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r'-- " \--) \..-) fihe F=ETISHspea,ks ! 'in rAtrA l'1. CaPital /'/r". Lord, / /.o { hetr g/zos/ social "Aoro"/.r" .a/king as orl o( lAc ame /i*e 4s mere /f;rg" . It is an enchanted,

The Fetish Speaks - Fredy Perlman

Apr 11, 2015



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Page 1: The Fetish Speaks - Fredy Perlman

r'--" \--) \..-)

fihe F=ETISHspea,ks !

'in rAtrAl'1. CaPital

/'/r". Lord,

/ /.o { hetr g/zos/social


.a/king asorl o( lAc

ame /i*e 4s mere /f;rg" .

I t is anenchanted,

Page 2: The Fetish Speaks - Fredy Perlman


'- l - , l .I A -r f , lSI -

\,\ crlc, a carnrn od i+7 1s

' | ,n j c,-bor. ,ndin5

si* t * is. t ie s qndVefY ?ueerrr igrn pi ty sicai

*Leo iogico" I n ice* ies,

if {he rnale.rra/s fernished

F4 a.s clca-r as noon-dd.y lha/ rnan'

by his industry, change..s . /h.e

*-" -/

bv na, lure in such 4

"Joy 4s to 'rake -/


{o ht.rz.

So fo' a.s it is q.\a lue in uSe, *1,* no*Lin3 rnysier iou5oboq.t it, wheiller wetonrsider it $ron *l,epoint oS view ttatUy its propeties i ti5 capoble o{ sa+14t-inq hurnon tarnnts.


*1.'e poiat*i''at -l-l.roseptopertieSare *hepndrrct of

t^moh lo.Aor

,/7 ,form af

6taod, {o* tn'


i" a/lered lyt-"!r"S a lalle out of it.

fet, fora/l lAatthe ta6le




Page 3: The Fetish Speaks - Fredy Perlman

b"t, i" rclation *" "-ll o+hJ

it r.t o''lYwith i t : feet



cs it s{eps $orth <r.s q- cotntn"di}y,

in*o somethino trans.en dent.

/ co--odities. it stonds oh

\ it= h.oJ, ond evolves orrt of

A\ *":d'" brain grotesl're

A co.-Jity is$ore o- r',ys*'riotr*hinq, si-ply be.o.ute in it *he 56)qycho.ricter 'o$ Yn"n's labor. o-pPeqrs ,/to *hem q's o.h chotr ter

$o.mpgd up,on the. prJ".i of 7

rorn t!.. moment *Lqi men in o.ny woy work {o" one

*[,cir labor q.ssumes o. socio-l {o.rn

beco-use *he relction of*he proJucers |o the srrrn*otol of *l-,eir own l.borrs presented to fl.m osa social re lot ion exis+inqrot belween i|=r,*s]brr"t L..fween *1,. prod*.i=of *J-,err lobon

rn.rtual relo-tions of *he produ.ers t"ke *he S.m ofb.*"ce.n *he

Page 4: The Fetish Speaks - Fredy Perlman

n that worldt t re product ions gfthe human brainappear as independentbeings endowed withJ- i fe, and enter inginto re]-at ion bothrr i th one anotherand the human race.

I t is a. def in i te socis. ] -relat ion between men t}.aassumes, in their eye6t}.e fan-tast icform ofa re].a-t ionbetweenthings

In order to . f indan aJla]-ogy wemust trave recourseto the]-oregions of thereJ* ig ioue worJ-d.

So i t isin bhe worldof commodi-

wi th theproduct6of menrskrandg.

fhe ]-abor ofof the ] .abort ions whichbetween thebetween the

ThisI ca.].]-

the Fet ishismwhi-ch at taches i t -

sel- f to tkre products oJ.abor, so soon as they

are produeed as commodi-t ies, and whj-ch ist}.erefore inseparabl-e

m the product ion ofcommodf_t ] -es.


the inct ivj-dua.l aseerts i tsel-f as a partof society onJ.y by means of tLre re3.a-

the act of exchange estabJ- ishes directJ-yproducts, and j -ndirect ly, t l . rough them,

is l 'et ish-ism }" as i tsor ig in in tpecuJ. iarsocia]-c l :aracter ofthre ].abort l . rqf n-n-


Page 5: The Fetish Speaks - Fredy Perlman

The money form of the worJ-dof commodit ies actual-J-y con-ceal-s, instead of d iscJ-os-i-ng, t} e sociaJ- c}-aracterof private l-abor and thesocie'] . re].at ions between

indiv idual . producers.

When I state tha.tcoats or boot6stand in a ref.s.-t ion to J- inen, be-ca.use i t is theuniversa]. incarne.-t ion of abstra.cthuman J.a.bor, theabsurdity of thestatement is se]- f -evident -

or, what is thesame thing, wi-thgofd or s i lver, asthe universa] equi-val-ent e they e5-press the rel-at ionbetween their ownprivate ].abor endthe co].]-ect ivelabor of soci-etyin the sa:ne absurd

Page 6: The Fetish Speaks - Fredy Perlman


T}.e categoriea obourgeois eoonoqyconsist of suchl- ike forms.

They forms of thoughtexpressing with socie.3- val. idi tYthe conditions a,rrd rel-ations ofa def in l te, h istor ical ] -y de-termined mode of productiont

The who].e mystery of commodit iesa3-l the magic and necromancythat surrounds t lre Produets of

J.abor as long as theY take the

form of commodit ies t

' t. : li l

i ' t

I t

: ) l



Page 7: The Fetish Speaks - Fredy Perlman

For a. societY based"tr

t fr" productJ-on of commodit iee,

whicht}. e producersin general- enter int

eocial- relat i-ons wit}"

one errother bY treat-

ing their Products a's

commodit ies and wa'].uee

wbereby tLreY red.uce their

individual- Private aa'bor

to the standard of hono-

geneoue b.uman 13!er-

' - - fot such a societYtChrist ia l i tY wi th i ts

cultus of abstract manhote especi 'a3.J-Y in i ts

bourgeois deweloPmente t?rotestant ism, Deismr etc 'j-s the most f j - t t ing form

of rel . ig ion.

Page 8: The Fetish Speaks - Fredy Perlman

hhey b.lot,q to o- slo-t ' ' '[ I

s*llty ir, -whi.h *Le Proces:

of y'odu.t ion. ht ' T":t: 'You.J

-on rns{"^d of beit'3

contro lled

evident heeessr |y rmyosedby noture o.s produ.five.

lcbo. r tse l f

; -;l\

lhr5 DerSOnltr-I

| - . . l

co-t lon ot thrnSstrnd qonversion

Hence {orms of socio' I

produciion thq-t -

pre ceded' the bourgois torm *t9.

treo-ted Ui +t.,. bourgeoisieir, m,^ch the some wtrY as

*l.. F**h..s of the CL**h

treoted gre- Cl'rislorin religions'

of produc*ion\ rc lat ion s

into erititiesls(L

re l ig ionot

. everrldc.y\..-.t l;fc.

Page 9: The Fetish Speaks - Fredy Perlman

The q.t,^o\ aqgr,ts ot proJuctio. {."1 c"mpl"tely at home otid i.t,e-ti.,.,o-l {ormS-


E.ono-i.s is no more *Lo.., o- dido.tlc,rrbre or doqrotic trc.nslotion of

\ . . J-

\eVerydov conceptions of *he o.tuo-l\ l f l lqvervoo.y eonCePIlOnS or the (rcl U(LI

c,gents of prod,.c-.

It sees in this TRINITY,whi.h is derniJ of

"-llinn.r connection, the

nctur*l ond i"d,.bitable

lofty bo-sis Sor its sho-l*lou PornPousness.

Page 10: The Fetish Speaks - Fredy Perlman

. ^ , . - - - \I rn ls r ormu-Lasimu]-tsJ1eous]-y sor-responds to theinterests of therr.rl-l_ng oaasses

by proelaiming the physi-ea1 necessi ty andeternal- just i f icat j -on of their sourees ofr.evenue and elevating tkiem to a, dogma.

Firs l pr in led n Black & Red No. 5, January 1969

Reprinted in 1973 byBlack & Red

Box 9546Detroi t , Michigan 48202