Schlagwort: wertkritik

Internet Movement and Cybernetic Subversion

[Part 5 of 5 of the essay »Anti-economics and Anti-politics« by Robert Kurz, published under CC by-nc-sa]

One would have to be pretty naïve to assume that a new social movement, under the impact of the crisis, would immediately commence with a radical critique of the commodity production system. It is, rather, more likely that such a perspective can only be mediated by a public debate and by conceptual discussions in the midst of the social struggles and conflicts themselves. One does not start from zero, however. In societies in crisis, there are diverse initiatives for a “cheap economy” which, however, are still in the infant stage. These hardly do justice to a kind of reproduction “that transcends the market and the State”, since in most cases they rely on State (municipal) subsidies or else are restricted to creating enterprises based on the most basic developmental forms of the market and the State.

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Disconnection from Commodity Production

[Part 4 of 5 of the essay »Anti-economics and Anti-politics« by Robert Kurz, published under CC by-nc-sa]

So how is a “natural microelectronic economy” possible as an embryonic form? The difficulty consists in the fact that the capitalist form of the functional division of society, as in the case of the capitalist structure of use value, cannot be assimilated, without alterations, into an emancipatory reproduction. The personnel of an enterprise which, for example, produces ships, cannot emancipate themselves, such as they are, from the social form of value. Since they do not consume the ships and cannot satisfy their own needs with the means of production of their enterprise, and since, at the same time, the specific production of their enterprise is incorporated into a capitalist system of division of labor, they remain dependent on the production of commodities, with all the familiar social consequences.

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The Supersession of Private Property in the Means of Production

[Part 3 of 5 of the essay »Anti-economics and Anti-politics« by Robert Kurz, published under CC by-nc-sa]

The modified or “superseded” notion of the productive forces and its connection to the relations of production is obviously the precondition for solving the real problem: the supersession of the form of fetishistic value in social relations. On this point it is also necessary, first of all, to bridge the gap between the reductive conceptions, immanent to the system, of the Marxism of the workers movement and that of the alternative movement or the cooperatives. As in the question of the productive forces, we see these movements evincing a speculative and complementary attachment to fetishistic structures. Both political Marxism and the alternative movement reduce their goal to a critique and a supersession of private property in the means of production, although in different ways. When, however, one speaks of the institution, “private property”, it is clear that one is dealing with a moment of the commodity production system, i.e., of its juridical form. It is thus clear that this moment cannot be overcome alone, without overcoming the other moments of the value form and even the latter itself as such. The attempt to eliminate private property in the means of production and at the same time to maintain the forms of mediation of the commodity and money, can only lead to social paradoxes.

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The Concept of the Productive Forces and the Microelectronic Revolution

[Part 2 of 5 of the essay »Anti-economics and Anti-politics« by Robert Kurz, published under CC by-nc-sa]

If we are not to allow ourselves to be confused by the past, we have to attempt to elaborate socioeconomic definitions of an embryonic form, beyond commodity production, at the current level of socialization, without falling into a vulgar practicality. It is thus not by any means a matter of direct plans of action (which can only be developed, furthermore, within the context of a social movement), but of theoretical and practical reflections to concretize the critique of value. The question of the embryonic form of a reproduction no longer mediated by monetary and commercial relations has to be approached historically, analytically and theoretically.

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Politics and the Question of the Embryonic Emancipatory Form

[Part 1 of 5 of the essay »Anti-economics and Anti-politics« by Robert Kurz, published under CC by-nc-sa]

The misery of the radical critique of the commodity production system, that is, of a “mode of production based on value” (Marx), appears to reside in the fact that it is incapable of representing a historical praxis (not to be confused with just any little practical activity), of taking the initiative, of finding a way out and heralding a common mass consciousness, and is thus condemned to an esoteric existence, confined to socially remote domains of purely theoretical reflection or even philosophical speculation, and ultimately to a gradual descent into an eccentric sectarian existence. Even if an emancipatory socialization eliminating fetishistic forms of the commodity and money were possible—it would still be a book sealed with seven seals for this form of critique.

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Anti-economics and Anti-politics

Robert Kurz (2009)[Repost from under CC by-nc-sa]

The following translation of the German »Antiökonomie und Antipolitik« by Robert Kurz (1997) base on a Spanish translation which is no longer available on the web (the same or another Spanish version can be found here). The essay had an enormous influence on the discussion about an alternative to capitalism — not only was one outcome of the debates initiated by this text. Kurz himself was very sceptical about the references to his text, and he often polemically dissociates himself from these references. On we repost the text in five parts (the chapters of the text). The links below will function in the future. The following preface is from the translation at Here we go:

In this 1997 essay, Robert Kurz discusses the question of the “embryonic form” of “the productive forces developing in the womb of bourgeois society” (Marx); rejecting both the “all-or-nothing” view of the extreme left that sees such a project as doomed to integration into capitalism, and the reformist concept of “dual economy” where cooperative businesses produce for the capitalist market, he advocates a process of “disconnection” from the value matrix that incorporates aspects of both the old cooperative movement and modern “microelectronic” technology while preserving a commitment to overcoming the system of commodity production and a refusal to produce for the market.


1. Politics and the Question of the Embryonic Emancipatory Form

2. The Concept of the Productive Forces and the Microelectronic Revolution

3. The Supersession of Private Property in the Means of Production

4. Disconnection from Commodity Production

5. Internet Movement and Cybernetic Subversion


André Gorz und die Wertkritik

Beim André-Gorz-Kongress am 15./16.2.2013 in Saarbrücken haben Franz Schandl und ich einen Kombi-Vortrag zum Thema »André Gorz und die Wertkritik. Die Aufhebung des Kapitalismus denken« gehalten. Franz Schandl untersuchte die »Antiökonomie bei André Gorz« (Audio: OGG, MP3), während ich mich dem Wissenskommunismus widmete. Hier mein Beitrag als Slidecast (Folien: PDF, ODP; Audio: OGG, MP3):

Meine Eindrücke vom Kongress

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Why I Still Doubt

ZNet Debates logo[This is part of an debate regarding parecon and peercommony between Michael Albert and me. It is a repy to Michael Albert’s Peercommony Doubts Parecon? All articles can be found on the debate overview page – more will follow.]

Parecon, like capitalism, is based on paid labor, apparently based on the reasoning that people wouldn’t otherwise work enough. In my preceding reply I had doubted that assumption. When defending payment for work, you, Michael, seem to consider money as mere “information,” guiding people’s choices about how much they need to work and how much they can consume. You also seem to imagine a very impoverished model of social interaction where no other information that could influence such choices is available:

As I wrote in the original piece, “[the gap between consumption and production arises] not because people are either greedy, lazy, or irresponsible, but because people have no way to know what is responsible and moral.”

It must be a very sad society indeed where payment is the only thing that makes people “responsible and moral.” That’s not the kind of society I want.

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Robert Kurz ist tot

Robert Kurz ist gestern, 18.7.2012, an den Folgen einer Nierenoperation gestorben. Mit 68 Jahren, viel zu früh. Er war maßgeblicher Mitbegründer der Wertkritik. Mit der Gruppe Krisis und später der Gruppe Exit! entwickelte er eine vehemente Kritik an den Grundformen der kapitalistischen Gesellschaft: Arbeit, Ware, Wert, Geld. Dem Traditionsmarxismus warf er eine verkürzte Analyse und Kritik vor, die nur auf die Ebene der Verteilung des Reichtums abzielt, aber Form und Zustandekommen dieses Reichtums außen vor lässt.

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