Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today by John Holloway

Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today by John Holloway

Author:John Holloway [Holloway, John]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Revolution, Protest, Politics, Activism, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Non-Fiction, Anarchism, Marxism
ISBN: 9780745318639
Amazon: 0745318630
Goodreads: 182864
Publisher: Pluto Press
Published: 2002-05-19T23:00:00+00:00


What of the workers in the factories, the industrial proletariat? Are they not central to the concept of class struggle? Is work not central to the whole understanding of the antagonism of capitalist society?

The central site for the separation of doing and done is production. The production of the commodity is the production of the separation of subject and object. Capitalist production is the production by the workers of surplus value, a surplus which, although produced by the workers, is appropriated by the capitalist. By producing a surplus as surplus value, the workers are producing their own separation from the object produced. They are, in other words, producing classes, producing their own class-ification as wage labour: ‘Does an operative in a cotton-factory produce nothing but cotton goods? No, he produces capital. He produces values that give fresh command over his labour, and that, by means of such command, create fresh values’ (Marx 1965, p. 578).

In production, then, the worker in producing an object produces at the same time her own alienation from that object and thereby produces herself as wage labourer, as de-subjectified subject. Capitalist production involves the ever renewed separation of subject and object. It also involves the ever renewed bringing together of subject and object but as alienated subject and object. The relation between subject and object is an unhinged relation, with value as its (un)hinge. The category of value faces both ways. On the one hand, the fact that value is the product of abstract labour points to capital’s absolute dependence upon labour and its abstraction. On the other hand, value conceptualises the separation of the commodity from labour, the fact that it acquires an autonomous existence quite independent of the producer. Value, then, is the process of subordinating the strength of the worker to the domination of her autonomised product.

But the separation of the worker from the means of production is just part (although a central part) of a more general separation of subject and object, a more general distancing of people from the possibility of determining their own activity. The notion of the separation of the worker from the means of production directs our minds to a particular type of creative activity, but in fact this very distinction between production and doing in general is part of the fragmentation of doing that results from the separation of doing and done. The fact that the de-subjectification of the subject appears simply as the separation of the workers from the means of production is already an expression of the fetishisation of social relations. The separation of the worker from the means of production (in the classic sense) is part of, generates and is supported by, a more general process of de-subjectifying the subject, a more general abstracting of labour. Hence value production, surplus value production (exploitation) cannot be the starting-point of the analysis of class struggle, simply because exploitation implies a logically prior struggle to convert creativity into labour, to define certain activities as value producing.

Exploitation is


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