The Spectre of Contradiction

Who creates whom?

Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam.

RECAP: As we approach the opening of the (iron?) curtain to Marx’s Capital, we will set the stage by touching upon the work of those that Marx refers to in his magnum opus. Not only should excerpts of related thinkers help show how Capital is expected to be a step up from these, but they should also give a clue as to the power of Capital in highlighting with awesome lucidity the problematic nature of today’s capitalist social relations.

Today, we get closer to the examination of Marx’s Capital because, until now, we’ve presented elements of decor which were rather static: beginning with the worker’s desire, we zoomed out from his psyche and considered the existence of his “human nature”, then zoomed out once again until we saw chains binding him to the figure of the capitalist. In this post, we consider the dynamism of the relation between these two actors, with the help of Johann Heinrich von Thünen (1783-1850):

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The Ethics of Golden Shackles

Golden-shackles

Credits: sallyedelsteincollage.com

RECAP: As we approach the opening of the (iron?) curtain to Marx’s Capital, we will set the stage by touching upon the work of those that Marx refers to in his magnum opus. Not only should excerpts of related thinkers help show how Capital is expected to be a step up from these, but they should also give a clue as to the power of Capital in highlighting with awesome lucidity the problematic nature of today’s capitalist social relations.

Having first focussed on the importance of desire in the status of the working class, we then touched upon the notion that, because of human nature, workers would be comfortable in being dependent upon capitalists for their subsistence. Today, I want to come back to this notion of golden shackles, as it is described by Marx himself:

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Should Workers Be Entitled to Yachts?

Poor-man-yacht

Credits: Gizmodo and Chicago Tribune.

The Marxian Matrix is not dead! After a long and difficult hiatus in which we grappled as much with Marx’s Capital as with present-day capitalist constraints, the time has come to set the stage of our engagement with Capital Vol. 1 by touching upon the works of those that Marx refers to in his magnum opus.

Not only should excerpts of related thinkers help show how Capital can be a step up from these, but they should also give a clue as to the power of Capital in highlighting with awesome lucidity the problematic nature of today’s capitalist social relations.

In our first element of decor, Bernard Mandeville about the status of the worker:

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All Power to the Soviets: 1917 Rebirth

Kustodiev_The-Bolshevik-1920

B. Kustodiev’s 1920 “The Bolshevik”. Credits to UK Royal Academy of Arts.

Last time, we explored Russia’s 1905 crisis and revolution, specifically focusing on its specificity: the power of the Petrograd soviet. We ended by saying that social revolt had calmed for multiple reasons, the most important of which was the cancelling of the annual redemptive payments from the 1861 reform and the excellent harvests of 1908-1909. This time, we will delve into the heart of the Beast: Russia, 1917, and the rebirth of the institution that will define the 20th century.

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Festering improvements

For quite a few weeks now, I keep coming back to the same idea. It seems like every time I come back to it, it gains a bit more flesh. It started a few months ago, with an event that should’ve happened but which didn’t. Really, all possible indicators said it would happen, but it didn’t. That really set me back quite a bit, so maybe a better way to say it is not that it gains a bit more flesh every time, but rather that it’s a wound that keeps festering.

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Matrix analysis (1): Battery

Credits and copyright: Warner Bros.

Picture credits and copyright: Warner Bros.

This publication is called the Marxian Matrix and I thought it would be a great idea that we start by a precise analysis of the Wachowskis’ Matrix. After watching the movies again for the purposes of this analysis, I have come to believe that it is not only a great idea, but an indispensable stop on the path of our inquiry into the present structure of social relations. This first part and the next three that follow are, as it were, arguments for this indispensability.

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