Social Relations, Revolution, and Capital [To MARIPOWER]

M. Junaid Alam redjaguar at
Tue May 27 20:59:41 MDT 2003


"Capital creates its own social relations and shapes of ideological
discourse and material interactions - and their shapes, that constitute
the material wherewithal of thinking and praxis. Stepping outside this
historically evolved system is not possible as such but what happens is
an internal development compulsion, that compels society to leap to
another political basis more than less in conformity to the productivity
and ideological infrastructure and "superstructure."

I think this is vulgarized Marxism. Capital is not omnipotent. Its
existence and expansion does not summon up a perfectly rational and
impregnable mode of thought to justify those who wield it with the most
power. Resistance to capitalism can and has also emerged outside the
sphere where it is most dominant and most prevalent by peoples whose
visions and ideas of society precede the onset of industrial capitalism.

I think this is important on the level of psychological and social
awareness of being, of one's sense of existence. A prime example is the
concept of Black Power advocated by Stokely Carmichael. Rejecting the
concept of civil disobedience as the sole method of struggle,
identifying himself in solidarity with the Vietnamese, signified a break
with the attempt to ingratiate to and integrate in the class structure
in America. That latter plan was attempted by fighting in America's wars
and demanding denied rights by appealing to the formal rules and
consciences of the victimizers. That approach has limits which we are
encountering today.

The black nationalist method, condemning the whole system as
hypocritical and as incapable of providing equality, required not a meek
acceptance of the logic of capitalism's internal development, but an
extrapolation of all the methods of deception and 'tricknology' embedded
in this internal development specifically as carried out by white
Europeans and white Americans. On the psychological plane the concept of
Black Power provided an antidote to deepened and infused notions of
white supremacy which in ways open and hidden permeate society:
attitude, culture, physiognomy, heritage, etc.

Therefore I do not think Capital directly shapes material interactions.
What Capital does is conjure up a class of people who viciously defend
their prized interests in ways that are ultimately so violent and
contradictory that a whole system of irrational, purile thought,
partially resurrected from the past, will be thrown up as ideology to
defend wealth. Irrationality is a weapon of a ruling class which is,
quite rationally, trying to justify itself. To predict that
revolutionary resistance to Capital will come solely, or even primarily,
through a process of sublimation, that is to say, a transcendence of
capitalist society achieved by a revolt of those most intimately bound
up with its processes may be a mistake. In a society where the
ideological hegemony of capitalism is thorough and complete, the line
between base and superstructure subjectively becomes blurred: the traits
and features of the superstructure are passed off as an inherent feature
of the economic process, so as to minimize class division and enforce a
sense of national unity.

If the blacksmith of capitalism is to provide the oppressed with a sword
forged by its own internal processes, who is to say that it will not
also snatch the sword to crush uncivilized, unassimilated opposition to
the system? Is this not essential to the definition of imperialism and
integral to the status quo: workers in advanced societies act more or
less in concord with the bourgeoisie to bring about the submission of
new sources of potential expansion, labor, and material? I do not know
so I do not say if this is a result of propaganda, labor aristocracy,
some combination or some other influence: I know only that it is true.

If capitalism is not a just system today, it cannot follow that the
further penetration of capitalism in underdeveloped society will set up
the "internal development compulsion" to overthrow and supercede
capitalism. This is because it is not just the generic processes of
capitalism that has created wealth in advanced societies but all the
theft, waste, excess, racialism, genocide, and chauvinism that has
provided cover for the attainment of this wealth. Since this capitalism
is not a pure, abstract, occurrence, but one that is morally weighed
down and at the same time materially raised up with all the
aforementioned muck, is it reasonable to expect the formation of a
revolutionary class in that geographical area most bombarded with the
rationalization for capitalism, but least affected by the direct
all-around consequences of the actions undertaken under this shroud?

More information about the Marxism mailing list