Comments for first session Capital I seminar, 7 August 2010, Redfern Community Centre.
My aim today is to give some sense of what Marx’s materialism is like.
A phrase Marx repeatedly comes back to in Capital I is ‘behind the backs’.
There is stuff going on behind the backs of workers and capitalists. When they act, they act in a world that was created while their backs were turned. They didn’t see its laws being enacted, nor its landscape change.
Yet the world is only the mass of their practices. So they must have had some hand in creating it. This is the problem at the centre of Marx’s attempt to think human society in general, but also to think capitalism as an individual instance of human society.
To work out what Marx’s materialism is like, we need to work out what Marx means by ‘behind the backs’. Continue reading ‘Stuff happens behind our backs’