The System of Machinery and Determinations of Revolutionary Subjectivity in the Grundrisse and Capital

Publicado en: In Bellofiore, Starosta and Thomas (eds.) In Marx’s Laboratory: Critical Interpretations of the Grundrisse, Brill Academic Publishers, 2013, pp. 233-263
The chapter argues that Marx’s exposition of the forms of the real subsumption of labour to capital – in particular, the system of machinery of large-scale industry – constitutes the dialectical presentation of the determinations of revolutionary subjectivity. Starosta argues that the development of the emancipatory subject is, for Marx, the immanent result of the unfolding of the reified forms of social mediation of capitalist society. More specifically, it is the outcome of transformations of the materiality of human productive subjectivity that they bring about. The essence of this capitalist transformation of the production process of human life lies in the mutation of the productive attributes of the collective labourer according to a determinate tendency: the individual organs of the latter eventually become universal productive subjects. This is the inner material content underlying the political revolutionary subjectivity of the proletariat. However, Starosta argues that Marx’s dialectical exposition of those transformations in Capital is truncated and does not unfold the plenitude of the material determinations underlying the revolutionary being of the working class, which is presented as no more than an abstract possibility. A gap thus remains between the ‘dialectic of human labour’ unfolded in the chapters on relative surplus-value in Capital, and the revolutionary conclusions at the end of Volume I in the chapter on ‘The Historical Tendency of Capital Accumulation’. Starosta argues that it is possible to find the elements for the completion of the systematic exposition of determinations of revolutionary subjectivity on the basis of a careful reading of the relevant passages of the so-called ‘Fragment on machines’ from the Grundrisse.


Guido Starosta

Director de la línea de investigación Método dialéctico y categorías fundamentales en la crítica de la economía política - implicancias para la investigación de la dinámica concreta de la acumulación de capital. Doctor en Sociología (Universidad de Warwick), Master en Pensamiento Político y Social (Universidad de Warwick) y Licenciado en Economía (FCE - UBA). Docente investigador de la UNQ e investigador de carrera de CONICET con lugar de trabajo en la UNQ.