[OPE-L:6537] Re: Non-Capital and Variable Capital

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Mon, 4 May 1998 15:32:55 -0400 (EDT)

I tried to send this message on Saturday ...

Chris asks:

> > <snip> This is because, as you
> >say, living labour must be "pumped out". Towards that end, capital must
> >confront labour as non-capital and labour comes to confront capital as
> >non-labour.
> Wow. I thought I was something of a dialectician but you have lost me there
> Jerry. Can you explain this last sentence. I could understand a different
> one in which variable capital confronts capital as non-capital and where
> labour confronts itself in the shape of non-labour (i.e. as capital =
> stored up labour).

What I meant was the following: after the "wage bargain", a precondition
for the creation of surplus value is for living labour to be "pumped out"
by capital in the labour process. In attempting to translate the
latent potential for surplus value into surplus value, capital must
confront labour as "non-capital": as a subject outside of capital that
must be controlled. On the other hand, as capital confronts labour, labour
begins to understand the antagonistic relationship between capital and
labour. Thus labour begins to identify themselves and their material
interests as "non-capital" and also begins to see capital as "non-labour"
(i.e. a separate class from the working class).

Am I being any clearer?

In solidarity, Jerry