TALKININKAI / CONTRIBUTORS
|MARXCHISMS: WHO IS A WORKER?|
|Written by DAMTP|
[DAMTP intro-discussion raised on February/March, 2011]
Dear co-rades [Bakuninist],
On the edge of becoming homo voyeur (with closed eyes)
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.
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).
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]
…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
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:
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!
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!?
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
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.
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…