GEORG LUKACS REIFICATION AND THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE PROLETARIAT PDF
1. The Marxism of Rosa Luxemburg. Class Consciousness. Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat. I The Phenomenon of Reification. Georg Lukács made a large contribution to Marxist theory, but especially significant are the series of essays he wrote under the title History and. Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat () Proletariat · I. The Phenomenon of Reification › Tags. Georg Lukacs · Marxism.
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Before tackling the problem itself we must be quite clear in our minds that commodity fetishism is a specific problem of our age, the age of modern capitalism. For vulgar political economy, which seeks to represent capital as an independent source of value, of value creation, this form is naturally a veritable find. What is at issue here, however, is the question: Man must prove the truth, i. This claim directly touches upon the theory of reification: Not until the rise of capitalism was a unified economic hence a – formally – unified structure of consciousness that embraced the whole society, brought into being.
To achieve that it would be necessary – as we emphasised above – for the commodity structure to penetrate society in all its aspects and to remould it in its own image. And the money-lender sells his money as just such an interest-bearing thing.
Georg Lukács – ‘Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat’ | An Empty Flight
Reification requires that a society should learn to satisfy all its needs in terms of commodity exchange. For man, however, the root is man himself. Tragically, the revolution was physically annihilated.
Meanwhile, the real basis for the development of law, a change in the power relations between the classes, becomes hazy and vanishes into the sciences that study it, sciences which – in conformity with the modes of thought current in bourgeois society – generate the same problems of transcending their material substratum as we have seen in jurisprudence and economics.
Praxis, Totality, and Freedom 4. So too was mass production with mechanical, standardised labour, as we can see, for instance, with canal construction in Egypt and Asia Minor and the mines in Rome. It is the capacity of money, or of a commodity, to expand its own value independently of reproduction – which is a mystification of capital in its most flagrant form. The reality of social existence is, in a certain way, the same for both proletariat and bourgeoisie but only in its immediacy.
But this problem is not deduced from a concrete analysis of the connections between those human beings and the processes which animate them, but instead gekrg into being fully formed and therefore, like God himself, artificially whole. Individuals in ancient Greece only had to accept the totality of meaning within their world, even if they were, in some particular situation or another, unable to understand it.
For instance, as soon as the yarn is sold the cycle of consciousnrss capital-value represented by the yarn may begin anew, regardless of what may next become of the sold yarn. It is through his own movements that he establishes equivalence. In contrast, modern society is constitutively alienated: If so, then how? Fogarasi in Kommunismus, jg. In regard to the relation between form and life, we can distinguish between forms that are forms of life itself, produced by that life, and abstract forms which are imposed onto life from the outside.
Only in this case can the structure of commodity-relations be made to yield a model of all the objective forms off bourgeois society together with all the subjective forms corresponding to them. This problem becomes virulent in modernity where the form of life is no longer something unproblematically present. The finished article ceases to be the object of the work-process.
To be radical is to go to the root of the matter. Hence the consciousness of the true nature of a social system based on the sale of commodities is for the proletariat at the same time a consciousness of self.
Marx goes on to make a number of very fine observations about the effects of reification upon language.
Lukács: Reification and the Class Consciousness of the Proletariat – Counterfire
On this view, the externalization of the social is not problematic in itself. IT priletariat no accident that Marx should have begun with an analysis of commodities when, in the two great works of his mature period, he set out to portray capitalist society in its totality and to lay bare its fundamental nature. It is beyond the scope of this essay to discuss the central importance of this aand for economics itself. This understanding of institutions entails that politics, as a form of action directed towards the social totality as a whole, must treat this totality, on the one hand, as being dependent on natural and biological facts that limit its potential transformations and, on the other hand, as increasingly being determined by laws of its own GW As in insurance schemes, etc.
I also contend that he fudges up this objective subjective distinction in part III. They overlook the fact that there are qualitative conditions attached to these quantitative relations, that it is not merely a question of units of value which can easily be compared with each other but also use-values of a definite kind which must fulfil a definite function in production and consumption.
We also see it in the fact this thing is autonomous and rational. Likewise with the machine.
The proletarian situation does not necessarily entail an immediate consciousness of the totality. Even though these activities are not constitutive for the value of works of art, they can still serve as a basis for reconstructing the independent normative status of kf aesthetics.
Not that the desire for synthesis is absent; nor can it be maintained that the best people have welcomed with open arms a mechanical existence hostile to life and a scientific formalism alien to it. It turns out that the contradictions in which the antagonisms of the mechanics of history are expressed are only capable of an objective social solution in practice if the solution is at proletarita same time a new, practically-won consciousness on the part of the proletariat.
While on all three levels, entities appear as fixed objects, their real essence is always that of interrelated, irreversible processes GW lkkacs Because a break with the organic unity and totality of human existence is a necessary precondition for this development, the commodity form must, over time, subject all social spheres to its rule. But that is not all. He attempts to synthesize these two types through his interpretation of fetishism as reification.
For as long as the fate of the worker still appears to be an individual fate lf in the case of the slave in antiquitythe life of the ruling classes is still free to assume quite different forms. About HR Deep in the adjunct crackhole. Whether an action is functionally right or wrong is decided ultimately by the evolution of proletarian class consciousness.
But this would presuppose an awareness of the causes, the genesis and the necessity of this formalism; moreover, it would not be enough to unite the special sciences mechanically: Even Roman Law, which comes closest to these developments while remaining, in modern terms, within the framework of pre-capitalist legal patterns, does not in this respect go beyond the empirical, the concrete and the traditional. This incoherence becomes particularly egregious in periods of crisis.
This goes hand in hand with the union in time and space of special operations that are related to a set of heterogeneous use-values. The ground and the earth have nothing to do with ground-rent, machines have nothing to do with profit.