What the Fuck is Social Reproduction? An introduction by Plan C

“when we say ‘short introduction’ – we are hoping to reach people who are interested in the ideas, struggles and the politics of what it means to make and remake people under capitalism (aka: reproduction), but who are probably people who have not say read anything written by Karl Marx. Hence why the language of the video is as jargon free as possible – while still trying to get across some pretty dense concepts. The video is based off a presentation at the plan c congress last Dec that was trying to talk about the politics of social reproduction in a user-friendly, clear and political way. For some die-hard Marxist scholars this will prove challenging. Luckily we have a feature length film coming out in the fall that will address their concerns – jokes!”

— you can read the whole text here:

Here: http://www.derelictspaces.net/2015/05/06/seizing-the-means-of-reproduction/


If we are all in this together,* these filthy UK posters need to be fucked up.


Not only because we can read in Chapter 25 of Capital, Marx’s long disquisition on the industrial reserve army (LW628 section three of chapter 25). Much of this chapter is also on wages (and therefor probably also moved from the once promised book on wages) and put here so as to emphasise the trick of accumulated capital – it is unpaid labour power of a collective kind. – the ‘prekarer’ precarious workers (P793 D669 LW640) the floating, latent and stagnant reserve army that keeps everyone ducking and diving to stay in work, and keeps wages down, are here and Marx actually calls for workers and unemployed to organise:

‘as soon as labourers learn the secret, how it comes to pass that in the same measure as they work more, as they produce more wealth for others, and as the productive power of their labour increases, so in the same measure even their function as a means of the self expansion of capital becomes more and more precarious for them; as soon as they discover that the degree and intensity of competition amongst themselves depends wholly on the pressure of the relative surplus-population; as soon as, by trades’ Union and c., that they try to organize a regular co-operation between employed and unemployed in order to destroy or to weaken the ruinous effects of this natural law of capitalist production on their class, so soon capital and its sycophant Political Economy cry out at the infringement of the “eternal” and “sacred” law of supply and demand. Every combination of employed and unemployed disturbs the “harmonious” action of this law. But, on the other hand, as soon as (in the colonies, e.g.) adverse circumstances prevent the creation of an industrial reserve army and, with it, the absolute dependence of the working class upon the capitalist class, capital [and the parsimonious Sancho Panza] … tries to check its inconvenient action by forcible means and State interference’ (LW640 P793).

* of course we are not all in this together – that piece of Government bile just emphasises the need to single out surround and, erm, re-educate a certain layer of abuser – the fat cat piggy pollie.

BCI – business university links

Possibly of interest apropos discussions about internships and corporate involvement with Universities, this BCI report was just released. I won’t say much about the content, but there are interesting bits on the employer spokesperson’s view of internships and students working with Rolls Royce etc. I will however note in passing the beginning and end images of stylised ‘talk bubbles’. The BCI is the ‘voice of business’, but by the time the conversation bubble – talk metaphor – gets to section five of the report the détente is silenced and the WAR metaphor takes over. And at the end, the CEO from Glaxo Smith Kline – Andrew Witty – considers the university an integral part of his ‘supply chain’. No response from the other side of the conversation – the final talk bubble is empty, left speechless in the face of a militant enthusiasm. Rhetorical friendly fire shooting off its mouth again.

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Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 18.31.28 Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 18.34.53the report is available here if you must.

Quid pro Quo – Subversive Festival, Zagreb (2nd vid)

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My third talk in a series of three on capital was at the Subversive Festival in Zagreb. The second talk is here (Translating Capital in Context) and it makes sense to see the second talk first [the first one in Rijeka was not recorded, but was based on my text on Citizen Kane], not least because it will help explain why the conceit in this third talk has Marx relocated to India, which of course he was always deeply interested in, but he never went, only picking up bits of info, and some myths – eg the horror stories of Jagannath etc – from his wide-ranging and varied reading. I think it is justified to deploy Marx to Calcutta, at least in fantasy, though its true not even Engels took his father’s advice to go to Calcutta to start in business. The old boys were European bound, but this did not mean they did not seek out the revolution elsewhere.

What also should be mentioned (the parts here are – great job – edited and slightly reordered, and the opening by Bernard missed) is that in this talk I set out to look at three different moments. 1) the arrival of Clive in Calcutta after the ‘sham scandal’ of the Black Hole in 1756; 2) the first all-India war of Independence, the so-called ‘mutiny’ 100 years later and; 3) the quid pro quo return of originary capital to the site of the East India Company shipyard in London in present times, under the aegis of the Farrell’s development of Convoys’ Wharf, Deptford, for Hutchinson Whampoa.

I am slowly writing this out as a long, too long, chapter, so this version is pretty schematic, but you will get the drift of new work. Thanks for stopping by. Thanks also to the crew at Subversive, especially Karolina Hrga, and Bernard Koludrović who was chair.


“Marx writing on India is key to understanding Capital. My argument is that we can make sense of Marx today by examining his theoretical and journalistic work together, each informed by an emergent anthropology, by historical hermeneutics, by a critique of political economy and by attention to a global political contest that mattered more than philosophy. Marx reading history, already against the grain and without being able to make actual alliances, is nevertheless seeking allies in a revolutionary cause. Is it possible to observe Marx coming round to realise, after the shaping experience of the 1848-1852 European uprisings, the possibilities for the many different workers of the world to unite? I consider the sources Marx finds available, what he reads, and how his writing practice parses critical support as habitual politics, and how far subcontinental events, themes and allegories are a presence in the key moves of his masterwork Capital almost as if India were a refocused bromide for Europe, just as slavery is for wages. I will take up four cases – the ‘founding’ of Calcutta by Job Charnock (disputed); the story of Clive sacking Chandernagore and going on to defeat Suraj-ud-duala at Palashi/Plassey in 1757 in retaliation for the ‘Black Hole’ (did it exist?); Disraeli verbosely saying nothing about the so-called Indian ‘mutiny’ 1857 (‘the East as a career’); and the question of legalizing Opium in China and the advent of Matheson-Jardine Company after the East India Company comes to an end (‘quid pro quo’). All of this brings us back to the realities of global investment and regeneration in Europe today, as international capital returns to the port of London to redevelop the old East India Company shipyards in Deptford.”

15/5/2014, 21h, Cinema Europa, Zagreb, Croatia
John Hutnyk: Quid pro quo: the East as a career
7th Subversive festival: “Power and Freedom in the Time of Control”
Moderator: Bernard Koludrović