Verso's version of the first English translation of 'On the Reproduction of Capitalism'

Verso’s version of the first English translation of ‘On the Reproduction of Capitalism’

Review of Althusser’s ‘On Reproduction of Capitalism

Just grabbed this Althusser book recently, apparently it is the first time ‘On Reproduction of Capitalism’ was published in the English language, so this will be interesting if it measures up to the hype that people are attaching to it akin to ,“The Communist Manifesto, Franz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth or Lenin’s State and Revolution. Reading it is an unsettling experience, it is a dangerous text, but lucid and relevant.” Apparently the text being bread out of the context of a recently simmering ’68 student revolt and built upon the essay Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses appears to be appropriate as we see the left assessing the current crisis of capitalism. Although reading For Marx over break was pretty hard to nail down, this book seems like it covers interestingly the relationship of an ideology with the reproduction of capitalism itself, which I am hoping to see if there is anything in relation to his structural analysis and dynamics of emancipatory politics running as a current of history. As well I am interested in seeing how this fairs with some of the other critiques I have been reading form the Political Marxist camp leveled against Althusser other than he was suspected of being a Stalinist and killed his wive…

“It also straightforwardly tells a lot more about the Althusser we thought we knew. Some things are clear: Althusser is not a functionalist; he rejects the need for a philosophical elite; class struggle is at the centre of his work, not banished to the edge; he accounts for the reproduction of capitalism but notes that revolution is possible and necessary. He writes with clarity and where necessary uses historical examples. While he is critical of “common sense”, he notes that abstract analysis can also be misleading.

Louis Althusser

Louis Althusser

“The mode of production of a class society … is quite the opposite of a mere technical process of production. At the same time as it is the locus of production, it is the locus of class exploitation and of class struggle as well. It is in the productive process of the mode of production itself that the knot of class relations and the class struggle bound up with exploitation is tied. This class struggle pits the proletarian class struggle against the capitalist class struggle… It is easy to understand the capitalists’ interest in depicting the process of production as the opposite of what it is: as a purely technical rather than an exploitative process… It is also easy to understand that the destiny of every class struggle, the victorious revolutionary class struggle included, ultimately depends on an accurate conception of the relations of production. To “build socialism”, it will be necessary to establish new relations of production that abolish concretely, the exploitative effects of the previous relations of production, together with their class effects. The construction of socialism can therefore not be settled with purely legal formulas: ownership of the means of production plus better technical organization of the labour process (Althusser 2014: 45).”

Supplemental Reading: Althusser- What_is_Practice? – Source

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About bolshevikpunk

Mainline Marxism or Die. Activist, Student, and Degenerate.
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