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Comrades, hi,

There's another frustrating input in the Smith-Harvey debate over at the Review of African Political Economy website:  "Dissolving Empire: David Harvey, John Smith, and the Migrant" http://roape.net/2018/04/10/dissolving-empire-david-harvey-john-smith-and-the-migrant/

"Does this mean that China in economic, cultural, social, or military terms has reached the status of an imperialist power?," asks Adam Mayer, who studies Marxism in Nigeria.

Wrong question, hence wrong formulation of the terrain of debate, and wrong answer...

I think the question should be, instead, "aren't China and other BRICS countries slotting into global imperialism as *subimperial* allies, in relation to the accumulation of capital, the super-exploitation of labour, species-threatening ecological destruction and global malgovernance?"

The answer is "Yes!" And there, in the next post, I argue, the problem is immense. (My post ended up drawling on for 8300 words so if anyone wants it, let me know. It'll be online next Monday.)

On 2018/04/02 09:26 PM, Patrick Bond via Marxism wrote:

On 2018/04/02 07:32 PM, Andrew Pollack via Marxism wrote:
One particularly scary aspect of Harvey's argument is, as the quote below shows, that he believes there needs to be different theories and therefore different strategies for different sectors and movements. Or if not that,
then, at least implicitly, an insistence on no coherent theory.
This is particularly upsetting given the valiant efforts of some theorists
and activists to unite theoretically production with social reproduction
and thus with struggles against oppression linked in a coherent way with
the struggle against exploitation.

I'm very biased, yeah, but really Andy, it's the opposite: his latest circulation model (more so than his 1985 three-circuits-of-capital) is a coherent, holistic approach to capitalism that builds in social reproduction (especially gendered roles) and ecological 'free gifts of nature' in a way that's ordinarily left out from Marxist theorizing.

Have a look at that .docx file or check the diagram out directly at http://davidharvey.org/

In the same way as you, I think comrade Michael is doing a disservice here, with his primitive either/or formulation (because obviously class struggle is waged and 'decided' in production, realisation and distribution circuitries, all the time):

"I conclude from DH’s short paper that he aims to establish an argument that class struggle is no longer centred or decided between labour and capital at the point of production of surplus value. Instead in ‘modern’ capitalism, it is to be found in other places in his ‘circuit of capital’ that he presents in latest book and in various presentations globally.  For DH, it is in the point of realisation (ie over rents, mortgages, price gouging by pharma firms etc) or in distribution (over taxes, public services etc) that the ‘hotspots’’ of class struggle are now centred.  The class struggle in production is now less important (even non-existent)."

Cracks like those last five words are distractions.

But likewise, I don't think David was particularly fair to Michael in this remark - "Devaluation rarely appears in Roberts’ accounts" - because after all, the blog is entitled "The next recession" and Michael regularly makes his predictions about how crises will play out in the context of his (rather monological) falling-rate-of-profit causality. But David's absolutely right to call on all Marxists to pay more attention to the way this vast batch of overaccumulated capital that regrouped in untenable ways since 2008 is going to come crashing down: "we would need to construct a strong theory of devaluation to account for what happens in the market place."

(Occupy movement strategists worked a rather esoteric theory up to the level of public consciousness, but it took three years after the major crisis inflection point. We surely have to do better, and do it faster, in response to the next melt?)

Anyhow, there is a bit too much of this kind of simplification going on. Later this week I'll have a comment posted at the Review of African Political Economy website where the Smith-Harvey debate on how to characterize imperialism has been raging; it too would be improved (in my view) by more generosity between leading intellectual comrades.

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