Negri's argument, others' and capitulation
Mohammad J Alam
alam.m at neu.edu
Wed Feb 6 22:01:37 MST 2002
My present take on the situation:
?The United States does not, and indeed no nation-state can today, form the
center of an imperialist project. Imperialism is over. No nation will be
world leader in the way modern European nations were.? [Negri]
This 'analysis' leaves out quite a bit. The way modern European nations
dominated the world was through colonialism, and imperialism at the time
referred to inter-capitalist rivalries for these colonies.
Today inter-capitalist rivalry has been replaced by inter-capitalist
cooperation in order to focus on exploiting the world's subjects. On the
one hand this solidarity of the forces of capital mirrors and sets the
objective basis for the forces of the proletariat and peasantry, because
this cooperation is implicitly an admission that there is a threat emerging
to capitalism that cannot be dealt with by classical means. This, in turn,
unveils a new contradiction: soon or later, the big capitalists' "deals"
will fall apart over one issue or another in the long run--or else they
would not be capitalists.
Moreover, the withdrawal from colonies does not change the capitalist
character of the ex-colonial states nor does it alter the still-existing
military, economic, and political control the core exerts over the
periphery countries. Only the method, and not the fact, has been altered.
For example, it is now done through proxies in the form of deregulation
organs, ie. IMF/World Bank, thugs, ie. fundamentalism/paramilitaries, and
settler states, ie. Israel.'
It seems Negri has confused the transition and adjustment of imperialism
for the abandonment of the project as a whole. What a brave and foolhardy
statement, considering that the unipolar hegemony of the US has seldom been
greater than it is right now, and that world capitalism has indeed united
under the slogan of defeating "terror" as a pretext to carry out its usual
exploitative operations at an accelerated rate.
Perhaps this is just my naivite speaking up again, but it seems to me that
much of contemporary "analysis" is built around the idea that revolution is
impractical, unnecessarily, counter-productive, etc. This is the fallout of
the black pessimism with which many have viewed the defeat of socialism. It
is as though they have all been convinced of the futility of genuine
struggle, covering up this fear with all kinds of twists and turns.
Looking at the populist theory, expressed by David C. Korten, about the
supposed surrender of the nation-state to the evil monster of corporations,
the answer lies in reforming the government and teaching it how to return
to the good old times, circa 1970. He deliberately dismisses Marxism and
thus imperialism as a tool of looking at the situation, making it appear as
though the nation-state is some sort of victim of this process. What about
the role of the nation-state in militarism and the objective economic
purpose of military campaigns? There is an explanation for this now, too.
Similar idiots, in the aftermath of this war, point to the militarism of
the nation-state as a sign of how powerful it is, and thus, how capable it
can be of overthrowing the yoke of corporations!
Secondly, there is a popular American-Arab/Muslim view about the supposed
semi-conspiratorial control of America by Jews. They will bootlick the
American government and flatter its supposed greatness to no end, all in an
attempt to show just how the "good and just Americans" are merely being
duped. The premises is that the Jews have exerted some magical powers and
that all this subjective activity, far from being subordinated to an
objective convergence of American-Israeli interests, leaps up above it like
an unassailable demon.
All of which is to say of course, that I am still a Marxist. :-)
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