The Coal Miners in France During the Second Empire: {Continued Subservience to the Capitalist Hierarchy} In this paper

I will explain why revolt by the labor against capital in Second Empire France failed. To explain the situation, I will use Marx's theory of capital accumulation as he presents it in {Capital}. Also important in the theoretical description of this phenomena is the role of tradition and the way its restraints deviate from those of the economy in this French society. Based on this description I will discuss how the function of management is enforced by the economy and traditions inherent in a society. From these considerations I will suggest additional elements and relationships necessary for social relations change to transcend the institutional conditions in which they exist. Terminology relevent to a theoretical account of an event is given by Talcott Parsons in {The Structure of Social Action}. Here, action is described as a system that may be divided into unit acts. The unit act consists of four elements. First there is an agent, or actor. Second, the act has an end which is a future state of affairs or goal towards which the action is oriented. Third, there is a situation where the trends of development differ from the end towards which the action is oriented. The situation is composed of two elements; the conditions are that which the actor cannot manipulate in accordance with his end, and the means are that over which he does not have control. Finally there is a relation between these elements; where a situation allows alternative means to the end, the course is selected from the normative orientation of the actor. (Parsons, 1968: 44) In order to account for the interrelationships in the historical event and to anticipate a successful change of the capitalist structure, I will use the voluntarist theory of action as presented by Talcott Parsons. This theoretical approach, besides accounting for the unit act, describes the process of interaction between normative and conditional elements. The normative elements are positively inter-dependant with the conditional and nonnormative elements in a specifically determined way. This is more specifically ennunciated by the cybernetic model where there are at least two parts; energy and information. The first controls or regulates the second while the second conditions, or limits, the first. This model may be used to find tendencial chang by showing the limits and range where the variables of the economy, polity and ideology interact. (Gould, "Marx=Weber":1-5) Analysis of the elements and the tendencial interrelatedness should present an accurate theory of social change. The set of social relationships, patterns and subsequent restraints between capital and labor as described by Marx's rendition of the capitalist logic of production are clearly manifest in late nineteenth century

France. Marx maintains that the capitalist is forced by competitive pressure to maximize the surplus value present in the labor power. This surplus value is the amount over and above the cost to reproduce labor which is extracted in the process of a working day. In order to achieve this end, the capitalist increases production by either adding new machinery or devaluing labor power. Among the coal fields labor power is approaching an extreme low in the pit of devaluation. The Company, as generalized in Zola's {Germinal}, has isssued a change in the method of payment for extracting coal from the mines. Instead of paying the teams of workers for the total bulk mined they propose to cut the payment for coal and increase the payment of building the shafts. Because of the greater time element involved in "timbering" the shafts, the workers take an overall cut in wages. This surplus is re-invested into the production process so the firm may retain a competitive status in the industry. The living standards are very low for the worker both relative to the captialist as well as in an absolute sense. There is a minimal of food which is provided by the company store. Since the families are in debt to the store even if there are other jobs available, they cannot leave the firm. Marx writes that in order for the capitalist logic to work, the labor will be paid enough to survive and reproduce. The conditions of the workers are below this level for several months. Prior to the Company's payment alteration, the women had become sterile from the malnutrition. There was no water supply, sewer systems or heating in the overcrowded homes. (Zola, 1873) In the mines, there were frequent fires from improperly ventilated chambers as well as cave-ins in the shafts. Because of a round-the-clock shift that workers demanded to maintain a constant salary, the only enforcement of safety was the sanction of a fine legitimized by the system. Because of the already minimal wage, however, the workers could not afford to spend time rendering their conditions safer. Within Marx's theory of the labor relations of production the material conditions are such that the proletariat may strike out against the capitalist. The ideology is not, however, derived from these conditions. The ideology is a latent element seperate from the economy which surfaces because of the worsening conditions. The from the ideology takes is a spokesman. There has always, in the history of the coalminer-captialist relation, been spokesmen who voice an ideology which suggests radical change to be instigated by the captialist for his long term security. These spokesmen had, until this point, been sanctioned publicly for violating the traditional, legitimized norms and thus been forced to leave because of the monopoly the captialist had on the power of employment. As the living conditions pass below sub-standard, the labor force becomes less suseptable to the existing sanctions because they have nothing to lose.

The workers have traditional needs and expectations. When the living conditions become sub-standard due to the competitive captialist economy the traditonal values may no longer be sacrificed by the system since the system from where the values are derived cannot maintain and reproduce itself. Since the worker's traditional needs and expectations cannot be met, the limiting structure of the economy forces the values beyond material limits. These are the conditions for a structural genesis; traditonal values, at least those required for the reproduction of labor, demand rational action beyond the conditons of the economy. The economy and the ideology both as independant elements in society and, as they interrelate, show an inevitable genesis of change within the system. If these were the only conditions necessary for change in the relations of production and society then it would occur. There is, however, a condition not yet accounted for, that of the polity, and its relation to the economy and ideology. The polity is essentially embodied by the capitalist hierarchy. Here at the top there is a president, the board of directors, and the stockholders. The administrators who actually enforce policy on the the laborer are the district managers, the local managers and the shop director. The structure at the time of the coalminer strike was such that the top enchillon, in fact even the district manager, was completely removed from the practical activities of the industry. They are depicted as setting profit margins and quotas of output. It is the responsibility of the local manager to meet these standards and the responsibility of he shop director to motivate the actual production. As the strike of the miners endured, it was first the shop directors, then the local and district directors that were immediately affected. The control of the corporate directors, however, was never in question. After several months of violent revolt and destruction the corporate body, whose legitimacy had not been questioned directly by the laborors, reinstitued the pre- strike traditional norms with moderate concessions of minimal safety standards. The workers returned to the mines; the ideology receeded to a latent state easily contained within the material limits of the economy. What must the nature of the polity as independant variable as well as an interrelated condition of the social system be in order for a revolution that renders it capable of transformation? Stephen A. Marglin, in his essay "What Do Bosses Do?," suggests that social and economic organization shape technology and that the primary choices (by hierarchy within its means) with respect to the organization of production has not been technology, which is exogenous and inexorable, but the exercise of power, which is endogenous and resistable.

(Marglin; 1976:17) This implies, in keeping with the results of the coalminer strike, that the capitalist has some control over the work process. This control is limited by the economy, therefore I contend that a revolution transforming the class division in society is possible when the polity is as closely related to the economy as the value system was in France where the plity and value system are diametrically opposed and neither is capable of maintaining its reproduction within the economy. I suggest this argument as the reverse process of what Braverman writes in {Labor and Monopoly Capital}) of the growing independance of the capitalist hierarchy, "law and custom reshaped to reflect the predominance of the `free' contract between buyer and seller under which the captialist gained the virtually unrestricted power to determine the technical modes of labor." (Braverman;1974: 60) A narrowing process on captialist freedom will subsequently limit power. He goes on to suggest that this power is limited by the inability to change the process of production and that the captialist strives through management to control the production process and laborer (Braverman, 1974: 66,68). Provided this insight is consistantly true, the antagonism between the captialist and laborer should be accompanied by social relations the limits tendentially narrow, at an increasing rate, the production process. Thus the economy and polity need to be mutually restrictive and the ideology must be latent and conductive to a structure beyond the limits of capitalist economy. As the ideology is a genesis of the divergence of traditonal and rational legal values imposed by the economy, the polity must likewise blatantly induce the divergence of traditonal and rational- legal values. The independant conditon of the polity must therefore be a hierarchy similar to that of the capitalist production structure as well as forced by the economy to derive power in order to reproduce itself. As machine capital slows its expansion rate, a change dictated by scarcity of raw materials, the polity will also have a decreased acceleration. As Parson writes on Weber, "With the use of a concept of authority there is both (economy and polity) a clear recognition of the importance of coercive power as exercised by a variety of means, and a recognition that there is a definite limit to the extent to whcih these may be made to fit into ordinary economic categories..." (Parsons 1968 p. 718) Thus the polity is limited in range by the economy. A social change to maintained, the ideology of a new legitimate order should be established either by routinization or objectification. It must be sanctified in the real order to be a "real" change. The charismatic element of ideology reinforces an initial structural change. Events will subsequently no longer happen but attain meaning in the light of the source that the charismatic element advocates. This change in normative

orientations relative to the change in other elements of the process must be reflected in the ideology. The ideology of social change may not simply be a reiffication of the old in a reactionary form. The substance of the ideology, in being a response to the divergence caused by the economy and polity, must be such as to transcend that which came before it. This final condition, specifying the relations between elements necessary for revolutionary change, may only be derived in a society which is neither an organic, composite whole nor one of random atomistic ends. Rather, the society must be one where the normative orientation for mediating between conditions and means is one of consensus. margins and quotas of output. It is the responsibility of the local manager to meet these standards and the re