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It’s not your fucking state!

Jehu Featured, The Commune Leave a Comment

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“Like what, exactly?”

Here is a truly funny and prescient commentary on the financial crisis in 2008, “The market no longer has all the answers” by Michael Skapinker. Skapinker quotes Britain’s Socialist Workers party:

“Now more than ever, we need to present a different vision of how the world could be run – one in which the needs of the many come before the greed of the few.”

Skapinker’s response to this statement was simple and straightforward:

“Like what, exactly?”

Looking at the disarray on the Left, he noted:

“Even in crisis, capitalism remains fortunate in its enemies.”

That shit is NOT funny — okay, maybe it’s a little funny, but mostly hil-fucking-larious

This quote by Skapinker appears in Andrew Kliman‘s book and three years later Kliman still doesn’t have an answer to it. After a long-winding trip through the 20th century, during which Kliman touches on every subject but Skapinker’s question, Kliman finally admits:

“I am painfully aware that these reflections are not yet an answer to the ‘Like what, exactly?’ question.”

Really, we feel your pain, Andrew.

But Andrew isn’t the only one with no answer to the “Like what, exactly?” question: see Gugliemo Carchedi‘s post here. After theoretically disposing of the Keynesian school and proving its policies cannot save capitalism, Carchedi now had to advise us on what to do next. All Carchedi could muster from his analysis was this gem of wisdom:

“The above should not be construed as if labour should be indifferent to state-induced capital-financed redistribution and/or investment policies. On the contrary, labour should strongly struggle for such policies. But this struggle should be carried out not from a Keynesian perspective but from the proper, Marxist, perspective.”

Keynesian policies don’t work and can’t work because they assume certain things about capitalism that are completely wrong. However, Carchedi explains, we should fight for these policies, although they cannot work, because by fighting for them:

“…consciousness can arise and grow among workers that each time these policies are paid for by capital, capital is weakened both economically and politically, and that labour can exploit this to weaken the yoke of capital.”

Really, G? Exploit the weaknesses of capitalism to do what, exactly? Even assuming Carchedi was correct, and capitalism was weakened to the point it could be overthrown by a political revolution — then what? Assume it is the day after the revolution: We have all the power — capitalism is gone — now what? Although Carchedi’s argument looks sober enough, in reality he is only delaying the inevitable question:

“Like what, exactly?”

Alain Badiou also ran into a brick wall when he tried to answer the question. After a very long recounting and essentially a rehistorization of communism, Badiou was forced at last to face Skapinker’s dreaded question. He did not do much better than either Kliman or Carchedi:

“What might this involve? Experimentally, we might conceive of finding a point that would stand outside the temporality of the dominant order and what Lacan once called ‘the service of wealth’. Any point, so long as it is in formal opposition to such service, and offers the discipline of a universal truth.”

David Harvey also took a stab at the problem and fared no better. After putting his audience to sleep explaining the so-called “seven moments within the body politic of capitalism “, Harvey made his stab:

“If, as the alternative globalization movement of the late 1990s declared, ‘another world is possible’ then why not also say ‘another communism is possible’? The current circumstances of capitalist development demand something of this sort, if fundamental change is to be achieved.”

Yes, David. We do need another communism — “of sorts”. But David, another communism “like what, exactly?”

Slavoj Zizek, ever the thinking man’s and woman’s favorite entertainer, decided we had to figure this mess all out and should not act until we did.

“One is therefore tempted to turn round Marx’s eleventh thesis. The first task today is precisely not to succumb to the temptation to act, to directly intervene and change things (which then inevitably ends in a cul-de-sac of debilitating impossibility: “what can one do against global capital?”).”

Of all the Leftist luminaries, at least Zizek gets it: the Left is fucking incompetent,  so “Don’t just do something, stand there!”

Does anyone else notice a pattern here?

Once the question turns from trenchant and unyielding critical criticism of everything existing to actually proposing the next concrete step – buttkiss, nothing, zero.

This is not just limited to Leninists hangers on – read, for instance, John Holloway‘s “Change the World Without Taking Power?” And it is not just limited to Marxists. Read David Graeber‘s last chapter in Debt or almost anything Noam Chomsky has ever written. For all the criticism of capitalism from every side, one would think we had some idea of answer to Skapinker’s “Like what, exactly? ”

To be honest, the only thing holding back the Left at this point is their fear they will be mistaken for the Right. The Left already knows Washington has to be razed to the ground and salt poured on the earth so nothing ever grows there again. But they just can’t bring themselves to actually advocate dismantling of Social Security and Obamacare. Although Social Security only funds the Defense Department, while leaving seniors in poverty, they just can’t jump that shark. But they have no alternative but to demand the social state be dismantled because without demanding it, the Left have no program at all.

I want just one of the brainiacs in the Marxist academy to describe to me what life after capitalism looks like with Social Security intact, because that is precisely the idiot who thinks money can survive the collapse of capitalism. And if money survives, so do wages. Which means people will still be selling themselves into slavery.

You cannot salvage the social state from capitalism because the premise of the social state is capitalism! Greece, Spain and Portugal only suffer under the weight of state debt because the Left has convinced itself the state is necessary. The moment the Left realizes the state is not necessary, the state debt will vanish into thin air. And with the abolition of the state debt, all the debt suffered by the debt slaves of the working class will vanish with it.

But the left can’t convince themselves of this because they think the state is their state.

IT IS NOT YOUR FUCKING STATE!

Who cares if it collapses and the whole of Wall Street banksters slide off the fiscal cliff with it.

The only objection to be made against my argument on the Left has to be founded on the premise that the capitalist machinery of state is somehow above class society. Well you useless scabs who think this should come out in the open with your bullshit and stop trying to hide it. If you think the capitalist state must not be entirely razed to the ground, just say it so everyone knows where you stand.

The fascist state is successful because it holds the worker, the elderly, the sick, and the poor hostage — threatening to make them pay for change. They play the same game in Washington, Athens or Madrid, Boston, Paris or Los Angeles — every threat to the state leads to declarations that any reduction of the state must lead to massive social suffering and global catastrophe. We all will be living in bunkers, surrounded by our guns and cans of beans. And the Left keeps buying into the bullshit.

You people are victims of emotional terrorism.

Author: Jehu Eaves
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I am a "marxist-in-recovery", which is to say, I am someone trying to recover for myself the essential humanist thought of Karl Marx. I understand his writings as a radical, critical, and determined opposition to all forms of social coercion and "laws" of society, including, but not limited to, Labor, Property and the State -- a decidedly negative critique of present society that offers no vision of what replaces it. My somewhat awkward musings on this can be found at therealmovement.wordpress.com. I am also on Twitter @damn_jehu
JehuIt’s not your fucking state!