The STATE DOESN"T PROTECT GANGSTERS??? IN WHAT WORLD?

Julio Huato juliohuato at hotmail.com
Thu May 10 10:21:56 MDT 2001


Borba100 at aol.com replies to my statement that, in Mexico, without the
protection of the state power, capitalism would reconstitute its state
power.

>And this proves the capotialists don't need
>state power to protect them?  Pure sophistry.  That you can RECONSTiTYUTE
>something hardly proves you don't NEED it.  Obviously, that means - they
>need
>state power.  The fact that a social class could theoretically reconsitutte
>what protects them obviously does not mean it is not protecting them. Like
>du-uh.

The question was not whether capitalist reproduction needs legal and
political protection.  That was NOT under debate.  The question was whether
legal and political protection are what make capitalist reproduction what it
is.  Because if capitalist reproduction can exist, emerge, and generate its
own legal and political apparatus, that means that it precedes such
apparatus logically and historically.  That capitalist reproduction can
reconstitute state power DOES mean that state power is NOT its essence.

That you need to weed the field for a plant to grow and have flowers doesn't
mean that the essence of the plant is your weeding the field.  The essence
is the biological 'law of motion' that transforms a seed into a plant with
flowers.  But capitalism is not like a delicate flower plant.  It is more
like weeds, but weeds that are so persistent that they manage to muster
water, fertilizers, and nourishment for themselves.  Even if nobody takes
care of them, even if they remove them periodically, they come back.  The
soil in which capitalist social relations thrive exists to the extent that
the productive forces are not sufficiently socialized, to the extent that
producers have not yet transformed themselves into a world class of
educated, interconnected, demanding workers.

My point is not very sophisticated.  It is simple.  We just have to open our
eyes and see.  Class struggle demands that we see reality in the face.

>Obviously CHarles didn't mean that the state is some ideal construct, i.e.,
>he was not making the argument that Marx was refuting, that the state is
>independent of class.

I'm no sure I understand your point here.  If you read the postings, you'll
see what we were discussing.

>Marx and Charles are arging that the state is
>something a class indeed does create - although perhaps not in full
>consciousness by all its members - to protect itself!  Hence marx studied
>the
>Paris Commune to find out what state the victorious working class would
>erect
>- to protect itself.

Again, I don't see your point or how this is relevant to our discussion.  If
you explain yourself, I'll respond.

>2)  " What state  power is protecting the drug cartels?"  I don't know what
>state power juliohuato at hotmail.com  lives in, but on eart, let's see: DEA,
>various branches of Mexican police, local police departments all over U.S.,
>turkish police, KFOR in Kosovo, Taliban, etc. etc.  Gangsterism,
>particularly
>drug-related gangsterism, is in the modern age intimately intertwined with
>various States' covert operations.  AS you must know, this was revealed in
>IRan-Contra where a  semi-gangster creation (contras) was revealed to be
>supplied in a complex arrangement involving Iranian  Islamists, drug
>dealers,
>Israeli semi-covert businessmen, the CIA - you know, like the STATE  - etc.
>Similarly there were intimate relations, during earlier period, between US
>intelligence, the French police and gangs in marseille and Italy, used to
>break the left, then later between the CIA, the Christian Democrats (i.e.,
>in
>effect the state,) and the Mafia, in Italy, then there was, in the 30s, the
>involvement of gangsters and FBI working together ( or should I say,
>gangsters working for the FBI) against red unions on the NY peirs - isn';t
>this all common knowledge?  Similarly, the U.S.-Saudia Arabia created
>Islamist movement in Afghanistan  and the KLA (us-German created) in Kosovo
>are both major parts of the drug criminal world.  Drug money, proitected by
>a
>web of state fucntions in the area, funds the Islamists attacking the
>former
>Soviet Union.  And on and on and on.

Even in countries were the armed forces and the police have been duly
aligned to protect them, the position of organized crime is vulnerable.
While state agencies may protect them with a high degree of impunity, in
some countries more than in others, they cannot do it so openly and
publicly.  The important thing is that, by doing so, they are endangering
their own legal and political structures.  Ruling classes concerned about
their long-term interests cannot feel happy about this.

In brief, this is a vein of capitalist reproduction that goes against
international law and most national legal codes.  And also key, these
activities are carried out under the disapproval of a great deal of people,
with the likely exception of people in areas where the economic benefits of
drug trafficking spill over.  But even if you were completely right in your
description of the links between organized crime and governments, how would
they prove that state power is the essence of capitalist reproduction?

>In addition there is evidence supporting the charge that the covert
>apparatus
>of the state (which is in my humble opinion the most revealing part) has
>made
>sure that drugs were poured into US ghettos to produce pacification,
>criminalize rebellious youth, etc.

I wouldn't discard that possibility.  But it is not relevant to the
argument.

>In general one could say gangsters can ONLY exist with the connivance and
>involvement of the state appartus.  It appears of course that they are
>bribing their way to this status.  IN FACT they are tolerated/used by the
>state to perform various functions, e.g., funding people like the Islamists
>and KLA.

It seems that you feel here how weak your argument is and try to preempt the
reply by saying that it is only apparent that criminals bribe their way to
their status.  That gangsters can get state protection doesn't mean that the
main function of the state is to protect gangsters.  The main or at least
'normal' (in Marx's sense) function of the state is to protect the bulk of
capitalist reproduction.  To the extent that laws are made to protect
'normal' capitalist reproduction, enforcing the laws is crucial to fulfill
this function.  If laws are not made accordingly, capitalists can amend
them.  They can also take advantage of omissions, loopholes or, plainly, get
around them and weaken their enforcement.  But by doing that, they sabotage
the power structure that is there to protect them.  Of course, some forms of
sabotage are milder than others.  But if there are capitalist activities
that violate their laws, it is in their interest to enforce the laws and
punish the offenders.  Otherwise, they only shoot themselves in the foot.

Of course, capitalism coexists with a great deal of crime.  Profit making
continuously makes people violate laws.  Hypocrisy and cynicism are inherent
to the capitalist way of life.  Capitalism replenishes its criminal ranks
systematically, but it also tries to keep them under control.  It is in
their best interest to do so.

Finally, if organized crime is so well protected by the governments, how
come they always want to launder their revenues?  Obviously they are not
comfortable that way and the state power protection backing them up is not
enough to make them feel secure.

Whatever your view of the movie the Godfather may be, the whole dramatic
thrust of the series is the attempt by Michael Corleone (following up on his
father plan, who refused early on to get into drug trafficking) to move the
whole damn dirty business from what it was about at first, under Don Vito,
to something more legal and even legitimate and 'clean'.  His first move was
to help shape up the legal structure in Nevada, make it legal to gamble and
do things deemed illegal in other states.  But that was not enough: he
wanted to go legitimate.  So he donated money to Catholic Charities, created
a Foundation, etc. and tried to endear himself with the establishment.  The
last part of the movie must touch the nerve of more than one organized
criminal: No matter how hard Michael Corleone tried, the 'original sin' that
stained his money followed him all the way along.  Even at the end, he felt
forced to fall back to the old methods.  Under pressure from his more
old-style relatives, he had to plan and manage a massive series of
assassinations.  His hope that, after that, things would be clean was
unfounded.  I don't say more because I don't want to give away the end.
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