G.U.T.3

 

Guest Of Honour

 

History is nothing but the activity of men in pursuit of their ends.

 

I described how Marx conjured for himself an historical invitation as guest of honour to the forthcoming revolution- to celebrate the emancipation of the ‘working class’ . The third part of his triangle- Capital, also had to be given form so that the working class had something to be liberated from. From this beginning the subject of Marx’s ‘scientific’ work was endowed  with one particular  purpose; it could not be allowed to discredit Marx and Marxism or by necessity we would never have heard of any of it. But how can Marx’s conception of history and the development of mankind be ‘scientific’ if it does not allow for the possibility that it is wrong in all or in part?

 

 

If thy eye offend thee…

 

Marx had been (self) selected by history to  create rational scientific socialism.  From the outset, given the transformative, millennial nature of his message  Marx understood the danger of being accused of creating a secular religion with himself as Moses (and God),  the workers as the Israelites and capital as Pharaoh. Marx, acutely sensitive to the charge of religiosity developed the argument that all ‘religion’ is the product of men and therefore essentially idol worship. Using an incredible parody of Judaic condemnation of paganism as justification, Marx argued it had now became necessary to rid socialism of all  idolatry religious content. But this purging meant excising morality and therefore the element of conscious choice. Socialism cannot embody conscious choice because it is amoral, or beyond morality. It is conscious in the sense that it is scientific and rational. As such it requires acceptance and submission to rationality, not choice. In order to enter scientific socialist heaven new scientific socialist man would have to sacrifice his moral conscience.

 

In building scientific socialism Marx found himself parodying Moses and the Israelites, then parodying the Judaic injunction against idols and the commandment that ‘Thou shalt have no other God but Me’. Finally the ‘rational’ socialism he created required absolute submission before revealed truth. It is little wonder that Marx increasingly complained that :

 

History (meaning religious history-author ) is a nightmare from which mankind (by which he meant Marx himself), struggles to extricate itself.

 

If Marx succeeded in freeing himself, socialism would no longer be moral choice but  scientific fact. Consequently a rational man may choose between two moral alternatives but is forced to choose scientific reality and therefore socialism would  be inevitable for rational people. Since understanding and implementing socialism was no longer a question of morality but one of  consciousness or rationality,  the question I pose becomes even more pressing – Under capitalism you are free to think and sometimes even to speak as you wish, so long as you do as you are told by Capitalists. Capitalism is what you do, not what you think.. Given that Capitalism is what you do, not what you think;  Why can you be an ‘unconscious’ capitalist and not an unconscious socialist? The logical answer is that if socialism did not require ‘consciousness’ there would be no need for Marx and Marxism. Marx would happily do anything for workers and the world revolution apart from write himself out of the picture.  Socialism has to be conscious, or else there is no role for Marx! The intellectual basis for Marxism can be nothing other than a justification for Marx himself….

 

The conscious ideology of Marxism is the product of Marx, but capitalism is not the product of any one person’s thought. Therefore it cannot be  conscious in the way that Marxism is conscious.  Rather, capitalism is the product of capitalists and  workers doing certain things. But we must conclude in line with Marxism  that when workers do what they are ‘supposed’ to do the product is capitalism, not socialism. It is only when workers think about what they are doing in a different way, that what they do could possibly be socialism. This is Marx’s historical warrant to write Kapital..to make capitalism in general and workers in particular, conscious.  But if capitalism is not already conscious, how can it have given rise to Marx and Marxism, which, by Marx’s own argument are the product of capitalism? How can unconsciousness spontaneously produce consciousness? Capitalism must have some seed of consciousness to produce Marx and Marxism. Marx had to find that seed of consciousness to explain himself….

 

A Tale Of Two Titles

 

If capitalism were actually conscious it might more rightly be called  ‘Smithism’  after author of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith. This is tacitly acknowledged by Marx  in subtitling Kapital ; ‘A Critique of Political Economy’ which effectively means a critique of Adam Smith and Ricardo and their conception of the significance of capitalism. This approach would account for Capitalism in as far as it was conscious. But capitalism is also unconscious and that also has to be accounted for.  If Marx succeeded in defeating the political economy of Smith and Ricardo, he would simply have defeated two of the high priests of capitalism; he would not have even scratched capitalism itself because capitalism is what you do, not what you say. The author of conscious socialism must also defeat the author of unconscious capitalism …Capital, hence the main title of his major work.  Marx  must critique Smithism, with his critique of political economy and must also critique Capital. So Kapital .. A Critique Of Political Economy came into being with two titles.  Like a dog chasing two hares at once Marx was destined never to catch either of them.

 

All that is solid melts into air..

 

For They Know Not..

 

For Marx’s historical  process to work it was necessary to make capitalism self aware. But what does this mean exactly? It means exactly and specifically to hold capitalism to its own rules. If capitalism cannot operate by it’s own declared rules it will be proved to be irrational and should be overthrown. But it can only be shown to have broken it’s own rules if there are defined rules to be broken. That means there has to be a defined authority to make these rules. But under capitalism everybody is that defined authority because capitalism is what the majority of people do in a capitalist country. And  capitalism can break the rules in two ways. It can knowingly break it’s own rules and it can unknowingly break it’s own rules.   This would come to be a fundamental part of the development of the subsequent  critique of capitalism. The difference between a venal and mortal sin is awareness of the nature of your actions. A sin is mortal if knowingly committed. This gives rise to a new vista: To what extent are the failures of  capitalists the result of ignorance or of conscious sin?

 

Forgive them, for they know not what they do

 

If Capitalists sinned knowingly then the answer and the judgement must be Marxism. But if capitalists sinned unknowingly then the answer and the judgement might be Keynesianism..

 

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G.U.T #2: The Roots Of Marxism

 

“To be radical is to grasp things by the root.”

Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right

 

Though the vast majority of western pundits remain loathe to admit it, Marxism is a foundational strain of thought in the modern western world. In fact it could be argued that it is the intellectual presence of Marxism that precisely differentiates the modern from the pre-modern world. Western politics is entirely colonised with the ideas of Marxism, from progressive left through traditional conservative right, in the same way that the human gut is colonised by the billions of bacteria that process and digest food that the body depends on. The disconcerting truth is that the human host is entirely dependent upon these organisms although they themselves are not actually human. Without these aliens the body cannot digest  and would die. Marxism lives in the gut of Germanic capitalist society and allows it to digest information from modern reality….

 

From a strictly rational point of view ‘Classical’ (pre Marxist) economics has been shown again and again to fail abysmally when faced with the task of ordering and understanding the real world. The final debacle in a long and ignominious history was the failure to predict and deal with the series of calamities that culminated in the disaster of 2007. During the so called financial crisis the entire structure of the global economy and society teetered on the brink of collapse. It was only the abandonment of any last shred of faith in traditional ‘classical’ economic practice that saved the world economy from chaos and disintegration.  So now everybody is a Marxist to a greater or lesser extent. But I confidently predict that is by no means as far as this process will go. In the post modern world, the entire canon of western thought has increasingly come under sustained pressure from post modern polyglot globalism. As the future unfolds Marxism will end it’s existence, not as the haunting ‘spectre’ Marx hoped it to be but rather as a cherished relic of western tradition, like the statues of confederate soldiers presently being defended from defacement and destruction because they are part of American history for good or ill. Marxism will be transformed from an object of specific hate into a totem of common heritage.

 

Face Value

 

But that is for the future, At this precise juncture it seems the only options are either to accept Marxism at face value or to attempt to discredit and undermine it. It has become time to understand what Marxism actually is as opposed to taking part in the Punch and Judy argument that has dominated the last century. The process of real understanding begins with realising that since the moment of its creation there never has been a clear and unbiased analysis of Marxism, because it has never been in anyone’s interest to create one. Anyone’s interest. Or put another way, it has always been in the general interest to avoid creating one.

 

When Marx said:

 

Whatever I am… I am not a Marxist

 

He was in part observing  that no one can actually be a Marxist – until everyone is.

 

“The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.”

The German Ideology

 

We have to explain why this would be. In part 1 I pointed towards the central question that must be answered, even if we accept Marxism under it’s own terms: How does Marxism explain its own coming into existence and is this explanation credible from a Marxist perspective ? This is by no means a given. The Marxist narrative begins from the argument is that Capitalism is inherently unstable; an observation that is by no means confined to the left. It is one of the successes of Marxist thought that the instability of capitalism  is now generally accepted as an observed truth and as a consequence the idea of a self regulating market is completely discredited. Following on from this Marxism argues that  if thought is the product of material circumstance, then unstable capitalism produces unstable minds which process finds expression in inherent and increasingly violent contradictions within capitalism. These inherent contradictions will fight one another until a new stability supported by experience wins out. Material conditions develop and change and thus the general thought process will also accordingly be forced to change .

 

People will increasingly  see capitalism as illogical until it collapses. In essence capitalism will fall and be superseded by socialism because this is the logical outcome  of human development and people will be forced to become logical because human development itself is ultimately logical, even if people who make up that development are not!. In the past all societies gave expression to the objective conditions that governed them but not in a rational self conscious way. Expressing the objective conditions that give rise to  thought can only be rational in one case throughout history- that of socialism.  After the moment of enlightenment  a person becomes conscious and forever after enlightenment that person’s actions are necessarily conscious actions. Marxism argues that you cannot know something and then act as though you don’t know it. In this sense the triumph of socialism is inevitable. In 1984 Orwell argues on the contrary that knowing something and then acting as though you don’t know it is precisely the basis on which modern society is run. In other words, a certain knowledge by no means necessarily leads to a certain action.

 

Keep Taking The Tablets

 

Since the force of inevitable progress has decreed that the ideology of socialism must come into existence it will perforce need an intellect to express it- to give it form. This new Law Of Human development  will require a Moses to bring the tablets of it’s commandments down from the mountain. And it is here Marx saw himself entering the story of history -as having been chosen by the inevitable developmental forces that create history to be the one to make conscious that which was previously unconscious and concrete that which was previously without concrete form. Not only would Marx be the one to go to the mountain, not only would his be the finger that inscribed the tablets, his intellect would be the actual stone of the tablets themselves.  Marx is selected by time and place, by the Zeitgeist. the spirit of the age, to transform himself into the vessel of conscious socialism. And so for the first time ever, personality and the conditions that give rise to it are consciously fused. Through this process Man comes to know himself and through this process Man and the universe are finally one..

 

“Communism is the riddle of history solved, and it knows itself to be this solution.”

Economic & Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844/The Communist Manifesto

 

Truth is general, it does not belong to me alone, it belongs to all, it owns me, I do not own it. My property is the form, which is my spiritual individuality.”

 

Collected Works of Marx and Engels

 

And of course, such a Moses would also need a people to lead out of captivity and a captivity to lead them out of.….what is the point of the tablets if you have no one to give them to….?

 

“Accumulate, accumulate! This is Moses and the Prophets!”

Capital, Vol 1: A Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production

 

On one level all this might be an amusing diversion  -an intellectual conjuring trick that might  gain its author enough acclaim to  purchase an entrance into society as a bete noir….. And it is possible at some level this is what Marx originally intended. In this had been the case the entirety of Marx’s thought might have remained in the realm of bourgeois intellectualism. But the component parts of the society into which Marxism came into being quickly made clear that it was not content to let Marxism or anyone else write its own story to the detriment of all around.  After all, there were greater things at stake in the debate over the new capitalist society than merely Marx’s reputation and livelihood as an author.. As I have said more than once, capitalism was unstable and as a consequence lacking confidence. In some ways the history of capitalism is the history of an ongoing crisis of confidence and every capitalist has rightly felt like an historical imposter. In light of it’s suspect claim to power, capitalism simply could not stand a critique of any kind. For these reasons and others we will see later Marxism from it’s inception was dabbling in the primordial essence of things.

 

The writer may very well serve a movement of history as its mouthpiece, but he cannot of course create it.

 

 

 

G.U.T.

Whatever else Karl Marx was, he was not a Marxist- as he himself is reported to have said. This comment is generally taken as a dig at the intellectual quality of ‘Marxists’ and one all the more piquant because it comes from the progenitor of Marxism..  But it is possible to see this from another point of view; as a typically wry observation that Marx himself understood that he could not be a Marxist according to the logic of his own position, because he was unwilling and unable to apply a strict Marxist interpretation to Marxism itself. If Marx was accusing anyone, he was accusing himself…. His favourite motto:

De omnibus dubitandum [Everything must be doubted].”

would of necessity include Marx himself of course…

Marxism as an ideology necessarily comes into existence in it’s own terms. Marxism proclaims that it derives  purpose and validity solely by virtue of it’s own content. For a Marxist, there are no questions to be asked about Marxism’s  origins or the context in which it came to existence outside of the terms of Marxism itself. At first glance his seems a bit knotty, but in fact the logic is quite straightforward. Let me elaborate: Marxism is given as the product of Marx’s intellectual development which in turn is the product of the development of the objective conditions that gave rise to it; (That would be Marx’s intellectual development and also Marxism, which are two different things, but also the same thing,,,ahem..) Let me elaborate further…

The basic idea underpinning historical materialism is that capitalism inevitably comes into existence because of mankind’s increasing productive capacity through technological advance. By the same process socialism/communism also inevitably must come into existence because of the inherent nature of capitalism. In so far as mankind’s development is inevitable, so the development of capitalism from feudalism and then socialism from capitalism is inevitable.  And since socialism is the first truly self aware social movement, it’s ideology must also inevitably come into existence at the same time that socialism itself comes into existence.(Because if it didn’t then it wouldn’t be self aware..and therefore not Marxism/socialism). You can be a functioning capitalist without necessarily understanding capitalism but you can’t be a functioning socialist without understanding socialism. On the contrary, Marxists argue that it is a precondition of being a capitalist that you do not really understand the true nature of capitalism since if you did then you would be…. a socialist!

“Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence.”
Karl Marx

This fundamental conditionality is encapsulated in the idea of ‘false consciousness’ which, like many such concepts, is used in inverse proportion to the extent it is understood. The vulgar exposition of false consciousness is that workers believe they have a stake in the ongoing success of capitalism when in fact their best interest would be served by its collapse. But actually the doctrine of false consciousness holds that thought is ‘falsely conscious’ when it holds itself to be the product of abstracted reason instead of objective conditions. In other words a thought is conscious in that it wants to be the product of reason (which is what consciousness consists of, according to Marx),  but it is false in that it is not actually the product of reason but an expression of the social relationships that gave rise to that thought. In more prosaic, (but no less convoluted), terms; You think that you think what you think because you have reasoned it out and therefore there is no reasoned alternative to what you are thinking.  But in reality you think what you think because you have been conditioned to think it. Simply because you are unaware that you have been conditioned to think as you do, your conditioned thought is non rational. If you did understand that you have been conditioned to think as you do, then this would necessarily be the first step toward breaking that conditioning and becoming truly aware, (a socialist).

“Necessity is blind until it becomes conscious. Freedom is the consciousness of necessity.”

In general the first step towards becoming a socialist/Marxist is to understand that there is an historical identity to capitalism because that specific understanding breaks the conditioning of capitalism.

“Once the inner connection is grasped, all theoretical belief in the permanent necessity of existing conditions collapses before their collapse in practice
Letter to Ludwig Kugelmann (July 11, 1868)”
Selected Letters: The Personal Correspondence 1844-1877

From this whole cloth the historical materialism I refer to above  is created. Historical materialism holds that the emergence, development and demise of capitalism is part of an ongoing historical process. On the contrary, modern capitalist ideology holds that capitalism itself is the end point of that process. (The ‘End Of History’ a la Francis Fukyama).

A brief word to clarify what is meant by conditioning here. This is not necessarily a directed process in the Pavlovian sense of training a dog to salivate at the sound of a bell, but rather a natural outcome of interaction with the world as it presently is. To a Marxist, thought is the contemporaneous state of the world mediated through the minds of the people that inhabit it.

“Society does not consist of individuals, but expresses the sum of interrelations, the relations within which these individuals stand.”
Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy

As a consequences of this perspective, Marxism understands thought as a PRODUCT not a cause in distinction from capitalists who regard thought as a means to an end instead of an end product in itself. Thought is unconscious ( falsely conscious), to the extent  of being a product and not a cause. Thought is actually conscious to the extent of being a cause and not a product. ( hence the famous Marx quote:

Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.

Eleven Theses on Feuerbach

These prophetic words are inscribed upon Marx’s grave. Irony.

Marx argued this in direct contradistinction to Hegelian philosophy although he claimed Hegel in part as inspiration. In fact, Marx characterised his materialism in exactly this way as the contradictory argument that refines Hegelian philosophy. Hegel starts from the process of thought and goes on to explain the thought process but Marx ends at thought. In this way Marx directly contradicts Hegel and yet claims though this contradiction to be his successor! This startling conception of the thought process gives rise to a problem however. If a given thought process is the product of the conditioning that created it, surely it is trapped by that very same conditioning. How can such a thought process ever realise that it is the product of conditioning? How can you modify your own thought process just by thinking about it? How can you lift yourself up by your own shoe laces? It is clear that for the argument to work some outside force becomes necessary to break into the conditioning/thinking feedback loop and produce a change.

Luckily as it turns out, capitalism just happens to contain within itself that agent of change!

Don’t Let The Good Be The Enemy Of The Goods

The customer is always wrong…

 

The following appeared in an article in the Indepenent:

German supermarket empties shelves of foreign-made goods to make a point about racism Will Worley Thursday 24 August 2017

 

A German supermarket has emptied its shelves in an effort to make a point about racism and diversity. The Edeka store in Hamburg removed foreign-made products from its stock, replacing them with sign bearing anti-xenophobia slogans. It is believed the move will be followed be a larger campaign from Edeka, the largest supermarket chain in Germany. Surprised shoppers entered the store to find that much of the normal selection was gone, demonstrating how reliant they are on other countries for everyday products. Instead, they were greeted with signs saying: “This shelf is pretty boring without diversity.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/edeka-german-supermarket-empty-shelves-racism-diversity-largest-chain-a7908551.html

Just to make it clear if the article itself is not obvious enough: This shop in Germany no longer sells capitalist ‘goods’ as we have understood them. In fact it has removed ‘goods’ from it’s shelves in order that we might more clearly see what it is actually selling; that we might more clearly see what it’s shelves are now actually stacked with.

This shop has stacked it’s shelves with, and is now selling Good, (as opposed to ‘goods’).

And since it is actually selling Good as opposed to ‘goods’ it follows that the accounting conventions that have previously applied to the sale of ‘goods’ (such as selling at a profit) no longer apply. It follows from this that the objective of this enterprise is no longer that patrons leave the premises satisfied to a greater or lesser extent with the purchases they have made, but rather that they should leave the premises suitably EDUCATED or IMPROVED.

In this particular instance achieving this objective will take the form of the customer leaving WITHOUT the ‘goods’ they entered the premises for, but WITH a clear sense of having been educated and/or improved. In fact, customers are educated and improved precisely to the extent that they leave without the ‘goods’ they envisioned purchasing. Presumably the idea is that they return home and spend the time they would have spent consuming the goods they had obtained, contemplating the benefits of DIVERSITY.

Of course the business not only forgoes the profit that would have come from this day’s trading but also undergoes the additional expense and inconvenience of restocking the shelves after having to de-stock the shelves and store all the produce somewhere while making the point they are making..

And presumably should one or more patrons choose to object to the process and subsequently decide to shop somewhere else, well the loss of revenue is apparently acceptable to this business. Because if customers don’t want to be educated and improved about the benefits of diversity and other things while shopping, then frankly we would rather do without their custom.

After contemplating the picture above for a while, a comparison with the shelves of the Cold War Eastern Bloc and assorted command economies rises to the mind. We were assured repeatedly that it was the abundant provision of consumer goods that proved the superiority of the capitalist model over the command model and resulted in the end of the Cold War.

And yet somehow here we are seeing those self same scantily stocked shelves making an appearance in the supposedly victorious west. And the fact that these shelves are empty is a matter of conscious decision, not any failure in management. What gives?

The fact is that everybody is more or less sick of consumerism, which is another word for capitalist manufactured crap. From cheap nasty food high in sugar and fat, to an endless myriad of plastic novelties manufactured by slave labour in the Far East, it has become impossible to avoid the simple observation that 99.9% of everything created by capitalism is useless crap. And that other 0.1%? That’s the stuff you can’t afford…. so what’s new?

Well, what’s new is that now even the capitalists themselves are starting to get sick of it. They just can’t find a reason to get themselves out of bed and drag themselves into work in the morning anymore. Except..maybe, if they could use capitalism as a vehicle to propagate a message.

Seriously.

Advertising used to be creating ideas to sell you stuff. From now on it’s going to be creating stuff to sell you ideas..

Yet more proof that free market capitalism is well and truly dead.

Oh, and pick me up a pint of diversity on your way back from town will you?

 

 

 

 

Unscrambled Eggs 3 Or All The Kings Men Or A Stitch In Time Or You Can’t Make.. Or Asteroid! Or The Real Crackernomics

 

 

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In the first part of this series I briefly outlined how the Germanic cult of Capitalism redefined the relationship between the person and the state. Fundamentally this redefinition meant that the sole valid legal and moral relationship an individual could have to society would be to the nation state and not local community or supra national church. This was effectively nothing less than the legal abolition of voluntary community in NW Eurasia.  Capitalism is defined in large part by the fact that no-one, outside of a tiny elite, is allowed to decide who they live with and under what rules. This is Germanic Land Democracy;  the elite forms a Land Republic the rest are the land slaves.

 

In tandem and in consequence to this legal putsch the economic needs of capitalism incrementally developed an unstable and mobile workforce.  Communities that had lost their link to the land, their independence, would be forced to go wherever the work was, even to the extent of destroying inter generational family structures. Family, by ideological necessity, was ordained as evil. ‘Workers’ were elevated by capitalism  to a position where they did not even have access to water to drink unless provided by the emergent nation state.

 

The newly ordained priests of Protestant Capitalism preached that this EXTREME state of affairs could only be negotiated through the ‘Free Market’, which was of necessity magical in the extent of the powers it would have to overcome these problems. But effectively this was accepting and then promoting an unending state of PERMANENT CRISIS, something that Marx intuitively understood. Capitalism IS a state of permanent crisis- this is the single most important insight you can have into it’s political structures. Capitalist democracy is effectively a never ending series of emergency meetings-  of chaotic shouting and gesturing taking place in stock markets and bond sales as well as in the seat of government.

robert-de-niro-frankenstein

Let’s party!

The new workforce was unstable and mobile; given identity by theoretically owning collectively a geographic area- the nation state- but not allowed to actually own any of that very thing that gave their existence meaning! As a consequence Germanic culture spawned the modern political party  as a Frankenstein’s monster of geographic representation and ‘ economic’ necessity stitched together; constantly torn between its supposed constitutional identity and the reality of the system it represents. Nowhere is this clearer that in the case of economic nationalism. To protect the national economy it is necessary to deny the ‘Free Market’ and international trade! The two foundational concepts of capitalism are fundamentally opposed to each other. Managing this running sore at the heart of Germanic life is the basis for modern Germanic politics and economics.

 

Subject to inevitable periodic disruption, the system staggered on, until as a result of the financial crisis,  the free market suffered virtually total ideological collapse in the west in 2007.  Once the belief in the Free Market as a negotiating mechanism was gone there was no agreed ongoing way to negotiate the state of emergency that I describe above. It has now become an immediate and pressing feature of day to day existence in the Germanic capitalist world. This explains the dynamic that powers all politics and economics in this 21st century; a state of permanent visible crisis that has no agreed mechanism for negotiating a solution.

 

I must underline this central point. The market and capitalist democracy are often described as being supposedly somehow self replicating and self regulating (these are some of the magical qualities ascribed to the Market). And this perspective seems to be valid from the point of view of market cultists. But the reason that the Market reappears and reproduces itself  is exactly and only because the crises that give rise to it are continually replicating and reproducing!!

 

Naomi Klein had a fantastic insight into this process in The Shock Doctrine, in which she described some of the largest and most extreme manifestations of this phenomenon. But Klein failed to understand that the crisis has always been permanent and ongoing every second that capitalism exists. In capitalism every meeting is an emergency meeting. This is the spirit of the age. The critique that capitalism offers of socialism is that it is incapable of creating a crisis management system as effective as capitalism. The criticism of capitalism that socialism offers is that capitalism is incapable of creating an effective crisis management system.

 

Marx understood that the Germanic cult of capitalism was a permanent state of emergency. He also understood that should the sense of forward momentum of capitalism be dulled or even stalled that Capitalism would CEASE TO EXIST in people’s minds in that millisecond. That is the fundamental importance of the cult of ‘Progress’ that obsesses both Germanic left and right. Marx formulated the observation that in the absence of progress:

 

 “A development of the productive forces is the absolutely necessary ….because without it want is generalized, and with want the struggle for necessities begins again, and that means that all the old crap must revive.”

 

The management of capitalism is only considered valid to the extent that it can be shown to be progressing in managing and solving the day to day problems thrown up by the inherent crisis of capitalism itself. The moment this is shown not to be the case, capitalism has an election and puts in a new management team. When there are no viable capitalist management teams available, there is a socialist revolution, which is effectively an outside team of management consultants being drafted in. In detail, the process can be described as:

 

Unless the all encompassing illusion of progress can be maintained , the appearance of socialism reverts to the appearance of capitalism and the appearance of capitalism reverts to the appearance of feudalism. The reversion of the appearance of capitalism to the appearance of feudalism is what we can observe all around us.

 

Think about it and you will understand that under these circumstances the possibility, the promise of stability, either real or illusory, simply cannot exist.

 

So the 24/7 round the clock emergency repair system of the market has broken down and the appearance of feudalism has re-emerged in the west. Great!- Let’s Go Feudal! But we can’t go back to the pre-capitalist system because the link between culture, community and place has been permanently and irrevocably mutilated. Just like a scrambled egg whose yolk and white have been amalgamated there is no way back for the Humpty Dumpty of free market capitalism. And this understanding finally brings us to the meaning and significance of cultural constituencies

 

I initially pointed out that the nation state took over responsibility for morality from Church and Community; a duty to society that would from now on be discharged by the offices of the free market which would decide who would get what, where and when. But now that the market has been shown to fail the question for the populations of NW Eurasia is how to take the responsibility for morality back from the nation state..If you doubt this, you have only to look at the self appointed refugee rescue NGO’s operating in the Mediterranean Sea that have effectively privatised the process of immigration from the third world.

Chicxulub-impact-2

Big Bang

We can describe the problem  of reconstituting morality in this way. A massive asteroid  hits the earth at Chicxulub  68 million years ago and throws millions of tons of  debris high into the air. Over a period of subsequent decades that debris falls to earth, but not just in the place it came from but all over the earth’s surface. The entire globe now has a thin layer of dust that came from one just one place in Eastern Mexico. So the same with the human debris of capitalism. And  instead of one meteorite there is a continuous stream of impacts every hour of every day. So people are exploded up from where they originated into the atmosphere and then land down all over the globe in a variety of stratified layers that are analogous to the ‘classes’ that are said to compose modern society.

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The class system..

 

But morality is the link between culture, community and place and it has been permanently and irrevocably mutilated.  So a modern cultural constituency is a cross section of stratified layers trying to act as though it were a cohesive regional community. It is a plate of scrambled eggs trying to remember what it was like to be six eggs in a box…

 

 

 

 

 

Unscrambled Egg 2: The Empire Of The Mind

 

Newly emerged Germanic Land Democracy was based on a modified relationship between citizen and nation; between people and land. The essence of this change was expressed most clearly in the requirement that only property owners be allowed a vote in the new system. If you didn’t own any land in the new Germanic nation state you were not allowed to vote. You were not a citizen, your legal status was  less than a slave. Effectively, the entirely new ‘class’ of  landless urban dwellers created by capitalism were completely shut out. At the same time  the ‘peasants’ who remained on the land were equally constrained by the same legal system as the newly created ‘workers’- they too were rendered powerless by the new property system.

 

An Empire Of The Mind

 

In each newly formed Germanic State territory, an emergent capitalist elite accrued virtual total political power. But it was clear that as a small minority of the overall population, they were unlikely to hang on to it for long unless they cold find a way to broaden support for the new regime. The central Germanic contradiction is a polity based on land ownership and an economic system based on the the denial of land ownership.

The solution that emerged was two fold:

 

First, to propagate the concept of ‘property ownership’ as a validation of democratic rights, primarily the right to vote. If a system is to have land ownership as a condition of participation and is to be as inclusive as possible, it follows that land ownership would have to be as widespread as possible. But the capitalist economic system requires precisely the opposite of that. So a dilute deformed symbolic form of land ownership has to be forged.

 

Secondly to increase the scope of the democratic franchise and correspondingly dilute its power. If a society is to have genuine people power and that power is based on total mass participation then there will be no one left to have control over!!

 

Underpinning this is the difficult truth that a democracy can only work if part of the population is not in it. A democracy only has a valid purpose if part of the population is not in it. It is a system of control. What would be it’s purpose if there was no-one to control?

 

So- called Germanic ‘Property rights’ are fundamentally different to genuine land ownership. As such they constitute one of the biggest frauds in the history of human society. A property owner is NOT a land owner by any means . A ‘property owner’ is one who pays state and private taxes for the privilege of being a citizen of a capitalist  nation. The property owning citizen pays private taxes in the form of mortgage or rent and state taxes in the form of local or national taxes. No citizen of a capitalist state actually owns the land on which his property resides outright, even if they manage to pay off a mortgage.

 

The land your property is built on provides no safety and no refuge. You cannot say what happens there. You cannot defend the sky above your property from pollution and you cannot defend the land below from mining. In fact you cannot defend it from anyone, even the lowliest representative of the Germanic state!!.  In the Germanic nation, the state is the landlord of last resort.

 

In truth the Germanic capitalist nation is a land dictatorship ; it’s citizens are land slaves. In order to hide this discomforting truth, grocers and factory owners hire  gangs of preachers and poets to sing a new song; of an Empire Of The Mind of lions rampant and unicorns, (in England) and of disembodied eyes floating atop stone pyramids (in America). Instead of water and sunlight, you have a passport. Instead of clean food and air,you have a flag. Instead of culture, family and identity , you are assigned a ‘class’. Modern Germanic nationalism is born. In creating an empire of the mind class end of land ownership. Cultural and regional difference is to be abolished. Ties to the land are to be abolished for the ordinary people. Claims on the land are to be abolished. From now on economics would  decide what you were allowed to want and when you were allowed to want it.

 

 

This new song of ‘economics’ led to the  second great modification; to increase the franchise and so to the creation of modern political parties. The modern  Germanic political party is formally based on geography, ( you elect specific representatives to ‘represent’ the people of a geographic area), but whose stated collective purpose is primarily economic. (The redistribution of the product of society generally understood as tax and spend)

 

This leads us directly to the concept of constituencies. A constituency is a group of people whose identity and interests are represented within an agreed forum.

 

A capitalist constituency such as ‘workers’ or the ‘middle class’ is a defined economic group whose economic interest is represented within national government by means of a Germanic party. A land democracy constituency is a geographic group of people represented within national government by means of a party..

 

I have briefly described the legal political  development of a Germanic capitalist polity, but there is also the economic and technical development of capitalism to take into account. Capitalism requires a large and mobile group of people who have no option other than working for wages and SPENDING WAGES to function. It seems fairly obvious that capitalism needs ‘workers’ who have no way of obtaining resources other than by selling their labour. But capitalism also needs those same workers to depend upon the market for everything, even down to a glass of clean water. In the end, everything must become a commodity. Everything. Food water, air, sunlight, then dignity, justice, privacy. Everything. And if you look around you that is what is happening before your eyes…This ever increasing dependency is called growth.

 

Capitalism  transforms the population into a large mobile and unstable workforce. In other words capitalism makes mass immigration and emigration inevitable.

Cultural Constituencies: Unscrambled Egg 1

 

The arrival of Germanic Protestantism, the modern nation state and capitalism transformed the social composition of  North Western Eurasian territories. By social composition I mean the relationship between the actual peoples who made up these territories and the legal and political personality of the territories themselves.

 

In the pre-Reformation period, societies in NW Eurasia were characterised by groups of ethnically and culturally homogenous people that were gathered in defined geographical areas. There were clear and identifiable differences between these groups of people in customs, variations of language and dialect, and even specific ethnic difference. The creation of the German nation state acted to distort and blur these differences as a consequences of the political, economic model it imposed. Notable elements of this new model included:

 

Germanic Land Democracy

A legal relationship of individuals directly to the State and not community

The end of supra national religion and morality.

 

‘The concept of modern Germanic national integrity is most commonly referred to as the Westphalian model. This model is based on the idea that nation states have clearly defined borders and that the inhabitants of those bordered areas have specific defined rights in relation to other nations and their defined geography. As described here:

 

‘In fact, the ‘Westphalian model’ of international legal order holds that the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, which ended the Thirty Years’ War in Europe, constituted a paradigm shift in the development of the present state system.The twin congresses held are deemed the forum where, for the first time in the history of international relations, distinct separate polities became sovereign. It is portrayed as a historical fact that Westphalia ‘represented a new diplomatic arrangement − an order created by states, for states − and replaced most of the legal vestiges of hierarchy, at the pinnacle of which were the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor’. As Mark Janis unequivocally put it:

The Peace of Westphalia legitimated the right of sovereigns to govern their peoples free of outside interference, whether any such external claim to interfere was based on political, legal or religious principles. […] Sovereignty, as a concept, formed the cornerstone of the edifice of international relations that 1648 raised up. Sovereignty was the crucial element in the peace treaties of Westphalia, the international agreements that were intended to end a great war and to promote a coming peace. The treaties of Westphalia enthroned and sanctified sovereigns, gave them powers domestically and independence externally.*

In order for this to be workable, the basis for the polity must be that of land owned through legal entitlement and not commonality of identity or culture. A simple illustration of this can be shown with nomadic peoples who traditionally travel over extended geographical areas with no consideration for national boundaries. If a tribe spends the summer in territory ‘A’ and the winter in territory ‘B’ can they be said to be citizens of ‘A’ or of ‘B’ or of both? To obtain the protection and rights of territory ‘A’ or territory ‘B’ they must sacrifice their community identity and way of life or be designated as an enemy or inconvenience to both nation states. And we know what happens after that..

 

It follows from this that the legal rights and obligations of a newly designated citizen is to the STATE in the form of a fully or partial formal social contract (a constitution),  and not to local community. All forms of informal community rights and obligation are either immediately void or subject to authentication and enforcement by the state.

 

In NW Eurasia first and foremost of these informal rights and obligations were those owed to the Catholic Church which was to be superseded by national religion in the form of Protestantism. The authority and privilege of Protestant religion and its adherents is guaranteed by nation states and not supra national religious authorities such as the Catholic Church. In England the right of English people to appeal to the Pope over the heads of  national royalty was abolished in 1566 (I think). By this act Henry the Eighth made himself supreme monarch and head of religion. In this way not only were matters of identity, loyalty and culture resolved in favour of the Germanic Protestant nation state, but matters of MORALITY as well! This is a massively important point, the significance of which cannot be over emphasised. Germanic morality is absolutely and utterly  entwined with the political cultural and economic structure of the nation state. More on this later.

 

Once the nation state was established, the question of politics and specifically democracy, came to the fore. Democracy necessarily rests on the question of eligibility, that is who is eligible to take part in a particular democracy. In the Germanic form (NOT in the classic Greek form), eligibility is contingent upon land ownership and territory. It is for this reason that the form of modern democracy seen in North Western Eurasia and elsewhere is accurately described as GERMANIC LAND DEMOCRACY and not GREEK BODY DEMOCRACY.

 

It is not an accident of history that political systems of the modern German nation state are without exception based on the concept of GEOGRAPHIC CONSTITUENCY. This is a pyramid of ever larger geographical units. Usually the structure is:

 

Ward

District

Town or City

National Parliament

Head of State

 

And you are no doubt familiar with both theory and practice of how this pyramidal structure is supposed to transfer the requests of the people up to the elected elite and the subsequent orders of the elected elite back down to the people. But there was a problem… (Isn’t there always?)

 

Along with all the Good Things that were supposed to come along with the Reformation Freedom, Enlightenment, and the return of Germanic supremacy, there was also the matter of Capitalism, which was the bill that the stout yeomen  would be required to pay for all the good things that Germanic Land Democracy would bring. And capitalism required two important things:

That people should be thrown off the land in ever increasing numbers and

That people should be herded together in cities to provide the labour that would power capitalism.

So here was the problem. The political system was based at every level on the ownership of land. The economic system required that most people should not be allowed to own any land!

 

 

 

*Australian Journal of Legal History

The Westphalian Model In Defining International Law: Challenging The Myth

Stéphane BEAULAC