“the system of the State is composed of several apparatuses or institutions of which certain have a principally repressive role, in the strong sense, and others a principally ideological role. The former constitute the repressive apparatus of the State, that is to say the State apparatus in the classical Marxist sense of the term (government, army, police, tribunals and administration). The latter constitute the ideological apparatuses of the State, such as the Church, the political parties, the unions (with the exception of course, of the revolutionary party or trade union organizations), the schools, the mass media (newspapers, radio, television), and, from a certain point of view, the family. (…) the State repressive apparatus, the State in the classic Marxist sense of the term, possesses a very rigorous internal unity which directly governs the relation between the diverse branches of the apparatus. Whilst the State ideological apparatuses, by their principal function—ideological inculcation and transmission—possess a greater and more important autonomy” Read the rest of this entry »
I found some translated excerpts from an article by Ingo Elbe. Read the rest of this entry »
In a bit I’m going to post some notes on what I’ve read by Ingo Elbe, which I found interesting and thought provoking. I look forward to more of Elbe’s work being translated. Reading Elbe sent me down the rabbit hole of reading Perry Anderson, something I’ve mean to do for a while. So here are my notes on Anderson’s Considerations on Western Marxism. Read the rest of this entry »
Today I finished Michael Heinrich’s new book on the three volumes of Capital. I’m probly gonna write more notes later. The book’s in the other room somewhere and I can’t be bothered to go get it, plus I figure it does me well to write from memory for various reasons before launching into the note-taking and specifics. (And as with that Jameson book, I can’t find my copy of the Heinrich book except this time I lost it before I read it, so I had to get it out of the library. It will suck if this whole losing my books thing gets more frequent.) I dunno if I’ll revise this post or write a follow up post. Anyway, the book: it’s good. It’s very good. I recommend it. (I’d be interested in hearing what people who’ve not read Capital make of it, for whom it really is an introduction.)
What I like – the prose is pretty clear. It covers a lot of ground succinctly. Contentwise, I liked – his criticisms of the law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, his rejection of the idea of an irresolvable final crisis of capitalism, his point that there’s no single crisis theory in Marx’s writing, his point that crises are productive/system-conserving for capitalism, and the point that class consciousness let alone revolutionary class consciousness doesn’t emerge automatically out of struggle or working class experience of life under capitalism. I think the best parts of the book are the section on class, class struggle, and determinism, the chapter on crisis, and the chapter on the state. I’ll come back to those in detail with book in hand. Oh, and the category ‘worldview marxism’. That’s illuminating. More on this too.
What I didn’t like -
Fetishism. I just don’t care. It’s overblown and an over-reading of an aside in Marx, that gets spun out into a far too comprehensive social theory, and I think it probably rests on some questionable (and largely unargued for) assumptions in the philosophy of mind and in epistemology. Heinrich is in good company here, and in bad, because this stuff is hella common among marxists. (Knock it off, marxists!) My friend Ryan had a good point that Heinrich seems to overstate the relative neutrality of the capitalist state in its treatment of people under its rule (I’m gonna try to remember this when I take notes on that chapter). Heinrich also seems ambiguous to me politically when it comes to the state. If I remember right, I couldn’t tell if he was saying “taking state power isn’t enough” or if he was rejecting that goal, or something else. Whatever it was, I took him to be arguing (I believe this is in the short bit about communism and society beyond capitalism and the state) that the state shouldn’t be viewed as too central in our understanding of moving beyond capitalism, but exactly how far he was downgrading the state wasn’t clear.
More later, eventually, I gotta sleep now, but just to reiterate: very good book and I recommend it.
In 2011 Fredric Jameson published Representing Capital, about volume 1 of Capital by Karl Marx. Read the rest of this entry »
At the bottom of this post is a quote from Otto Ruhle’s ‘Revolution is not a Party Affair‘, but first some thoughts off the top of my head that I had as I thought about this quote, thoughts about what I think those of us in the IWW are doing and what I think the Recomposition web site is about. Read the rest of this entry »
Please note: I was gonna make a music joke but I’m too tired. (Did you C what I did there? That was a minor pun, which why listeners may feel a bit sad hearing it….)
After the new baby was born I started getting more books from the library to read for fun, because I’d sit up rocking her and whatnot, and while I like that, it could get a bit boring. So I’d read during it. I want to blog a bit here about two books I read, Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life by Steve Almond and Guitar Zero by Gary Marcus. Read the rest of this entry »