[Marxism] Fantasies of Secession: A Critique of Left Economic Nationalism | The Brooklyn Rail

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Dec 12 16:14:24 MST 2018

At the moment, left-wing intellectuals are generally favorable to the 
notion of splitting off from the world market to pursue national 
economic sovereignty. Besides Mason, Peter Gowan has recently made the 
case for reviving full capital controls as a key part in a comprehensive 
plan for democratic socialism.10 Vivek Chibber, with his full-throated 
defense of market socialism, would also presumably support them, insofar 
as socializing a country’s financial assets to return them to its 
citizens would require walling them off from the international investor 
class.11 This orientation is also clearly evident in some strange panel 
comments from perhaps the best known Marxist economist, Robert Brenner. 
Perversely, in speaking engagements following the 2016 U.S. Presidential 
elections, Brenner lamented the dim prospects for a genuinely 
anti-neoliberal “statism” from the Trump administration. Such “statism,” 
in Brenner’s view, is obviously the only way to counter “neoliberal 
global capitalism.” It only needs to have a “leftist” rather than a 
reactionary form.12

But it is not only left-wing intellectuals who find these ideas 
attractive. Marine Le Pen has supported bank nationalization in the 
protectionist economic platform of the National Front, while Jeremy 
Corbyn’s Labour Party has floated the notion of hard capital controls to 
choke off an investment strike in the event of a Labour government in 
the U.K.13 And while Bernie Sanders himself has not explicitly endorsed 
it, the idea of converting banks into nationalized public utilities is 
seen as a live option among some of his supporters.14


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