Re: [OPE-L] Ch. 7 as starting point for reading Capital???

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Tue Jun 19 2007 - 23:47:17 EDT

>A request for help.
>I think someone on this list (Rakesh, perhaps?) made a comment once about
>Althusser advising people to start reading Capital from ch.7. Is this right?
>Does anyone have a reference, or even a quote?
>Many thanks if you can help me on this.

If I said that I was mistaken. Althusser recommends beginning with
Part II, chapter 4.  Korsch  said to begin with Chapter 7, though it
would not serve as a good description of a wafer production facility
or an automated assembly line!

>That is why I want to recommend to the beginner an approach that
>diverges somewhat from Marx's advice on a suitable start for the
>ladies (wherein we may sense a certain deference to the prejudices
>of his own time!). I hope that the approach I recommend will enable
>the reader to attain a full understanding of Capital just as
>readily, or even more readily than if he were to begin with the
>difficult opening chapters.
>It is best, I think, to begin with a thorough perusal of Chapter 7
>on 'The Labour Process and the Process of Producing Surplus-value'.
>There are, it is true, a number of preliminary difficulties to be
>overcome, but these are all internal to the matter in hand, and not
>due, as are many difficulties in the preceding chapters, to a really
>rather unnecessary artificiality in the presentation. What is said
>here refers directly and immediately to palpable realities, and in
>the first instance to the palpable reality of the human work
>process. We encounter straightaway a clear and stark presentation of
>an insight essential for the proper understanding of Capital - the
>insight that this real-life work process represents, under the
>present regime of the capitalist mode of production, not only the
>production of use-values for human eventually through the difficult
>parts as well as the simpler passages of the book should save this
>part up until he really does come to the end of Part 7, for Part 8
>was intended by Marx as a final crowning touch to his work.

Now that all this is all on line I can see that I spent way too much
of my limited resources buying copies of all these books!

In the course of our discussions Fred Moseley said I think that
chapter 7 is the most important chapter. Obviously an intriguing
position but he did not elaborate.

Yours, Rakesh

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