Tuesday, October 14, 2008

freedom x 2?

comments seem broken, so this is also a response to Rita's intersting earlier post (with links).

Hi Rita

I wish I'd had time to respond earlier, but the vampire is at my throat, my labour is not my own. Funny that.

Anyway, a possible and interesting way to read Marx might be through his comments on slavery - there are quite a few more coming up - from wage slavery through to slavery proper. (no freedom for labour in the white skin when in the black it is in chains')

There would be reason to move carefully though - in the cited passage in your post (Rita's post), Marx refers to 'the concept of human equality'. This "concept" gained popularity in popular opinion, I guess, after the declaration of the rights of man, after the 'liberty, equality, fraternity' of the French and after the abolitionists [we 'commemorated' the so-called abolition of slavery last year by noting its replacement with indentured labour etc etc - see posts on my blog about the slaver statues on Goldsmiths town hall. Paul Hendrich had done good work on this, as had Les Back. The ship above the clock is not just any old boat].

So, I think it would be a great way to generate an opening into Marx by tracking together Aristotle, concept of equality (equivalence, substitution, relation) and slavery - with perhaps the notion of freedom. And what must be said about the double sense of freedom in the lecture on thursday (which I elaborated in detail in an essay on, of all people, Crispian Mills, in "Critique of Exotica".

thanks heaps Rita, good stuff.

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