Division of Labor, Fetishism, and Ideology (was ontology of class and race?)

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Wed Jul 8 22:27:43 PDT 1998

Rakesh wrote:
>My argument was that the universal properties, dispositions and
>depravities people attribute to various racial kinds only exist by way of
>self-reinforcing illusion and mystification. On the other hand, the
>mystical power of commodities to determine our social relations actually
>does inhere, independent of our consciousness and will, in those objects
>as a result of our social relations in and through which social labor time
>can only be distributed by the exchange value of commodities. Racial kinds
>have no properties outside of collective misrepresentation; commodities
>have fetishistic power outside of our representations. Ideology is not
>fetishism, one of Althusser's errors as Pilling argues.

The division of labor is as central to capitalist dynamics as commodity fetishism, exploitation, and logics of accumulation are. I think that divisions of labor mediate commodity fetishism, ideology of race, and ideology of sex/gender/sexuality, grounding them into social practice of actually existing + historically constituted capitalism (as opposed to the essence of capitalism as explained through heuristics).

>Now I am not suggesting that the elimination of the ideology of race
>would eliminate persistent inequalities among similarly skilled workers,
>segmented labor markets, unemployment, or poverty.

I suggest that for the ideology of race to disappear, the division of labor must become deraced, _not_ in criticism _but_ in the real world, and not just within one country but internationally. It goes without saying that the reserve army of labor must be deraced as well, for the ideology to lose its hold. The same goes for the ideology of sex/gender/sexuality.


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