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Marx's labor theory of value is no more empirically demonstrable than the theories that it critiques and that it is just as socially positioned in the perspective it articulates. By comparison with the ostensible incompetence of the “negro slave” and the supposedly minimal worth of his or her product, Marx affirms the collective agency of all European wage workers, the value of their product, and, by proxy, Marx's own worthiness of enfranchisement despite his ethnicity and downward class mobility. Marx wished the best for the European workers without expressing any hope for the amelioration of African American suffering. Worse—in an instance of what Matory calls “fetishism”—he shifted credit for the value production of the enslaved and sympathy for his or her suffering away from the enslaved and to European workers like himself.

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