31 December 2005

Morales to visit South Africa - Prensa Latina


Forty-seven years ago, on January 1st, 1959, in the town of Santiago de Cuba, comrade Fidel Castro addressed the people from the balcony of the city hall to declare a new era after a century of struggle for independence and dignity. January 1st is Cuba’s biggest national day of celebration. The same comrade - still up to now President Fidel Castro - has this week welcomed another comrade, Evo Morales, newly elected President of Bolivia, to Cuba (see the linked document). In the article, Prensa Latina announces that Evo Morales will be visiting South Africa! Link (1):

Fidel Castro Welcomes Evo Morales (1 page)

30 December 2005

Make it stick

Dear Comrades, The Communist University wishes you a revolutionary New Year! This is the CU Year of the Women. Hence the newly arrived piece herewith - the concluding chapter of Angela Davis’ book on Women, Race and Class. The way forward is still the same as she wrote it, a quarter of a century ago. Yours in struggle. Links (1): 1981, Angela Davis, Women, Race and Class, Chapter 13 (11 pages)

We can work it out

Dear Comrades, Here is the year-end message of the SACP, from our General Secretary, Comrade Dr Blade Nzimande. With equal pleasure I also pass on Cuba’s message of solidarity with Comrade Evo Morales, the new President of Bolivia. You also have the SACP statement on the Matric examination results. Business Day on Wednesday reported a breakthrough agreement on trade with China. It could be really good news, if it can develop into a good long-term bilateral relationship. Links (4): 1. SACP End of the Year Statement and New Year Message (4 pages) 2. Cuba to Evo Morales, With your victory, a new history is born (1 page) 3. SACP Statement on 2005 Matric Results (1 page) 4. SA, China agree to curbs on cheap imports, Business Day (1 page)

28 December 2005

You want a revolution

Dear Comrades, In case you are getting bored in this time between Christmas and New Year, here is some good reading. Peter McLaren and his colleague have really laid it down on organic intellectuals and critical pedagogy - which is nothing less than the theory of educating, organising, and mobilising as demanded by the SACP constitution. Secondly, here is another installment in our occasional series of “Revolutionary Classics”, from the first of Karl Marx’s three great books on France. And thirdly, via our Cuban comrades, an update on the baseball situation from the USA. Yours in struggle, Dominic Links (3): 1. 2005, McLaren and Fischman, Gramsci, Freire, Organic Intellectuals, (15 Pages) 2. Marx, Class Struggles in France, Part 1, The Defeat of June, 1848 (12 pages) 3. Bullying Cuba out of the ballpark, Baltimore Sun (2 pages)

27 December 2005

Cuba Champions, US evasion

Dear Comrades, The one item today consists of two articles from the New York Times, forwarded to me by a Cuban comrade. The articles are about the baseball tournament that is scheduled to take place in the USA from March 3rd to 20th (i.e. coinciding with the 3rd anniversary of the occupation of Iraq and the world-wide peace activities on that occasion). The US treasury says that the Cubans can’t be paid. The Cubans say: fine, we are amateurs; give the money to the Katrina victims. The Cubans are the world champions in baseball. Read on … Yours in struggle, Dominic Links (1): Cuba Offers to Play Baseball for Katrina Victims, NYT (2 articles, 4 pages)

26 December 2005

Year for Peace

Dear Comrades, Maybe it’s a good moment to line up one New Year’s resolution: Make 2006 a year for peace and make March 18th and 19th something to remember forever. The US warmongers are going to try to pull their troops out if they can and rely upon bombing to maintain their coercion over Iraq. The intention is for them to keep their activities out of the public eye. This is what we must work to frustrate. It is not an impossible task. Even such a newspaper as the Washington Post may sometimes assist. See today’s only item, which arrived on Christmas Day. Yours in struggle, Dominic U.S. Airstrikes Take Toll on Civilians, WaPo (4 pages)

24 December 2005

Bourgeois Disorder

2005-12-24 Dear Comrades, Here are the most useful chapters of Lenin’s “Left Wing Communism, an Infantile Disorder” (as part of our occasional “Revolutionary Classics” series). This book was written as advice to the proletarian parties in bourgeois-democratic countries. Otherwise there is very little news this Christmas Eve, which is as it should be. So let the last word go to a letter-writer with an unusual letter from yesterday’s Business Day Yours wishing you a Happy Christmas! With goodwill to everyone, Dominic Links (1): 1. Lenin, 'Left-Wing Communism', Chapters 1, 2, 4, 6 & 7 (16 pages) 2. Tension in ANC, Phaahla letter, Business Day (1 page)

23 December 2005

Bray of Bush

2005 - 12 - 23 Dear Comrades, George Bush II the Small-Minded has banned the Cuban Baseball team from the first international tournament of that game (not the previous “World Series” which was arrogantly confined to the USA and Canada). Dave Zirin the revolutionary sports journalist goes up with a good denunciation in Counterpunch. Wiseman Khuzwayo has the job of fancying up the talk of “BEE coming of age”. If this means it is no longer considered innocent (but rather guilty) then these boosters may be saying something of the truth. At least Cde. Wiseman reports what SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande had to say on the subject: “an aggressive sponsorship of certain sections of the black middle class by various key financial conglomerates of domestic capital”. Again from Counterpunch, here is a good description of what the plea-bargaining system that is creeping into South African law is really all about, as seen fully-developed in its homeland, the USA. A letter in the Business Day shows how state-monopoly capitalism works at the micro level. The class struggle never stops. Woolworths workers are on strike and COSATU is with them. Yours in struggle,

22 December 2005

BEE bailed out, again

2005-12-22 Dear Comrades, Extraordinary measures are being taken to prop up the so-called BEE in South Africa. It seems that the empowered are wanting to take their free money and walk away, leaving companies back where they started with no qualifying black capitalists. Government will now buy them out but continue to certify the companies as BEE. And there is more weirdness. Read the Business Day and Business Report articles. This kind of thing is apt to get released at Christmas time in the hope that nobody notices, or nobody reacts, or people forget. The Business Day’s article on the Hong Kong WTO Ministerial (called the “Doha round”) is gloomy. COSATU’s summary of this event remains the best so far. Just to remind us how far we have to go, Counterpunch has re-published a scorching interview with Jean Ziegler, UN rapporteur on food resources. The Communist University Please look at the attached diagram. This is how the CU is designed to work from now on. It is also a system which other organisations can use. Wikispace, Blogger, and Google Groups are all free services (so long as you can get connected). SACP, YCL and ANC areas and branches and trade union locals and branches can all use this set-up to communicate with their office-bearers and members. Please allow me to realise this system in full for the Communist University by subscribing (free) to our Google Group either by responding to the e-mail invitation you have received, or directly on the Google Group site. Please help me to escape from the chore of copying and pasting to e-mail forms every morning. Questions are welcome. Yours in struggle, Dominic Links (5): 1. Warehousing, government buys BEE stakes, B Day (2 pages) 2. Second raft of BEE codes, thumbs up, B Rep (1 page) 3. Doha round is looking doomed, Njobeni, Business Day (2 pages) 4. Empire of Shame, Ziegler, Counterpunch (3 pages) 5. Communist University Diagram (1 page)

21 December 2005


2005-12-21 Dear Comrades, The story of Evo Morales’ election victory in Bolivia is not a hard one to understand. It is simple and beautiful. It is a reminder that the tide of liberation is still flowing. Che Guevara died in Bolivia in 1967. Well burrowed, old mole! Google group as distribution system for the Communist University Google have accepted the first hundred or so names into the group but have switched the remaining 300 over to “Invitations”. The good side of this decision is that nobody will be able to complain that they did not get the option to refuse (but the option was already there anyway). The less good side is that I will not easily be able to know who is on which list or to finalise the process for a long time to come – unless you all respond quickly and positively. Please do so as soon as you can. In other words, by trying to save you trouble, Google have put you to the trouble of subscribing to the new list. I must now maintain the old lists and eliminate the names one by one as they appear on the new (Google group) list. It will be a lot more work for me. You can help me by responding positively and quickly. Please do. Please also be patient if you are receiving two versions – inform me and I will eliminate the old one. Just to remind you, the new system works like this: I put the items for the day on the CU wikispace web site. I then compose a message (like the one you are reading now), with links to the articles, and put it on the CU blog. The blog automatically sends one e-mail to the Google group. The group then automatically sends the message on to its list of addresses. People can join and leave the group’s list at will at any time. Members of the group cannot send messages to the group. It is not that kind of group. It is only a relay. This system is the one suggested by Google (Blogger) in their “Help”. I have enough experience of it now to be sure that Google is correct with their advice and that the system works very well. I would recommend it to anyone. Please help make it happen by responding quickly so that the change-over can be completed soon. If you are already receiving messages without attachments, you don’t have to respond. If you have any questions at all, please e-mail me.
Yours in struggle, Dominic

20 December 2005



Current News". Register a username and password at Wikispaces (for free) to use the discussion facility there, or go to http://domza.net/ to comment on this message. 2005-12-20 Dear Comrades, Evo Morales has been elected President of Bolivia. A great victory! More about it tomorrow. Herewith is the statement of COSATU on the outcomes of the Hong Kong WTO jamboree, called a Ministerial. The situation is clearer thanks to this statement. The Imperialists did not get all that they wanted but did create a dangerous “back door” for themselves which will have to be watched. Especially significant are COSATU’s remarks about the way forward. The statements of NEDLAC and the FSCC are included for the record and in continuance of the CU tradition of publishing original documents whenever possible. The recognition of the Ugandan Union is a small sample of the huge amount of organising work that has to go on all the time so that the Trade Union movement reproduces itself. Antiwar.com is a libertarian web site opposed to war and the Iraq war in particular. These libertarians are trying to build an international peace front. Let’s hope they succeed. They obviously have a fair bit to learn. When Robert Mugabe turned up at their peace conference they felt compelled to protest. Dr Mahathir was wiser than they were. See the fifth document.

Some of you will be receiving this message through the new channel for the first time (and without attachments for the first time). If you prefer to have attachments, please let me know at dominic.tweedie@gmail.com or by replying to this message (replies come only to me). But I hope most of you will accept it, because it is going to be much faster and better and more convenient like this. If there are any bugs or links that don't work, please also let me know. Yours in struggle, Dominic Links (5): 1. COSATU on outcomes of the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial (2 pages) 2. NEDLAC Dec 16 statement from Hong Kong (1 page) 3. Financial Sector Charter Council Dec 13 statement (2 pages) 4. Ugandan Textile Union Wins Recognition, ITGLWF (1 page) 5. World Peace Forum, Secretariat, Garris, Antiwar, Dec 19 (2 pages)

The Communist University is: A live session scheduled at http://amadlandawonye.wikispaces.com/Communist+University+2006 Education, organisation and mobilisation at http://amadlandawonye.wikispaces.com/ A daily e-mail update. Subscribe at http://groups.google.com/group/Communist-University/ An on-line library of classics and courses at A blog at http://domza.net/ A person you can e-mail: dominic.tweedie@gmail.com

19 December 2005

State and Revolution

http://amadlandawonye.wikispaces.com/ is the Communist University on the Internet. This circulation is archived there as " Current News". Register a username and password at Wikispaces (for free) to use the discussion facility there, or go to http://domza.net/ to comment on this message. Dear Comrades, There’s nothing in the papers! Or very little. Ariel Sharon is in hospital after having a stroke. The Mail and Guardian displayed the racist fake “conspiracy” e-mails, to their eternal shame. The same paper apologised in the same edition to Dr Blade Nzimande, General Secretary of the SACP, for a previous falsehood that they had published. Apologies are cheap. Learning from mistakes is harder, it seems. The WTO Hong Kong summit is over. It appears that some kind of “modus vivendi” (way of carrying on) was worked out and that the WTO itself survives. First reports, news conferences and press releases about the summit results are not likely to be reliable. It is better to withhold judgement until the documents have appeared and been read by the participants, and we have their reaction. So we are back to another virtual session of the ever-growing course of Revolutionary Classics. The next one will be Lenin’s “Left Wing Communism” and it will be followed by Marx’s three great books on revolutionary class politics in France. The Communist University is taking a shape that is designed for the long term, although it is not yet complete. It is intended to work in the following way: I blog this message at http://domza.net/ . The blog automatically e-mails it to the list of subscribers, via the Google group http://groups.google.com/group/Communist-University/ . There will be links to documents in the e-mails, but no attachments. Everything will be archived at http://amadlandawonye.wikispaces.com/ , including the blog (which is the same as this e-mail). Not all of this is working yet. I am attempting to get all your names on to the group, but have not yet succeeded. If you need to keep getting the documents as attachments, please let me know. I will create a special list for people who need the attachments. They may be in .txt (plain text) format in future. But the “default” will be links-only. I will keep repeating this message. Apart from this daily system there is the Communist University Library at http://cu.domza.net/ . This is the material from the CU CD (which is still available). It amounts to a basic proletarian library in a convenient form that is accessible to millions of workers. Have a look! Yours in struggle, Dominic Links/ Attachments (1): 1917, Lenin, State & Revolution C2 & 3 (16 pages) The Communist University is: A live session scheduled at http://amadlandawonye.wikispaces.com/Communist+University+2006 Education, organisation and mobilisation at http://amadlandawonye.wikispaces.com/ A daily e-mail update. Subscribe at http://groups.google.com/group/Communist-University/ An on-line library of classics and courses at A blog at http://domza.net/ A person you can e-mail: dominic.tweedie@gmail.com

18 December 2005

Hong Kong Globaloney Exposed

http://amadlandawonye.wikispaces.com/ is the Communist University on the Internet. This circulation is archived there as " Current News". Register a username and password at Wikispaces (for free) to use the discussion facility there, or go to http://domza.net/ to comment on this message. Dear Comrades, The linked/attached document containing the joint COSATU/CUT statement was sent by Cde Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary of COSATU. This is as good as, or better than, any other report from the Hong Kong WTO talks. Here one can practically see Imperialism’s face up close (as well as sample its gobbledegook language – also see the other two documents). As Elmer Gantry said of The Devil: “I seen ‘im plenny o’ times!” Hong Kong is a major battleground. But otherwise it looks as if this year of struggle is about to go into retirement for a couple of weeks before handing over to its successor. At last. One thing I have noticed this year. The retailers and the malls have finally realised that there are more people turned off by “carols” than otherwise. So suddenly, no more carols! Hooray! They will not be missed. The Communist University never sleeps. The CU blog is back in business at http://domza.net/ and it feeds into the web site here . This is thanks to a new piece of wikispace technical wizardry. The net result is that these short introductions of mine will be available in both places from now on. You can comment on them in the blog or in the wikispace. That will be nice. You are still welcome to send me e-mails, but blog comments and wikispace discussions are visible to all, which is in principle better and more in keeping with Freirean principles . I need to warn you that there will be some more changes. I am going to try to phase out the e-mail attachments (but not the e-mails). So please try to get used to using links instead of attachments. If you would like to express any view about this, please do so. But basically I have to rationalise the technology of this thing so that I can continue to manage it. So, in come links and out go attachments – soon. If this is going to cause you problems please let me know, and I will make a plan for you if I can. Check out http://cu.domza.net if you wish. It will soon have the full Communist University archive of books and courses, which has previously only been available on CD. Yours in struggle, Dominic Links/ Attachments (1): 1. COSATU and CUT, Brazil, at WTO Hong Kong, statement (2 pages) 2. Deciphering the Language of Globalization, Counterpunch (2 pages) 3. Calling Rousseau, Privatizing the Social Contract, Cpunch (3pages)

17 December 2005

Test 4

Dear Comrades, Sorry for another test. It should be the last, with any luck. But try this URL (the shape of things to come): http://cu.domza.net Yours in struggle, Al Domza

Test 3

Dear Comrades, Sorry for another test. It should be the last, with any luck. But try this URL (the shape of things to come): http://cu.domza.net
Dear Comrades, This is a short test message to find out if the system is working. Here is a test link: Sour Grapes, James Tweedie Best wishes, Dominic.

What Peace Needs

Dear Comrades, The first three items today are reports from eminent comrades in Hong Kong (Zwelinzima Vavi and Thulas Nxesi). As the picture becomes clearer, anger rises. We hope for honour and the avoidance of a shameful humiliation or a betrayal. At least we can rely on these two. The fourth and fifth items bear powerfully on the peace struggles in the Middle East. The last item is a hostage to fortune by Oupa Lehulere of Khanya College, who describes his doctrine of “orientation”, among other things. I my opinion he does us a favour by exposing his ideological bankruptcy. It becomes clear that after Lehulere, there is only the SACP. Yours in struggle, Dominic Links/ Attachments (6): 1. WTO 3rd day, problems multiply, talks unravel (3 pages) 2. Thulas Nxesi, President, Education International, statement (2 pages) 3. Take Education Out Of GATS, Education International (4 pages) 4. What Peace Needs, Monica Benderman, Counterpunch (3 pages) 5. Ethical, Legal Challenges of Palestine, Ben-Dor, Cpunch (5 pages) 6. Social Movements, Cosatu, Lehulere hostage to fortune (7 pages)

16 December 2005

Exporting to the Communist University wikispace

What I am trying to do here is to use the wikispaces Blog integration facility from the Blogger side so as to paste the blog simultaneously in a page on the Communist University wikispace that I have called Blog. The idea is to make this a daily routine procedure do that the covering messages of my daily circulation are here as a blog and there as an archive. The nest step is to organise the e-mailing of the same message to the list of 400 or so addresses that currently are getting it, and then I will have a single integrated mechanism. All I will have to do is to paste the four to six items in the Wiki each day, make the links in the blog and write the covering note, press one button, and the work is done. That's the general idea, anyway.

Hong Kong and Cuba

http://amadlandawonye.wikispaces.com/is the Communist University on the Internet. This circulation is archived there as " Current News". Register a username and password at Wikispaces (for free) to use the comment facility - or to start your own "wikispace". Dear Comrades, The first item is COSATU’s own paper direct from Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary of COSATU, in Hong Kong. The second is statements of a number of representatives who are quite unequivocal. There are links to web sites where further information can be got. I have put a link to “Our World Is Not For Sale” (OWINFS) on the Communist University web site. There is a good summary of Fidel Castro’s speech on the 30th Anniversary of the start of the Cuban military mission to Angola (and that full speech is carried separately). There is also a summary of a very long speech given by Fidel at his old University. I can forward it to anyone who wants it (44 pages and all good stuff). The third speech from Fidel is to the Cuba-CARICOM Summit this month, which is relevant to the deliberations in Hong Kong. See also COSATU’s brief statement on Khutsong. Yours in struggle, Dominic Links/ Attachments (6): 1. COSATU Press statement on NAMA, ZV, HK (3 pages) 2. ZV, Statements ex Dec 14 Hong Kong News Conference (1 page) 3. Summary of 2 speeches by Dr Fidel Castro (2 pages) 4. Speech, Dr F Castro Ruz - 30, 49 years after Angola, Granma (7 pages) 5. President Fidel Castro to 2nd Cuba - CARICOM Summit (2 Pages) 6. Cosatu statement on Khutsong (1 page)

5 July 2005

Proletarian Marriage Form

Comments on Liesl Orr's "Socialism and Gender Equality: What lessons can be learned?" (African Communist No. 156, First Quarter, 2001 which can be found at http://www.sacp.org.za/ac/ac156i.html). Dominic Tweedie. 6/12/2004 (Quotes from Liesl Orr's article are in bold and italic) "[T]he wife … differs from the ordinary courtesan [prostitute] only in that she does not hire out her body, like a wageworker, on piecework, but sells it into slavery once and for all." (Engels, 1972:79) He envisaged the liberation of women through the overthrow of capitalism. In his view within a classless society the family would be replaced by non-exploitative freely-chosen sexual unions within which the status of male and female would be equal. What Engels finally describes (in "The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State") is bourgeois marriage and bourgeois relations of production and property. The implication is not simply that socialism or classless society (communism) will administratively replace this form with "freely-chosen sexual unions". The process described in the whole work is much more organic. The state is the instrument of the ruling class. Forms of sexual relation are based on relations of property and production and generalised by the ruling class through the instrument of state power. Bourgeois marriage developed with the bourgeois class under feudalism, only graduating in its full form when the bourgeois class gains state power. The proletarian class should (by extrapolation from Engels' general thesis that marriage forms are primarily determined by the objective position of the class in relation to production) develop its own form of marriage, and this should be happening now within bourgeois society, although overlaid with the conventional bourgeois marriage form. The proletarianisation of women (the socialisation of the whole of their production, and not just in the form of housework) should be a condition for the development of a proletarian marriage form. Under bourgeois conditions this development could go quite far. Liesl Orr's approach is to ask: Why did the Soviet Union not solve the problem?, and other similar questions. I think the questions are, rather: What does proletarian marriage look like? Can it be observed in any part of the world? If not, then has marriage ceased to be defined by relations of production, as it previously was throughout history? And if that is the case, then why? Both state and family are products of class relations. We should not necessarily expect one derivative product to dictate a change in the other. In fact the tendency of the Stalinist proletarian state to attempt such feats by administrative coercion is just what we criticise about Stalinism. The following extract illustrates the determinism that sees women’s oppression as a simple derivative of class relations: "The supremacy of the man in marriage is the simple consequence of his economic supremacy, and with the abolition of the latter will disappear of itself." (Engels, 1972). This is deterministic because it views reproductive and gender relations as a "simple consequence" of productive and class relations This is a reading of "The Origin of the Family" which substitutes the simplicity of its conclusion for the detail of its argument. It is hard to see the critical value of the word "determinist" in this context. Engels has already, in the book, gone into the historical specifics in a fairly exhaustive way. His conclusion is simple in the same sense as the "withering away of the state" is simple. It means that without its economic base, any social phenomenon must wither, which is surely true. What is not implied is any time scale or fixity of relation in time between loss of base and withering of superstructure. In other words, without a subjective effort, the disappearance of male supremacy might take an inordinately long time. The latter would be fair comment, and a good case for applying Marx's 11th Thesis on Feuerbach ("the point is to change [history]"). A crucial element of the feminist critique of Marxism is of the narrow conception of production, which separates between production of things and of people. Although there are references to labour and production as encompassing all activities necessary for the reproduction of human life, this is not carried through Engels and Marx’s analysis. Rather, the production of things (which depends on the organisation of labour) is emphasised and the production of people (which depends on the organisation of the family) is often altogether absent. Sometimes even more narrowly, the production of things is confined to the production of things with exchange value only. This means that large areas of human activity are often overlooked in Marxist political economy and the distinctive relationships that women and men have to the spheres of production and reproduction are not analysed (Kabeer, 1994:44). The primary discovery of Marxist political economy is the source of capital. That is to say: the source of profit and therefore of accumulation. Marx inherited from Ricardo and others the labour theory of value. What was not yet explained was how increase was obtained. Marx showed that simply inflating prices would only pay Paul by robbing Peter, and therefore this type of phenomenon (which some nowadays call "gouging") could not explain the manifest overall increase in national wealth in the bourgeois political economy. (See "Capital" Vol 1, Chapter 5). His resolution of the mystery of the source of increase rests precisely on his appreciation of the production of people as commodities, the labour that went into this production of "labour power", and the fact that it had to be paid for. In this sense there is no difference between things as commodities and people (ready-to-work labour power) as commodities. (See "Capital" Vol 1, Chapter 6). The difference between labour and all other commodities is only that labour can produce more than it costs. The workers must in general be paid for the labour that goes into producing them. If not, the workforce starts to die out, creating a shortage. But workers can produce a lot more than what they cost, which is not true of any other inputs. Workers, and only workers, "add value". The value of all other prior input commodities ("frozen labour") is a dead weight on the final cost of any composite commodity. Live labour, on the other hand, generates value while it is being used up. (See "Capital" Vol 1, Chapters 7 - 9). Marx's way of stating the difference between value of labour-power and the value of its product confuses the issue. Marx has to say that the worker works so many hours for himself and so many surplus hours for the boss, as if the bourgeois set-up is analogous to the feudal system. He has to say this in order to show where increase and accumulation are coming from. The full process is shown in "Capital" to be four-fold. Labour-power is contracted for to be exchanged at its (labour) value, like any other commodity exchange (labour-power for money). Then labour power is used up as labour in the production of commodities, which are entirely expropriated by the capitalist. When these two pairs of action are netted off, it can be seen that more labour has been expended than has been paid for. Just how crucial it is to see these four moves in full, as well as the net position, is apparent in Engels' Preface to "Capital", Vol 2, the relevant part of which I have attached (because it is quite long) at the end of this document. Marx’s formulation of the worker working for himself for so many hours, and then giving free surplus labour to the boss, is based on the commensurability of labour time and its universal validity as the source of exchange value in commodities. So this formulation does work as a calculating device. But elsewhere, and for example in Part VII of “Value, Price and Profit”, Marx writes: “To say that the value of a ten hours working day is equal to ten hours' labour, or the quantity of labour contained in it, would be a tautological and, moreover, a nonsensical expression. Of course, having once found out the true but hidden sense of the expression "value of labour," we shall be able to interpret this irrational, and seemingly impossible application of value, in the same way that, having once made sure of the real movement of the celestial bodies, we shall be able to explain their apparent or merely phenomenal movements. “What the working man sells is not directly his labour, but his labouring power, the temporary disposal of which he makes over to the capitalist.” The sections concludes: “,,,it will be seen that the value of labouring power is determined by the value of the necessaries required to produce, develop, maintain, and perpetuate the labouring power.” In Part VIII of “Value Price and Profit” Marx writes: “In buying the labouring power of the workman, and paying its value, the capitalist, like every other purchaser, has acquired the right to consume or use the commodity bought. You consume or use the labouring power of a man by making him work, as you consume or use a machine by making it run. By buying the daily or weekly value of the labouring power of the workman, the capitalist has, therefore, acquired the right to use or make that labouring power during the whole day or week. The working day or the working week has, of course, certain limits, but those we shall afterwards look more closely at. “For the present I want to turn your attention to one decisive point. The value of the labouring power is determined by the quantity of labour necessary to maintain or reproduce it, but the use of that labouring power is only limited by the active energies and physical strength of the labourer.” And at the beginning of Part IX of “Value Price and Profit”: “We must now return to the expression, "value, or price of labour." We have seen that, in fact, it is only the value of the labouring power, measured by the values of commodities necessary for its maintenance. But since the workman receives his wages after his labour is performed, and knows, moreover, that what he actually gives to the capitalist is his labour, the value or price of his labouring power necessarily appears to him as the price or value of his labour itself.” The point continues to be obscured in modern Marxist texts. For example, in a recent manual on Political Economy drafted by ILRIG, the following sentence appears: "The important point is that the workers do not receive the full value of their labour". This removes the crucial distinction between labour power, the labour value of which is generally paid for in full, and the product of labour (a greater value) which is wholly expropriated by the capitalist and not paid for at all. The fact is that a person can generate enough value to live and humanly reproduce with relatively little effort and then has time and energy to produce a lot more, which the boss grabs, or as we would say, expropriates (makes into property). Part 10 of “Value, Price and Profit” is headed “Profit is Made by Selling a Commodity at its Value”. It concludes: “I repeat, therefore, that normal and average profits are made by selling commodities not above, but at their real values.” Labour power is also sold in this “normal” case, at its real value. Only in the case of extraction of “super-profits” or in other words “primitive accumulation”, is labour power sold and bought for less than its real value. Marx deals with various kinds of primitive accumulation in the last eight short chapters of Capital (Chapters 26 – 33). In this basic explanation of surplus value the recognition of the labour value of labour power itself is a fundamental prerequisite. This labour is applied by the family as a whole, including the women. So to say that, in Marx: "the production of things… is emphasised and the production of people… is often altogether absent" is plain wrong, in my opinion. On the contrary, it is Marx's understanding of the production of commodified people that is the key to the whole subsequent scheme which Lenin called "Marx's Economic Doctrine". Liesl Orr seems to miss this altogether, but Marx keeps coming back to it, for example on the last page of "Value, Price and Profit". Rather, it is bourgeois economics that tends to eliminate the production of people from its calculations, by projecting the narrow formulation, "cost of living". From the last page of “Value, Price and Profit”: “These few hints will suffice to show that the very development of modern industry must progressively turn the scale in favour of the capitalist against the working man, and that consequently the general tendency of capitalistic production is not to raise, but to sink the average standard of wages, or to push the value of labour more or less to its minimum limit. Such being the tendency of things in this system, is this saying that the working class ought to renounce their resistance against the encroachments of capital, and abandon their attempts at making the best of the occasional chances for their temporary improvement? If they did, they would be degraded to one level mass of broken wretches past salvation. I think I have shown that their struggles for the standard of wages are incidents inseparable from the whole wages system, that in 99 cases out of 100 their efforts at raising wages are only efforts at maintaining the given value of labour, and that the necessity of debating their price with the capitalist is inherent to their condition of having to sell themselves as commodities. By cowardly giving way in their everyday conflict with capital, they would certainly disqualify themselves for the initiating of any larger movement. “At the same time, and quite apart form the general servitude involved in the wages system, the working class ought not to exaggerate to themselves the ultimate working of these everyday struggles. They ought not to forget that they are fighting with effects, but not with the causes of those effects; that they are retarding the downward movement, but not changing its direction; that they are applying palliatives, not curing the malady. They ought, therefore, not to be exclusively absorbed in these unavoidable guerilla fights incessantly springing up from the never ceasing encroachments of capital or changes of the market. They ought to understand that, with all the miseries it imposes upon them, the present system simultaneously engenders the material conditions and the social forms necessary for an economical reconstruction of society. Instead of the conservative motto, "A fair day's wage for a fair day's work!" they ought to inscribe on their banner the revolutionary watchword, "Abolition of the wages system!"” Here Marx shows in unmistakable terms, the relationship between the “minimum limit” (the value of labour power) and wages. He concedes to his opponent (Citizen Weston) that wage struggles are only palliative, and proceeds to argue for a “larger movement”, with a “revolutionary watchword, "Abolition of the wages system!". He is describing the limits of trade unionism. Thus he is here, in 1865, anticipating Lenin in 1902 in “What is to be done”, Chapter 4, section C: “C. Organisation of Workers and Organisation of Revolutionaries “It is only natural to expect that for a Social-Democrat whose conception of the political struggle coincides with the conception of the "economic struggle against the employers and the government", the "organisation of revolutionaries" will more or less coincide with the "organisation of workers". This, in fact, is what actually happens; so that when we speak of organisation, we literally speak in different tongues. I vividly recall, for example, a conversation I once had with a fairly consistent Economist, with whom I had not been previously acquainted. We were discussing the pamphlet, Who Will Bring About the Political Revolution? and were soon of a mind that its principal defect was its ignoring of the question of organisation. We had begun to assume full agreement between us; but, as the conversation proceeded, it became evident that we were talking of different things. My interlocutor accused the author of ignoring strike funds, mutual benefit societies, etc., whereas I had in mind an organisation of revolutionaries as an essential factor in "bringing about" the political revolution. As soon as the disagreement became clear, there was hardly, as I remember, a single question of principle upon which I was in agreement with the Economist! “What was the source of our disagreement? It was the fact that on questions both of organisation and of politics the Economists are forever lapsing from Social-Democracy into trade-unionism. The political struggle of Social-Democracy is far more extensive and complex than the economic struggle of the workers against the employers and the government. Similarly (indeed for that reason), the organisation of the revolutionary Social-Democratic Party must inevitably be of a kind different from the organisation of the workers designed for this struggle. The workers' organisation must in the first place be a trade union organisation; secondly, it must be as broad as possible; and thirdly, it must be as public as conditions will allow (here, and further on, of course, I refer only to absolutist Russia). On the other hand, the organisation of the revolutionaries must consist first and foremost of people who make revolutionary activity their profession (for which reason I speak of the organisation of revolutionaries, meaning revolutionary Social-Democrats). In view of this common characteristic of the members of such an organisation, all distinctions as between workers and intellectuals, not to speak of distinctions of trade and profession, in both categories, must be effaced. Such an organisation must perforce not be very extensive and must be as secret as possible.” Here we see the theory of surplus value underpinning general revolutionary theory. It is not for nothing that the theory of surplus value is held to be the key to everything; and sitting at the base of this theory itself is the question of the unsocialised and unpaid contribution of women in the creation of labour power. The Marxist theory of surplus value is therefore also the key to understanding the resolution of the gender question. Women will have to be socialised in production generally, before the labour of raising the new generation of workers will be fully paid for. This labour is currently given free more often than not, and expropriated by the bourgeoisie in a variation on the theme of “primitive accumulation”. Where to from here? Bourgeois class relations pose the possibility of full socialisation of production. By this is meant, in bourgeois conditions, the entry of all able-bodied non-bourgeois humans directly into commodity production. (Socialism requires socialisation of production, plus socialisation of ownership). In practice, bourgeois society has never been able to achieve this. It is also unwilling to do so in specific instances. For example, the labour recruited in the past for mining operations in South Africa was cropped from people living in pre-bourgeois conditions at home and was not paid for at its equivalent production cost in the bourgeois political economy. This was the source of so-called "super-profits" in those days. The unpaid work of home-bound women in the production of ready-to-work labour power may be regarded in the same light. Production that is not socialised within the bourgeois system is disregarded. So women are providing free "super-profits" to capital. The first remedy is to bring women into socialised production generally. This has the same effect as abolishing the Bantustans. It does not relieve the women from exploitation altogether. But it does reduce the basis for the extraction of "super-profits" from women's labour in the home. It is notable that when women have at times entered the workforce on more equal terms with men, as in Britain during the Second World War, the bourgeois state acted as soon as possible to reverse the situation, when the war was over. From “Capital”, Chapter 15, Section 2: “Before the labour of women and of children under 10 years of age was forbidden in mines, capitalists considered the employment of naked women and girls, often in company with men, so far sanctioned by their moral code, and especially by their ledgers, that it was only after the passing of the Act that they had recourse to machinery. The Yankees have invented a stone-breaking machine. The English do not make use of it, because the "wretch" who does this work gets paid for such a small portion of his labour, that machinery would increase the cost of production to the capitalist. In England women are still occasionally used instead of horses for hauling canal boats, because the labour required to produce horses and machines is an accurately known quantity, while that required to maintain the women of the surplus-population is below all calculation. Hence nowhere do we find a more shameful squandering of human labour-power for the most despicable purposes than in England, the land of machinery.” The short chapters (26 to 33) in Marx's "Capital" on primitive accumulation have relevance here. They deal, among other things, with child labour, extension of hours, and colonialism. They show that while the working of the capitalist system does produce profit on the basis of simple surplus value alone, yet at the same time there is nothing in the system that prevents the shameless, primitive, gouging that generates "super-profits". Therefore there is room for subjective action against primitive means of accumulation, such as that of the home-bound and unsocialised labour of women, without necessarily posing a revolutionary challenge to capitalism as such. Women's emancipation need not wait for the proletarian revolution. The second remedy is the "outing" of the proletarian marriage-form. In my opinion the concept of cash payment for housework hardly begins to accomplish this necessary goal, although it may help. Maternity leave and child allowances are steps in this direction, especially when they are attached as conditions of employment. What is the proletarian marriage-form? The answer should be a logical sequence to Engels' work. It is not an abstract question. It should arise from the concrete position of the proletariat. From “Capital”, Chapter 15, Section 9: “However terrible and disgusting the dissolution, under the capitalist system, of the old family ties may appear, nevertheless, modern industry, by assigning as it does an important part in the process of production, outside the domestic sphere, to women, to young persons, and to children of both sexes, creates a new economic foundation for a higher form of the family and of the relations between the sexes. It is, of course, just as absurd to hold the Teutonic-Christian form of the family to be absolute and final as it would be to apply that character to the ancient Roman, the ancient Greek, or the Eastern forms which, moreover, taken together form a series in historical development. Moreover, it is obvious that the fact of the collective working group being composed of individuals of both sexes and all ages, must necessarily, under suitable conditions, become a source of humane development; although in its spontaneously developed, brutal, capitalistic form, where the labourer exists for the process of production, and not the process of production for the labourer, that fact is a pestiferous source of corruption and slavery.” Perhaps a good way to start is to imagine the proletarians stripped of all bourgeois impositions. These proletarians rent and reject home-ownership. All the services they consume are socially produced. They are mobile and communicate freely, through technology. They are consciously political – they form a "polis" in the Athenian sense. They work in different ways at different times. They are not bound to strict categories of employment. They are disciplined. They prefer to work or to study, and despise all kinds of loafing. Their children are schooled collectively from a young age. The bourgeois worries that the family must be re-created in each generation. It is the only source of new labour-power that he can imagine (other than Bantustan-style production of extra-cheap labour-power). The bourgeoisie takes all kinds of measures to ensure that this re-creation happens – ideological, fiscal, and legislative measures, social workers, advice, instruction, and therapy. What if this is not done? What is the "default" condition of family relations in a proletariat that is not interfered with? This is surely not only a matter of choice, but also a matter of necessity. If "the point is to change it", what kinds of things are to be changed? Is the removal of bourgeois impositions enough, or are there positive measures which need to be laid on so as to hasten the development of the new type of family relations? Are these measures only enabling, or also didactic? Does this vision of proletarian marriage relations get disqualified as "gender blind"? Or is it actually "concrete" in the Marxist sense of dialectically synthetic and including both genders, but distinctly? In my opinion, this is the way to develop an understanding. It has the possibility of generating a concrete vision that would surpass the liberal politics of victimhood. Transformation and transition are words that occur in classic revolutionary literature, but always in the context of a vision of the destination (which in this literature is usually the dictatorship of the proletariat). Transformation or transition without a destination is movement without an intended result. Saying that what is wanted is a relatively "better life" does not help much, unless the values that make up a better life are defined. For further reading, see: Karl Marx, Capital Volume II, Preface by F. Engels to the First Edition (part) …

23 June 2005

Chapter 8, Capital Vol 1, Karl Marx

Karl Marx Capital Volume One, Part III: The Production of Absolute Surplus-Value Chapter 8, Constant Capital & Variable Capital The various factors of the labour-process play different parts in forming the value of the product. The labourer adds fresh value to the subject of his labour by expending upon it a given amount of additional labour, no matter what the specific character and utility of that labour may be. On the other hand, the values of the means of production used up in the process are preserved, and present themselves afresh as constituent parts of the value of the product; the values of the cotton and the spindle, for instance, re-appear again in the value of the yarn. The value of the means of production is therefore preserved, by being transferred to the product. This transfer takes place during the conversion of those means into a product, or in other words, during the labour-process. It is brought about by labour; but how? The labourer does not perform two operations at once, one in order to add value to the cotton, the other in order to preserve the value of the means of production, or, what amounts to the same thing, to transfer to the yarn, to the product, the value of the cotton on which he works, and part of the value of the spindle with which he works. But, by the very act of adding new value, he preserves their former values. Since, however, the addition of new value to the subject of his labour, and the preservation of its former value, are two entirely distinct results, produced simultaneously by the labourer, during one operation, it is plain that this two-fold nature of the result can be explained only by the two-fold nature of his labour; at one and the same time, it must in one character create value, and in another character preserve or transfer value. Now, in what manner does every labourer add new labour and consequently new value? Evidently, only by labouring productively in a particular way; the spinner by spinning, the weaver by weaving, the smith by forging. But, while thus incorporating labour generally, that is value, it is by the particular form alone of the labour, by the spinning, the weaving and the forging respectively, that the means of production, the cotton and spindle, the yarn and loom, and. the iron and anvil become constituent elements of the product, of a new use-value. [1] Each use-value disappears, but only to re-appear under a new form in a new use-value. Now, we saw, when we were considering the process of creating value, that, if a use-value be effectively consumed in the production of a new use-value, the quantity of labour expended in the production of the consumed article, forms a portion of the quantity of labour necessary to produce the new use-value; this portion is therefore labour transferred from the means of production to the new product. Hence, the labourer preserves the values of the consumed means of production, or transfers them as portions of its value to the product, not by virtue of his additional labour, abstractedly considered, but by virtue of the particular useful character of that labour, by virtue of its special productive form. In so far then as labour is such specific productive activity, in so far as it is spinning, weaving, or forging, it raises, by mere contact, the means. of production from the dead, makes them living factors of the labour-process, and combines with them to form the new products. If the special productive labour of the workman were not spinning, he could not convert the cotton into yarn, and therefore could not transfer the values of the cotton and spindle to the yarn. Suppose the same workman were to change his occupation to that of a joiner, he would still by a day's labour add value to the material he works upon. Consequently, we see, first, that the addition of new value takes place not by virtue of his labour being spinning in particular, or joinering in particular, but because it is labour in the abstract, a portion of the total labour of society; and we see next, that the value added is of a given definite amount, not because his labour has a special utility, but because it is exerted for a definite time. On the one hand, then, it is by virtue of its general character, as being expenditure of human labour-power in the abstract, that spinning adds new value to the values of the cotton and the spindle; and on the other hand, it is by virtue of its special character, as being a concrete, useful process, that the same labour of spinning both transfers the values of the means of production to the product, and preserves them in the product. Hence at one and the same time there is produced a two-fold result. By the simple addition of a certain quantity of labour, new value is added, and by the quality of this added labour, the original values of the means of production are preserved in the product. This two-fold effect, resulting from the two-fold character of labour, may be traced in various phenomena. Let us assume, that some invention enables the spinner to spin as much cotton in 6 hours as he was able to spin before in 36 hours. His labour is now six times as effective as it was, for the purposes of useful production. The product of 6 hours' work has increased six-fold, from 6 lbs. to 36 lbs. But now the 36 lbs. of cotton absorb only the same amount of labour as formerly did the 6 lbs. One-sixth as much new labour is absorbed by each pound of cotton, and consequently, the value added by the labour to each pound is only one-sixth of what it formerly was. On the other hand, in the product, in the 36 lbs. of yarn, the value transferred from the cotton is six times as great as before. By the 6 hours' spinning, the value of the raw material preserved and transferred to the product is six times as great as before, although the new value added by the labour of the spinner to each pound of the very same raw material is one-sixth what it was formerly. This shows that the two properties of labour, by virtue of which it is enabled in one case to preserve value, and in the other to create value, are essentially different. On the one hand, the longer the time necessary to spin a given weight of cotton into yarn, the greater is the new value added to the material; on the other hand, the greater the weight of the cotton spun in a given time, the greater is the value preserved, by being transferred from it to the product. Let us now assume, that the productiveness of the spinner's labour, instead of varying, remains constant, that he therefore requires the same time as he formerly did, to convert one pound of cotton into yarn, but that the exchange-value of the cotton varies, either by rising to six times its former value or falling to one-sixth of that value. In both these cases, the spinner puts the same quantity of labour into a pound of cotton, and therefore adds as much value, as he did before the change in the value: he also produces a given weight of yarn in the same time as he did before. Nevertheless, the value that he transfers from the cotton to the yarn is either one-sixth of what it was before the variation, or, as the case may be, six times as much as before. The same result occurs when the value of the instruments of labour rises or falls, while their useful efficacy in the process remains unaltered. Again, if the technical conditions of the spinning process remain unchanged, and no change of value takes place in the means of production, the spinner continues to consume in equal working-times equal quantities of raw material, and equal quantities of machinery of unvarying value. The value that he preserves in the product is directly proportional to the new value that he adds to the product. In two weeks he incorporates twice as much labour, and therefore twice as much value, as in one week, and during the same time he consumes twice as much material, and wears out twice as much machinery, of double the value in each case: he therefore preserves, in the product of two weeks, twice as much value as in the product of one week. So long as the conditions of production remain the same, the more value the labourer adds by fresh labour, the more value he transfers and preserves; but he does so merely because this addition of new value takes place under conditions that have not varied and are independent of his own labour. Of course, it may be said in one sense, that the labourer preserves old value always in proportion to the quantity of new value that he adds. Whether the value of cotton rise from one shilling to two shillings, or fall to sixpence, the workman invariably preserves in the product of one hour only one half as much value as he preserves in two hours. In like manner, if the productiveness of his own labour varies by rising or falling, he will in one hour spin either more or less cotton, as the case may be, than he did before, and will consequently preserve in the product of one hour, more or less value of cotton; but, all the same, he will preserve by two hours' labour twice as much value as he will by one. Value exists only in articles of utility, in objects: we leave out of consideration its purely symbolical representation by tokens. (Man himself, viewed as the impersonation of labour-power, is a natural object, a thing, although a living conscious thing, and labour is the manifestation of this power residing in him.) If therefore an article loses its utility, it also loses its value. The reason why means of production do not lose their value, at the same time that they lose their use-value, is this: they lose in the labour-process the original form of their use-value, only to assume in the product the form of a new use-value. But, however important it may be to value, that it should have some object of utility to embody itself in, yet it is a matter of complete indifference what particular object serves this purpose; this we saw when treating of the metamorphosis of commodities. Hence it follows that in the labour-process the means of production transfer their value to the product only so far as along with their use-value they lose also their exchange-value. They give up to the product that value alone which they themselves lose as means of production. But in this respect the material factors of the labour-process do not all behave alike. The coal burnt under the boiler vanishes without leaving a trace; so, too, the tallow with which the axles of wheels are greased. Dye stuffs and other auxiliary substances also vanish but re-appear as properties of the product. Raw material forms the substance of the product, but only after it has changed its form. Hence raw material and auxiliary substances lose the characteristic form with which they are clothed on entering the labour-process. It is otherwise with the instruments of labour. Tools, machines, workshops, and vessels, are of use in the labour-process, only so long as they retain their original shape, and are ready each morning to renew the process with their shape unchanged. And just as during their lifetime, that is to say, during the continued labour-process in which they serve, they retain their shape independent of the product, so, too, they do after their death. The corpses of machines, tools, workshops, &c., are always separate and distinct from the product they helped to turn out. If we now consider the case of any instrument of labour during the whole period of its service, from the day of its entry into the workshop, till the day of its banishment into the lumber room, we find that during this period its use-value has been completely consumed, and therefore its exchange-value completely transferred to the product. For instance, if a spinning machine lasts for 10 years, it is plain that during that working period its total value is gradually transferred to the product of the 10 years. The lifetime of an instrument of labour, therefore, is spent in the repetition of a greater or less number of similar operations. Its life may be compared with that of a human being. Every day brings a man 24 hours nearer to his grave: but how many days he has still to travel on that road, no man can tell accurately by merely looking at him. This difficulty, however, does not prevent life insurance offices from drawing, by means of the theory of averages, very accurate, and at the same time very profitable conclusions. So it is with the instruments of labour. It is known by experience how long on the average a machine of a particular kind will last. Suppose its use-value in the labour-process to last only six days. Then, on the average, it loses each day one-sixth of its use-value, and therefore parts with one-sixth of its value to the daily product. The wear and tear of all instruments, their daily loss of use-value, and the corresponding quantity of value they part with to the product, are accordingly calculated upon this basis. It is thus strikingly clear, that means of production never transfer more value to the product than they themselves lose during the labour-process by the destruction of their own use-value. If such an instrument has no value to lose, if, in other words, it is not the product of human labour, it transfers no value to the product. It helps to create use-value without contributing to the formation of exchange-value. In this class are included all means of production supplied by Nature without human assistance, such as land, wind, water, metals in situ, and timber in virgin forests. Yet another interesting phenomenon here presents itself. Suppose a machine to be worth £1,000, and to wear out in 1,000 days. Then one thousandth part of the value of the machine is daily transferred to the day's product. At the same time, though with diminishing vitality, the machine as a whole continues to take part in the labour-process. Thus it appears, that one factor of the labour-process, a means of production, continually enters as a whole into that process, while it enters into the process of the formation of value by fractions only. The difference between the two processes is here reflected in their material factors, by the same instrument of production taking part as a whole in the labour-process, while at the same time as an element in the formation of value, it enters only by fractions. [2] On the other hand, a means of production may take part as a whole in the formation of value, while into the labour-process it enters only bit by bit. Suppose that in spinning cotton, the waste for every 115 lbs. used amounts to 15 lbs., which is converted, not into yarn, but into "devil's dust." Now, although this 15 lbs. of cotton never becomes a constituent element of the yarn, yet assuming this amount of waste to be normal and inevitable under average conditions of spinning, its value is just as surely transferred to the value of the yarn, as is the value of the 100 lbs. that form the substance of the yarn. The use-value of 15 lbs. of cotton must vanish into dust, before 100 lbs. of yarn can be made. The destruction of this cotton is therefore a necessary condition in the production of the yarn. And because it is a necessary condition, and for no other reason, the value of that cotton is transferred to the product. The same holds good for every kind of refuse resulting from a labour-process, so tar at least as such refuse cannot be further employed as a means in the production of new and independent use-values. Such an employment of refuse may be seen in the large machine works at Manchester, where mountains of iron turnings are carted away to the foundry in the evening, in order the next morning to re-appear in the workshops as solid masses of iron. We have seen that the means of production transfer value to the new product, so far only as during the labour-process they lose value in the shape of their old use-value. The maximum loss of value that they can suffer in the process, is plainly limited by the amount of the original value with which they came into the process, or in other words, by the labour-time necessary for their production. Therefore, the means of production can never add more value to the product than they themselves possess independently of the process in which they assist. However useful a given kind of raw material, or a machine, or other means of production may be, though it may cost £150, or, say, 500 days' labour, yet it cannot, under any circumstances, add to the value of the product more than £150. Its value is determined not by the labour-process into which it enters as a means of production, but by that out of which it has issued as a product. In the labour-process it only serves as a mere use-value, a thing with useful properties, and could not, therefore, transfer any value to the product, unless it possessed such value previously. [3] While productive labour is changing the means of production into constituent elements of a new product, their value undergoes a metempsychosis. It deserts the consumed body, to occupy the newly created one. But this transmigration takes place, as it were, behind the back of the labourer. He is unable to add new labour, to create new value, without at the same time preserving old values, and this, because the labour he adds must be of a specific useful kind; and he cannot do work of a useful kind, without employing products as the means of production of a new product, and thereby transferring their value to the new product. The property therefore which labour-power in action, living labour, possesses of preserving value, at the same time that it adds it, is a gift of Nature which costs the labourer nothing, but which is very advantageous to the capitalist inasmuch as it preserves the existing value of his capital. [4] So long as trade is good, the capitalist is too much absorbed in money-grubbing to take notice of this gratuitous gift of labour. A violent interruption of the labour-process by a crisis, makes him sensitively aware of it. [5] As regards the means of production, what is really consumed is their use-value, and the consumption of this use-value by labour results in the product. There is no consumption of their value, [6] and it would therefore be inaccurate to say that it is reproduced. It is rather preserved; not by reason of any operation it undergoes itself in the process; but because the article in which it originally exists, vanishes, it is true, but vanishes into some other article. Hence, in the value of the product, there is a reappearance of the value of the means of production, but there is, strictly speaking, no reproduction of that value. That which is produced is a new use-value in which the old exchange-value reappears. [7] It is otherwise with the subjective factor of the labour-process, with labour-power in action. While the labourer, by virtue of his labour being of a specialised kind that has a special object, preserves and transfers to the product the value of the means of production, he at the same time, by the mere act of working, creates each instant an additional or new value. Suppose the process of production to be stopped just when the workman has produced an equivalent for the value of his own, labour-power, when, for example, by six hours' labour, he has added a value of three shillings. This value is the surplus, of the total value of the product, over the portion of its value that is due to the means of production. It is the only original bit of value formed during this process, the only portion of the value of the product created by this process. Of course, we do not forget that this new value only replaces the money advanced by the capitalist in the purchase of the labour-power, and spent by the labourer on the necessaries of life. With regard to the money spent, the new value is merely a reproduction; but, nevertheless, it is an actual, and not, as in the case of the value of the means of production, only an apparent, reproduction. The substitution of one value for another, is here effected by the creation of new value. We know, however, from what has gone before, that the labour-process may continue beyond the time necessary to reproduce and incorporate in the product a mere equivalent for the value of the labour-power. Instead of the six hours that are sufficient for the latter purpose, the process may continue for twelve hours. The action of labour-power, therefore, not only reproduces its own value, but produces value over and above it. This surplus-value is the difference between the value of the product and the value of the elements consumed in the formation of that product, in other words, of the means of production and the labour-power. By our explanation of the different parts played by the various factors of the labour-process in the formation of the product's value, we have, in fact, disclosed the characters of the different functions allotted to the different elements of capital in the process of expanding its own value. The surplus of the total value of the product, over the sum of the values of its constituent factors, is the surplus of the expanded capital over the capital originally advanced. The means of production on the one hand, labour-power on the other, are merely the different modes of existence which the value of the original capital assumed when from being money it was transformed into the various factors of the labour-process. That part of capital then, which is represented by the means of production, by the raw material, auxiliary material and the instruments of labour does not, in the process of production, undergo any quantitative alteration of value. I therefore call it the constant part of capital, or, more shortly, constant capital. On the other hand, that part of capital, represented by labour-power, does, in the process of production, undergo an alteration of value. It both reproduces the equivalent of its own value, and also produces an excess, a surplus-value, which may itself vary, may be more or less according to circumstances. This part of capital is continually being transformed from a constant into a variable magnitude. I therefore call it the variable part of capital, or, shortly, variable capital. The same elements of capital which, from the point of view of the labour-process, present themselves respectively as the objective and subjective factors, as means of production and labour-power, present themselves, from the point of view of the process of creating surplus-value, as constant and variable capital. The definition of constant capital given above by no means excludes the possibility of a change of value in its elements. Suppose the price of cotton to be one day sixpence a pound, and the next day, in consequence of a failure of the cotton crop, a shilling a pound. Each pound of the cotton bought at sixpence, and worked up after the rise in value, transfers to the product a value of one shilling; and the cotton already spun before the rise, and perhaps circulating in the market as yarn, likewise transfers to the product twice its, original value. It is plain, however, that these changes of value are independent of the increment or surplus-value added to the value of the cotton by the spinning itself. If the old cotton had never been spun, it could, after the rise, be resold at a shilling a pound instead of at sixpence. Further, the fewer the processes the cotton has gone through, the more certain is this result. We therefore find that speculators make it a rule when such sudden changes in value occur, to speculate in that material on which the least possible quantity of labour has been spent: to speculate, therefore, in yarn rather than in cloth, in cotton itself, rather than in yarn. The change of value in the case we have been considering, originates, not in the process in which the cotton plays the part of a means of production, and in which it therefore functions as constant capital, but in the process in which the cotton itself is produced. The value of a commodity, it. is true, is determined by the quantity of labour contained in it, but this quantity is itself limited by social conditions. If the time socially necessary for the production of any commodity alters — and a given weight of cotton represents, after a bad harvest, more labour than after a good one — all previously existing commodities of the same class are affected, because they are, as it were, only individuals of the species, [8] and their value at any given time is measured by the labour socially necessary, i.e., by the labour necessary for their production under the then existing social conditions. As the value of the raw material may change, so, too, may that of the instruments of labour, of the machinery, &c., employed in the process; and consequently that portion of the value of the product transferred to it from them, may also change. If in consequence of a new invention, machinery of a particular kind can be produced by a diminished expenditure of labour, the old machinery becomes depreciated more or less, and consequently transfers so much less value to the product. But here again, the change in value originates outside the process in which the machine is acting as a means of production. Once engaged in this process, the machine cannot transfer more value than it possesses apart from the process. Just as a change in the value of the means of production, even after they have commenced to take a part in the labour-process, does not alter their character as constant capital, so, too, a change in the proportion of constant to variable capital does not affect the respective functions of these two kinds of capital. The technical conditions of the labour-process may be revolutionised to such an extent, that where formerly ten men using ten implements of small value worked up a relatively small quantity of raw material, one man may now, with the aid of one expensive machine, work up one hundred times as much raw material. In the latter case we have an enormous increase in the constant capital, that is represented by the total value of the means of production used, and at the same time a great reduction in the variable capital, invested in labour-power. Such a revolution, however, alters only the quantitative relation between the constant and the variable capital, or the proportions in which the total capital is split up into its constant and variable constituents; it has not in the least degree affected the essential difference between the two. Footnotes [1] "Labour gives a new creation for one extinguished." ("An Essay on the Polit. Econ. of Nations," London, 1821, p. 13.) [2] The subject of repairs of the implements of labour does not concern us here. A machine that is undergoing repair, no longer plays the part of an instrument, but that of a subject of labour. Work is no longer done with it, but upon it. It is quite permissible for our purpose to assume, that the labour expended on the repairs of instruments is included in the labour necessary for their original production. But in the text we deal with that wear and tear, which no doctor can cure, and which little by little brings about death, with "that kind of wear which cannot be repaired from time to time, and which, in the case of a knife, would ultimately reduce it to a state in which the cutler would say of it, it is not worth a new blade." We have shewn in the text, that a machine takes part in every labour-process as an integral machine, but that into the simultaneous process of creating value it enters only bit by. bit. How great then is the confusion of ideas exhibited in the following extract! "Mr. Ricardo says a portion of the labour of the engineer in making [stocking] machines" is contained for example in the value of a pair of stockings. "Yet the total labour, that produced each single pair of stockings ... includes the whole labour of the engineer, not a portion; for one machine makes many pairs, and none of those pairs could have been done without any part of the machine." ("Obs. on Certain Verbal Disputes in Pol. Econ., Particularly Relating to Value," p. 54.1 The author, an uncommonly self-satisfied wiseacre, is right in his confusion and therefore in his contention, to this extent only, that neither Ricardo nor any other economist, before or since him, has accurately distinguished the two aspects of labour, and still less, therefore, the part played by it under each of these aspects in the formation of value. [3] From this we may judge of the absurdity of J. B. Say, who pretends to account for surplus-value (Interest, Profit, Rent), by the "services productifs" which the means of production, soil, instruments, and raw material, render in the labour-process by means of their use-values. Mr. Wm. Roscher who seldom loses an occasion of registering, in black and white, ingenious apologetic fancies, records the following specimen: - "J. B. Say (Traité, t. 1, ch. 4) very truly remarks: the value produced by an oil mill, after deduction of all costs, is something new, something quite different from the labour by which the oil mill itself was erected." (l. c., p. 82, note.) Very true, Mr. Professor! the oil produced by the oil mill is indeed something very different from the labour expended in constructing the mill! By value, Mr. Roscher understands such stuff as "oil," because oil has value, notwithstanding that "Nature" produces petroleum, though relatively "in small quantities," a fact to which he seems to refer in his further observation: "It (Nature) produces scarcely any exchange-value." Mr. Roscher's "Nature" and the exchange-value it produces are rather like the foolish virgin who admitted indeed that she had had a child, but "it was such a little one." This "savant sérieux" in continuation remarks: "Ricardo's school is in the habit of including capital as accumulated labour under the head of labour. This is unskilful work, because, indeed, the owner of capital, after all, does something more than the merely creating and preserving of the same: namely, the abstention from the enjoyment of it, for which he demands, e.g., interest." (l. c.) How very "skilful" is this "anatomico-physiological method" of Political Economy, which, "indeed," converts a mere desire "after alr' into a source of value. [4] "Of all the instruments of the farmers' trade, the labour of man ... is that on which he is most to rely for the repayment of his capital. The other two ... the working stock of the cattle and the ... carts, ploughs, spades, and so forth, without a given portion of the first, are nothing at all." (Edmund Burke: "Thoughts and Details on Scarcity, originally presented to the Right Hon. W. Pitt, in the month of November 1795," Edit. London, 1800, p. 10.) [5] In The Times of 26th November, 1862, a manufacturer, whose mill employed 800 hands, and consumed, on the average, 150 bales of East Indian, or 130 bales of American cotton, complains, in doleful manner, of the standing expenses of his factory when not working. He estimates them at £6,000 a year. Among them are a number of items that do not concern us here, such as rent, rates, and taxes, insurance, salaries of the manager, book-keeper, engineer, and others. Then he reckons £150 for coal used to heat the mill occasionally, and run the engine now and then. Besides this, he includes the wages of the people employed at odd times to keep the machinery in working order. Lastly, he puts down £1,200 for depreciation of machinery, because "the weather and the natural principle of decay do not suspend their operations because the steam-engine ceases to revolve." He says, emphatically, he does not estimate his depreciation at more than the small sum of £1,200, because his machinery is already nearly worn out. [6] "Productive consumption ... where the consumption of a commodity is a part of the process of production. ... In these instances there is no consumption of value." (S. P. Newman, l. c., p. 296.) [7] In an American compendium that has gone through, perhaps, 20 editions, this passage occurs: "It matters not in what form capital re-appears;" then after a lengthy enumeration of all the possible ingredients of production whose value re-appears in the product, the passage concludes thus: "The various kinds of food, clothing, and shelter, necessary for the existence and comfort of the human being, are also changed. They are consumed from time to time, and their value re-appears in that new vigour imparted to his body and mind, forming fresh capital, to be employed again in the work of production." (F. Wayland, l. c., pp. 31, 32.) Without noticing any other oddities, it suffices to observe, that what re-appears in the fresh vigour, is not the bread's price, but its bloodforming substances. What, on the other hand, re-appears in the value of that vigour, is not the means of subsistence, but their value. The same necessaries of life, at half the price, would form just as much muscle and bone, just as much vigour, but not vigour of the same value. This confusion of "value" and "vigour" coupled with our author's pharisaical indefiniteness, mark an attempt, futile for all that, to thrash out an explanation of surplus-value from a mere re-appearance of pre-existing values. [8] "Toutes les productions d'un même — genre ne forment proprement qu'une masse, dont le prix se détermine en général et sans égard aux circonstances particulières." (Le Trosne, 1. c., p. 893.) Transcribed by Zodiac