book intro, Part I

Xxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx at
Sat Feb 24 09:47:11 MST 2001

I liked the theme of the book, but a couple of first hand observations.

1) Challenging the theories of globalization, the author is arguing that
state is an agent of capitalist accumulation & class rule, and it is
integral to the process of globalization that is going on at the moment.
Globalization could not have happened if the international community of
nation states had not consented to the rule of global capital. In a way,
the author is challenging the notion of globalization above and beyond
states as a supra national force, and the thesis of declining state
autonomy relative to transitional capital. I agreed with this argument
in general, but which countries is the author considering to empirically
verify his thesis? Sure that nation states have supported globalization
through a variety of international and regional arrangements (IMF, WTO,
NAFTA, ASEAN, EU, etc..), but whether this support is something that the
states have willingly accepted, or *had to* accept, is a subject matter
of dispute that can not be taken for granted, especially for countries
in the third world. Globalization have curbed the capacity of
nation-states, be it third world capitalist or socialist, to deliver
good and services to their own population, and have significantly
altered (weakened) the bargaining power of working classes. This has in
return shifted the redistribution of economic power to the benefit of
economic elites. In other words, *declining* relative autonomy of states
still mattered in the reconfiguration of class relations at the domestic
level. I am saying this to challenge author's implicit assumption that
state is nothing but an *instrument* of class rule total. If states
loose their relative autonomy under the stress of transational capital,
working classes loose their bargaining power with the state
automatically. As marxists, we can not give up the bourgeois sate. It is
an arena of perpetual struggle (until we achieve socialism)

2) then the author goes on saying that state uses nationalism to
subjugate labor. If labor identifies its interests with the interests of
the state, then the working classes are politically betrayed. it seems
to me that this is a very undialectical and instrumental way of looking
at the state. True that the working classes in the imperialist nations
are, and can be, incorporated by their own bourgeoisie who may then use
them for nationalist purposes. however, for many countries in the third
world working class support for nationalism was a way of 1) struggling
against imperialism (decolonization movements) in the past, if not
currently, and 2)a way of reshaping the global distribution of power
from the center to the periphery, albeit unsucessfully. First world and
third world nationalisms can not be judged equally, under the abstract
category of nationalism, as if center and periphery nationalisms are
competing on the same grounds. Calling nationalism an instrument of
betraying working class is to downplay the signifigance of
anti-imperialist movements. I was expecting the author to touch upon the
issue of anti-imperialism and give specific country examples as they
relate to globalization, but I could not see any. may be he is doing in
the book.

bye, Xxxx

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
Ph.D Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222

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