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Monday, August 21, 2017

Duterte’s Oplan Tokhang: Can the Philippines’ Revolution Re-Emerge?

I'm posting an essay ("Duterte’s Oplan Tokhang: Can the Philippines’ Revolution Re-Emerge?") based on research and interviews I conducted during visits to the Philippines in November 2016 and April 2017. I may still publish it, but I wanted to share it with friends now in light of two recent events: the recent intensification of Duterte's "war on drugs", in which perhaps 80, mostly urban poor, have been murdered by the police, and President Trump's comments, reported in last week's NYT:

Saturday, March 25, 2017

April 6-7 Hofstra University Conference, Capital @ 150

Hofstra University, April 6-7 2017

Including Friday, April 7
1:30-2:55 p.m.            CONCURRENT SESSIONS


Guthart Cultural Center Theater, Axinn Library, South Campus

Session Chair:  Johanna Shih, Hofstra University

Presenters:    Christian Lotz, Michigan State University
"What is the Object of Capital, and Why is it a Critique"

Nick Nesbitt, Princeton University, NJ
"Reading Capital Today"

Bertell Ollman, New York University
"Marx's 'Main Aim' in Writing Capital, Vol. 1, was…"

Russell Rockwell 
"Capital to Grundrisse: The Dual Crisis—in Critical Social Theory and in Society"

Full Draft Final Program:

Monday, February 27, 2017

Das Kapital at 150: Marx’s Critique of Political Economy and the Global Crisis Today

Including Russell Rockwell:

Capital to Grundrisse: The Dual Crisis—in Critical Social Theory and in Society


I investigate the immanent critique of Herbert Marcuse’s interpretations of the relationship of Marx’s Capital and the Grundrisse found, though for the most part implicit, in Time, Labor, and Social Domination, by Moishe Postone, the U.S.-based Critical Theorist.  Marcuse, a key founding member of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory, included a brilliant, though limited, interpretation of Marx’s Capital in his 1941 work Reason and Revolution. I find that, 1) Marcuse’s analysis of Capital, historically prior to widespread automated production, skipped the section on “relative surplus value”, thereby focusing on the “reduction” of concrete labor to abstract labor, while overlooking the “interaction” of the two dimensions, which Postone develops extensively in terms of the intensifying contradictions of labor and temporality; and, 2) when Marcuse returns to Marx’s value theory in 1964 (a new stage of automated production), he posits a contradiction between the Grundrisse and Capital, precisely on the basis of his not having incorporated “relative surplus value” in his original (1941) analysis. During the 1950s crisis of the bipolar post-World War II period Marcuse repeatedly argued that the Grunrdrisse supplemented Capital; in One-Dimensional Man, written during the1960s automation crisis, he fundamentally reinterpreted the two texts of Marx’s mature critical theory: The Grundrisse and Capital contained opposing theories, Marcuse argued, so that in the Grundrisse Marx theorized, but later “repressed” in Capital, the idea that with technological production the “law of value” might be overcome, even within capitalism.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Today's Automation and Marx's Capital--"Machinery and Large-Scale Industry"

"The instrument of labour, when it takes the form of a machine, immediately becomes a competitor of the [worker]…The self-expansion of capital by means of machinery is thenceforward directly proportional to the number of the workpeople, whose means of livelihood have been destroyed by that machinery. The whole system of capitalist production is based on the fact that the workers sell their labour-power as a commodity. Division of labour specialises this labour-power, by reducing it to skill in handling a particular tool. So soon as the handling of this tool becomes the work of a machine, then, with the use-value, the exchange-value too, of the workperson's labour-power vanishes; the worker becomes unsaleable, like paper money thrown out of currency by legal enactment. That portion of the working class, thus by machinery rendered superfluous, i.e., no longer immediately necessary for the self-expansion of capital, either goes to the wall in the unequal contest of the old handicrafts and manufactures with machinery, or else floods all the more easily accessible branches of industry, swamps the labour market, and sinks the price of labour-power below its value. It is impressed upon the work- people, as a great consolation, first, that their sufferings are only temporary ("a temporary inconvenience")…[but] since machinery is continually seizing upon new fields of production, its temporary effect is really permanent…
Marx, Capital, Volume I: “Machinery and Large-Scale Industry”