Wittgenstein Lectures 22: AJ Julius (UCLA): Labor's Self-Liberation from Capital
June 27, 2022, 16-18 to July 01, 2022, 10-12
H 24 (RW I)
[Poster] Marx writes that labor power’s “recognition of the products as its own, and the judgment that its separation from the conditions of its realization is improper - forcibly imposed - is an enormous advance in awareness, itself the product of the mode of production resting on capital, and as much the knell to its doom as, with the slave’s awareness that he cannot be the property of another, with his consciousness of himself as a person, the existence of slavery becomes a merely artificial, vegetative existence, and ceases to be able to prevail as the basis of production.” “When the worker knows himself as a commodity,” adds Lukacs, “his knowledge is practical. That is to say, this knowledge brings about an objective structural change in the object of knowledge.” What is a commodity? What does a person do who produces commodities? What does a person do who transfers command of her own production activity to a second person in exchange for other commodities? What does it come to that wage labor produces surplus value? What does it come to that a person works unfreely or freely? How does the unfreedom of the surplus-value-producing wage laborer differ from, resemble, require, or sustain the unfreedom of directly personally dependent labor? How does a person know what she’s doing? What does the worker who works for a wage find out in gaining a fuller awareness of her activity? How might a person’s finding out what she’s doing make a basis for doing it differently? Can it be that emancipation from slavery, or the abolition of private property, originates in the achievement of self-consciousness by enslaved or commodified labor? How might this knowledge transform what it understands? How might labor’s liberation from property resemble, emerge from, or complete the emancipation of persons from persons?