[OPE-L:1554] isolated fragments

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Sat, 23 Oct 1999 09:30:59 -0400 (EDT)

[This constitutes a continuation of the "Lapides and Marx's wage theory"

Placed at the end of the "Results of the Immediate Process of Production"
are "Isolated Fragments" or "Separate Pages" (see what Ernest Mandel
had to say about this in the Penguin edition of Volume 1, pp. 946-947).

The subject of these fragments are quite revealing.

The subjects include:

a) the sale of labour-power and the trade unions;

b) different modes of centralization of the means of production in
     different countries;

c) Ireland. emigration;

d) expropriation and depopulation in eastern Germany during the eighteenth

e) property and capital, and;

f) the colliers

I will only briefly mention a-c here.

As we know, the _Resultate_ was *not* included in the final edition of
Volume 1 prepared for publication by Marx himself. Why he chose not to
re-work and include the whole _Resultate_ as Part 7 of Volume 1 is an
interesting question -- although it is not the question that I am going to
concentrate on here.

What I am concerned here is rather with the "fragments" a-c.

It is unclear to me where the subject of b) would be included. Perhaps in
Book 5 ("Foreign Trade")?

"Emigration" appears to be a subject belonging to "The State" (i.e. Book
4). Indeed, in the _Grundrisse_, "emigration" appears as the subject to be
presented under the subject "the concentration of bourgeois society in the
form of the state" (Penguin ed., p. 108).

So, clearly, some of the "isolated fragments" concern "Post-Capital"
subjects. I.e. subjects to be investigated at a more concrete level of
abstraction than _Capital_.

***** Where does the subject matter of "the sale of labour power and the
      trade unions" enter the theory? *****

Clearly, Marx didn't include it as a separate subject in Volume 1 or the
drafts for Volumes 2 and 3 of _Capital_. ***** Why not? *****

Let's consider alternative explanations:

a) it was a mistake on Marx's part.

   I consider this to be rather far-fetched explanation since Marx
   prepared Volume 1 in its final form for publication and there is no
   *logical reason* why the subject of trade unions should be in either
   Volumes 2 or 3.

   No, this was no "accident" made by Marx.

b) it wasn't an essential topic for _Capital_.

   One *might* hold this interpretation if one views _Capital_ as *only*
   a "critique of political economy".

     -- Yet, wasn't _Capital_ intended to be something more?

   Or, one might hold this interpretation if one views the subject of
   trade unions as entirely un-essential and contingent to the dynamic of

     -- Doesn't it seem odd to you, though, that given all of the rest of
        the historical detail in _Capital_, Marx essentially says
        *nothing* about trade unions? Do you think that he viewed trade
        unions as unimportant and trivial enough such that they wouldn't
        be included in his major work on political economy (that is, *if*
        you view _Capital_ as a "terminal work")?

    Or, one could take the position that Marx purposely chose not to
    discuss this subject in _Capital_ *because* he planned to discuss it
    in a subsequent work. This interpretation dovetails with the next.

c) he planned to write about trade unions in a separate book, i.e. the
   book on "Wage-Labour" (Book 3).

    If one rejects the interpretation that not including the subject of
    trade unions in _Capital_ was an accident and if one believe that this
    subject needs to be incorporated into the *theory* of "modern
    society", then this strikes me as the most plausible interpretation.

    One should recall that Marx intended _Capital_ to be a work which
    would be read by the the working class and the revolutionaries of his
    time. Indeed, his theoretical writings were intended to educate,
    inspire, and arm the working class.

    Thus, it seems to me that either one ends up taking the position that
    Marx viewed this subject as unimportant both from the perspective of
    explaining capitalism and educating workers and building a
    revolutionary movement *or* he didn't include it in _Capital_
    because he had other plans for dealing with the subject in Book 3.

Which of these interpretations do you support?

In solidarity, Jerry

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