Marx, militias, class, etc.
Bryan A. Alexander
bnalexan at umich.edu
Wed Aug 30 16:25:18 MDT 1995
Thanks for the thoughtful post, Glen. Of course I must respond further:
I was citing the class positions of individuals within the militias as
anecdotal evidence, sinc eI am aware of no larger and reliable evidence.
But if we accept Olin's theory of class as trajectory - and, as an avid
Deleuze reader, I approve - we must delineate this arc carefully. A
simple map: they all want to get rich, or, more practically, to own a
small business. This of course feeds into the class hierarchy of scale
and material... but the dual hostility to the state and finance capital
skews this trajectory. A society without these two presences would have
a hard time supporting a complex capitalist elite, yes? If so, the
militia ideology might be one of restricted scale (the image of
Schumacher with a rifle is curiously charming/disturbing). Certainly
Franco's followers, Mussolini's, Hitler's had visions of small
communities tied to the earth - *but* always allied with icons of vast state
power. I think the militias are capable now of pushing either way,
towards a new reich or for a weird version of autonomia (Bradbury's Mars
seems to be a militia utopia - has anyone else read this?), a paradise of
small towns and shops. They have yet to coalesce into strong conformity;
this too would be beneficially encouraged (although supporting the
Omnibus Bill is one sure way of creating a homogenized movement).
I'm not sure how hostile these groups are to labor. American
unions are usually a threat to nobody, today. As an example, the recent
planned merger of the three big ones seems to have raised no militia
hackles. This point needs research. Ultimately any group can be hostile
to labor, of course. Again, a matter of force, desire, trajectory (and
origin, I insist.).
But the militia ideology recognizes what modern left thinking
classically sidesteps: the fusion of state and capital. The fascists
fought to bring this alchemical wedding about; we are born into its
longstanding marriage. So liberals can naively oppose the state (as a
good) against The Corporations (ill), ignoring their essential and
dialectical complicity - and being amply rewarded for doing so. This is
Nergi's point, and we should not be surprised to see a certain congruence
in discourses of violence between Tony and the militias. Labor is
violence - and the militias have, through a spattered mirror, held that
axoim up to the gaze of "civil society" (the state already knows this,
and hates to be reminded).
In short - to end this meandering - the militias ar emore protean
than a straightforward Spain/Gramsci analysis would divulge.
Bryan Alexander Department of English University of Michigan
On Wed, 30 Aug 1995 g.maclennan at qut.edu.au wrote:
> On Tue, 29 Aug 1995, Bryan A. Alexander wrote:
> > We must take care to distinguish between the ideology of a group and its
> > actual class position. Many members of the militia are underclass but
> > want to be middle class (of some sort); that desire can be used, and will
> > be, I think...
> > And the treachery of liberals is vital. In my home of Ann Arbor,
> > liberals still defend Bubba Clinton, although not without looking
> > confused and sad.
> Bryan, I think there is a problem here beween the notion of an
> individual's class position and that of a group. If you accept that a
> group can have a class position then it doesn't matter what the class
> origin of the member is. I believe it is helpful to think here as Olin
> Wright argued, to think of class in terms of trajectories. Of course
> sections of the working class might well end up in the fascist
> organisations. Then their class origin is irrelevant. What is important
> is their direction and being part of a fascist movement inevitably means
> they are headed into the middle class with all the contradicitions that
> this entails.
> But organised Labour is the target not the feeder source
> of fascism. The peasantry and the middle classes supplied Hitler with
> his shcok troops. That is most important to remember when mdille class
> intellectuals criticise the conservativism of the working class and fail
> to realise the difference between being conservative and being reactionary.>
> > > regards
> > --- from list marxism at lists.village.virginia.edu ---
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