The Three-Headed Beast: Analysis of class and nation

I would like to apologize for taking so long to responding to JMP’s last entry. To quickly summarize the recent developments in our argument, JMP offered 4 larger categories which would provide some internal scientific coherency  to the series of concepts that mark Maoism, as a form of post-Leninism (a displacement of Lenin). I then suggested reformulating 3 of his categories so that we could demonstrate the universalism of Maoism and provide greater clarity of the issues at hand.  JMP agrees to adopt the reformulated schema that I offered in my last blog entry, whilst offering an additional amendment which I will accept. Thus, we are left with:

1. Analysis of class and nation in peripheral capitalist formations

2. The regionalization of Marxism

3. The theorization of dialectical relationship between base and superstructure

4. Relationship between particularity and the universal

Having summarized the developments in the argument, I will now spend the rest of this blog entry discussing the first category, “Analysis of class and nation in peripheral capitalism formations”, especially through the concept of region and whole, which I briefly outlined in my last intervention. This I recognize is a monumental task and will only be able to provide brief outlines of the issues at stake, which I hope that we will develop in the next few rounds of exchange. I will effectively develop at greater length my earlier argument around this first category,

In the case of JMP’s 1st category requires the concept, “semi-feudal semi-colonial” in which China connects to the larger capitalist social formation through relationships between comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie and imperialist bourgeoisie on the national-international level, and feudal mode of production in the countryside with a capitalist mode of production in the urban structure (effectively a breakdown of the regional articulations within the geographical regional entity that is China). However, we must simultaneously recognize the regional sub-divisions based on nation within what is considered “China” (Tibet for example) which have their own contradictions and must deal with their own contradictions correctly (thus, the need for a national liberation movement on Tibet that does not take recourse to Lhamaist feudal nationalism – so a possible topic of study in the future could be the subsumption of the Tibetan Communist Party under the CPC). The international dimension of this is Mao’s recognition that the Comintern’s practice of developing revolutionary strategy and directives from Moscow was unable to fully grasp the regional complexities experienced by regional Communist parties and any suggestion made were being refracted through the Russian experience solely, which resulted in disaster). This led to Mao not rebuilding a Maoist Comintern and imagining party-to-party, state-to-state relationships in different ways then his Soviet counterparts.

I would like to clarify the different levels of analysis in which we explore the relationships of the configurations of elements that comprise that level which itself is constituted by a series of invariant determinations of elements into specific configurations [invariant determinations: means of production (object of labor and means of labor), labourer and non-labourer (see Althusser and Balibar, Reading Capital)]: 1) an inter-national level in which the particular relationships between, for example, China (socially, politically, economically etc) and the rest of the international nation-states and their respective mode of productions i.e. the regional general articulation of capitalism in the particular mode of production within a specific geographic locale to that of the global capitalist system (what Mao will call in peripheral capitalist formations as ‘semi-colonial’), at the same time this resulted in the recognition of the particularity of the periphery in relation to the international requires a heterogeneity of strategies, tactics and scientific concepts that expressed that particularity in politics (this is a rebuke to the overtly centralized formed of resistance at the international level that was dictated by the Comintern); 2a) within China examining the regional articulations within the country, more broadly speaking the rural and urban economic articulations and the relationship between them (what Mao will call semi-feudal), and the necessary separation of struggles and uniqueness of struggles that respond to those semi-autonomous spheres (thus, in the countryside the feudal relations require an explicit anti-feudal politics with an emphasis on the peasantry and the need for basic land redistribution; and in the cities would examine the specific contradictions between urban proletariat and capitalist), and 2b) simultaneously at the intra-national social formations that are attempting to articulate themselves – the Tibetan national determination struggle would be one (I have now mentioned the Tibetan struggle twice and would like to clarify that I by no means endorse the Dalai Lama’s nor his followers claims to sovereignty over a future Tibetan nation-state, which must be contested through democratic forms of presentation by the masses in Tibet, and believe that their needs to be a left alternative argument for national liberation rather, than a feudal-comprador bourgeois nationalism) – which should be allowed to fully express self-determination; 3) finally, we need to examine within the rural and urban configurations and how different spaces within it articulate themselves and the particular contradictions inherent to that configuration (thus, we could analyze gender relations within particular villages, or the caste/class contradictions within a particular village or group of villages, or urban divisions like ethnic ghettos). This will thus allow for activists at this level to understand the relationships that constitute the most basic configuration which must be engaged with to allow for the development of more molar formations. Thus, there cannot be a movement at the 1st and 2nd (a and b) levels that I have described above without a micro-movement that is mobilized around their specific particularities. There is effectively a consistent dialectical relationship between particularity and the universal, the molecular and the molar and the local and the global which must be accounted for and in of themselves co-determinations between the different levels. I will now briefly develop some

1. Inter-national level: in the basic relationship between nation-states, in itself the encounter of different modes of production, within the larger social formation that constitutes the global. This encounter of course creates contradictions between the national bourgeoisie and the international bourgeoisie (thus, the division into nationalist and comprador bourgeoisies which differ in their own relationships to the international economy and politics). Here the bourgeoisie, or non-laborers, are divided into a section of the bourgeoisie that is either willing to integrate into the global economy through a form of indirect colonialism in which there a compartmentalization and division of labor in the global economy (thus, the shift to largely service industries in the First World and high technology production (immaterial labor), but with an ever decreasing industrial production, whilst the peripheral economic formations remain the site of the production of raw materials and their elementary production into basic goods, although there has been an increasing industrial output) and a nationalist bourgeoisie (which admittedly in the current context has largely withered away) which seeks to carry out some of the elementary tasks of bourgeois revolution in the national formation – delinked from the international capitalist economy (often trying to establish parallel structures to the World Bank, IMF etc) – yet lacking some of the development of other elements in the national configuration to achieve such a capacity; and the relationship between the peoples of any given nation-state with the peoples of other States – thus, is the proletariat and peasantry in China capacity to envision itself as part of a global proletariat and class which is in contradiction with imperialism – thus the linkages between national liberation struggles, social, movements etc. Of course this is retarded through the development of racialized, imperialist divisions (the American proletariat’s general imperialist relationship to the Iraqi proletariat). Mao of course argues that these differences require the particular application of revolutionary strategies and the inability of a centralized body (the Comintern) to dictate that revolutionary strategy.

2a. There is a recognition that within capitalist formations like Canada and the United States are largely (I recognize that many indigenous communities articulate their own modes of production and social formations that must be understood in the particularity which I will expound upon in 2b) subsumed under the capitalist mode of production, thus all sectors of the economy are capitalist in their division of labor and social relations (this includes the agricultural sector) with a feudal remnant (so the monarchy in the UK) if any at all. In Third-world countries, or peripheral capitalist economies, the countryside often is articulated in a feudal mode of production that co-exists side-by-side with the capitalist economy in the urban centers. Mao refers to this general mode of production as  semi-feudal. This relationship between the feudal rural economy and urban capitalist economy is mediated by the bureaucratic state-formation (this is comprised by a consistent struggle between three elements: a) nationalist bourgeoisie; b) comprador bourgeoisie and; c) the bureaucracy). This bureaucracy ensures that the rural feudal formations are not subsumed under the urban capitalist mode of production.

2b. We cannot assume that the nation-state, whether it be China, or USA etc that they are social configurations that do not have national antagonisms. Thus, for example in China the Tibetans, in North America the contradictions between white settler-colonialists with the indigenous communities, or the white proletariat and the black/Hispanic proletariat, which make self-determination arguments for greater communitarian/national sovereignty (anything from greater autonomy to national liberation). This relationship has its particular capacities to extract surplus-value, thus for example, the Indian State’s relative lack of development of the economy in Nagaland, whilst extracting natural resources, or in the case of the United States the super-exploitation of black populations  or of resources of indigenous communities. This of is important in the gendered division of labor as well, in which women are marked by a double-exploitation and are thus prone to both patriarchy in their economic  relations of production and patriarchy that exploits surplus-social codings.

3. Finally within the rural or urban economies there are particular contradictions within those modes of productions. Thus, in rural economies the contradiction between the landless and landed peasantry with the feudal landlords especially around the problem of land distribution and the ownership of the products of labor i.e. crop production and debt systems. However, there could also arise divisions within the peasantry on the basis of parallel registers such as religion, caste, gender etc. And in the urban economies between a nascent industrial and post-industrial working-class (domestic labor for example) with the nascent urban bourgeoisie especially over the problems of wages etc. However, this is also the site in which racialized or caste divisions occur and allow for the fragmentation of the working class.

I recognize what I have sketched out above is crude (partly due to the late hour at which this was written), however, I hope that this analysis will be developed and amended in the next round of exchanges. I will now turn it over to JMP at M-L-M Mayhem!


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