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UG#627 - The Progressive Process of Desocialization (Marxian Class Analysis 4)

Robin Upton | 29.03.2013 17:28 | Occupy Everywhere | Analysis | History | Social Struggles | Sheffield

This week, two Marxist professors speak on the social impact of capitalism and especially in USA. First, Silvia Federici speaks on 'The Progressive Process of Desocialization', how capitalism breaks down communities and people's human relationships of care. Next it is the turn of Richard Wolff who applies his Marxian class analysis to the US household, noting that more and more adults are rejecting the traditional (feudal) model of domestic exploitation and either living alone or in more egalitarian patterns.

ug627-hour1mix.mp3 - mp3 27M

ug627-hour2mix.mp3 - mp3 27M


Charles Eisenstein, amongst other speakers, has described how in US society, people no longer produce things together, but only meet up to consume. Production has been effectively limited to the workplace, to be carried out under conditions of alienation. In this episode Silvia Federici suggests that the goal of efficient exploitation was overridden by a higher priority for elites - preventing of dangerous amounts of worker solidarity such as might arise from shared living arrangements.

In the first part of Silvia Federici's talk (not in the show, but the uncut talk is available for download below), she talks about the separation which capitalism has wrought, dividing workers from their natural surroundings. In the second part, which we broadcast, she speaks about the separation one from another which workers feel under capitalism, noting that USA was designed to maximise social separation, to reduce the chances that workers would have sufficient solidarity to rebel against their exploiters. We hear a 23 minute extract of the talk, slightly condensed to remove hesitations and other distractions. Professor Federici speaks on the need for new models and shared production in the activist community, noting (in May 2011, before the Occupy movement) that young activists in New York work seeking alternative models, motivated by realizing how isolated people were becoming, even in activist movements themselves.

The second half of hour 2 is given over to part 4 of our course on Marxian Class Analysis. Richard Wolff begins by noting that economics has long considered what goes on inside the household something of a taboo, and has left the area largely unaddressed. He describes the (largely unsuccessful) efforts made to alleviate the Russian women from domestic work. He then goes on to apply the analytical framework, noting that in the traditional US household, men while exploited at work, are exploiters at home, since they benefit from a surplus produced by women, whose work is traditionally non-salaried and even unrecognised. Is this, he asks, important in the fact that US has such a high divorce rate? Or that increasing numbers of people are rejecting traditional (feudal) domestic arrangements in favour of a more egalitarian approach? If the social norm for living arrangements shifted such that a non-exploitative situation was considered normal, could this influence people' behavior in the workplace?

Robin Upton
- e-mail: unwelcome [At] unwelcome Guests [d0t] net
- Homepage: www.unwelcomeguests.net/627

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