From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Mon Apr 24 2006 - 22:05:16 EDT
Re: [OPE-L] Bloody Capital and Dead Labour Cultural StudieRakesh, Wow, that was a long time ago. Here's what I think I meant. If capital fed off of the "capitalized blood of children", then capital was vampiric. But when the undead bite the living the living also become transformed into the undead. The bitten labor then, if one pursues the vampire metaphor to its logical end, would be neither living nor dead. If you see the subsequent posts I wrote shortly afterwards in early May, 1996, I raised the question of *workers' subjectivity*. To truly have subjectivity requires that workers be conceived as subjects with wills that are not totally at the command of others, unlike what happens to the victims of vampires who do not have the capacity to challenge the commands of their vampire masters. That's what I _think_ I meant, but I wrote that way back in 1996 and, frankly, had forgotten about it. The point is, though, that the notion of capital as vampiric is consistent with conceiving of labor as undead. This highlights a problem with the metaphor: it is *one-sided* since it can not conceive of workers employed by capital who truly have subjectivity. This does not mean that the metaphor should be rejected, but it does suggest that it needs to be surpassed in the further unfolding of the theory. In solidarity, Jerry PS: there seem to be some posts, including this one, which are missing from the May, 1996 archives. Fortunately, there are copies of the posts elsewhere (I had to look up the post in a cd-rom Iwao sent me _many_ years ago!) so they can be recovered. email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) Sat, 4 May 1996 04:56:48 -0700 Massimo asked in [OPE-L:2072]: > "A great deal of capital, which appears today in the United States > without any birth-certificate, was yesterday, in England, > the capitalised blood of children." (V.I. p. 921) > I guess also the quote could be dismissed on the ground that > it represents a simple metaphor, in which case I would like > ask: a metaphor for what? May I have your > distinguished views on the matter It's a vampire metaphor, of course. Taking the metaphor literally, one could refer to labor as "undead labor" -- neither completely living or truly dead.
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