The misuse of 'exploitation'

tgs at tgs at
Sat Nov 12 08:16:46 MST 1994


<You said to Justin,>

Furthermore, your debate with Tom is not a true debate.  Tom
is relying on an expressive totality and trying to show that the essence
of modern society is the class antagonism of the prol. & capital which is
expressed and present in every instance of modern soc. (including the
family, gender relations, etc.).  You take the same basic postion by
arguing that the same logic of this prol. - cap. relation is present in
every instance of society (at least when it comes to gender).  As such,
even in your version, both accounts posit a SINGLE essence to modern
societyin your version there is not a class as well gendered kinds
of domination since the logic of the domination of gender is the SAME as
the logic of class domination.  This is why I suggested going beyond
Marxism in trying to understand the specifics of gendered domination.
Class reductionism is not avoided by means of recoqnizing the importance of
things like gender and race - it also means granting them a logic that is
particular and that is 'beyond' the logic of class domination.

<OK, first, I guess I deserve you putting this essentialism in my mouth,
since I place Althusserianism in yours. I do believe, however, in the
expressive totality thesis, certainly vs. Althusserian conjuncturalism,
which I view as merely a floating crap game, waffling between idealist
and materialist explanations for social phenomenon)
.  And I don't think that
expressive totality theory launches one into essentiallism.  I have however,
seen many Althusserians ( Andrew Long at our
own Graduate Center) whose thought is quite essentialist. This little neo-Althuss
serian, in his new role as high priest of PC, has absolutely no scruples
about reducing anyone with whom he happens to disagree to "racism-sexism-
homophobia."  As does his mentor, Stanley Fish>

An expressive totality is an organic, not a reductive, totality.  While it
does indeed subordinate aspects of reality to central lines, it does not
pulverize and destroy these subordinate aspects in a reductive or essentiallist
manner, necessarily speaking.  You might notice that anytime anyone--Malcolm,
for example--has stated his opposition to precisely the class essentialism
thhat you are discussing vis patriarchy, I have always jumped up to agree.>


Its almost 4:00 in the morning, so I will cut this message short - but
am more than willing to elaborate more after your responce.

<You're getting to be a bigger internet junkie than me?

Peter Bratsis
Grad. Center, CUNY


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