Tuesday, 29 January 2008



Last night I had a really nasty dream. My housemate Phil Goulding was kicking the shit out of you, really brutal. Loads of people were standing around doing nothing, I pushed past them and saw what Phil was doing, screamed "What the FUCK" and tried to go for him with a right hook but the underwater effect meant I couldn't quite connect with his head. I saw you later in the dream, you had convalesced and said having the shit kicked out of you was "pretty boring" and, as we all knew, that the world started in the 1270s. I then helped Hitler, who was wearing a shellsuit, concoct a batch of poisonous brown sugar. He was marching up and down and making me get loads of shit from a HUGE supermarket, he was a real bitch about it, kept sending me back.

Anyway, just wanted to check that everything's cool.

And you, Jow, hit me up you fannypack. I need to know that I am not permanently excommunicated, or if I am, that I am.

Apeman: Swell seein' ya. I expect you to know how to construct an A-frame from a redwood by the next time we meet.

Nef: Sorry no can did Cambridge mission, on a spree. Oh, tell K "Green Day".

Doperiot: Dude, what happened to your vector? Me and and Jow were ignominiously ejected from Highgate Cemetary, you should have brought your gat.

Economy Drysnake: Send me fire.

Amriki Dogflan: Knuckle up. I need to know roughly how many Hare-Krsnas you can convert to Faceplant in Brooklyn.




Jow Lindsay said...

I can't tag these try uploading again

Jow Lindsay said...

what answer do we give, again, to our analytic philosophy & social science peers who use examples of intrasuperstructure causality or relata cascading from superstructure to base to discredit the materialist theory of history aspect of Marx? I never know.

If (Arch-snob) {Apeman} said...

Yo. The now-somewhat-unfashionable Althusser's answer would be that the superstructure is relatively autonomous from the base, but still ultimately determined by it. But these sorts of terms will never succeed in persuading an analytic philosopher, because they are not falsifiable.


See Gramsci.

What kind of examples of causality or relata are in the breeze here?

Jow Lindsay said...

OK. (I don't buy that all analytic philosophers are necessarily like a lanker, beating off Popper -- I mean they like it but they wouldn't want to do it all day). Which bit of Gramsci? The beef with relative autonomy is that it concedes almost everything. Relata, you mean like swaddling oblongs & things. Well take our present situation with the Iraqis. This phenomenon crystallises as an object of historical interest, so as good materialists we start sifting the causally dense material Carling from the superstructural head. "It's the oil, stupid" is faux materialist, OBV, but what account can we make which doesn't include the reanimation of dormant neocon hawk-talk activated by the luck of nutjob mohammods as more than foamy "relatively autonomous" superstructure? I mean I think we CAN make one but you know I'm doing the hand puppet thing.

(But I ask in THIS froum because I always sort of assumed that objection to HM was based on a misconstrual of early Marxian Marxist texts).

(Linked with the question of how superstructure "serves" capital or perhaps we should be saying serves material. This guy Cohen says it's functional -- the right institutions exist for capital to do what it wants because the ones that offer embryonic constraint wither. Natural selection).

If (Arch-snob) {Apeman} said...

There are several possible theories re. Iraq. One is that the prevalence of Zionist ideology in the American political establishment (both Rep. and Dem.) distorts the govt's conformity to the logic of capital in the Middle East, i.e. the Iraq War was not in its economic interest (it already had plenty of oil), but Israeli influence overrode this (sounds a bit Jewish conspiracy theory, but various Marxists have argued this).

A second theory is that in light of its relative economic decline, America's global hegemony is at stake, so it must make up for this with prominent displays of its military might (in which case, the plan would seem to have backfired).

Personally I'm not sure, but I don't think an excessively economistic Marxism will provide all the answers.


To say that war was not in "its" (America's, I assume you meant) interest is already to give an abstraction where we can be quite specific. War was, and is still, as usual, clearly in the direct interests of a huge network of companies in the production of war commodities. This doesn't just mean just guns planes tanks etc., it means an enormous infrastructure of services provided for war from training to telecommunications to commissary to whatever. Even if you find it implausible that America sought to expand and consolidate hegemonic influence over global oil management -it's not, incidentally, a question of how much oil America's "got" but how much raw cash can be processed from the oil left on earth, how much it can see itself getting a piece of the intermediary action in in the next 50 years or so, one TRILLION US, approx. left under the earth's crust for the taking, to be further processed into e.g. kerosene for your fleet's trip to the Persian gulf, fuel courtesy of yep, the US taxpayer - it's not exactly difficult to spot the profit motive in going to war. The US government spends public money on the private production of a web of exorbitantly pricey gear. Ka-ching. But pointing this out, your friends are right, is not yet materialist or a demonstration of the base-superstructure relationship involved, it's just a straightforward analysis of profiteering.

To understand the base determinations of something like war you have to look at the history of military engagement, how it is materially realised as a market, and how this material conception is permanently revolutionised by developments in war technology. The higher tech and more expensive war gets, the more money can be made by arms companies who will pump it into further research into how to make an even more expensive war in twenty years time. You just need to buy a government (vide soft money) who's willing to let you realise the market, and what is US expansionism in the middle east if not the material groundwork for this realisation? I suppose war itself is a kind of futures market in this way.

Ideology, floating creamily on top of all this, is a red herring. The clash between the east and west is publicly declared as an "ideological" conflict between moderate secular democracy and theocratic authoritarianism precisely to mask the economic processes by which all war is "successful", whether or not America succeeds in installing a moderate democracy in Iraq. If you think, for example, that America "lost" the Vietnam war, it's worth asking what the base interests in conflict were, how much for example General Electric pocketed.

I don't mean to suggest that ideology has no role to play, no, sure, war-promoted patriotism is a pretty good way to further obfuscate the American working class - it "serves" capital in that sense. But ideology (e.g. "Zionist") does not determine that war will happen, just which war will happen, who the targets will be. Armaments manufacturers could not give a fig who their product is used by or on (see, for example, Krupps, Vickers, Schneider-Creusot etc. in WW1). The base-superstructure jive can only cut in to say that imperialism is an inevitable consequence of the logic of capital itself, that is of the long-term trajectory production must take in order to guarantee the continued production of surplus value. Revolutionising the means of production in the case of war industry MEANS going from the flint to the spear to the rifle to the Abrams tank; war is nothing if not a competitive enterprise.

Jow Lindsay said...

Thanx for clearing that up -- I MEAN it. I'm SYEEYRYIOUISS. I have cudburns on the OUTSIDE of my chin now, mainly, FaecePint, "[...] JUST which war [...]"? I mean shit. More l8r maybe xx