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.
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.
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.
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…