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By M. Lebowitz

Winner of The Deutscher Memorial Prize 2004. In a very transformed variation of his vintage (1991) quantity, Michael A. Lebowitz explores the consequences of the e-book on wage-labour that Marx initially meant to put in writing. Focusing upon serious assumptions in Capital that have been to be got rid of in Wage-Labour and upon Marx's method, Lebowitz stresses the one-sidedness of Marx's Capital and argues that the part of the employees, their ambitions and their struggles in capitalism were missed by way of a monolithic Marxism characterised by means of determinism, reductionism and a silence on human experience.

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Extra info for Beyond Capital: Marx’s Political Economy of the Working Class

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Orthodoxy, dogmatism and religiosity are not therefore accidental features of marxism’ (Gorz, 1982: 21). 22 Beyond Capital For others, however, the problems have their source not in the Young Marx but in the work of the later Marx, the ‘scientist’. Cornelius Castoriadis, for example, has proposed that class struggle is outside the bounds of Capital (and, thus, Marx). Arguing that Marx presents in Capital only capital’s side of the struggle within production (‘letting the worker appear as a purely passive object of this activity’), Castoriadis situates the problem in Marx’s treatment of labour-power as a commodity.

In short, my orthodoxy holds that Marxism as such does not come in pieces; it is, as Gramsci argued, ‘a completely autonomous and independent structure of thought’. What constitutes, then, this orthodox Marxist project? ’ I would answer – not if those attempts are from within that structure of thought. Insofar as new elements within the theory are developed in a manner consistent with Marx’s method (rather than merely added on), then what is produced is an integral development of Marxism. But, Marxism is not advanced by grafting onto it alien elements in some eclectic effort to salvage it; in such a case, we have a syncretic operation which produces not an improved Marxism – but Something Else.

Perhaps the answer is a simple one – that the elements and problems that many would identify as characteristic of Actually Existing Marxism reflect the disintegration of Marx’s theory at the hands of his disciples. And, yet, some critics have argued that this would let Marx off far too easily. The kernel of the problems, they propose, can be traced to Marx himself. ’ Thus, in Gorz’s view, the commitment to the working class for Marx (as for subsequent revolutionaries) is not ‘because the proletariat acts, thinks and feels in a revolutionary way but because it is in itself revolutionary by destination, which is to say: it has to be revolutionary; it must “become what it is” ’ (Gorz, 1982: 20).

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