LOV and Tory Stabilisation?

Scott Marshall scott at rednet.org
Thu Jul 6 16:19:00 MDT 1995


Howie:

>In another post Scott M. ridiculed the idea that the state could ever be
>neutral in the class struggle. While on the whole I think that this is true,
>I also think that we need to avoid seeing the state as a monolith, or as
>simply the passive instrument of "the ruling class". One problem I have with
>such positions is that they blend very easily with conspiracy theories.

Scott: I agree and said nothing to indicate that I thought the state was a
monolith nor a passive instrument of the ruling class. But why ruling
class in quotes?
 I
>prefer the kind of approach pioneered by Poulantzas and developed by Bob
>Jessop which has the state as a site of struggle over strategic orientation.
>Such a view does not presuppose an existing ruling class consensus that
>precedes the activity of the state apparatus to work one out. It sess the
>state as a place where the ruling class can work out its own internal
>conflicts, and also one where its rule can be contested both from within and
>from without.

Maybe, I'm not sure with out a fuller treatment, this begs or minimizes the
question of power, and who wields it. I have no particular disagreement with
the generalities above as long as we see that power is in the hands of the
ruling class and that they do use the state to exercize that power. And I
would say there is concensus and concensus - the ruling class is pretty well
aware of their overall class interests - they do have powerful forms of
management, communications, think tanks etc that are not technically part of
the state apparatus but are powerful channels of reaching agreement and
concensus.

>Such a struggle is of course ongoing, so that the kind of
>thing Scott referred to, the state taking away with one hand what it has
>been forced to concede with the other, happens all the time. But the lesson
>is that we need to find ways to hold onto the gains that are made in
>struggle and this includes conquering positions of influence within the
>state, in order that a more profound transformation of the entire state
>apparatus can eventually come about.

All very true, and I would add that power concedes nothing without a demand
so that we must not only hang on to reforms, fight for even greater reforms
including in periods like now figure out how to go on the offensive for
reforms, but fundamentally we must constantly agitate, organize and demand
the overthrow of capitalist power and real working class power and democracy
to be known as socialism.



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