foucault at eden.rutgers.edu
Thu Dec 29 17:45:01 MST 1994
Let the capitalist propound notions of predetermination. Socialists
should know that the revolution is what we make it.
Without giving you my complete thesis (I'd say manifesto, but I'd be
getting a little ahead of myself), I'll try to explicate.
The domination of ruling classes before capitalism was based vastly
more on actual physical intimidation. Thus when a King said he was better
than the rest of us, he was at least talking from a position of having the
big guns. You can say Mike Tyson isn't a great boxer, but then you'd have to
fight him. The capitalist is more like Don King saying he is a great boxer.
He only owns the rights to great boxers work product. If the fans don't
show, and the boxers don't fight, he's just an ex-pimp.
Capitalist ideology reduces previous ideologies of domination to
assertions and bald-faced lies. Capitalists say they are better than us
simply because they own more than we. They justify their wealth by saying
that resources are scarce and that a Machiavellian reality obtains. They
call themselves the logical product of the natural competition for this
scarcity of resources.
Whereas, in fact, America has plenty resources. In fact natural
resources are far removed from the basis of modern economic competition and
the market. The competition that capitalists are actually talking about is
competition among the rich for the power to rule the roost, and take the
eggs. Further, the power of the capitalist is not enforced by him, but by a
largely democratic constitutional government. Ultimately, it is not the
power of the capitalist qua capitalist that matters, but the power relations
inherent in the coin of capitalism - stock. Now stock IS scarce, because it
represents the largely cooperative effort of individuals to make hay.
Cooperative efforts are a ticklish thing to keep going when they are
organized, from the beginning, to have contrary purposes to the needs of the
participants. Thus, the capitalist needs ideologies to keep the monkeys in
their cages. Meritocracy is his contribution. THe rest, sadly, the
bedevilled monkeys do themselves, followin their masters' example and
besetting each other with the same kind of viscious lies.
Thus - to your point - it is not even as complex as telling the
people new stories. The whole system is based on simple, fallacious
metaphors, after all. Now the old stories of Marx, Engels, Veblen, et al
need a little dusting and editing, but really it comes down to simply failing
to suspend our (one hopes) growing disbelief. If you want a story, then :
"let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings:
......for within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court."
(Richard the Second - required reading
for the metaphorical marxist)
Betcha didn't know that Shakespeare was a dialectician
And we don't even have to come up with a good story. It should be
the equivalent of replacing a Merchant-Ivory production with an action
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