Hell if I know. I think it’s connected to the relationship between politics and economy, sovereignty and capital and patriarch. Here’s more notes, numbered to try to separate out points, not to give any impression of systematic grasp. This reminds me I also need to come back to (play catch up in order to have) this conversation with Angela.

1. Primitive accumulation dispossesses the worker of the means of production and means of subsistence. This is the precondition for the need to sell labor power, the need for money to buy means of subsistence.

2. After dispossession, the worker has no right or limited right to means of production in the form of self-provisioning.

3. The worker has at least some limited right to means of subsistence. The worker’s ownership of wages and means of subsistence is a necessary and recurring moment of capitalism. For the waged worker, legal ownership of self is part of how the compulsion to labor is expressed/enacted.

4. The slave is dispossessed of legal self-ownership, and so has no right to own wages.

5. Children and women at some points in time and locations are dispossessed of self-ownership to some extent – the male worker owns their money and property. If they temporarily or possess property/money, it’s a borrowed right, so to speak. With women and children in at least some cases and with slaves, compulsion to labor is enacted or expressed in an important way through dispossession from legal ownership of self.

6. In the dispossession of the worker from the means of production and means of subsistence the worker or proto-worker’s self-ownership is suspended, at least momentarily, for at least some. Slaves, and women and children in at least some locations, can be said to live in this type of suspension, permanently.

7. The dispossession occurs via either extra-legal or legal means which involve suspension of law. The suspension of the (proto)worker’s self-ownership is part of this. The former is a state of exception, the latter renders the (proto)worker an instance or mode of bare life.

8. Women, children, slaves, any others whose self-ownership is suspended can be said to be an instance or mode of bare life. Giorgio Agamben writes: “the first time we encounter the expression “right over life and death” in the history of law is in the formula vitae necisque potestas, which designates not sovereign power but rather the unconditional authority (potesta) of the pater over his sons,” power over their life and death. (Homo Sacer, 87.) Agamben does dwell long on this point, and only offhandedly mentions the power of husbands and fathers over the lives and deaths of wives and daughters.

9. The household, which Agamben mentions briefly and distinguishes from sovereignty, is both a political and economic site. Attention to the interfaces of the household and what is counted as economic and as political questions the distinctions between economic and non-economic (both “externalities” and the political as distinct from economic) and between the political and non-political (both the economy as distinct from politics and other arenas periodically ascribed nonpolitical status, such as the ostensibly private). The same can be said for slavery, which encompasses both household and extra-household labor.

10. The counting of some as discounted (the assignment to some of no part, of the part of those with no part) is a key moment in the
– production of the economy as a place of surplus labor
– distribution of that surplus
– production of the political (or rather, the police)
– distribution of places within any political (or police) order
– maintenance of the above by routine and extraordinary violence
– distinction of the economic and the political

Inquiry into the site(s) from which such a count is made can trouble some of the theoretical categories which derive from or which carry within themselves elements of the above counts and distributions. Some of the ways different sites of counting and assigned locations within counts can relate to each other: reinforce each other, undermine each other in a way which opens space, undermine each other in a way which doesn’t meaningfully open space, mutual indifference or nonrelation. The disruption of counts and of sites of counting is not solely nor primarily a matter of these relationships, but they are relevant to mapping the operation of different counts, different orders of management/policing.

Following on from here:
– legal status of women, children, slaves (Dru Stanley, )
– economic involvement of the above people and of their legal status in multiple ways (Dalla Costa, Federici, Fortunati, )
– law and state in economy (Pashukanis, Holloway and Picciotto, )

Check notes for specific readings on the above, paste them here in parentheses. Also include notes on Arrighi’s reworking of M-C-M’ as also naming a cycle in the history of the world system, with primitive accumulation (re)occuring in the C-M’ phase.

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