Re: [OPE-L] "Capitalism in crisis can only lengthen the working day" [!]

Date: Tue Sep 27 2005 - 18:47:36 EDT

On Tue, 27 Sep 2005 13:52:17 -0400
  Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM wrote:
> An excellent example of one-sided Marxism:
> "Taking this critique [Marx's critique in _Capital_, JL] as a whole, it
> is obvious that any reforms for the working class, any reduction
> in the working day for example, can only henceforth come about
> after the seizure of power by the proletariat and as steps towards
> a fully communist society."
> Obviously -- within this way of theorizing the question -- capital
> (short of revolutionary transformation) is able to impose
> its will on the working class.  This position presumes that the
> consequences of all movements for reform under late
> capitalism are inevitable.   Where is class _struggle_ in this
> conception?

I don't see how this follows. Marx understood class struggle as defensive. We have
debated this before. For thishe has been criticized by autonomist Marxism which I believe
has its philosophical rootsin the attempt to understand proletarian action in Deleuzean terms
as a line of flight or as
an active and affirmative force. I don't think Thorburn gets quite right what the influence of
Deleuze on autonomist Marxism has been, but I won't be able to attend the Historical Materialism
conference in which there is to be a panel on Deleuze and Marx.

t strikes some autonomist Marxist as jejune to understand worker action as
simply reactive and negative. This is the key, I believe, to understanding Yann Moulier
Boutang and Hardt and Negri. In short, we are dealing with an attempt to understand
the proletarian in terms of Deleuze's Nietzschean theory of forces. I think this is what
is going on from overhearing discussions about Deleuze about whom I know hardly
anything and connecting it to what I have read of autonomist Marxism.

But that said, the answer to your question is simple. Class struggle can be effective
in moderating and perhaps neutralizing capital's attempt to lengthen or intensify the working day;
or it can be succesful in saving some of the social wage so that the gap between taxes paid and
benefits received by the working class does not turn even more against the latter.

I don't understand your point about there being no room for daily and on going class struggle in
so called
one sided Marxism. Your criticism seems fairly one sided.

There is a lot of room for class struggle as a defensive mauever through which class organization
is realized, thus putting the working class in place to turn the tables in the appropriate
objective situation.

In short, I believe Grossmann's theory of class struggle is faithful to Marx's ideas. See Rick
Kuhn's latest piece in Historical Materialism, but this is not to say that Marx's ideas are beyond


> Is this article exceptional or characteristic of a widespread way
> of conceiving of  capitalism and class by many Marxists today?
> In solidarity, Jerry

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