Within a corporate-owned factory or office, most unproductive laborers do indeed have the same basic interests as their fellow workers - this becomes obvious if/when they belong to industrial unions.

More generally, I think it's important when considering the working class as a whole to not conceive of the class only as simple unity (and thereby ignoring the contradictions and conflicts within the class) or just as diversity (in terms of trades, skills, gender, race, etc.).  The working class, rather, must be conceived of as unity-in-diversity. This is not merely a concept, though, but reflects a real (yet uncompleted) historical process of becoming of the working class and their self-realization of themselves and their relation to each other and to the 'other'.

In solidarity, Jerry

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