[Marxism] Scope and Limits of Theory: Provisional Draft

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jul 5 14:16:26 MDT 2010

Angelus Novus wrote:
> Whether we call such a person a "worker" or a "proletarian", we are
> talking about someone who sells their labour-power in the form of a
> commodity to a capitalist.  So if a dictatorship of the proletariat,
> or "workers power", is still characterized by capitalists exploiting
> proletarians, then in what respects does it differ from capitalism?

Well, look, your argument is with Karl Marx, not me. During the brief 
period of the Paris Commune workers continued to work for a wage even 
though they had much more power at their disposal than before. For 
example, bakery workers no longer had to work at night.

Karl Marx wrote:

The great social measure of the Commune was its own working existence. 
Its special measures could but betoken the tendency of a government of 
the people by the people. Such were the abolition of the nightwork of 
journeymen bakers; the prohibition, under penalty, of the employers’ 
practice to reduce wages by levying upon their workpeople fines under 
manifold pretexts – a process in which the employer combines in his own 
person the parts of legislator, judge, and executor, and filches the 
money to boot. Another measure of this class was the surrender to 
associations of workmen, under reserve of compensation, of all closed 
workshops and factories, no matter whether the respective capitalists 
had absconded or preferred to strike work.


I am quite sure that if the bakers continued to work for a wage during 
daytime, this would have not lived up to your lofty expectations. They 
did meet Marx's and most people on Marxmail's to be sure.

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