Wednesday, April 17, 2019

C.L.R. James (aka J.R. Johnson) on The Negro Question, UMW and Lynching--17 February 1940
From Socialist Appeal, Vol. IV No. 7, 17 February 1940, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The United Mine Workers condemned the Scottsboro frame-up as an attack against the entire Negro race and recommended support of federal anti-lynching legislation to pave the way for extending the benefits of democracy to Negro workers.

The United Mine Workers have had if not a perfect – we live in a capitalist world – a long and honorable history in its dealings with Negroes. Both white and black workers need to study its history closely. Just after the failure of the 1919 strike the miners in the northern fields of West Virginia, making a drive for unionization, recognized that their only hope was the success of their brothers in the southern part of the state, who were then under heavy attack by the coal-owners. They formed an armed group of 8,000 men, of whom 200 were Negroes, and marched upon the southern counties. The federal government interfered and stopped the march. But the unity in action, as a class, of these black and white workers is comparable to the tremendous class solidarity displayed by the black and white workers in the Chicago race riots of 1919. There were lynchings and race riots in 1919. But in that period of labor upheaval the militant workers of both races were getting closer together, foreshadowing the mass movement into the CIO, the greatest step forward the Negroes have made in this country since the abolition of slavery three- quarters of a century ago.

Negroes Early Played a Role

The UMW, from its beginning in 1890, encouraged Negroes to join. In northern West Virginia, Ohio, and western Pennsylvania, Negro miners held offices such as president and secretary, although greatly outnumbered by whites. Often the solitary Negro member of a local was president or secretary, this because he could speak and write English at a time when many of the foreign born could not.

In 1900, in the Flat Top Coal Fields, there were about 18,000 miners, 9,000 white and 9,000 black, all members of the union. In 1920 there were 25,000 Negro members of the UMW, though by 1927 the number had dropped to 5,000. When Lewis began the drive for the CIO, the traditions and experience of the UMW in the Negro field were powerful factors in helping to bring the Negroes in. Today it is estimated that there are 80,000 Negroes in the UMW. In 1937 George Schuyler of the Pittsburgh Courier wrote that in Local 12068 of the United Mine Workers there were only four or five Negroes out of 68 members and yet all the officers were colored.

After a year and a half of work in the Alabama fields 23,000 miners were organized, about 14,000 of them Negroes. Whites and Negroes met in mixed meetings. Officers and committees were chosen equally from both races. The white usually had the more important places but this was due to the influence of the social system in the South. It would be easy to show that all has not been perfect in the relations between the races in the union. But one old Negro miner, a miner for 33 years, a union member for 25 and secretary of Local 2950, has said that “The United Mine Workers of America has done more to remove hatred and prejudice in the labor movement and to restore harmony and good will between man and man than any other agency in the country.”

At the Columbus convention there were six official bands, one of which was the Logan County Band, composed of Negro high school boys and girls from Logan County, West Virginia. Lewis, pursuing his political maneuvers with Senator Wheeler, included the band among those who went to meet the Senator at the railway station and accompanied him to his hotel. Lewis stated that he specially wanted to honor the band, each member of which was a son or a daughter of a member of the UMW. Their expenses had been paid by the local unions in Logan County.

At the convention an important speech was made by William Dickerson, of Barkly, West Virginia. He asked for support to the passage of a Federal Mine Inspection bill to prevent such disasters as took place in Barkley on January 10, when 91 men were lost, 16 of them Negroes. Dickerson was a member of the rescue squad. Dickerson is a young man of 25, graduate of West Virginia State College. He studied business administration but was unable to find any opening. He went to work in the mines, identified himself with the working class and was soon elected recording secretary of Local 6420. In this lodge there are 480 members, of whom 25 only are Negroes.

Why There’s Unity in West Va.

Now what is the underlying cause of all this? Nothing less than the geographical construction of West Virginia. Yes, the geographical construction of West Virginia. Before the Civil War the states of Virginia and West Virginia were one. Eastern Virginia consisted of the rich flat plains, on which flourished the cotton plantation system. In the West, the highlands, the population consisted of small farmers who had no slaves and were oppressed by the rich Bourbons of the lowlands.

In 1861 the slave owners naturally went with the South. The farmers of West Virginia saw their chance, refused to go with them, organized a separate state, and fought with the North. White men all, they took sides not according to race but on account of their economic interests and the social and political ideas which flowed from them. Since that time the two states have had a steadily divergent history in regard to their attitude to Negroes. The hard life, the equalizing conditions of labor in the mines, have forged a unity, one of the most powerful in the never-ceasing battle against race prejudice in America.

When the fight for the CIO came, the UMW took the lead and has accomplished work of outstanding importance in the history of labor and of Negro labor in particular. Their support of the anti-lynching bill is a great gesture of solidarity to the Negro people. But it is more than that. It shows us that, along with our fight for the bill in Congress we must never lose sight of our main aim, the creation of such conditions as would enable whites and Negroes to work together in conditions from which will flow social and political equality. Those conditions are what we call the socialist society.
C.L.R. James (aka J.R. Johnson) on The Negro Question, The Economics of Lynching--10 February 1940
Originally published in Socialist Appeal, Vol. IV No. 6, 10 February 1940, p. 3.
Republished in Scott McLemee (ed.), C.L.R. James on the “Negro Question”, Jackson (Miss.) 1996, pp. 34–36.
Transcribed by Daniel Gaido.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Marxists have always insisted that lynching has nothing to do with the protection of “the purity of womanhood.” The most cursory reading of the evidence collected about lynching shows that the savagery with the Negro is usually charged applies, not to the lynched Negroes, but to the lynchers. Marxists insist further that lynching is rooted in the social and economic conditions of the South. It is not enough to say these things. They must be proved, directly and indirectly.

Some years ago Arthur F. Raper made a careful study of lynching. The results were published in The Tragedy of Lynching (University of North Carolina Press, 1933). They are worth study.

The Negroes in the South are most heavily concentrated in the old Black Belt. In this area frequently one half of the population is colored. There the Negro is safer from lynching than anywhere else. Why? Says Raper,

“In the Black Belt race relations revolve about the plantation system, under which the Negro tenants and wage hands are practically indispensable. Here the variant economic and cultural levels of the mass of whites and the mass of Negroes are well defined and far removed.”

The December 1939 number of The New International contains a long and well-documented article by Robert Birchman that analyzes these conditions, and shows the Negro’s status to be little removed from the slavery of pre-Civil War days. Tied hand and foot by the economic system, kept in his place by the laws of capitalist production, the Negro is lynched least in these areas.

The lynchings that do occur, however, are of a special type, corresponding to the economic setup and the political and social conditions created by it.

“The Black Belt lynching is something of a business transaction,” writes Arthur Raper. “The whites there, chiefly of the planter class and consciously dependent upon the Negro for labor, lynch him to conserve traditional landlord-tenant relations rather than to wreak vengeance upon his race. Black Belt white men demand that the Negroes stay out of their politics and dining room, the better to keep them in their fields and kitchens.”

There is not “widespread hysteria.” The mob is usually small. In cases examined by Raper, the “mob proceeded in routine fashion ... with almost clock-like precision.” In these areas politics is the white employer’s business. The Negro must not interfere. The county officials are direct agents of the plantation owners and are well paid. The sheriff of Bolivar County, for instance, received in 1931 $40,000 a year, ten times the salary of the governor of Mississippi.

“In these Black Belt plantation areas, where modified slave patterns still persist, any crime which occurs among the propertyless Negroes is considered a labor matter to be handled by the white landlord or his overseer.”

We see now why these fellows are so fiercely opposed to the anti-lynching bill. It will be a powerful means of awakening the Negroes to the fact that they have rights which are recognized, in theory at any rate, by the Federal Government. The bill will not stop lynching but it will strike a blow at the whole system.

Frank Shay, in his book Judge Lynch (Ives Washburn, 1938), gives a picture of the other type of lynching, where the mob grows wild and tears the living flesh from the burning Negro. This mob, he says, is made up of young men between their teens and their middle twenties with a sprinkling of morons of all ages.

“Its members are native whites, mostly of the underprivileged, the unemployed, the dispossessed, and the unattached ...They are grocery-clerks, soda-jerks, low-paid employees in jobs that require neither training nor intelligence; jobs that might often be filled more competently by Negroes and at lower wages. In rural communities this mob is made up of day workers and wage-hands, the more shiftless type of tenants, those who through birth and former position are bound to the locality.”

There we have it. Their own misery, defeat, and the fear for the scraps by which they live drive them periodically to terrorize and wreak their wrath against the social system on the Negroes, whom they see as their greatest enemy, and whom they are traditionally taught to despise.

Here again lynching is rooted in the economic system and even the very forms it takes are conditioned by the specific class relations of the two races.

Raper illustrates this principle in many ways. Take the situation in North Texas and Central Oklahoma. This is not a Black Belt area, and in the urban communities of these counties many business and professional Negroes own comfortable homes and other property. A considerable proportion of the colored people regularly participate in local and national elections. The propertied whites, not dependent upon Negro labor as are the whites in the Black belt area, do not circumscribe the Negro’s activity to the same degree. But the poorer whites in the rural areas are hostile. By violence and threats they drive the Negroes from the rural neighborhoods. The lynch-mobs number over one thousand.

Raper makes one truly astonishing observation. While the propertied whites here allow the Negroes a certain freedom, they do not need them for labor and are therefore indifferent to Negro persecution by the poor whites. In the Black Belt, however, the plantation owners protect their Negro serfs from the hostility of the poor whites. They are not going to have their labor force interfered with by a rival labor force. When there is any lynching to be done, they themselves will do it, in a systematic and organized manner.

One last point. Going on data compiled by Woofter, Raper shows that between 1900 and 1930, whenever the price of cotton is above the usual trend, the number of lynchings is below the average. Whenever the price of cotton is depressed, the number of lynchings increases.

The Fourth International struggles wherever a battle in the class war is being waged. We utilize the capitalist parliament for our own purposes, and that is why we do all we can do to defeat the attempt of the Senators to block the anti-lynching bill. But we never lose sight of the fact that the greatest enemy of all is the capitalist system. It cannot exist in the South without mob law. The workers, black and white, must steadily prepare to destroy capitalism, the root source of lynching.
C.L.R. James (aka J.R. Johnson) on The Negro Question--3 February 1940
From Socialist Appeal, Vol. IV No. 5, 3 February 1940, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

First of all, as we showed last week, lynching has nothing to do with the protection of white “womanhood.” Let us once more nail that lie. Some months ago the refusal of Miami Negroes to be frightened away from the polls by the Ku Klux Klan made national headlines in all the Negro papers and even had some attention in the capitalist press. It was only afterwards that we learnt what had frightened off the Klan. The Negroes sat in their houses waiting for the Klan with loaded Winchesters across their laps. Backed by this not-to-be-despised argument, American “democracy” won a small victory.

Now a similar situation is developing in Greenville, South Carolina. Both sides are primed for civil war. The Klan is determined that the Negroes shall not vote. The Negroes are determined that they shall. They are carrying on a campaign for registration in the city elections. James A. Briar, 69 year-old head of the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, considered chiefly responsible for the agitation, has been arrested for illegal possession of a gun. This time Briar is defending not only “democracy” but his life. The Klan visited his house a few times in recent weeks, but he was always out. According to the N.Y. Amsterdam News (December 23, 1939), the Klan raided the Negro area and “have beaten up men, stripped and humiliated women and destroyed some property.”

This conflict has been going on for months. How does it affect the Negro? Enter your Southern scientist: “Here is a situation where the Negro’s uncontrollable lust for white women shows itself.” William Anderson, 19 years old, president of the local NAACP Youth Council and very active in the registration campaign, was “framed” some time ago for disorderly conduct and breach of the peace charges by the “authorities,” “who insisted he had tried to date a white girl in town.” There you have the kernel of lynching in the South. The “authorities” bring a case. The mob is less subtle. It tears the victim to pieces.

It is a principle of propaganda today to smear your enemy with the crimes of which you yourself are guilty. Hitler is a past master at the art, Stalin its greatest exponent, living or dead. The South acts on the same principle. The Southern gentlemen pester the Negro women with their attentions. They accuse the Negro of this, their own besetting sin.

Who Are the Savages?

Who are the “savages” in this lynching business? In his recent book, The Black Man in White America, John G. Van Deusen, Professor of American History and Government in Hobart College, details some of the practices of the lynch mobs.

In Mississippi a Negro woman had five splinters run into her body and was then slowly burned alive by white men – because the mob had failed to capture her husband. A Texas mob burned a Negro in a courthouse vault. A Georgian mob beat an insane man to death in a hospital. A Tennessee mob tied a fifteen-year-old boy to a train. Mobs in Tennessee and Georgia disemboweled pregnant women. In Louisiana they sewed a man in a sack, weighted it with stone, and threw him into a lake. In Mississippi they buried a man up to his neck, placed a steel cage over his head, and loosed a bull dog into the cage. A Mississippi mob bored corkscrews into the flesh of Luther Holbert and his wife, in arms, legs, and body, and then pulled them out, the spirals pulling with them big pieces of raw quivering flesh every time. Henry Lowry was burned to death over a slow fire in 1921. “Inch by inch the Negro was fairly cooked to death.” Nine months later men, women and children in Hubbard, Texas, roasted a Negro to death and, to increase his pain, jabbed sticks into his mouth, nose and ears. In 1937 a mob at Duck Hill, Mississippi, tortured two Negroes with a blow torch before shooting them. “Occasionally fingers, toes and ears have been cut off the living wretch and distributed for souvenirs. Photographs are quickly sold out.”

And the “authorities”?

Huey Long did not think it worth while to bother himself about an investigation. It wouldn’t “do the dead nigga no good.” When a Negro association sent a telegram to Governor Bilbo protesting against a lynching, Bilbo replied, “Go to hell.” Cole Blease, Governor of South Carolina, said to a leader of a mob, “I will turn you loose when charged with lynching a Negro who is accused of assault on a white woman.” On another occasion, when campaigning for election to the Senate, Blease found himself at Union, S.C., where not long before a lynching had taken place. He marked the occasion feelingly: “Whenever the Constitution comes between men and the virtue of the white women of South Carolina, I say to hell with the Constitution.”

“Only A Stage”

These gentlemen make “moderate” speeches about states’ rights in Congress. But that is not the language and the arguments they use to their own constituents. Let the last word be with Franklin Roosevelt, President of the United States, the great crusader for human rights against Hitler and other enemies of “democracy.” What has he to say about lynching? Zero. Exactly that. Not a word of rebuke to the filibusterers who year after year have killed the bill. And why? Because Roosevelt knows that lynching is no accidental phenomenon. It is rooted not only in the history but in the whole economic and social system of the South. These Southern politicians are not defending white “womanhood.” They are defending Southern property, power and privilege.

And Franklin Roosevelt is defending Southern property, power and privilege too. So that if Southern property, power and privilege need to keep this two-edged sword between black and white poor in the South, Franklin D. keeps his mouth shut. If he and his New Dealers could put an end to lynching without disrupting the social and economic bases of capitalism, they would. But first things come first. They leave lynching Where it is as a means of preserving the system. We, however, will not leave lynching where it is. We support the attack on it in Congress. But that is only a stage in the fight. It has to be torn up by the roots, and the roots are in the capitalist system.
C.L.R. James (aka J.R. Johnson) on The Negro Question--27 January 1940
From Socialist Appeal, Vol. IV No. 4, 27 January 1940, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The Anti-Lynch Bill will now go before the Senate. The S.W.P. must tirelessly work, by itself and with all other organizations, in order to bring all possible pressure upon the Senate to pass it. The working class movement must make this cause its own. It is the working class that will check and finally put an end to lynching. Only an idiot can fail to see that if the capitalist class wanted to put an end to it, it would have taken adequate steps long ago.

The Southern landowners and their satellites try to make out that lynching is the only safeguard for the “purity” of their women from Negro assault. Lie No. 1. Of four thousand cases of lynching during the last fifty years, in only one-fifth were the Negroes even charged with any sort of assault on white women. And how flimsy most of their charges were, the Scottsboro case proves.

But these very advocates of lynching, for that is what they are who oppose the anti-lynching bill, are the same odious hypocrites who will tell you how the Southern slave-owners went off to war and left their wives and children in the safekeeping of faithful slaves. So that, according to these theoreticians, the Negro’s appetite for white women began with Lincoln’s proclamation of the abolition of slavery. This is high science. But slavery has been abolished in other parts of the world. Where in any part of America, North and South and the West Indian islands, has any sort of lynch law been found necessary to protect white womanhood? Nowhere.

In the West Indies, where slavery has been abolished for one hundred years, there is not, as far as we know, one single case, not one, of assault upon a white woman by a Negro. Sir Harry Johnston, the great traveler, has put on record what is common knowledge, that the women of the comparatively small white population in the West Indies walk anywhere at any time among the Negro people with the utmost safety. And this Englishman states that a white woman can walk in the remote parts of the West Indies with far more safety than she can on some of the downs and the quieter country places of Great Britain.

Do Glands Change in the South?

And the Negro in the North and West and East of America? What transformation in his glands takes place that allows him to meet any number of women in the parks and lonely places on the outskirts of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles and not give vent to the uncontrollable lusts which are supposed to dominate him in the South?

No, let us once and for all chase from civilized society this monstrous myth, and wherever we speak, not only meet the question if it is raised, but bring it out into the open and show it up for the lying fraud that it is. No man knew more about Africa than Sir Harry Johnston. This was his conclusion on Negroes and white women:

“There is, I am convinced, a deliberate tendency in the Southern States to exaggerate the desire of the Negro for a sexual union with white women ... A few exceptional Negroes in West and South Africa, and in America, are attracted towards a white consort, but almost invariably for honest and pure-minded reasons, because of some intellectual affinity or sympathy. The mass of the race, if left free to choose, would prefer to mate with women of its own type. When cases have occurred in the history of South Africa, South-West, East and Central Africa, of some great Negro uprising, and the wives and daughters of officials, missionaries and settlers have been temporarily at the mercy of a Negro army, or in the power of a Negro chief, how extremely rare are the proved cases of any sexual abuse arising from this circumstance! How infinitely rarer than the prostitution of Negro women following on some great conquest of the whites or of their black or yellow allies! I know that the contrary has been freely alleged and falsely stated in histories of African events; but when the facts have been really investigated, it is little else than astonishing that the Negro has either had too great a racial sense of decency, or too little liking for the white women (I believe it to be the former rather than the latter) to outrage the unhappy white women and girls temporarily in his power ...”

Lynching Not a Sex Question

Among very highly developed urban people, particularly writers, artists, revolutionaries, intellectuals, stage-people, one finds a tendency towards interracial sexual relationships, but it is precisely among the large masses of workers or farmers that such tendencies are absent. When rapes do occur, they are the result of artificially stimulated mass hysteria working on the embittered imagination of a few subnormal, individuals. When they do occur – because over and over again, white women in the South, when their illicit relations with Negroes are discovered, either through fear or external pressure, raise the cry of Rape.

Lynching is not a sexual question, but a social and political question. Marxists have not only to know that themselves. They must propagate it with as much assiduousness and energy as the Southerners propagate their lies about the Negro’s desire for white women.
C.L.R. James (aka J.R. Johnson) on The Negro Question--20 January 1940
From Socialist Appeal, Vol. IV No. 3, 20 January 1940, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Two men went up into the temple to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a publican. This famous tale of the holy scripture was reenacted once more in 1932. You remember what happened in the Gospels. The Pharisee was the man who boasted of what he had done. He had paid his dues, he fasted so many days a week. He thanked God that he was a righteous man and not a scoundrel like the damned publican. But the publican didn’t pretend, he didn’t say he had done this and that and the other. He said he was a sinner. That’s all. He begged for mercy, it is true, but that isn’t important for us.

Twentieth-Century Pharisees

Look at the New Dealers. These Pharisees have for years been telling the whole world and Negroes what fine fellows they are. The Negroes should love them. They are the men for “true” democracy; they want to build a new world of righteousness and peace, in which the lion will lie down with the lamb, in which the Southern plantation-owner will give a square deal to the sharecropper. They say, “Discriminate against the Negro? Not we. Look how many Negroes there are in the WPA white-collar jobs and working in relief bureaus, etc. We thank God,” say the New Dealers, “that we are not like other men, even as these Republicans.”

Now comes a fine exposure of these righteous rascals. A few days ago Miles Paige, a Negro Magistrate in Harlem, was named by Mayor LaGuardia for a seat on the Special Sessions bench at $12,000 a year. The Negro press as usual hails this as proof of the “great progress” of Negroes. It is proof of nothing of the kind. No Negro who knows the history of his race needs any proof of its capacity to fill any office in this country. Furthermore, Paige’s appointment does not raise the income of one Negro sharecropper or one Negro factory worker or one Negro unemployed. And these are the people with whom we are chiefly concerned. Appointments like this one of Paige cannot lift the great mass of oppressed Negroes. When the great masses of Negroes move, they will create opportunities for ten thousand Paiges. That is not to say that such appointments are not to be supported not only by Negroes but by the whole labor movement. The Negroes have a right to posts everywhere. The Socialist Workers Party, for instance, condemns those who join the bourgeois army. But as for the right of Negroes to join the army if they want to, and on equal terms with the whites – that we support.

Where’s the Catch?

But now comes a mystery. Paige was to be seated on Tuesday, January 2nd, but the ceremony was postponed indefinitely. The Amsterdam News of January 13 gives us some indication why.

LaGuardia is flirting with the New Dealers, with an eye to the presidential elections. He is typical of them, with his large words and small concessions. But since the Harlem riots of 1935, La Guardia has a wholesome respect for Harlem Negroes. And since Lehman defeated Dewey only by the aid of the Negroes’ vote, all these progressive fakers are at their wits’ end to keep the Negro vote. So LaGuardia runs around in Harlem, he has lunch with Bill Robinson sitting near him, he builds a housing project or two (where fifty are needed), and he appoints Negroes to posts they have not held before. First Justice Bolin. And now Paige.

But behold! Roosevelt in Washington lives only by grace of those Southern landlords, without whom the Democratic Party is nothing. These fellows are not going to stand for any vice-president or cabinet minister who is a “nigger-lover.” So Washington warns LaGuardia. He is leaning too heavily towards the Negro race. You cannot discriminate in favor of Negroes, you know. One judge every twenty years or so is enough. If you go on like that you discredit yourself, and your future with us of the Democratic Party is gloomy. Hence, says the Amsterdam News, Paige’s appointment still awaits confirmation.

Tweedledum and ...

So here we are, my friends, the “little flower” of “democracy” and the New Deal, herald angels of equality between man and man, conspiring to save their immortal souls and to placate the viciousness of Southern reactionaries at the expense of one Negro being made a judge – one Negro, be it noted.

Here and there a Negro may squeeze into an appointment. But salvation for the race from any of these Republicans or Democrats who have systematically deceived the Negro people for seventy-five years? No. The Republicans make no promises. The New Dealers make them but do not mean it. And that is the only difference between them.
Sweezy on the Rise of Fascism
Feb 20, 2019
by Fabian Van Onzen

In recent times, fascist movements have emerged around the world. They have mobilized thousands of people around racist, reactionary ideas, and in some cases have directly won political power. The most recent fascist victory was in Brazil, where Jair Bolsonaro won the presidential election. Besides Brazil, fascist politics have taken hold in the United States, Britain, Hungary, Poland, and other parts of Europe. To make sense of contemporary fascism, new literature on the subject has proliferated, including John Bellamy Foster’s Trump in the White House, Michael Joseph Roberto’s The Coming of the American Behemoth, and Enzo Traverso’s New Faces of Fascism.(1) Old books on fascism, such as Nicos Poulantzas’ Fascism and Dictatorship, are also being republished and studied. Although all these works should be read, Paul Sweezy’s theory of fascism in The Theory of Capitalist Development remains the best place to begin a study of fascism. In clear and accessible language, Sweezy’s analysis explains what fascism is, how it comes to power, and its class dynamics.

Sweezy wrote the Theory of Capitalist Development in 1943, when fascism was in power in Germany and Italy. The book was designed to explain the basic principles of Marxism in accessible language, while retaining its theoretical complexity. Sweezy was in the United States when he wrote it and its audience was primarily those who had participated in popular front organizations against fascism. This was a mass movement led by communists to defend democratic institutions and prevent fascism from coming to power. Sweezy’s account shares some of the same principles put forward by Georgi Dimitrov and R. Palme Dutt, two major Marxist theorists on fascism. At the same time, Sweezy developed his own unique theory of fascism, which connects the emergence of fascism to the development of monopoly capitalism and imperialism. To demonstrate how Sweezy builds on existing theories of fascism while further elaborating them, I will begin by briefly discussing the main Marxist theories of fascism that existed at the time.

Georgi Dimitrov on Fascism

One of the primary theorists of fascism in the thirties was Georgi Dimitrov, a Bulgarian communist who served as secretary of the World Committee Against War and Fascism. While he was in Berlin in 1933, he was arrested by the Nazis, who falsely claimed he had helped set the Reichstag on fire. Dimitrov had assigned counsel present at the trial but insisted that he would be his own counsel, which German procedure permitted at that time. He was acquitted of the false charges the fascists brought against him. At the Seventh World Congress of the Communist International, Dimitrov gave a speech about the rise of fascism and how the working class can fight it. This speech is important because it contains not just the Comintern’s main theoretical positions on fascism, but also important self-criticism on its previous positions. In this speech, Dimitrov defines fascism as “as the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital.”(2) Fascism is identified by Dimitrov as having its ideological origins in the middle class (that is, the petty bourgeoisie), but only becomes dominant by receiving political support from the capitalist class.

According to Dimitrov, a defining feature of fascism is its large mass base, which actively carries out the reactionary policies of a fascist government and consolidates its power. This mass base is composed primarily of the middle class/petty bourgeoisie, which includes small shop owners, peasants, small-time merchants, and some professionals. During an economic crisis, the middle class is most devastated, often going bankrupt and joining the ranks of the working class. According to Dimitrov, the middle class are the ideological representatives of fascism in its early stage, blaming the economic crisis on national minorities, trade unionists, and communists. Lacking the class solidarity of the working class, the middle class develops fierce nationalism and racist views, demanding a strong state to resolve the contradictions of capitalism.

Fascism only becomes a real danger in society when the capitalist class actively supports it and provides it with financial assistance. Because fascism generally creates political instability, the capitalist class will only resort to it during an economic and political crisis. Dimitrov identifies three major reasons why the capitalist class would support fascism and bring it to power. First, there must be a strong working-class movement, which significantly challenges the rule of capital over labor. In the thirties, the Communist Party of Germany was a major political force, winning millions of votes and having tremendous influence in German trade unions. To counteract the influence of communists, the capitalist class will support fascists and help make fascism a hegemonic political trend. Second, Dimitrov points out that there must be a serious economic crisis, which makes the continued existence of capitalism itself unlikely. Although fascism has never eliminated the contradictions of capitalism, the bourgeoisie perceives a strong fascist state as a temporary solution to an economic crisis. Third, Dimitrov demonstrates that fascism will generally only receive support from the bourgeoisie when there is a political crisis. Such a crisis involves the inability of the capitalist class to come to any agreement, making democracy itself insufficient for the bourgeoisie to rule.

For Dimitrov, fascism does not arise overnight with the election of a fascist politician. Rather, fascism comes to power in stages, beginning with attacks on the democratic rights of working people, the imprisonment of communists and trade unionists, hostility to national minorities and immigrants, and the gradual erosion of democratic institutions. It relies on its mass supporters, mostly from the middle class but also including workers and intellectuals, to carry out these policies. Once fascism has consolidated power, it begins to build up the fascist state and engages in expansionary imperialist wars. The terrorist dictatorship of finance capital is only fully established when all opposition has been outlawed and a fascist state machinery has been completely developed.(3)

Dimitrov points out that although a fascist like Hitler or Mussolini might get elected, their success is not inevitable. In his speech, he calls upon trade unions, communists, and social democrats to work together to fight every attack on the popular masses. He points out that when fascism receives the support of the bourgeoisie, the progressive forces must defend the basic institutions of bourgeois democracy to prevent fascism from destroying them. This was the theory of the Popular Front, a government of progressive forces that build a mass anti-fascist movement.

Sweezy on Fascism

Dimitrov’s ideas about fascism were held by most communists during Sweezy’s time. The main weakness of Dimitrov’s theory is that most of his writings are in what Louis Althusser calls a “practical state,” but lack theoretical elaboration. This is not Dimitrov’s fault, but is the result of pressure to produce theory for the practical struggle against fascism. In his Theory of Capitalist Development, Sweezy builds on Dimitrov’s theories, but gives them a more theoretically precise form. He makes an important contribution to the theory of fascism and incorporates it into the larger horizon of Marxian economics.

Sweezy adds a layer of historical analysis to the Comintern’s theory of fascism. He does this by defining it as the product of imperialism, which can only develop in the era of monopoly capitalism. Following in Vladimir Lenin’s footsteps, Sweezy views militarism and wars of redistribution as an integral part of imperialism. In the era of monopoly capitalism, the capitalist class must find a profitable outlet for their surplus capital. This capital generally does not yield a high rate of profit in the imperialist metropolises, as the workers have a higher level of trade union organization and higher wages. The solution to this problem is to export capital to the colonies, where the cost of land and labor is cheap and the rate of profit is high. This generally results in wars of redivision, in which imperialists struggle to conquer as many colonies as possible in order to secure an outlet for investment. In their later Monopoly Capital, Sweezy and Paul Baran research and discuss the specific dynamics of imperialism, coming to the conclusion that it cannot resolve the contradictions of capitalism.

Sweezy’s analysis of fascism articulates the emergence of fascism within the context of imperialism and war. After an imperialist war, some countries are economically, politically, and morally devastated. There are extreme food shortages, housing crises, high levels of unemployment, divisions in the military, and serious political crises of the bourgeoisies. Furthermore, the defeated countries lose a significant amount of their colonial holdings, and are thereby weakened internationally. In Russia, there was a strong revolutionary movement, and a socialist revolution that addressed these contradictions. When these objective conditions do not result in a socialist revolution, Sweezy argues that a fascist movement will emerge to address the contradictions of capitalism. Instead of a new socialist state, some post-war countries in Europe developed a transitional state form that appeared ultra-democratic, with high levels of worker participation. Sweezy points out that these transitional states create a temporary class equilibrium, in which neither the working class nor the bourgeoisie play a dominant role. Although there is a strong workers’ movement that challenges the bourgeoisie, the working class does not hold state power. The trade unions and workers’ parties are able to advance significant progressive legislation, such as expanded welfare, food subsidies, and some forms of social housing. The same officials, however, continue to occupy the major departments of the capitalist state as before and there is no qualitative change in its functioning.

Such a transitional state existed in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom after the First World War. During this time, many social democrats and communists thought that such a transitional state was a necessary stage preceding the seizure of power by the working class. Sweezy argues that this was a mistake, as these transitional states actually contained a heightened level of class struggle that was hidden underneath the surface. The apparent class equilibrium was just the form taken by class contradictions and disequilibrium operative in the postwar conjuncture. Sweezy points out that the gains won by “the greatly strengthened trade unions and the enactment of social legislation under working-class pressure put burdens on capitalist production which it is ill prepared and even less willing to bear.”(4) In the immediate postwar situation, there was temporary employment insofar as it involved massive investments in the production of the means of production. Workers everywhere were employed to rebuild the factories, machinery, and housing that were destroyed during the war, creating an outlet to absorb the economic surplus. However, Sweezy observes that once the reconstruction was achieved, the absorption of the surplus through the sale of consumption goods became a necessity. There was increased inflation and neither the middle class nor the proletariat could afford high levels of consumption.

The countries that came out of the imperialist war with more colonies, such as France and the United Kingdom, could simply send capital abroad and find outlets for productive investment. However, in countries that lost the war, such as Germany, there was a weakened military, no colonies for capital export, and no immediate solution in the domestic market. To resolve this problem, the capitalist state tried to fund consumption through taxing the middle class—the small shop owners and businesses, independent farmers, and merchants. As postwar impoverishment prevented the middle class from saving their income, they felt attacked by these measures. Sweezy demonstrates that the middle class in the defeated countries felt alienated from the state: they were neither represented by the trade unions, nor were the bourgeois parties able to address their grievances. Furthermore, the inability to absorb the economic surplus resulted in inflation and high levels of unemployment a few years after the war. Whereas the working class could use their trade unions to make demands on the state, the middle class lacked class representation. Hence, Sweezy observes that “it is precisely these groups which are most disastrously affected during the period of class-equilibrium.”(5)

In a similar way to Dimitrov, Dutt, and Togliatti, Sweezy argues that fascist ideology arises in the middle classes that have been devastated by an unsuccessful imperialist war. Ideologically, they lack the class solidarity of the working class and tend to identify with notions of racial superiority and a strong nation. They are extremely hostile to finance capital, the organized working class, and national minorities, which they blame for their economic devastation. The middle class imagines that the contradictions of capitalism can be resolved by a strong nationalist state. They use violence fueled by racism and nationalism to attack communists, social democrats, and trade-union leaders. Although fascism ideologically arises in the middle class, Sweezy points out that they are able to win over unorganized workers, many of whom are unemployed, do not have contact with the trade unions and lack political education. The fascists use anticapitalist language combined with racism and nationalism to explain why the unorganized and unemployed workers are impoverished. They also win over young people, who have few opportunities in the crisis-ridden postwar situation, as well as criminal elements who later form the paramilitary wing of fascist organizations. Sweezy views fascism as a mass movement led by the middle class that receives support from some workers, students, and sectors of the lumpen proletariat.

Sweezy and Dimitrov share the view that fascism becomes a serious danger when the capitalist class embraces it politically. What makes Sweezy unique is that he relates the capitalist response to fascism to the transitional period of apparent class equilibrium. He points out that in the defeated countries, the capitalist class is unable to fully respond to the demands of the workers, nor is it able to start a new imperialist war. At the same time, workers constantly make democratic demands and the capitalists are themselves encircled by hostile imperialist countries. The bourgeoisie is reserved and reluctant to support fascism, mainly because of its attacks on finance capital. However, seeing that fascism is extremely hostile to communists and trade unions, the bourgeoisie provides it with financial subsidies, supporting fascist politicians in the elections and encouraging the growth of the fascist movement. Sweezy says that once the fascists are in power, the bourgeoisie “sets out with ruthless energy to destroy the class equilibrium which underlies the indecision and paralysis of the people’s republic.”(6) It relies on its mass base to carry out its policies, such as murdering communists, arresting trade union leaders, and criminalizing workers’ organizations. According to Sweezy, once a fascist state is thoroughly established and its mass base consolidated, the imperialists use their strengthened position to wage new imperialist wars of redivision. Although a fascist state might restore the class power of the bourgeoisie, Sweezy argues that it cannot resolve the contradictions of capitalism. Capitalism can only be abolished through a socialist revolution, such as the ones that happened in Russia, Cuba, and China.

Sweezy’s Theory of Fascism Today

Both Sweezy and Dimitrov agree that fascism arises in the middle class and becomes a threat when the bourgeoisie embraces it, but Sweezy’s unique contribution is to demonstrate fascism’s relationship to the postwar transitional period of class equilibrium. This is a precise historical moment, characterized by complex class dynamics and structural contradictions specific to monopoly capital. A major question that arises is: Does Sweezy’s analysis of fascism apply only to fascism in Germany, Italy, and Spain, or can it be used to make sense of fascism today? I will answer in the affirmative and briefly turn to Samir Amin to demonstrate how.

In his The Law of Worldwide Value, Amin points out that the principal contradiction in today’s capitalism is “the one that counterposes the peoples of the periphery (the proletariat and the exploited peasantry) to imperialist capital.”(7) The way this contradiction operates is through the emergence of fascist movements that are assisted by U.S. imperialism in the developing world, particularly in Latin America. In recent months we have seen the election of Bolsonaro in Brazil, perhaps the most openly fascist politician to take power in contemporary times. In other parts of Latin America, such as Chile, Venezuela, and Argentina, there has been a rise of fascist movements and paramilitary organizations, which have received assistance from the United States. In these countries, a similar situation of apparent “class equilibrium” existed over an extended period of time, articulating similar class dynamics as those described by Sweezy. Here, I would like to use Brazil to briefly demonstrate how these dynamics structure political situations around the world.

In Brazil, the Workers’ Party (PT) held power for over thirteen years and made considerable improvements in the lives of working people. As Alfredo Saad-Filho shows in Brazil: Neoliberalism Versus Democracy, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s (Lula) ascension to power was largely due to the economic devastation caused by twenty years of neoliberalism following the end of military rule.(8) While he was president, Lula created many new institutions in Brazilian society that reduced poverty, improved literacy, increased employment, and strengthened the position of the trade unions. Although not entirely anti-imperialist, Lula helped reduce imperialist domination of the Brazilian economy and helped build many BRICS institutions. Saad-Filho discusses the class dynamics operative in Brazil during PT rule, and they are very similar to those described by Sweezy. First, the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) cogoverned Brazilian society and occupied many important functions in the state. The trade unions, which make up the bulk of PT support, exercised considerable power in Brazilian society. At the same time, some large Brazilian companies, such as Petrobras and Odebrecht, received support from the state, which created some self-sufficiency for the Brazilian domestic bourgeoisie. In order to retain its support from the Brazilian domestic bourgeoisie, neither Lula nor his successor Dilma Rousseff challenged the neoliberal institutions created by previous administrations. In this situation, the Brazilian middle class often was excluded from the state, government ministries, and did not always benefit from Lula’s policies.

Saad-Filho points out that the PT did not abolish the contradictions of capitalism from Brazilian society, which were rather intensified while Lula was in power. In Brazil, only the domestic bourgeoisie, represented by Brazilian companies such as Petrobras, were united with the PT. The other sector of the capitalist class, the comprador bourgeoisie, aligned itself with imperialism and constantly conspired against Lula and the PT. The comprador bourgeoisie used its control over the media to create scandals about corruption, which began in 2005 and resulted in the impeachment of Rousseff in 2015–16. The comprador bourgeoisie sought alignment with the middle class and blamed the PT, trade unions, and other progressive forces for all the problems of Brazilian society.(9) It was this unstable class equilibrium that spurred the fascist movement in Brazil and helped Bolsonaro get elected. In his first month in power, Bolsonaro has set out to destroy this class equilibrium by destroying institutions created by the PT, attacking indigenous people, and reestablishing the class domination of the comprador bourgeoisie. Just as with any fascist movement, he is relying on his mass base to use violence and terror to enforce his policies. Although Bolsonaro is not waging a direct war of redivision, it is engaging in expansionary practices, such as eliminating environmental protection and cutting down trees in the Amazon. He has also aligned himself with the United States in supporting a coup in Venezuela against the democratically elected president, Nicolás Maduro.


Although the historical context today is very different from when Sweezy wrote the Theory of Capitalist Development, the core of his theory of fascism is still relevant. His theory of class equilibrium was formulated in the aftermath of an imperialist war, but this does not mean such a structure only exists in a postwar situation. In the case of Brazil, it existed during the period when Lula was president and it was the result of economic devastation created by imperialist and neoliberal policies. Such an unstable class equilibrium may create improved material conditions, but unless it is fully resolved by the working class, a very dangerous political situation follows. In Brazil, the PT did not succeed in going beyond social democracy and left the basic institutions of neoliberalism intact. As a result, the comprador bourgeoisie aligned with imperialism was able to take advantage of the contradictions and successfully pushed a fascist to power. If one combines Sweezy’s analysis of fascism with his later work in Monopoly Capital, there is great theoretical potential to deepen our knowledge of fascist movements today.(10) It is important to study Sweezy’s work in today’s turbulent times—times in which fascists have become dominant again, both in the imperialist metropolises and the peripheral nations.

↩ John Bellamy Foster, Trump in the White House (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2017); Michael Joseph Roberto, The Coming of the American Behemoth (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2018); and Enzo Traverso, New Faces of Fascism (London/New York: Verso, 2019).
↩ Georgi Dimitrov, Georgi. The Fascist Offensive and the Tasks of the Communist International in the Struggle of the Working Class Against Fascism, available at
↩ For discussion on the stages of fascism in the United States, see John Bellamy Foster, “Neofascism in the White House,” Monthly Review 68, no. 11 (April 2017): 1–30.
↩ Paul M. Sweezy, The Theory of Capitalist Development (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1942), 331.
↩ Sweezy, The Theory of Capitalist Development, 333.
↩ Sweezy, The Theory of Capitalist Development, 334–35.
↩ Samir Amin, Modern Imperialism, Monopoly Finance Capital, and Marx’s Law of Value (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2018), 92.
↩ Alfredo Saad-Filho, Brazil: Neoliberalism Versus Democracy (London: Pluto, 2017).
↩ See Anthony Pahnke, “The Brazilian Crisis,” Monthly Review 68, no. 9 (February 2017): 43–54.
↩ Paul A. Baran and Paul M. Sweezy, Monopoly Capital (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1966).
The State and Accumulation Under Contemporary Capitalism
Feb 20, 2019
by Paramjit Singh and Balwinder Singh Tiwana

Since the 1970s, the capitalist world system has undergone fundamental transformations in both its structure and institutional framework. This paper is an attempt to study the interrelation between changes in the process of capitalist accumulation and the political structure that supports it. Historically, capitalism develops institutions and ideologies that justify surplus extraction and capital accumulation. In the last decades of the twentieth century, the financialization of capitalism initiated a new era of accumulation which is known in academic contexts as finance-capital-driven neoliberalism.(2) This new ideology results from the dominant form of international capital having shifted its center of gravity from industrial capital to finance capital. A new institutional framework accompanies that change. The state, which once protected the interests of industrial capital, is now irretrievably diminished. In its place a new kind of state has emerged based on the neoliberal ideology now dominating the world’s major economies. That ideology’s common agenda consists in the deregulating national economies, liberalizing trade practices, creating a single global market, and facilitating the free movement of commodities and capital beyond national boundaries.

Neoliberal ideology adduces that human well-being can be advanced by liberating individuals’ entrepreneurial freedom and skill within a specific economic structure and institutional framework. Two famous intellectuals, Friedrich Hayek and Milton Freidman (along with their followers) formulated the neoliberal credo, which was later put in practice by Ronald Reagan in the United States and Margaret Thatcher in England.(3) Rhetoric aside, neoliberalism’s real raison d’etre is to accelerate accumulation in the face of the increased power of the working class and the rise of the socialist bloc during 1950s. Thomas Piketty refers to the era of Thatcher and Reagan as a conservative revolution. His data shows that, since the 1970s, state-initiated neoliberal policies have accelerated the process of capital accumulation.(4)

Neoliberalism is international finance capital’s current agenda. It was initially implemented in the developed countries using state power together with an institutional network that subsequently extended to the developing economies of Asia and Africa. International institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Bank (IBRD), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) played an important role in getting developing countries to adopt the neoliberal agenda. Recent experience shows that neoliberal ideology not only dominates Third World nations’ economic and political spheres; it also molds their cultural and social affairs according to the needs of international finance capital. Today’s neoliberal “club” is comprised of global power elites; managers and executives of big corporations; corporate lobbies; celebrities and top entertainers; a subset of intellectuals; and, importantly, state bureaucrats and politicians. A constant in neoliberalism is that the state openly works as an agent of international finance capital, justifying both the exploitation of the masses and of natural resources and public goods in the name of efficiency, freedom, democracy, and economic growth. The explanation offered is that socio-economic inequality and intense exploitation of both the human being and nature are necessary for economic growth. The collusion of state officials and capitalists in our time, implies that an analysis of contemporary capitalism is incomplete without simultaneously examining the state’s role in shaping it.

The following is an attempt to scrutinize the evolution of the state, the most important institution of capitalism, which emerged together with the social classes and always organizes economic and social affairs according to the needs of the dominant class. The first part of the paper summarizes Marx’s thought on the state, at the center of which is his critique of the state’s apparent universality to reveal its real class character. The second part looks at how the state functions in the capitalist mode of production, emphasizing its class character and its role in production, exchange, distribution and accumulation. The last part analyzes how the capitalist state’s role changes over time to stabilize and accelerate capital accumulation.

Marx intended to write a special treatise on the state but was never able to even initiate the work. Nevertheless, Marx’s views on the state are found scattered throughout his oeuvre. An early article, “On the Theft of Wood (1842),” constitutes his first attempt to present the class character of state power, showing how it represents particular interests. Nevertheless, in the Marxian tradition “The Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of State (1843)” is generally taken to be his first important reflection on the state. Marx’s critique of Hegel in that text aims specifically at his philosophical idealism and proceeds on two levels. First, Marx questions the philosophical form of Hegel’s work. Second, he makes a detailed textual analysis of Hegel’s argument in order to highlight the problematic relation of Hegel’s philosophy to real concrete phenomena. Marx shows how Hegel inverts the real situation by deriving empirical institutions–such as the state, civil society, and the family–from the absolute idea.

Marx’s starting point is Hegel’s claim that “concrete freedom” consists in the identity of the system of particular interest (the family and civil society) with the system of general interest (the state). Hegel presents the state as an external necessity, standing above and opposed to the family and civil society. The state as an external necessity means that, in the event of a conflict, the laws and interests of the family and civil society must yield to those of the state. Marx points out how, in Hegel’s philosophy, the family and civil society are subordinated to the state. In Hegel’s philosophy, the “idea” becomes the subject, and real subjects–such as civil society, the family, existing circumstances–are all transformed into the idea’s unreal, objective “moments.”(5) Marx writes that the crux of the state-society relationship is that “Hegel everywhere makes the idea into the subject, while the genuine, real subject is turned into the predicate.” The real development and movement of society, however, “proceeds at all times on the side of the predicate,” i.e. civil society and the family.(6)

Marx’s critical examination of Hegel’s philosophy of state leads him to conclude that the state is a product of society’s development and movement and as a result cannot represent the universal interest. The state always acts in accordance with the interest of a particular class. Although Hegel alleges that the state is universal, it actually functions as the protector and promoter of private property. Its bureaucrats exploit and oppress civil society for the interest of a particular group, with the state itself tending to become the bureaucracy’s private property in its struggle for self-advancement. In summary, Marx not only rejected the idea of a universal state able to rise above the conflicts of civil society, he also showed it to be a class instrument protecting the dominant class’s interests. In Bob Jessop’s words, “the earliest theoretical work of Marx treats the state as an irrational abstract system of political domination that denies the social nature of man and alienates him from genuine involvement in public life.”(7)

Hegel deserves credit for differentiating state and civil society, but it was Marx who correctly established the relationship between the two spheres by rejecting the universality of the state and explaining it as a product of civil society’s conflicts. V. I. Lenin follows Marx in arguing that the state is a product of irreconcilable class conflicts. For him, the state arises where, when and insofar as class antagonisms cannot be objectively reconciled. Conversely, the existence of the state proves that class antagonisms have become irreconcilable. The state only exists when there are class antagonisms and class struggle. In that sense, the state can be said to be an organ for class reconciliation.(8)

After attaining a general understanding of the state-society relationship, Marx turned to the historical evolution of the state and its role in socio-economic development. Marx’s preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859) emphasizes the state’s position in the mode of production. That text’s base-superstructure model presents the state as dependent on the economic base, which is the real foundation of society. Marx argues:

In the social production of their existence men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely the relations of production, appropriate to a given stage of development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations constitutes the economic structure, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure.(9)

Like culture and religion, the state forms part of the superstructure, which is not independent but rather a product of existing production relations: the relations between the different classes involved in the production process. Because these production relations are antagonistic, the state protects the dominant class’s interest as the owners of the means of production. The base-superstructure model teaches us that analyzing the state under a given socio-economic formation is not possible without considering economic and class relations. This means that an understanding of the economic structure and the existing class structure is a precondition for understanding the state’s character and how it changes over time. However, the base-superstructure model does not deny the importance of ideology. In fact, the state’s role as an instrument of class domination requires the universal acceptance of the ruling class’s ideas. For this reason, the state consistently presents the ruling class’s interests as if they were the common interest. Specific class interests are transformed into an illusionary “general interest” precisely so that the dominant class can successfully universalize its ideas.

The result is that the ruling class’s ideas appear to be universal truths, valid for all time and having an autonomous existence. For example, the notions of freedom, justice, equality, rights and duties are all presented as if they had a meaning independent of any particular class interest. The state apparatus imposes the ruling class’s ideology. That apparatus includes the government and the public administration together with the police and the army, the latter intervening as a supplementary repressive force to be applied in the last instance.(10) The whole state apparatus has an undeniable class character in as much as it organizes the cultural, economic, and social spheres to protect the dominant class’s interests and, above all, its property.

In summary, a materialist or scientific understanding of the state shows that:

the state is not the product of an abstract, timeless idea, but rather comes into existence to protect the interest of a particular class.
the state is not a static institution, but continuously evolves, pointing to the need to distinguish between those aspects of its activities which are temporary and transient versus those that are more stable.
an individual state cannot be understood separately from existing economic relations, but must be studied precisely in the context of economic forces and activities.
The needs of the economy and of the dominant class change over time. Together they determine state forms and state institutions. In society’s overall movement, two forces–the economic and the political–move together to effect the progress of human civilization from one socio-economic formation to another. Throughout this process, economic relations constitute the primary force, though they are themselves organized by political and legal institutions in an organic and dialectical unity. According to Marxian theory, the state is a product of class antagonisms. However, that theory also holds that, once established, the state seems to stand above society, continually alienating itself from its basis in class conflict. Appearances notwithstanding, society’s administration is always a means of preserving the economically dominant class’s interests.

Marx’s critique of political economy focuses primarily on the capitalist mode of production. The latter requires accumulation: an individual capitalist aims not only to guarantee his own luxury consumption, but also aims to accumulate more and more capital, as a necessary condition for maintaining his position as a capitalist in society. This process of constant accumulation in turn requires an institutional framework, which is never static. This means that the state, as part of the superstructure and the central capitalist institution, alters its form periodically to facilitate profitability and capital accumulation.

The fundamental difference between pre-capitalist and capitalist social relations is that the economic and political spheres were not yet fully separated in pre-capitalist societies. In these earlier formations, the state openly protected the dominant class’s interests. The owners of the means of production directly controlled the state and justified their exploitation of other classes through the constitution and through law. The state also deployed its repressive apparatus such as the police and the army in direct support of the dominant class’s economic interests. Capitalism changes all of this. The economic and political spheres diverge, gaining an important degree of autonomy, and direct political force is no longer needed to maintain economic relations. Indeed, the relative autonomy of the political sphere from the economic one is what differentiates the capitalist state from pre-capitalist forms.

In capitalism, production for exchange and relations based on exchange value are conditions for sustainable accumulation. The production process depends on relations of exchange between two antagonistic classes: capitalists and workers. The state plays an important role in managing the conflict between these two classes and develops and ideological system to that end based on private property, individuality, equality, freedom, and rights. David Harvey argues that the capitalist state’s field of action includes guaranteeing the rights of private property over the means of production and labor power, enforcing contracts, protecting the mechanisms of accumulation, eliminating the barriers to capital and labor mobility, and stabilizing the money system (via central banking).(11) In this sense, as Marx and Engels point out, the capitalist state “is nothing more than the form of organization which the bourgeois necessarily adopt both for internal and external purpose, for the mutual guarantee of their property and interest.”(12)

The capitalist state also plays a crucial role in distribution. The Marxian theory of distribution has two foci: first, the distribution of the total product between capitalists and workers and, second, the channeling of total surplus value into industrial profit, interest (to finance capital) and rent (to landlords). To manage the relation between capitalists and workers, the state develops and enforces laws in a manner such that class conflict remains in check. For example, it may offer benefits and guarantees to workers that are not in the capitalist class’s immediate economic interest but will maintain its dominance and protect its accumulation in the long run. Similarly, the intellectuals involved in the state apparatus (particularly those concerned with economic policy and research) defend elaborate economic theories justifying capitalist production and distribution as contributing to the common good. As against theories that expose working-class exploitation, they typically favor the Ricardian marginal productivity theory of distribution, in which workers’ wages correspond to their marginal productivity and capitalist “producers” earn only normal profits.

The state’s role varies to the degree that capitalist economies differ in their composition. In labor-scarce economies, operating near full employment equilibrium, the state protects the interest of the capitalist class by capping wages and linking them to productivity. These state-regulated wages check workers’ power and inhibit their capacity to protest. By contrast, in labor-surplus economies, the state and state-sponsored intellectuals work to dismantle labor laws in the name of employment growth and labor market flexibility. In this way, the state not only eases conflictual distribution relations but also justifies its policies as conducive to employment growth.

As indicated above, capitalist distribution relations involve not only the antagonistic relation between labor and capital, but also the repartition of surplus value into the areas of industrial profit, interest, and rent. This latter process is also antagonistic. To the degree that industrialists, landlords, and financial capitalists struggle against each other to secure their respective profits, the homogeneity of the capitalist class breaks down. In these circumstances, the state works to guarantee the long-term interests of the entire capitalist class and arbitrate among the conflicting interests of each class fraction. Importantly, this can only be done by a relatively autonomous state: a state structured so as to transcend the parochial interests of the fractions of the capitalist class.(13)

In the capitalist mode of production, the state’s main objective is to reproduce the economic system, which in turn requires a stable process of capital accumulation. Since the logic of capital is far from harmonious and at times even self-destructive, the state intervenes to prevent the disintegration of the capitalist system, dampening the contradictions produced by the accumulation process. The state’s solutions to problems of continuous and expanded accumulation vary according to the context. This means that there is a third sphere of state activity–beyond arbitrating in production and distribution relations–which is stabilizing capitalist accumulation during downswings in the business cycle. Faced with depressions and recessions, the state responds in various ways, including subsidies to consumption, unemployment allowances, tax concessions, and direct investment to ensure effective demand, all with a view to preserving the dominant class’s project. In this way, the state plays a central role in mitigating the contradictions resulting from class struggle in times of crisis.

Bourgeois democracy is the preferred form that the capitalist state takes on. This is precisely because it excels in managing the contradictions mentioned above. Lenin pointed out that the democratic republic is the best possible political “shell” for capitalism. Once capitalism attains that “shell,” its power becomes so secure as to be impervious to a change in persons, institutions, or parties.(14) A constant of capitalist rule is that, even as the state transforms itself according to the dominant class’s needs, it always projects the illusion of representing the whole society. A number of slogans that circulate in the world today reveal their ideological character in as much as they imply that the state is a neutral, supra-social entity: all who are against the oppressive state are presented as being against society, when in fact they reject only an economically-dominant and politically-oppressive class. By contrast, the task of Marxist scholarship is to reveal the real state-society relation as it unfolds in time. It must explore production relations and the mechanisms of surplus extraction and at the same time carry out a historical analysis of the state’s role in capital accumulation.

So far we have only considered the state in abstract, relating it to the general characteristics of the capitalist mode of production. Clearly, analyzing the state as a superstructural form, based on a given mode of production, is perfectly appropriate for the purpose of theoretical work. However, beyond a theoretical analysis, it is important to trace the state’s role in actual, concrete capitalist societies. As Marx points out, the bourgeois state does not function as an automatic reflection of capitalist social relations. Instead, state institutions are concrete historical products that develop along with capitalist societies.(15)

Capitalism became the dominant mode of surplus extraction during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Along with it came the liberal ideology of the classical economists, such as Adam Smith and his followers, which held sway in the capitalist world up until the twentieth century. Philosophers as varied as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and Smith all coincide in defending the key liberal proposition that the state should be a facilitator for private ends. About Locke’s philosophy, Marx wrote:

Locke championed the new bourgeoisie in every way, taking the side of the industrialists against the working class and against the paupers, the merchants against the old-fashioned usurers, the financial aristocracy against the governments that were in debt, and he even demonstrated in one of his books that the bourgeois way of thinking was the normal one for human beings.(16)

The laissez-faire phase of capitalism coincided with liberal ideology. During this period, the state’s participation in the economic sphere tended to be external: a passive “refereeing” of economic activities that became somewhat more active in relation to foreign trade. Although considered a non-economic institution, the liberal state nevertheless exercised indirect influence through politics, ideology and occasionally through the military and police. All the classical political economists and philosophers, except Marx, believed the capitalist economy to be self-regulating and self-sustaining and hence requiring only minimal state intervention (a belief reflected in Say’s law, the Walrasian theory of general equilibrium, and Smith’s reference to an “invisible hand”).

Throughout the liberal phase of capitalism, classical political theory worked to justify a hands-off approach to the economy and present state intervention as a hindrance to capital accumulation. However, the notion of a self-regulating capitalist system is nothing more than a myth. In reality, capitalism is a highly unstable system, requiring the continuous intervention of a supra-social entity: the state. The historical record shows how, even during the era of classical political economy, colonialism was always central to capitalist accumulation in the metropolitan countries. Since colonialism depends on the state’s military intervention, it follows that capitalism has always needed state intervention, contrary to the image presented by the liberal economists.

Prior to World War I, unregulated banking and free competition, relatively progressive forces, drove world capitalism. However, capital accumulation entered into a new phase during the last quarter of the nineteenth century (from 1870 onward). In his work on imperialism, Lenin pointed to the concentration of production and the emergence of monopolies as the defining features of this new phase. In effect, the concentration of capital in cartels, syndicates, trusts and other forms of association signaled the emergence of a new capitalist phase: a shift from competitive capitalism into monopoly capitalism. New tendencies also emerged in the banking sector, which became increasingly centralized and concentrated. Big banks ousted smaller ones, and big industries became increasingly dependent upon a restricted number of large banks. In this way, industrial capitalism became subordinated to the banking sector.(17) During this period, concentration was also enhanced by the overlap between key players in industry with the board members of the big banks, with both groups including state personnel. Rudolf Hilferding dubbed the new phenomenon, which he saw as the fusion of industrial and banking capital, finance capital.(18) To illustrate the role of finance capital in politics, Lenin recurred to the words of Lysis: “the French Republic is a financial monarchy, it is the complete dominance of the financial oligarchy; the latter dominates over the press and the government.”(19)

This new phase of capitalism had three major actors: big industrial organizations, large-scale financial intermediaries and, last but not least, the state. They worked together to accelerate capital accumulation. For example, the state strengthened the monopolies during this period through its tariff policy. As Bukharin demonstrates, high protective tariffs were the cartels’ economic project, which the state then formulated as policy and carried out.(20) The tariffs aimed to eliminate competition in the home market, so that domestic producers could maintain their profitability and market share. This worked to secure the monopolies’ profits within national boundaries. However, after saturating the domestic market, the monopolies’ only remaining option was to force open the markets of other countries, subordinating them as colonies. During the last decades of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, exporting both commodities and capital to pre-capitalist countries became the main exogenous stimulus to industrial capitalism. As Lenin predicted, the conflicts among rival states in the service of finance capital–each aiming to capture the world’s pre-capitalist markets–led inexorably to imperialist war.

Together with World War I, a series of other crises emerged that shook the foundations of the laissez-faire model of capitalism. In wartime, the state assumed measures and controls that later became standard techniques for maintaining the existing economic system. However, the other major historical event of the time was Russia’s 1917 socialist revolution. As a result of that revolution, the working class emerged as an “independent variable” in the face of the capitalist economy and politics. It began to threaten every level of capitalist organization, and the science of capital accumulation had no choice but to recognize the new relations of force. The working class, once considered outside of the bourgeois economy and state politics, was now acknowledged as the mainspring of capitalist development.

John Maynard Keynes stands out as the most penetrating theorist of capitalist reconstruction at the time, and his ideas informed the new capitalist state that emerged in the face of a revolutionary working class. In effect, the classical liberal separation of politics from economics came to an end at the conclusion of World War I. Say’s law was no longer considered valid, because it failed to recognize the evidently crisis-ridden character of the capitalist system. Keynes’ work during the 1920s was critical of both Say’s law and the emerging political situation in Europe. He insisted that state intervention was needed to mediate class conflict and guarantee economic equilibrium. In these early writings, however, Keynes argued only in political terms: he did not yet have a clear scientific appreciation of the new dynamics of class relations and the role of the working class within it.(21)

After the war came the Great Depression of the 1930s, which caused the U.S. gross domestic product to fall 46 percent in just four years and unemployment to soar from 4 to 25 percent in the same time period. The Great Depression cast further doubt on the sustainability of a capitalism driven by unregulated private industrial and finance capital. In this period, Keynes developed scientific arguments to the effect that capitalism’s cyclical downswings were due to lack of effective demand. The 1929 crisis had resulted from a broadening of supply during the preceding decade that was not accompanied by a corresponding increment in demand.(22) Supply of durable goods had increased due to the reconversion of the war industry, technological innovations, and an extraordinary increase in the productivity of labor. The resulting imbalance manifested itself as a lack of effective demand, which is the precondition for sustainable accumulation in a capitalist economy.

In order to stabilize the cyclical fluctuations of capitalism, Keynes prescribed state intervention and recommended a comprehensive socialization of investment.23 He argued that employment growth and domestic prosperity are preconditions for capitalist stability. By contrast, Keynes demonstrated that economic instability results from the unreliability of private investment spending. This meant that the state must not only control private investment, it should also invest in public works and big projects. Additionally, the state ought to facilitate the accumulation process through active monetary and fiscal policies.

Keynes’ ideas helped shape the new capitalist state. To preserve the capitalist system, the liberal capitalist state now metamorphosed into a monopoly capitalist one. The new state’s capacity for intervention extended throughout the whole society, and its structures responded to the working class’s newly-felt muscle. The influence of the working class can be seen in the way the new state assumed a series of economic and social responsibilities in the major capitalist countries. In this emergent scenario, monopoly and banking capital allied with the state’s upper strata, resulting in more organized and stronger state.(24) The connection that was forged between finance and industrial capital intensified the processes of concentration in both of these forms of capital. The previous century’s competitive capitalism, driven by the exogenous stimulus of colonial trade, now gave way to a mixture of monopoly and free competition facilitated by the state’s initiatives. The new state became more directly involved in the exploitation process through active monetary and fiscal policies that favored major capitalists.

This new state form is popularly known as the “welfare state” in recognition of some of its more superficial features. However, a scientific perspective reveals how state monopoly capitalism and the so called “welfare state” arose out of a need to stabilize the capitalist system. The stories of the origins of this new institutional framework are often misleading. Capitalism’s apologists downplay the influence of trade unions and the institutional development of the socialist countries. It should also be kept in mind that the breakdown of laissez-faire capitalism and the turn to a more interventionist state actually pre-dates the Keynesian revolution. As mentioned above, at the outbreak of World War I, large-scale state-induced demand and control of economic variables such as finance, money, credit, trade, and commerce had already become widespread.

Keynes role must also be carefully located in history. What Keynes did was to highlight the need for state intervention in economic affairs to ensure the stability of the accumulation process. Keynesian philosophy did not aim to limit or tame capitalism. In fact, it was always strongly committed to capitalist stability and corporate profitability, seeking only to make capitalism more robust and efficient through state initiatives. As a theory that denied the stability of the laissez-faire model, Keynesian doctrine had the added attraction in the capitalist countries of employing a non-Marxian lexicon. A posteriori, we can see that the Keynesian era coincided with the rise of big corporations and large-scale capital concentration, together with a relative hegemony of industrial over financial capital. This marked a sharp contrast with the period prior to World War I.(25)

All the main theoretical elements of the Keynesian system played a part in shaping the New Deal. Roosevelt understood that, in the United States, the capitalist class would soon face powerful anti-capitalist forces seeking more fundamental changes to the system. With a view to preempting these changes, he built a class partnership favoring a kind of social democracy. The New Deal demonstrates how, throughout the world, strong working-class movements can impact capitalism’s structure. At the center of Roosevelt’s plan to preserve U.S. capitalism were Keynesian techniques for stimulating effective demand and thus raising the general wage level and boosting employment.

Considered by some the “golden age of capitalism,” the period between 1950 and 1970 was one in which the organized working class accepted capitalist markets and property rights in exchange for political democracy. This social pact enabled workers to achieve social security and higher wages, on the one hand, and, on the other, it bolstered demand, thereby stabilizing the accumulation process and maintaining profits.(26) During the whole period, in which the free market coexisted with certain guaranteed public goods, Keynesian’s state policies pursued two main objectives: first, to generate the demand that would maintain the accumulation process and profitability and, second, to limit financial speculation through state-controlled monetary and fiscal policies. The Keynesian theory of employment and effective demand took for granted that class struggle was a real threat to capitalism and its sustainability. It set out to confront that threat, in ways favorable to capitalist development, through an interventionist state.

The crisis that emerged in the 1970s was characterized by “stagflation”–an unanticipated combination of high inflation along with high unemployment and stagnated real wages. The phenomenon contradicted the basic tenets of Keynesianism, spelling an end to its hegemony. Nevertheless, the crisis turned out to be an opportunity for Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman to implement their long-ignored ideas. Faced with the new scenario, they revived liberal dogmas, presenting state intervention (particularly regulation of finance and of private capital) as impediments to the functioning of market signals and to the market’s allocative efficiency. In the name of entrepreneurial freedom and economic growth, the monetarist school carried out an organized ideological attack against Keynesian doctrine. They criticized Keynes’ theoretical framework, arguing that state regulations actually caused both inflation and unemployment. Specifically, they contended that state spending, backed up by deficit financing and high taxes on corporate capital, generated inflation and unemployment through excess money supply. On the contrary, Friedman argued that the basic role of the government should be to maintain law and order and define property rights, with most economic activities being left to the free play of market forces.(27)

Reversing more than three decades of accepted wisdom, Friedman and other neoliberal thinkers held that there is no need for direct state intervention in the economy. The state’s role should be restricted to maintaining law and order, and, to the degree that intervention is required, it can best be done through adjusting monetary policy. In his influential article, “The Role of Monetary Policy (1968),” Friedman argued that, as against fiscal activism, monetary policy was the key tool for stabilizing the capitalist system. What class interest supported this new ideology that overturned the longstanding hegemony of Keynesian theory and practice? In truth, Friedman and Hayek’s doctrine was the ideology of finance and rentier capitalists. With the rise of monetarism, the pendulum of state power now shifted away from the interests of industrial capital towards those of finance capital.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the right-wing coalition of finance capital, big business and high income groups (along with allied intellectuals) declared state regulations to be major constraints on economic efficiency and individual freedom. By contrast, they presented liberalizing the economy as a cure-all to any form of stagnation and a sure-fire guarantee of growth. In the name of freedom and efficiency, the spokespeople for this coalition prescribed a package of deregulation policies that came to be known as “neoliberalism.” Despite dubious efforts to link free markets to democracy and individual freedom, a scientific understanding of neoliberalism points to it being merely the latest institutional form that capitalism has assumed to facilitate the accumulation process.

In many respects, neoliberalism revived and intensified eighteenth and nineteenth century liberalism. In David Harvey’s words,

Neoliberalism is in the first instance a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedom and skill within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free market and free trade. The role of the state is to create and preserve an institutional framework appropriate to such practices. The state has to guarantee, for example, the quality and integrity of money. The state must set up those military, political and legal structures and functions required to secure private property rights and to guarantee by force, if need be, the proper functioning of markets.(28)

The neoliberal agenda eventually crystalized into a shared set of ideological and political dogmas. It was a universally applicable model emphasizing free markets and the free movement of capital, with a view to maximizing profits and capital growth in stable conditions. Ironically, the state itself, so vilified by these market fundamentalists, played a key role in justifying neoliberal methods of exploitation.

As a result of neoliberal doctrine, state controls on industrial and finance capital virtually disappeared. Radical deregulation led to a spectacular growth of finance capital, changing the character of capital accumulation and shifting the balance in favor of financial activities. In Samir Amin’s words:

The dominant stratum of capital should be characterized as “oligopoly-finance capital,” not in the sense of referring to capitalists operating in the financial sector of the system (banks and others), but in the sense of capitalists having privileged access to the capital necessary for the development of their activities, which may concern various sectors of the economy (industrial production, commercialization, financial services, research and development). That privileged access gives them a particular and powerful authority in the shaping of markets, which they regulate for their profit. It is specifically that oligopolistic group of the bourgeoisie that, in the present phase, dominates the financial market (particularly interest rates) and the global economy (particularly exchange rates).(29)

The financialization of capitalism is an expression of the policies promoted by oligopoly-finance capital. The nearly universal acceptance of these policies is proof that that oligopolistic group has domesticated the state, even in those countries (such as the United States) where democracy is most vociferously exalted. To accelerate the process of capital accumulation in the neoliberal era, the financial sector altered its role in two ways: first, through the quantitative expansion of its activities on a global scale; second, through direct involvement in financial markets and the creation of new financial instruments. Deregulation of the financial sector in the 1980s permitted financial institutions to enter areas where they were formerly prohibited, while mergers, once restricted by antitrust legislation, began to take place with greater frequency.

Evidence of the increasing power of banking capital is not difficult to find. For example in the United States, the six largest bank holding companies (J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley) had assets equal to 17 percent of the U.S. GDP in 1995. By 2010, their share of the GDP had risen to 64 percent. Again, the financial sector went from getting 16 percent of corporate profits in that 1970s to 40 percent at the beginning of the new century.(30) A grand oligopoly has come into existence which includes not only the leading international banks but also a network of international investors managed and controlled by their subsidiaries and affiliates, insurance companies, and a group of major firms associated with the leading banks. It now dominates the whole planet’s economic and political affairs.

Under the reign of oligopoly-finance capital, a powerful ideological cluster takes shape that preaches privatization, market deregulation, and retreat from state intervention. However, despite the small government rhetoric, the neoliberal state continually protects the interest of oligopoly-finance capital and plays an important role by facilitating, subsidizing and building a favorable environment for private capital accumulation. It does all this, of course, without intervening to promote employment and social services (health and education), and without building a safety net for the bottom strata of the society via subsidized food and other basic goods. The state’s macroeconomic policy is confined to monetary adjustments aimed at stabilizing prices. At the same time, its political function involves using the police, military and public administration to guarantee international finance capital’s access to domestic resources. (To secure these assets, state power backs up finance capital, and both aid industrial capital).

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was key in promoting the global retreat from state intervention in production and distribution. No longer viewed as a mere economic indicator, fiscal deficit emerged in the IMF’s discourse as the main economic problem, its elimination being a necessary precondition for economic growth. The IMF pointed the finger especially at state expenditures in the social sector (subsides to poor people and other welfare programs) as the main cause of fiscal deficits, ignoring the role played by declining state revenues from custom duties and taxes on corporations. The search for fiscal equilibrium justified privatizing not only state-owned industries and other assets, but even social services such as education and health. The end result defies logic and common sense: a capitalist state that rules “on the masses’ behalf” without providing any services to them. In reality, the state’s (and the IMF’s) objective is to put the masses’ labor power and the country’s resources at the service of oligopoly-finance capital, with a view to accelerating accumulation.

Another important feature of today’s capitalism is the displacement of industry towards the developing regions of the world to counterbalance declining profits in the central countries. International capital relies on the developing countries’ states, which have become an integral part of the capitalist world system, to ensure access to cheap labor, raw materials, land and other resources to accelerate the accumulation process and enhance profits. The peripheral states also intervene in those areas of social life that private corporate capital cannot easily manipulate. For example, their ideological apparatuses present the interests of big capital as identical to national interests. The developing countries’ states also use their repressive apparatuses to displace millions of people and forcibly transfer resources to private corporations, in the name of industrialization and modernization. In this latest phase of capitalism, the state has become oblivious to the real problems that the masses face. More exactly, it is a major contributing factor to those problems. To disguise this fact, fascist forces supported by oligopoly capital have usurped state power in many parts of the world. Michael Kalecki has pointed out how the collusion between fascist forces and the capitalist class responds to big business’s dislike of government expenditure.31 Fascist rule overcomes this problem by putting the state machinery under direct control of big business and its fascist partners.

In this regard, the experience of India is especially revealing. After the shift to neoliberal policies in the 1990s, the Indian state reduced its role in economic affairs but continued to assist the poorest people through food subsidies, housing programs, and employment schemes. Its objective was to dampen the contradictions of the accumulation process. Recently, however, it appears that international capital considers even these limited programs to be unacceptable obstacles to accumulation. To remove them and widen the scope of exploitation, capital embarked on the new experiment of promoting the seizure of state power by communal forces: that is, those parties and power groups that foment ethnic or religious rivalry. Through a dangerous slight of hand, capitalist media groups have learned that they can covertly support communal forces by renaming them as “nationalist.” The end result is an insidious form of fascist neoliberalism that advances under the banners of governance and nationalism. This new form of social legitimacy–forged through an intertwining of communal forces, the capitalist state, and oligopoly-finance capital–aims to accelerate the accumulation process, regardless of the cost.

↩This paper is an adapted version of a presentation made at the Tenth Forum of the World Association of Political Economy, June 19-21, 2015, Johannesburg, South Africa. Paramjit Singh is Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics, Panjab University, Chandigarh (India). Balwinder Singh Tiwana is Professor in the Department of Economics, Punjabi University, Patiala (India).
↩For more on the financialization of capitalism, see John Bellamy Foster and Fred Magdoff’s The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences (2009) and John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney’s The Endless Crisis: How Monopoly Finance Capital Produces Stagnation and Upheaval from the USA to China (2012).
↩Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom (1944) and Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom (1962) are key texts promoting and justifying neoliberal ideology. Both authors were Nobel Prize winners.
↩Thomas Pikkety, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (London: Harvard University Press, 2014),
↩Karl Marx, “Critique of Hegel’s Doctrine of the State,” in K. Marx, Early Writings (London: Penguin Publishers, 1992), 62-65.
↩Karl Marx, “Critique of Hegel’s Doctrine of the State,” in K. Marx, Early Writings (London: Penguin Publishers, 1992), 65.
↩Bob Jessop, The Capitalist State: Marxist Theories and Method (London: Martin Robertson Publications, Oxford, 1982), 7-8.
↩Vladimir I. Lenin , State and Revolution, (New Delhi: People’s Publishing House, 2011), 1-17.
↩Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (Lucknow: Rahul Foundation, 2010), 26.
↩Louis Althusser, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses”, in L. Althusser’s Lenin and Philosophy and other Essays (New Delhi: Aakar Books, 2006),
↩David Harvey, Spaces of Capital: Towards a Critical Geography, (New York: Routledge Publications 2001), 274.
↩Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The German Ideology (Moscow: Progress Publication, 1970) P. 80.
↩David A. Gold, Clarence Y. H. Lo, and Erik Olin Wright, “Recent Developments in Marxist Theories of the Capitalist State,” Monthly Review, Vol. 27, No. 5. (1975): 38.
↩Vladimir I. Lenin, State and Revolution (New Delhi: People’s Publishing House, 2011), 1-17.
↩Michael Heinrich, An introduction to Three Volumes of Karl Marx’s Capital (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2012), 197-218.
↩Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, On Colonialism (Moscow: Progress Publication, 1972) P. 592.
↩Vladimir I. Lenin, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism (Lucknow: Rahul Foundation, 2010), 49.
↩Rudolf Hilferding, Finance Capital: A Study of Latest Phase of Capitalist Development (London: Routledge and Kagan Paul Ltd., 1981), 197-218.
↩Vladimir I. Lenin, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism (Lucknow: Rahul Foundation, 2010), 49.
↩Nikolai Bukharin, Imperialism and World Economy (New Delhi: Aakar Books 2010), 337-350.
↩Keynes’s, “Liberalism and Labour” (1926) and “The End of Laissez-Faire” (1926). John Maynard Keynes, Essays in Persuasion (W.W. Norton and Company, New York, 1963), 312-321; 339-348.
↩Toni Negri, “Keynes and the Capitalist Theory of the State Post-1929,” in T. Negri, Revolution Retrieved: Writings on Marx, Keynes, Capitalist Crisis and the New Social Subject (1967-83) (London: Red Notes, London, 1988), 12-13.
↩John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (New Delhi: Atlantic Publications, 2008), 21-30.
↩Amal Sanyal, “On the Economic Role of the State under State Monopoly Capitalism” Social Scientist 10 No. 12 (1982): 3-14.
↩Wolfgang Streeck, “The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism,” New Left Review, Vol. 71 (2011): 5-29.
↩A now classic treatment of the post-war era is Paul A. Baran and Paul M. Sweezy’s Monopoly Capital: An Essay on the American Economic and Social Order (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1966)
↩Chapter 2 of Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom:“The Role of Government in a Free Society.”
↩David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 2.
↩Samir Amin, “Market Economy or Oligopoly-Finance Capitalism?” Monthly Review, Vol. 59, No. 11 (2008). Available at:
↩Robert W. McChesney, “This Isn’t What Democracy Look Like” Monthly Review, Vol. 10, No. 8 (2010): 1-28.
↩Michal Kalecki, “Political Aspects of Full Employment” in M. Kalecki, Selected Essays on the Dynamics of the Capitalist Economy 1933-1970 (Cambridge University Press, London, 1971), 141.