Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Labour Theory of Value




The editorial board of Mediations is pleased to announce the publication of our latest dossier, Marxism and the Critique of Value.

This double issue is being published simultaneously as a book, which can be downloaded as a free PDF from M-C-M′ ( and which is also available in paperback (ISBN 978-0989549707).

Consisting of some 400 pages of new translations from the German-language Wertkritik tendency, Marxism and the Critique of Value presents a landmark effort to complete the critique of the value-form begun by Marx.

The full text can, as always, be accessed at, where it is accompanied by book reviews by Roberto Schwarz, Josh Robinson, Barbara Foley and Kanishka Chowdhury, and Matthew Moraghan.



Mediations: Journal of the Marxist Literary Group

Volume 27, Nos. 1-2 Fall/Spring 2013-14


Editors’ Note


Norbert Trenkle: Value and Crisis: Basic Questions

Norbert Trenkle tackles fundamental questions posed by the critique of value. How does it differ from other Marxisms? What are the consequences of the critique of value for the category of labor and for the labor theory of value? What is its relationship to socialism as an economic project? What is the relationship between the value-form and capitalist crisis? Can the critique of capitalism still be undertaken from the standpoint of labor?


Robert Kurz: The Crisis of Exchange Value: Science as Productivity, Productive Labor, and Capitalist Reproduction

As long as value is allowed to hold sway as an element of second nature, the Left will not be able adequately to understand the developments in the productive forces that characterized the twentieth century. Robert Kurz lays out the fundamental coordinates that tie the critique of value to the theory of crisis.


Claus Peter Ortlieb: A Contradiction between Matter and Form: On the Significance of the Production of Relative Surplus Value in the Dynamic of Terminal Crisis

Building on the insights of Capital I, and dispatching common liberal misunderstandings of those insights, Claus Peter Ortlieb makes the case for what mainstream economists euphemistically call “secular stagnation”: that is, an economic crisis that cannot be resolved by economic means.


Roswitha Scholz: Patriarchy and Commodity Society: Gender without the Body

Can there be a feminist materialism that does not rely on the fundamentally anti-Marxist materialism of the body? What is the relationship between capitalism, patriarchy, and feminist deconstruction? Roswitha Scholz introduces the concept of “value-dissociation,” under which capitalist societies necessarily consign labor that does not valorize capital — but that is nonetheless essential to its production and reproduction — to a subordinate, feminized zone.


Norbert Trenkle: The Rise and Fall of the Working Man: Towards a Critique of Modern Masculinity

In order to be able to understand the current economic crisis in particular and the emergence and development of capitalism in general, Norbert Trenkle argues, it is necessary to account for capitalism’s gendered social dimension. What can the connection between modern masculinity and the logic of modern labor tell us about the current crisis and the relation between capitalist form and its corresponding social structures?


Ernst Lohoff: Off Limits, Out of Control: Commodity Society and Resistance in the Age of

Deregulation and Denationalization

Despite all violent disagreements, mainstream Left and Right agree that what is at stake is the role of the state: is it “off limits” or “out of control”? But what if the role of the state — as with the flight to finance — is epiphenomenal to an underlying crisis-process? What are the possible political responses? Ernst Lohoff argues that rather than a rearguard defense of the state, the slogan of free access could organize a plausible Left project.


Robert Kurz: World Power and World Money: The Economic Function of the U.S. Military Machine within Global Capitalism and the Background of the New Financial Crisis

In an article written in the initial stages of the 2007-8 financial crisis, Robert Kurz traces its origins to the Reaganite policy of “weaponized Kenyesianism” that stabilized the world dollar economy and established the dominant flows of debt and goods that would persist until the onset of the crisis: phenomena that are generally recognized on the Left as well as on the Right only in inverted form.


Norbert Trenkle: Struggle without Classes: Why There Is No Resurgence of the Proletariat in the Currently Unfolding Capitalist Crisis

Class struggle played a historically indispensable role in the constitution of the working class as a subject conscious of its pursuit of a social mission. But can a class subject point to a future beyond capitalist social relations today? Is “declassing” a mere appearance? Or, on the contrary, do contemporary attempts to think struggle in class terms, no matter how sublimated, diguised, misrecognized, or sophisticated, lead up a blind alley?


Ernst Lohoff: Violence as the Order of Things and the Logic of Annihilation

How, after the end of the Cold War and the universalization of a supposedly pacifying market logic, are we to understand contemporary violence? The answer, suggests Ernst Lohoff, lies in the emergence of modern subjectivity and its origins in the Englightemnent: origins deeply bound up in the emergence of the value-form.


Robert Kurz: The Nightmare of Freedom: The Foundations of “Western Values” and the Helplessness of Critique

Are freedom and equality Left values? Certainly they inform historical Marxism and anarchism as much as liberalism. But what if the concepts themselves are bound up with the logic of the market? What if freedom is only a naked function of the valorization process — a moment in capital’s self-mediation — that is, of universal unfreedom? Utopias of circulation, of markets without money, suddenly look wildly implausible.


Karl-Heinz Lewed: Curtains for Universalism: Islamism as Fundamentalism in Modern Social Form

In most writing about political Islam — even from the Left — it is understood, even where a vulgar “clash of civilizations” thesis is rejected, to be fundamentally other to Western social and political forms. Karl-Heinz Lewed argues that political Islam is nothing other than a form of appearance of a general world crisis, one which makes its first appearance in the failed modernizations of the Third World. Political Islam is one attempt to resolve an impasse central to the Enlightenment mobilization of the dialectic of universal and particular: a dialectic which itself owes its historical resonance to the emergence of the value form.


Robert Kurz: On the Current Global Economic Crisis: Questions and Answers

How can we understand the current global economic crisis? What can we expect to happen in the next few years? How will this crisis force us to rethink critique, the nature of global social movements, and concepts such as revolution? For Robert Kurz, the critique of value is at the same time an analysis of the crisis, and the analysis of the crisis is of necessity a critique of value.


Robert Kurz: The Ontological Break: Before the Beginning of a Different World History

The debate over globalization seems to have reached a moment of exhaustion. Why? The process underlying globalization is, if anything, still in its initial stages. The endpoint we have reached is rather a categorical one: the exhaustion of an entire universe of historical concepts, which, argues Robert Kurz, we now have to learn to do without.




Roberto Schwarz reviews Robert Kurz’s The Collapse of Modernization

Josh Robinson reviews Ernst Lohoff’s and Norbert Trenkle’s The Great Devaluation

Barbara Foley and Kanishka Chowdhury review Kevin B. Anderson’s Marx at the Margins

Matthew Moraghan reviews Arundhati Roy’s Walking with the Comrades


Mediations: Journal of the Marxist Literacy Group

First published in:



Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ Academia:

Glenn Rikowski @ ResearchGate:

Online Publications at The Flow of Ideas:

The Flow of Ideas:

Dud Capitalism

Dud Capitalism


International Initiative for the Promotion of Political Economy (IIPPE)

Continuing its Training Workshops programme, the International Initiative for the Promotion of Political Economy (IIPPE) announces TWO forthcoming training workshops


1. Monday June 9 at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London: a one-day workshop on The Political Economy of Finance

Confirmed speakers include Simon Mohun and Tony Norfield. The morning will focus on productive and unproductive labour, and then what Marx had to say about interest and the rate of interest. The afternoon will focus on the relevance of the contribution of Hilferding, followed by a critical survey of some contemporary approaches to financial appropriation, against the empirical backdrop of the importance of finance in the contemporary world.

We seek an audience of undergraduate and postgraduate students, junior academics and activists, who have a particular interest in acquainting themselves with the relevance of Marxian political economy to the world of finance.

If you wish to apply to attend this workshop, please send a note to that effect, before Thursday 15 May with your name and occupation/affiliation, to Serap Saritas: (This workshop has a small amount of financial support from the Amiel and Melburn Trust to cover reasonable travel costs within the UK from outside London.)


2. Monday 15 September at the Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”, Naples, Italy (the day before the IIPPE Annual Conference in Naples): a one-day workshop on The Political Economy of Value and Price.

Confirmed speakers include Simon Mohun and Marco Veronese Passarella. The morning will focus on the labour theory of value and Marx’s account of the formation of prices of production. The afternoon will focus on some contemporary Marxist approaches to value and price.

We are seeking an audience of undergraduate and postgraduate students, junior academics and activists, who could be attending the IIPPE Annual Conference, and have a particular interest in acquainting themselves with some of the basic principles of Marxian political economy and its controversies. If you wish to apply to attend for this workshop, please send, before 30 June 2014, your name and occupation/affiliation, to:


First Published in


‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ Academia:

Glenn Rikowski @ ResearchGate:

Online Publications at The Flow of Ideas:

The Flow of Ideas:



Here  is information on two upcoming seminars at the University of Essex Centre for Work, Organization, and Society.

18/6 Seminar on Revaluing the Social in Contemporary Capitalism
Monday June 18th, 2012 @ 3PM
University of Essex Room 4SB.5.3
Centre for Work, Organization and Society (

Seminar presentations by: Jason Read (University of Southern Maine) / George Tsogas (Cass, City University) / Stevphen Shukaitis (University of Essex)

General Relations: Transindividuality from Ontology to a Non-Economic Critique of Political Economy
Jason Read (University of Southern Maine)

In the Grundrisse Marx writes “Only in the eighteenth century, in ‘civil society,’ do the various forms of social connectedness confront the individual as a mere means towards his private purposes, as external necessity. But the epoch which produces this standpoint, that of the isolated individual, is also precisely that of the hitherto must developed social (from this standpoint, general) relations.” The contradiction Marx grasped between the increased interconnectedness of economic production and social isolation has only deepened into the twenty-first century: it is the era of commons, of digital connections, but also the era of neoliberal individuation, isolation, and precarious fragmentation. How then to make sense of an era of connection and isolation. I argue that the concept, or rather the problem, of transindividuation, makes possible a conflictual understanding of the genesis of both individuals and social relations. I say problem, or problematic, rather than concept, because transindividuality needs to be grasped in its broadest sense as an ontology of relations (Simondon, Spinoza); a critique of political economy (Marx, Virno, Stiegler); and a constitution of political subjectivity (Balibar, Negri). It is by thinking the interrelation of the ontology, economy, and political that we can think the constitution and transformation of the present.

Cognitive capitalism, organization, and the labour theory of value
George Tsogas (Cass) & Stevphen Shukaitis (Essex)

We address the reasons and methods for renewing a transfusion of ideas between Marxism and organisation and management theorising. We put forward a dialectical approach to the search for O&M theories, by stepping outside disciplinary confines. The Marxian labour theory of value is put forward as the territory for such synthetical exchange to commence. For that task, we make the most of the autonomist Marxist tradition, inasmuch as it offers us a coherent explanation of the social foundations of post-Fordist, contemporary (cognitive) capitalism. We question the contemporary significance and relevance of the Marxian labour theory of value, in an era of deep capitalist crisis, and reach the assertion of the negation of value creation in cognitive capitalism: consumption precedes production and creates – rather than destroys – value. Our aim is to bring to the forefront of O&M theoretical enquiry fundamental questions on the nature of labour, exchange relations and forces of production in contemporary, cognitive capitalism.

26/6 Seminar: Rise of the Flashpublics
Tuesday June 26th, 2012 @ 4PM
University of Essex Room LTB4
Centre for Work, Organization and Society (

Rise of the Flashpublics: State-friended Social Media, User-Generated Discontent, and the Affective Transfer

This presentation examines recent entanglements of social media and political dissent to explore mutations in network sovereignty. Using a number of recent examples (including the US State Department organized Alliance of Youth Movements, the uprisings in Iran and Egypt, KONY 2012, Occupy Wall Street, and the US police networks), it argues that we are witnessing a convergence of sovereign and network powers, one that expresses new modes of control while setting the conditions for new forms of evaluation and antagonism. Network alliances and coalitions have become key actors in constructing a public (now as “State-friended” movements) and dissuading dissent movements (“State-enemied” ones). More specifically, counter-radicalization can take place via creating what I call flashpublics (quickly mobilized networked alliances that distract and prevent other emergent networks). At the same time, these coalitions depend on social media spectators/participants, which are affective transfer points that exceed network capture.

Bio: Jack Z. Bratich is associate professor and department chair of Journalism and Media Studies atRutgersUniversity. He is author of Conspiracy Panics: Political Rationality and Popular Culture (2008) and coeditor, along with Jeremy Packer and Cameron McCarthy, Foucault, Cultural Studies, and Governmentality (2003). His work applies autonomist social theory to such topics as audience studies, social media, and the cultural politics of secrecy. He is a zine librarian at ABC No Rio inNew York City.



‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski:

‘The Lamb’ by William Blake – set to music by Victor Rikowski:


Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:

MySpace Profile:

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

The Ockress:

Rikowski Point:





Call for Papers


Thursday 18 – Friday 19 October 2012

Universidade de Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil

We invite submissions that raise (or answer) questions on Marxian Labor Theory of Value and its role in Social Sciences.

Papers are invited on the following topics:

– Labor Theory of Value and Crisis;

– Labor Theory of Value: actuality, problems, limits and outcomes.

Submission deadline of proposals: July 31, 2012.

Applicants will be informed about acceptance by August 30, 2012.



Please email paper in English, Portuguese or Spanish, MS Word format, of no more than 3.000 words, to Speakers will be asked to make short 10-15 minute presentations addressing the main topics of their papers.

Papers should include the following elements: i) Paper’s title; ii) Author(s)’ name and affiliation; iii) Three key-words; iv) 150-word abstract; v) Contact information: mail address, country of residence, telephones and email.

Registration for accepted communications: US$ 50 to be paid at the registration desk.

For general questions and further information, please contact

Daniel Bin (

Please submit proposals via email to

1st International Conference on the ‘Labor Theory of Value and Social Sciences’ is a two-day conference collectively organized by the Group for Study and Research on Labour (Grupo de Estudos e Pesquisa sobre o Trabalho – GEPT/UnB)


‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski:

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

Rikowski Point:


Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at:

Karl Marx - 1872

Karl Marx - 1872



Klaus Hagendorf:

Université Paris X – Nanterre, 22.7.2009

Dear friends

I have worked for some time on a project “A Marxian Introduction to Modern Economics” (MIME), and in particular on the labour theory of value. Some of the most important results you find at:

My work resolves long standing issues and puts the labour theory of value back at the heart of Historical Materialism.

You are invited to contribute to this project of economics and Historical Materialism.

In solidarity: Klaus Hagendorf

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: