Sex Work: A Labor and Feminist Issue (Re: Gender, Race,...)

Doyle Saylor djsaylor at
Tue Jun 16 23:17:32 PDT 1998

Hello, I recieved a reply From:

Yoshie Furuhashi <furuhashi.1 at>

>At 12:20 AM 6/16/98 -0400, Ingrid wrote:
>>original offensive comment was my perception that too many on the left
>>seem to think that if we could only repair the language we could change the
>Ditto. I would not say it better myself. Which, IMHO, is yet another sign
>of the Left losing its materialistic roots and venturing into the quagmire
>of culture and symbol manipulation. On the pain of opening that can of
>worms again, I really like culture, especially of the "high end" variety, I
>just do not think it is a substitute (like religion) for material living

I will take note of Yoshie's reply shortly. Ingrid says the left loses its materialistic roots by venturing into the quagmire of culture and symbol manipulation. It seems this is the time in human history to look at the brain in a scientific materialist sense of the word. Therefore it seems possible to break new ground about the language tools we use in the sense that Marx looked at Hegel, at idealism once, before he went on to economic study.

Anything about Marxism that says we must stop at the mind and how it works? Mainly the mind and it's manifestations have been avoided in the context of the speculative nature of the enterpise that would not advance in a practical way what needs to happen for the masses of people. Never the less it seems highly appropriate to go at symbolic communications now, because of computers and neuroscience. To answer much more deeply the purposes for which we may use our culture to liberate our human conditions.

(Yoshie) "Capitalists know that words have an important function of affecting the self-perception of workers. And that is the reason why, for example, they took to calling retail workers 'sales associates' and have created so many 'managers' who do little managing of consequence."

(Doyle) While I think that Yoshie's statement is true, there is not a manual of mind control in Capitalism. Indubitably Yoshie is right to say it is not an either or proposition concerning symbols, and culture. Yet it is extradinarily unclear what self perception (introspection of the minds "real" state) means in anyone's brain. I would say that we can make a point of view much more deeply felt upon the people by getting at the precise nature of the description of mental representations. This isn't idle chatter. For instance the whole business of whether one inherents a "gay" gene is typical claim of the ieological apparatus of capitalism. Inheritence in such circumstances replaces any since of the self construction each of us does in order to survive. But in a scientific sense of the understanding we can "know" that gayness is not an inheritence just from the medical apparatus we have available to us now. We can know so much about the mind now, that most foggy thinking, assertions without foundations about thought can be thrown aside soon enough. In that sense we are much able to change things the better for ourselves, than those in the nineteenth century could have hoped.

(Doyle) Mind control seems to me to be not so much a concern about what one thinks in a capitalist state, as capitalist constructing institutions which do not allow counter currents to form (as Chomsky would say). In other words if the police can track you down quickly enough or your supervisor stops you at the first sign, and halt anything you do that upsets the apple cart, then they don't have to care about what you think. Hence bourgeois democracy doesn't in and of itself threaten capitalism.

(Doyle) I know that a great deal of money and industry is spent upon advertising as a means of "control". But one can't explain then why dissent can spontaneously form in the population if the control of capitalism is absolute (I suppose that is why we Marxist use the term hegemonic instead of absolute). Rather the weakness of the capitalist thinking process shows clearly enough in their system, but we have no access to similar means of expression (television, telephone, computer), so the counter views can't form except in a hobbled (narrowed perspective) manner.


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list