New Criticals

The conclusion then is that the goals of the working class, insofar as they are fall short of overcoming the objective logic of capital, risk being (at least implicitly) self-contradictory. In the absence of a struggle against capital by the class as whole, local struggles against individual capital will have likely dangerous and counter-productive knock-on effects.

For this reason there is understandable intellectual pressure to either: 1) idly hope for the objectively necessary sharpening of contradictions such that a universal workers’ movement arises or 2) work with local conditions and take a more incremental approach. The latter strategy argues that only struggle against capital and its guarantors gives workers the ability to recognize a shared source of disenfranchisement while simultaneously developing the experience necessary to recognize their objectively pernicious and unstable conditions. The classical hope is that through an eventual collating of struggles, the objectively problematic logic of capital will be overcome by mass worker-solidarity. In an uncomfortable twist, the logic of capital is actually to help realize the goal: When each local, isolated gain is compensated for by capital, which is to say, when capital harms workers or would-be-workers in other areas, this knock-on harm creates the further impoverished or precarious conditions which provide the same conditions for radical development here as well. In this way, as Marx famously held in the Manifesto, capital is to produce its own grave-diggers. There is, in other words, a dual logic of local struggle (with local benefit), and the development of the broader conditions (further impoverishment) in which solidarity can develop on the one side from victory, and on the other, the possibility of growing radicality.