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The Fragment on Machines and the Grundrisse. The Workerist Reading in Question.

Riccardo Bellofiore* and Massimiliano Tomba**

Introduction: When History Begins In Westerns it often happens that the protagonist, confronted by a very concrete dilemma, quotes a passage from the ld Testament! The "ords of Psalms or of the boo# of Ezekiel, ta#en out of their conte$t, "edge themselves naturally in the contingent situation in "hich they are pronounced! %hilological care is out of place in the moment of danger, "hen it is about a revolver shot or the prosecution of an in&ustice! The biblical quotation creates a short'circuit "ith a practical urgency! It is in this "ay that from the early ()*+s on"ards the ,-ragment on Machines. of /arl Mar$ has been interpreted0! Thus "rote %aolo 1irno in the first number of Luogo Comune 2())+3, a &ournal that, beginning from the interpretation of Mar$.s -ragment on Machines0, sought to rethin# politically "hat "as happening in the Italian universities!( It "as the so'called ,%anther movement. 4 Movimento della Pantera5, a student movement that erupted in ()6) in protest against the privatisation of the university proposed by the then minister Ruberti! 1irno continues, "riting that These pages 4of the ,-ragment.5, "ritten rapidly in (676 under the pressure of urgent political tas#s, have been recalled very often in order to orientate oneself in a slapdash "ay in front of the unprecedented quality of "or#ers stri#es, the mass absenteeism, certain behaviours of the youth, the introduction of robots in Mirafiori and of computers in the offices! The history of successive interpretations of the ,-ragment. is a story of crisis and ne" beginnings0!8 In these pages "e "ant to trace the history of some of these interpretations ,against the grain., attempting at the same time to initiate an authentic confrontation "ith some of them by going bac# to their pre'histories! The story begins "ith number 9 2()*93 of Quaderni Rossi! :! Reanto ;olmi published here, for the first time in Italy, a translation of the -ragment on Machines0! Mar$.s manuscripts had been published by the Institut fr Marxismus-Leninismus of Mosco" in t"o parts, in ():) and ()9(, "ith the title Grundrisse der Kritik der olitis!"en #konomie $Ro"ent%urf3! The te$t "as then reprinted by <iet= 1erlag, the Berlin'based publisher of the "or#s of Mar$ and >ngels, in ()7:! The te$t on machines "as greeted "ith enthusiasm by Italian Mar$ists "ho sa" in these pages the possibility of renovating the reading of Mar$! They sa" in this te$t an e$cess of sub&ectivity that
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Riccardo Bellofiore is at the ,?yman %! Mins#y. <epartment of >conomics of the @niversity of Bergamo, "here he teaches Monetary >conomics, ?ystory of >conomic Thought, and Theories of /no"ledge! ?e is a Research Associate of the Amsterdam ?istory and Methodology of >conomics Broup! ** Massimiliano Tomba is researcher in %olitical %hilosophy in the <epartment of ?istorical and %olitical ;tudies and he teaches %hilosophy of ?uman Rights at the @niversity of %adua! ( Translator.s noteC the -ragment on Machines0 4&rammento sulle ma!!"ine5 "as the title given to the Italian translation of a section of Mar$.s manuscripts published in >nglish in the Grundrisse, M>DW 8), p! 68')8! 8 %! 1irno, >di=ione semicritica di un classico -rammento0, Luogo !omune, ( 2())+3, pp! )'(:! : ;! Wright, 'torming (eaven) Class !om osition and struggle in Italian *utonomist Marxism 2Eondon, 8++83, pp! :8' *8!

could unbloc# the consolidated interpretations of the ;talinist orthodo$y of the %DI! Raniero %an=ieri, in %lusvalore e pianifica=ione0 4;urplus'value and planning5, published in the same number of Quaderni Rossi as the -ragment on Machines0, read in these pages of the Grundrisse a theory of the ,unsustainibility. of capitalism at its ma$imum level of development, "hen the ,superabundant. productive forces come into conflict "ith the ,restricted basis. of the system, and the quantitative measurement of "or# becomes an evident absurdity0!9 ?ere are the coordinates of "hat "ill become the guiding trac# of the reading of Italian "or#erism! Dapitalism, read and analysed at its ma$imum level of development0, gives rise to a contradiction bet"een the superabundant development of machinery and the restricted base of the system that turns the quantitative measuring of "or#0 into an absurdity! It "as not %an=ieri to dra" the consequences of this approach, ho"ever! ther "or#erists, above all Mario Tronti and Toni Fegri, "ere the ones "ho pushed these intuitions to"ards the liquidation of the la" of value! In order to do that, it "as necessary to play off the Grundrisse against Ca ital! ?o"ever, %an=ieri had opened the "ay to this as "ell! In the quoted fragment, there is a model of ,transition. of capitalism dire!tl+ to communismC !ontra numerous passages of Ca ital and the Criti,ue of t"e Got"a Programme0!7 -or Tronti, the Grundrisse, in its freshness, "as to be considered as a boo# politically more advanced that the other t"o0, that is to say, more advanced than the first volume of Ca ital and also the Contri-ution to t"e Criti,ue of Politi!al E!onom+ !* Thus began the history of an overvaluation of the Grundrisse that, via Toni Fegri and %aolo 1irno, goes through to post' "or#erism, "hich reduces Mar$ to those fe" pages of the -ragment on Machines0! It is no" a rarity to find citations of Ca ital in the te$ts of the Italian post'"or#erists, as can be see in the most internationally noted boo#s, Em ire and Multitude) Eet us be clearC it is not our intention to reopen the ,uerelle of Ca ital against the Grundrisse or vice versa! We believe, ho"ever, that it is useful to reread Mar$ bac#"ards0, see#ing to ma#e him interact "ith the current situationG to ma#e him sound li#e an alarm bell "hen faced by danger! We "ill ta#e a fe" steps in this direction at the end of this te$t! Looking at rehistory If "e have to "rite the history of Italian interpretations of the -ragment0, ho"ever, it is first necessary to go bac# to prehistory, that is, to the history prior to number 9 of Quaderni Rossi! It is a history that remains rooted in the most consistent anti';talinist Mar$ism! The first to underline the importance of these pages in Italy "as Amadeo Bordiga! H ?e heard about them from Roger <angeville, member of the Internationalist Dommunist %arty and editor of the first -rench edition of the Grundrisse for >ditions Anthropos 2()*H3!6 %erhaps, via <anilo Montaldi and others, it is possible to identify a certain genealogy or indirect #no"ledge bet"een the group of Quaderni Rossi and these "ritings of Bordiga!) This is not our problem, ho"ever! We are more interested to sho" the theoretical and political questions that "ere raised by Bordiga in ()7H! Bordiga "as interested in reading the automation of production from a Mar$ist perspective! It had cast both the bourgeois economists0 as "ell as those of the "or#ers. gang of false Russian
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R! %an=ieri, %lusvalore e pianifica=ione0, in R! %an=ieri, ' ontaneit. e organizzazione 2%isa, ())93, p! *6! I-id! * M! Tronti, / erai e !a itale 2Torino, ()**3, p! 8(+! H A! Bordiga, Traiettoria e catastrofe della forma capitalistica nella classica monolitica costru=ione teorica del mar$ismo0, il rogramma !omunista, ()'8+ 2()7H3, in A! Bordiga, E!onomia marxista ed e!onomia !ontrorivoluzionaria 2Milano, ()H*3, pp! (6)'8+6! 6 Df! E! Brilli, *madeo 0ordiga1 !a italismo sovieti!o e !omunismo 2Milano, ()683, p! 87:! ) n some analogies bet"een Bordiga and %an=ieri, cf! %!A! Rovatti, Il problema del comunismo in %an=ieri0, *ut-*ut, (9)'(7+ 2()H73, pp! H7'(+(!

socialism0 into confusion!(+ Automation posed the problem of the drastic reduction of industrial labour'po"er, of a ne" unemployment and of the foreseeable difficulty, for a great mass of "omen and men, of earning money and, above all, of spending it in order to buy the enormous mass of commodities produced in the half'empty automated factories! n the one hand, Bordiga intended to attac# the epigones of the ;oviet formula of ,full employment. and the social democratic communists "ho pursued the democratisation of capital! n the other hand, there "ere the pipsquea# Mar$ists0 "ho, faced by the prospect of a totalitarian automatic production0, "ere baffled by the fact that "ith it also the la" according to "hich value derived from the labour of the "or#ers "ould fall! Bordiga respondedC ut "ith the la"s of value, of equivalent e$change and surplus'valueC aonce they fall, the form of bourgeois production itself falls0! (( -or Bordiga, it "as a case of sho"ing the necessity of communism directly from the phenomena of capitalism! This is the general conte$t! The analysis of some passages, al"ays "ritten in a heated polemic "ith progressivist ;oviet Mar$ism, sho" the sharp edge of Bordiga.s politics! ?e "ritesC ;cience that forces the inanimate limbs of the machine, in conformity to its construction to act as Automatons, does not e$ist in the consciousness of the Wor#er, but through the Machine it acts upon him as e$traneous %o"er, as the %o"er of the machine itself0! (8 The diverse limbs of the machinery act li#e a single automaton because the goal for "hich the machine "as planned and constructed is that of being an automaton! %recisely due to ho" the machines are constructed and the end for "hich they are constructed, they act as an automaton 4 dur!" i"re Konstruktion z%e!kgem23 als *utomat zu %irken5C the goal of machinic construction is simultaneously empo"erment and intensification of labour 2a goal that not only doesn.t e$ist in the consciousness of the "or#ers, but "hich, rather, is counterposed to it3, an e$ternal po"er 4fremde Ma!"t5 that see#s to ma#e them automatons! It follo"s not only that the "hole system of automatic machinery forms a monster that squashes an enslaved and unhappy humanity under the "eight of its oppression, and this is the monster that dominates the "hole picture of present society drafted by Mar$0, but also that science is above all technological supremacy, monopoly of an e$ploiting minority0!(: Bordiga attac#s the progressivist optimism of the reformism that sees in scientific and technological progress a ne" step to"ards greater "ell'being! What Bordiga puts in discussion is not scientific progress as such, but rather its class characterC the fact that the production of "ell' being produces at the same time the malaise of another class! Against the apologetic enthusiasm of technological progress as such 2"hich Bordiga, "ith his unmista#able prose, calls the inauspicious apologists of dead labour 2nefasti del lavoro morto303, he "ritesC Whoever appropriates the capital produced by living labour 2surplus'value3 is represented neither as a human person nor as a human classG he is the Monster, the ob&ectified Eabour, the fi$ed Dapital, monopoly and fortress of the Ca ital &orm in itself, Beast "ithout soul and even "ithout life, but "hich devours and #ills living labour, the labour of the living and the living themselves0!(9 ?aving Russian Mar$ism as his target, Bordiga stri#es at diverse variants of ;talinist Mar$ism! In the first place, he attac#s the ;oviet ideology that presented the increase of Russian industrial production as aimed to produce a socialism of steel! -or Bordiga, on the other hand, it is precisely the conversion of surplus labour into surplus'value for the production of fi$ed capital, instead of into free time, that denotes the capitalist mode of productionC fi$ed capital as machinery is the one that today, in the >ast as "ell as in the West, "e call the ensemble of instrumental goods, "ith an equal tendency to e$alt it in order to increase the mass of productive forces, the ne"
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Bordiga, E!onomia marxista, p! (6)! Bordiga, E!onomia marxista, p! ()+! (8 Bordiga, E!onomia marxista, p! ():! (: Bordiga, E!onomia marxista, pp! ():'9! (9 Bordiga, E!onomia marxista, p! 8++!

Monster that today suffocates humanity! This is a true indicator of the domination of the capitalist mode of production0!(7 ?o"ever, Bordiga is not only attac#ing Russian ideology for trying to pass off the development of the productive forces for socialism, an ideology present also in much self'styled anti';talinism! Bordiga also attac#s the idea that "hat is monstrous in the capitalist mode of production is simply private appropriation by the capitalists of surplus'value! What is bestial above all is the fi$ed capital that devours living labour! The Beast0, as Bordiga "rites, is the enterprise, not the fact that it has a boss0!(* Bordiga attac#s the anti'"or#er variants of actually e$isting socialism "ith equal ferocityC the vision of socialism as self'management or "or#ers. control should be re&ectedC it does not posit an end to the despotism of the factory, "hich is due not to the evil of the capitalist but to the la"s of capital, and it continues the process of valorisation of capital! The degradation of living labour in capitalist enterprises cannot be resolved by changing the o"ner of this firm, but by revolutioni=ing the mode and conditions of labour! -or Bordiga, the antithesis bet"een capitalism and socialism is neither posited nor decided at the level of property or management, but at the level of production0!(H The apologetics of technological development served "ell to sustain capitalist accumulation in Russia and social democratic gradualism in the West, both visions of a capitalism able to be harmonised "ith socialism! ;talinism, &ust li#e Western social democracy, "ere for Bordiga the danger! They "ould continue to bloc# the recommencement of the revolutionary class movement for many more years! an!ieri and Tronti ;ome of these points can be found in %an=ieri and in Italian "or#erism! In Quaderni Rossi, %an=ieri also challenged the then'dominant orthodo$ Mar$ism that "as unable to comprehend the interrelations bet"een technology and class domination! -or %an=ieri, "hat had to be placed in question "as the idea of a neutral technological progress, e$ternal to the class relations! Thus, in number ( of Quaderni Rossi, %an=ieri published n the Dapitalist @se of Machines in Feo' capitalism0 4'ull4uso !a italisti!o delle ma!!"ine nel neo!a italismo 5 2()*(3, "here he maintained that the capitalist use of machines is not 4I5 the simple distortion or deviation from an ,ob&ective. development, rational in itself, but, rather, determines technological development0! (6 There is thus a technological development that is intrinsically capitalistC technological development is manifested as development of capitalism0!() %an=ieriJs reflections are based on Ca ital, not yet on the Grundrisse! While the theoreticians of the DBIE investigated the ne" capitalist organisation of labour by beginning from the intrinsic rationality of the labour process, %an=ieri, follo"ing the Mar$ of Ca ital, demonstrated the non'neutrality of science, sub&ected to capital in order to augment the po"er of the ,boss.0 4die Ma!"t des 5Meisters4 $master65.!8+! The automatic machine is for %an=ieri as Mar$ describes itC an instrument of torture0 4Mittel der 7ortur58( that should be investigated beginning from the specific use'value of constant capital and of the technology that plans itG for machinery is, from its very conception, designed to ma$imise the subordination of living labour!
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Bordiga, E!onomia marxista, p! 8((! A! Bordiga, I fondamenti del comunismo rivolu=ionario mar$ista nella dottrina e nella storia della lotta proletaria interna=ionale08 il rogramma !omunista, (:'(7 2()7H3, p! 7*! (H E! Brilli, *madeo 0ordiga, p! 8*9! (6 R! %an=ieri, ;ull.uso capitalistico delle macchine nel neocapitalismo0, in ' ontaneit. e organizzazione, p! 8H! () I-id! 8+ Marx Engels Colle!ted 9orks, 1olume :7 4Ca ital, 1olume (5, p! 98*! 8( I-id)

The critique of stagnationism0 that "as "idespread in traditional Mar$ism "as accompanied by a capacity to find in Mar$ a duplicity0 of labour'po"er0 and "or#ing class0, "hich had been lost in the Mar$ism of the ;econd and Third International! Both had proposed an ,economistic. vision of a "orld of labour characterised inevitably by ,passivity.! After %an=ieri, this theme "as radicalised by Tronti! %an=ieri progressively added to the emphasis on the non'neutrality of the productive forces and of machines the idea of a ,plan of capital.! Total capital "ould be able to plan not only the economy but also society! This immediately constitutes a potent critique of the idea that socialism is identified "ith the mere o"nership of the means of production and "ith planning! The anarchy of the mar#et as limit of capitalist development is increasingly replaced by the struggle of the "or#ers as principal if not e$clusive contradictionC not so much insofar as labour is a ,part. inevitably integrated "ithin capital, but insofar as those struggles assume political characteristics! Tronti begins from this insight! ?is point of departure "as to split Mar$ism as science of capital from Mar$ism as revolutionary theory! Mar$ism as science of capital loo#s at the "or#ers as ,labour'po"er., that is, from the point of vie" of the theory of economic development, reducing it integrally to variable capital, therefore to labour ,ua labour totally subaltern to capital! It is ,labour. seen "ith the lenses of capital! Mar$ism as revolutionary theory loo#s at the "or#ers as ,"or#ing class., "hich refuses its inclusion "ithin capital politically! It is Mar$ism as theory of the political dissolution of capital, "hich loo#s at capital form the point of vie" of the "or#ing class! These reflections allo"ed ne" fields of research and political intervention to be opened upC the non'neutrality of the process of rationalisation, the non'neutrality of sciences and of technology could be comprehended only assuming the partisan point of vie" of living labour! It "ill be the "or#ers of Marghera, and not only them, "ho produce ne" reflections and political battles on the no$iousness, beginning from the fact that diseases and disorders that are contracted in the factory are directly lin#ed to the technological evolution0!88 As "e "ill see, there political ideas "ere abandoned in the ()H+s, because a ne" phase, "ith its ne" reading of the -ragment0, began to substitute the social "or#er for the mass "or#er! It "as a theory that ,"ould finally call the "hole meaning of "or#erism into question.! 8: This transition, not"ithstanding the elements of strong political innovation o"ed to Fegri, could find a point of support in the history of "or#erism! In the second number of Quaderni Rossi, Tronti fired a burning arro"C 7"e &a!tor+ and t"e 'o!iet+ 2()*83! ?ere, Tronti radicalised the points of heterodo$ Mar$ism of the nascent "or#erism, emphasising the fact that the relations of production are above all relations of po"er! At the same time, as ;teve Wright observes, TrontiJs intervention bore "ithin it a number of ambiguities and misconceptions soon to be transmitted to "or#erism itself! The most stri#ing of these concerned the essay.s central theme of the socialisation of labour under ,specifically. capitalist production, and the implications of this for the delineation of the modern "or#ing class0!89 Tronti came to sustain that labour'po"er potentially produces surplus'value before the labour process insofar as it is on the labour mar#et, in the "age contract, that the amount of labour to be performed is stipulated! The productivity of value is potentially constituted! That ,potentially. progressively vanished from the "or#erist discourseG but already the consequences are immediately clear! ;truggles over the "age that ma#e it rise in e$cess "ith respect to productivity, or the refusal of labour "ithin production, signal practically the transition from ,labour'po"er. to ,"or#ing class.! Kust as soon as the "or#ing class engages in conflict, it immediately becomes antagonism and revolutionary rupture! Dapital reacts "ith development, and development e$tends the antagonism from the factory to society! Drisis is immediatistically affirmed as consequent to antagonism! At the same time, it is equally immediately negated, insofar as it is transfigured immediately into the development of capital! The opposite is also true! The development of capital is simultaneously development of the
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Assemblea Autonoma di Marghera, *ssenteismo1 un terreno di lotta o eraia 2%adova, ()H73, p! *7! Wright, 'torming (eaven, p! (9(! 89 Wright, 'torming (eaven, p! 9+!

"or#ing class, or of the antagonistic sub&ectivity selected as dominant in each period! <evelopment and crisis are in the end the same thing, referable to the ,independence. that the po"er of ,labour. has assumed in fi$ing the ,necessary labour., "ith the struggle over the "age or over income, and to the immediate productivity of value that social cooperation gives to ,living labour., "hich "ill soon be ready for ,e$odus.! At that point, the premises of the ,post'"or#erist. dis ositif are almost fully constitutedG and "ith them, the incapacity to deconstruct theoretically and practically the moments of class decomposition that result from the phase of crisis and restructuring of capital, as is already evident in Fegri.s thought during the ()H+s! "egri and #irno In Wor#ers. %arty against Eabour0 2()H:3, ta#ing his cue from t"o te$ts prior to the "riting of Ca ital L that is, the Grundrisse and the previously unpublished si$th Dhapter of Ca ital 2Results of the Immediate %rocess of %roduction03 L Fegri confronted the changes relative to the conflictuality of class and to capitalist accumulation in the phase of the real subsumption of labour to capital! The la" of value is definitively re&ected! Beginning from ne" forms of insurgency, such as the refusal of labour by large masses of youth, a theoretical structure is reread and redefined that made the parts of the "or#ing day L that is, necessary labour and surplus'value L t"o independent variables struggling "ith each other! Fegri begins at this point to "or# on an e$tension of the notion of productive labour, "hich comes tendentially to coincide "ith "age labour, thus giving rise to the ne" social figure of a unified proletariat0!87 These points are progressively developed! In Proletarians and 'tate 4Proletari e 'tato5 2()H*3, the transition from the mass "or#er to the social "or#er is e$plicitC the entire theoretical frame is structured so as to ma#e "ay for a ne" revolutionary sub&ectivity individuated on the limits of marginalisation!8* The scheme "as then replicated many times! -rom forms of conflictuality of a ne" sub&ect, declared each time to be "egemoni!, an analysis of the capitalist tenden!+ is delineated again and again that redeploys other figures of the "or#er to a residual position! Fegri had to push Marx -e+ond Marx! In order to do this, he again turned to the Grundrisse! The GrundrisseJs insight, according to Fegri, is greatest precisely in the analysis of the -ragment on Machines0! ?ere there is e$pressed the necessary tendency of capital0 to"ards the subsumption of the entire society!8H At this point, Fegri affirms that the capitalist appropriation of society is complete0!86 Fegri follo"s Mar$ enthusiastically "hen Mar$ "rites that production based on e$change'value falls0G for Fegri, it is a case of the impossibility of the measure of e$ploitation0, of the emptying out of the theory of value0!8) The evacuation of the theory of value0 L a term "hich is not Mar$.s L from every element of comparison transforms it into pure and simple command, pure and simple form of politics0! :+ Fegri individuates the ape$ of Mar$.s investigation0 in the crisis of the la" of value! ?e supposes that at the end of the ()H+s "e had broadly entered into a phase of crisis of the material functioning of the la" of value0! :( WhyM ;imply because no" value "ould no longer be measurable, and therefore the theory of surplus'value, in its centrality, eliminates any scientific claim to centrali=ation and of domination conceived from inside the theory
87

A! Fegri, %artito operaio contro il lavoro0 2()H:3, in ;! Bologna et al!, Crisi e organizzazione o eraia 2Milano ()H93, p! (8)! 8* A! Fegri, Proletari e 'tato 2Milano ()H*3, p! *7! 8H A! Fegri, Marx oltre Marx 2()H63 2Roma ())63, p! (H+! 86 Fegri, Marx oltre Marx, p! (H:! 8) Fegri, Marx oltre Marx, p! (H6! :+ Fegri, Marx oltre Marx, p! (H6! :( Fegri, Marx oltre Marx, p! 8)!

of value0!:8 It is precisely here that Fegri finds the superiority of the Grundrisse, not 2yetM3 ensnared in the analysis of value and thus open to the action of revolutionary sub&ectivity0, "hich are instead supposed to be bloc#ed by the categories of Ca ital!:: But one should rather say that the ,collapsism. implied in the fall of the rate of profit of the -ragment on Machines0 results, besides being a political dimension that Mar$ "anted to give to his thoughts in a period of economic crisis, from a categorial opacity on points that are absolutely fundamental for the comprehension of the relation bet"een absolute and relative surplus'value! Mar$ has not yet defined in an adequate "ay the notion of value, a definition that "as only elaborated precisely in the period of the "riting of these manuscripts! The first chapter that "as supposed to treat it "as not "ritten! The in!i it of the Grundrisse L II! Money0 L refers to a first chapter, still not %ritten, on value! It is therefore false to maintain that the -ragment0 celebrates the do"nfall of the la" of value, if Mar$Js reflection on value "as still not yet mature at that stage! This theoretical "or# occurs in the manuscripts of the (6*+s! It is also important, ho"ever, for the question posed by the -ragment0, that Mar$, in the Grundrisse, had not yet defined his o"n notion of so!iall+ ne!essar+ la-our as labour that, in a determinate quantity, is ob&ectified in e$change' value! When he spea#s of necessary labour, his reasoning remains bloc#ed by difficulties that Mar$ continues to attribute to Ricardo, "hose theory of value, still sometimes considered legitimate in (676,:9 "ill be definitively presented as the bearer of a confusion bet"een values and !ost ri!es in the middle of the "riting of the economic manuscripts of (6*(':!:7 In a te$t at the end of the ()H+s on the -ragment on Machines0, %aolo 1irno, after having sho"n ho" the ob&ectivist reading of the collapsism implicit in the fall of the rate of profit0 bloc#s the sub&ective enrichening of living labour as non'capital, analysed the modalities of socialisation brought into being by the development of production based on machinery, a socialisation that is developed throughout the system of machines! The devastating effect of the integral subsumption of the labour process to capital is the gigantic e$tension of the tas#s of control0, such that the socialisation of labour occurs outside the immediate production process! :* The conclusions of 1irno "ere interesting, because, complicating Mar$.s reading, he could read the General Intelle!t not as coincident "ith fi$ed capital, but as articulating itself by means of the specific dislocation of living labour at the #ey points of production0! 1irno tried to trace an analytic of concrete labour and of the sub&ective comportments not in the unity but in the rupture bet"een General Intelle!t and fi$ed capitalC if in this rupture living labour becomes labour of surveillance and coordination not immediately referable to factory tas#s, then the attitudes and actions of refusal can be read as the crisis of the relation of capital in terms of sub&ectivity! In ())+, this theoretical'political analysis thought to have found the sub&ect of its dreamsC the movement of the Pantera! The high school and university students in struggle became the
:8 ::

Fegri, Marx oltre Marx, p! :+! Fegri, Marx oltre Marx, p! 88! :9 1ygods#i& claims that at the time of the Povert+ of P"iloso "+ Mar$ "as still ,on the terrain of the theory of value of Ricardo., lac#ing here ,the concept of abstract labour as labour that creates value.C 1!;! 1ygods#i&, Istori:a odnogo velikogo otkr+ti:a Karla Marksa, Mos#va, ()*7, Italian translation by D! %ennava&a, Introduzione ai ;Grundrisse< di Marx, Milano, ()H9, pp! 8+'(! According to 1ygods#i& the great discovery of Mar$, the theory of surplus'value, occurs in (67H'76 and presupposes the theory of value! Also for Walter Tuchscheerer, at the time of the Povert+ of P"iloso "+, Mar$ remained at positions substantially Ricardian as far as regards the theory of value! The theory of value, Tuchscheerer maintains, is elaborated during the (67+s and comes to a ,provisional conclusion. in the Grundrisse! Df! W! Tuchscheerer, 0evor =>as Ka ital? entstand, Berlin, ()*6, Italian translation by E! Berti, Prima del =Ca itale?) La formazione del ensiero e!onomi!o di Marx $@ABCD@AEA6 , -iren=e, ()6+, pp! :H+'(, but also pp! 888 et sqq! Recent studies have emphasised that Mar$ continued to "or# on value also during the different editions of Ca italC R! ?ec#er, Fur Ent%i!klung der 9ertt"eorie von der @) Fur C) *uflage des ersten 0andes des 5Ka itals4 von Karl Marx $@AGH@AAC6 in Marx-Engels-Ia"r-u!", n!(+ 2()6H3, pp!(9H')*! :7 Mar$ to >ngels, 8nd August (6*8, M>DW 9(, p! :)9! :* %! 1irno, Eavoro e conoscen=a0, in Pre- rint :N8, p! 96!

synecdoche able to e$plain the current relations of production! With a habitual gesture of "or#erism, "hat "as grasped "as the deep tendency of capitalist development0G beginning from this, having seen that the tendential primacy of #no"ledge turns "or#ing time into an ab&ect basis0,:H the ne" sub&ectivity in struggle "as individuated, a sub&ectivity "hich declared from the occupied universities the function of central productive force that is assumed today by #no"ledge0, the ne" barycentre of the connection bet"een production and #no"ledge! Thus the ne" and principal productive force0 "as discovered that relegated parcelised and repetitive "or#0 to a residual position0! Mar$.s analysis in the -ragment0 "as thus once more ta#en up there at that point "here it "as most "ea#, short'circuiting it "ith the presentC "hat leaps out at the eyes, in these years, is the full actual realisation of the tendency described by Mar$0! Kust as for Fegri, for 1irno also the so called la" of value had been dissolved and confuted by capitalist development itself0! At the base of this analysis there is a stagist image of modes of production! Fegri never renounces a stagist image that begins from the professional "or#ers, goes via the mass "or#ers of the taylorist and fordist regimes, and ends up at the social "or#er, in "hich figure the various threads of immaterial labor'po"er are being "oven together0! :6 The certainty of having individuated the tendency, or rather of producing it, is such so as to permit Fegri to trace out equationsC I am convinced that the metropolis is related to the multitude li#e the "or#ing class "as to the factory0!:) -or Fegri, the Grundrisse represents an e$traordinary theoretical anticipation of mature capitalist society0, "here Mar$ tells us that capitalist development leads to a society in "hich industrial "or#ers. labour 2insofar as immediate labour3 is no" only a secondary element in the organisation of capitalism0! When capitalism has subsumed the society, productive labour becomes intellectual, cooperative, immaterial labour0! The consequence that Fegri dra"s is clearC "e live today in a society evermore characterised by the hegemony of immaterial labour0! 9+ If, on the one hand, according to Fegri, all forms of labor are today socially productive 4I5 there is 4nevertheless5 al"ays one figure of labor that e$erts hegemony over the others0! 9( Thus the industrial labour of the nineteenth and t"entieth century has lost its hegemony and, in the last decades of the t"entieth century, immaterial labour0 has emerged in its place! 98 The General Intelle!t becomes hegemonic in capitalist production0, immaterial cognitive labour becomes immediately productive0 and the cognitariat0 becomes the fundamental productive force that ma#es the system function0C the ne" hegemonic figure! 9: ?aving to respond in some "ay to the critiques of those "ho replied that immaterial labour0 is limited to a minoritarian part of the planet, ?ardt and Fegri affirm that immaterial labour constitutes a minority of global labor, and it is concentrated in some of the dominant regions of the globe! ur claim, rather, is that immaterial labor has become "egemoni! in ,ualitative terms and has imposed a tendency on other forms of labor and society itself0!99 ?o"ever, ?ardt and Fegri do nothing more than bypass the questionC to critiques regarding the minoritarian character of immaterial labour, quantitatively important perhaps only in a fifth of the planet, they reply that it is a case of a ,ualitative and tendential predominance! That immaterial labour is minoritarian and lin#ed only to some areas of the Western metropolis doesn.t interest Fegri, because "hat he is interested in is its character of tendency!
:H

%! 1irno, >di=ione semicritica di un classico -rammento! Dita=ioni di fronte al pericolo0, Luogo !omune, ( 2())+3, p! (+! :6 M! ?ardt and A! Fegri, Em ire 2Dambridge, Mass!, 8++(3, pp! 9+)'(+! The same stagist paradigm can be found in Good-+e Mr 'o!ialism 2Fe" Oor#, 8++63, pp! ((:'9! :) A! Fegri, Good-+e Mr 'o!ialism 2Fe" Oor#, ;even ;tories %ress3 p! 88(! 9+ Fegri, %refa=ione 2())H3 a Id!, Marx oltre Marx, cit!, pp! H'6! 9( M! ?ardt N A! Fegri, Multitude, %enguin %ress, 8++9, pp! (+*'H! 98 ?ardtNFegri, Multitude, p! (+6! 9: Fegri, Good-+e Mr 'o!ialism, p! (*H and pp! (6:'9! 99 ?ardtNFegri, Multitude, p! (+)!

To$ard an %nti&Historicist Reading In this linear vision the highest point of development precedes the bac#"ard sectors, prefiguring their futureC Immaterial labour I is today in the same position that industrial labor "as (7+ years ago, "hen it accounted for only a small fraction of global production and "as concentrated in a small part of the "orld but nonetheless e$erted hegemony over all other forms of production! Kust as in that phase all form of labor and society itself had to industriali=e, today labor and society have to informationali=e, become intelligent, become communicative, become affective0!97 The question certainly is not that of measuring quantitatively the e$tension of so'called immaterial labourG the question is rather that this schema, entirely centred on tendency, does not see the intert"ining of the diverse forms of e$tortion of surplus'value, irreducible to a linear sequence or to a sum that sees them as rigidly separate! The augmentation of the technical composition of capital in some parts of the "orld does not generate automatically a tendency in this senseG rather, &ust as the development of the te$tile industry in >ngland incremented slavery in the Americas, that development can produce, on the one hand, a massive e$pulsion of labour'po"er in the Western metropolis, transforming it into precarious and underpaid labourG and, on the other hand, it can give rise to transfers of surplus'value from productive areas "ith lo" salaries, lo" technical composition and high absolute e$ploitation! -or this reason, the e$plosion of stri#es in the so'called periphery of the "orld, here almost completely ignored, spea#s directly to the proletariat of the Western metropolisC not from a bac#"ard position, but at t"e ver+ "eig"t of t"e !urrent global form of capitalist production! Wor#erism has criticised and ta#en its distances from the millenarian ob&ectivism of the collapse, but it has still carried along "ith it a little piece of the philosophy of history! The thesis according to "hich the distinction bet"een centre and periphery is supposed to have become less is turned by postmodernism against the theory of value! We "ould need instead to sho" ho" the peripheral0 forms of e$ploitation are in the centre0 and vice versa, in accordance precisely "ith the la" of value! We need to sho" ho" the gro"th of the production of relative surplus'value produces, t"roug" a !om etition -et%een !a itals, an increase of the production of absolute surplus'value! This idea can be found already in the Grundrisse, but it is only in the Manus!ri ts of @AG@-C that Mar$ concentrates on this relation! The fall 4in the rate of profit5 may also be chec#ed by the creation of ne" branches of production in "hich more immediate labour is needed in proportion to capital, or in "hich the productive po"er of labour, i!e! the productive po"er of capital, is not yet developed0!9* By reading Mar$ bac#"ards0, that is, reading the Grundrisse by beginning from Ca ital, "e see that he is more concerned "ith this second aspect, "ith the counter tendencies put into play by the creation of ne" branches of production "ith high e$tortion of absolute surplus'value and intensification of labour! These do not simply coe$ist beside forms of production of relative surplus'value and high tech, as if in a ,universal e$position. of the forms of productionG 9H rather,
97 9*

Ibid! M>DW 8) 4Grundrisse5, p! (:7! 9H ;andro Me==adra 2La !ondizione ost!oloniale) 'toria e oliti!a nel resente glo-ale, 1erona 8++63 analyses the question of the co'presence bet"een real subsumption and formal subsumption, referring almost e$clusively to the Grundrisse! The analysis is inadequate because, firstly, it is fundamentally internal to the categorial plan of the Grundrisse and thus unable to comprehend the problematisation present in Ca italG the analysis is then mista#en because it doesn.t comprehend the relation bet"een the t"o forms of surplus'value! The question doesn.t in fact regard the co'presence of diverse forms of e$ploitation, but rather "o% the production of relative surplus'value gives place to the production of enormous masses of absolute surplus'value! The different forms of e$ploitation aren.t the one beside the other in a sort of postmodern universal e$position! Rather, capital must continually produce, through the use of e$tra'economic violence, differentiations of "ages and of intensity of labour! -rom this point of vie", Beorge Daffent=is.s affirmation is not e$aggeratedC he argues that ,the computer requires the s"eatshop, and the cyborg.s

they are violently produced and reproduced in order to bra#e the fall of the rate of profit and in order to continue to produce relative surplus'value! Today, there is no longer the need for t"is reading of the Grundrisse! /t"er readings are certainly possible! 7oda+ "e need a comprehension of the forms of e$ploitation at the height of the 9eltmarkt, of the ,"orld mar#et.!96 If "e really "ant to go beyond the dualism bet"een centre and periphery, "e also need to go beyond a stagist idea according to "hich "e live today in a society evermore characterised by the hegemony of immaterial labour0, in a society that, after having being characterised by real subsumption, "ould be denoted no" by total subsumption0! We need to read the reciprocal relation bet"een diverse forms of e$ploitation, "ithout sin#ing into an idea of tendency from "hich "e could loo# at other labour forms as residual or se!ondar+)9) %m'iguities o( the )rundrisse In order to ans"er the question regarding the relationship of this "or#erism "ith the Mar$ of the Grundrisse, "e need to go beyond the -ragment on Machines0 and investigate the ,ambiguities. of the (67H'6 manuscripts regarding ,labour., ,development. and ,crisis.! The central question, in the Grundrisse as in Ca ital, isC ho" is it possible that money begins to produce more money, to transform itself0 into capitalM Mar$ systematically uses in Ca ital L and also in the Grundrisse at one point L the metaphor of the chrysalis0 that, "rapping itself up in the cocoon0, then manages to transform itself into a butterfly0 7+! The solution naturally lies, in the last instance, in the reference to the category of living labour0, "hich is crystallised in more value than the advanced capital value! The point is that in the Grundrisse, Mar$, "ho has very clearly seen the distinction bet"een living labour capacity0 and labour as such, as activity0, nonetheless e$presses himself "ith great ambiguity! The e$pression living labour0, or even simply labour0, in (67H'6, is often and easily used generically in order to indicate the t"o dimensionsC an ambiguity that "ill soon disappear almost entirely in Ca ital! Mar$ sometimes even spea#s in the Grundrisse, some"hat dismissively, of e$change of labour0 "ith capital, an e$change in "hich labour0 is ceded to capital, and capital obtains in this very e$change more labour0! If "e read these phrases bac#"ards0 from Ca ital, the ambiguity is resolved! ?ere, "e are not spea#ing of anything but the t"ofold nature of the social relation bet"een capital and labourC mar#ed, on the one hand, by sale0 on the labour mar#et of labour' po"er acquired by "agesG on the other hand, by the use0 or e$ploitation of labour'po"er in the immediate process of production! We are thus spea#ing about ho", that is, the first moment, in circulation, opens up to the second moment, in productionC opens up to the e$traction 2potentially conflictual3 of the labour in movement0 of the labourerG an activity0 that in its nature is fluid0, in becoming! This process can be defined as e$change0 only figuratively, as Mar$ himself doesn.t stop reiterating in his follo"ing reflections! The direction of the reflection that Mar$ has underta#en is clear, and if "e "ant to interpret the Grundrisse "e need to read him bac#"ards0! Thus "e understand the deployment of a conceptual articulation in "hich, "hen "e spea# of labour0, it is necessary al"ays to distinguish carefully bet"een labour capacity0, "hich is potential of labour as activity0, and the performance of labour as such! Both the first 2labour'po"er3, and the second 2living labour3 are inseparable from
e$istence is premised on the slave. 2B! Daffent=is, PThe >nd of Wor# or the Renaissance of ;laveryM A Dritique of Rif#in and FegriP, available at QhttpCNNinfo!interactivist!netNnodeN(86HR 48++653! 96 <! ;acchetto and M! Tomba 2>d!3, La lunga a!!umulazione originaria) Politi!a e lavoro nel mer!ato mondiale, 1erona, mbre Dorte, 8++6 9) ;ee M! Tomba, <ifferentials of ;urplus'1alue in the contemporary forms of e$ploitation0, 7"e Commoner, (8 28++H3, pp! 8:':H 2available at QhttpCNN"""!commoner!org!u#NR3! 7+ M>DW 86 4Grundrisse5, p! 898!

the formally ,free. labourer, insofar as socially determined human being! The ambiguity of the prose of the Grundrisse, ho"ever, opens the "ay to the vision of living labour as sub&ectivity0, 7( "here living labour can be identified "ith either the one or the other, or both at the same timeC "ith labour capacity0, or "ith the labourer! This ambiguity opens the "ay to those "ho no" use the notion of living labour to refer to non'activity rather than activityC thus a living labour0 that in the end is everything, e$cept labour0G right up to the o$ymoron that is today the proposal of an e$odus of living labour0! This is precisely "hat occurred in theoretical "or#erism first, and in post'"or#erism after! The labour0 of the producer of commodities for the general e$change of commodities, that is, the labour0 of the "age "or#er commanded by capital, "e are told in the Grundrisse, lac#s an ob&ect0! This lac#ing of an ob&ect0 invests all dimensions of labour0C and perhaps this &ustifies in some "ay the terminological ambiguity in Mar$.s use of this term that "e have lamented! It invests the living labour capacity0, for "hich the "or#er doesn.t have property or possession of the means of production, and therefore cannot even procure for himself the means of subsistence, and is constrained to alienate his labour'po"er to the capitalist! It invests, consequently, also labour ,ua activity0, insofar as the use of such capacity is no" of the others0! Insofar as it is a product of an activity no" itself estranged0, the same product doesn.t belong to it! The "or#er, as human being, is na#ed sub&ectivity0! ?e e$its from the process as he entered! ?e is absolute poverty0 78, "hatever his retribution might be! It is in this ambiguity that "e find the source of that error that flattens out labour as activity0 onto labour as labour capacity0 and that indirectly ends up tracing bac# living labour0 to the mere sub&ectivity of the living being7:! The attribution of cooperation0 as property of social0 labour to living "or#ers, and finally to any sub&ect, before and independently of their incorporation0 in capital, also leads to this result79! nce again, "e have the vulgar0 reading of the -ragment on Machines0! *+,ansion and -risis in the Wor.d Market In the Grundrisse, the internal drive to the e$traction of surplus'value is in agreement "ith the drive to produce more0 abstract "ealth, in a spiral "ithout end! Dapital is identified "ith the universal tendency to ma$imum, unlimited e$traction of ,surplus labour., beyond necessary labour! ?ere is the seed of the universality of capital, of a "orld of evermore developed needs, of a general laboriousness L the irresistible drive of capital to"ards the constitution of a "orld mar#et0! Dapital, in the drive to ma$imise surplus'value, ends up squee=ing "ages in relative terms! In its pure0 form, this tendency is actualised by means of methods aiming at the e$traction of relative surplus'value! If things are so, and if valorisation is pulled by demand, ho" can the problem of the realisation of values in commodities be overcomeM77 In the Grundrisse, Mar$ clarifies ho" already "ith the e$traction of absolute surplus'value, but even more systematically "ith that of relative surplus'value, the e$pansion of one capital "ithout the contemporaneous constitution of other capitals is unthin#able! This means, evidently, the simultaneous presence of other points of labour
7(

-or a reconstruction of this notion in "or#erism from a sympathetic perspective, see A! Sanini, ;ui ,fondamenti filosofici. dell.operaismo italiano, in R! Bellofiore 2ed!3, >a Marx a MarxJ Kn -ilan!io del marxismo italiano nel Love!ento 2Roma, 8++H3! 78 M>DW 86, p! 888! But also M>DW 86, pp! :6('68, p! 788! 7: We refer here especially to Tronti and Fegri! n this, see again Wright, 'torming (eaven, especially charter :, * and H! 79 This is rather the conclusion of many post'"or#erist authors! ;ee most of the "ritings included in %! 1irno and M! ?ardt 2es!3, Radi!al 7"oug"t in Ital+) * Potential Politi!s , @niversity of Minnesota %ress, ())*G and also A! -umagalli, 0ioe!onomia e !a italismo !ognitivo 2Roma, 8++63! 77 M>DW 86, pp! :8)'H*!

and other points of e$change! The creation of value and surplus'value, the e$traction of labour and surplus'labour, proceed, and must proceed, side by side than#s to the multiplication of branches of production! To the ,quantitative. e$tension and to the ,qualitative. deepening of the division of labour on the mar#et there must correspond, in order for supply to find some"here a corresponding and adequate demand, the effective realisation of definite and precise quantitative relations bet"een branches of production in e$change! Fo", the Grundrisse tells us, these genuine conditions of equilibrium0 are lin#ed in a necessary "ay to the relation that is determined bet"een ,surplus labour. and ,necessary labour.C therefore, they are lin#ed to the rate of surplus'value that is fi$ed in immediate production! They depend, furthermore, on ho" this surplus'value is divided into consumption 2spending of surplus' value as income3 and investment 2spending of surplus'value as capital3! If the conditions of equilibrium e$press an internal necessity0 in order for the accumulation of capital to occur "ithout upsets, the fact that this internal necessity is really affirmed in reality is completely casual 7*! -or Mar$, the problem is not so much, or fundamentally, the casuality0 of e$change relations, the erraticity of conditions of equilibrium0 in and for themselves! It is much more the fact that, precisely because capital is the impulse to the continuous gro"th of surplus'value, the rate of surplus'value cannot but continuously change! At the same time, therefore, the relations of equilibrium bet"een industries must change, both in material terms and in terms of value! The crisis of overproduction of commodities0 then occurs, not due to the mere anarchy0 of the mar#et, but for reasons internal0 to capital, related to the distinctive features of the production of surplus'value and the establishment of a specifically0 capitalist mode of production! The crisis, from being merely possible0, becomes evermore probable0C and it is precisely its dilation than#s to credit that renders it more devastating at the moment "hen it occurs! ?ere is one of the more interesting points of the Grundrisse! The capitalist crisis can be led bac# to an integration bet"een e$plosion of the disproportions0 and their generalisation in an e$cess of global supply over total demand caused by the restricted consumption of the masses0 7H! The problem is that, as "e have anticipated, the more "e go into the reading of the Grundrisse, the more another reason of crisis internal to capital becomes evident, more radical, but of a collapsist0 variety! Fa.. in the Rate o( ro(it Dapital, Mar$ says, is contradiction in movement0, the embodiment of contradiction 76! n the one hand, the e$igency of valorisation impels it to ma$imise the quantity of labour suc#ed up0 or absorbed! n the other hand, ho"ever, the methods that one must use in order to obtain surplus' value on a gro"ing scale, and in particular the e$traction of relative surplus'value, leads inevitably to an e$pulsion, e$plicit or implicit, of "or#ers from immediate production! They therefore lead to the e$clusion from the hidden abode of production0 of those human sub&ects "ho, alone, can deliver living labour, "hich is the e$clusive source of the ne" value produced in the course of each period! In the beginning, capital can resolve the difficulty by e$tending0 or intensifying0 labour time in the individual labour process! Another solution is to multiply the simultaneous0 "or#ing days! This, seen properly, is precisely the other side of the coin of the multiplication of points of e$change and of points of production that is connected to the e$traction of relative surplus'valueC a multiplication that, in itself, signifies inclusion of ne" "or#ers in the spiral of valorisation and e$traction of ne" labour! It is, that is, the corresponding element of the tendency to"ards the
7* 7H

M>DW 86, pp! :9('9:, :H('H:! M>DW 86, pp! :9(':H7! 76 M>DW 86, p! :7+!

"orld mar#et0 and of the connected tendency to"ards crisis from general overproduction "hich has behind0 it disproportions, and in front0 of it, precisely, the fall of the profit rate! The Mar$ of Ca ital, "ithout abandoning completely this finalistic perspective, "ill deviate it to"ards a dialectic internal to the cycle0 of tendency and countertendency! The Mar$ of the Grundrisse appears to tend rather to the idea that these processes "ill lead, due to a purely economic dynamic, to a mechanical end of accumulation! The reason lies, substantially, in the fact that the progressive augmentation of dead labour, of labour ob&ectified0 4vergegenst2ndli!"t5 in the material elements of constant capital, does not have limits! The social "or#ing day0 that can be e$tracted from a given determinate "or#ing population, on the other hand, does have a limit! It has a limit even if "e imagine, some"hat ridiculously, that "or#ers can live on air 2that is, that variable capital is =ero3 and that they "or# t"enty four hours a day 2that is, that the time of living labour is completely time of surplus'value3! ;urplus'value "ould therefore be at a ma$imum0 and "ould absorb the entire social "or#ing day! If the ma$imum rate of profit has a ceiling, this is not the case for the denominator! It follo"s that if the e$traction of relative surplus'value leads to a gro"th of constant capital, the ma$imum rate of profit must sooner or later fall, and as a consequence sooner or later the actual rate of profit must also fall!7) The reasoning is ho"ever mista#en! The specifically capitalist mode of production devalorises0 the unitary value of the individual commodities, and it is not guaranteed that the gro"th of elements of constant capital from the point of vie" of use'value is accompanied by a gro"th from the point of vie" of their value! -urthermore, if there are productive sectors in the "orld mar#et "ith a lo" composition of capital and a high production of absolute surplus'value, these #eep the average productive po"er of socially necessary labour lo", so as to permit the production of relative surplus'value "here the composition of capital is highest!*+ It is in the perspective of this double bac#ground s#etched out in the Grundrisse regarding the theory of crisis 2the crisis of realisation, the fall of the rate of profit3, in its turn placed on the foundation of the "orld mar#et0, that "e must also consider the -ragment on Machines0, and its specific vision of collapse0! Fetishism and Fetish -haracter o( Machines The introduction of machines and the General Intelle!t are significant part of Mar$.s theorisation of the specifically capitalist mode of production! The machines are the body0 of capital in its material constitution, "hich includes labour0 "ithin it*(! The means of production are no longer instruments of labourC on the contrary, it is labour that becomes an instrument of its instruments! It is an evident case of real hypostatisation0, of inversion of sub&ect and predicate! This inversion is essential for producing that increment of the productive po"er of social labour that is mystified as productivity of capital0! %roducing surplus'value and surplus product seems a natural property of the things0 themselves ,ua things 2means of production, money3! This fetishism0, Ca ital "ill say in a better "ay, descends from the fetish character0 of capital! Those ,things., "hen they are "ithin the capitalist social relation, really have those ,supersensible. propertiesG not as a ,natural. character of ,things., but due to the social nature of capital! The same ,social. dimension of the cooperation "ithin labour is imposed on the "or#ers by capital! The delimitation of the time of valorisation constitutes an important scientific and political
7)

M>DW 8) 4Grundrisse5, pp! (:: ff! What is proposed in the te$t is a ,reconstruction. of the spirit of Mar$.s argument, rather than a literal ,interpretation.! *+ M! Tomba, &orme di roduzione8 a!!umulazione8 s!"iavitM moderna , in La lunga a!!umulazione originaria) Politi!a e lavoro nel mer!ato mondiale, a cura di ;acchetto e Tomba, pp! (+*'88! *( Mar$.s notion of ,embodiment. as ,inclusion. of labour "ithin capital "ill be maintained and e$panded in Ca ital! In that more mature "or# there "ill be a crucial second meaning of ,embodiment., "hich does not seem equally present in the GrundrisseC namely, the ,incarnation. of the ,ghost. of value into the ,body. of gold as money!

acquisition for the political economy of the "or#ing class! If the capacity to generate surplus'value "ere an intrinsic quality of capital, this "ould be a pure automaton, "ithout any e$terior and "ithout any limits! It "ould be an automatic fetish!*8 There "ould be produced the phantasmagorical image of a sub&ect autonomised and elevated to totalityC the secular religion of fetishism "ith its Trinitarian formula!*: Those "ho propose the end of the la" of value than#s to a process of valorisation that "ould have subsumed every human activity, such that communication and human relationality in itself "ould become productive of value, fall into fetishism and conceal the clash bet"een living labour and dead labour in production! In a "ay that is not different from "hat happens in neoclassical economics, the form M'D'M. is reduced to the t"o e$tremes M'M., and capital appears as an automatic fetish0!*9 This fetishism is manifested also in the rhetoric employed, "here the dissolution of the real relations of production are e$pressed in celestial immaterial labours0 underta#en by immaterial "or#ers! >verything remains in circulation! The same politics, as much as it declares itself to be subversive, does not loo# at the old and ne" forms of no$iousness of labour, but at contractual forms and rights! When it claims a basic income, it still claims it as a right that regards individuals insofar as productive by nature of value and "ealth, the distinction bet"een the latter t"o having been declared to be obsolete! In this claim as "ell it finds itself in the company of neoliberal policies 2"hich ho"ever, more coherently, concede basic income as compensation for the privatisation of the social common "ealth of the "elfare state, or, in similar terms, also in the company of the social'liberal policies that claim that it is possible to distribute in a 2more3 egalitarian "ay "ealth that can be produced only in a non'egalitarian "ay! %n a.ternati/e reading o( the Fragment on Machines What does the -ragment on Machines0 tell usM In the machines, in the body0 of the productive process, there is science and its capitalist use! Wealth0, that is, use'values, quantitatively and qualitatively, depend increasingly on the employment of the General Intelle!t! In this sense, capital as ensemble of ob&ective and sub&ective factors, qualitatively and technologically specified, is alone productive of use'valuesC and to this corresponds the concrete0 labour of collective labour organised and commanded by many capitals in competition! At a certain point, the Grundrisse tells us, labour time must cease to be the measure of "ealth0 L of concrete "ealth L of this dimension! There "ould be here another reason for the brea#do"n0 of production based on e$change'value! *7 But in "hat senseM If this reasoning "ere e$tended to the productivity of value0, the reasoning "ould not appear convincing! %roductivity of capital in terms of use'values doesn.t ta#e a"ay the fact that capital is valorised only by means of the activity0 of the "or#ersC that is, of living labour0 insofar as abstract0 labour, measured quantitatively! -rom this point of vie", the reduction of labour time crystalli=ed in the single commodity means only that the labour time 2paid by capital3 that is necessary for the reproduction of the "or#ing class according to a certain subsistence level is reduced, directly or indirectly! Than#s to the continual gro"th of the productivity of use'values to "hich capital incessantly gives life, capital reduces the value of labour 2'po"er30 and frees superfluous0 time, that is, it amplifies the time rendered disposable0 beyond subsistence! ** The Mar$ of Ca ital reminds us, ho"ever, that capital "ill never turn this disposable time into a shortening of the "or#ing day of the direct producers! n the contrary, it "ill maintain the disposable time as labour time, e$tending and intensifying it! The machines and the General Intelle!t do not lead to a reduction of the total, macro0 time of labourG they lead to the opposite, to
*8 *:

M>W 8*!: 47"eories of 'ur lus Nalue, 1olume :5, p! 99H! M>DW :H 4Ca ital, 1olume :5, p! 6:) and p! 6+( et sqq! *9 M>DW :8 4@AG@-GC E!onomi! Manus!ri ts5, p! 97(! *7 M>DW 8), pp! )+')8! ** M>DW 8), pp! )8')9!

its increase! ?o"ever, a different reading of the -ragment on Machines0 is possible if "e relate it to the problematic of the crisis of general overproduction of commodities and to the tendency to"ards the "orld mar#et0! In the commodity, there is al"ays use'value0 and 2e$change'3 value! Dapital, "hich produces commodities in order to produce money and more money, organises and commands a collective0 "or#er! This combined0 "or#er is also a technical body to "hich capital gives its imprint! The material, quantitative, side of this process cannot be uncoupled from its ,formal determination., "hich mar#s the qualitative side of the commodity'product that is al"ays to be realised on the mar#et, in final circulation! It is true that the potential shortening of the "or#ing day that the ,specifically. capitalist mode of production brings "ith it cannot be actually realised, due to capital.s ine$haustable hunger for ,living. labour and surplus labour! ?o"ever, it is precisely this tendency to the ma$imisation of the 2surplus3 labour that leads to the concretisation, sooner or later, of a limit to capital posed by capital itselfC because this means the general crisis from the side of demand! Dapital, e$panding, needs more mar#et! An e$tension of the mar#et requires a development of needs, "hich in their turn lead to the constitution of universally developed individuals0! But there are universally developed individuals only if at a certain point a shortening of the "or#ing day becomes actualG only if, in other "ords, disposable labour time is not translated integrally into surplus labour time, but also into time dedicated to something other than production! This is ho"ever e$actly that "hich capital, due to its o"n nature, cannot allo" if not forced by conflict and "ithin determinate limits! It is due to this that the theft of alien labour time0 becomes a miserable foundation0 for the development of the productive forces L "ithout placing in discussion in any "ay the validity of the Mar$ian value theory as a theory of the e$ploitation of ,labour.! La'our as 0u'1ecti/ity2 -risis and -a,ita.3s Res,onse Eabour as sub&ectivity0 2that is, the "or#ers3 is included "ithin capital, because capital has acquired their labour'po"er on the labour mar#et! This labour'po"er, this labour capacity0, has to become living labour0 evermore liquid0, until capital attains, for itself and for immediately unproductive strata, surplus'value in absolutely and relatively gro"ing quantity! But the fluid0 of living labour has to be e$tracted from bearers of labour'po"er, and the bearers of labour'po"er are the "or#ers themselves, a determinate social sub&ect that can resist0! It is not possible to use0 labour'po"er "ithout ma#ing the "or#ers "or# as human beings, socially determined! Dapital is not interested in the "or#er as suchG it is interested in labour, "hich is the source of value! ?o"ever, in order to have labour, it must acquire labour'po"er! It must therefore include and subordinate "or#ers in immediate production! %recisely in the Grundrisse, Mar$ "rites that the ideal condition for capital "ould be if it could obtain labour "ithout "or#ers! It is true that, once acquired by capital, labour'po"er is ,capital.s. labour'po"erG and thus also its use, the performance of labour, is capital.s! Fonetheless, it is equally true that living labour cannot but remain al"ays, and simultaneously, an activity of the "or#er! It is from this that the unavoidable class struggle in production0 derives! This refers to a problem in "hich "e find the essence of the theory of value of Mar$, and "hich is instead, at the same time, intuited and evaded by "or#erism! This is a problem that is already posed in the Grundrisse, but in a still preliminary and confused "ay, at least in the form of e$position! It is a problem that "ill instead be rendered clear in Ca ital, until it constitutes its true hidden centre0 and moves its dialectic, beginning from the first volumeC the problem of the contradictory internal unity, in capital, of labour'po"er and living labour through the "or#ers as a "hole! %arado$ically, ho"ever, precisely the confusion of the Grundrisse gives the possibility of thematising ho" this internal unity is also a contradiction! This is "hat comes to the fore "ith the

social0 crisis of the relations of production bet"een the end of the ()*+s and the beginning of the ()H+s!*H >$tremely brieflyC the capacity that the mass "or#er0 then had to contribute in an essential "ay to the rupture of the process of valorisation in that historically defined figure of capital can be read relatively easily "ithin an optic of this type! The reverse is also true! Those struggles opened up to dimensions of Mar$.s "or# that had remained latent and little understood before! n the other hand, an optic of this type also allo"s us to comprehend the ans"er of capital that continues to mar# the present! What is in fact the financial globalisation of our daysM *6 The manipulation of the symbolic nature of money is an essential part of the ne" forms of economic policies, "hich are nothing more than a mediated command0 over labour! It is by means of them that the casualisation0 of labour is generalised! It is the other side of an unprecedented centralisation "ithout concentration0! *) The merging of capitals L ,centrali=ation. L is no longer accompanied by technical ,concentration.! At least in the sense that the ,large scale. of production, the use of science "ithin it, the design and the capitalist use of machines and #no"ledge L in short, the mode of production that is ,specific. to capital, and "ith it that e$traction of relative surplus value that carries behind it greater e$tension and intensity of labour L do not necessarily require anymore an increase in the technical dimension of the unities of production, the continuous broadening of the ,factory., the amassing of "or#ers in the same site, their &uridical and qualitative homogenisation! The accumulation of capital doesn.t necessarily mean anymore, as Mar$ maintained, correctly for his time and for at least the century after him, the augmentation of the "or#ers commanded by single capitals in the same place of production! -rom the status of the ,tendency., both the concentration of capital as "ell as the homogenisation of the "or#ers appear to have been violently transformed into the ,counter' tendency.! The fragmentation and dispersion of labour is the consequence, part of the ,tendency.! The ultimate response of capital to the social0 crisis of the ()*+s and ()H+s consists e$actly in this inversionC that dramatic decomposition0 of labour0, "hich is the condition of current valorisation, and "hich, ho"ever, emerging also from fear of the great concentrations of "or#ers, creates the seeds of ne" crises and ne" conflicts! Intuitions and 4ead&*nds Tronti "as undoubtedly very lucid in intuiting, "ith his distinction bet"een labour'po"er0 and "or#ing class0, and against the inherited and in many respects ossified Mar$ism, the triangulation of labour'po"er, living labour and "or#er, on "hich all of Mar$.s discourse is based! H+ The point cannot be undervaluedC something of this #ind had not been thought0 before by almost any Mar$ism and even after"ards it remained foreign to a large part of Mar$ismG &ust as it is foreign to the contemporary Mar$ renaissance0! ?o"ever, it remains an intuition that is immediately distorted! Eabour as labour'po"er0 is reduced to a dimension completely integrated "ithin capital! Eabour as the "or#ing class0, on the other hand, is the "or#ers themselves, only, ho"ever, if and "hen they as# for more "ages, or refuse labour as activity! More than "ithin and against, as "e
*H

n this see R! Bellofiore, ,I lunghi anni ;ettanta! Drisi sociale e integra=ione economica interna=ionale., in E! Baldissara 2ed!3, Le radi!i della !risi) L4Italia tra gli anni 'essanta e gli anni 'ettanta 2Roma, 8++(3, pp! 7H'(+8! *6 The follo"ing is indebted to R! Bellofiore ,After -ordism, "hatM Dapitalism at the end of the centuryC beyond the myths., in R!Bellofiore 2ed!3, 9"i!" la-our nextJ Glo-al mone+8 !a ital restru!turing and t"e !"anging atterns of rodu!tion 2Aldershot, ()))3, pp! (+':8, to R! Bellofiore'K! ?alevi, ,<econstructing Eabour! What is ne"0 in contemporary capitalism and economic policiesC a Mar$ian'/alec#ian perspective., in D! Bnos and E! %! Rochon 2eds3, Credit8 Mone+ and Ma!roe!onomi! Poli!+) * Post-Ke+nesian * roa!" 2Dheltenham, 8+++), forthcoming3 and R! Bellofiore'K! ?alevi, ,A Mins#y momentM The 8++H subprime crisis and the ne"0 capitalism., in D! Bnos and E! %! Rochon 2eds3, Em lo+ment8 Gro%t" and >evelo ment) * Post-Ke+nesian * roa!" 2Dheltenham, 8++), forthcoming3! *) R! Bellofiore, Centralizzazione senza !on!entrazioneJ , in D! Arru==a 2ed!3, Pensare !on Marx) Ri ensare Marx 2Roma, 8++63 pp! (7'8)! H+ Df! M! Tronti, / erai e !a itale!

once used to say "ith Tronti, labour0 is either "ithin or it is against! These are all points on "hich Fegri follo"ed Tronti and radicalised his insights! H( The Grundrisse can, due to its ambiguity, furnish an ample arsenal of munitions for this type of reading! It is, ho"ever, a mista#en reading, even if not impossible, of the Grundrisse! It "edges itself onto that point "here the ma$imum of ob&ectivism of that te$t is con&ugated to the ma$imum of sub&ectivism! According to this "ay of seeing things, "hen capital has acquired labour capacity on the labour mar#et, it is as if it had already acquired living labour! The only possibility of struggle is played out theoretically on this alternativeC the 2merely3 distributive struggle, or the e$odus 2in reality, impossible3 from labour! The contradiction capital'labour is flattened out onto the labour mar#et, onto the incompatibility0 of "age struggles, onto the "age as an independent variable0! H8 In this perspective, the "or#er.s "age "as soon substituted by the social "age, then the "age of citi=enship, then a guaranteed basic income! The centrality of labour e$ists, but only in its negative dimension! This "or#erism distracts attention from the daily forms of class conflict "ithin labour, because antagonism arises for this perspective only "hen "or#ers don.t "or# L only, that is, "hen the "or#ers negate "or# "ithin the process of production! There is the "or#ing class, in its entirety, e$clusively in sabotage, in the refusal of labour! ?ere is the original sin of theoretical0 "or#erism! It is a sin that "ill remain for some time hidden in the po"er of the richness of the concrete positive e$perience of early "or#erismG a sin that, ho"ever, "ill bring forth its increasingly poisoned fruits in the decades to come, "ith an acceleration from the middle of the ()H+s on"ards! Translated by ;ara R! -arris and %eter Thomas

H(

-or a detailed criticism of Tronti.s and Fegri.s thought in the ()*+s and early ()H+s on these aspects, cf! R! Bellofiore, ,E.operaismo italiano e la critica dellJeconomia politica., Knit. Proletaria, n! ('8, pp! (++'((8, ()68! ;ee also the ,After"ord. by R! Bellofiore'M! Tomba to the Italian translation of Wright, 'torming (eaven, published by >di=ione Alegre 2Rome, 8++63, pp! 8)(':+*! H8 This theoretical point e$plains the convergence of this tradition both "ith some Feoricardian ,conflictualist. approaches in the ()H+s as "ell as "ith authors "ithin the regulation approach turned social'liberals in the ())+s! Wor#erism transmuted into a postmodern, distributive post"or#erismC begging a basic income, and dreaming of gaining from some imaginary ne" Fe" <eal 2reduced once again only to a redistributive dimension3!