Concrete and Abstract Mediation

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Malva's picture
Joined: 22-03-11
Apr 7 2011 10:03
Concrete and Abstract Mediation

Could someone enlighten me as to how Marx defines the amount of human agency in any given society?

As far as I understand it, it seems to hinge on how concrete or abstract mediations between producers are. So under capitalism social relations are mediated primarily by exchange-value, abstract labour, capital etc. which are all abstractions from the qualitative nature of labour and its products. As abstractions they work against producers as they are void of the content of these people's lives, the producers have no control over them.

The idea of communism would be to realise human agency through concrete mediations between people that embody the qualitative and differential nature of labour and its products: i.e. communal property. The same logic could equally apply to the Paris Commune's practice of having delegates who are instantly recallable or even more direct democratic processes such as in workers' self-management. Communal property, councils etc. are still mediations, just concrete ones, i.e. defined by and in the control of the producers.

(For the latter, I am thinking more about how I think Debord understood mediation).

If this is not an accurate summation, or if there is disagreement, I'd appreciate comments.