[OPE-L:1391] Re: Re: still more on advertising and productive labour

Michael J Williams (michael@williamsmj.screaming.net)
Fri, 1 Oct 1999 10:21:30 +0100

----- Original Message -----
From: Gerald Levy <glevy@PRATT.EDU>
To: <ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu>
Sent: Thursday, September 30, 1999 2:22 AM
Subject: [OPE-L:1368] Re: still more on advertising and productive labour

> I don't understand what "charge-hands" refers to. It must be a term used
> in the UK but not in the US.

It may be an archaic term even in the UK. The last time I worked in a
factory was in the early 1970s (a shoe factory in Norwich). They were the
operatives who had in additon a degree of supervisroy power over other
operatives. The lowest level of line management, I guess. Strangely (?)
enough, they were also often the elected shop-stewards.

> Indeed, I see no reason to assume _a priori_
> that productive workers will be either more class-conscious or will have
> more of a revolutionary role that unproductive workers.

Seriously neither do I. Lots of militancy in the state sector (in the UK,
teachers, nurses, social workers, ...)
> (I think, btw, that this has been the mistaken fuel that has ignited most
> of the debates -- outside of OPE-L -- on productive vs. unproductive
> labor. I.e. there has been the implicit belief that productive labor is
> somehow "more important" than unproductive labor. Those who were
> politically active in movements aimed at organizing what are called
> "unproductive labor" and were sometimes slighted by organized political
> parties on the Left took exception to this designation. Yet, from my
> perspective -- and I think from Marx's and yours as well -- this
> distinction between productive and unproductive labor is not one that is a
> political designation nor does it suggest that the productive laborers are
> more important than unproductive laborers from the standpoint of the
> working class. From a working-class perspective, I believe that e.g.
> struggles by members of the working class who are state employees can be
> every bit as important as struggles by workers who might be designated as
> productive laborers.)

I strongly agree, as you anticipate.

Dr Michael Williams
Economics and Social Sciences
De Montfort University
Milton Keynes

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