Thursday, June 17, 2010

Marx and Corporatism, or a response to "The Nationalisation of the Land

Which is Here. There are a lot of trends in Marx, one of which is revolutionary and one of which is evolutionary. The one that's revolutionary tends to have more opportunities for a non-statist interpretation than the evolutionary one does. In "The Nationalisation of the Land" Marx foresees the necessity of small scale agriculture giving way to large scale, organized, cultivation using modern technology and science. This is seen as a need that will lead to socialism by legislative fiat, with the State taking over land as a whole and then leasing it out to democratically organized associations, which presumably would be integrated into a large scale plan lead by the State itself. Putting aside concerns about modern technology in the form of fertilizers and such along with the real effects of this sort of production for the moment, it looks as though Marx was onto something, but that that future sort of social production he was predicting hasn't come to pass as socialism but as corporatism, with corporate Agribusiness fulfilling the role of the coordinator and organizer of agricultural production. There's plenty of science, plenty of research, plenty of planning, in large scale farms. It has increased yields, although the penalties for pursuing those avenues are adding up. The problem is that there's nothing democratic about it. Neither is the production being done for the benefit of anyone else but the corporations themselves. It seems that it's more than possible for a collective, scientific, planned sector of an economy to be totally in private hands and to totally support the values of the capitalist system, to in fact become the system itself.

Most people would see corporatism as a sort of Fascism, rather than socialism. If this is the case, it suggests that something radically different from simple collective planning of production is necessary to really make a socialist society, that capital is not going to peacefully give up it's power and automatically transform itself into something reminiscent of socialism, and that most importantly that capital can absorb some of the lessons of socialist organization without thereby becoming socialist itself. Corporatist capitalism is as much capitalism as anything else.

A solution would be to focus on basically taking over and constraining, or destroying, large parts of the corporate system and the capital that it embodies, binding it to the ground instead of letting it sort of float free over everyone.

*on edit: what this suggests is that nationalization is not enough. The corporate system has to be restrained and brought down, and that can only truly happen in a movement from below.

No comments: