Saturday, August 30, 2008

Good News

Emerging again from the network of passageways that spell out all the fungible and frangible moments of this life, my publisher, In Girum Imus Nocte et Consumimur Igni, has just released two volumes so good they will make you pee your pants. Stephanie Young is destroying ponies with ponies. Kevin Killian would have waxed a dungeon to match your feeling. These books will protect you from the harmful rays emitted by political conventions.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Repetition Compulsion, Democrats

The Obama campaign has settled on a winning slogan, it seems. Written on the outside of a recent (unopened, soon-to-be-recycled) mailing are the words “Jasper, this time will be different.” Ah, yes—I’ve heard that before, said it to people I’ve loved and not loved, said it to myself, placed it at the very front of the card files marked pure and utter bullshit and electoral politics, hollowness of. Seriously, do you think they could have come up with anything that rings more false than this? The phrase is nothing less than the rhetoric of the addict’s (or the obsessive’s) superego. Jasper, this time will be different. Following on the heels of which comes a temporary loss of consciousness, of self-possession, and when you return to your senses you have a cigarette in your mouth, you’re walking out of the liquor store with a fifth clutched tightly to your side, walking back from the parking lot where you meet your connect, you’re lying in his or her bed, you’re walking out of the polling booth where you’ve just voted for the murder of hundreds of thousands and the immiseration of hundreds of millions. Fill in the rest yourself.

But, as The Dark Knight teaches us, the American people, those loveable schlemiels, need something to believe in, they need hope, never mind if that hope comes with a variable rate mortgage.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Questions about Tronti

One of the questions I have about Tronti, and operaismo in general, is to what extent his critiques are applicable today. He is writing out of a very specific moment in capitalism—the so-called “golden age” of the post-war boom, with its combination of developmentalist economics in the third world, the Keynesian compromise with labor in the imperial core, Fordism, and centralized, comparatively inflexible corporate structures. To what extent does “social capital” as he conceives it still exist? And what happens when “social capital” turns into Negri’s “real subsumption” and “biopolitics” under condition that are, arguably, quite different?

The shift to what David Harvey calls “flexible accumulation” that occurs in the 70s—with increasingly decentralized firms, liberalization of the economies of the periphery and volatilization of capital movement in general, the growth of the service sector, the mechanization of agriculture—can’t really be seen as replacing the tenets of the ‘45-73 period, so much as transforming them. For instance, the state continues to intervene in, legislate and administer production, and in the US, though the spending is not re-circulated to the working-class, the state still runs a huge deficit on corporate giveaways, subsidies and, of course, armaments and colonial adventures. Then as now, many industries are dominated by monopolies. The idea of neo-liberalism as anti-state is, of course, a fiction. There is, now, simply (or rather, complexly) a different relationship between state and capital.

But still, it’s unclear that, for instance, trade-union activism of the modest sort that seeks a larger share of the surpluses is today, as it was in Tronti’s time, a force that contributes to development. Given the conditions of stagnation within the capitalist economy, and given the fact many manufacturing sectors seem mechanized to such a degree that additional profits are very difficult to secure, it might be the case that unions are actually a far larger threat to capital today than they were 50 years ago. Hence, for the last 25-30 years the US and British governments (among others) treat with labor in increasingly brutal and intractable ways. (In The Shock Doctrine –which is a truly excellent book, a harrowing map of the last 30 years of berserker capitalism—Naomi Klein uses Reagan’s response to the air traffic controllers and Thatcher’s to the coal miners to mark a shift). Further, as a friend pointed out to me recently, the service sector admits of no mechanization—there, the ratio between profits and wages can’t really be improved through machinery or technology. Full unionization of that area—a difficult accomplishment, given all of contingent labor that’s used—could be devastating, since, it seems (and correct me if I’m wrong) the only recourse that capital has there is “absolute surplus value”—lengthening of the working day, lowering of the wage, lowering of the standards of living, etc. And this, of course, threatens a crisis of overproduction of the sort we’re facing right now. All fictive capitals come to an end. Farewell to an idea.


What I’m worrying over is the oft-repeated claim that critiques of administered life, of the conformist culture of 50s and 60s capital, of the “augmented survival” that Debord describes, and the society of command in Tronti, (critiques, in other words, of the extension of the state across wide swaths of the, umm, welt) actually play into the hands of neoliberal crusaders in the 70s, 80s and 90s, that the critique of augmented survival for the most privileged sectors of the working class enables a shift to “mere” survival. There is some truth to this, although I think the truth has more to do with perversions and distortions in the implementation of ideas that were, and remain, radical, but that can end up—this is the case with a good deal of post-structuralism—as fundamentally liberal or even libertarian in nature.

“Social capital” might in its transformation end up as something like Debord’s “diffuse spectacle,” a form of rule that proceeds less by direct command and administration but by a tacit performance on the part of society, in order not only to reproduce the existing relations of production but to expand what is deemed socially necessary labor time. Spectacle works on use-value. I think both of these functions fit with Foucault’s definition of biopolitics—the creation of desires (History of Sexuality, Vol I), and the management of populations (The Birth of Biopolitics).

The shift, then, seems to do with an adversion to a kind of calculated chaos—a calculated permissiveness that allows the formation of areas of self-governance, autonomy, agitation—in order to allow capital to expand. The State, in certain sectors, retreats only to return. . . Or the capital “S” State turns into the little “s” state in order to permit the kind of flexibility and leverage that capital needs in this age. . .This seems to be characteristic of things in the imperial core.

At the same time, however, the need for new capital markets requires increasingly brutal and direct legislative or military intervention in the periphery—primitive accumulation by force and fiat. Naomi Klein’s book documents the infernal career of such slash-and-burn techniques, whether they result from the exploitation of “naturally” arisen crises or the manufacture of crises.

Tronti suggests—and this is a point made very explicitly in Harry Cleaver’s excellent Reading Capital Politically—that all crises are either the result of working-class militancy or, relatedly, an attempt by the ruling class to control the working-class through the political implementation of economic control (all economics is politics, for Cleaver). I’m not sure I buy this %100. Or I’m not sure—as an empirical claim—that it’s a meaningful distinction. Of course, I want this to be true. I think that—in terms subjectivity—this is probably the best way to look at things, in line with, say, Benjamin’s “On the Concept of History” I also think it bears out if one looks at the crises of the 70s and 80s, and those direct interventions that Klein so expertly indexes. It’s certainly true, for instance, of price gouging by commodities speculators currently, and it’s certainly true that the subprime housing scandal was a way of, in a sense, getting, by a backdoor means, givebacks from the working class (by putting many people in deep debt). But there also could be a good deal to learn by looking at such things as inter-capital competition. I don’t think doing so renders the working-class entirely passive.

Many of my readers—used to me talking about poetry—probably don’t care about any of this, and have probably already stopped reading paragraphs ago. But for those who do, what do you think?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Labour Capacity and The Strategy of Refusal, Part II

[Part I is here]

If you’re like me, the characterization of labor capacity as absolute (rather than determinate) negation in Tronti will start to remind you of the myriad readings of “Bartleby, the Scrivener” that seem de rigueur for European philosophers/theorists (Agamben, Badiou, Deleuze, Derrida and Zizek, among those that I’m aware of, all discuss the story and the character). If you read Marx on labour-capacity, the connection to Bartleby is rather unmistakable. Bartleby (and his less-remarked cousin, the Carpenter, in Moby-Dick) is a perfect exemplification of the antinomies of the working-class subject as both all-containing potentiality and absolute, immiserated de-qualification— in Marx’s words “Labour as object absolute poverty, labour as subject general possibility of wealth.”

Marx’s distinguishes two “moments” of labor; a negative moment:

As such it is not-raw-material, not-instrument of labour, not-raw-product: labour separated from all means and objects of labour, from its entire objectivity. This living labor, existing as an abstraction from these moments of its actual reality (also, not-value); this complete denudation, purely subjective existence of labor, stripped of all objectivity. Labour as absolute poverty: poverty not as shortage, but as total exclusion of objective wealth. (Grundrisse, 295-296)

And a positive one:

Labour not as an object, but as activity: not as itself value, but as the living source of value. [Namely, it is] general wealth (in contrast to capital in which it exists objectively, as reality) as the general possibility of the same, which proves itself as such in action. (296)

And, in conclusion, their synthesis:

Thus, it is not at all contradictory, or, rather, the in-every-way mutually contradictory statements that labour is absolute poverty as object, on one side, and is, on the other side, the general possibility of wealth as subject and as activity, are reciprocally determined and follow from the essence of labour, such as it is presupposed by capital as its contradiction and as its contradictory being, and such as it, in turn, presupposes capital. (296)

I think that the two-fold character of labour here goes a long way in explaining the problems and potentials in implementing, as militant praxis, the viewpoint of Tronti’s essay. In both Agamben’s and Zizek’s reading of Bartleby, there is the perverse belief that one can, by exarcerbating this “absolute poverty”, by reducing oneself to an ontological zero-degree, reach the Arcimidean point from which a destructive potential is gained. The trick, in Agamben, is not to fight the extension of bare life throughout the social field, but to generalize it. In weakness, strength, etc. The Christological resonances are well-remarked.

And yet, as much as this conception makes me uncomfortable (a kind of latent miserabilism), I can’t but help find myself attracted to it also. Although it’s not without the hints here and there of condescension which mark Melville’s ambivalent view-point, the show-stopping passage from Moby-Dick quoted below is, in many respects, a perfect description of the proletarian as social individual, the proletarian as prefiguration of communism, the proletarian for whom deskilling and dequalification, after “[a]ll fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away,” allow her or him, as absolute self-determining plasticity, to lay claim to the entire spectrum of human ability, experience and possibility:

Thus, this carpenter was prepared at all points, and alike indifferent
and without respect in all. Teeth he accounted bits of ivory;
heads he deemed but top-blocks; men themselves he lightly held
for capstans. But while now upon so wide a field thus variously
accomplished and with such liveliness of expertness in him, too;
all this would seem to argue some uncommon vivacity of intelligence.
But not precisely so. For nothing was this man more remarkable,
than for a certain impersonal stolidity as it were; impersonal, I say;
for it so shaded off into the surrounding infinite of things,
that it seemed one with the general stolidity discernible in the whole
visible world; which while pauselessly active in uncounted modes,
still eternally holds its peace, and ignores you, though you dig
foundations for cathedrals. Yet was this half-horrible stolidity
in him, involving, too, as it appeared, an all-ramifying heartlessness;--
yet was it oddly dashed at times, with an old, crutch-like, antediluvian,
wheezing humorousness, not unstreaked now and then with a certain
grizzled wittiness; such as might have served to pass the time
during the midnight watch on the bearded forecastle of Noah's ark.
Was it that this old carpenter had been a life-long wanderer,
whose much rolling, to and fro, not only had gathered no moss;
but what is more, had rubbed off whatever small outward clingings
might have originally pertained to him? He was a stript abstract;
an unfractioned integral; uncompromised as a new-born babe;
living without premeditated reference to this world or the next.

You might almost say, that this strange uncompromisedness in him involved a sort of unintelligence; for in his numerous trades, he did not seem
to work so much by reason or by instinct, or simply because he had been
tutored to it, or by any intermixture of all these, even or uneven;
but merely by a kind of deaf and dumb, spontaneous literal process.
He was a pure manipulator; his brain, if he had ever had one,
must have early oozed along into the muscles of his fingers.
He was like one of those unreasoning but still highly useful,
multum in parvo, Sheffield contrivances, assuming the exterior--
though a little swelled--of a common pocket knife; but containing,
not only blades of various sizes, but also screw-drivers,
cork-screws, tweezers, awls, pens, rulers, nail-filers, countersinkers.
So, if his superiors wanted to use the carpenter for a screw-driver,
all they had to do was to open that part of him, and the screw was fast:
or if for tweezers, take him up by the legs, and there they were.

Yet, as previously hinted, this omnitooled, open-and-shut carpenter,
was, after all, no mere machine of an automaton. If he did not
have a common soul in him, he had a subtle something that somehow
anomalously did its duty. What that was, whether essence of quicksilver,
or a few drops of hartshorn, there is no telling. But there it was;
and there it had abided for now some sixty years or more.
And this it was, this same unaccountable, cunning life-principle in him;
this it was, that kept him a great part of the time soliloquizing;
but only like an unreasoning wheel, which also hummingly soliloquizes;
or rather, his body was a sentry-box and this soliloquizer on guard there,
and talking all the time to keep himself awake.

The ways in which this “man without qualities” is, at the same time, a pure potentiality, becomes clearer in the later play-like scene where Ahab casts him in the role of God. In any case, I think this passage supports CLR James’s claim that the true protagonist of Moby-Dick is the ship’s crew, trapped as it is between the intellectual domination of Ishmael and the directly political-theological domination of Ahab.

I started thinking, again, about all of these matters when, with Suzanne Stein and many other local poets and writers, I watched Fassbinder’s truly devastating Berlin Alexanderplatz at the SFMoMA this summer. I’m not sure I can think of any other film that displays such a range of affects. It seems to cover the whole spectum of human and inhuman feeling. Franz Biberkopf is, in many respects, a character like the carpenter above. His actions are seemingly without premeditation; he contains within him a spectrum of affects, from the most earnest sentimentality to the most terrifying rage. [It’s hard not to suspect that James Gandolfini based his portrayal of Tony Soprano on Biberkopf—not only are Gandolfini and Lamprecht matches for each other physically, but the alternately brooding and delicate mannerisms are nearly identical]. As an allegorical figure for either the German working-class or, more generally, the German people, he yields himself, in merely opportunistic ways, to the manipulations of the Nazis, of organized crime, and he flirts with anarcho-syndicalism. In each case, he remains rather indifferent to the ideological content of the group. He is self-actualized, but this self-actualization can’t be easily conceived in terms of any identifiable want or desire. He is “a stript abstract, an unfractioned integral.” As above, Fassbinder’s portrait of the German proletariat is, like Melville’s, not without its condescension.

What Biberkopf can’t bear, it seems, is his dependence upon another. But this is never phrased as a positive demand, only as a reaction to circumstance. There’s no small amount of Sartrean existentialism here. As a figure of radical autonomy, Biberkopf reacts murderously when he is enchained to other characters (Eva, Reinhold) through an exchange of women. Despite his refusal of work, what he never manages to refuse is the subservience of his girlfriends. His autonomy, in this sense, forces him into the role of pimp. He is unable to give a positive character to his autonomy—to negate the negation, if you will—and so proletarianizes those he loves and who love him. At every step of the way, his entry into society, and into the market, comes always by way of an exchange of women, even though, what he wants, in the end, is the refusal of work, a refusal of the market of exchange and value which objectifies him and those he loves. As a member of so-called lumpenproletariat—who as Silvia Federici and others demonstrate, should really be conceived of as part of the working-class proper—Franz finds that the informal economy of crime and prostitution mimics the logics of the formal economy. Given the staggering growth of global unemployment over the last 30 years, the portrait that BA provides seems important, since any resistance to capitalism will have to engage this group as a figure both of radical autonomy and radical dispossession.

Biberkopf already knows what he wants. Or rather, what he wants is beyond knowledge—it just is. He has no goals, no need of ideology. Working-class strategy is already inherent in him, but what he lacks is the tactical, constructive force which will allow him to actualize his own hatred of work.

The following scene, when Franz and his friend and partner-in-crime Willy go to a meeting of anarcho-syndicalists, makes this pretty clear. What I take from the film is that some synthesis of the two positions below would be necessary if Biberkopf is to avoid the fate—that is, Nazism—which befalls him, and by extension, the German working-class. Somewhere between voluntarism and spontaneism, Marx with just enough Nietschze to get you through to the other side:

[After hearing a rousing speech, Franz and Willy meet an old syndicalist who is walking his bicycle trough a rubble-strewn interior.]

Syndicalist: Come on. Tell us what work you do.

Franz: Oh, I get around. I do this and that. I don’t actually work. I let others work for me.

Syndicalist: So you’re an entrepreneur with employees. How many do you have? And what are you doing here anyway, if you’re a capitalist?

Franz (ringing the bell on the anarchist’s bicycle): I want to reduce Jerusalem to rubble and the abode of jackals, and lay waste the cities of Judah, so that no one can dwell in them.

Syndicalist: That’s just an excuse.

[Willy gets on a swingset in the ruined interior. Starts swinging.]

Franz: What do you mean? Haven’t you noticed I’ve got only one arm? That’s the price I paid for working. And that’s why I don’t want to hear anything about honest work.

Syndicalist: I still don’t understand, buddy, why you don’t work. If you don’t have an honest job, you must have a dishonest one.

[Franz and Willy get on a seesaw]

Franz: There you are. He’s caught on at last. Come over here, Willy. That’s it: dishonest work. Your honest work is slavery. You said so yourself just now. That’s what honest work is, and I learned my lesson.

Syndicalist: Okay, so you don’t work. But you don’t seem to be on welfare either.

Franz: No, I’m not on welfare either.

Syndicalist: Then I’d just like to ask, though it’s none of my business, what you’re doing here.

Franz: I was waiting for that question. You were talking just now about damned wage slavery, and saying that we are all outcasts with no room to move.

Syndicalist: Yes, but you weren’t listening properly. I was talking about refusing to work. But to do that, you’ve got have a job first.

Franz: And that’s what I refuse to do.

Syndicalist: That doesn’t help us. You might just as well go to bed. I was talking about a strike, a mass strike, a general strike.

Franz: And that’s what you call direct action? It’s just talk. Talk and more talk, yet you go to work and make the capitalists stronger.

Syndicalist: You idiot.

Franz: Hey. You make shells for them, which they later use to shoot you dead. And you want to teach me something? Do you hear that, Willy? Boy, it bowls me over.

Syndicalist: I ask you again what work you do.

Franz: And I tell you again: nothing! Not a lick. You can all kiss my ass, because I shouldn’t do any work, according to your theory. I’m not boosting any capitalists. And I don’t give a damn about your bitching and strikes, and what you keep going on about, what’s supposed to happen someday. I don’t give a damn. You’ve got to stand on your own two feet. What I need, I do myself. I’m self-sufficient.

Syndicalist: Just try to go it alone. Alone, you can’t do anything. We need militant organizations.

Franz: What?

Syndicalist: We have to set up militant organizations. That’s what we have to establish: militant organizations.

Franz: Organizations. I’d like to know what’s going on in your head. I’d really like to know that. On the one hand, you preach and say you’re against every system, against any kind of order and all organizations. On the other hand, you want to set up militant organizations. Don’t you see there’s something wrong in your head? Can’t you see that?

Syndicalist: Words are wasted on you. You can’t think straight. You’ve got a mental block. You don’t understand what’s important for the proletariat: solidarity. That’s what’s important.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mahmoud Darwish 1942-2008

--Good-bye, sir.
--Where to?
--Which madness?
--Any madness, for I have turned into words.

Labour Capacity and The Strategy of Refusal, Part I

[This post ended up being rather long, so I thought I'd break it up into two parts. Part II is here]

Rather than spend any more time arguing with Stan and his irrepressible sub-McCarthyite sophistries, I thought I’d actually look at some real questions of "socialist strategy."

With Nate H, one of my favorite bloggers, and some others, I have been re-reading Mario Tronti’s “The Strategy of Refusal,” as well as other translated essays from Tronti’s Operai e Capitale and a few pieces by his Quaderni Rossi collaborator Raniero Panzieri. It is from these essays that the basic lines of Italian operaismo (“workerism”) emerge, and so, valuably, I can detect in them all that I find provocative and useful in the later work of Paolo Virno and Antonio Negri and other writers associated with Autonomia, but without the sometimes baroque post-structural stylings that can get in their way.

There are some excellent short pieces on Tronti collected over at Long Sunday. Essentially, in this and other essays from Operai e Capitale, Tronti argues that the communist and socialist parties in Italy, and Marxist thought in general, have lost touch with the actual subjective and experiential character of the Italian working-class. Tronti’s is a sociological project that aims to reground Marxism in the experiences and the standpoint of the working class. It inverts the relationship between party and class set out in Lenin’s The State and Revolution, suggesting that the overall goals and views of any “party” must be that which the working-class already experiences and knows. The working-class contains the strategic perspective, the totality of desire for, and the vision of, the end of capitalism. The role of the party is not as a “vanguard” as we traditionally think of it, and not as a curator of class-consciousness, but merely a tactical weapon. It contains the ability to act quickly and forcefully in local, tactical situations, but nothing else (cf. Class and Party). Tronti’s is a kind of immanentist non-Leninist Leninism.

I don’t know much about the history of Italy, but from what I’ve read of Steve Wright’s book on these writers, Storming Heaven, I do know that it’s important to situate this work in a period when, as a result of the Marshall Plan, a Keynesian state and adoption of Fordist-Taylorist production by manufacturers in the North, Italian capitalism had been largely transformed: the so-called “economic miracle.” Panzieri and Tronti, for instance, both make use of Marx’s notion of “social capital” from Capital Vol. III —not to be confused with Bourdieu’s conception—in which the individual capitalists aggregate into a class-for-itself, producing “capitalist communism,” or a mode-of-production characterized not by individual producers competing with each other but by a single, state-administered front which regulates and administers production in order to 1) ensure enough redistribution of profits that overproduction/underconsumption is avoided 2) neutralize revolutionary ferment on the part of the workers. “Social Capital” functions not only through the dialectic of the wage in the workplace but by direct command (capitalist planning) over the totality of society. Not only is it true that “Capitalist power seeks to use the worker’s antagonistic will-to-struggle as a motor of its own development,” but also:

The surpassing of State capitalism by a capitalist state is not something that belongs to the future: it has already happened. We no longer have a bourgeois State over a capitalist society, but, rather, the State of capitalist society.

One can see in this an echo of Kojeve’s idea of the end-of-history involving a confluence of the Stalinist U.S.S.R. and American capitalism, merging into a single, administrative social form.

In the face of such eventualities, Tronti wants to reground Marxist theory by way of what Yann-Moulier Boutang called a “Copernican inversion,” putting workers first and capitalist development second. It’s important to note that, even though Tronti is writing to and from a particular conjunctural moment within Italian capitalism, the Copernican inversion is not, pace Negri’s reformulation of it as having to do with a new epoch in capital, something that suddenly becomes true in the 60s, but something that was always true. Here’s the pith of the essay:

Rather, stopping work—the strike, as the classic form of workers’ struggle—implies a refusal of the command of capital as the organizer of production: it is a way of saying “No” at a particular point in the process and a refusal of the concrete labor which is being offered; it is a momentary ‘blockage of the work-process and it appears as a recurring threat which derives its content from the process of value creation. The anarcho-syndicalist “general strike,” which was supposed to provoke the collapse of capitalist society, is a romantic naivete from the word go. It already contains within it a demand which it appears to oppose—that is, the Lassallian demand for a “fair share of the fruits of labour”—in other words, a fairer “participation” in the profit of capital. In fact, these two perspectives combine in that incorrect “correction” which was imposed on Marx, and which has subsequently enjoyed such success within the practice of the official working class movement—the idea that it is “working people who are the true “givers of labour,” and that it is the concern of working people to defend the dignity of this thing which they provide, against all those who would seek to debase it. Untrue. . . The truth of the matter is that the person who provides labour is the capitalist. The worker is the provider of capital. In reality, he is the possessor of that unique, particular commodity which is the condition of all the other conditions of production. [italics mine]

With this formulation, Tronti, very much like Moishe Postone in his Time, Labor and Social Domination, unhitches Marxist theory from the work-glorifying productivism of previous Marxisms, not to mention those Marxist humanists who would characterize labor as the ontological ground of all human society, while at the same time critiquing any merely distributionist opposition to capital, those who would, in the manner of the actually existing socialisms of the time, redistribute the fruits of the capitalist mode of production differently but retain the relations of production of capitalism. Like Marx, he identifies capital with these relations of production—capital is the direct imposition of these relations of production, and not merely a parasitic force that attaches to pre-existing relations and siphons off the surpluses from them.

Furthermore, because “capital” (that is, labour, the relations of production) is itself merely the ossified, dead residue of working-class labour-power (that is, capital), Tronti can then characterize capitalism as, essentially, the working class’s relationship to itself, in which the class of capital (givers of labor) serves only a mediating role. The fixed capital in the form of machines, inputs, and accumulated money, are there for the taking, and in many respects, the working-class (especially if one expands the definition to include some supervisors and technicians) will have more understanding of how to access, utilize and seize this material than the class of capital. All the working class needs to do then is take charge of its own capacity, and its own dead products, and refuse the commands/relations of “capital.”

Leaving aside the considerable question of state power, the problem here, of course, is that the fixed capital, the machinery, etc. can’t be disentangled from the relations of production; as Panzieri indicates, “the relations of production are within the productive forces.”(Panzieri, “Surplus Value and Planning”). The working-class’s inequality to itself seems almost constitutive, unless of course there is a positive element, a constructive proposal of different relations of production, that goes along with this refusal. But even then, unless capital is destroyed, those new relations will merely make capital stronger.