Euroamerican Left and the myth of "New" Capitalism
underlying crisis of capitalism has once again erupted into its multiple
surfaces. The corporate oligarchs and their clerks in the mainstream
media are doing their best to represent them as isolated
events—accidents of excess that have no connections with one another
and are all simply beyond any rational explanation.
collapse of Enron, for example, is treated as a fluke in corporate
history, a strange exception. The criminal destruction of Enron
documents by its auditors at Arthur Anderson is taken yet as another
strange event perpetrated by a few rogue accountants and their bosses.
Accounting as a system, in other words, remains reliable. But it is not
just Enron books that are in question now: Merrill Lynch, IBM, Goldman
Sachs . . . are all under investigation for errant book-keeping. The
investigation is, of course, being done by friends of the investigated
and the book-keeping itself is not an issue. What is at issue is the
crisis of capital—the fall of the rate of profit—and corrupt
practices that hide the crisis from the citizens.
paid hacks of mainstream media, by their daily reporting and news
analyses, separate the Enron crisis and the scandal in accounting from
the brutal imperialist wars that are devastating central Asia and
Palestine. And both are in
turn isolated from the re-emergence of Eurofascism. Le Pen is treated as
a fluke and the unity of people behind Chirac is taken as an assuring
sign of social decency and the strength of bourgeois democracy. But
Chirac himself is, in all of his practices, undistinguishable from the
rogue accountants of Arthur Anderson and the CEO of Enron. What does the
victory of a charlatan entrepreneur-politician say about the health of
bourgeois democracy? But
the crisis exceeds Le Pen. Le Pen may have failed in France but a
neofascist is actually Prime Minister of Italy and the shadow of fascism
hangs over not just Austria but also such bastions of liberalism as the
Netherlands and Switzerland.
is telling that at such a time of universal crisis in capitalism, the
left has completely abandoned class struggle against capitalism and by
chanting "class is dead" has retreated to a silly culturalism
that never tires of finding "resistance" moments in the most
reactionary cultural practices. The Euroamerican left has bought into
the governing ideology that capitalism has changed and in its new
changed phase it is the media and culture, and not labor and its
antagonism with capitalism (class struggle), that is the source of
violent imperialist war—fought on several fronts in central Asia and
Palestine—should of course put an end to this complicit left
culturalism. But far from it: In seductive texts such as Empire,
the new canonic book of the Euroamerican left, Negri and Hardt set out
to not only announce, along the lines of "class is dead", the
death of imperialism but in fact argue that the new empire is itself
charged with sites of resistance. The imperialist war in central Asia
over the appropriation of the labor of Asian workers and oil conducted
by "sovereign nations" against other "sovereign
nations" is (as we will argue in our future issues) now turning Empire
into a bad political joke.
war in Palestine is not about land, even though Arafat—that master
conciliationist who has always acted against the interests of the people
of Palestine by marginalizing their great class struggles against
capitalism, that is fronting as the State of Israel—puts it in that
idiom. The land is only the geography of labor.
The imperialist war in Palestine is about appropriation of the
labor of Palestinian people. This is one of the questions that we will
address in our next issue.
point here is to mark the gap between the Euroamerican left and the
actualities of capitalism in its imperialist phase. In our next issue we
will publish two texts on the situation of the left by examining two
recent left analyses of post 9/11 events by culturalist
leftists—Judith Butler and Michael Bérubé.
The Red Critique's main goal is not simply unmasking the left gap with class realities. Rather we aim at providing focused materialist analysis in the Marxist revolutionary tradition of producing knowledge—by demystifying the "fluke" and demonstrating the connection of the seemingly disconnected—for praxis.