Karl Marx

Fetishism of digital commodities and hidden exploitation: the cases of Amazon and Apple

An essay written by the Wu Ming Foundation around the time of Steve Jobs' death which lays out the facade of the corporate 'miracle' and argues against net-fetishism.

[The original version of this essay was published on Giap on 26 September 2011, several days before Steve Jobs died. The French version was published on Article XI on the eve of Jobs' death.

Domination without a subject (part two) - Robert Kurz

In this concluding Part Two of his essay, Kurz examines the relationship of the ideas of Freud and Marx with respect to the concept of the “constitution of the fetish”, discusses the relation between “first nature” and “second nature” as a developmental process, and outlines the prerequisites for the quest for a tertium genus that will be the goal of the “revolution against the constitution of the fetish”, which is “identical with the supersession of the subject” as the latter has been conceived until now.

Domination without a Subject – Robert Kurz

On the Supersession of a Reductive Social Critique

Part Two


Domination without a subject (part one) - Robert Kurz

In Part One of this 1993 essay, Robert Kurz criticizes the largely unexamined assumptions underpinning the “vulgar Marxist” use of such political concepts as power, interest and domination; discusses the development of the more nuanced understanding of these concepts expressed in theories associated with the names of Weber, Michels, Trotsky and Freud; and assesses the role played by structuralism and systems theory in the establishment of an “apologetic” theory of subjectless domination which must be replaced by a “critical and revolutionary praxis” that is no longer Marxism of a “subjective-ideological type”.

Domination without a Subject*- Robert Kurz

On the Supersession of a Reductive Social Critique

Part One


Translator's introduction to the 1948 Chilean edition of Anton Pannekoek's Lenin as Philosopher - Lain Diez

A brief introduction to Pannekoek’s book on Lenin that defines the council communist tendency of Marxism as the long awaited bridge between Marxism and anarchism that promises to heal the rift of the Bakunin-Marx split in the First International. Written in the form of short “theses”, the text begins with a critical assessment of Trotsky’s opposition to Stalinism, supports Luxemburg’s and Mattick’s anti-Leninist critiques with regard to spontaneity and ends by agreeing with Karl Korsch’s negative identification of Leninism with social democracy as both being opposed to emancipatory socialism.

Translator’s Introduction to the 1948 Chilean Edition of Anton Pannekoek’s Lenin as Philosopher – Laín Díez


A few years before falling victim to an assassin’s blade, Trotsky placed the stamp of his opinion on Marxist literature in the following terms:

Marx and the Anti-Poll Tax Movement - G. Barr

The poll tax was not an act of pure madness but was an attempt to deal with the intractable problems of the public goods crisis that afflicted the developed world. The response by the labour movement is examined in the light of the ideas developed about the state. The internal politics of the anti-poll tax movement and the changes provoked by the poll tax and its failure are then discussed.

In the first part of this paper I will focus on the nature of the state in Marxist thinking. I will move on to look at the crisis in the welfare state. The paper will argue that poll tax was not an act of pure madness but it was an attempt to deal with the intractable problems of the public goods crisis that has afflicted the developed world.

Postone’s “Resolution” of Marx’s Imaginary Contradiction: On the revision of the concept of “abstract labor”

Time, Labor, and Social Domination

David Adam makes a critique Moishe Postone's interpretation Marx's Capital. Postone sees a contradiction between any account of abstract labor as physiological exertion and the historical specificity of Marx’s value theory. This article argues that the supposed contradiction in Marx described by Postone is entirely imaginary, and that only a more straightforward reading of Marx’s account of abstract labor can make sense of Capital. Taken from: http://www.marxisthumanistinitiative.org/philosophy-organization/postone’s-“resolution”-of-marx’s-imaginary-contradiction.html

In his influential book, Time, Labor, and Social Domination, Moishe Postone offers a reinterpretation of key aspects of Marx’s Capital. One of the central categories discussed by Postone is abstract labor. He suggests that we face an interpretive difficulty when dealing with Marx’s account of abstract labor in Capital.

The lost honor of labor - Robert Kurz

In this provocative and wide-ranging 1991 essay, Robert Kurz marshals Marx’s critique of the basic categories of capitalism and argues for “liberation from labor”, meaning the “‘abstract labor’ embodied in the form of value” that functions “tautologically” as a “self-referential” “end-in-itself” with destructive results for humanity (not to be confused with “human reproductive activity or with the process of metabolism with nature”); rejecting both technical regression (the “poverty of needs”) and obsolete reformism (the “Marxism of the workers movement”) he advocates “the planning and direction of the material nexus of reproduction in a directly social manner”.

The Lost Honor of Labor: Socialism of the Producers as Logical Impossibility – Robert Kurz

Part One

The Ontology of Labor

The ghost of theory - Jaime Semprun

In one of his last essays, a deeply pessimistic Jaime Semprun proclaims the death of "radical theory" and recommends "a good handbook on gardening" to help ride out the "shipwreck of industrial society".

The Ghost of Theory – Jaime Semprun

The cat, the mouse, culture and the economy - Anselm Jappe

Essay on the relation between culture and the economy in contemporary capitalism, examining the role played by generalized commodification in the advancing infantilization of the population, the spread of narcissism and the decline of art, which has become a "subspecies of design and advertising".

The Cat, the Mouse, Culture and the Economy – Anselm Jappe

The metaphysical subtleties of the commodity - Anselm Jappe

Essay by German author Anselm Jappe discussing the history and continuing relevance of the concept of commodity fetishism, with particular emphasis on the role of situationist theory in its further elaboration after Marx.

The Metaphysical Subtleties of the Commodity –
Anselm Jappe