Paradise Papers: an ideological campaign in the service of the capitalist state

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jk1921
Paradise Papers: an ideological campaign in the service of the capitalist state
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Paradise Papers: an ideological campaign in the service of the capitalist state. The discussion was initiated by jk1921.
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jk1921
Its not entirely clear to me

Its not entirely clear to me what this article is trying to do: There seems to be a suggestion that there is a building consensus among parts of the bourgeoisie to revitalize a kind of responsible left opposition politics in the main states (as a way of blunting a more destructive populism?). In other words, these revelations around financial malfeasance seem to be viewed as part of an orchestrated state ideological campaign, rather than a function of a loss of control over the media resulting from decomposition. I wonder if there is a tension here? It seems to me that even if these revelations were brought forth by establishment media outlets, they nevertheless have their greatest impact in "alternative media," where they fuel an ever deepening crisis of legitimacy in the current order couched in both left and right ideological forms. Certainly, other kinds of revelations--(Wikileaks, Manning Snowden, etc.) have been viciously denounced by the state as counter to the interests of society, something which itself fuels a certain loss of legitimacy (Thou doth protest too much!).

There also seems to be a need in this article to defend the idea that state capitalism is still strong. Deregulation itself is seen as a function of state capitalism, but I wonder if this runs into a tension with the idea, expressed elsewhere, of a crisis of state capitalism? Certainly, it could be the case that even if state actors presided over a certain deregulation of the economy at one point in time that it may not be so easy for the state to "pull it back." (I actually think the article concedes this point in places). Anyone looking at the state of US politics today would have to consider that the state has been more or less "captured" by certain sectoral interests who use it to advance their own particularistic positions, rather than rule in something like the "national interest." This seems a more or less empirical fact that can be accepted without capitulating to a kind of leftist, moralist politics that suggests capitalism can be reformed in some essential way--even if it may be possible for the state to reassert itself in some ways going forward. This then raises the question about whether the kinds of media campaigns we see around these issues of tax havens, offshoring, etc. are merely an effort to (re)construct a responsible left political apparatus or whether there are real policy goals at play being pushed by more responsible factions of the bourgeoisie and if those policies are themselves realistic giving the necessities of accumulation in a period marked by more or less permanent crisis? I think this where the article itself ends, so maybe we are not so far away after all! In any event, it was a well researched, thorough and thought provoking piece.

Alf
tensions

I agree that there are tensions in the article, because we are only really just beginning to grapple theoretically with the real tension between national state capitalism and an increasingly chaotic "globalisation", which ultimately reflects the contradiction between the fortress of the capitalist nation state and the deeper tendency of capital to become a planetary power. I agree that it is accurate to define this as a crisis of state capitalism and that the growing loss of control by the state expresses the terminal phase of capitalism's historic crisis. 

What is our response to this? On the one hand, we have to combat the leftist mythology about neo-liberalism and unregulated capital, which is an apology for the attempt to return control to the state. On the other hand we have to recognise that the state capitalist fortress is, in historical if not immediate terms, in a process of crumbling. This will tend to make it even more totalitarian in its political methods, without ever succeeding in really achieving a "total" political domination. 

Tax havens - as the article says, every state has one, and their tax havens are in competition with the other state's tax havens; but increasingly there are also tax havens (which can be digital as well as physical) with no national loyalty, or who owe a greater loyalty to shadowy billionaires, mafia networks, but also legal multinational corporations. It's because of this that we are being asked by the official state to support the imposition of greater levels of official state control.