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“One of the many Marx toys, have you all of them?” part 5

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This post in the Anticapitalist Chat supports a group reading of Karl Marx’s Capital Vol 1. #GoodMorningMarx #WeeklyMarx

“I have joined a family, and like all families, it's full of shit.” – Pablo Picasso on the French Communist Party.



— AL (@warendenkform) November 26, 2020


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The “bump of Christianity”:

Religious qualities are about the ideological conditions of excusing one form of slavery to ensure the full development of another. Is a “bump” like sublation or subsumption. Or does relative autonomy go up one’s nose.

Antipatros, a Greek poet of the time of Cicero, hailed the invention of the water-wheel for grinding corn, an invention that is the elementary form of all machinery, as the giver of freedom to female slaves, and the bringer back of the golden age. [74] Oh! those heathens! They understood, as the learned Bastiat, and before him the still wiser MacCulloch have discovered, nothing of Political Economy and Christianity. They did not, for example, comprehend that machinery is the surest means of lengthening the working-day. They perhaps excused the slavery of one on the ground that it was a means to the full development of another. But to preach slavery of the masses, in order that a few crude and half-educated parvenus, might become “eminent spinners,” “extensive sausage-makers,” and “influential shoe-black dealers,” to do this, they lacked the bump of Christianity.…

In this edition this is the passage p.533:

….But they lacked the specifically Christian qualities which would have enabled them to preach the slavery of the masses in order that a few crude and half-educated parvenus might become' eminent spinners ', ' extensive sausage-makers ' and ' influential shoe-black dealers '.

Even in the 19th Century there was a nascent form of interoperability.

Since the motion of the whole system does not proceed from the workman, but from the machinery, a change of persons can take place at any time without an interruption of the work. The most striking proof of this is afforded by the relays system, put into operation by the manufacturers during their revolt from 1848-1850. Lastly, the quickness with which machine work is learnt by young people, does away with the necessity of bringing up for exclusive employment by machinery, a special class of operatives. [101] With regard to the work of the mere attendants, it can, to some extent, be replaced in the mill by machines, [102] and owing to its extreme simplicity, it allows of a rapid and constant change of the individuals burdened with this drudgery.…

1968 represented the disappointment of a revolution in our lifetimes

In my view, the greatest danger to ’68 as a legacy for the global Left lies in the two most common responses to it – to treat it as an audacious but ultimately futile youthful indiscretion on the one hand, or as a romanticized, heroic, nostalgic golden age of Revolution on the other. The fact is that ’68 was in many ways a defeat for the Left of an unanticipated type. The desire for personal freedom, self-creation, liberation from the old structures, transformation of the very notion of self, and so on succeeded paradoxically in providing a vocabulary at the cultural level for neoliberalism, for the radical individualism that would create its political impasses. Here, we only have to think of social media, Apple, the Whole Earth catalogue and so forth to come up with the most glaring examples. In that sense, ’68 was a defeat, not a victory, since we still live on the same earth, and it is still characterized by the destructive force of capital and the geopolitics of empire. But it’s OK to have great defeats in the encyclopedia of the Left too. The question is what we do with this defeat. If we treat it with dispassion and indifference or even as an excuse for defeatism and conversion to the side of reaction, then it’s worth nothing, just another bundle of historical trivia without an idea in our rudderless era. If we instead insist that politics is possible, that the aims of anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, emancipatory and insurrectionary politics are just and correct, then we can newly deliver an active, passionate meaning to this historical defeat, and make its contributions a precious lexicon of struggle for our time.…

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