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Commodity vs Capital Fetishism

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Commodity Fetishism vs. Capital Fetishism
Marxist Interpretations vis-à-vis Marx’s analyses in Capital

Dimitri Dimoulis and John Milios
Abstract In Marx’s analysis of the Capitalist Mode of Production and more precisely in his theory of value, the key to decipher the capitalist political and ideological practices and structures is to be found. In this context, many Marxists believed that the analysis of “commodity fetishism” in Section 1 of Volume 1 of Capital renders the basis for understanding ideological domination and political coercion under the capitalist rule. The authors argue, that “commodity fetishism” is only a preliminary notion, which allows Marx to arrive, in subsequent Sections of Capital, at the concept of the “fetishism of capital”.

1. Introduction
From the days of his youth Marx was familiar with the statements of ethnographers on the subject of fetishism and used the term in his own writings.1 Equally important was in this context the influence of Hegel.2 In this paper we are not going to deal with the different meanings that the notion of fetishism acquires at different points of Marx’s work, an issue which is related to the various concepts of fetishism in political economy, political philosophy and the social sciences.3 We will focus on the analysis of commodity fetishism, in an effort to contribute to the comprehension of the different dimensions of this concept, especially in Marx’s Capital. For this purpose, we will pursue the following course: At the beginning we are going to present various Marxist approaches to the subject. Subsequently, we are going to read these approaches in the light of Marx’s analysis. In this way we will attempt to investigate if and to what extent the notion of fetishism has itself attained a fetishist function within Marxism, creating inversions, transpositions and misinterpretations, and what is actually…...

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