RE economic globalisation

Paul Cockshott wpc at
Sat Aug 19 21:29:43 MDT 1995

The following post deals with a question by Jim that relates
to a previous exchange between Will and I. I cite the
original exchange at the base the letter.

The reason I accuse Will of economism is that he
is counterposing international links among the working
class to political actions directed at influencing
or controling state power.

In the context of this opposition, these links can only
be economic and trades union in character. I agree that
labour unions would be much more effective were they
international, but history has seen much more advanced
international links than this in the Commintern. Such
political links were possible when the structure of the
world economy was considerably less capitalistic. So to
say that the structure of the world economy now gives
such links a potential material basis for the first time,
can only mean that he is thinking in trades union terms.

The Communist Manifesto said that the first aim of the
communists was to constitute the proletariat as a class
and thus as a political party.

A political party is an organisation whose purpose
is to at best gain hold of, or at the least to
influence, the power of the state. This is true
whether one is talking about conservative,
reforming or revolutionist parties. The latter may
wish to destroy the existing state power, but
in so doing, they seek at the very least to shape
any new state that comes into being.

There is no politics outside of the struggle over
state power. Thus to counterpose international workers
organisation to the struggle over state power is
to repudiate politics.

What I consider to be necessary is a political movement
in as many of the main capitalist countries as possible
a. Identifies as its main enemy the rentier class.

b. Puts forward as its immediate objectives full employment
   and unlimited democracy and advances a definite and
   practical program of measures to attain these.

c. In Europe the focus of these struggles must be the
   emerging EU, in other countries the struggle is constrained
   to be within the existing states.

d. Is willing to use all means of struggle to attain these


>  Rather than trying to ressurect the power of the nation state by
>  finding divisions between sections of capital,  (an difficult project
>  since the working class does not control economic relations
>  in capitalism), we should be seeking to build international
>  links amongst the working class. I believe that the
>  structure of the world economy now gives such links a potential
>  material basis for the first time.
> He is in practice advocating the sort of ultimately impotent
> economism, that led to the defeat of the last great working class
> upsurge. Those that do not learn from history repeat its mistakes.

        I don't see how this necessarily follows from the above (did I
miss something?).  It's quite clear that the workers need to organize
internationally.  What do _you_ mean here?

     --- from list marxism at ---


More information about the Marxism mailing list