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Publication - Dr Harry Pitts

    Value Form Theory, Open Marxism & the New Reading of Marx


    Pitts, FH, 2019, ‘Value Form Theory, Open Marxism & the New Reading of Marx’. in: Ana Cecilia Dinerstein, Alfonso García Vela, Edith González, John Holloway (eds) Open Marxism IV: Against a Closing World. Pluto Press


    This chapter charts the theory of the value-form found in, on one hand, the New Reading of Marx (NRM), and, on the other, Open Marxism (OM). The latter is in part an outgrowth of the former, insofar as they launch a complementary overhaul of how we think about the relationship between value, labour and capitalist society. But it also marks a critical contribution, accompanying the former’s stress on the social form of value with a stern emphasis on the concrete antagonistic social relations of class society that serve to constitute value and are contained not only logically but historically within it. By moving critically within the latter, OM helps restate the centrality of class struggle at the core of the NRM’s ‘monetary’ theory of value, facilitating an understanding of the forces that intervene in the struggle with, against, despite and beyond the value form.
    This has produced mutual criticisms and creative tensions between NRM and OM, leading to the complementarity of the one with the other. By bringing an understanding of the constitution of abstract social forms in continuing concrete forms of human practice and domination, OM suggests that the unfolding the value form as presented in Marx’s Capital is not simply a logical derivation but a historical process based in the forceful dispossession and separation of individuals from the means of reproducing their conditions of living in order to create a class of wage labourers. It also suggests that behind the apparent ‘non-empirical reality’ of value lie antagonistic social relations that have a real-life efficacy mediated in abstract social forms. In this, OM’s critique of the NRM is also what affords the possibility of its complementarity with, and extension of, the latter.

    Full details in the University publications repository