For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Beyond the Fragment: Postoperaismo, Postcapitalism and Marx’s ‘Notes on Machines’, 45 Years On"

by Pitts, Frederick Harry (2017)


The year 2017 marks 45 years since the first English publication of Marx’s ‘Notes on machines’ in Economy and Society. This paper critiques how Marx’s ‘Fragment’ has subsequently been repurposed in postoperaist thought, and how this wields influence on contemporary left thinking via the work of Paul Mason. Changes in labour lead proponents to posit a ‘crisis of measurability’ and an incipient communism. I use the ‘New Reading of Marx’, which picks up where debates in Economy and Society in the 1970s left off, to dispute this. Based on an analysis of value as a social form undergirded in antagonistic social relations, I argue that the Fragment’s reception runs contrary to Marx’s critique of political economy as a critical theory of society, with implications for left praxis today.


Machines, Marx, Marx Machine, Technology, Capitalism, Post-Operaismo, Post-Capitalism, Accelerationism, Value Theory


On Marx on Machines

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