Critique and theory: Producerism, populism, capitalism, anti-capitalism, disasterism, imperialism, nationalism

28Sep11

From Flesh is Grass:

Looking for a definition of when extremism becomes populism I came across this definition of right wing populism at progressive USA think tank Political Research Associates:

Producerism —the idea that the real Americans are hard–working people who create goods and wealth while fighting against parasites at the top and bottom of society who pick our pocket…sometimes promoting scapegoating and the blurring of issues of class and economic justice, and with a history of assuming proper citizenship is defined by White males;

Anti–elitism —a suspicion of politicians, powerful people, the wealthy, and high culture…sometimes leading to conspiracist allegations about control of the world by secret elites, especially the scapegoating of Jews as sinister and powerful manipulators of the economy or media;

Anti–intellectualism —a distrust of those pointy headed professors in their Ivory Towers…sometimes undercutting rational debate by discarding logic and factual evidence in favor of following the emotional appeals of demagogues;

Majoritarianism —the notion that the will of the majority of people has absolute primacy in matters of governance… sacrificing rights for minorities, especially people of color;

Moralism —evangelical–style campaigns rooted in Protestant revivalism…sometimes leading to authoritarian and theocratic attempts to impose orthodoxy, especially relating to gender.

Americanism —a form of patriotic nationalism…often promoting ethnocentric, nativist, or xenophobic fears that immigrants bring alien ideas and customs that are toxic to our culture.

It appears to be quoted but isn’t well-referenced – probably the work of Georgetown University historian Michael Kazin.

I suppose three attributes – anti-elitism, anti-intellectualism, and simple majoritarianism – are necessary to populism of any persuasion, and the moralism and patriotic nationalism are distinctly right-wing.

The outstanding attribute is producerism. In its right wing expression, it views immigrants and bankers alike unfavourably as a leach on societal wealth from below and above. But can you have a popular movement other than a right wing one without some kind of producer ethic? [READ THE REST]

Three great posts from Voyou, one on racism and history, one on socialist gentrification, and one on the language of value and the language of real life.

More stuff, below the fold, from Robert Kurz, Herman Gorter, Anselm Jappe, Wu Ming, Bifo and Rudolf Rocker.

Interview on The Black Book of Capitalism – Robert Kurz

Robert Kurz discusses his book, The Black Book of Capitalism, which he describes as a “radical-critical history of modernization since the 18th century”, summarizes his views on “class struggle” in the context of his critique of value and labor, refers to the “dominant order” as “an accumulation of infamies” and calls for a movement “that will directly appropriate resources and bypass the detour of the market, the State, money and politics”.

Interview on The Black Book of Capitalism” – Robert Kurz

An interview with Robert Kurz conducted by Dieter Heidemann (Professor of the Department of Geography at the University of Sao Paulo) and Cláudio Duarte on February 15, 2005.

DH (Dieter Heidemann): The original title of your latest book was “The Satanic Mills”; why did you change it?[…]

On the brink of disaster

Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi’s essay from Feb 2003, in response to mass anti-war demonstrations, argues that a society that has rebelled and seceded from war must also secede from capitalism.

Let’s take a snapshot of the situation before everything precipitates; let’s simply try to remind ourselves what has happened in the world during the preparatory period of a conflict with unpredictable consequences; let’s delineate scenarios of likely developments and imagine possibilities to act: let’s build a strategy for the aftermath of the war.[…]

The last novel of the twentieth century

An excerpt from a long review of “Q” by Luther Blisset, written by Franco “Bifo” Berardi and published on Derive Approdi #19, Rome, Springtime 2000

In Thomas Pynchon’s Vineland we already experienced this feeling – of being in a post-historical time-space where nothing happens anymore, nothing but an absurd hanging on along the past’s edge. A daughter (Prayrie) reconstructs an indecipherable past from the fragments and rags left behind by her parents’ generation. That past is indecipherable because Zoyd and Frenesi […]

Herman Gorter’s Imperialism, the World War and Social Democracy – Vladimir Sarabjanov

Translated review from Red Virgin Soil, 1921, n.3, p. 343-46 of ‘Imperialism…‘, State Publishing House (Gosizdat). Moscow. 1920

“…, despite the tremendous change, taken place around the world, there remain a lot of stagnant layers, that have not yet started to move and their inertia, their resistance weakens the raging struggle.

Who is to blame? – Anselm Jappe

A short essay contesting the notion that the current economic crisis is the result of “greed” or irresponsible speculation by evil bankers or investment firms, asserting instead that it is an effect of a generalized crisis of value production caused by the falling rate of profit–an immanent law of capitalist production–and further maintaining that, rather than precipitating the crisis, the massive expansion of fictitious capital over the last 30 years was the only way its onset could be delayed until now.

Modern nationalism, which has found its fullest expression in Italian fascism and German National Socialism, is the mortal enemy of every liberal thought. The complete elimination of all libertarian thought is for its advocates the first preliminary to the “awakening of the nation,” whereby in Germany, most strangely, liberalism and Marxism are thrown into one pota fact which, however, need no longer surprise us when we know how violently the heralds of the Third Reich deal with facts, ideas and persons. That Marxism, like democracy and nationalism, proceeds in its fundamental ideas from a collective concept, namely from the class, and for this very reason can have no relationship with liberalism, does not trouble its pious Hitlerite opponents of today in the least.

That modern nationalism in its extreme fanaticism for the state has no use for liberal ideas is readily understandable. Less clear is the assertion of its leaders that the modern state is thoroughly infected with liberal ideas and has for this reason lost its former political significance. The fact is that the political development of the last hundred and fifty years was not along the lines that liberalism had hoped for. The idea of reducing the functions of the state as much as possible and of limiting its sphere to a minimum has not been realised. The state’s field of activity was not laid fallow; on the contrary, it was mightily extended and multiplied, and the so-called “liberal parties,” which gradually got deeper and deeper into the current of democracy, have contributed abundantly to this end. In reality the state has not become liberalised but only democratised Its influence on the personal life of man has not been reduced; on the contrary it has steadily grown. There was a time when one could hold the opinion that the “sovereignty of the nation” was quite different from the sovereignty of the hereditary monarch and that, therefore, the power of the state would be awakened. While democracy was still fighting for recognition, such an opinion might have had a certain justification. But that time is long past; nothing has so confirmed the internal and external security of the state as the religious belief in the sovereignty of the nation, confirmed and sanctioned by the universal franchise. That this is also a religious concept of political nature is undeniable. Even Clemenceau when, innerly lonely and embittered, he reached the end of his career, expressed himself in this wise: “The popular vote is a toy of which one soon tires; but one must not say this aloud, for the people must have a religion. Sad it is. . . . Sad but true.

What are we to make of the current round of austerity? Some members of Endnotes give their assesment.

What are we to make of the current round of austerity? Should we believe Keynesians like Paul Krugman when they argue that capitalists are acting against their own best interests in calling for cuts? Are government finances really under stress, or is it all just a ploy to undermine the last remaining gains achieved by working class struggle?



One Response to “Critique and theory: Producerism, populism, capitalism, anti-capitalism, disasterism, imperialism, nationalism”


  1. 1 Understanding capitalism « Anti-National Translation

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