Worker or Labour

Note for later… on the difference between worker and labour. Is it not obvious there are questions to ask here about demarcation – is a worker everyone under capital? Are there worker hierarchies that are more than strategies of containment/control – setting x worker up against y, a buy-off of the worker elite, dumping of disposable workers, erasure of all other possible modes of being subject to the bullshit of work that is neither fulfilling or worthwhile (to who?), alienated work v. work you would do no matter what

In Marx: the concept of worker and labour power shift analytically across the book of Capital. Under capitalist relations the workers sell their labour power (capacity to labour, more productive than the cost of reproducing it) but not all labourers are so lucky (misfortune) to be able to sell their labour power. The unemployed, partially employed, the drifters and vagabonds, the mothers and children in training, the elderly are also all responsible to maintain their capacity to work, their labour power, even when not in employment as workers. Marx uses simple reproduction in his examples in the earlier chapters of capital, but if you read just the introduction of chapter 16 (Ch14 n Tieng Viet I think, the start of Vol thu Nhât, Phân 1) you see him explain about the narrow and the wide notion of the productive labourer, and also introduce the concept of the collective worker. The worker in the narrow sense produced surplus value, indeed value in general, the collective worker would include those that do not produce surplus value, but help other people produce it – for example as a teacher, when I am not producing a profit for the university boss, I add to the capacity of the students to produce surplus value, I do not produce that value myself except as part of the collective labourer. Again, it’s very important that Marx not be read without a dialectical conception of all of his categories, including worker – we actually discussed just this in relation to the early parts of Hegel that we read together.

Yet again to re-read the start of Chapter 16 (TV 14) – the difference between a sausage factory and a university is negligible. Hilarious and fun Karl.