marxism-digest V1 #5189

miyachi miyachi9 at
Sun Nov 24 07:39:52 MST 2002

[ quoted digest deleted ]

Reply to althusser
Reply to Althusser, Eagleten, and Zizek

Firstly, I argue against Altusser on ideology Althusser argued in
``Idéologie et appareils idéologiques D'Etat'(La pensée, n. 151.juin
1970) that 1. L'idéologie représente le rapport imaginaire des
individus À leurs conditions réelles d'existence.  2. L'idéologie a
une exiistence matérielle.  3. Individus imagine leur conditions
réelles sous forms imaginaire(transposition imaginaire, inversion

According to him, we live double lives( réel, and imaginaire).  But
although it is correct that we live double lives, it is based on
characteristics of capitalist mode of production, not because we live
` le rapports imaginaire' separated from `conditions réels
d'existence' Rather, we must investigate the cause of ` transpositon
imaginaire' or ` inversion imaginaire' within the sphere of the
mystifying character of capitalist mode of production, which Marx
wrote in Capital ? in which Marx wrote "we have already shown in
connection with the most simple categories of the capitalist mode of
production and commodity production in general, in connection with
commodities and money, the mystifying character that transforms the
social relations for which the material elements of wealth serves as
bearers in the course of production into properties of these things
themselves(commodities), still explicitly transforming the relation of
production itself into a thing(money).  All forms of society are
subject to this distortion, in so far as they involve commodity
production and monetary circulation., however, where capital is the
dominant category and forms the specific relation of production ,this
bewitched and distorted world develops much further"

On the other hand Althusser saw the bewitched world separated from
mystifying character of capitalist mode of production, rather he
understood capitalist mode of production as only `conditions réels
d'existence' .  Hence ` le rapport imaginaire' is said to be only
reflection of ` le rapport réels' This is only upgrade version of
Lenin's reflex theory.  As well as Althusser, Terry Eagleton argues
that Marx is not claiming under capitalism commodities appear to
exercise a tyrannical sway over social relations; he is arguing that
they actually do. Ideology is now less a matter of reality becoming
inverted in the mind, than of the mind reflecting a real inversion.
In fact it is no longer primarily a question of consciousness at all,
but is anchored in the day-to day economic operations of the
capitalist system(Ideology. London: Verso).  He also understands
capitalist mode of production as only nonmystifying characteristics so
that he saw the movement of commodity as only tyrannical sway, not
appearing to be so as a result of fetishism of commodity.

Secondly, I argue against Zizek
According to him, ` the expanded from of value occurs when the social
network of commodity relations develops such that commodity `A' can
find its relative and equivalent value in a variety of other
commodities. At such a moment, Marx observes, the commodities becomes
`a citizen of that world' Third, in this arbitrary network of exchange
these arises a problem. Because the commodities are all relative to,
and `mirroring', each other, the various types of labor remain
specific(rather than existing as abstract labor in general).  In order
to give `unity' and true abstraction to the system, a third element is
needed, a mediator, a single commodity acting as `universal
equivalent', representing abstract value in a `pure', symbolic form
(such as gold or money). This `universal equivalent' or ` generalized
Other' embodies pure value, reflecting back the value of all other
commodities mediated through its from.  As the ` generalized Other'(
the embodiment of abstract human labor), it therefor represents pure
difference, all difference, and as such, it stands in no direct
relationship to any other commodity, even as it gives value and thus
meaning to all exchange relations.  Within this generalized from of
value the universal equivalent can only act as a successful `mirror'
because everything specific and useful has been taken from it(as in
the case of gold).  As such, it is an empty signifier(a pure
abstraction), or nonsensical ` pseudo-subject' from of capital, that
nevertheless serves retroactively to give `sense', or assigned `value'
to all other commodities( The sublime object of ideology. London:

Firstly he fails to understand Marx's analysis on form-of -value.
Marx analyzed firstly one commodity as having two character, use-value
and exchange value, and reduced the latter to abstract labor.
Secondly Marx analyzed social character of commodity, i.e. from-of-
value.  Beginning with the simple, isolated, or accidental form of
value, Ended with money form, he showed the origin of money-form,
according to tracing the development of the expression of value
contained in the value-relation of commodities from its simplest,
almost imperceptible outline to the dazzling money-form. From that the
mystery of money will immediately disappear.  Zizek confused
relative-value from with equivalent from of value, and put all
commodities in relative-form-of -values, so that he failed to trace
the development of the expression of value to money form.  Hence, he
must introduce `'the third factor' separated from expression of value,
and this third element is said to be `empty signifier' or `
pseudo-subject', say, the Other, Symbolic Order.  This is lethal error
of Zizek who misread from -of - value.  So, his argument on ideology
is based on incorrect interpretation of form -of -value so that it
result in invalid understanding on ideology.

I must read further your ` psychoanalytic Culture' more deeply.  But
its task seems to be difficult. Please give more time to read your

                         Yours sincerely

                                                 MIYACHI TATSUO
                           Psychiatric Department
                           Komaki Municipal Hospital
1- 20, Jhobushi, Komaki City
Aichi Pref.    JAPAN
e-mail:miyachi9 at

P.S.  Please give me your new e-mail address.
                                                  22,  May  2000

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