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09:42 AM on 09/15/12 
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Love As Arson
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So, instead of making a new thread every time I come across an interesting article, this thread is specifically for the posting of theoretical articles. It doesn't necessarily have to be leftist theory or anything like that, so other points of view are welcome and hopefully it will foster some interesting discussions. Anyway, I found this article pretty awesome:


The territorial logic of the capitalist state

Quote:
I think it would be better to start answering that question with the fact just as there are many states, that there is no single or general capitalist interest, but rather many capitals, nationally constituted and constitutively divided into fractions with a hierarchy of power between them. The hegemonic fraction is that which leads the others, and dominates the state at any given moment. And even then, there is no absolute agreement on interests or strategy within a given fraction - hedge funds, for example, may differ from investment banks as to the best way to raid social security. The more determinations you add, the more complex the divisions become, and their resolution is contingent on political and ideological leadership. Rather than assuming a homeostatic model of state action, according to which capitalist interests exert a long-range regulatory effect on state power, this approach places the issue firmly back on the terrain of political praxis, with all its implied dysfunctions. And, in fact, Brenner's explanation for the causes of the Iraq war points to this Gramscian problematic.

I have other issues. I think the account of why capitalist states are determined by capitalist and not territorial logic, implies an inadequate mechanistic model of causality. This is a criticism that applies to other political marxists such as Teschke and Lacher, and also in my opinion to theorists such as Fred Block who also deploy a homeostatic model of the state-capital relationship. Intriguingly, the same conclusion regarding the contingent nature of the state system has been reached by those deploying an expressive model of causality. The critical theoretical impulse of the state-derivation school, beginning in West Germany but taking off in the Anglophone left through the work of John Holloway, Werner Bonefeld and others, was to treat the state as a fetishised form of the capital-relation. Influenced by Evgeny Pashukanis, they thought that just as he derived the legal form from the commodity form, so they could homologously derive the state form from the capital form. This being so, the most important thing about the state form was the way in which it condensed at a general level the capital-relation, becoming in a sense the ideal capitalist, in order to remedy the deficiencies and dysfunctions in the circuits of production and exchange. The capitalist mode of production being world-wide in scale, there was no necessary reason why the states system should take the form of national states. Thus, Claudia von Braunmühl’s essay on the nation-state in Holloway and Picciotto’s seminal State and Capital argues that this pre-structuration of the state system by feudal relations has been imposed on capitalism. Capitalism’s systemic opportunism allowed it to take hold of the international states system and transform it, but otherwise it is not essential to the system. There are some extremely interesting aspects of this approach, which I’ll come back to, and the state-derivation approach has produced some rich, suggestive analyses. But, to paraphrase Bernard Shaw, it is in this respect like a library: excellent to borrow from but otherwise to be avoided at all costs.

I am not convinced that the existence of many states under the dominance of the capitalist mode of production is merely an historical legacy contingent to capitalism, which could in principle be superseded. This is not, I insist, to lapse into that tacit functionalism according to which what exists under capitalism must exist for the good of capitalism. I can well see that sovereign, territorial states pre-dated capitalism and imposed a structuring effect on the emerging capitalist world order. I simply do not see that capitalism could provide the material basis for anything other than a multi-state system. And it seems to me that to say the multi-state system is an historical legacy and nothing more is to explain away rather than explain the problem of the relationship between the multiple scalar and spatial levels of political organisation and the capitalist mode of production. The development of capitalism seems to entail a particular type of territorialisation of political power, and it's worth trying to understand why....
10:29 AM on 09/15/12 
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you always push articles written by this 'lenin' character. i'm starting to suspect its you. just saying.
10:27 AM on 09/17/12 
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Love As Arson
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you always push articles written by this 'lenin' character. i'm starting to suspect its you. just saying.

I wish I were as smart as him. Need to learn more stuff, though.
06:03 PM on 09/17/12 
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I like how the article sounds really intelligent, but offers little substance.
09:01 AM on 09/18/12 
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Love As Arson
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I like how the article sounds really intelligent, but offers little substance.

Have you read the whole thing? What do you think of its take on the state, since I would imagine you view it as a separate entity from capitalist relations?
02:40 AM on 10/03/12 
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Jason_ho2
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Thanks for sharing~
01:06 PM on 10/13/12 
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The only theories I've read in the past months were from Jose Marti and Octovio Paz, pretty good articles. Well, they were more like political diatribes, but still.



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