[OPE-L:2434] Re: Chapter 5 and Marx's method

McGloneT@aol.co (McGloneT@aol.com)
Thu, 30 May 1996 15:24:38 -0700

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Fred,--Your post summarizing your discussion with Gil on Chapter 5 and
Method sparked some interest with me. I agree that the main point of Ch. 5
is that surplus value cannot be explained on the basis of the exchange of
On logical method, however, when you understand Marx "to take the
totality of capitalist production as the subject" I want to raise another
point of view, that of the totality as new beginning. By this I mean that
the subject of Capital is actually what develops in opposition to capital,
and that is the labor-er, who, in order to be free from capitalism must
create a totally new type of society. I emphasis that the totality in Marx's
concept of any social formation, including the capitalist mode of production
includes the resistance of the subject as human being. Subject just cannot
be confined to the object, (even in the sense of subject matter), which is in
this case capitalist production. Thus the totality, capital, contains within
itself the highest opposition (development of revolt, the "gravediggers" of
capitalism) which is the path to a new beginning.
I say this also as a response to past debates in the literature
that followed the publication of Harry Braverman's Labor and Monopoly
Capital. Bowles and Ginits, Chantal Mouffe and Laclau, et. al., claimed that
labor-power was a fictitious commodity. (You can see the same charge in Karl
Polanyi's Great Transformation). These writers claimed that the resistance
of the subject could not be seen in the logic of capital because the
extraction of labor from labor-power followed automatically in an
economically determinist way in the structure of Marx's understanding of
capitalist production. I, of course, disagree that the logical method and
economic categories of Marx exclude the resistance of the subject.
I have to break off soon to attend a graduation ceremony. I
think that it is incredibly important to recognize that results become
presuppostions in Marx's method of exposition. The presuppositions of
capitalist production exist before the, strictly speaking, capitalist mode of
production itself does. The capitalist mode of production emerges
historically when capital takes hold of the process of production itself. In
the Resultate, I think, Marx calls this a revolution in the mode of
production itself. Now the capitalist mode of production, the result of
previous development, becomes itself the presupposition and foundation for
further development. If you understand reproduction on the basis of the mode
of production, then I agree with you that the capitalist mode of production
reproduces capitalist relations and its own "premises."