From doing this reading group on some works by operaisti I’ve decided I want to try to write something comparing aspects of some of operaismo with post-operaismo. Part of this will be simply to say that the “it’s over” implied in the prefix “post-” is hasty. I want to focus on how the operaist works are both superior to post-operaismo and how the operaist works also anticipate problematic aspects of post-operaismo.

These are some notes on that.

Superior:
– pre-dates the ontological turn (here I would appeal to Badiou’s work for deflationary purposes though I think this may not be the way Badiou intends his work; if ontology is mathematics don’t do ontology – it has no more political utility in the present than theoretical mathematics; also that great Marx quote about how Feuerbach wasn’t really a communist)

– focuses on waged workplaces (post-operaismo might be also called postopera-ismo, that is if operaismo was worker-ist post-operaismo is postworker-ist: it makes waged workplaces largely disappear from focus through a rhetorical maneuver; I make no argument here for the centrality of waged workplaces, but I do assert that waged workplaces are insufficiently present in the post-operaismo work; the arguments about production occurring everywhere may be true but they are not true in the sense that _surplus value production_ occurs everywhere to equal degrees such that waged workplaces can be rendered as much in the background as they are in post-operaismo)

– focuses on organization building, albeit insufficiently (there is no discussion of building either mass organizations or political organizations among the post-operaisti; the focus instead is movementist and the shift from organizations to movements is not argued for at least in the English language material; this is largely accepted in my view because the reception of this material has occurred alongside the cycle of struggles known sometimes as the antiglobalization movement which largely focused on mobilizations of people who already agree ideologically rather than permanent organizations or organizing among people who do not share a common ideology)

Anticipates:
– tension or perhaps category mistake between theoretical innovation and a periodization of historical stages (unwaged activities and times and spaces outside recognized workplaces produce value for capitalism – now, or always? precarity – now or always? etc)

– assumption that crisis comes always from the working class (a version of this is expressed philosophically by Deleuze as ‘the last word on power is that resistance comes first)

– claims about the present made by logical syllogisms starting from uncertain assumptions (the crisis assumption – becomes “development comes from the working class; globalization happened; therefore the working class made globalization happen,” may be true but is an empirical rather than logical question)

– deduction of the political composition from the technical composition rather than critique and historicization of the (current? coming?) technical composition based on the (previous?) political composition; this is akin to spontaneism

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