“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Marxalot

Turn on the news, it looks like a movie
It just makes me want to sing Louie Louie


From looking at my stats, I see what the vast majority of LI’s readership wants: naked pictures of Lady Bitch Ray. Unfortunately, she hasn’t mailed me any lately. So I will revert to a few jottings about a subject so sexy and hot that surely, aficionados of LBR’s perfect derriere will not be totally unhappy. I’m speaking, of course, about Marx and the German Ideology.

Ho ho.

Northanger, at a certain late point in the comment stream on Phantoms of Ideology, asked me what it was that I found particularly stunning about Amie’s discussion of ideology in Marx. What I found stunning about it was that Amie took Marx’s notion apart, and showed how it worked and didn’t work. This is in the best tradition of what Victor Skhlovsky, the Russian critique, called “estrangement” – by examining a thing as a composite rather than as a immediate whole, one gains a certain intellectual and moral mastery over a seemingly opaque totality. In his great essay about the estrangement in Wooden Eyes, Carlo Ginzberg relates the technique to folk riddles and the Stoic moral training found in Marcus Aurelius. “First of all, we must pause and take stock. That which is dear to us must be broken down into its component parts.” This, one of the pre-eminent intellectual urges inherited by the early modern moralists from the revival of the Stoics (see La Bruyere’s passage about going into the kitchens of the rich and observing each (disgusting) stage in the preparation of their delicacies) flows into the ideologues proper of the Napoleonic era, and then into Marx’s own use of “ideology” in The German Ideology. As Amie points out, if we go back into the kitchen and see when and how Marx composed a book in 1846 that did not get published until 1932, we will experience a certain lessening of our sense of, well, our grasp on the text. That lessened grasp is important, especially in light of the fact that there is a central Marxist tradition that believe it “owns” the text. Chabert, whose reduction of Marx's use of ideology as three memorizable uses, seems to assume something opposite: we can simply pluck out the “concepts” that constitute the meaning of Marx's text and arrange them synchronically, like bulleted items in a power point presentation.

That is the traditional way of interpreting Marx.

Well, I wrote at mindboggling length in the comments about this in response to Chabert. However, I’d like to pull away from the duel and scratch out a few notes about the German Ideology that I will no doubt later use in my happiness book.

Anyone who tries to read the entirety of the German Ideology quickly finds that it is the gaudiest, oddest text in Marx’s canon. It goes on forever, contains gigantic, brilliant guesses and then ties them to a pitifully provincial controversy. It is crucial to remember that this text is written long before Marx had anything like a model of capitalism. In this, it is a sort of unique document in science – not only does Marx lack empirical evidence for his claims, he even lacks a model to generate that evidence. And yet, he advances with an amazing confidence, in the process creating a radically new social science.

The title is, of course, meant seriously. This book is Marx’s spirited entry in the contest to pull Germany – a nation that doesn’t even exist – into the sphere of the vanguard European nations. There is no doubt in Marx’s mind that the industrial system invented in Europe is the future. Unlike, say, Gandhi, who confronted a similarly backward economy in India, Marx does not think the industrial system is evidence of Western ‘vice’. His tone is all the more sarcastic as he is waging this polemic against a handful of former theology students who are rich in a sophisticated philosophical vocabulary, but poor in their sense of reality. If Germany does not become part of civilization, its destiny will be decided on the outside, without it. This intuition is perfectly correct – Marx doesn’t have any sympathy for concerns about Kultur, which, to him, is just the last mumblings of the feudal aristocracy. Marx is, to use an anachronistic vocabulary, completely Eurocentric. The European idea is not that Europe is mystically superior, but that the industrial system developed in Europe is globally applicable. This is the essence of the Western idea. Without it, there would be no universal working class for Marxism to work with. Marx wholeheartedly supported 'civilization'. In political terms, this meant support for the advances of bourgeois liberal democracy, which he vociferously supported in 1848. And good for him. But it also meant that the global phenomenon of the 19th and 20th century – the triumph of the West - was advanced both by Marxism and capitalism. Left and Right (those incredibly provincial terms, referencing a temporary assembly in Paris and projecting it onto the global conceptual space as if were a god given filter) fundamentally agree on their vision of the world – that is, on the necessity of the industrial system, which is the central term defining civilization. No communist party in the 20th century - neither Bose's in Bengal, Ho Chi Minh's in Hanoi, or Castro's in Havana - disagree with that. (Hmm, well, no, there are two exceptions - the Khmer Rouge and Mao, which, in their monstrosity, speak for themselves.) Whereever these two forces went, they left behind factories. Whether the management of that industrial system was market based or based on the enfranchised power of the laborer was the question, but the industrial system was never questioned.

In making his case against the German ideology, Marx begins the book with his biggest and most fruitful guess. Taking the conjectural history of progress that characterized the Edinburgh enlightenment and the French ideologues, i.e. folks like Smith, Ferguson and Condorcet, Marx reorganizes it under the sign of a brilliant insight: instead of freedom or the arts and sciences being the driver of progress, Marx redefines the historical dynamic in terms of systems of production. At a stroke, Marx gives us a sociology that does not appeal to some final, qualitative absolute.

This was brilliant. It was revolutionary. And it was also without any support from either a model or empirical data. At this point, Marx’s economic model is solely that created by the bourgeois economists.

Along with this insight, Marx makes a second move, one as important as the first. He discusses systems of production in terms of labor, and – at least partially – founds a social ontology that frees labor from both feudal hierarchical thought and the ‘ideologues” dualism. Consciousness is being. All production uses both thought and bodily power. Social being is founded on the life processes. This is an exciting moment in Marx. He has given himself the tools to discuss labor outside of the idealist model of his theological opponents, but he has provided grounds for discarding the dualism between ideas and matter. At this point, one would think he would discard all –isms.

Alas, he doesn’t. This is where the polemical nature of the book, which makes it fun to read, exacts its price from Marx’s theory. To admit that ideas are part of the life process would be, strategically, giving a hostage to fortune – and Marx is a take no prisoners kind of guy. Thus, he proclaims himself, absurdly enough, a materialist, and distorts his discovery to produce a whacky idea of ideas as these things that sort of float, effeminately, in the ether, while labor goes on, ever material. The hammerer and the hammer are one.

This theme muddies Marx’s clarity. It is also the first appearance of what becomes a truly vicious habit in Marxism, and on the left, where everything gets dubbed “material”. Materialism is the Semper Fi of Marxism, a meaningless slogan to excuse mean and disgusting actions. Moreover, by embracing a dualism he has just exploded, Marx burdens himself with an unnecessarily idealistic conception of ideas. He misses their materiality.

This confusion is compounded in Marx’s first definition of ideology. You can tell Marx is going backwards when he uses a metaphor that naturalizes a cultural phenomenon:

“The fact is thus this: particular [bestimmte] individuals who are productively active in particular ways, enter into particular social and political relationships. Empirical observation must in every individual case point to the empirical coordination of a social and political division with that of production and without any mystification and speculation. Social division and the state issue constantly out of the life process of particular individuals; but these individuals may not appear as they exist in their own or in other’s thought, but as they really are, meaning, as they operate, materially produce, thus as they are active under specific material limits, presuppositions and conditions, independent of their will.

The production of ideas, thoughts of the consciousness is firstly immediately imbricated in the material activity and the material intercourse of men, languages of real life. The thoughts, thinking, the spiritual intercourse of men appear here still as the direct overflow of their material relations. [Das Vorstellen, Denken, der geistige Verkehr der Menschen erscheinen hier noch als direkter Ausfluß ihres materiellen Verhaltens] The same thing goes for the spiritual production, as they are represented in the language of politics, of laws, of morals, of religion, metaphysics, etc., of a people. People are the producers of their thoughts, ideas, but real working people, as they are conditioned through a particular development of their productive forces and of the corresponding intercourse up to its broadest formation. Consciousness can never be something other than conscious being, and the being of men is their real process of living. If in the collective ideology of people, men and their relations appear, as in a camera obscura, standing on its head, so, too, this phenomenon is attributable to their historical living process, as the inversion of the object on the retina is to their immediate physical ones.”

Magnificent rhetoric, but one that puts Marx himself, as the writer of the German Ideology, in the uncomfortable position of writing from a practically supernatural viewpoint – after all, if the collective ideology of a people is as ingrained as the image is on the retina, one can only overcome that ideology by operating, in a metaphoric way, supernaturally. Such exaggeration is normal to Marx when he polemicizes – polemic operates both to get his best ideas on paper and then to contour them to the amazingly petty matters at hand. Thus, a quarrel in a backwards European state between journalists and junior academics has the result of dividing the whole world of human thought into the materialist or the idealist. Which leads Marx to soem fatally dismissive talk about ideas, as though they were somehow not material, as though they didn't arise and return to living processes, as though the brain were composed of ghost stuff.

Thus, it is this overabundance of the material that leads to those rather unfortunate passages in which Marx puts his ideological idea to work. I’ll quote from a passage that I’m not going to translate – I don’t have time! – but take from the often suspect International Press translation:

“The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas; hence of the relationships which make the one class the ruling one, therefore, the ideas of its dominance. The individuals composing the ruling class possess among other things consciousness, and therefore think. Insofar, therefore, as they rule as a class and determine the extent and compass of an epoch, it is self-evident that they do this in its whole range, hence among other things rule also as thinkers, as producers of ideas, and regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age: thus their ideas are the ruling ideas of the epoch. For instance, in an age and in a country where royal power, aristocracy, and bourgeoisie are contending for mastery and where, therefore, mastery is shared, the doctrine of the separation of powers proves to be the dominant idea and is expressed as an “eternal law.”

Again, what magnificent rhetoric! And surely right in parts, in that the material of ideas in a social reality are taken from that social reality. And yet, it is a generalization that depends on a mystified notion of “intellectual force,” which makes no sense outside of the mechanism where ‘ideas’ occur. Thus, somehow we are supposed to think that the idea of separation of powers proves (how?) to be the dominant idea – really? – and is expressed as ‘eternal law’ – seriously begging the question of where this cultural value comes from. This kind of simple, unmediated ideological critique makes for a nice journalistic shorthand, but as a description of social reality, it, of course, sucks. The royal power, aristocracy and bourgeoisie are stripped of their historic specificity, here, the material means by which they actually existed in real life, and defined in the abstract terms of their interest in domination. Again, there is some truth to this, but these words mystify more than they explain, creating a tableau of ghostly forces struggling for ‘material’ and ever more material prizes – although, of course, after a certain level, the life process of the human being in the ruling class is tidily taken care of, if we take material literally. Power becomes, then, another “force”, another mystery. I like the way Derrida uses the term program for this kind of thing, which is preferable on every level – the idea in the head, the spoken word, the written text, they are all involved not in a mysterious expressive relationship to ‘dominant material relationships’ – matter being again the compulsive word – but are embedded in them, are on the same level as them. Court society wouldn’t exist without those ‘expressive’ relationships – in fact, no society would. Marx forgets his notion of living processes, here, he forgets that the brain is what thinks, and that throughout the career of a thought, it is never outside of its ‘material’ nexus.

This polemically obsessive turn to the material that, ironically, is copacetic with the most highly idealistic notion of thought, is part of the program that Marx has to revamp after 1848, per Amie. But the compulsive display of toughness, the superabundance of “materiality”, the misbegotten contempt for ideas, based on a misbegotten notion of their function and their social place, existed as part of one of the programs in Marx’s texts. And they were used, with various catastrophic results, in 20th century Marxism.

Which I’ll come back to, at some point, if I have time.

29 comments:

roger said...

Oops, in the version I had jotted down - and this is of some importance - I wanted to point out one contradiction that Marx falls into in his 1846 definition of ideology. In all production, in Marx, it is the workers who produce. It is not the capitalists. One would not say, for instance, that Andrew Carnegie made the steel produced by his company. It was produced by the company's employees. And to say that Carnegie's spirit was "reflected" in that steel would be laughed at as the grossest form of capitalist propaganda. Yet, when it comes to producing "ideas", suddenly this model is reversed. All the ideas in, say, a newspaper bought by Carnegie "reflect" Carnegie. Indeed, the political philosophy of Locke, or Hobbes, or Condorcet, "reflects" the dominant class. The intellectual worker, alone, has this primarily alienated relationship to his or her product.

Again, this is the result of Marx's insistence that he is a "materialist".

roger said...

in the version I had jotted down [of this post in my notebook]. This is what comes of haste, my fellow sluggards.

Anonymous said...

LI, I'm sure you know that the kitchen metaphor touches on "women", as the kitchen is supposedly a woman's "domain", which is worth pondering maybe, and where she sees and deals with "materiality", or where her materiality is limited to? Almost, as she still has to "produce" material inheritance, only to disappear when that has happened. A quaint idea? Just ask Britney.

But these posts have also been fun in that they remind me of what it is to read and think and act and not be totally intimidated by the authoritarian voice. North says it quite well:
WHEN THE FUCK DID GOD GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO NAME EVERYTHING AND APPOINT YOURSELF THE SOLE SUBJECT?

LI, there is a whole lot in your post that i would like to get to, but at the moment I don't quite know how to, it is almost as if each line of thought mucks up the previous one. Ah, but there is music etc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW0rosozta8


Amie

roger said...

Nouvelle Vague!
Marx would go out of his way, get in debt, to make sure his daughters were educated in music and could dance. I love Marx for that, for all those begging letters.

northanger said...

amie, that comment didn't originate with me, but it seemed to scream Utility! when i first saw it.

AO 154 = DAS ENSEMBLE DER GESELLSCHAFTLICHEN VERHÄLTNISSE (AO-62 AMIE'S MARXIST SCHEMA, AO-62 ECONOMIC SPHERE, AO-62 ORGANIC TOTALITY) = LAWS ARE LIKE SAUSAGES. YOU SHOULD NEVER SEE THEM MADE.

artist's shit: absolute excrement & a giant machine that makes shit (this one from the poop report: your #1 source for your #2 business)

AO 161 = FROM ZERO TO INFINITY: ARTE POVERA 1962-1972 = DIALECTICS OF LABOUR: MARX AND HIS RELATION TO HEGEL (C.J. Arthur; Introduction: This book sets out an interpretation of Marx's 1844 Manuscripts. It will attempt to clarify what is obscure and to complete thoughts Marx left incomplete. A special effort is made to assess Marx's relationship to Hegel, which is one of extraordinary complexity; the influence of Hegel on Marx is enormous, yet Marx's embrace of materialism sets him poles apart from Hegel. Not surprisingly, the matter is a controversial one. The evidence offered by the 1844 Manuscripts of Marx's own understanding of his relation to Hegel has been insufficiently studied (except by Georg Lukács in his masterly work The Young Hegel), and never properly explicated. The question is not without its importance; for the central role played by labour in Marx's thought, and its character as 'the activity of alienation, the alienation of activity', is much illuminated by tracing Marx's route out of Hegel. Above all, this book aims to bring out fully the dialectical aspects of Marx's thought at this important turning point. The book ends by indicating the continuing importance of the themes of 1844 in Marx's later work; AO-94 1844 THE TURNING POINT).

AO 133 = SOCIAL PHENOMENA IN THEIR TOTALITY = MATERIALISM IS THE SEMPER FI OF MARXISM.

roger, thanks for answering my question. can't argue "Materialism is the Semper Fi of Marxism", but i read p21-23 here after reading this — mentions 3rd thesis on Feuerbach on materialist doctrine ("One might ask why, if Marx does justice to both sides, he calls himself a materialist instead of something more neutral?"). & also quotes M&E (re: worker/capitalist | labor/ideas contradiction):

Proletariat and wealth are opposites; as such they form a single whole. They are both creations of the world of private property. The question is exactly what place each occupies in the antithesis. It is not sufficient to declare them two sides of a single whole.

Private property as private property, as wealth, is compelled to maintain itself, and thereby its opposite, the proletariat, in existence. That is the positive side of the antithesis, self-satisfied private property.

The proletariat, on the contrary, is compelled as proletariat to abolish itself and thereby its opposite, private property, which determines its existence, and which makes it proletariat. It is the negative side of the antithesis, its restlessness within its very self, dissolved and self-dissolving private property.

The propertied class and the class of the proletariat present the same human self-estrangement. But the former class feels at ease and strengthened in this self-estrangement, it recognizes estrangement as its own power and has in it the semblance of a human existence. The class of the proletariat feels annihilated in estrangement; it sees in it its own powerlessness and the reality of an inhuman existence. It is, to use an expression of Hegel, in its abasement the indignation at that abasement, an indignation to which it is necessarily driven by the contradiction between its human nature and its condition of life, which is the outright, resolute and comprehensive negation of that nature.

Within this antithesis the private property-owner is therefore the conservative side, the proletarian the destructive side. From the former arises the action of preserving the antithesis, from the latter the action of annihilating it.

Indeed private property drives itself in its economic movement towards its own dissolution, but only through a development which does not depend on it, which is unconscious and which takes place against the will of private property by the very nature of things, only inasmuch as it produces the proletariat as proletariat, poverty which is conscious of its spiritual and physical poverty, dehumanization which is conscious of its dehumanization, and therefore self-abolishing. The proletariat executes the sentence that private property pronounces on itself by producing the proletariat, just as it executes the sentence that wage-labour pronounces on itself by producing wealth for others and poverty for itself. When the proletariat is victorious, it by no means becomes the absolute side of society, for it is victorious only by abolishing itself and its opposite. Then the proletariat disappears as well as the opposite which determines it, private property.

Chuckie K said...

Caught the latest LBR flap? On an April 24 tv appearance she gave her hosts a little box purportedly containing secretions from her vagina. Here, although truncated in the very opening:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2u_e9-mv6Y

roger said...

What can I say? LBR is a brilliant provacateuse. And that she is introducing "pussy" into the vocabulary of late night tv is, well, it is an advance of some kind. But fuck it, basically she's having fun.

Anonymous said...

North, hope you didn't mind attributing the phrase I quoted from your comment to you. I do rather like the phrase and question, and so had to repeat it!

LI, it seems to me that the voice of Jenny von Westphalen Marx should also be heard in all this. So here is Jenny writing to Marx in June of 1844:

"Do not write too angrily and irritably. You know how much more effective your other writings have been. Write either factually and delicately or humorously and lightly. Please, dear heart, let the pen glide over the paper, and even if it drops and stumbles occasionally, and a sentence with it, your ideas stand like the grenadiers of the Old Guard, so honorable and firm, and like them they can say, elle meurt mais elle ne se rend pas. What does it matter if the uniform hangs loosely and is not laced so tightly? What is so very nice about the French soldiers is their free and easy appearance. When you think of our stilted Prussians, doesn't it make you shudder? Loosen the harness, undo the cravat, and raise the shako – let the participles run free and place the words as they themselves would like. An army like yours must not march too rigidly. And your troops are after all going into battle."
(Jenny)

The phrase elle meurt mais elle ne se rend pas is underlined.

Amie

Chuckie K said...

This particular provocation lead to a formal complaint from the representative of the Catholic church on the board of Southwest German Radio, which carries the show, to the board of West German Radio, which produces it.
I'd say she's having the time of her life.
the fact that in the course of the innterview she taked at some length about racism against Arab and Turkish women in Germany seems to passed without public comment.

Chuckie K said...

"compulsive display of toughness" - or outraged and well-motivated response to some very brutal opponents?

The record of the critique of ideology does begin with that analysis of the harsh law against the 'theft' of wood and its stacked enforcement.

Before he's run out of the country just for editorializing.

northanger said...

Amie, no problem. btw, your schema made me curious about TGI's publishing history & this stood out: due partly to difficulties made by the police and partly to the reluctance of the publishers to print the work since their sympathies were on the side of the representatives of the trends attacked by Marx and Engels. & suddenly i can buy Derrida's "entering the texts by a back way" (as roger points out).

AO 199 = THE LENINIST STRATEGY OF EXACERBATING THE CONTRADICTIONS = A CONTRIBUTION TO THE CRITIQUE OF POLITICAL ECONOMY = DECONSTRUCTION IS DECONSTRUCTION OF DOGMATIC CRITIQUE = SYNTHETIC PAIR EXPLICITLY OR IMPLICITLY COMMON (AO-57 BASE AND SUPERSTRUCTURE).

AO 108 = DECONSTRUCTING DECONSTRUCTION = CHANGE THE CHANGE AS MARX WOULD SAY = DARK ELEMENT OF A NOCTURNAL OBSCURITY = HAD! THE MANIFESTATION OF NUIT (AO-95 1+3+6+10+15+21+28+36+45+55, AO-95 ELLE MEURT MAIS ELLE NE SE REND PAS) = HANDKERCHIEF OF SAINT VERONICA = HEGEL'S SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY = IRAQ SURVEY GROUP FINAL REPORT (AO-14 ARROW, AO-25 SAHM SADDAM, AO-28 SADDAM'S ARROW) = RESOLVE THE APPARENT ANTI-THESIS = WHAT POWER RESIDES IN THE OBJECT = WHOM NOTHING ELSE COULD CHARM.

AO 70 = BEYOND THE IMPASSE(S) (Not to 'transcend' but to confront these AO-70 INTERLOCKED IMPASSES, I shall develop the notion of a postmodern-marxism-socialism. Prompting for the first leg of this project comes from none other than Jacques Derrida, once assumed to be an implacable enemy of marxism. It is, indeed, the case that Derrida's critique of logocentrism, and his deconstructionist approach undermines the mechanical materialism of orthodox marxism. However, Derrida went on to re-evaluate his position on Marx himself and by the early 1990s was declaring (against the fashion) that: 'Marxism remains at once indispensable and structurally insufficient: it is still necessary but provided it be transformed and adapted to new conditions and to a new thinking... This transformation and this opening up of Marxism are in conformity with the spirit of Marxism' (1994: 58-9). ¶ Derrida rejects logocentric thought which claims legitimacy in terms of an external, universally truthful proposition because he believes that this can only be circular and self-referential. For a postmodernist perspective these systems of thought are only grounded in a self-constituted logic. Marxism would appear to be such a system of thought. For Derrida, though, 'When the dogma machine and the "Marxist" ideological apparatuses... are in the process of disappearing' (1994: 13) we have no excuse not to reconsider Marx as the first deconstructionist. This approach or philosophy - Derrida will not call it a method - advocates an inworming or internal subversion of the text, to reveal its contradictions and assumptions. It does not do so, however, from the perspective of an external validation, not does it seek to offer a better text. Thought systems are assumed to rest on binary oppositions (good/bad, true/false, nature/culture, man/woman, and so on), with an assumed privilege of one over the other. One side is primary, the other derivative. So, Derrida's approach, somewhat too briefly, is as follows: 'One of the two terms governs the other... To deconstruct the opposition... is to overturn the hierarchy at a given moment' (Derrida, 1981: 41). Not surprisingly, this approach can be used to destabilize the assumed hierarchies behind race or gender inequality and class exploitation. ¶ Derrida's deconstructionism does not seek simply to neutralize binary oppositions as would be the case with Hegel's idealist method and, arguably, much of marxism. Deconstruction, rather, involves reversal and displacement. It does not accept the false appearance of resolution, and - on the basis that difference is always present - would be sceptical of a communist society without difference which could only be sustained by force. Derrida rejects what he sees as our metaphysical need for closure, to make ends and means coincide. He questions the accepted notions of truth and believes that no interpretation can be the final one. So, deconstruction, unlike most marxisms, does not set out to unmask 'error' because that assumes we know what 'truth' is. Deconstruction directs us to the margins of a text, it bids us look for the excluded, the conceded, the unnamed. Deconstruction, then, following Gavatri Spivak's introduction to Derrida, seeks 'to locate the promising marginal text, to disclose the undecidable moment, to pry it loose with the positive lever of the signifier, to reverse the resident hierarchy, only to displace it; to dismantle in order to reconstitute what is always already inscribed' (1976: xxvii). So, what response can marxism have to this deconstructionist enterprise? —p148-49, AO-144 MARXISM @ 2000: LATE MARXIST PERSPECTIVES, Ronaldo Munck {Chapter 8: After the Deluge: Post(modern) Marxism? (138}) = CAUSES OF SOCIAL CHANGE = COMMUNICATION ABYSS = CONTROVERSY-PLAGUED = EIFERSUCHT IM SERAIL = FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL = FINALLY DISCOVERED = GODDESS OF PERSUASIAN = HASH-FILE ORIENTED = KLAVIERSTUCKE OP.118 = LINKING OF MINDS = MODE OF CIRCULATION = MOZART'S SINGSPIEL = OR REVERSALS IN FORTUNE = PERSIAN ARROW VOLLEY = RETROSPECTIVE STORY = THE FLOWER OF LIFE = TURQUERIE FASHION.

AO 150 DECONSTRUCTION IS NOT NEUTRAL. IT INTERVENES = YOU DON'T KNOW ME I AM AN INTROVERTED EXCAVATOR.

AO 62 = ÉCRITURE FÉMININE = FAL YA'BUDU RABA HADHAL BAIT = HUMAN ALIENATION = LEAVE AN EMPTY SPACE.

AO 68 = PLACE OF SPECTRALITY (AO-82 MESSIANIC ESCHATOLOGY) = [(6 939.688 / 1) / 19 = 365.246737] = 159 IS A WOODALL NUMBER (AO-12 159) = 33 POLYHYMNIA = 763 CUPIDO (1913 ST) = A PORNSTRUCTURALIST READER = ALIENATION OF LABOUR = ANOTHER SUPER TUESDAY! = COME TO ME, LORD HERMES = COMMAND LINE PARAMETER = CRITICAL VIGILANCE = CUTTING A SEXUAL PATH = E (MATHEMATICAL CONSTANT) = EQUILATERAL TRIANGLE = HERMES KHTHONIOS = HIERARCHY OF RESULTS = HIGHEST ATOMIC MASS = IDEA OF ALIENATION = IMMACULATE WHITE LAMB (AO-38 VIRGO 24°) = LOWEST NOTE DEMANDED (AO-62 COLORATURA PASSAGE WORK) = MARXISM AND HUMANISM = MARX'S INSINUATION = MATERIALIST DOCTRINE = NECESSARY INTERCOURSE (AO-65 PRIVATE PROPERTY, AO-294 A FORM OF INTERCOURSE NECESSARY FOR CERTAIN STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT OF THE PRODUCTIVE FORCES, AO-294 THE MORE THE WORKER SPENDS HIMSELF, THE MORE POWERFUL THE ALIEN OBJECTIVE WORLD BECOMES) = SOCIAL INDIVIDUAL = TELETYPE MACHINES = TERMIOS FUNCTIONS = THE BED OF PEITHO = THE DREADFUL SAGITTARY = THE STANDING MIRACLE = THIS IS MY OWN TAKE = TO BE, RATHER THAN TO SEEM = VERRAZANO'S MISSION = YOUNG HEGELIANS.

Le Colonel Chabert said...

"Chabert, whose reduction of Marx's use of ideology as three memorizable uses, seems to assume something opposite: we can simply pluck out the “concepts” that constitute the meaning of Marx's text and arrange them synchronically, like bulleted items in a power point presentation. "

argh! that's what comes of "unpacking" on request!

(At least though if you cooperate you get to sort of guide the relentless caricaturing.)

Zach Campbell said...

To the question posed by Roger: In all production, in Marx, it is the workers who produce. It is not the capitalists. One would not say, for instance, that Andrew Carnegie made the steel produced by his company. It was produced by the company's employees. And to say that Carnegie's spirit was "reflected" in that steel would be laughed at as the grossest form of capitalist propaganda. Yet, when it comes to producing "ideas", suddenly this model is reversed. All the ideas in, say, a newspaper bought by Carnegie "reflect" Carnegie. Indeed, the political philosophy of Locke, or Hobbes, or Condorcet, "reflects" the dominant class. The intellectual worker, alone, has this primarily alienated relationship to his or her product.

Again, this is the result of Marx's insistence that he is a "materialist".


It's not as though the ruling class produces nothing whatsoever--the production of ruling class ideology isn't an idealist sleight-of-hand because the proletariat have a monopoly on any production at all; rather the important thing is where in the social makeup that a particular site of production exists, no? Mandel writes (here):

The immediate object of class struggle is economic and material. It is a struggle for the division of the social product between the direct producers (the productive, exploited class) and those who appropriate what Marx calls the social surplus product, the residuum of the social product once the producers and their offspring are fed (in the large sense of the word; i.e. the sum total of the consumer goods consumed by that class) and the initial stock of tools and raw materials is reproduced (including the restoration of the initial fertility of the soil). The ruling class functions as a ruling class essentially through the appropriation of the social surplus product. By getting possession of the social surplus product, it acquires the means to foster and maintain most of the superstructural activities mentioned above; and by doing so, it can largely determine their function - to maintain and reproduce the given social structure, the given mode of production - and their contents.

roger said...

Ah, that mystifing rhetoric. Here we find no newspapers, no laws or lawyers or courts, no media, no folktales, no symbols (which cannot exist without matter), but "superstructure" and "appropriation." In fact, the assumptions - all idealistic, all involving a conflictless superstructure busily working away to maintain their given social structure - are simply never seen. As far back as the beginning of writing, you have - as you'd expect to have - conflicts in every sphere, mechanisms of selection (from the way censorship is state controlled to the forms for hiring in universities, to use two simple examples from Marx's time), all of which suggest that the idea of a social surplus product (again with the crazy idea that there's meat below, workers with no ideas, and ghosts above, intellectual forces with no meat) that, in fact, is just wordplay. There's nothing surplus about it. What, do you think humans normally grunt at each other? There is not a work crew in the world in which the surplus social product isn't pervasive.

Again, the translation of Marx's materialism into an analysis of intellectual life always devolves into this incredible phantasmagoria of idealistic entities, with class becoming a notion so abstract it is hard to see where it is embedded at all.

roger said...

Ah, Zack, I shouldn't have replied in such an exasperated tone. But that kind of writing does exasperate me. Its assumptions are so unhooked from any empirical data - like, where do journalists and writers and artists and scribes come from, what do their career trajectories look like, how does the law work, what is the point of the idea of a dominant class that seems to express itself by telepathy, etc - and it is so sedimented with classist assumptions - that I grow impatient hearing that stuff.

Zach Campbell said...

Well, in the Mandel piece I've quoted, when he refers to the "superstructural activities mentioned above," those activities are clear enough--"the state and the law (except in a classless society), ideology, religion, philosophy, the arts, morality, etc." (Presumably this encompasses newspapers, laws, lawyers, courts, media, folktales, and symbols.) It's a generalization, yes, but it's a necessary one unless you want every Marxist to go through a list whereby one never ever says "superstructure," but, "television shows, radio shows, websites, the penal code, the tax code, organized religions, the education system, etc., etc., ad nauseum." It's shorthand but it's not as though it's a mystery. To critique the generalization one can't simply name it as such, as though it's by necessity "vague idealism," and BANG, that's it. One has to find an example of an agreed-upon superstructural element that generally contradicts the use of the term.

I agree that the "crazy idea that there's meat below, workers with no ideas, and ghosts above, intellectual forces with no meat" is a crazy idea. I'm just not seeing how it's Marx's idea. Where does he write that workers produce no thoughts, have no ideologies of their own, for instance? Does he ever come out and say that ruling class ideology, the dominant superstructure, is monolithic and immaterial? I would think that if one's going to critize Marx here it's rather for running the risk of mere truisms here--that is, the minority set of people in power, by means of legislative, judicial, educational, and information dissemination, cultivate policies, regulations, worldviews, and value systems that benefit them overall and help keep them in place. This doesn't mean there's no disagreement, no agency, no materiality at all among factions and between individuals of the ruling class (and it doesn't mean there isn't a gradient, even a porosity, as to how deeply one is even "in" the ruling class)--look at the mass media, plenty of "debate" on issues X,Y, and Z. It's the framing of this debate, however, that is set by a wealthy elite, the owners of the media corporations and their advertisers and funders (same things?)--it produces its own truisms like "economic growth is good," which is the underlying assumption no matter which two policy wanks you have debating on MSNBC.

Anonymous said...

North, you are once again on one of your amazing rolls. Thanks for your above comment, and I'm still all thinking about your comment in "The Phantom of Ideology" post about Melville and 1848, which somehow got lost in all the "shuffle". I haven't quite figured a way to adequately respond in comment threads, seem to get all sidetracked and such and, as with that comment of yours. Or with LI's comments re kitchens. Have you seen Renoir's La Règle du jeu? It is from 1939 and is all about a world and a society that is passing away and one yet to come. (Or to put it in "marxist" terms, about "transition"). Anyway, most of the movie takes place in this chateau in the French countryside and Renoir knew well enough to make the kitchen a part of it and indeed long sequences of the film are devoted to what happens "underneath" the mansion, in the kitchen. Ah, see here I am rambling on a tangent!

Zack, to your question - "Where does he [Marx] write that workers produce no thoughts, have no ideologies of their own, for instance?" He does so in the German Ideology, where the proletariat is completely outside "ideology".

Amie

roger said...

Well, Zach, I just replied to you, and this dumb comment thing ate my reply. So sad! Such great stuff! I'm cryin'!

Anyway, to remember what I wrote: to introduce structure and superstructure is just to translate the old dualism of idea and matter into other terms. It doesn't do away with it, but, again, mystifies Mental production, as though it were some special instance. That the mental and material production are so bound to each other that, on the fundamental level, abstract them one from the other distorts them, is where I am coming from, and what I pick up on in Marx. We are, after all, organisms with brains. When Marx speaks of mental production as expressing the material relations in a society, that is true, just as it is true that glassware, or nails, or lumber express the material relations in a society. The difference with mental production is that the barrier to entry is very low, close to zero. The merest infant can enter into the intellectual product circuit.

Marx hesitates in the German Ideology between certain choices, and - as I say - I read him as coming to the edge of doing away with dualism of a certain type - which, I should say, is not plumping for monism. I wrote that I believe Marx surrenders to a polemical impulse when he retreats and puts ideas in a secondary position in the production process, things that are derivative of the conditions of labor - as if labor weren't through and through about instruction, routine, daydream, rhythm, and all the cognitive equipment we have. It is at this point that one longs for Engels more ethnological touch. The impulse to make the separation and to talk about ideas and "intellectual force" comes from fighting the "idealists". But I think the Derridian notion that there is a program, here, an enchainment that leads from materialism to the familiar hierarchy of structure/superstructure, matter/thought, the usual logocentrism m.o., has a lot to recommend it.

Zach Campbell said...

Hm. I don't quite see how the "old dualism" is being reproduced, how Marx is abstracting superstructure into Idea. I think I'm beginning to grasp your points but as of yet they're not matching up to what I think Marx is fairly clearly saying.

Unfortunately I have to cut off my meager contributions to the debate now, and won't be back until Wednesday (if anything is still going on). I'll take another look at GI in the meantime and ponder some more. Thanks for hosting.

northanger said...

roger, you lost me: "unhooked from any empirical data"? from this post above: "not only does Marx lack empirical evidence for his claims, he even lacks a model to generate that evidence. And yet, he advances with an amazing confidence, in the process creating a radically new social science".

Zach (i just googled you up the other day, AO-37 = 33RD PARALLEL = MARX V DERRIDA). The Funny Guy (which was closer on CD stack than Aryeh Kaplan's Meditation & Kabbalah on the floor, goshdarnit). p123, 5th sentence: But as she passed the Congregational Church on her way home and looked up through the gray AO-62 DRIZZLE OF RAIN, she saw that it was almost half past three, and when she turned into her own front path there was Mr. Walsh standing on the porch. next 3 sentences: "I've got a most important question to ask you," Helen greeted him even before he could speak. 'Well now, I hope I can answer it then." He put down his bag and took off his gray-blue cap to shake the water off it.

Amie. thanks. i hope whenever we reach some commentual plateau here you'll have a new post :). no, never seen,

AO 33 = LA RÈGLE DU JEU (AO-67 THE RULES OF THE GAME) = CHABERT IS BACK = DIFFÉRANCE.

...but loved Gosford Park. wondering about Renoir's theoreticals...

AO 246 = OBSTACLES THAT KEEP US FROM BEING THEORETICAL AND FROM REMAINING THEORETICAL = JIMMY CARTER AS PRESIDENT: LEADERSHIP AND THE POLITICS OF THE PUBLIC GOOD = THE CASE OF MARTIN HEIDEGGER, PHILOSOPHER AND NAZI - PART 2: THE COVER-UP.

AO 228 = AND IN THOSE DAYS PEITHO (PERSUASION) DID NOT YET SHINE ALL SILVER = MUSIC OF MY HEART http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_Of_My_Heart = THE FILM-MAKER'S ETHIC IN THE FACE OF THE INEVIDENCE OF THE TIMES (Àngel Quintana) = THE PHILOSOPHICAL MANIFESTO OF THE HISTORICAL SCHOOL OF LAW (AO-56 CIRCASSIAN BEAUTIES).

AO 58 = MUSIC OF MY HEART = 1110110 (Binary; AO-17 118) = 200 DYNAMENE = 3183 FRANZKAISER (AO-30 CUPIDO) = CALIFORNIUM-249 (AO-17 118) = COMMODITY MARKET = CULT OF PEITHO = END OF HISTORY = EROTIC KEENING (AO-85 DERRIDA AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY) = MAURICE GODELIER (AO-51 L'ÉNIGME DU DON, AO-88 THE ENIGMA OF THE GIFT) = MYSTICAL UNION = ONE ONE EIGHT = RULING OVER LABOUR (AO-50 REIFICATION) = TAPPING INTO = THE ESSENTIAL BASIS (AO-57 BASE AND SUPERSTRUCTURE) = THE PLASTIC NUMBER (AO-14 265, AO-59 PADOVAN SEQUENCE, AO-76 TALES OF A NEGLECTED NUMBER) = URANIAN ASTROLOGY (AO-30 CUPIDO).

AO 224 = 3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 582 = THE FILM-MAKER'S ETHIC IN THE FACE OF THE INÉVIDENCE OF THE TIMES = IT IS CLEAR THAT THE ARM OF CRITICISM CANNOT REPLACE THE CRITICISM OF ARMS.

northanger said...

roger. glass & eyeballs: The Torah is full of holy fire; it was written with a black fire upon a white fire... Poor ignorant man, you want to find out God's ways; explain first the phenomenon of your own eye; it consists of white and black, and according to all reason the white should supply light, but in reality the little spot in the center of your eye is the lens to give you sight... Man's eyes have white and black in them; but the power of sight, the lens supplying light, is the black.

AO 192 = PHYSICAL LIGHT ALWAYS RECEIVES FROM SPIRITUAL LIGHT (p123, fifth sentence; next 3 sentences: Thus, there are four different types of fire, and these are the ones that God showed to Moses. These are red fire, yellow fire, white fire, and black fire. [19. Cf. BaMidbar Rabbah 12:8, Zohar 2:241a.] {oh great! always wondered how Ham got black}) = \, ^{249}_{98}\MATHRM{CF} + \, ^{18}_{8}\MATHRM{O} \, \TO\ \, ^{263}_{106}\MATHRM{SG} + 4\, ^{1}_{0}\MATHRM{N} (AO-36 SEABORGIUM) = 7º SAGITTARIUS (247): CUPID KNOCKING AT THE DOOR OF A HUMAN HEART = FOR IT IS WRITTEN THAT A SON OF ARABIA WOULD AWAKEN A FEARSOME EAGLE = INCANTATORY MAGIC OF ONOMASTICS AND APPELLATIONS CONTRÔLÉES (AO-48 SPECTERS OF MARX) = OBJECTS ARE TRANSFORMED INTO SUBJECTS AND SUBJECTS ARE TURNED INTO OBJECTS (AO-50 REIFICATION) = PREMISED IN THE FOLLOWING MATERIALIST CONCEPTION (AO-77 HISTORICAL MATERIALISM) = REQUIRING EACH OTHER TO COMPLETE THEIR DEVELOPMENT (AO-78 THE GERMAN IDEOLOGY) = STIRRED FOR A BIRD,-THE ACHIEVE OF; THE MASTERY OF THE THING! ({8}; AO-59 THE WINDHOVER).

northanger said...

Bamidbar means "in the wilderness" (Numbers 1:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt); referenced by RFK (on the cover of this month's Vanity Fair): In 1824, when Thomas Hart Benton was urging in Congress the development of Iowa and other western territories, he was opposed by Daniel Webster, the Senator from Massachusetts. "What," asked Webster, "what do we want with this vast and worthless area? This region of savages and wild beasts. Of deserts of shifting sands and of whirlwinds. Of dust, and of cactus and of prairie dogs. To what use," he said, "could we ever hope to put these great deserts? I will never vote for one-cent from the public treasury, to place the west one inch closer to Boston, than it is now." &c.

Le Colonel Chabert said...

this is marx:

In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. -Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy

for derrida, "ideology" is either a kind of rare and nasty political rhetoric appealing to "non spiritual" forces (in Of Spirit), or consciousness itself, called at times "metaphysics", at others "capitalisation", which is simply determined by telecom technology (and nothing else).

this is derrida:

Just as there is no pure use, there is no use-value which the possibility of exchange and commerce (by whatever name one calls it, meaning itself, value, culture, spirit [!], signification, the world, the relation to the other, and first of all the simple form and trace of the other) has not in advance inscribed in an out-of-use — an excessive signification that cannot be reduced to the useless. A culture began before culture — and humanity. Capitalisation also. Which is as much as to say that, for this very reason, it is destined to survive them...

If one follows the letter of the text, the critique of the ghost or of spirits would thus be the critique of a subjective representation and an abstraction, of what happens in the head, of what comes only out of the head, that is, of what stays there, in the head, even as it has come out of there, out of the head, and survives outside the head. But nothing would be possible, beginning with the critique, without the surviving, without the possible survival of this autonomy and this automatism outside the head.

...also at stake, indissociably, is the differential deployment of tekkne-, of techno-science or tele-technology. It obliges us more than ever to think the virtualisation of space and time, the possibility of virtual events whose movement and speed prohibit us more than ever (more and otherwise than ever, for this is not absolutely and thoroughly new) from opposing presence to its representation, “real time” to “deferred time,” effectivity to its simulacrum, the living to the non-living, in short, the living to the living-dead of its ghosts. It obliges us to think, from there, another space for democracy. For democracy-to-come and thus for justice. We have suggested that the event we are prowling around here hesitates between the singular “who” of the ghost and the general “what” of the simulacrum. In the virtual space of all the teletechnosciences, in the general dis-location to which our time is destined — as are from now on the places of lovers, families, nations — the messianic trembles on the edge of this event itself. It is this hesitation, it has no other vibration, it does not “live” otherwise, but it would no longer be messianic if it stopped hesitating: how to give rise and to give place [donner lieu], still, to render it, this place, to render it habitable, but without killing the future in the name of old frontiers? Like those of the blood, nationalisms of native soil not only sow hatred, not only commit crimes, they have no future, they promise nothing even if, like stupidity or the unconscious, they hold fast to life. This messianic hesitation does not paralyse any decision, any affirmation, any responsibility. On the contrary, it grants them their elementary condition. It is their very experience.

As we must hasten the conclusion, let us schematise things. If something seems not to have shifted between The German Ideology and Capital, it is two axioms whose inheritance is equally important for us. But it is the inheritance of a double bind which, moreover, signals toward the double bind of any inheritance and thus of any responsible decision. Contradiction and secret inhabit the injunction (the spirit of the father, if one prefers). On the one hand, Marx insists on respecting the originality and the proper efficacity, the autonomisation and automatisation of ideality as finite-infinite processes of difference (phantomatic, fantastic, fetishistic, or ideological) — and of the simulacrum which is not simply imaginary in it. It is an artifactual body, a technical body, and it takes labour to constitute or deconstitute it. This movement w ill remain valuable, no doubt irreplaceable, provided that it is adjusted, as it will be by any “good Marxism,” to novel structures and situations. But, on the other hand, even as he remains one of the first thinkers of technics, or even, by far and from afar, of the tele-technology that it will always have been, from near or from far, Marx continues to want to ground his critique or his exorcism of the spectral simulacrum in an ontology.
...

If Marx, like Freud, like Heidegger, like everybody, did not begin where he ought to have “been able to begin” (beginnen können), namely with haunting, before life as such, before death as such, it is doubtless not his fault. The fault, in any case, by definition, is repeated, we inherit it, we must watch over it. It always comes at a great price — and for humanity precisely. What costs humanity very dearly is doubtless to believe that one can have done in history with a general essence of Man, on the pretext that it represents only a Hauptgespenst, arch-ghost, but also, what comes down to the same thing — at bottom — to still believe, no doubt, in this capital ghost. To believe in it as do the credulous or the dogmatic. Between the two beliefs, as always, the way remains narrow.

In order for there to be any sense in asking oneself about the terrible price to pay, in order to watch over the future, everything would have to be begun again. But in memory, this time, of that impure “impure impure history of ghosts.["negroes and mongols"]

roger said...

LCC - I like that quote of Derrida's. Of course, I'm making the same point in a different vocabulary - the idea of this superstructure of laws erected above the silent working of the system of production is not only historically untrue, inverts the historical process (as Polanyi puts it, the state designed capitalism) but blinds the social analyst to one of the crucial aspects of the worldwide spread of the industrial system. Even Polanyi is simply playing with the same binaries. This hierachical structure, with reference to which ideology, in Marx's first sense, is defined, is in contradiction with Marx's own notion of labor as, indeed, a affair that mixes matter and idea, and the reader must ask: what motivates the contradiction? Derrida's answer, ontology, is pretty good. The very idea that one is forced to hypothesize some superstructure that acts above the silent structures of the social whole, reducing law entirely to ideology - as if law wasn't intrinsic to the global change in property relations without which capitalism couldn't have arisen - comes out of the program of materialism, out of defending that metaphysical move. In the process, Marx reproduces the binaries of the classical and neo-classical economist. Derrida captures the problem in Marx here, very precisely:

"But, on the other hand, even as he remains one of the first thinkers of technics, or even, by far and from afar, of the tele-technology that it will always have been, from near or from far, Marx continues to want to ground his critique or his exorcism of the spectral simulacrum in an ontology."

This is a very good diagnosis. Marx's 'ideology', here, is complicit with the ideology of capitalism - indeed, both tend, at this point, to embed the social completely in the economic. The same kind of ideological gesture, the same "forgetting" of the law, is carried out by the neo-classicals. You can see this most clearly in Hayek's Road to Serfdom, for instance. There, too, the state is treated as a superstructure, something that should not interfere with the economy, as if the law were some ideological afterthought to the autonomous genesis of the capitalist system of production. In this way, the state's use of the law, and in fact the entire way the law and conventions operate in society, are mystified. Marx, as I've emphasized, is not a monolithic writer, but whenever he tends towards the 'materialist" ontology, he loses his grasp on how systems of production work. He injects an old hierarchy, which puts the slave, the thoughtless laborer, under the master, the lawgiver - which is not overturned by inversing these relations, but by seeing that the slave is not a thoughtless laborer, and that law and conventions are not totally under the control of the master - that in fact there is not one master.

Le Colonel Chabert said...

"I'm making the same point in a different vocabulary - the idea of this superstructure of laws erected above the silent working of the system of production "

but roger, you are merely pretending you think "The totality of these [social] relations of production..." means "a silent working of a system of production"; its too extreme a misquote! you might as well say "the totality of social relations" means "a red whale with white polka dots". How are you going to convince people that human social relations are "silent" and mindless? Everybody knows they aren't!

Le Colonel Chabert said...

and if you disagreed with the notion - which is derrida's of course - that "the silent working of system of production" conditions human consciousness and social relations, then it remains to be explained how you can accept that the telecom technology (the silent working of system of production) can so completely determine consciousness and social relations, even abolishing independent, living consciousness altogether, as derrida asserts.

Le Colonel Chabert said...

""But, on the other hand, even as he remains one of the first thinkers of technics, or even, by far and from afar, of the tele-technology that it will always have been, from near or from far, Marx continues to want to ground his critique or his exorcism of the spectral simulacrum in an ontology."


it says: Marx was not enough of a technological determinist.

roger said...

lcc, that is an odd interpretation of Derrida's phrase. Rather, the distance there the tele - is inscribed in writing systems themselves, and in the material networks in which ideas actually exist - the postal system, the printing press, the magazine or newspaper - which, as Derrida points out clearly enough, are operating in Marx's day. This isn't about computers or telephones, it is about the structure of the production of "mental products". Are you proposing that ideas exist outside of the techne?

And I'm not sure what you are saying about the "superstructure." In what way is it "super"? Is it a superstructure only abstractly, so that we can analyze what is really going on in society, pull out the economics of systems of productivity in their pure state, on an abstract level, in order to re-compose our model, later, to incorporate law, conventions, rules, instructions? That type of modeling is, in fact, common to classical economics. I think Marx's critique of classical economics would collapse that abstractive impulse, because by pulling out the laws, one pulls out the entire working structure of property relations. Unfortunately, a school of Marxists in this century has taken no heed of that - have tended to prolong the abstract moment in which talk of superstructures makes sense - and have used it to uniformly dismiss intellectual work as bourgeouis, law as bourgeois, etc. As if bourgeois were some devil word, as if Marx does not explicitly celebrate the historic advances of the bourgeoisie. In practice, Marx himself was no such fool. He was an ardent campaigner, in 1848, for liberal bourgeois laws, for democracy, for rights (those fictions that the utilitarians had such contempt for, followed in their positivism by a certain form of Marxism). In failing to put mental production in a horizontal relationship with production, Marx indeed followed the promptings of philosophy - an ontology - rather than the intuitions of his social analysis, which was, I'd say, strategic and pluralistic, not materialist. The intuitions were sound.

When you look at the text of the German Ideology, you can trace those moments when a combination of the local and the metaphysical causes a certain inflection. For instance, the notion that bourgeois thinkers hailed the division of powers as an 'eternal' law. Of course, that is entirely untrue about the 18th century thinkers who, on the contrary, found the division of powers to be an exciting novelty, an invention within the horizon of the world started anew, as Paine put it. However, in Germany, it is true that theology students, following Hegel, sprinkled the fairy dust of eternity over many a concept produced by the philosophers, politicians, and pamphleteers of the 18th century. And thus Marx distorts the history he otherwise uses to make a polemical shot, and in making that shot, slowly puts his theory into a familiar track - a program - one that misrepresents the interactivity of thought and labor.

By the way, this notion of the thoughtlessness of labor is shown in the description of the peasant culture in Marx and Engels, at this period of their work, too. In one way, Engels, in the Condition of the Working Class in England, quite brilliantly understands that the conditions of the social life are the conditions of the mental life. On the other hand, he fully shares with Marx an appreciation for the civilized communications of town, for the revolution affected by the bourgeoisie, and for the dissolution of this peasant culture. Here he is, in a famous passage, about the peasants:

"So the workers vegetated throughout a passably comfortable existence, leading a righteous and peaceful life in all piety and probity; and their material position was far better than that of their successors. They did not need to overwork; they did no more than they chose to do, and yet earned what they needed. They had leisure for healthful work in garden or field, work which, in itself, was recreation for them, and they could take part besides in the recreations and games of their neighbours, and all these games -- bowling, cricket, football, etc., contributed to their physical health and vigour. They were, for the most part, strong, well-built people, in whose physique little or no difference from that of their peasant neighbours was discoverable. Their children grew up in the fresh country air, and, if they could help their parents at work, it was only occasionally; while of eight or twelve hours work for them there was no question.

What the moral and intellectual character of this class was may be guessed. Shut off from the towns, which they never entered, their yarn and woven stuff being delivered to travelling agents for payment of wages -- so shut off that old people who lived quite in the neighborhood of the town never went thither until they were robbed of their trade by the introduction of machinery and obliged to look about them in the towns for work -- the weavers stood upon the moral and intellectual plane of the yeomen with whom they were usually immediately connected through their little holdings. They regarded their squire, the greatest landholder of the region, as their natural superior; they asked advice of him, laid their small disputes before him for settlement, and gave him all honour, as this patriarchal relation involved. They were "respectable" people, good husbands and fathers, led moral lives because they had no temptation to be immoral, there being no groggeries or low houses in their vicinity, and because the host, at whose inn they now and then quenched their thirst, was also a respectable man, usually a large tenant-farmer who took pride in his good order, good beer, and early hours. They had their children the whole day at home, and brought them up in obedience and the fear of God; the patriarchal relationship remained undisturbed so long as the children were unmarried. The young people grew up in idyllic simplicity and intimacy with their playmates until they married; and even though sexual intercourse before marriage almost unfailingly took place, this happened only when the moral obligation of marriage was recognised on both sides, and a subsequent wedding made everything good. In short, the English industrial workers of those days lived and thought after the fashion still to be found here and there in Germany, in retirement and seclusion, without mental activity and without violent fluctuations in their position in life They could rarely read and far more rarely write; went regularly to church, never talked politics, never conspired, never thought, delighted in physical exercises, listened with inherited reverence when the Bible was read, and were, in their unquestioning humility, exceedingly well-disposed towards the "superior" classes. But intellectually, they were dead; lived only for their petty, private interest, for their looms and gardens, and knew nothing of the mighty movement which, beyond their horizon, was sweeping through mankind."

"Intellectually, they were dead." This, luckily, is not Engels final word about the subject, but it does tell us the state of mind of both Engels and Marx towards the Germany that was in question in the German Ideology. Vegetation (silence) or non-vegetation.

northanger said...

AO 35 [{26,35,93,97,118,124} 6 numbers in set / 22 words & phrases each / 6th highest frequency {1-16} @ 4874 (not including this & following sets); another set: {11,18,22,37} 6/6, or (11×6)+(18×6)+(22×6)+(37×6)=528 w/p] = CHAMBERLAIN = HOLY FACE = IMDADULLAH = LIBER CCXX = NEGERHAFT = PEITHO = SHOVE IT = TELECOM TEC.

AO 59 [{59,82} 2/56/2] = 1101010 = 220 STEPHANIA = ATOMIC NUMBER 118 = BITE STATUS REGISTER = CHARMING SPEECH = CIVIL SOCIETY = HASH-FILE SYSTEM = ILM AL-RAML OF IDRIS = LUST AND LONGING = MAGNUM OPUSCULUM = METACULTURAL EXPERTS (But it is not simple their wide distribution, with its attendant secondary replication, that makes expert opinions AO-57 THE ARBITERS OF TASTE. There is also the fact that these responses are produced by people who possess greater familiarity with the AO-148 CLASS OF OBJECTS THAT IS UNDERGOING EVALUATION. Such people claim to know the AO-37 CULTURAL OBJECT more intimately than those with only a passing acquaintance of them. They acquire authority as arbiters of taste by virtue of their close proximity to truths about objects; AO-96 DIFFERENTIAL DEPLOYMENT, AO-160 METACULTURE: HOW CULTURE MOVES THROUGH THE WORLD) = NATURAL THEOLOGY = ONE FIVE NINE = ONE HUNDRED SIX = OTTOMAN SERAGLIOS = PADOVAN SEQUENCE = PASSIVE RESISTANCE = PERRIN SEQUENCE = SADDAM'S ARROW MISSILE = SEIICHI TEJIMA = SILENT WORKING (AO-156 [10/17/9] IMPURE "IMPURE IMPURE HISTORY OF GHOSTS", AO-159 [5/14/5] MAKING THE SAME POINT IN A DIFFERENT VOCABULARY) = TEMPLAR BAPTISTERY = THE APPARITION = THE NEGROID STATE.

AO 72 [{33,42,72,83,89} 5/30/5] = 16 MINUTES MAXIMUM = DEFINITE RELATIONS = DIVINE KNOWLEDGE = HONEY ENCHANTMENT = OBJECTIVE HIERARCHY = ON THE URANIAN PLANETS = [Q=1+1/Q=1.618034] = RELIGIOUS REFERENCE = SEMPER FI OF MARXISM = THE COMMODITY MARKET = THE LADY AND THE LION.

AO 73 [{50,73} 2/33/2] = CONCEPTS "COME ONSTAGE" = FORMING A CONTRAPARALLEL = HUMAN SOCIAL RELATIONS = THE MAESTRO OF EAST HARLEM = THE PADOVAN SEQUENCE = THE SILENT WORKING.

AO 142 [{122,142,145,155,166,192} 6/11/6] = 3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 50 = CHIEF BLACK EUNUCH OF THE OTTOMAN SERAGLIO = HUMAN SOCIAL RELATIONS ARE "SILENT" AND MINDLESS = MARXIST THEORY OF HISTORICAL MATERIALISM = NAME OF THE UNCLE OF THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD = NEREID • HALIMEDE • SAO • LAOMEDEIA • PSAMATHE • NESO = PROJECT A SYSTEM OF REJECTIONS THAT LED TO A BAD END = STATE ORGANISATION OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE = STYLISTIC BOUNDARIES WERE SOMETIMES BLURRED = THE CIRCLE SHOWS SIGNS OF DYSFUNCTION = VERSES ON WHICH THE PHENOMENA ARE CENTRED = WASN'T RAPE A STAPLE OF WAR LONG BEFORE THE ILIAD?

AO 167 [{9,132,139,147,163,167,170,173,208,267} 10/8/9] = BEING PRESENT TO THE SELF AND THUS MAKING IT BLOOM = DELICATE BED OF PEITHO WHO BRINGS MARRIAGE TO PASS = NOW IS THE HOUR FOR PEITHO WITH HER GUILE = STIRNER HAS OFTEN BEEN READ, IN FACT, AS A FICHTEAN THINKER = THE LORE OF PRAYERS, AND SPELLS OF MAGIC INCANTATION = THE TOTALITY OF THESE RELATIONS OF PRODUCTION = THE WORD AND THE WORLD: ON THE LIMITS OF THE SAYABLE.

AO 210 [{204, 210, 215, 218, 234, 242, 248, 252, 257, 258, 262, 268, 269, 273, 281, 283, 284, 287, 288, 291, 294, 295, 299, 301, 304, 308, 312, 320, 324, 325, 326, 329, 330, 333, 334, 336, 338, 346, 351, 352, 355, 371, 379, 383, 384, 386, 394, 398, 400, 414, 420, 423, 424, 429, 437, 444, 451, 452, 468, 489, 509, 512, 534, 546, 623} 65/2/15] = INDIRECTLY DETECTED A TOTAL OF THREE NUCLEI OF UNUNOCTIUM-294 = THE DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS SATISFIED BY CERTAIN FUNCTIONS = THE JUDGMENTS OF EXPERTS GET ENCODED IN MASS-DISSEMINATED FORMS (AO-32 METACULTURE).

AO 214 [{5, 189, 193, 196, 198, 202, 206, 207, 214, 221, 223, 228, 240, 241, 244, 249, 253, 256, 264, 322, 344, 348, 367, 375, 380, 381} 26/4/13] = BUT WHAT WAS JUNE, 1848, AT BOTTOM? A REVOLT OF THE PEOPLE AGAINST ITSELF = NOT STATIC, BUT CONSTANTLY SELF-CREATING, DIFFERENTIATION AS PROCESS = SUBSERVIENCE OF THE PRODUCERS TO THE LAWS OF THE COMMODITY MARKET = THE BATES PROOF OF THE RELATIVE COMPLEXITY (RC) OF MEN AND WOMEN = THE MAGNANIMITY AND GLORY OF [THE QURAN'S] AUTHORITY AND MIRACLES.

AO 217 [{3, 8, 143, 181, 191, 216, 217, 224, 225, 232, 254, 275, 285, 286, 335, 354, 356, 368, 376} 19/5/12] = CONTINUALLY REPRODUCE THE CONDITIONS OF THEIR SUBSERVIENCE = ENCHANTED THE CLEVER WITS OF MEN WHOM NOTHING ELSE COULD CHARM = GEIST ITSELF IS BROUGHT TO LIGHT AS THE ULTIMATED GUIDE (FUHRER) = NO LONGER ATTACKING AN ILLUSION, BUT THE REAL FORCES THAT RULE THE WORLD = THE BARRICADE SAINT ANTOINE CONVERTED EVERYTHING INTO A WEAPON = THE MEASUREMENT OF EVOLUTION IS THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE UNACCEPTABLE.

AO 229 [125/1/16] = THE ARCHITECT RICHARD PADOVAN REVEALED THE GLORIES OF THE 'PLASTIC NUMBER' = THE FAULT, DEAR BRUTUS, IS NOT IN OUR STARS, BUT IN OURSELVES, THAT WE ARE UNDERLINGS.

AO 280 [{4, 6, 176, 186, 188, 194, 211, 219, 222, 231, 233, 237, 239, 243, 245, 246, 255, 261, 263, 265, 272, 278, 280, 282, 300, 302, 303, 315, 323, 328, 331, 340, 343, 345, 358, 362, 364, 365, 369, 373, 385, 387, 396, 397, 411, 413, 415} 47/3/14] = GROWTH OF A HYPOTHETICAL POPULATION OF RABBITS BASED ON IDEALIZED ASSUMPTIONS = MAN'S CONSCIOUSNESS OF A HUMAN ESSENCE WHICH IS THE SAME IN HIMSELF AND IN OTHER MEN = THE CHALLENGE TO IMAGINATIVE WRITING TO TAKE THE READERS WHERE THEY HAVE NOT BEEN = WHEN AN IDEA OF NEWNESS DOMINATES, IT BECOMES IMPERATIVE THAT A PUBLIC EYE DEVELOP (AO-32 METACULTURE).

AO 305 [{2, 201, 213, 229, 238, 247, 250, 260, 270, 274, 276, 277, 279, 289, 290, 292, 298, 305, 306, 307, 311, 314, 317, 318, 321, 327, 337, 339, 341, 342, 347, 349, 350, 353, 357, 361, 363, 366, 372, 378, 382, 389, 390, 391, 393, 395, 399, 404, 405, 406, 408, 409, 410, 418, 419, 422, 427, 430, 433, 434, 435, 436, 440, 445, 447, 448, 450, 456, 459, 460, 461, 464, 467, 471, 474, 475, 476, 478, 480, 482, 483, 486, 490, 495, 497, 500, 501, 503, 505, 515, 517, 518, 520, 523, 525, 540, 541, 551, 553, 554, 555, 562, 567, 583, 585, 586, 588, 589, 595, 616, 627, 629, 654, 669, 691, 729, 741, 755, 786, 835, 915, 942, 956, 1551, 2133} 125/1/16] = EVERY FIBONACCI NUMBER, APART FROM THE EXCEPTIONS LISTED ABOVE, HAS AT LEAST ONE CHARACTERISTIC FACTOR = HOW ARE YOU GOING TO CONVINCE PEOPLE THAT HUMAN SOCIAL RELATIONS ARE "SILENT" AND MINDLESS?

AO 314 [125/1/16] = 3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 062 = THE SAINT-ANTOINE BARRICADE WAS A PLACE OF THUNDEROUS DEFIANCE, THE ONE AT THE TEMPLE A PLACE OF SILENCE.

AO 338 [65/2/15] = CIVIL SOCIETY IS THE REAL BASIS OF THE STATE, AND CALLS FOR THE OVERCOMING OF THE SEPARATION BETWEEN THEM = IN ORDER TO DISCUSS NEWLY SYNTHESIZED AND AS-YET UNSYNTHESIZED ELEMENTS WITHOUT AMBIGUITY = THE IDEA OF THIS SUPERSTRUCTURE OF LAWS ERECTED ABOVE THE SILENT WORKING OF THE SYSTEM OF PRODUCTION.

AO 342 [125/1/16] = IT IS THE CHILDREN'S WARD IN THE HOSPITAL WITH AN ABUNDANCE OF TOYS, BOOKS, AND GIFTS FOR THE YOUNGSTERS = THE SILENT WORKING OF SYSTEM OF PRODUCTION" CONDITIONS HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS AND SOCIAL RELATIONS.

AO 375 [26/4/13] = MASS-DISSEMINATED METACULTURAL JUDGMENTS ORGANIZE THE PLETHORA OF DIFFERENT ORDINARY RESPONSES INTO A HIERARCHY (The researcher can differentiate people according to their tastes, but who is to say which tastes are higher in social status? ¶ One possible solution can be immediately discarded, namely, that tastes are scaled solely according to income. You demand what you can afford to demand. To be sure, the point is made by Bourdieu that the lower classes in France, at the time of his research, acquired tastes they could afford—the "AO-62 TASTE FOR NECESSITY" ([1975] 1984, 372 ff.). At the same time, the starting point for Bourdieu's research was the empirical observation that people at the same income level had different tastes. They deployed their available cash differently. This differential deployment is what, in the first instance, renders plausible the notion of a "space" through which people move. How can differential deployment be explained? Bourdieu argued that it could be explained by the existence of forms ot noneconomic capital, which he termed cultural capital. Certain purchases were designed to enhance cultural or symbolic social worth. But how can you know which tastes have greater cultural worth, if you cannot use economics as a guide?; AO-32 METACULTURE) = THE SOCIAL BASIS OF THIS CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE NEED TO REALISE THE POTENTIAL OF IT IN ACTION BY MAN AS A SOCIAL BEING.

AO 562 [125/1/16] = MARX'S SOLUTION: WHEN EACH MAN HAS RECOGNISED AND ORGANISED HIS OWN POWERS AS SOCIAL POWERS SO THAT HE NO LONGER SEPARATES THE SOCIAL POWER FROM HIMSELF AS POLITICAL POWER = THE IDEA OF THIS SUPERSTRUCTURE OF LAWS ERECTED ABOVE THE SILENT WORKING OF THE SYSTEM OF PRODUCTION IS NOT ONLY HISTORICALLY UNTRUE, INVERTS THE HISTORICAL PROCESS.