jenyan1 jenyan1 at uic.edu
Mon Jun 18 14:16:56 MDT 2001

On Mon, 18 Jun 2001, Greg Schofield wrote:

> Which brings me to imperialism, which as Lenin rightly termed the "highest
> stage of capitalism", but which ended somewhere in the mid 1970s, so rather
> than refer to books try and explain to me how imperialism works once the
> monopolies no longer have homelands and the finance capital is free of any
> borders (which is more or less the situation of today)?
> Try and explain how the national bourgeoisie is paying off 1st world
> workers, when at the behest of the extra-national bourgeoise they are
> dismantling social infrastructure?
The bourgeoisie is not extranational as the globalisation fad discourse
would imply. In fact capital is still intimately connected to state power,
and state power continues to be concentrated in the centre (ie the
imperialist states), not the colonies.

    "The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist.
    McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of
    the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps thee world safe for Silicon
    Valley's technologies is called the US Army, Air Force, Navy and
    Marine Corps."  The writer of these words is not a provocative joker,
    but none other than Thomas Friedman, Madeleine Albright's adviser.

    We are very far, here, from the unifying discourse spouted by
    fashionable economists on the self-regulating market as a guarantor of
    peace. The American ruling class knows that economics are political,
    and that it is relations of power -- including military power -- that
    command the market. There will be no "global market" without an
    American military empire, they say -- for the above-mentioned article
    is but one amongst hundreds. [1]

Your question "Try and explain how the national bourgeoisie is paying off
1st world  workers, when at the behest of the extra-national bourgeoise
they are dismantling social infrastructure?" is also ill posed. More
correctly one might ask whether social democracy and liberal reformism
been used by the ruling classes to procure social peace and forestall
social revolution in the Western states and whether this strategy is now
being discarded. Understanding why the bourgeoisie has chosen or found it
necessary to discard its reformist garb seems like an important question
for the revolutionary movement.

I must point out that the reformist garb of the Western bourgoisie, that
mask whose disappearance many now lament, was only aparent in the
imperialist countries. The rest of us have on the whole had to make do
with rather less delicate methods of social control.

> While I am well aware of the critical importance of the US military and US
> interests generally, why has safe gun-boat diplomacy (punishment without
> military objectives) replaced on the ground military actions which typified
> Imperialism throughout its entire history (that is direct administration)?
This is simply not true. Firstly, "classical" imperialism frequently
adopted forms of indirect rule through native intermediaries. Secondly,
the military objectives of the US today are quite clear: to demoralise the
populace of thoses states which it regards as a potential threat to its
hegemony, and to thwart the rise of serious military competitors. Thirdly,
the US maintains military bases across the globe, and this is in many
cases just a few steps shy of direct occupation. States like Japan, Korea
and to a slightly lesser degree Australia, retain a semblance of bourgeois
democracy through national legislative assemblies, but have in fact
substantially ceded control of foreign policy and military matters to the
US which maintains military presences, if not garrisons, on their
territories. Recall that it was through similarly oblique means that
the "classical" British imperialism, at least during "normal" periods,
exercised control over Egypt and various African "protectorates".

> There are a lot of why's today, the list could be endless. However most
> only exist because the dominate approach to theory dismisses them, forces
> them into intellectual boxes which they obviously don't fit and clings to
> out-moded ideas which were not even good when they were new. Which also
> brings me to my criticism of dependency theory which has supplanted Lenin's
> imperialism to the degree that it has disappeared altogether.
> Imperialism gained its nature from the capitalist state,

and so for the most part, has each capitalist state has gained its nature
from imperialism. Supposing for a second that this is not the case,
perhaps one would like to consider the question of which aspects of
American capitalism are not imperialist, and which aspects of American
imperialism are not capitalist?

> this seems to have
> been forgotten and instead we have imperialism welling up from within the
> essence of capitalism (elaborated dependency theory Mine, not Lenin's
> concept of imperialism, nor Engels nor Marx's for that matter).
... see the remark above.

J Enyang

[1] http://www.ahram.org.eg/weekly/1999/426/op2.htm

More information about the Marxism mailing list