In Letters of Blood and Fire
Karl Marx wrote that the only way to write about the origins of capitalism in
the 16th century is in the letters of blood and fire used to drive workers from
the common lands, forests and waters. In this collection of essays, George
Caffentzis argues that the same is true for the annals of twenty-first-century
capitalism. Information technology, immaterial production, financialization, and
globalization have been trumpeted as inaugurating a new phase of capitalism
that puts it beyond its violent origins. Instead of being a period of major social
and economic novelty, however, the course of recent decades has been a return
to the fire and blood of struggles at the advent of capitalism.
Emphasizing class struggles that have proliferated across the social body
of global capitalism, Caffentzis shows how a wide range of conflicts and
antagonisms in the labor-capital relation express themselves within and against
the work process. These struggles are so central to the dynamic of the system
that even the most sophisticated machines cannot liberate capitalism from
class struggle and the need for labor. Themes of war and crisis permeate
the text and are given singular emphasis, documenting the peculiar way in
which capital perpetuates violence and proliferates misery on a world scale.
This collection draws upon a careful rereading of Marx’s thought in order to
elucidate political concerns of the day. Originally written to contribute to the
debates of the anticapitalist movement over the last thirty years, this book
makes Caffentzis’s writings readily available as tools for the struggle in this
period of transition to a common future.