Beyond the Fragment: The Postoperaist Reception of Marx’s Fragment on Machines and its Relevance Today

This paper critiques the purposes to which Marx’s Fragment on Machines  is put in postoperaist thought. I suggest postoperaist readings wield influence on contemporary left thinking, via postcapitalism, accelerationism and ‘Fully Automated Luxury Communism’. Changes in labour lead proponents to posit a crisis of measurability and an incipient communism. I use the New Reading of Marx and Open Marxism to dispute this. Based on an analysis of value as a social form undergirded in antagonistic social relations, I argue the Fragment’s prognosis runs contrary to Marx’s critique of political economy when the latter is taken as a critical theory of society. This theoretical claim bears implications for contemporary left political praxis.

Keywords : Marx, Negri, postoperismo, value, immaterial labour, capitalism, postcapitalism

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Foto: Bernhard Weber


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