Marxism and the Militias
djones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Sat Sep 2 13:10:06 MDT 1995
Paul C criticized as teleological my argument that the capitalist state
will increasingly require an extra-legal, extra-government organ as
instrument of special and exceptional repression. Moreover, he noted that
growing unemployment has been sufficient to discipline labor, so presumably
the state as instrument of repressive class rule is withering away as a
result of the failure of Keynesianism! Only if it were so!
This would of course come as a surprise to the masses which rebelled in LA:
ten thousand Latinos were locked up and many deported, the neighborhoods of
the ruling class were protected and thousands of others were intimidated.
Needless to say, Paul's argument is surprisingly anti-Leninist.
The role of teleology in Marxian theory remains of course a vexed question
(for a very stimulating defense of how Marx relies on an Aristotlean
conception of teleology--also recommended by Chris S--see Scott Meikle's
Essentialism in the Thought of Karl Marx: "So with Marx: laws are
effectively definitional of a thing's nature, and they explain what happens
in the world, not by trying to predict 'events' on the basis of other
'events' ('initital conditions') together with universal regularities, but
by uncovering what some entitity's ergon and tendencies of development or
potential are, and seeing how it can be expected to act or develop and
probably will, unless interfered with. The interferences are the realm of
accidental, and can be dealth with and evaluated only in prior relation to
a prior understanding of the realm of necessity of form and essence, in
relation to which they are accidental. As Aristotle pointed out, there can
be no science of the accidental." p. 164. LaSalle IL: Open Court, 1985).
As I suggested in the post, I was relying on Mattick's and Cogoy's
explication of capital's tendencies of development and their analysis of
the long-term limited effectiveness of Keynesian intervention to interfere
with capital's tendency towards deeper and widening crises.
Accepting that analysis, I only suggested that in the face of growing
unemployment, insufficient real wages and the specter of mass revolt, the
capitalist state may find itself dependent on the formation, cooptation and
use of extra-legal organs of special and ferocious repression. As Valerie
has already noted, the FBI has historically enlisted the help of far-right
groups in the repression of select targets. I am only suggesting that this
sort of activity will intensify. And Marxists need to draw the appropriate
I do agree that the people join far-right movements , as Paul put it, as
"an autonomous response to deteriorating social conditions." I am only
suggesting the direction its leadership must take if it is to protected (or
at least not harrassed) under the umbrella of the capitalist state.
Here's Paul's post:
>Forget the Militia for a moment. Can we agree that in the wake of the
>Keynesian failure to stabilize the trade cycle( as predicted by Paul
>Mattick and Mario Cogoy among others) the capitalist state will need more
>than ever an extra-legal, extra-government organ as instrument of special
>and exceptional repression?
>I do not agree.
>I think the trend of your argument is teleological and besides
>The abandonment of Keynesianism has as a result not only wider
>trade cycles but also chronic mass unemployment. Unemployment
>is the extra-governmental organ of special repression.
>As a result of 15 years of it, the trades union movement here
>is prostrate and there is no need for any special organ of
>repression other than that provided by liberal economics.
>By reducing movements like the militia to some 'need' of capital
>you fail to see that they can be an autonomous response to
>deteriorating social conditions.
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