Labor, Humanism, and the Play of Mediation: A Rejoinder

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This rejoinder focuses on two issues discussed in Samuel Mercer’s review of Ana C. Dinerstein and Frederick Harry Pitts’s book A World beyond Work? Labour, Money and the Capitalist State between Crisis and Utopia. The first concerns the authors’ alleged defense of concrete labor against abstract labor; the second concerns the accusation of humanism. First, the rejoinder clarifies the authors’ understanding of concrete and abstract labor as dialectically intertwined, and also the implications of this for class struggle in and against the “play of mediation” between the two. Second, the rejoinder pleads guilty to the charge of humanism in how the authors approach work and alienation. The authors argue that the related criticism is based in the idea of an “epistemological break” in Marx’s work, but they situate their work in a countervailing reading of Marx that sees a humanist core and continuity characterizing both Marx’s “early” conceptualization of alienation and estrangement and his later conceptualization of real abstraction in the critique of political economy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-284
Number of pages3
JournalRethinking Marxism: A Journal of Economics, Culture & Society
Issue number2
Early online date7 Jun 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jun 2022


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