Harry Cleaver

'Every effort to actually construct a socialist society seems to me to have reproduced one of the most fundamental characteristics of the kind of society that it is supposed to replace. That characteristic is the essence of what has always been meant by domination: the imposition of a universal set of rules and the subordination of social diversity to a standard measure. Indeed, when we look closely at the mechanisms socialists have designed for regulating their alternative social systems, we find that their attempts to correct the injustices of capitalism have remained trapped in the capitalist practice of measuring everything in terms of labour and money — in short, in that social reductionism that is so characteristic of capitalism.'

Harry Cleaver, 'Work refusal and self-organisation', in Life Without Money, p. 51

Harry Cleaver is Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Texas (Austin). An autonomist Marxist, his many publications include the classic Reading Capital Politically (1979, Harvester Press, Brighton). Harry's activism has centred on university campaigns and struggles of Mexican immigrants and Zapatistas, and he maintains the Texas Archives of Autonomist Marxism. Read more about him and his publications at his site, Harry Cleaver.

'Marx had rejected utopian plans for substituting "labour chits" (or "time-chits" or "labour money") for cash money because, he argued, the substance of money value in capitalism was already labour. Labour chits, therefore, would simply be a primitive form of money and likely to evolve into all too familiar forms. He imagined instead the communist abolition of all kinds of money along with the dramatic reduction of labour time and the substitution of the direct distribution of collectively produced wealth among the producers.'

Harry Cleaver, 'Work refusal and self-organisation', in Life Without Money, p. 52

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