should we be looking at states or the capitalist system?

by Dan Jakopovich

The primary unit of social analysis has to remain the global capitalist system vis a vis the state. Although a crude base-superstructure model is inadequate for the purpose of serious analysis, it is necessary to oppose statist, technocratic, and functionalist discourses which undervalue the external dynamics induced by the global capitalist system.

This short overview will deal with enquiries into one of the basic social issues, the conclusion to which induces a complex multiplicity of repercussions for the fields of sociology, international relations and practical politics, repercussions which are often difficult to demarcate.

It is the question of what should be the primary unit of social analysis – the state (and states) or the global capitalist system. I will mostly deal with basic Marxist theories, which offer the principal challenge to various currents that are sometimes characterised as forms of “statist fetishism”, where the theorist is seduced by the deceptive semblance of state autonomy. This is especially attributed to many international relations approaches, because it is largely through states that international relations are expressed. Sometimes it is argued that the manifestation is put before the underlying root-causes. Continue reading “should we be looking at states or the capitalist system?”

thinking through the meaning of communism and socialism in the conditions of today

A document produced by comrades involved in l’Encontre www.alencontre.org) and Carré Rouge (www.carre-rouge.org)

As men and women members of the nuclei which publish A Contre-Courant, Carré Rouge, and L’Émancipation Sociale, and those associated with the Swiss journal-cum-website A l’Encontre, we have joined forces to organise work on the theory and practice of the actuality, the present-day relevance of communism or socialism (which are synonymous in the strong sense of the term socialism). In addition we have decided to link up with those who have similar aims and propose to undertake joint work or maintain detailed exchanges of opinion with them. The document submitted explains what urges us to undertake this task; it emphasises the considerable difficulties involved; it sketches our first attempt to map the very area involved. Continue reading “thinking through the meaning of communism and socialism in the conditions of today”