Friday, 27 January 2012

No! But what is it then, the state?

1. Those collected institutionalised relations within general capitalist relations which are not immediately subject to market forces (but are nonetheless constrained by material resources). The state’s function is to utilise its resistance to market forces in order to reproduce and regulate both market and non-market aspects of class relations which otherwise would become susceptible to the destructive contradictions inherent within the general relation. 2. ‘Private’ (i.e. non-national) organisations similarly develop an internal state function (‘the brain of the firm’ or an integrated departmentalised nervous system) which as it hardens into an armature is also capable of lasting out medium term crises. The ‘state’ armature, its departments (or cybernetic 'brain of the firm') are the only materialised relations which are available for expropriation by the proletariat – and thereby precipitate the contradiction of workers’ self-management. 3. The short definition of the state (including episodes of workers’ self-management): that belonging to the capitalist relation which resists economic crisis and has the capacity of re-instituting the relation subsequent to any crisis. 4. The state crystallises as a bureaucratic armature at the very moment the bourgeoisie collapses, i.e. in a moment of qualitative separation of a brain/nervous system type structure from the productive forces which generated it. Provocatively, the appearance of state formations, and thus the correlative historical disappearances of the bourgeois class, can be dated thus within geographically defined nations : Germany 1870; Great Britain 1902; France 1919; USA 1937; Russia 1956. 5. However, the subsequent, periodic resurrection of the bourgeoisie (France 1968, Eastern Europe 1989, Egypt and Libya 2011) suggest a corresponding collapse of state function. 6. Overall, this would suggest an eternal oscillation within the processing of reproduction: where the state is, the bourgeoisie isn't; where the bourgeoisie is, the state isn't.