This paper places digital labour in the context of recently revived interest in the young Marx’s concept of ‘species-being’ (Gatungswesen). Cryptically and fragmentarily announced in the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, but largely abandoned in Marx’s later work, the idea has passed in and then, apparently decisively, out, of fashion amongst his interpreters. But the first decade of the twentyfirst century has seen a renewed interest surely due in part to the manifest capacities of electronic networks and biotechnologies to alter the cognitive and corporeal attributes of the human. After proposing an historical, rather than essentialist, understanding of Gattungswesen the paper goes on to suggest some categories that might be adequate to a situation where the stakes in class conflict are nothing less than the trajectory of a contemporary ‘species-becoming’: planet factory, futuristic accumulation, global worker, techno-finance, singularity capitalism, biocommunism.
Foto: Bernhard Weber