Reading Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program

[I am posting this piece I wrote in 2006 because I believe it sheds light on current debates on interpreting Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program and broader debates about Marxist-Humanism. It was originally published in Pre-Convention Discussion Bulletin #2, August 2006, News and Letters Committees. I will be posting a series of articles from 2004-2007 that were part of the debate then, which my opponents never answered except with serious misrepresentations.  Some points refer implicitly or explicitly to these misrepresentations.]

Reading Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program

by Franklin, Memphis, August 2006

These new revolutionary moments of human development became ground for organization. So integral were organizational forms and revolutionary principles that, as we have seen, [Marx] concluded that the form of the First International which he had headed was “no longer realizable in its first historical form after the fall of the Paris Commune.” The point was not to “bargain about principles.” Only the “all-around development of the individual” would prove that humanity reached the end of the division between mental and manual labor. Then the new society could operate on the new principle “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” In a word, both the destruction of the State and the end of the division between mental and manual labor must be achieved for the principle of “the absolute movement of becoming” to become reality—when practiced as the “all-around development of the individual.” Nothing less than that could be called Communism.

—Raya Dunayevskaya, “Marxist-Humanism: The Summation That Is a New Beginning, Subjectively and Objectively,” The Power of Negativity, p. 263


Hegel’s philosophy is a philosophy of the self-developing subject, according to Raya Dunayevskaya. Her comment that Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program (CGP) expresses a theory of human development cannot be understood apart from the centrality of the self-developing subject. Any theory of a determinate negation of capitalist society needs to revolve around that; otherwise, it is not a determinate negation of the dialectical inversion of subject and object that Marx theorized in capitalism, based on reified, alienated abstract labor, split not only from concrete labor but from the Subject, the worker.

From the vantage point of such a dialectical philosophy, let’s examine the section of the CGP that refers to a “first phase” and “a higher phase of communist society”—beginning with a closer look at Marx’s immanent critique of the draft Gotha Program’s (GP) uncritical posing of “fair distribution.” Marx states his purpose at the outset: “To understand what is implied in this connection by the phrase ‘fair distribution.’” He adds: “The kernel consists in this, that in this communist society every worker must receive the ‘undiminished’ Lassallean ‘proceeds of labor.’” At the end of the analysis, he restates his purpose:

I have dealt more at length with the “undiminished” proceeds of labor, on the one hand, and with “equal right” and “fair distribution,” on the other, in order to show what a crime it is to attempt, on the one hand, to force on our Party again, as dogmas, ideas which in a certain period had some meaning but have now become obsolete verbal rubbish, while again perverting, on the other, the realistic outlook, which it cost so much effort to instill into the Party but which has now taken root in it, by means of ideological nonsense about right and other trash so common among the democrats and French socialists.

Quite apart from the analysis so far given, it was in general a mistake to make a fuss about so-called distribution and put the principal stress on it.

In the process Marx shows that, even if made more rigorous, the loose Lassallean phrases turn into opposite, so that “undiminished proceeds” become diminished, “proceeds of labor” is ambiguous in capitalist society and loses meaning in socialist society, and “equal right” shows itself as unequal.

Marx begins the immanent critique simply: “What is ‘a fair distribution’?” He points out that the then-prevailing distribution was the only “fair” one given the existing mode of production. Then he goes on:

To understand what is implied in this connection by the phrase “fair distribution,” we must take the first paragraph and this one together. The latter presupposes a society wherein the instruments of labor are common property and the total labor is co-operatively regulated, and from the first paragraph we learn that “the proceeds of labor belong undiminished with equal right to all members of society.”

Marx makes clear that he is about to write a critical analysis of “fair distribution,” “undiminished proceeds of labor,” and “equal right.” First he dispenses with the illusion of “undiminished” proceeds of labor, indicating that, before labor’s products are distributed to individuals, they must become diminished by deductions to cover renewal (replacement, expansion) of means of production and reserve funds, all of which “are in no way calculable by equity.” The proceeds are further diminished by social expenditures including for “schools, health services, etc. [which, from] the outset…grows considerably in comparison with present-day society, and it grows in proportion as the new society develops.” Then he arrives at just how narrow and partial is that which falls under “equal” distribution:

Only now do we come to the “distribution” which the program, under Lassallean influence, alone has in view in its narrow fashion—namely, to that part of the means of consumption which is divided among the individual producers of the co-operative society.[1]

Next Marx dismisses the phrase “proceeds of labor” as meaningful for a society in which commodity-value is not operative. In place of this loose phrase he refers to “the social stock of means of consumption” and analyzes what its “fair distribution” could mean:

What we have to deal with here is a communist society, not as it has developed on its own foundations, but, on the contrary, just as it emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically, morally, and intellectually, still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges. Accordingly, the individual producer receives back from society—after the deductions have been made—exactly what he gives to it. What he has given to it is his individual quantum of labor. For example, the social working day consists of the sum of the individual hours of work; the individual labor time of the individual producer is the part of the social working day contributed by him, his share in it.

Given a society still stamped in every respect with the birthmarks of capitalist society, what could possibly be considered a “fair distribution” with “equal right”? Each individual producer receiving back the equivalent of their contribution (after deductions). This reading is borne out as Marx goes on to show that this supposed “equal right” is actually unequal, so what is supposedly “fair” is unfair.[2] That is the whole point of this argument.

Another reading of this text has long been common in the Marxist movement. The pull to stagify Marx’s thought, to provide the appealing simplicity of formulas for the new society, is strong. So the passage about distributing the means of consumption according to labor-time has often been read as a proposal for the new society.[3] The problem with this interpretation is that Marx makes no argument for the necessity of the individual receiving back the diminished equivalent of their contribution.[4] Can anybody explain why it must be so, other than saying, “Marx says so”? How about, “otherwise, it wouldn’t be fair”?[5] This reading is further undermined by putting the CGP’s text in the context of Marx’s Capital:

The mode of this distribution [of the means of subsistence] will vary with the productive organization of the community, and the degree of historical development attained by the producers. We will assume, but merely for the sake of a parallel with the production of commodities, that the share of each individual producer in the means of subsistence is determined by his labor-time. (Kerr edition, p. 90; Penguin ed., p. 172)

If the assumption is merely for the sake of a parallel, and the mode will vary, then clearly Marx is posing no necessity for shares to be allocated on the basis of labor-time. [Curiously, Hudis writes in his 3/20/2005 class presentation “Directly and Indirectly Social Labor”: “Marx doesn’t say he is discussing this as an example….Marx says there is a parallel with the old society since there is an exchange of equivalents; he does not say the exchange itself will not really take place.” Since Marx does not say there is a parallel but rather that he will make an assumption for the sake of making a parallel for the understanding of his readers who live in capitalist society, Hudis’s interpretation is astonishingly wrong-headed. He sticks to this misinterpretation in his book Marx’s Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism, pp. 157-59, 198.] It seems unlikely that the CGP represents a revision of Marx’s position, given that his cover letter to Bracke mentions the French edition of Capital (whose text in this passage is in complete accord with the Kerr and Penguin editions), and Marx did not write a “correction,” then or later.

So if Marx is not saying what the new society must be like, then why does he make this argument? He is saying, here is your “fair distribution” and “equal right.” Even if we attempt to make your loose phrases rigorous, it still falls apart. Far from making a proposal, Marx is attacking the idea of putting the ideas of “fair distribution” and “undiminished proceeds of labor” in a party program.

As in Capital, the CGP notes that the assumption of a bourgeois right of equality yields a parallel with commodity-producing society:

Here, obviously, the same principle prevails as that which regulates the exchange of commodities, as far as this is exchange of equal values. Content and form are changed, because under the altered circumstances no one can give anything except his labor, and because, on the other hand, nothing can pass to the ownership of individuals, except individual means of consumption. But as far as the distribution of the latter among the individual producers is concerned, the same principle prevails as in the exchange of commodity equivalents: a given amount of labor in one form is exchanged for an equal amount of labor in another form.

Hence, equal right here is still—in principle—bourgeois right, although principle and practice are no longer at loggerheads, while the exchange of equivalents in commodity exchange exists only on the average and not in the individual case.

In spite of this advance, this equal right is still constantly stigmatized by a bourgeois limitation.

Marx calls this an advance because it assumes an actual exchange of (diminished) equivalents, rather than labor-time being averaged out. The word “advance” does not refer to what determines a change in the mode of production or the form of labor, but only that the exchange is really an exchange of equivalents, when viewed from the limited standpoint of labor-time as the standard. Certainly Marx does not claim that “It is an advance that brings crashing to a halt the very basis of capitalist society….”[6] How could a change in the form of distribution of the means of consumption be the advance that changes the form of labor? In truth, Marx’s point here is that this limited advance is not sufficient to transcend bourgeois right, let alone be the determinant that abolishes value production. (Remember, in this passage Marx is presupposing that value production has already been abolished.) In Dunayevskaya’s interpretation, it shows the need for revolution to be total from the start.

We have come to the part where, far from inscribing “equal remuneration” on a banner of the new society,[7] Marx negates it, or rather, lets it negate itself:

But one man is superior to another physically, or mentally, and supplies more labor in the same time, or can labor for a longer time; and labor, to serve as a measure, must be defined by its duration or intensity, otherwise it ceases to be a standard of measurement. This equal right is an unequal right for unequal labor. It recognizes no class differences, because everyone is only a worker like everyone else; but it tacitly recognizes unequal individual endowment, and thus productive capacity, as a natural privilege. It is, therefore, a right of inequality, in its content, like every right.

The heart of the matter is this: “This equal right is an unequal right for unequal labor.” There is no statement here that “different labors [must be] actually equal.”[8] On the contrary, the point is that even if they are counted as equal for distribution purposes, it is still “unequal right for unequal labor.” When Marx wrote about equalization of labor, it was in reference to abstract labor operating in the production of value. Here it is clear that he is referring to the application of an “equal standard” to “unequal labor” for the determination of distribution of means of consumption—and nothing more.

Besides equal right turning into inequality, there is another defect—individuals being regarded only as workers and nothing more, all other dimensions being ignored:

Right, by its very nature, can consist only in the application of an equal standard; but unequal individuals…are measurable only by an equal standard insofar as they are brought under an equal point of view, are taken from one definite side only—for instance, in the present case, are regarded only as workers and nothing more is seen in them, everything else being ignored. Further, one worker is married, another is not; one has more children than another, and so on and so forth. Thus, with an equal performance of labor, and hence an equal share in the social consumption fund, one will in fact receive more than another, one will be richer than another, and so on.

Marx is not saying that post-capitalist society at its beginnings must only regard individuals as workers. That would be completely unacceptable, certainly in our day of multiple subjects of revolution as Reason, of the movement from practice that is itself a form of theory, of profound questions arising about “what kind of labor” and the recognition by Dunayevskaya of Marx’s concept of the Man/Woman relationship being pivotal and fundamental. Not only would it be unacceptable, but it would go against the dialectic of revolution upsurging from masses in motion. Our reading shows that Marx (1) is discussing the application of this equal standard only in determining distribution, and (2) is not proposing it as a prescription for the new society but rather showing in detail why the Lassallean conception is incoherent, and why the principal stress should not be on distribution. The problem comes if one assumes that it is a prescription for the new society and that this equal standard of distribution somehow defines the essence of the determinate negation of value production. In that case one would be forced to enshrine, as the primary principle, a principle that necessarily regards everyone as a worker and nothing more.

Only now do we come to the two paragraphs that Dunayevskaya labeled “key” in her marginalia. First:

But these defects are inevitable in the first phase of communist society as it is when it has just emerged after prolonged birth pangs from capitalist society. Right can never be higher than the economic structure of society and its cultural development conditioned thereby.

“Inevitable defects” refers not to the alleged necessity of distribution according to labor-time, but the defects that equal right is unequal, and that right can only view individuals from a single dimension.[9] This does not mean that no other form of distribution would be possible, but that any other form would also inevitably suffer from defects and “unfairness” so long as the economic, cultural, and individual human development had not reached a sufficient level. What is crucial is the subject’s self-development, measured in the self-activity of masses taking control of production and administration, breaking down the division between mental and manual labor—which Dunayevskaya kept stressing had to begin even before the revolution, far from being put off to the future for fear of supposedly jumping to the absolute like a shot from a pistol. [This refers to polemics from Hudis and Kliman, who were justifying their complete omission of discussing the need to abolish of the division between mental and manual labor.]

With this in mind let’s return to an earlier paragraph in the CGP:

Within the co-operative society based on common ownership of the means of production, the producers do not exchange their products; just as little does the labor employed on the products appear here as the value of these products, as a material quality possessed by them, since now, in contrast to capitalist society, individual labor no longer exists in an indirect fashion but directly as a component part of total labor. The phrase “proceeds of labor,” objectionable also today on account of its ambiguity, thus loses all meaning.

The main point here is the meaninglessness of the phrase “proceeds of labor.” Far from offering a new definition of the mode of production of the new society, Marx simply recapitulates here the one he finds in the GP, although he makes it more precise. Earlier, he quoted the GP:

The emancipation of labor demands the promotion of the instruments of labor to the common property of society and the co-operative regulation of the total labor….

and then mentioned that the GP “presupposes a society wherein the instruments of labor are common property and the total labor is co-operatively regulated.” In this paragraph, he refers to the mode of production this way:

the co-operative society based on common ownership of the means of production…

At the end of this discussion he recapitulates it:

If the material conditions of production are the co-operative property of the workers themselves, then there likewise results a distribution of the means of consumption different from the present one.

If one were looking to the CGP for a definition of the new society’s mode of production, it would have to be this latter statement, the sense of which Marx repeats three times. “Directly social labor,” far from being the ultimate definition of this mode of production, flows from it.[10]

Nevertheless, let’s explore what has been interpreted as a definition of “directly social labor”: “…individual labor no longer exists in an indirect fashion but directly as a component part of total labor.” What Marx says here is that in the new society the concrete laboring activity of each worker functions directly as a component part of society’s total laboring activity. A passage from the Fetishism of Commodities section of Capital touches on this same idea:

Let us finally imagine, for a change, an association of free individuals, working with the means of production held in common, and self-consciously expending their many individual labor-powers as a single social labor-power. (Capital, Vol. I, Kerr edition, p. 90; Penguin edition, p. 171; my translation)

Neither passage mentions labor-time, amount, or any quantitative relationship. However, Peter [Hudis] interprets the partial sentence from the CGP this way:

What does Marx mean by “individual labor no longer exists as an indirectly but as a directly constituent part of the total labor”? By “total labor” Marx means the sum total of the actual amount of labor performed in society. By “individual labor” he means a specific component part of the amount of that total labor. In the initial phase of a new society labor is “directly social” insofar as living labor is a specific component part of the total amount of labor performed in society. Labor is not characterized by a dual form of individual working time versus the amount of social labor that it represents. (Peter’s 3/20/2005 Class 3 presentation, p. 4)

This introduces the word “amount” four times in a sentence where it did not belong. The emphasis in Marx was the relationship of the individual’s activity to the self-consciously unified totality of social labor. The individual’s activity is part of a social whole—a freely associated whole, as we see from the Capital passage. Peter’s interpretation reduces it to a quantitative relationship.[11] But why? Recall the conclusion Andrew had given the year before:

Yet I think that there is an important sense in which [Marx] theorized this emergence [of the new society] as an absolute liberation rather than as a transition. I refer to his notion that people will be remunerated in accordance with the amount of work they do, from the very start. (Andrew’s 2004 Convention report, p. 9)

In this 2004 discussion, what was singled out as most important was that distribution of the means of consumption would be determined “equally” by labor-time, rather than averaged. That is the only characteristic of “directly social labor” mentioned in Andrew’s presentation. Peter’s argument translates Andrew’s entirely quantitative discussion, defined by distribution relationships,[12] into a definition of directly social labor, and reinterprets Marx’s half-sentence accordingly. Whereas Marx’s discussion centers on self-conscious subjects acting as a social unity, this new interpretation leaves labor at the level of a quantifiable object.

The central concept in this new interpretation is that the determinate negation of socially necessary labor-time is unaveraged, equally measured labor-time. This is portrayed as flowing from Raya Dunayevskaya’s ideas, and yet she never drew this conclusion in all her many writings. She did often project the opposite of socially necessary labor-time this way:

Contrast this view of time by factory clock and world market to Marx’s concept, quoted at the top of my commentary, which maintains that time is the “place of human development.” The same totally different world relates to all the criticisms piled on “immiseration” as against Marx’s insistence that, be the worker’s payment “high or low,” capital (“value big with value”) “vampire-like” sucks him dry of “free individuality.” (“Marx and Critical Thought”; this is one of the pieces proposed for the new collection.)

This coincides with Marx’s concept of the opposite, expressed in a draft of Capital:

What distinguishes the factory system is the fact that in it the true nature of surplus value emerges. Surplus labor, and therefore the question of labor time, becomes decisive here. But time is in fact the active existence of the human being. It is not only the measure of human life. It is the space for its development. (Marx-Engels Collected Works, Vol. 33, p. 493)

In the quotation at the beginning of this article, this is expressed in terms of the principles Dunayevskaya singled out from the CGP: “…both the destruction of the State and the end of the division between mental and manual labor must be achieved for the principle of ‘the absolute movement of becoming’ to become reality—when practiced as the ‘all-around development of the individual.’” She is referring here to the second paragraph of the CGP that she labeled “key” in her marginalia—on ending the antithesis between mental and physical labor, labor becoming life’s first necessity, etc. This is the one she kept returning to in the 1980s as “what would be required to make that real” (Rosa Luxemburg, Women’s Liberation, and Marx’s Philosophy of Revolution, pp. 156-57)—where “that” refers to Marx’s perspective of a totally classless society.[13] She never linked “what would be required” to distribution by labor-time.[14] She had five years to do so in the many times she returned to explore the CGP after writing Rosa Luxemburg, Women’s Liberation, and Marx’s Philosophy of Revolution, so it could not have been what she meant by “what would be required.” Nor, in all that time, did she discover the new interpretation of “directly social labor,” which supposedly is the pivot of capitalist society. Rather, she kept stressing Marx’s insistence that the dual character of labor—abstract and concrete, not directly and indirectly social—is the pivot upon which all comprehension of political economy turns.

What Dunayevskaya’s philosophic comprehension of Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program does show is that revolutionary organization must be grounded in the Marxist-Humanist conception of the revolutionary uprooting being total from the start, allowing the release of new humanist forms and continuing the breaking down of the division between mental and manual labor until the achievement of a new human society where the free development of the individual is the condition for the free development of all.

As Dunayevskaya put it herself:

Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program is the finest critique in the sense of seeing that the revolution in permanence has to continue after the overthrow. Yes, there’s the idea that there’s a transition period, and the state will wither away—but in our age we know that we’ve seen an awful lot not of withering away but the state getting totally totalitarian. So the point is the recognition of what Marx meant by revolution in permanence, that it has to continue afterwards, that it encompasses the criticism that’s necessary, the self-criticism that’s necessary, and the fact that you have to be very conscious that until we end the division between mental and manual labor—and every single society has been characterized by that…even in primitive communism—we will not really have a new man, a new woman, a new child, a new society. (Women’s Liberation and the Dialectics of Revolution, p. 181)

[1] Marx makes it very clear that he is not referring to distribution of the means of production. The ensuing discussion refers only to distribution of means of consumption, and does not define the mode of production.

[2] Thus, a “fair distribution” can’t exist, period. “From each according to ability, to each according to need,” is beyond the narrow question of “right” and is not about “fairness.” “Fair distribution” cannot be “made real” through “a revolution, in permanence, in the mode of production,” as is asserted in the July 16 [2006] REB minutes, p. 9. [The reference is to Andrew Kliman’s statement: “Consequently, the ‘fair distribution’ that the GP called for is [sic] simply cannot be made real without a revolution in permanence in the mode of production–that is to say, a revolution that, in its lower phase, makes labor directly social….”]

[3] “He is apparently suggesting that Marx didn’t literally propose distribution according to labor time….”—Peter’s 3/20/2005 class presentation. Peter [Hudis] goes on to argue that Marx was making such a proposal in the CGP.

[4] In the July 16 REB minutes, p. 17, Peter writes: “Marx clearly states in the CGP the necessity for such shares to be allocated on the basis of actual labor time.” But there is no such statement in the CGP. This view is further put in question by Marx’s use of the phrase “For example” in this paragraph, as well as the text in chapter 1 of Volume I of Capital, which we will consider in a moment.

[5] In the July 2006 Pre-Convention Discussion Bulletin #1, “Confessions of a Fundamentalist,” p. 4, Mitch [Weerth]’s argument assumes what is to be proven: “If what characterizes production in the early phase is that ‘no one can give anything except his labor,’ and the natural measure of labor is time, then distribution will be according to the time one contributes. It just flows, logically.” Actually, it doesn’t, because the unstated assumption—that individuals must receive back the equivalent of the labor they contributed—has not been shown to be necessary. Besides which, why would Mitch’s argument not apply to “the higher phase”? Is time the natural measure in “the early phase,” but not “the higher phase”? Or is there some mysterious new element besides labor that individuals contribute to production in “the higher phase” that they didn’t in “the early phase”? Marx’s statement, “no one can give anything except his labor,” contrasts society where the means of production are cooperatively controlled vs. society where one class monopolizes them. It does not imply a contrast to “the higher phase.”

[6] Quoted from Tom More, “The place of the ‘Critique of the Gotha Program’ in the 1987 ‘Presentation on the Dialectics of Organization and Philosophy,’” Discussion Bulletin #1, July 2006. This interpretation assumes that Marx’s “first phase” discussion is an outline of the positive “determinate negation” of capitalist value production.

[7] Far from calling on the party program to advocate equal remuneration, Marx states: “What, therefore, had to be done here, instead of setting down general phrases about ‘labor’ and ‘society,’ was to prove concretely how in present capitalist society the material, etc., conditions have at last been created which enable and compel the workers to lift this social curse.”

[8] “If the economic relations are such that different labors aren’t actually equal, ‘counting’ them as equal will be a principle at loggerheads with practice.”—Andrew Kliman’s draft report, July 16 REB minutes, p. 12. This reading has little to do with what Marx actually writes in the CGP. It results from the mistaken assumption that “directly social labor” is defined by equality of hours of labor. As Andrew expressed it at the very end of his 2004 Convention report: “So one of the most fundamental tasks we face today, I believe, is to work out how to create the social conditions such that each hour of labor will really count as equal – beginning on the day after the revolution.”

[9] Mitch [Weerth]’s “Confessions of a Fundamentalist,” p. 2, claims, “The ‘inevitable [here Mitch inserts in brackets the phrase “not just ‘necessary’”] defect’ is that distribution in the early phase is regulated by the exchange of equivalents….” Note the change of “defects” to “defect.”

[10] Why should we think that the definitive expression of Marx’s concept of “directly social labor” comes where he not only does not use the term but only in passing refers to labor being directly a component part of society’s total labor—and then think, on the other hand, that, in passages where Marx uses the term “directly social labor,” he does not mean his concept of it? This attitude only proves that one’s concept is not Marx’s. [This refers to polemics from Hudis and Kliman, who dismissed several of Marx’s references to directly social labor as not really being about the concept of directly social labor. See my January 2006 piece “Marx on directly social labor.”]

[11] Tom More’s “The Place of the CGP, etc.,” in the July 2006 Discussion Bulletin #1, p. 8, quotes without citation an unnamed comrade’s questioning of “‘directly social labor,’ interpreted in a primarily quantitative way….” Tom writes as if what is being questioned is Marx’s own discussion in the CGP (“If there is a ‘substitution’ here, clearly it is Marx’s”). But the actual debate is over whether what Marx wrote there is primarily quantitative.

[12] In the July 16 REB minutes, Peter states that “equal remuneration…does not ‘make’ labor directly social; it rather expresses the fact that it is already directly social because production relations have been transformed. Some have failed to take note of this distinction in our earlier discussions of the CGP.” The truth is that the only content that these discussions specified for production relations was stated in terms of “equal remuneration,” that is, relations of distribution.

[13] This has sometimes been read as referring to the “slogan” of “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” As I have shown repeatedly, this reading is incorrect. For a fuller discussion of “a higher phase,” see “What is concrete for today in the Critique of the Gotha Programme?” in July 2005 Discussion Bulletin as well as my 2005 Plenum subreport [both to be posted here soon]. But note that in this passage from RLWLMPR, far from pointing us to any discussion of “the first phase,” Dunayevskaya skips over it and says just the opposite: “Marx says that to reach the communist stage, there would have to be an end to the ‘enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor…’ …[Marx] is now saying that we will reach communism only when ‘labor from a mere means of life, has itself become the prime necessity of life….’” This is also seen in the quotation at the top of this article.

[14] Pointing to instances in the 1940s where Dunayevskaya mentioned distribution by labor-time in arguments against Stalinist claims that the law of value operates in socialism, only underscores the absence of such references after 1953. To say “there is no divide” between her pre-1953 and post-1953 writings does nothing to explain what their relationship and movement of development is and why “equal remuneration” isn’t part of her 1980s discussions on the CGP. Since Dunayevskaya herself insisted that her 1940s writings on state-capitalism should not be studied apart from Marxism and Freedom, it doesn’t make sense to pick out pieces of those 1940s writings and uncritically transfer them to the 1980s context. Or does the philosophic moment of 1953 suddenly not mean a new concept of the new society?

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