discussion/mode of production: socialism - reply to CB

Charles Brown cbrown at michiganlegal.org
Fri Nov 14 11:03:22 MST 2003

CB: Can't buy that. "the advance of history" or "history" has to be people.
The actions of the "agent" of history is history. "Gravediggers" have to be


Melvin P. 

CB: Another thought on what we have been discussing , although it might be a
bit too neat and too much of a word formula solution. 

If we consider the laboring classes throughout history as part of the forces
of production, and we consider your emphasis that it is development of the
forces of production ( the technological regime) that is the
"fundamentality" of historical change; and then add in my point that
development of the instruments and means of production means that
"scientists-engineers-toolmakers" make the discoveries and work that
constitutes this development ( the non-human instruments and means don't
develop themselves); and we then think it is not necessarily predominantly
mental laborers who make these discoveries. But rather the predominantly
physical laborers who  have made a lot of those discoveries in the long term
( especially before the specialization of science and engineering in the
bourgeois era)

THEN PRESTO ! It is the laboring classes through most of history who have
been _both_ the developers of the forces of production as well as the
oppressed/exploited classes fighting for their liberation. In other words,
the AGENTS of laboring class struggle and the AGENTS of development of the
technological-forces of production are the same groups. 

To give a concrete example of what I mean by laboring classes being the real
"lay" scientists-engineers-toolmakers-inventors, perhaps it was the slaves
who invented the cotton gin, and Eli Whitney just got the idea from them and
broadcast it. Of course, that's an emipirical question.  What class was the
source of technological invention in feudalism , the inventions that were
the cause of the transformation to capitalism ?  The  guilds, perhaps , and
the bourgeoisie were substantially a laboring class in feudalism.

Was it oppressed laborers who invented the wheel ? Prometheus is both the
discoverer of fire and an oppressed class struggler, maybe.

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