foucault at eden.rutgers.edu
Mon Jan 23 17:17:09 MST 1995
Imperialism clearly exists, and must be thought tooth and nail. It
is also characteristic of capitalist behavior, as the methods and results of
imperialism are similar to those of early capitalism at home. However,
imperialism is problematic because it puts the power of culture over the
power of capital. Ultimately, that is a state that capitalism cannot stand.
Imperialism is very convenient in that it is an investment (often very small)
in existing power relations of essentially feudal societies. But the
feudalists and the subsequent revolutionaries have the advantage of culture
over the capitalist. Both call nationalism (and other chauvinisms) into the
service of their aims. This has happened time and again.
My point in objecting to the "underdevelopment" argument was simply
to say that "underdevelopment" is not a unique element of capitalism, but a
logical extension of well-known repressive techniques. The danger in the
"underdevelopment" argument is that it tends to support the notion that the
interests of the first and third world proletariats are disparate.
Proletariats can compete legitimately under socialism. Proletariats do not
have competing interests under capitalism. The only disparity among
revolutionary proletariats is how effectively and determinedly they undermine
the power of capital.
Furthermore, capitalism DOES undermine feudal and neo-feudal orders.
Socialists certainly cannot embrace atavistism in their efforts to undermine
the power of capital. Free markets, even capital markets are necessary to
teh socialist. They provide the environment for democratic action against
feudal and capitalist power. If the capitalist tries, in his chauvinism and
bigotry, to impose foreign culture on proud people, all the better. HE
creates immediate resentment. But that does not mean that the goods of the
capitalist age are anything but good. Coca-cola is an unqualified human
good. People like it. We can't ask people to deny the benefits of the West.
We can only ask them to claim all the goods of industry in their own right,
just as we do in the West.
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