Backhaus on Fetishism.

I’m a particular fan of the following bit from Dialectics of the Value-Form because it does such a good job of: (a) encapsulating the many bad readings of fetishism and (b) bringing out how Marx’s theory of fetishism differentiates itself from these bad readings:

The presentation of commodity fetishism which misses its essence can be thus characterized: the authors refer to some sentence from the fetishism chapter of Capital and interpret them, conceptually and also for the most part terminologically, in the manner of the German Ideology, a manuscript in which the meaning of the labour theory of value was still unknown. The usual quote is ‘the social connections of their private labour appears as what they are ie. Not as immediate social relations of persons in their labouring activity but rather as thing-like relations of persons and social relations of things. From this quote is simply read that social relations have “made themselves autonomous” vis-a-vis humans. A comment which constitutes the theme of the early writings and has become a common-place of conservative cultural critique under the cathword of alienation or depersonalization. The point of the critique of political economy, however, is not the mere description of this existing fact, but the analysis of its genesis. 103-4

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