Friday, January 1, 2010

Humanism all too Human

"Proletanisation is not the loss of some prior existing thing, but the exploitation of human capacity. ...What the proletarian loses every day is not a strip of some eternal nature, but a force of life, a social capacity which the beast of burden does not have at its disposal, and which is thus a reality internal to wage relation ( 94)." Endnotes.

The above quote by Duave, a prominent anti-state communist was recently argued by my friend as being humanistic. Rereading the statement I would have to disagree. What the conversation led to, however, was a brief discussion of what humanism is. I'd never heard the term before, but quickly picked up on the argument. Humanism is a philosophical stance that regards humans as having innate characters, rights, dignities, and other muck.

Early writings by Marx have a humanistic slant to them. Under alienation there is a human who is disenfranchised by her labor, she becomes less human due to her job. While Duave, it was argued, has a humanistic slant I would disagree that this quote is humanist. I think it points to a more constructivist position (a view point that I agree with more as well). A constructivist postion views the individual as made by the society in which he lives. When the society changes so to does the individual, there is nothing (or less of an emphasis on individual essence). innate about the individual that can make him not change when the society changes.

Going back to the original quote, I liked it because I felt it was constructivist. Humanity can simply do more with their time if they were not wasting their time with work under capital. Capital emphasizes both waste and crisis (which produces more waste).