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

Date: Tue Sep 27 2005 - 23:45:02 EDT

On Tue, 27 Sep 2005 23:21:09 -0400
  Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM wrote:
>> > It is "one-sided Marxism"  because it  assumes that whatever capital
>> > wants, capital gets.  Hence the presumption that when capitalism is
>> > in crisis the outcome in reference to the length of the working day
>> > can _only_ be a lengthening.
>> Non responsive.
> Rakesh:
> It was most certainly responsive: it  was an explanation of why the
> article that I cited ["Capitalism in crisis can only lengthen the working
> day"]  was an example of 'one-sided Marxism'.  You wrote previously
> that you didn't understand my  point in reference to this article and that
> my criticism "seems fairly one sided."   My post was an explanation of
> _why_ that article was an instance of one-sided Marxism.
>> Class struggle can moderate the rate at which the working day is
>> lengethened and intensified.
> Yes, class struggle can "moderate" the length of the working day.
> It can also lead to a _decrease_ in the length of the working day.

It has lead to a decrease in said length. But the question is whether that gain
can be preserved or is it a question of the rate at which it will be reversed.
That is, it could be argued that capital will and can no longer allow for
continuous material gains but will in seek to reverse them. Class struggle
attempts to stymie that even if it is no successful in ensuring progress.
But the reason for end of progress may be rooted in the material conditions
of accumulation. Again this is not a new position. I have not defended it; you
have not actually critiqued it.

The point is that even if we assume the position to be true, it does not follow as you
claimed that there is then no room for class struggle.

Please see that you are simply wrong about this..

> Do not assume that all struggles for a decrease in the length of the
> working day are a defensive response by workers to attempts by
> capitalists to increase the length of the working day.


> of the major reasons historically that workers have fought for a
> shorter working day is to have a greater amount of time for leisure
> (hence the slogan from the 8-hour-day movement: "8 hours to
> sleep; 8 hours to work; 8 hours to what we will").
For Marx, the shorter working day does not reverse the trend for the
rate of exploitation to rise. It only slows it down, but it is still a material
gain. But if capital demands an ever higher s/v, even such material gains
may be reversed; it is no longer a matter of small material gains that
do not interfere with a rising s/v.
Again this theoretical understanding of accumulation may be quite wrong.
But you are not making contact with it, and I don't have time for the ABCs
of this.

> Class struggle can also "moderate" the intensification of labor -- in
> the sense (if I understand you correctly) that workers can succeed
> through collective action in not allowing capitalists to increase the
> intensity of labor to the extent that capitalists want.
> It can also lead to a _decrease_ in the intensity of labor.

Sure. it can and it doubtless has. But the claim here is not historical;
it is theoretical and predictive about the late consequences of accumulation.

I am getting tired of this.

>> > It is one-sided also in the following because it presumes that
>> > reductions in the length of the working day -- and indeed "any reforms
>> > for the working class" -- can _only_ occur after the "seizure of
>> > power" by the working class.
>> Again it does not follow from this (that positive gains are no longer
>> possible)  that on going daily class struggle is dismissed as ineffectual
>> or unimportant.
> _If _ "any reforms for the working class" can _only_ be won after the
> seizure  of power" by the proletariat (see quote below), _then_ working
> class struggles for reforms under capitalism are indeed ineffectual.

Yes but it does not follow that working class struggle is ineffectual.
  there is still room for
class struggle in this vision.  Again you were simply wrong in some
of your critticism of this one sided Marxism, but I don't think you have
ever admitted that you have been wrong about a damn thing.

So good bye,


> Recall again that the purpose of my previous post was to explain why
> the "Capitalism in crisis can only lengthen the working day"  article is
> mistaken.
>>   Hence, the class struggle is not a struggle at all -- the results
>> > are pre-determined and dictated by the will, actions, and structure
>> > of capital.
>> Again this does not follow. The logical flaw is glaring.
> The logical flaw is on the part of the author of the article. Recall again
> the crucial word "only."
>> Again the defensive view of class struggle can be criticized as not
>> Marx's own and/or  flawed in itself. But there is no reason to
>> caricature it.
> I wasn't presenting a caricature of the article. The title of the article
> wasn't a paraphrase; it was an exact quote.  The following isn't a
> summary in my words of the point of the article; it is a direct quote
> from the article.
> If you don't agree with the points made in the article, that's fine.
> Indeed, it's more than fine.  It's good.  But, before we move on
> to other positions, including your own, I want to see if there is
> agreement that the article that  I  cited (see below) was indeed an
> excellent example of one-sided Marxism.
> In solidarity, Jerry
>>"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."

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