State capitalism and the Capitalist

2 posts / 0 new
Last post
State capitalism and the Capitalist
Printer-friendly version

I've been thinking and involved in a lot of discussions lately on the nature of capitalism and possible forms of resistance to it.  As I deal with a fair number of anarchists, the discussion usually turns towards one of personal targeting of "capitalists."  I usually refer these discussions to more "moderate" writings on the subject like "You Can't Blow Up A Social Relationship" by the Libertarian Socialist Organization in Australia.

However, I've been very interested in the historical development of state capitalism and the impact this had on the "Capitalist."  Is there, today, a State Capitalist--someone who we can point to, like the top hatted bourgeoisie of capitalism's heyday?  My understanding is that one can't really do this today because of capitalist decadence.  The state diffuses capitalist production across itself so that what remains is a bumbling, increasingly bloated apparatus operating broadly, but over time more and more inefficiently, in the interest of national capital... the result of course ultimately being an exacerbation of inherent capitalist contradictions and decomposition.

Bordiga seems to also speak a bit about this when he writes in "Weird and Wonderful Tales of Modern Social Decadence" that,

"So now when the ship goes down, so too do the first class passengers, half clad like the poor devils, hardly togged up in their dinner jackets. Safety is therefore vital to all: one cannot simply say stuff it like in a mine where only the scapegoats of labour and a handful of engineers go, but without the precursors of decorations: after all it's dark down there.

The ruling class, in its turn incapable of struggling against the devil of business activity, superproduction and superconstruction for its own skin, thus demonstrates the end of its control over society, and it is foolish to expect that, in the name of a progress with its trail indicated by bloodstains, it can produce safer ships than those of the past."

The increasing inability of even the upper class scions to protect themselves from capitalist destruction seems to me to suggest that the role of the capitalist has changed since capitalist ascendency.  It's no longer purely the specter of communism, but the reality of capitalist tyranny that is to be feared--even by the bourgeoisie.  Seems to just further prove that the only way out is through the conscious erection of communism by the proletariat; because the bourgeoisie are powerless to stop the cycle of destruction.  Seems like a shift from the end of the 19th century.  Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Thats a very interesting

Thats a very interesting point. I'd agree that there isn't a 'state capitalist' to make an example of the way the robber barons stood larger than life a century earlier (Henry Clay Frick being a good example). There doesn't seem to be any such thing as a 'state capitalist' as an individual, only systems that can be state capitalist- which are made up of many individuals. I guess the industrial oligarchs of Russia and the former SSR's could be a type of capitalist-state capitalist hybrid (the people at the highest levels of a state owned company, or one with heavy state involvement)- though if they were to all disappear, they would quickly be replaced by another member of the board, another senior partner, another member of upper management, etc.