what does chaz want? (was anarchism/marxism)

rc-am rcollins at netlink.com.au
Sat Aug 21 17:45:12 PDT 1999

ok, Chaz, granted: needs and desires are socially and historically constituted. this we already agree on. the question though i think still stands, but perhaps in a different form: how is this 'we' constituted which then plans our wants? planning assumes a certain decision-making protocol, right? so, what is this instrument/vehicle of planning? the state?

(btw, dunayevskaya does have a lot of important things to say here, as peter noted.)

and in any case, the inflection of the first question, 'what does chaz want', is still there in an important sense, though writ larger. the inflection being a psychoanalytic one, implying that desires are not always (some would go further and say 'not ever') transparently known. if at the level of the psyche, which is always a social and historical term and not an individual one, there is a certain opacity, then the presumptions of planning fall down at this point, since planning assumes a transparency. ie., how do you really know what you desire and why? and, if you can't be always on top of this, why do you expect an institution to be capable of such knowledge? (we're back perhaps to the theory of the party-as-the-state-in-waiting as beyond ideology.)

but, whether you accept the psychoanalytic claim of a certain non-transparency, the question of _what_ is constituted as the planner of wants remains. and, if it is the state, then we are truly in the realm of (at least as an aspiration toward) a state authoritarianism as an apparent alternative to the 'invisible hand' authoritarianism of capital.

Angela _________

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