Friday, 6 April 2012


The project of value form critique focuses on a ‘return to Marx’ through a close reading of his critique of political economy. Value form critics assert the objective reality of categories of bourgeois economy. They don’t find significance in poetry. They read the business pages. Politically, value form critique appears based on the doctrine that a thorough elucidation of the processes of capitalism is a necessary condition for its overthrow. The viability of this doctrine is not at all assured, for two reasons: not only is an opponent always, by its nature, finally elusive but the assumption that incompatible ways of life must be grounded in a thorough familiarity is basically flawed. And nor does the critique of political economy amount to a critique of the capitalist social relation; the former is an analytic/interpretative method, the latter is a political intervention aimed at the totality of human life in the present. The relation between the two within value form criticism’s project remains unclear. So, if it is safe to assume that the major part of humanity is never going to involve itself in even the rudiments of the practice of value form critique then the political relation between this majority and the tiny number of value form critics becomes incomprehensible. The self-named ‘return to Marx’ has yet to prove itself as a means for intervening as a critique of the totality of human life. If, however, communists are to work on the hypothesis that value form critique could turn out to be a worthwhile undertaking, which somewhere at sometime is going to be integrated as a component of a wider communist project, but which in the meantime must by necessity remain a minority pass-time that has yet to fully form its political purpose, then it is still reasonable to consider that, even in its fullest amplitude, value form critique will only ever play the role of little dog till the big dog comes