“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Word on Commodity Fetishism and OOO

I see my independent study student Jordan's piece on Marx and OOO is doing the rounds on Facebook today. It's quite a boring line against OOO from a certain kind of theology, I mean academic Marxism, to accuse us of commodity fetishism.

Having read all three volumes of Capital, and as a student of Terry Eagleton, forgive me while I quote chapter and verse here.

Commodity fetishism has to do with (false) ABSTRACTION, not (false) concretion. It's part of Capital 1 that everyone, even Derrida, misreads. The part about the table. It says that in capitalism, the table spins thoughts out of its wooden brain, rather than dancing as in a seance. It doesn't move of its own accord, is the point. It tells you about its value as not-a-table, i.e. as a commodity.

In capitalism, it is as if there is this abstract thing called THE commodity, which undermines and overmines (to use our lingo) actual humans, hammers and houses. 

There is no earthly reason why OOO would not be compatible with Marxism. Indeed, it puts Marxism's concern about the reduction (undermining) of humans into breaths and living space (again, Capital 1) on a very secure ontological footing.

To accuse us of fetishism because we talk about hammers just isn't Marxism. Thus the accusation that we are commodity fetishists is, in the immortal words of physicist Wolfgang Pauli, not even wrong.

1 comment:

Jordan S.C. said...

The notion that OOO is commodity fetishism is a "boring" argument that I disavow in the second paragraph: "Voyou points out that OOO is not a form of commodity fetishism, an argument I am inclined to agree with."