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A Series of Concepts:

These are some of the concepts that inform the work of Team Colors.

Definitions by Nate Holdren, taken from the Future in the Present Conference.

Class Composition :
Class composition analysis is a mode of intellectual practice that aims to both understand and intervene
politically on the composition of the working class. There are two moments that make up the composition
of the working class: the technical composition and the political composition, which roughly correspond to
the distinctions of class-in-itself and class for-itself elsewhere in the Marxist tradition. The technical
composition of the working class refers primarily to the organization of the labor process when it functions
relatively normally in the production of surplus value. In this sense technical composition includes
machinery, the skills of workers, disciplinary practices in the workplace, everything that enters into how
the spaces and times of work are distributed. The political composition of the working class refers to the
organizations of workers, formal or informal, by which workers act in and against the labor process: the
union, the party, the affinity group, the informal work group, etc. Political composition also includes the
tactics or practices that workers make use of in conflicts in and against work: absenteeism, strikes of
various types, mutual aid, marches, demonstrations, etc. Class composition analysis makes use of a range
of types of inquiry that resemble social and oral history, ethnography, journalism, and others.
See co-research, militant research.

Co-Research :
Co-research is a practice of intellectual production that does not accept a distinction between active
researcher and passive research subjects. At its best co-research aims for a productive cooperation that
transforms both into active participants in producing knowledge and in transforming themselves. There is a
long history of co-research in Italy and elsewhere, but not always under the name co-research.
See Militant Research.

General Intellect :
General intellect is a term used by Marx in the Grundrisse in a section referred to as “The Fragment On
Machines.” In this section Marx speculates on the role of intellect, specifically scientific knowledge and
technical expertise, in present and possible future versions of capitalist production. For Marx general
intellect essentially resides in fixed capital, in machines and objective factors of production. Thinkers of the
late 20th century onward have expanded the concept to refer to the role of intellect within variable capital,
that is, skills and knowledges within the bodies and brains of workers and how these capacities relate to
capitalist production and radical possibilities. In some accounts general intellect effectively means that the
old Marxist project of seizing the means of production has already partially occurred: for workers such as
graphic designers, translators, teachers, etc, important aspects of the material required for the performance
of labor are owned by the worker in their own person.

Immaterial Labor :
Immaterial labor refers to the production of the immaterial content of commodities such as media and art as
well as the role of information and communication in sectors of material production and the production of
affect in service work and elsewhere. Immaterial labor produces and/or manipulates signs and symbols,
data, information, knowledges, affects and biological life. Teachers, graphic designers, computer
programmers, translators, retail clerks, prostitutes, nurses, nannies, and housewives are all examples of
immaterial laborers. This labor occurs in and out of recognized workplaces in remunerated and
unremunerated modes. Oftentimes immaterial labor, particularly its more traditionally feminine forms,
occurs in conditions of precarity.
See precarity.
Militant Research :
Militant research has many meanings. It can be research carried out with the aim of producing knowledge
useful for militant or activist ends. Militant research can also be research that is carried in a fashion in
keeping with the aims and values of radical militants. In some parts of the Marxist tradition militant
research is a moment of class composition analysis, and is sometimes referred to as workers' inquiry, after a
document written by Marx in 1880.
See co-research, class composition analysis.

Precarity :
Precarity is currently the subject of growing debate and political mobilization in Europe at the time of this
writing, partly in response to changes in the regimes of labor and welfare policy as well as labor practices.
Precarity has several related meanings. With regard to work, precarity refers to a variety of so-called
‘nonstandard' work arrangements: times of work (night and weekend work), quantities of work time
(flexible or variable hours, part-time work, demands for overtime), and durations of work assignments
(temporary work, non-contract work, freelance work). Precarity also refers to the legal status of work:
whether work is legal or illegal, and which customary labor rights do and do not apply to which workers.
Precarity also refers to instability of income, linked to precarious work arrangements, and to access to
needed services such as healthcare and housing. All of these meanings of precarity indicate a general
unpredictability of access to needed goods and services whether via a welfare state or private sector and a
lack of control of work which in turn imposes less control over the rest of one's life. In this sense precarity
has historically been the general condition of the proletariat globally with moments of relatively less
precarity being exceptions resulting from a number of political factors.

Real Subsumption :
Marx defined real subsumption of labor in the “Results of the Immediate Process of Production,” the so-
called unpublished sixth chapter of Capital Volume One . Real subsumption is defined in contrast to formal
subsumption of labor. Formal subsumption occurs when capitalists take command of labor processes that
originate outside of or prior to the capital relation via the imposition of the wage. In real subsumption the
labor process is internally reorganized to meet the dictates of capital. An example of these processes would
be weaving by hand which comes to be labor performed for a wage (formal subsumption) and which then
comes to be performed via machine (real subsumption). Real subsumption in this sense is a process or
technique that occurs at different points throughout the history of capitalism. For some thinkers, such as
Antonio Negri, real subsumption of labor is transfigured into real subsumption of society such that all of
society becomes a moment of capitalist production. In this version of real subsumption is an epoch, a stage
of capitalism within a historical periodization, analogous to postmodernity. This sense of real subsumption
is very similar to the social factory when read as a historical periodization.
See social factory.

Self-Valorization :
Self-valorization, also translatable as auto-valorization, refers to the capacity of individuals and groups to
autonomously produce different values other than that of capitalist value production and to produce social
relationships and organizational forms in keeping with these other values. Both self-valorization and auto-
valorization are imperfect translations: the former connotes a type of individualism, and the latter connotes
a mechanical, automatic, or predetermined process. In Italian and Spanish the phrase has neither of those
connotations. For more on this concept readers can consult the works of Antonio Negri and Harry Cleaver.
Social Factory :
The social factory is a term developed within the operaismo tradition of Marxism in Italy. There is an
ambivalence in the term, between being a conceptual optic and being a narrative of historical periodization.
The social factory as a conceptual optic argues that the techniques and practices of power deployed within
the factory also impact life outside the factory, and vice versa. In other words the walls of the factory are a
semi-permeable membrane across which passages take place and across which lines of force operate. The
basic point of the concept is that value production and resistance to value production do not occur only in
determinate and recognized workplaces and in activity by waged workers. This concept of the social
factory has a polemical force against the factory-ist political and organizational model that centers on
workplaces and waged work. As a type of historical periodization the social factory is a narrative in which
the inside and the outside of the factory become contiguous over a period of time such that capitalist
command now comes to reach across the inside and outside of the factory.
See also real subsumption.

Socialized Worker :
The socialized worker, also translated as social worker, appears in the work of Antonio Negri among
others. Negri has most recently begun to refer to the socialized worker using the term ‘multitude.' The
socialized worker is a figure in a history of changing class compositions that runs from ‘the professional
worker' to ‘the mass worker' to the socialized worker. The socialized worker has the following general
characteristics: work may occur at a number of different and sometimes varying sites within society rather
than in one designated workplace. Work may occur at different and sometimes varying times, and the work
involves social capacities such as speaking, caring, writing, and so forth. The labor of the socialized worker
is the set of activities that Negri and others refer to by the term immaterial labor.
See class composition, immaterial labor.