Inaugural post from Stephen Vilaseca’s new blog: Investigating Art & Politics in Urban Space…

Dr. Stephen Luis Vilaseca

The Italian workers’ rejection of rigid, authoritarian hierarchy, and impersonal, rationalized routines, and call for more flexible, cooperative social production forced capital into a paradigm shift. The industrial factory gave way to networked organization and production. The technological innovation of the personal computer, however, gave capital the means with which to extract surplus value, not from labor materialized in a product, but from labor based upon language. In other words, the new social laborer ushered in a new era of capitalist development known as post-Fordism and cognitive capitalism in which the very faculty of language is exploited for economic gain.

The theoretical basis for autonomist Marxism’s privileging of communication in contemporary configurations of capital is Karl Marx’s Grundrisse. In this text, the autonomist’s category of social labor in the form of Antonio Negri’s “socialized worker” (Books for Burning xl) and Maurizio Lazzarato’s “immaterial laborer” (“Immaterial Labor”) finds its…

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