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Re: Workers movement, valorization, and more (was: Re: [ox-en] Re: compulsion)

On Sun, 24 Mar 2002, Stefan Merten wrote:

Hi Graham, StefanMz, all!

Last month (35 days ago) Graham Seaman wrote:
Another mammoth email ;-)

I'll pick up just a few points ;-) . Thanks for the structure :-) .

On Thu, 14 Feb 2002, Stefan Meretz wrote:
I'm not good enough in understanding and using english, so I'm not sure 
whether I get your points. Please take this into account.
I don't see any signs of that, I think the problem is ideas, not language 

Hmm... I'm not absolutely sure about this. There are things which seem
to get lost. I for one have to use a English dictionary all the time
to get the most exact word for the meaning I have in mind - and I'm
not always sure I got it right :-( .
Which is why I never dare to write in German at all.  ;-) 

--word innate -----------------------------------------

Sure. But only if you don't take 'innate human character' as a kind of a 
special 'behavior' or such. What I mean with 'innate' is the potence to 
live in a society by using societal infrastructures. I call this 'the 
human is societal by nature'.

OK, but then I think use of the word 'innate' can be a little confusing,
because it is so often used by people arguing that genetics determines
human behaviour.

What is a better word? Immanent?

Sounds better to me (though I don't know all the philosophical 
ramifications of that word)> I think this is a philosophical (or
sociological) point, not a biological one, so I prefer anything that 
avoids making it sound biological.  

--workers movement ----------------------------------------------------

You don't agree that workers movement helped with(?) establishing 

No, this statement still sounds very strange to me, and I don't know 
exactly what you mean by it. But it seems to imply that you think
the workers movement is irrelevant to the movement for a gpl-society
(where in both cases the words 'the movement' is just a shorthand for
something quite complex). I would guess the opposite - that at some time
the two will need to merge to be successful. But there are only tiny signs 
of this happening so far, and probably both 'movements' will be very 
different when it happens.

IMHO the workers movement is just the anti-thesis to the capital
thesis. So they are both needed to bring capitalism forward. I think
they are even antagonistic - in the realm of capitalism.

The problem, however, is, that we need a synthesis and frankly I have
little hope that one side has definitely more to bring in than the

Personally, I think free software is part of the workers movement, though
neither 'side' knows it yet.. But that's because I'm thinking of 'workers
movement' in extremely broad terms.
There are a few more explicit connections though. Particularly in Brazil
at the moment - it's the PT that has managed to get laws passed giving 
preference to govenrment use of free software, and I believe the coming
free software conference in Porto Alegre has also been pushed/funded by
the PT.

-- valorisation/unfolding----------------------------------
Selbstentfaltung and 
Selbstverwertung (self-valorisation) is the antagonistic contradiction 
-- and not work vs. capital btw.

I think this links back to what you said above. But it is just a 

statement on its own here, with no proof. I'd like to know more about why
you say it.

The given form of vergesellschaftung implies that the individual can 
only go forward on costs of others, because market economy is organized 
that way - see previous mails. On the other side you have to bring your 
work force into the cybernetic machine: as producer of value (worker) or 
as an organizer realizing produced values on market (capitalist). 
Independent of function you have I call this selbstverwertung 
(self-varorization?). This is quite obvious in single person 
enterprises: both functions - producer and realizer - are embodied in 
one single person. However, what you can observe in multi-person 
enterprises too, is a diffusion of both functions. The role model is the 
self-entrepreneur of own work force. This does not say that workers and 
capitalits do not have different interests, but they are not 
antagonistic as thought for long time (me too).

Currently value-realization (verwertung) needs more and more of 
'selbstentfaltung'. And you can find this in reality. However this 
'selbstentfaltung' is limited by the frame 'on costs of others'. It 
cannot expand unbounded. This leads me to the conclusion that 
selbstentfaltung and selbstverwertung is an antagonistic contradiction. 
It shows historical development tendencies, but cannot unfold in the 
frame of the given type of vergesellschaftung.

You have two arguments here: one, that self-valorization and 
self-unfolding are contradictory. That's fine, I can think of lots of 
examples of that from my own experience at work, and your examples of
the problems with kanban etc also seem true from what I have read.

The other argument is that this contradiction is (more important than?
replacing?) a contraction between work and capital ('workers and 
capitalists ... have different interests, but they are not 

I'd say this is a false question. I think the both contradictions take
place in different areas and are only loosely connected. Well, usually
the workers movement can't grasp the phenomenon of computer people
doing everything voluntary which the workers movement always fighted
to be forced to do.

Really? I think the two contradictions are very tightly connected. When
you want to write a program well, and know how it should be done, but
the company has a deadline to keep which means it has to be released bugs
and all, isn't that the combination of both contradictions? 
I would be curious to know what proportion of free software is written
just because people get frustrated about not being able to write things
the way they should be written, at work.

I have worked in quite a range of jobs in my life, but I have never worked
anywhere where people didn't feel that the managers were incompetent and
that they themselves could run their work much better - and do the job
properly, the way it should be done if it didn't have to conform to the
needs of capital (not that people would have said it that way..). Sure,
the 'official' workers movement, union leaders etc ignore this and do
stupid stuff for their own tactical ends (eg. calling ineffectual strikes
over pay, which is the only issue they think people should care about).  
But I don't see that 'official' movement as being very important. 

But who do you think enforces 
the suppression of > > self-unfolding in favour of self-valorization?

The need for valorization.

OK, not capitalists
directly, but the managers who represent capital. This IS part of the
cybernetic machine where the behaviour of the managers by and large
is not determined by what they're like as people, but by their position.

The key aspect to me is the alienation of valorization of anything.

And the key to this argument for me is whether you think of this as an 
abstract process, determined by the 'cybernetic machine', or whether you
see this process as being embodied in real people - in which case there
are definitely real people on one side, and real people on the other.
Your (Stefan Mn's) two responses above are:
1. The need for valorization
2. The key aspect to me is the alienation of valorization of anything.
Both are abstractions. I think they are true; but I also think 
abstractions have no effect in society unless mediated by (or embodied
in?) real people.

After Stefan Mz. posted that piece by the Krisis group I realised that
most of my problems are not with anything specific said by Stefan Mz, but
with the background of ideas inherited from Krisis. So like Stefan I think
it's a bit pointless continuing this particular discussion here - apart
from anything else, I would have to know more about the Krisis group to
say anything meaningful. 


'An die Stelle der alten burgerlichen Gesellschaft mit ihren Klassen und
Klassengegensatzen tritt eine Assoziation, worin die freie Entwicklung 
eines jeden die Bedingung fur die freie Entwicklung aller ist.' - Marx.


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