The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2020

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FEB 2020 Issue
Books In Conversation

LEIGH CLAIRE LA BERGE with Andreas Petrossiants

Leigh Claire La Berge
Decommodified Labor and the Claims of Socially Engaged Art
(Duke University Press, 2019)

Leigh Claire La Berge’s Wages Against Artwork: Decommodified Labor and the Claims of Socially Engaged Art (Duke University Press, 2019) details a unique socio-economic argument regarding the nature of some unwaged work and its relationship to the artwork. La Berge proposes “decommodified labor,” a neologism that she thoroughly defines and maps onto contemporary art through a rigorous aesthetic and historical argument, one that encourages a return to somewhat traditional Marxian readings of art and labor. Though she analyzes contemporary artistic labor specifically, much of her argument is taken from and applies to critiques of today’s unwaged work generally speaking. With the destructive successes of neoliberal ideology on the individual (perhaps biopolitical) and state levels, the omnipresence of technocratic economic policy, and increasing support for neo-conservatism following planned deindustrialization and the eradication of organized labor in the West, both working and middle classes continue to work more while wages either remain stagnant or disappear outright. This pushes La Berge to conclude that while work may never become obsolete, being paid for it might—slyly invalidating the darker sides of some recent postwork theory soaked in accelerationist dogma, rather than in ideals of just redistribution or the outright toppling of capitalist exchange.

Following a thorough introduction that reads aesthetics, the neoliberal mutation of life into “experiences,” and the real subsumption of labor to capital, La Berge provides an analysis of many socially engaged art practitioners: Cassie Thornton and Thomas Gokey, Caroline Woolard and Renzo Martens, Duke Riley, Mammalian Diving Relfex, Koki Tanaka, and others, documenting labor by students, animals, and children as well as non-wage barter networks proposed as artworks. La Berge and I first began talking about her book during an encounter organized by our mutual friend Andrew Weiner some weeks after it came out. The below is an edited conversation as we continue to discuss what the premises of decommodified labor may mean for working in and outside of art.

Andreas Petrossiants (Rail): Let’s start with “decommodified labor.” To define this term, you take four key examples: the unwaged and debt-dependent labor of studentdom, art students in particular; artist-run institutions as artworks similar to unwaged exchange practices such as time banks, housing cooperatives, and so on; you also discuss the representation of this labor through the appearance of live animals and children in contemporary art. Why did you decide to use art as the fulcrum of analysis for an explication of decommodified labor, socially-engaged art in particular?

Leigh Clare La Berge : I think there are several ways to approach this question, and I want to address the second part of your question first. I think of myself less as an art critic or art historian, and more of a cultural critic, and culture broadly defined at that: I’ve written about television, film, literary fiction, sports, installation, performance art, and so on. In examining each of these cultural forms, I’ve been interested to track how they relate to economic formations after the structural transitions of the 1970s—whether we call it the rise of neoliberalism, the waning of the Keynesian state, or even just “Late Capital.” The 70s are such a key moment in economic and cultural history. It’s then that the post-WWII labor-capital compact begins to break down in the US. This is the reason that, adjusted for inflation, real wages haven’t increased since the ’70s, while various stock market indices have increased four, five, sometimes six-fold. Labor has been constrained and finance has been liberated. As Paul Volker, the Federal Reserve chairman at the time put it, the economic policy of the United States would, after 1979, be to “break unions and empty factories.” That’s a quote. Many critics have studied this over-all transition, but my particular interest is in how this transition has been registered in cultural production.

Rail: May Volker rest without any semblance of peace.

La Berge: Agreed. In my previous book, Scandals and Abstraction: Financial Fiction of the Long 1980s (Oxford University Press, 2014), I examined the capital-side of this breakdown by looking at the relationship between finance and 1980s American literature. I was interested to show that as finance became an institutional force it took on a variety of cultural forms and aesthetic modes—sometimes realist, sometimes postmodern. One of the things I noticed in the texts I read—from Don DeLillo’s White Noise (1985) to Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal (1987)—is that where finance was present, labor had been evacuated. So, as I began thinking about a new project, I knew I wanted to attend to the effect of financialization on labor.

In 2012, my friend, the curator Laurel Ptak, and I got a curatorial grant at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts to stage a show on debt, which we called To Have and To Owe. Occupy Wall Street had begun, people were organizing a Rolling Jubilee and a Debtors Union, and so on. When we put out a call for artists to respond to “debt,” whether personal, structural, affective, and so on—we got a fantastic response from artists working in a variety of media, but all in all, the art fit into what was beginning to be grouped under the rubric of social practice or socially engaged art. What was even more interesting was that in such work, artists were creating economic situations: alternative platforms for debt repayment, time banks, alternative housing and studio schemes, barter networks, as art. What these artists had was their labor and the time that labor gives and takes; what they didn’t have was money, which is the hoped for result of the sale of one’s labor. Who’s buying these artists’ artistic labor-time, after all?

So I was searching for a way to describe this: an alternative economy of representation in which the time of labor is available because the sale of labor is not. This is all happening within the frames of a market-based economy, even as these artworks are attending to a certain pause in that style of accumulation. The word that social science scholars use is “decommodification,” which simply means removed from a market economy—think of health care in many European social democracies or higher education in Scandinavia. But that’s not what’s going on in contemporary art in NYC 2014—the then-present of my book. The market thoroughly permeates these artists’ lives. They are told to “invest in themselves,” to go into debt for an art education, but, of course, an investment is pretty worthless if you can’t sell it on the other end.

So this wasn’t decommodification, exactly. I modified the term to better describe the reality of the United States: there’s still a market for the sale, you’re still encouraged to organize your life in order to be able to sell it; in most cases you would still like to sell it, but in the case of much artistic labor, it can’t be sold. Thus, decommodified labor. It was a way to combine the failure of the neoliberal imperative to invest in oneself with the too totalizing (in my opinion) Marxist claims of the real subsumption of labor to capital—essentially that all life is now labor. And of course, for a book about art, the fact of the simultaneous work and non-work, sale and non-sale nature of the problem was crucial and intriguing since art and work are fundamentally oppositional terms. As the critic Marina Vishmidt succinctly says, “anything that is not work can be art.” I love that phrase and it resounds with a long history of aesthetic philosophy. My hope for this book is that decommodified labor may function as a free-standing concept for economically oriented cultural criticism across the humanities.

Rail:It’s interesting to consider other historical payment structures here. For one example artist unions in former Soviet states that provided studios, wages, and so on for art practitioners. But in the 21st century, other networks have become more apparent in art as elsewhere. You point to the proliferation of alternative structures such as time banks in parts of Southern Europe following the 2008 crisis. This has certainly been reflected in art practices. You consider unwaged labor that is “decommodified” whether by choice in barter networks like Caroline Woolard’s OurGoods and Trade School (chapter two), or in neoliberal debt systems such as student work analyzed in the first chapter. As you rightly point out, decommodified labor is similar to the precarious work that constitutes most wage paradigms today: flexible contracts in southern Europe, gig work like Uber, etc. And, as you’ve explained to me before, before something can be de-commodified, it must first be made into a commodity. So, give us the basics: What is commodified labor in art and elsewhere, and how, why, and when is it decommodified to your mind?

La Berge:Exactly! It seems to me one of the great misreadings in art historical critiques of capitalism is to ask the question: is art a commodity? Or, is it not a commodity? Where does that question really lead us? If we focus on the object we really risk missing the point of Marx’s entire critique of what he calls a society governed under “the form of the commodity.” It’s true of course that Marx describes capitalism having the appearance of “an immense collection of commodities.” Yet, for an object to exist as a commodity, certain features must be adhered to: firstly, a commodity is made by waged labor; secondly, it is sold on the market. Wage labor refers to the selling of one’s time to someone else; a market refers to a time-space outside one’s self, a semi-public site where someone else may buy our wares, or, indeed, buy us, since the rubric “made by wage labor and sold on a market” first and foremost describes the worker themself.

But most artists cannot—or in fewer cases choose not to—sell their artistic labor. This, then, is the most central tension in this book and in many artists’ lives. For one to have access to the time and space to make art—outside of commodified social relations—one needs, above all, money. To get that, one needs to sell their labor; one needs to exist in and on a market. After a successful sale of one’s labor, one might have time not to labor; indeed, one might have time to make art. Aesthetics, as a philosophical category in which art participates, is both constituted by and oppositional to the world of waged labor. Some artists may be paid at some points for their artwork or for their labor to make art, but these discrete moments of money exchange do not mitigate the categorical tension. Artists live in this tension and represent it in their work.

What much socially engaged art shares with critiques of formal employment is that it is grappling with situations of contemporary wagelessness. Thus, I suggest in the book that we look to changes in the structure of waged labor and to the wage form itself as a site to both understand and critique this art. To do that, of course, we have to understand and critique the wage and the central contradiction its story over the last 40 years reveals: namely, the slow diminishment—if not vanishing—of wages along with the expansion of work itself.

Rail: To get to that critique, you stress that aesthetic judgement is made possible by the abstraction of labor, and the tension between the non-freedoms of waged labor and the freedom of the aesthetic. I’m reminded of Helen Molesworth’s retort to Sol LeWitt’s “the idea becomes a machine that makes art,” when she writes: “But machines do not make LeWitt’s wall drawings; assistants do.”1 You also mention in the book that the aesthetic theory you employ implies a “conservative” position. Why, then, your turn to aesthetics “proper”?

La Berge: It’s funny, yes, there is something very conservative about aesthetic discourse. I think there’s a real reason that critics have moved away from it. The term is also used in such an odd variety of ways, which doesn’t help matters. Its use varies widely across critical theory, art criticism, and philosophy where indeed it denotes radically different problems. Sometimes it is a freestanding noun—“the aesthetic”—meant to designate a social sphere of historical experience. More often though, it is used as an adjective to qualify a type of response to external stimuli: “aesthetic category,” “aesthetic experience,” and “aesthetic judgment” all hint toward this usage. At its most generic, “aesthetic” has come to mean something like “style” or “artfulness,” a use that reminds us of the term’s link to sensuousness as encountered in time and space.

I am less concerned with aesthetic response, judgment, or the manner in which we reflect on stimuli and synthesize those reflections as individuals, but I do refer to the literature related to these ideas. My primary engagement is to understand “the aesthetic” as a sphere of cultural production and consumption that offers a fleeting respite—even for a moment, even if contingent—from the capitalist imperative to buy and sell labor, and from the philosophical imperative to think concept-based thought. But I think its legacy—whether in Kant or Adorno—maintains a kind of rigidity which I think many people might find odd to use as a way to understand socially engaged art, of all things. But to my mind, if you want to talk about labor in the realm of art, you need to discuss the aesthetic.

Rail: But, do you think that decommodified labor is in fact a way of escaping the Marxian “double freedom” of the wage? As we’ve discussed before, decommodified labor isn’t more compatible with an exit from capitalist exploitation, nor necessarily more alienating than waged work. Whether or not it is paid, work remains subject to the logics of the wage that reinforce the work ethic, as Kathi Weeks’ The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries (2011) shows by re-reading anti-work feminists, for one example. Furthermore, in all cases, the primary injustice of capitalism: that labor power produces surplus through its exploitation, remains. The history of capitalism is a history of unwaged labor, work that was always commodified, no? You’re right to say that given the hyper-atomization of post-Fordist production, collective potential is stifled yet more. So, how is decommodified labor compatible with non-capitalist forms of life and work? Surely, we’re not still convinced, as Marx argued in the Grundrisse (1939), that artistic work is a way of avoiding capitalist exchange?

La Berge:I think this is a great question. Sometimes I think the subtitle of the book should have been “this is what a contradiction looks like.” But, yes, you are right, decommodified labor is not about redemption or escape. It’s not a way out. Rather it is a way of indexing our present. The economic historian Aaron Benanav notes that in “high income countries [by] 2010 more than 1 in 6 workers, and 1 in 4 young workers, counted as surplus to labor demands.” Then, there are the sensational speculations by business publications, such as The Wall Street Journal which has not so subtly declared: “The End of Employees,” and Forbes which wondered: “Unpaid Jobs: The New Normal?” Then there’s the academy: Southern Illinois University at Carbondale made news last year when it invited applications for the position of “volunteer adjunct,” like an adjunct, but without the wage. So, this tendency really is pervasive. I think what you allude to at the end of your question is probably better described with a vocabulary of “the commons” or of “commoning.”

Rail: Totally! You’ve anticipated my next question. As readers of your book will no doubt notice, the title is a reference to Silva Federici’s landmark Wages Against Housework (1974). Often this is mistitled as Wages for Housework. On the one hand, this is likely because of the document’s importance to the International Wages for Housework Campaign, but on the other more likely hand, because of a misunderstanding of Federici’s point. In that text and throughout her organizing, she clearly outlines why the wage is not enough, and in fact how it plays into an easily cooptable socialist feminist position: wages for previously unpaid housework will not guarantee genuine emancipation, nor an end to exploitation, it will only enter labor into another exploitative structure. But, the struggle for the wage can be a step in the right direction. You similarly trace the appeal for a commodification of artistic labor by artists, one that is necessary, but also clearly “not enough.” If we think about commoning production and reproduction, we might abandon the contradiction between wages for and against and instead think housework (and all other social reproduction) against wages? Keeping your allusion to Federici, might we similarly notice that genuine liberatory politics in artistic production would come not with wages against artwork, but rather with artwork against wages?

La Berge I love this! Yes, that probably has to be the way, even as I wonder about the need to maintain “against.” I think the key thing from Federici is the absolute centrality of the contradiction—she says it so clearly herself: “I actually titled [that] essay… ‘Wages Against Housework,’ because it was very clear for us that wages for housework was at the same time wages against housework.”2 So, wages are needed and wages are not enough. I think where she and I differ, and maybe you are hinting at this as well, is that she does not agree with a kind of stadial Marxism: first the commodification of labor, and then the emancipated form of that structure, the older articulation of which would be the proletariat seizing the means of production. In The Caliban and the Witch, for example, she turns to certain pre-capitalist, and thus pre-commodified forms of laboring. I guess I’m more ambivalent here.

Rail: Right, that was what I was alluding to. In Federici’s case, we should acknowledge that the distrust of a more traditional Marxism comes from a very specific historical context, namely the post-68 rejection of Stalinism that was still at the core of many European communist parties, as well the failures of those parties to address the material conditions of workers, not to mention the violent anti-feminist position many of them enforced! This critique advocated an autonomist call for collective self-organization rather than through the union or party, and for cooperative forms of life and work, precursors for which existed in parts of pre-capitalist Europe and elsewhere.

Speaking of a skepticism for ossifying idealisms, let’s turn to socially-engaged art. You write: “What differentiates today’s socially engaged art from its predecessors is that it attempts both to represent forms of social inequity and to amend those forms through the artwork itself.” But this “amending,” as you and I both know, is more often than not an illusion, at best. In many cases, it serves as a way for elites to launder money through philanthropic cultural channels and thus provide a justification for the privatization of public services by technocrats, fascists, and liberals alike. In others, like the work of Martens, it makes use of neocolonial apparatuses like the Non-governmental organization (NGO) to produce what are violent and patronizing relations between Congolese workers and himself. I’m interested here in what the declared intention of the socially-engaged artist, namely to amend or rectify unjust systems on micro-scales, lends to an argument about labor, as opposed to other historical examples: the collective idealism in productivism, the pedagogical potentials to institutional critique, or the use of shock in some early culture jamming.

La Berge: Yes—I think you are correct here. Sometimes it is an illusion, or it’s that the claim of social amelioration should be read as part of the art, part of the representation. So, yes, I do grant a certain amount of credence to the claim of these artists: “this is my form of social engagement.” But I’m not sure that’s so different from an artist saying “this is my painting.” I do think that your question does introduce a certain concern in how one reads such work. It’s like: what happens to irony? To representation itself?

One of the ways I attempt to deal with this concern in the book is to divide it in two, if you will: the first chapter concerns artists that have gone into debt to become artists and now make art about this debt. So, I take that claim with a certain amount of sincerity. The second chapter concerns artists who make social networks for other artists. Again, I take that claim with some sincerity. But, that doesn’t mean these works can’t also be about something else—that’s what makes them art after all. In the second part of the book, I read works that employ animals and children, from Duke Riley to Mammalian Diving Reflex. I read animals and children as representations of the decommodified labor of the artist. In that sense, I’m pretty far from anyone’s “declared intention” and that felt important. In all cases, however, these are sites of representation to be interpreted, not social works to be executed, even if they present themselves as the latter, as both Renzo Martens and Caroline Woolard do, albeit in radically different ways!

But I think this also ties into your previous question about the role and problem of the aesthetic. What is different about museum or gallery-based work, or even simply, nomination—the claim that “this is my art”—from culture jamming, a term I maybe haven’t heard since 2001?! How is it read differently? Critiqued differently? This is what the aesthetic provides for. But, of course we can go further: artists self-consciously appeal to the aesthetic in order to access a certain latitude that art makes possible. This is what Peter Osborne has called “the instrumentalization” of the aesthetic. For him, that’s a reason to dispense with aesthetics as such. For me, it provides an exciting site to continue to think about how the opposition between art and work, aesthetics and labor remain open to development as capitalism itself develops.

Rail: Let’s talk about the animal performer, or the “animal as artistic medium” which you examine in detail in the third chapter (“Art Worker Animal: Animals as Socially Engaged Artists in a Post-Labor Era”). I love this formulation in particular: “‘Opera’ and ‘operaismo’ share the same etymology, but so do ‘capital’ and ‘chattel.’” How do you differentiate the decommodified labor of animals as (“delegated”) performers in artworks from the work of animals in pre-capitalism and industrial capitalism? In other words, how and when was animal labor commodified to then become decommodified? And why is art a specific case study of this labor?

La Berge: The animal chapter is the one I had the most fun with. That said, it’s also the one that, as I look back on it, I feel the most conceptual ambivalence toward. Animals have long been part of economic life—for many centuries they were economic life! Before capital’s great desacralization—the transformation of the non-human world into so many objects to be evacuated of previous meaning, and to reappear as potential commodities—animals had privileges, were understood as participatory subjects, were put on trial, even in some cases had legal representation. Now what do we have? Pets? Agricultural commodities? Save the Whales? The manner in which socially engaged artists have begun using animals in their artworks, as their artworks, seemed to me a way to engage and critique this history. Many critics have begun turning to animals. I mean there’s an emerging field of “critical animal studies.” But most of them come from a tradition of new materialism and object oriented ontology. I totally get the impulse of that tradition, and I’m sympathetic with the desire to grant plants and animals some sense of agency and horizontality, but I have a real problem with the lack of economic critique found in these traditions.

Rail: Agreed, at times, it hinges on bourgeois, neoliberal orientations, if not verging on being outright reactionary.

La Berge: Yes, so I ask in the chapter: why is it easier to imagine the animal as an artist rather than the artist as a worker? Animals have emerged as a central force in contemporary art, as artists have themselves been overproduced, underemployed, and indebted. As many of us have become “cultural workers” in one way or another, and as many cultural workers are unable to find cultural work, animals have joined our ranks both to reflect and to constitute a new working reality. I wanted a way to revalue animals within a Marxist tradition. If new materialists have a problematic approach to labor, then Marxists have a real problem with animals. This is also something I’m trying to amend in my ongoing, collective Marx for Cats project.3

Animals may be bought and sold as commodities, and their energy may be put to use as work, but they don’t labor within the tradition of labor I’m discussing. That is a quite important conceptual distinction. So, this chapter, as I mentioned earlier, is really about the representation of decommodified labor; animals stand in time and time again for the unpaid labor of the artist.

As labor in a decommodified state becomes a shadow of itself, available for value extraction, but not for remuneration, animals become both representations of artistic labor and an artistic form of decommodified labor. Art that uses animals as its material substrate necessarily represents the decommodified labor of which that substrate is comprised. I am less interested in the fact that artists (or animals) do or don’t get paid—after all, commodification cannot be reduced to selling something, and decommodification cannot be reduced to not selling it—than in the fact that artists have begun to represent the nonpayment, the nonremunerated labor of others in their work in the form of live animals.

Rail: You begin the last chapter (“The Artwork of Children’s Labor: Socially Engaged Art and the Future of Work”) defining children as the “great liminal categories of the modern epoch.” In the past, children have appeared in critical theory and other discourse as political actors, but rarely, if ever, as economic ones. This latter point makes sense at first glance because children can be defined economically as those who cannot labor (though they can and do certainly work, I think you and I would agree). You write: “Like animals, children have transitioned from productive workers to sites of affective investment. Unlike animals, however, children have shown themselves to be capable of experiencing labor as a dominating, coordinated social abstraction.” How does this enable children performers in socially-engaged art to show or critique decommodified labor as such?

La Berge: I think children, like animals, are uniquely positioned between workers and not workers. That tension exists also in much academic theory today as children have been adopted by the legacies of post-structuralism—itself uncomfortably close to neoliberalism in certain ways—as a site to critique what certain critics understand as various forms of Marxist teleology. In my book children become a way to bring these disparate conversations together, and to tease out what Marxist-derived approaches to art and labor and post-structuralist oriented approaches (from Foucault on down) to “self-investment” offer.

Children are not yet workers; they are repositories for their future work as adults. But they may choose to reject those adult efforts. And this is the precise spectrum I see in the artworks I read here. The generative exclusion of much of the art I analyze revolves around the fact that children can work in art as artwork precisely because they cannot be waged workers. In such artworks, children are often interpreted as a marginalized population that artists seek to represent and engage. Playgrounds are built, schools are constructed, after-school groups are formed, educational games are initiated. Of course, as a disempowered constituency—one that is legally barred from exercising rights we associate with democratic freedoms—it seems reasonable enough for children to make an appearance in the kind of social practice art that seeks to redistribute modalities of power and agency.

Wedded to the child as the one who cannot be waged, these works index the historical reversal noted by the great economic sociologist Viviana A Zelizer: to the extent that the child cannot be waged, she may be a repository for some kind of adult fantasy or “investment,” to use a neoliberal idiom. The two pieces I really love here are Tanaka’s installation Provisional Studies: Action #6, 1985 School Students’ Strike (2016) and Haircuts by Children (2007–present) by the collective Mammalian Diving Reflex precisely because they question the normativity of children with regard to the wage form by imagining and instantiating the waged child. These put pressure on the concept of decommodified labor itself. By paying children to work as art, and by showing how children themselves organize against work, these pieces, and indeed through them this book, might be asking: In our current economic moment, is not commodification the most desirable state of aesthetic and political affairs? That’s a bleak question but a real one.

Rail: Bleak to say the least. You note that some child labor was decommodifed with the passing of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938—of course this was uneven along lines of race and class. Indeed, further analysis of decommodified labor would have to contend with racism and colonialism, historically and in the present day. Is an unpaid child actor in a work by Tino Sehgal “reskilled” but still unwaged, or just an example of the abuse of that liminal category? If the child is paid, however, do they cease to be children since their labor has been commodified?

La Berge: Great question! Before the Progressive Era movement to outlaw child labor in the United States, and ultimately the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which set a minimum national working age, children were economic assets. That’s why people had children: to work! Once prohibited from working, however, children began to occupy a radically oppositional identity. Far from being economic assets, they became, in Zelizer’s incisive vocabulary, “economically useless but emotionally priceless.” Indeed, the prohibition of child labor in the United States in 1938 stands as one of the momentous historical realizations of labor’s formal decommodification, what Zelizer calls “the expulsion of children from the ‘cash nexus’.”4 Even as that expulsion was uneven in terms of race and nationality, it has gradually had the effect of transforming children into a potential class of decommodified laborers who could subsequently represent as well as function as decommodified labor.

For the artists I read in this book who work with children—Tanaka, Caitlin Berrigan, Mammalian Diving Reflex—it’s absolutely important that children remain children for their artworks to function in any symbolically consistent way. But at a certain point, I think we do need to question that category. I end the book with an artwork that pays children: Haircuts by Children, precisely to put pressure on my own concept of decommodified labor. Like: does it still hold? Should it?

Your question pushes the problem of categories even further: do we need “child” as a category? What does it enable and what does it foreclose? A great remark by Adorno and Horkheimer that is always with me reads: “Classification is a condition of knowledge, not knowledge itself, and knowledge in turn dissolves classification.”5 That’s what a thought is supposed to do: move through categories and show their possibility, their flexibility, and their limitations as they encounter difference.

I think in a genuinely equal or even more emancipated social world, “child” might need to be jettisoned as a category, but then, too, so might art and labor.


  1. Helen Molesworth, “Work Ethic,” in Work Ethic, exh. cat. (Baltimore: Baltimore Museum of Art, in cooperation with Penn State University Press, 2003), 42.
  2. Silvia Federici, Revolution at Point Zero (Oakland: pm Press, 2012) contains a reprint of the essay with Federici’s retrospections.
  3. See:
  4. Vivian Zelizer, Pricing the Priceless Child (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985).
  5. Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, The Dialectic of Enlightenment, trans. Edmund Jephcott (Stanford: Stanford University Press, [1947] 2002), 182.


Andreas Petrossiants

Andreas Petrossiants is a writer in New York. His work has been in The New Inquiry, Historical Materialism,,, ROAR, and e-flux journal, where he is the associate editor.


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