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.