"Economic Nationalism"? (was Re: Who Killed Vincent Chin?)

rc-am rcollins at netlink.com.au
Sun Jan 2 06:33:00 PST 2000

yoshie wrote:

> The history of imperialism that Nestor Gorojovsky is referring to above
> not "that ineffable sense of Tradition or The Past" (though it may be so
> your mind). What's so "ineffable" about the U.S. support for Contras to
> destroy the Sandinista Revolution, to take just one recent example?

not in my mind, yoshie, but in nestor's precise statement, which read: "Imperialism has either deformed, thwarted or drowned in blood the processes by which our peoples would have been able to constitute nations out of our local realities. This is the deep truth beneath the quote from Bolivar I am so fond of: 'Allow us to live our own Middle Ages by ourselves'."

and you take my phrase -- "that ineffable sense of Tradition or The Past" -- and pretend that i used it to characterise US intervention in Nicaragua in order to get huffy about the use of the word "ineffable"; when it's already clear from what you excerpted from the post that i did nothing of the sort. the word "ineffable", in case your reading ability has failed you, was in reference to nestor's invocation of non-existent nations/nationalities.

so, then, what exactly was *thwarted* by US intervention in Nicaragua? in nestor's terms and yours, it is nations, nationality (the difference between the two is that, for nestor, the latter is supposed to refer to something more real or at least better, fashioned outside imperial and colonial spaces). moreover, to suggest something is "thwarted" and "deformed" is to refer quite explicitly to something whose character can only be given in the vaguest of terms -- "local realities" -- and is unknown, ineffable.

that nestor invokes bolivar's aspiration for letting a thousand little absolutisms bloom also explicitly indicates why -- for me at least -- it's necessary to talk about the role of nation-states in the formation of enclosures through which proletarianisation occured in europe, and without which -- in current circumstances -- austerity, wage restraint and the restructuring of regional and highly segmented (more often than not by the mechanisms of guest worker systems esp in asia) labour markets would not be enforceable. restructurings, esp of the kind we have been experiencing over the last twenty or so years, has relied on nation-states. from our perspective, rather than from the perspective of employers, capital and merchants, the world is a much more regulated place.

moreover, nations are an indispensible part of imperialism and colonialism and any other way you might want to designate the world market and global capitalism. the bi-polarity of the cold war years on which social democratic and russian socialist presumptions relied in a material sense -- which ensured a measure of redistribution to, at the very least, strategic sattelites -- is not with us. east timor is not going to be anything more than an IMF statelet unless the vatican decides on its own holy-crusade-in-asia marshall plan -- which may well happen, but where else? aspiring to one's own little absolutism is either nostalgia for something that never existed or, if it does take political form beyond cyberspace, may be just a glorified way of vying for position in the carving up of regional territories, labour markets, resources and surpluses.

> >what exactly is a nation, and should i refer to stalin/herder for that
> >somewhat idealist definition? maybe we should resurrect 'the lesbian
> >continuum' whilst we're at it, but i thought we were over that
> >kind of legitimating move.
> Look, whenever Patrick Bond speaks about South Africa, should he put it
> between quotation marks or under erasure, just to make sure he won't even
> remotely be associated with an "idealist definition"?

he's talking about SA, right? not some mythical never-existant (thwarted) formations which get called "nationalities" only in order to legitimise themselves on the terrain of a cyber-leninist competition over programmes of non-existent vanguards. in the latter, for sure, either it has to remain a necessarily vague definition and/or we head for stalin/herder and begin drawing up lists of things like language, culture,... which bear little relation to any real (rather than imagined) nation on earth.

> Is what he discusses
> below a form of "economic nationalism" that you claim to oppose

patrick and i have already traded arguments. there are performances and there are arguments. not everyone is interested in the performance.

(or was it
> to "critique," "deconstruct," etc.)?

call it whatever you like, just so long as it makes you happy.

but you can make me a little happier by answering some of the questions i've already asked:

- which state do you make policy for? - what exactly is a nation? - are you arguing that "insecure borders" are the same as "open borders"; that the law is negative and stops things from happening? - are you suggesting in all seriousness that smuggling, informalisation, and an underground economy are created by not having a strong state or laws? - are you saying, that states are referees, or even better bulwarks against local and foreign capitalists? - and will you give me a dollar (ted too!) for every post of ours you haven't replied to?


Angela _________

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