[OPE-L:2644] Re: assumptions, assumptions, assumptions

Michael Williams (100417.2625@compuserve.com)
Thu, 11 Jul 1996 17:11:25 -0700 (PDT)

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Jerry opens his remarks:

I see no evidence that the existence of nation-states are passing away

Michael W.

Neither do I. I was merely posing the hypothetical possibility as a way of
getting a feel for the systemic necessity or otherwise for the polity of the
bourgeois epoch to take the form of many nation states.

Later he says:

To the extent that nationalism is a necessary ideological counterpart to the
existence and
legitimation of individual nation-states, it is hard for me to view this
question entirely in terms of contingency.

Michael W:

I do not quite see what you are getting at: what we are probing is whether we
have prima facie reason for thinking that either many nation states and/or
nationalism are necessary to the systemic reproduction of the bourgeois epoch. I
have no dobt that they are very important phenomena, which are inter-twined de
facto with the dynamics of contemporary capitalism; nor that it is vital to
undestand the nature of their location and systemic role.

the class interests of capitalists in individual nations frequently conflict
with the class
interests of the bourgeoisie in other nations. If competition among capitalists
is a necessary form of appearance, why isn't "competition" among nation-states
also a necessary form of appearance of the state-form?

Michael W.
I strongly agree with your first point: many capitals have an 'irrational'
attachment to their home state. As to the second, I am not sure what are the
analogies and disanalogies between states and capitals which might form the
basis of thought about competition amongs the latter implying the necessity for
'competition' amongst the former. But I do not think rivalry between nation
states is of a piece with competition between capitals.

Viewing this question somewhat differently, if we are to understand class
among capitalists, don't we have to examine both how they are united and

Michael W.

Where is the discussion of where workers *as workers* (rather than
only as bourgeois subjects) have subjectivity?

Michael W.:
Subjectivity is first introduced as the subjectivity of competition subjects.
There is, it is true, no detail of the exercise of that subjectivity in
industrial and social struggle. That needs to be incorporated - by critically
appropriating all the labour-process work around Braverman, and by incorporating
other accounts of the development of such struggles since the time of that
I hope it does not sound like an excuse, but the repeated use of 'in outline' in
our work is meant to signal the difficulty of presnting both an overview of the
presentation of the object-totality, and filling in even the minimum of
necessary detail. It is only practicable to become an expert in the detail of a
very smal segment of the totality I have some such expertise in the areas of
micro-economic policy and privatisation and the 'mixed economy' more generally.
The point is that these are all dealt with explictly as elements of the object
totality, capturing as many of their interconnections within it as possible.
Similar kinds of remarks apply to the question of landed-property, with the
additional note that we treated it as if it were mostly capitalised. That may
lead to problems, but I have no special interst or skills in the matter at the

Comradely greeetings,

Michael W.