EN LT
MARXCHISMS: WHO IS A WORKER? Print
Written by DAMTP   

[DAMTP intro-discussion raised on February/March, 2011]

 

Dear co-rades [Bakuninist],

- which sounds almost revolutionary Spanish -
as to  "worker" - I have some essential objection against overuse of the word - because its original meaning is a person heavy working in the factory - as such this profession is disappearing - you might say that Czech or Europe is not the whole world - but it shows the tendency ...- so any other use of the word is more a metaphor - when we say i.e. cultural worker - its mere mockery - even when we say cultural laborer - its not much better, maybe homo faber - but its taking us somewhere totally different + loosing any social tension. Very similar the word class - it exists only when backed with the self-identification of the large group of people - which is also a question if it exists in these days...

On the edge of becoming homo voyeur (with closed eyes)

 

Comrades [Marxist]

The removal of the basic word what makes sense to identify self in the context of class - that subverts the whole subject of strike... It is not about the worker who hides identity, but the one, who takes it over and strikes it forever.
Soviet-communist-capitalist state identification of the worker is unacceptable because their concept simply lead towards workers’ bourgeoisification.

Important it is to point out the class distinction while drawing on Marx himself: that there are those who own and employ, and those who do not own a capital and must work to survive (and this exceeds 'a worker', since the unemployed are also workers - it is only at a specific moment that they don't have a job; same with 'white collar' or 'precariat' - we do not work in the factory, but we must work to earn a living. a manager is a worker... I would go for 'working people' or ‘the working’ (dirbantieji in Lithuanian).

But yes, this is a purely materialist distinction. This does not take cultural habits into account. I like Black Mask's 'nigger as class'. But for this text specifically - I am in favor of 'a worker' or 'the working', because the working class anger in north Africa is under threat of being overcome by capitalist calls for 'democracy' and the status quo - so this materialist distinction is rather important...

Yes, maybe it is a kind of a metaphor, but it's got content. How do we use this metaphor (the only tool we've got in this instance - language) so that we support and relate to the dispossessed and exploited? While singing 'we are all prostitutes' to my course-mates and tutors I was going for the same thing... We had a laugh, but it had an effect.

And about the working people not using the term 'worker' - well it really depends what territory you are talking about... for example even if the workers in UK are not very famous of praxis in the last 20 years (after miners strike and poll-tax riots), it really is common to hear from both old and young: 'we are the fucking working class..!' (I’m talking about the people from the street, not academics or students)

 

 

Dear rades [Bakuninist]


... you don’t hear it from workers in Czech - they are not so much proud of their status - especially now when so easy to loose the job...+ actually its doctors now who are on riot - about 4000 Czech doctors will leave the hospitals by the March 1st if the doctors trade union doesn’t succeed to get form government what they have
been asking for a long time  (they made all the juridical steps about 3 months ago)... this is what is moving with the society now in this small country... so the Czech psychic workers are silent - but the psychic doctors are howling!

…trying to figure out the more suitable word than „worker“ – for my understanding of the position of people to whom I count myself – I overcame some pathetic ones like „slave“ (which has special quality for slavic  people – who were the origin of this word) – or neoslave, still finding some attraction in the word: „subject“… forgotten in republics – but in a way I think it quite expresses the required  servant role of majority – its pretty wide set –employees and employers -  even the owners and kings (queens) are subjects – question is to whom – it should be more clear than: system or corporation or capitalism or money …The task of today is to name the enemy – and I hope it will not lead back to me/us

 

 

Comrades [Marxist]

 

To point to the enemy is exactly how the mechanism of subjugation starts to work: dividing, hatred to “the other” – that is how nationalism is build-up, but actually that was the biggest problem of bolshevism as well (you will always find an enemy – the process is endless). That is truth – subjugation is not slave-like any more: instead of being forced to survive therefore to work for somebody it is modified into mechanism of survival by working for somebody – there is no direct forcing anymore in wage slavery. But if you are identifying yourself with subjugated – the point is – who you are when loosing the chains? The “worker” has much more potentiality – it means ability to produce. Workers’ demands are very simple – to get the right to control the production and it’s distribution. In the case of DAMTP – that is the production of meaning. Creation of subjugated meaning is creation of commodity in the form of symbols (art, culture, state and religious propaganda, advertising etc.) – that is what we should resist against. That is not truth that your production of meaning always was subjugated, so besides resisting the subjugation you have an ability to control the meanings you’ve had produced, to disrupt the false ones, and also to create new meanings. Another point is the question of solidarity – to point the enemy is the way to create the crowd of “subjugated” who dislike being like that…but they are remaining in the same mode of “subjugated” so long they remain a crowd. There is a big difference how to manipulate crowd and how to deal with organized strike. Crowd actually plays the role prescripted, but strike is about refusal from playing the roles (exception is the strike organized by official trade unions that are actually playing one of the state domesticated roles). The strike of just “subjugated” is impossible. Their rebellion – meaningless, so far they immediately will loose the self-organization – rebellion is effective only in a concert with wild-cat strikes and on the basis of self-organization on a workers’ level.

There is no sense to play with words on the level of linguistics – meaning is beyond linguistics and disrupts it if it’s rules start to press. Worker is probably mostly and wide understandable word – no sense to change it into some vague cunning.

But there is one more category in different social levels of more or less “subjugated” – that is “privileged” (that is what unites at some prospective lumpen-proletariat, libido-proletariat and bourgeoisie).

 

"It must never be forgotten that some of the targets of molecular theatre lie within ourselves and it is the fascism within that must be exposed in open combat" from Freedom through movement: Towards a molecular theatre: By Ross Birrell.

 

It’s crucial! the definition of psychic /semantic or value space (its definition still unclear) is something that has developed since the end of the age of divinity was published on the internet - the version distributed at the last art strike biennial I think refers to "letter - name - text - volume" - the latest texts by DAMTP refers to "letter - name - nation - class". Some of this theorizing relates to Object Oriented Programming in which sense perhaps 'object' is an alternative to 'subject'.

 

I like challenging use of 'worker' - if only because most people are 'unemployed' especially psychic workers! We already talked about workers who are not alive... but what about the workers who are not human... However one thing I didn’t get a chance to talk about with Gustav Metzger when we met in Dartington was about his concern for extinct species - for the perspective of economics, animals are a factor of production - known as Land - which along with Capital must become subordinated to Labour - i.e. animals or other life forms are owned by the human workers who look after them. This position is changed if we refer to objects rather than subjects.

 

But I think its dangerous - I’m not sure whether we should not use Proletarian instead of Worker - but then 'worker' can be easily translated into other languages (Mazdoor is used in Pakistan/India for 'worker' but we also refer to Proletaria - a latin word originally? - in Pakistan so is this further eurocentrism?). - So for now I am still in favour of using 'worker'.

 

Counterblasting the dangerous flippancy in use of “object” – “subject” interaction therefore it’s time to extent it in trialectical manner into triad of “object” – “subject” – “reject”.

Correspondingly it should interact as other triad versions discussed earlier:

 

object

matter

letter

subject

mind

name

reject

event

class

 

 

Analogically as object-object (principle of sufficient reason) related thinking was overthrown by dialectical thinking of conflict between object-subject – so we can step on trialectical critique of dialectical reasoning:

 

Object + Reject  vs.  Subject  results empiricist revolt.

Object + Subject  vs.  Reject  results revolution against representation (situationists?) but from the other side it's recuperation by representation

Object vs. Reject  +  Subject  results bolshevism (that version also depicts the famous description of “revolutionary situation” as ripe “objective” conditions corresponding ripe “subjective” conditions)

 

Any of those partite revolutionary activities is a dead end in itself. As makes it impossible any claims towards the arithmetical adding of those partitions into a synthesis of revolutionary totality.

 

Following UAWMF slogan

“SPACE TO SPACED!”

We therefore trialectically expanding it to also

TIME TO TIMED!

and

MEANING BACK TO SUBJECT!

 

It also makes a new sense for the appropriation of means of production by workers especially in the case of the psychic workers.

 

I like much more “subject” as related to worker, then to slave….

 

Maybe we should publish 3 versions of texts instead of just 2!?
I am in Berlin but sick (abject) so staying in bed (to recuperate)…

 

 

 

Comrades

 

If you speak for your organization when you say that: capitalist society isn't composed of two fundamental classes, the owners and controllers of the means of production who subsequently live off the labour of a second class; those forced t...o sell their labour power for a wage or a salary in order to live, but has a
third "middle class" thats interests are in antagonism with both sections. Or that: interests are not divided solely into class, but there is such a thing as "racial interest" at play. And that all women and "non-whites" (to use a ridicules distinction imposed by you, not me), are all naturally members of the proletariat.
Or further still that someones opinions can therefore be dismissed on the grounds of their suppose race or supposed class, then yes it would be dishonest and counter productive to my own goal (socialism) to associate myself with such a movement, as I do not agree with any of these opinions.

If however this is not the official stance of the DAMTP, and other members agree with me, then I will reconsider. I am essentially interested in a trade union of cultural workers (even though the collective bargaining power of such workers is highly limited by the nature of their job role). I also think that such a Union should affiliate itself with other unions-aswell as other organs of working class defence. I would also (obviously) like to see the class struggle brought beyond the demand "a fair days pay for a fair days work, into the revolutionary watchword; the abolition of the wages system" to paraphrase that Eurocentric,
internationalist, statist, anarchist, reformist, revolutionary, historian, economist, sociologist, political theorist, sexist, feminist, we all love and hate Herr Marx.

So basically, where does the organisation stand? We can deal with the merits of mysticism, religion, etc after we clear up the disagreements outlined above

 

 

Comrades,

 

In my opinion, you deny the existence of racism all over the world - you seem to stick to the illustration of a starving Ethiopian - and this issue for me seems more and more important, because it is of benefit to the bourgeoisie and strongly opposing socialism. People ARE being discriminated because of the skin colour, but by calling you white – the referring is about your thinking and rhetoric, rather than your skin colour. White people can think black, black people can think white, so on.

Where I differ from your positions I don’t stick to the relation to the production ONLY. Where did the bourgeoisie come from? Was it not the Europe and its ideas of supremacy? Yes, we are all from Africa, but there were certain moments in history (and the ideologies) which we don’t have any grounds to deny! Because it carries on!

I remember you said that Nazis are only stupid workers. Only? I think that's one of the crucial things: to not allow it happening! Often the racism, the nationalism might be left as unimportant, but that's the enemy as important as capitalist 'freedom' ideology, not to forget authoritarian left.

As I perceive it, proletariat is the class that is determined to abolish capitalism, that is the mentality, which does not equal ones relation to production, but the determination, the conscious interests taken into praxis. As was said before, the queen is welcome to resign (or whatever the term) and join DAMTP - she would be a perfect contributor to crack the royal occultism and to turn in on itself!!! Where we differ, I think, DAMTP is, as it is written in constitution, or even the title itself suggests, an organization for mental class war, instead of becoming politicians or creating a trade union which would institutionally fight for higher wages - so it is not intended for defense.

We can call the middle class a working class, because people are selling their labour, but the people's interests are various. Usually it is to keep their privilege as being above 'blackworking' (as used to say in Lithuania) or 'the grey mass' (one more) and to 'work as a white person' (also term of common use).

if you believe that parliament, by abolishing private property, would make all the racial tensions disappear, then yeah, why not brush it away. I don't believe this, that's one of the reasons why I wasn’t interested in joining SPGB.

--

one more addition from a Black Mask no.10 April/May 1968: Revolution as Being:

...the enemy is within as well as without...
...The proletarian in the last analysis is distinguished from that of the working class; and even, in a fundamental sense, is hostile to it. It thus becomes all the more necessary to distinguish between the two when in our radical subculture proletarian is taken as synonymous with working class. The latter after all is only a category of political economy. As such it reveals a deep passivity when confronted not by the bourgeoisie (toward which the working class has always shown an egalitarian hostility) but by bourgeois civilization. The transformation of the working class into the proletariat takes place therefore not in the realm of political economy, but in the realm of Being. If our use of terms differs somewhat from Marx's, it is still close to his early 1844 ideas.

 

 

Comrades,

 

I found some typical Western hubris present in the notes defending class interest of the privileged group of people, denying the fact that racism exists as such. Making equation between privileged western bourgeoisie called “cultural workers” and the workers of the third world – that is nonsense. There is a big difference between such “workers’ who are making a choice – to work or refuse from it for the rebel sake is not adequate to the question of survival what brings to the fight third world people (even counting eastern Europeans at some extend). As 60-ies showed more then evidently – western white “revolutionaries” quite easy came back to “normalization”, while for to the most black (and Latin-American) revolutionaries it was the question of life/death.

The question of trade unionism and bargaining – all the means what lack the ultimate risk are hopelessly compromised…these kind of organizations becoming part of the cult rituals and tense pressure simulators what simply makes evidence that they are far away from the ordinary people, or simply they are linking towards deeper bourgeoisification of the working people by offering some more privileges for the more obedient ones.

In general we as DAMTP’s should admit that our aim consist not of trying to obtain some more privileges but about loosing those already gotten. Definitely it is an opposite direction from trade unionism and will do not fit with the desires of our colleagues towards the welfare life.

Simply – I do not see a possibility for socialism while there is a situation where somebody has a right to make choice while their colleagues are fighting for survival. But on the other hand I do not see socialism were people are not able to identify themselves as workers – for sure not in the realm of political economy, but rather of BEING. And that is an inescapable datum level of proletarian approach which gives a right to command more organized or advanced forms of organization as we have declared. There is what I found in Osha Neumann’s: “We need organizations that are capable of exercising some authority but avoid reproducing the authoritarian modes of dominant society”.

But there is one more tendency what I have no idea how to deal with. The authoritarian modes of dominant society were transported all over the world and now have been developed into far more militant forms in the third world. From my experience I see that Eastern Europeans turned into a feral neoliberal capitalists very easily and to the much more degree of westerners… or China’s capitalism…or – so far I derived from an artistic background – African version of contemporary “serious culture” industry – few years ago I’ve read through the ideas and declarations of numerous African cultural people as collected by Dead Revolutionaries Club… they are ridiculously pro-market-oriented… I would propose also for further research a case of cultural careerist (originally from Nigeria), but dealing exceptionally on the highest western cultural bourgeois level – Okwui Enwezor – somebody calls him cultural broker for Africa… Neocolonialism is realized by the native privileged operators so giving a fake promise to the ordinary working people. At some point this is a very similar construct as was/is used in the art world…. It’s hardly comprehensible how long this rotten promise is staying in the peoples’ heads…