gschofield at one.net.au
Tue Jun 19 21:59:29 MDT 2001
>TO greg From John: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.
I am afraid you mistook my meaning. The bourgeoisie are living beings
naturally enough and along with this will have a myriad of loyalties and
interests (non-economic interests) which personally and sometimes
collectively identify them - this is at the level of sentiment.
At the level of business they are related to credit capital (they are the
personal incarnations of this credit) which is international and outside
state borders. Credit capital differs from portfolios actually owned (the
right to dividend share) which by their nature are located within state
boundaries and defined by them. Credit capital derives from this share
ownership and trading but its movements are global and by nature
New York remains important just as all the old colonial powers capitals do
for obvious historic reasons. However the center of power is the
stockexchange, for they are the ports egress and ingress, for the credit
relations which are external to all of them.
National financial capital was sufficient to bring fascism to power under
classical imperialism, we have several orders of greater magnitude
magnitude in operation today and outside the borders that gave fascism its
Now normally marxists would call what is going on now as mere speculation,
the South Sea Bubble writ large. But there are profound differences the
most critical being the conversion of credit capital from one place to the
next at speeds that make it virtually instant. The speed factor has brought
about a qualitative change in speculation and in this lies its
Napoleon III for his own pocket and political reasons encouraged
speculation as a means of gaining capital, it brought him a cropper in the
end, but before that he stood at the tap, able to turn it on to increase
the flow or shut it off. National financial capital was thus confined. This
is NOT the situation today any place on earth. That is the point, that is
what raises credit capital above states - the tap handle has broken-off,
before the flow can be shut-off it would have all gone elsewhere (the big
bits that really count that is) every government in the world is aware of
this and every government panders to it out of necessity. That is new -
very new indeed.
There are weaknesses in this, very big weaknesses. The whole venture skates
on very thin ice indeed, social hegemony has been abandoned for one, the
credit capital stands well above the possible dividend pay-out and
maintains itself only by increasing surplus and surplus realisation (the
gap exists my point is that it is maintained by speculating on the increase
in the rate of profit - it is capitalism betting against its own death).
Should the gap collapse, should credit capital dry up, well I would not
even begin to know what might be the effects. Bad enough when there is just
a relative drying-up or just the threat of thinking about moving away from
any particular state. The policies of pandering are universally out of
necessity - it is these policies that are usually called "globalisation".
Exploring the matter in this way suggests different forms of struggle,
rather seeing it in this way demands a different orientation, especially to
the state. The state becomes less important to the bourgeoisie while it
becomes more important to the future of the proletariat. The bourgeoisie
have the state, of this there is no question and no delusion - to keep it
as a servant they will unleash whatever violence is needed (the protests in
Sweden being a taste of the round of escalation we are likely to see in the
near future, the presage of worse to come).
Moreover, the relationship to the state of proletarian struggle needs to
become far more practical, but I will leave that for another time.
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.
You have answered it perfectly!
>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.
Do not worry violence is being globalised as well. Social control in the
West is falling apart fairly rapidly (especially considering it took over
100 years to build in the first place).
>This is simply not true. Firstly, "classical" imperialism frequently
>adopted forms of indirect rule through native intermediaries.
Yes but via an imperial state, not by the demands of the capital "market",
the difference cannot be overlooked as it is exactly what gives specific
character to our conditions.
In this we are all becoming "natives" in the colonial sense, workers in the
first world are competing directly with those in third (which never
happened under classical colonialism - it would have been self-defeating in
terms of productivity), the same pressure on one is on the other. Initial
conditions vary enormously, the timing and tempo of the moves likewise, but
the conforming pressure is the same, just historically some are in a much
stronger position to resist than others.
>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".
All granted, America has become the policeman par excellence, based on its
previous imperial past it was already in place to act the part. None
effects my thesis, in fact I would be very worried if it were otherwise -
please note that previously imperialism required such places as Australia
as general allies able to field a small army to work under imperial control
but otherwise be a flexible force. This is precisely what is being changed,
Australia's army is becoming a specialized axillary force, which is
something which proves little by itself, but is different to the previous
history - Australia still is the largest aircraft carrier in the Pacific -
to quote McArthur.
>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?
Again you mistake the import, the theory of imperialism as developed by
Lenin was based on the relationship between an imperial state and its
national capital, break that nexus and the concept fades in usefulness - my
point is that the nexus has been broken, obviously broken, but no-one seems
to be aware that this has any major theoretical implications!
We cannot play fast an loose with theory and hope that it will still work.
A concept becomes an ideology when the relationships within it are
jettisoned in order to fill it with concrete understandings (the change
from a abstract, related, concept which penetrates the real, revealing its
actual state, and a concept used to classify phenomenon based on their
John I think we are mutually aware of the world and what is going on, at
least to a degree that no stray fact is going to make either of us change
our minds. However I believe what we should do is return to the actual
theory that is in dispute (which is not the same as ignoring reality), What
is Lenin's Imperialism and what isn't? It is important, you don't have to
agree with me in the main but I think we both would agree that Lenin's
theory has had a lot foisted on to it, some refinements no-doubt but also a
lot of dross. At least by returning to it we might mutually remove some of
the dross even if it goes no further than that.
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