Labor as a Moment of Capital. Understanding the Old and the New Werkritik

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    • Presentation speakers
      • Dana Domsodi, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy


    Within the rich theoretical history of Marxism, the category of labor has underwent significant changes of both analytic and practical nature. This presentation will focus on the significance of the concept of labor within the new strain of contemporary critical Marxism, namely Wertkritik. In a theoretical gesture of historical significance Isaac Rubin turns the table on the category of labor, proposing a reinterpretation of the relation between labor and capital, not as opposite forces, but as structural components of the same capitalist dialectic of conflict. Labor no longer stands in contradiction with the violent logic of the law of value, but it is rather conceived as its abstract and concrete form of objectivation. The liberation of labor shifts to the liberation from labor as a typical historically determinate form of the capitalist system. Two of the main contemporary defenders of this point of view are Moishe Postone and Robert Kurz. This paper proposes a comparative analysis of their theories read against the Marxist tradition they both recognize as founding, with the aim of emphasizing the philosophical and political impact of this new re-conceptualization of labor and the shifting of the critique point that it entails.