More on Taking Apart Hardt

Patrick Bond pbond at
Sun Feb 23 02:41:01 MST 2003

----- Original Message -----
From: "M. Junaid Alam" <redjaguar at>
>  Well, that settles it then doesn't it? A verbal smack-down at the WSF
> is the key measurement of intellectual clarity.

Actually, I should have said, while Harman played a futile
proletarian-numbers game, Hardt was ultimately also unconvincing -- because
he uses a category of dematerialised labour power, and refers to these
multitudes in ways that I don't think reflect an understanding of their
material basis or their implicit strategy. But that's for another day.

> Clarity here is to
> identify the problem and find solutions. Since Hardt thinks the state is
> withering away, he does not have clarity when it comes to identifying
> the war machine.

Agreed. That's a more useful way to pick this argument apart, thanks...

> You assert it is not clear that American imperialism is the main engine
> behind the war drive.

No, not at all, I just said that I haven't yet seen an update of the
classical debate -- Lenin/Hobson/Bukharin/Luxemburg/Hilferding/Grossmann --
that has generated much new light. I'll confess that I studied under David
Harvey so I'm partial to the way he's posing the issues, but the underlying
processes of accumulation and class struggle that have generated this stage
of uneven/combined development remain hotly contested.

> Then you say: "The last couple of days I've seen very
> compelling arguments from marxist perspectives about the importance of,
> varyingly, overaccumulation, US hegemony, and oil...".
> So what's your point? How does any of that specifically point away from
> American imperialism?

Self-interestedly, when I run a postgrad seminar on this next week , I want
more convincing analysis than what I've yet come across.

> Are you not aware of the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz
> documents dating several years back on invading Iraq? On America's
> growing energy needs? On the vast potential of oil profits? On the
> pro-Israel lobby's push for war to expel the Palestinians? These
> sections of the American elite are all pushing for war.

No question about it. But you have to admit, what's out there is positivist
and potentially conjunctural material; my view is that marxist theory must
stress the necessary processes associated with the capitalist system's

> So if it isn't
> American imperialism pushing for war, as you seem to suggest, who is?
> The toothfairy? "Overaccumulation, US hegemony, and oil" is not at all a
> counter-proposal, it is just a list.

Agreed, let's do better. I've been off the marxism list for about 3 months
so maybe I've missed some good stuff, and perhaps cde Louis will point it
out for me offlist...

I concede the rest of your points but will quibble on whether it merits the
passion at this stage, when we don't really have our own house in order...

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