Volume 64, Issue 1, Winter 2020
Marxism and New Materialism
Towards a Political Anthropology of Labor Power
In Volume Three of Capital in a striking but somewhat uncharacteristic formula, Marx argues that the labor relation is the “hidden basis” of the entire social edifice including the state and politics. As an attempt to clarify and develop this insight I examine the dual nature of labor as abstract and concrete labor, arguing that the two sides of labor correspond not just to two sides of the commodity, but to different ethics and alienations of labor, and ultimately to different philosophical anthropologies.