autonomist marxism

sj at sj at
Tue Dec 27 01:28:02 MST 1994

I take Rick Wolff's point about the reductionism through which 'most of the
20th century' left has understood the relationship between domination and
exploitation (although I can't see how Althusser's work might offer a way out
- but maybe that's another debate?). My intention simply was to disagree with
Pete Bratsis, since as far as I could see autonomist and workerist approaches
also link the two, albeit in a manner somewhat different to other marxisms.

Having said that, I'm still not sure how to express the relationship in a way
that isn't reductive at one extreme (e.g. gender relations collapse into class
relations) or eclectic at the other (e.g. gender and class are dual systems
that have no bearing on each other). That leaves me, perhaps perversely,
wondering once again whether the two aren't in some way linked.

On the second point of 'possible coalitions': one of my concerns with
all-encompassing notions like 'class = all those who struggle' is not that it
embraces subjects who may not be engaged in 'productive labour' (shock
horror), but rather that it risks downplaying the specificities of each of
these subjects, and the often serious fractures which separate them (e.g the
different forms of domination they experience). That doesn't mean I'm hostile
to Jon's line of argument (or what I take to be Rick's), simply skeptical that
categories like Negri's 'socialised worker' (operaio sociale) are of any great
use in that regard.

Steve Wright


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