[OPE-L:5873] Re: Hello and Kliman's cat

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Sat, 20 Dec 1997 12:00:44 -0500 (EST)

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Jurriaan wrote on Fri:

> I don't think that domestic labour or patriarchy are integrally part of the
> capitalist mode of production, although you could say in the certain phase
> of capitalist development they are part of the "regime of accumulation".
> Witness the growth of fast food stores, the automation of household tasks,
> one-parent families, the sexual revolution, changes in attitudes towards
> property/matrimonial rights and inheritance, the erosion of the family
> wage, and the growing number of people living alone.

None of these developments have eliminated domestic labor or patriarchy.
Rather, they concern the changing *forms* in which patriarchal relations
are manifested under late capitalism. From a theoretical perspective,
perhaps the larger issue is to identify the requirements regarding the
reproduction of labour-power under capitalism.

Certainly from a historical perspective the reproduction of labour-power,
domestic labour, and patriarchy have all been connected to the
reproduction of capitalist social relations. The theoretical question is
whether there is a systematic and necessary relationship between domestic
labour, patriarchy, and capitalism (and this also has a political
corollary, i.e. whether patriarchy and the nuclear family can at least in
theory be eliminated under capitalism).

> >From the standpoint of Capital as a whole, economically considered, the
> activities involved in reproducing the collective worker (I mean the
> household labour, raising children, education etc.) are a COST.

These activities are a cost, but they are also more than a cost since
capital has an interest in the "quality" of labour-power produced. Thus
public education may be seen as a cost, but also a potential benefit (to
the extent that it trains future workers in skills and behavior, e.g.
docility, that benefit capital).

I don't have any specific remarks now on your comments on "transitional
demands" at the close of your post other than to say that I have no
objection to what you wrote.

In solidarity, Jerry