Tag Archives: Poulantzas

Hegemony

In Egypt, the Revolution has, for the time being, had the constitutive element of the State–the violence–acting directly in its most Schmittian interest. However, this is not because of a co-opting of the state’s powers by the revolution through typical Western democracy [much more like Greek democracy, aka mob-rule] but rather because the levers of the state of Egypt are heavily leveraged into the international-state system, which is run by the US/West. We can see images that look like 1970s–Vietnam era–American imagery (modified for a domestic audience, naturally) here: https://twitter.com/Beltrew/status/354012405010927616/photo/1 and we know that the bullets and tear gas fired here: http://rt.com/news/egypt-milllions-protest-morsi-458/ (they both are of course the same place and time) are american made and paid for [with implications deriving from this relation as well]. Meanwhile, a completely different display occurs in Tahrir. The Apaches fly over being painted by green lasers and the party continues. 

In this instance, we can see how the hegemony of the West/America/International-State system/International financialised capital/ownership can be actuated, with material instrumentality, in order to produce a stable ends by any means–so far as it protects the status quo [and including any marginal concessions it must concede to return to status quo stability]. 

Much as Poulantzas argues concerning the PIIGS with ‘authoritarian statism’ (SPS), the Egyptians are being manipulated to serve the interests of the status quo by the Westphalian state Marx worked under. Poulantzas does a remarkable job of incorporating into his orthodox-Marxism Leninist-Imperialism and Gramscian-Hegemony, while formulating his own, highly sophisticated, view of the current state system under capitalism circa 1970s. All of this was done by pointing at where it was leading under the state-capitalist system of international financialised capital. 

The current reactions to hegemonic reordering, done through the dual system of state power and economic/international financialised capital, which materialises under the current state-capitalist international system, by the PIIGS in their instance and the Egyptians in theirs are attenuated by the historic relation of the participants of politics to the State’s arm of violence. In the Greek case there is less resistance to the reorderings and, simultaneously, those reorderings do not require violence. That is to say, the Greek state, because of its position in relation to the international system (inside the “core” but a periphery of that same core within a smaller system–the EU/euro), gets by with economic changes that rarely, demonstrably change the current political setup as it concerns personalities. [The rule-demonstrating exception to this is found in Nov. 2011 in Greece and Italy.] However, in Egypt, a nation that is influenced by so much American aid to their military, which has branched into the Egyptian ‘civil-society’ and into capitalist relations with the people as well, and with ideational influences from a specific era of American/core domination, the status quo is maintained through the violent end of the state-capitalist system, circa 1970s.

The hegemony preserves its status quo by rendering its services bespoke. Each country receives its own form of bail-out/bail-in/liberation/SAP/aid/FDI/etc while that great liberal construct–Leviathan–praises the equality of its purely technical prescriptions–enforced by pure geopolitical power. 

Lucky for the moral consciences of the bourgeoisie (however it is manifest in the currently occurring system), the poor saps that require the blunt form of power to return stability to the status quo–Egyptians, are brown [and “muslim” to boot].

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Hegemony: Or, How to Unhinge a Liberal-Imperialist

Show them their antithesis

 

[Firstly, the usage of liberal in this context is done with the broadest, ideological definition the word in mind. To some of you, you’ll know this as “Deckersean”. That is to say, not political liberalism, economic or cultural–but the ideology itself that encompasses the three branches below it.] 

 

There is one thing that will make a liberal-imperialist fly into a fury. This is because the ideology itself is built upon the suppression of its existence. That is the liberal antithesis. It comes in many forms, but as soon as it appears, the liberal-imperialist vanguards launch their countermeasures against their existential enemy. The pogroms against their antithesis include but are not limited to, arrogant marginalization, shows of contempt, appeals to authority, discursive bullying, legal sanctioning, Potemkin village construction, selective memory, and outright physical violence. 

 

Liberalism, to its credit, has been by far the most successful of ideologies in their natural attempt to negate their negative. Over the past century, the socialists have wailed about the reabsorption of capitalist values while the clerics grieved the loss of divine virtue and moral behaviour. These examples show that each time a new strand of thought has broken through the iron cage of collective cognition–such as feminism–liberalism has bent itself just enough to accept the newcomer. The unique propensity to absorb seemingly antithetical strands of thought is the homogenous cold-rolled steel armour that protects the dominance of liberalism. 

 

This is hegemony. 

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