Karl Marx on Werewolf Labor

            The prolongation of the working day beyond the limits of the natural day, into the night, only acts as a palliative. It quenches only in a slight degree the vampire thirst for the living blood of labor.
            To appropriate labor during all the twenty-four hours of the day is the inherent tendency of capitalist production. But as it is physically impossible to exploit the same individual labor power constantly during the night as well as the day, to overcome this physical hindrance an alternation becomes necessary between the workpeople whose powers are exhausted by day and those who are used up by night. This alternation may be effected in various ways; e.g., it may be so arranged that part of the workers are one week employed on day work, the next week on night work. It is well-known that this relay system, this alternation of two sets of workers, held full sway in the full-blooded youth time of the English cotton manufacture, and that at the present time it still flourishes, among others, in the cotton spinning of the Moscow district.
            This twenty-four hours’ process of production exists today as a system in many of the branches of industry of Great Britain that are still “free,” in the blast furnaces, forges, plate-rolling mills, and other metallurgical establishments in England, Wales, and Scotland. The working time here includes, besides the twenty-four hours of the six working days, a great part also of the twenty-four hours of Sunday. The workers consist of men and women, adults and children of both sexes. The ages of the children and young persons run through all intermediate grades, from eight (in some cases from six) to eighteen.
            In some branches of industry, the girls and women work through the night together with the males.
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– Karl Mark was born on May 5, 1818. "It is self-evident," he wrote in Capital, "that the laborer is nothing else, his whole life through, than labor power, that therefore all his disposable time is by nature and law labor-time, to be devoted to the self-expansion of capital. Time for education, for intellectual development, for the fulfilling of social functions and for social intercourse, for the free play of his bodily and mental activity, even the rest time of Sunday (and in a country of Sabbatarians!)–moonshine! But in its blind, unrestrainable passion, its werewolf hunger for surplus labor, capital oversteps not only the moral but even the merely physical maximum bounds of the working day."

One Response to "Karl Marx on Werewolf Labor"

  1. Iggy   May 6, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Karl Mark? Marx,s most prophetic line may be where he notes that the failure of the revolution will result in the common ruin of the contending classes. Extinction is ruinous!

    Reply

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