Brian Holmes on Sat, 27 Mar 2004 15:59:24 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Marion von Osten: email interview with Brian Holmes

Matze writes:

>i cannot see why the capital should change the basis conditions of
>salaried labour and the social relations.

Indeed. Capital, as a principle of accumulation which can only be realized
by the exploitation of labor, will always tend to reinstate the same kinds
of social relations, whatever the conditions. That's what Uncle Karl told

But for better or worse, the legitimating discourses of our societies are
more complex. They do not justify social relations in terms of capital
accumulation, but in terms of "necessity" or "advantage" for the many.
This means that a kind of gap can appear, between the necessary or the
desirable, and what we actually do. As for instance today, in the age of
abundance and automated production, when it no longer seems necessary that
some should starve or be homeless just so others will accept any kind of
work and constantly be afraid for their jobs. It's like a gap between the
possible and the real.

That gap is what I was trying to point to when I spoke about the fact that
"the technical conditions which provided a justification for the existence
and exploitation of salaried labor in the Fordist period have changed
entirely without any substantial change in the basic social relations." I
see that as a problem. Which means: I don't accept the imperatives of
capital accumulation. Looking around, I think they're totally insane, if
you really want to know my opinion.

In that sense I'd agree with Aliette :

"And if it was not more the economy which presided over the revolutionary
question today but many other things...?"

On the one hand, utopia is the revolutionary question: that's the case for
the cultural workers, whose whole production - at least when it's not just
"entertainment" - is a questioning of values, an experimentation with the
ways we relate to others and guide ourselves through time.

But the other revolutionary question is hunger, the impossibility of
breathing the air or drinking the water, exploitation as the limit of bare
life, imposed by sheer greed.

Neither of these questions have much to do with the dispute over wages,
which have become the dismal mathematics of the status quo.

In the midst of the crisis some Argentine friends (Etcetera) dressed up as
kind of medieval warriors armed with cutlery, and drifted through the city
of Buenos Aires attacking transnational supermarket vitrines with
five-foot high forks and knives (actually made by workers in an occupied
factory). Hunger for food, hunger for art: "A Comer!" (Something to Eat!)
is what they called it...

How can the immense majority of you still go on believing that we live in
the best of possible worlds?

Mind the gap, my friends...

best, BH

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