Social Constitution and the Form of the Capitalist State
After the slowdown of the state derivation debate at the end of the 1970s(1),interest in the state arose again with the conservative shift to power in almost all western capitalist countries at the beginning of the 1980s. Recent work on the capitalist state has been influenced by the debate on (post-)Fordism (see Hirsch/Roth 1986).2 The discussion of the (post-)fordist state aims at a more concrete conceptualisation of the state in order to come to grips with changes in the relation between the state and the economy. The key issue for those participating has not been to reject the state derivation debate but to subsume it into a theory of capitalist development. In this way, the perennial theme of Marxist controversy that is the relation between structure-struggle - is discussed more concretely in the context of contemporary developments. I have argued elsewhere that the crucial weakness of the debate on (post-)Fordism is the disarticulation of structure and struggle (see Bonefeld 1987a). This weakness already existed in Hirsch's contribution to the state derivation debate (see Holloway 1988).
The problematic issue of the relation between structure and struggle is the central question for any attempt to understand capitalism. In this paper, I intend to carry forward the discussion opened by my assessment of the debate on the (post-)fordist state by examining some of the conceptual questions regarding the issue of structure and process in relation to the capitalist state. I shall argue that structures should be seen as a mode of existence of class antagonism and hence as result and premise of class struggle.
The following is the order of presentation: the section on Structure and Struggle in Debates on the State introduces briefly the problem as it occurred in Hirsch's contribution to the state derivation debate. This section includes also a brief presentation of 'structural Marxism' which proved influential in the debate on (post-)Fordism. There then follows a presentation on the capitalist state as mode of existence of class antagonism in capitalist society. This section is divided into two subsections: social form and substantive abstraction of the state. The first subsection looks at the constitution of Marxist categories and the second discusses this constitution in relation to the state. The conclusion sums up the argument and confronts its findings with the debates introduced below.
Structure and Struggle in Debates on the State
Hirsch's derivation of the state aimed at understanding the state in terms of the capitalist relations of production. What, according to Hirsch (1978), constitutes the state as a capitalist phenomenon is the separation of the collective social organisation from society itself, an abstraction which posits the state as an external force of society, subjugating rulers and ruled alike to a form of domination and social organisation independent from them. This separation is understood as a mode of existence, and mode of motion, of social relations; the state is understood as a form of the class relation of capital and labour. In the event, Hirsch's approach to the state made it possible to see the historical existence of the capitalist state as a process the historical form of which is a concrete reality of class antagonism.
Although Hirsch's reasoning implies that the relation between structure and class antagonism is not external but rather an historical process (a dialectical relation) between object (historical result of class struggle) and subject (class struggle conditioned by and transcending its own historical premise; see Lukacs 1968), he failed to follow through this inner relation between structure and struggle. The potentiality of Hirsch's emphasis on the importance of class struggle in the historical development of the state remained underdeveloped: 'The course of capitalist development is not determined mechanically or by some kind of law of nature. Within the framework of its general laws, capitalist development is determined rather by the action of acting subjects and classes. the resulting concrete conditions of crisis and their political consequences' (Hirsch 1978, pp.74-5). The tension between objective law and struggle lies in the term 'in the framework' (see Holloway/Picciotto 1978). Objectivity (objective laws of capitalist development) is juxtaposed to class struggle, and the disarticulation of class struggle from objective laws ('in the framework of') subordinates class struggle as a motor of 9 history to a predetermined, objectively given, development of capitalism. This dualism is clearly expressed in Hirsch's (1976, 1977) treatment of the development of state functions. Hirsch's dualist view of structure and struggle is reminiscent of Poulantzas.
The main thrust in Poulantzas's (1973) contribution to stare theory relates to the conceptualisation of the state as a level that is relatively autonomous from the economic (for an assessment see Clarke 1977, 1978).As Holloway/Picciotto (1977, 1978) put it, the conceptual discussion in Capital is seen in Poulantzas as confined to theorising the economic level. A theory of the capitalist state had hence to develop new concepts for the political level (hegemony, political class character). The aim of this approach was to identify the structural adequacy of the political in relation to the economic. Structural adequacy concerned the existence of the state as a 'relatively autonomous' entity vis-a-vis the economic. This understanding is grounded on the base-superstructure metaphor (see Marx 1981)The question of the 'inner nature' of the relation of capital and labour within diverse social and political phenomena was reduced merely to a question of the historical cohesion of different structures. The condensing and homogenisation of different stru-tures was seen as achieved by the hegemonic fraction of capital.Thestate was seen as the global factor of cohesion (see Poulantzas 1973). Class struggle played an important, but secondary role, determining the development and the particular configuration of the structure of the state in historically specific conjunctures. The systemic existence of the relatively autonomous entities followed objectively given laws of development. The class struggle was seen as subaltern to the structural configuration of capitalism. Poulantzas's problem was to combine,in a systematic way, what, following Marx's writing, belongs together: the theorising of externalised, systemic existence of separated structures and the attempt to introduce a social process which develops these structures, relates them to each other and mediates their transformation.
Jessop's contribution to the dialectic between structure and struggle attempts to build on, and to develop, Poulantzas's approach in response to its critics (see Jessop 1985). Building on Poulantzas,Jessop argues for a 'conjunctural' (or 'relational') approach to the relation between the political and the economic, equating, in its most extreme version, not only struggle with strategy, but class struggle with capital strategies (see Jessop 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988). In order to overcome the problem of determinate structures in Poulantzas (for example the economic determining in the last instance the political), Jessop proposes a theory of 'structural coupling' or a theory of 'articulation' (Jessop 1986). The former relates to system-theoretical analysis as developed by Luhmann; the latter is said to be the Marxist version of a similar analysis which, however, avoids the cul-de-sac of the former (see Jessop 1986).
For Jessop, the task of understanding the political system is that of theorising, without falling into functionalism, the 'non-necessary correspondence' (cf. Jessop 1986) between the political and the economic. Hence Jessop's concern with a relational approach to the state. The relational approach to the state is said to provide insights into the sui generis operation of different social subsystems even though they were not (and could not be) completely insulated from their environment and in many respects depend on it' (see Jessop 1986, p.93). The term charged with the task of translating this into I scientific practicability is the 'mode of articulation'. A mode of articulation is said to permit a concentration of the political, economic and ideological systems in historically concrete situations, unifying these three systems into a historically specific conjuncture in determinate forms. The mechanism, through which the different systems are integrated into a corresponding and complementary mode of articulation, is the hegemonic projects of capital. The segmented parts of the social body have no unity until they are co-dinated into a project by a somehow hidden agency of condensation Jessop seems to imply that a successful hegemonic project leads to results which correspond to the needs of a specific shape of economic development. Since the political sphere is seen as providing through its self-determined and closed operation outputs corresponding to the needs of the economic system (see Jessop 1986), the precise historical working of this correspondence relates to strategic forces (Jessop 1983,1985) that promote hegemonic practices which melt the different institutional spheres together (ibid). This would seem to be a functionalist and voluntarist view of capitalist reproduction (see Clarke 1983; Bonefeld 1987a).
Jessop seeks a structuralist understanding of Marx's (1973) phrase concerning the existence of the abstract in the concrete and vice versa. The structuralist version of this relation involves the introduc-tion of intermediate concepts6 seen as a mechanism that combines the abstract and concrete; 'abstract, unitary, and essentialised laws of motion and needs of capital constructed by the capital logicians are combined into a series of more concrete competing, and contingent logics of capital' (Jessop 1985, p.344). Hence the charge against structuralism of positing essentialised laws of motions. Hence also the charge of voluntarism in terms of the structuration of hegemonic interests, aiming at capturing the state and shaping a historically specific mode of articulation (for critique see Clarke 1983). The deficiencies of the conception of structural relations are to be overcome by combining them with the explication of reactive and reflexive patterns of behaviour of different capital 'logics' that follow, in subjective fashion, the impulses given by the development of objective laws of capitalist development. As a consequence, capital no longer exists as class struggle, pervading social reality as a whole. Instead, social reality is seen as determined by multiple causes and effects, the integration of which is ensured b the imposition of a dominant hegeonic logic of capital a logic derived from the Interest-based struggle of one capital logic against another within determined forms of structural development. While Poulantzas referred to the class struggle as mediating the unfolding of the objective laws of capitalist development, Jessop sees the mechanism of social practice in terms of the individualised and pluralist allocation-interests of different 'capital logicians' (cf Jessop 1985) The resulting eclecticism construes the fragmentation of different phenomena as a causal relation (see Bonefeld 1987a; Psychopedis 1991).
In the debate on the (post)-fordist state of which Hirsch and Jessop are the main proponents, the unresolved tension between structure and process is discussed in terms of Jessop's understanding of the 'dialectic between structure and process'. The assumption of a corresponding, and hence functional, relation between mode of accumulation and regulative forms of the state theorises crisis as a structural dysfunctionality (disintegration of mode of articulation). The prevailing notion of a crisis as an 'objectively given' unfolding of the law of capitalist development transforms into the notion of objectively given recovery (for critique see Holloway 1988): that is the re-coupling of structural regularity and correspondence in a different historical form such as (post-)Fordism. Within the framework of an emerging reconstruction of the role of the state vis-a'-vis the social, the class struggle is seen as playing a subordinate role (Hirsch/Roth 1986), merely accelerating or retarding an inevitable transformation of social reality. Basic is the struggle between diffe-ent capital strategies in their attempt to capture the state within a structurally predetermined development, making the re-coupling of a mode of articulation a contingent process (Jessop). The disarticulation of structure and class struggle entails a descriptive and suggestive understanding of social development (see Bonefeld 1987 a; Gerstenberger 1989) that can only identify static structures, and is forced to pose a qualitative change as a sudden discontinuity, a quantum leap between structures, for example the leap from Fordism to post-Fordism; and not as a process, a qualitatively changing continuum in and through the class struggle.
Contrary to these approaches to the state, I want to show that 'structures' are modes of existence of the class antagonism caital and labour. The 'laws of capitalist development' are nothing else than the movement of the class struggle. The 'laws of capitalist development are an abstraction in action, an historical reality, a process and a movement of the presence of labour within capital (see Holloway 1988; Clarke 1988a, b; Gunn 1989, 1990). Rejecting the disarticulation of structure and process does not mean rejecting an understanding of the state as performing a particular role in capitalist social reproduction. However, the role performed by the capitalist state will be discussed here as determined by its social form (class antagonism of capital and labour) and as an historical process of the class struggle. Instead of the apparent 'automony of the state' (however relative it may be; and however much it seems to justify a particular degree of 'relatively'), the political and economic will be discussed as constituting a contradictory unity. This unity does not exist as a monolithic block but as a movement of contradiction, in which the unity manifests itself through difference and vice versa. The fragmentation of the economic and political, as well as the historical composition of their interrelation, is only real as a process of class struggle.
Form and Content of the Capitalist State
Social Form and Difference-in-Unity of the Political and the Economic
Following Marx (1973), the social phenomena (for example economy and state) around us have manifold determinations. The task is to trace out 'the inner connexion' (Marx 1983, p.28) between social phenomena, so as to establish the 'inner nature' (cf Marx) of their relation. To trace out the inner connection between social phenomena is to search for the substantive abstraction (see below) which constitutes their social reality as interconnected, as complex forms different from, but united to, each other, in order to theorise this interconnection, the theoretical approach has to specify the historical process which constitutes the common element that makes social phenomena different from each other in unity. The attempt to understand the 'inner nature' of social existence relates to a way of thinking which moves within the object (social-historical form of human relations) of its thinking. Dialectics does not proceed to its object from outside but from inside as it attempts to appropriate conceptually social reality in its proper motion (see Negri 1984). Dialectical thinking conceptualises itself within, and as a moment of, its object (see Lukacs 1968; Gunn l987b, 1989, 1991). Such a conceptualisation of social existence seeks an understanding of the apparently isolated facts of life as comprising a mode of existence of social relations. 'While in the completed bourgeois system every economic relation presupposes every other in its bourgeois economic form, and everything posited is thus also a presupposition, this is the case with every organic system. The organic system itself, as a totality, has its presuppositions, and its development to its totality consists precisely in subordinating all developing to itself, or in creating out of it the organs which it still lacks. This is historically how it becomes a totality. This process of becoming this totality forms a moment of its process, of its development' (Marx 1973, p. 278). Such a reasoning implies an internal relation between conceptual and historical analysis.
Every phenomenon exists only in relation to other phenomena, or, in other words, exists only in and through other phenomena. Every phenomenon exists only as a movement of contradiction, that is as a movement of its own historical constitution. Hence the question of determinate negation, or, social form of human relations: what constitutes the relation which makes it possible for phenomena to exist side by side in an apparently independent manner but nevertheless through each other; what is the historical determination which constitutes them as in a relation of mutual dependence and determinate negation, a relation which makes an independent existence for each impossible? Hence the economic and the political, although seemingly existing independently from each other, stand to each other as moments of one process. This understanding raises the question of the social relation which suffuses their existence qua contradiction within their respective forms and in relation to each other. According to this argument, diverse phenomena, such as the state and the economy, do not exist as externally related entities one of which is determining and/or dominating the other, but as forms of existence of the relation which constitutes them. The question arising here concerns the substantive abstraction that makes particular forms (for example the political and economic) different from each other and which, at the same time, unites them and hence relates them to each other as complementary forms of social existence. Substantive abstraction is thus the inner nature of social phenomena themselves; their constitution and process. In Marx, the substantive relation which constitutes the relation between things as a contradictory relation of historical specificity and which bathes all social phenomena in a certain historical form of existence in bourgeois society is the social relations of production, that is, the class antagonism between capital and labour. Social phenomena are thus constituted as modes of existence/motion in and through which class antagonism exists. This argument will be taken up in less abstract terms below.
Marx's starting point is the social determination of labour. Labour was seen by Marx (1973, p.361) as the 'living, form-giving fire; it is transitoriness of things, their temporality, as their formation by living time'. This general determination of labour needs to be specified in its historically concrete form. By conceptualising from the indifferent (labour as fluidity) to the determined (social form of the fluidity of labour) and from the formless (general fluidity of labour) to the formal (historical and social specific form of fluidity) (see Elson 1979, pp.129-130), Marx understood labour, in capitalist society, as specified by abstract labour (universal ability and capacity to work, homogeneous labour) in and through the particular social context of surplus value production under the command of capital (exploitation). The historical specificity of the determining power of labour in capitalism concerns the (contradictory) unity of exchange and production, that is, the exchange of commodities through which private labour is reduced to its common substance as abstract labour. The social determination of labour as abstract labour, as social labour in a private context, determines capital as self-valorising value in terms of expanding abstract wealth by increasing the appropriation of somebody else's labour; that is the imposition of work and the measurement of the product of labour in terms of money.'The capitalist mode of production is not distinguished by the existence of surplus labour, or of abstract labour or the value form, but by the integration of the value form with abstract labour as the substance of value, and of the labour process with the valorisation of capital, as the appropriation and distribution of surplus labour is achieved through the exchange of commodities' in the form of money (Clarke 1989, p. 136; see also Clarke 1980; Elson 1979). Money attains generality as the most elementary form of the capitalist imposition of the value form over the conditions of life and as the supreme power in and through which social reproduction is subordinated to the reproduction of capital Hence the treatment of money as presupposition, premise and result of the social process of value, integrating value and money theory as moments which presuppose and which are the result of each other (see Backhaus 1974, 1986).~ The category of abstract labour attains generality in capitalist society as command over labour within the circuit of capital as a whole. The social relation which constitutes this determination of labour in capitalist society is the relation between necessary labour and surplus labour, that is the class antagonism of capital and labour which constitutes the (social) working day. The determining power8 of labour appears as the power of capital to set labour in motion (see Marx 1973 on capital as being productive). However, the determining power of capital exists only in and through labour as substance of value. The constituting power of the working class inverts into the power of capital insofar as capital is able to contain labour as a moment of its own social existence.The power of capital is hence a historically specific form of social command that appropriates the determining power of labour as a moment within the process of capital as self-valorising value.
The social antagonism of capital and labour is a relation of classes, and, as a relation of classes, a relation in and against domination and exploitation, or, in other words, a relation in and against the inversion of the determining power of labour into a property of capital's power to impose the value form over the conditions of life. This inversion is the commanding power of capital that brings together, and sets in motion, means of production and labour power - a commanding power based on capital's ability to constitute the determining power of labour as a moment of capital's own existence: self-valorisation of value through expanded surplus value production. The relation of classes manifests itself as a contradictory movement between objectification (however alienated in form as social reality of reproduction) and revolutionary separation (as relation between ruled and rulers). The contradiction is expressed in the term antagonism as mutual dependence of opposing classes (social form of reproduction and objectification in and through exploitation and domination). The contradictory character of oppression, as indicated by the unity of the production process as labour and valorisation process (see Marx 1983), is a substantive one as capital exists only in and through labour. Hence, objectivity (social reproduction) as domination (imposition of work as valorisation of capital). There is no movement outside social antagonism. Social existence is constituted as a movement of contradiction in and through the presence of labour within capital. The working class, for its part is a moment of this same process of contradiction. The working class exists in and against capital, while capital, however, exists only in and through labour. The contradictory existence of the working class is manifest in its antithesis to capital's command and in its existence as a moment of social reproduction in the form of capital: labour as opposite to capital and as a moment of the latter's existence. Class is not a group of people to whom sociologists assign particular characteristics which, in turn, allows social pigeonholing in terms of ascribed class character. Rather, class needs to be approached as a relation of struggle (see Gunn 1987c) in and against domination that denies social self-determination. As a relation of struggle, class, as substantive abstraction of social reality in action, attains a contradictory existence as the movement of transcendence (revolution as process in and against capital in terms of working class self-determination) and integration (reformism in terms of labour as a moment of social reproduction in the form of capital). Transcendence and integration do not exist separately, but as the movement of one process - extreme poles of a dialectical continuum that social practice represents (see Negt/ICluge 1971). As extreme poles of a dialectical continuum, transcendence and integration constitute a contradictory process that is open to the process of struggle itself and as such open to the social composition of class (Negri).
It is the historical development of the contradictory unity of the relation between social reproduction as domination in and through class which constitutes society in terms of a continuous displacement and reconstitution of the 'enchanted and perverted world' of capitalism (cf. Marx 1966, p.830). This process is informed by the self-contradictory mode of existence of capital, that is, by the continuous need for capital to revolutionise the relation between necessary and surplus labour in order to increase the latter. However, surplus labour exists only in antithesis to necessary labour. It is here that capital's self-contradictory mode of existence becomes manifest in its most intense terms: capital depends entirely on living labour as substance of value, and hence surplus value. The working through of this antagonistic tendency compels capital towards the elimination of necessary labour which undermines the existence of capital as existing only in and through labour. Capital cannot autonomise itself from living labour; the only autonomisation possible is on labour's side. Capital's domination is a process of its own self-contradictory mode of existence. The social mediation of this contradiction, a mediation which does not sweep away the contradiction itself but which rather provides a modus vivendi in and through which the contradiction can move temporarily, constitutes a form of social reality in which the class contradiction between capital and labour is manifested in terms of market relations. This organisation of labour entails a constitution of labour in the form of 'wage labour', defined primarily by the resource of its income and as an equal and free exchange relation on the market (see Marx 1983, ch. 19; Marx 1966, ch. 48). Labour assumes an existence in terms of wage labour, an existence upon which exploitation rests (that is value form as formally free and equal exchange of commodities) while it, at the same time, 'eliminates' (see Marx 1966, p.814) the specific character of surplus value production (exploitation). The attempt to confine living labour to wage labour entails the disorganisation of labour's existence as class, harnessing living labour as a moment of capital. The attempt to disorganise labour's (revolutionary) autonomisation from capital and to organise labour as social reality in and through valorisation, rather than being an accomplished fact, is a process of contradiction in and through the class struggle itself. Hence, displacement and constitution need to be seen as moments of one process, in which each moment presupposes the other, while each moment is, at the same time, the result of the other - unity as contradiction.
Understanding class antagonism as a movement of contradiction between dependence and separation and conceptualising social phenomena as a mode of existence and mode of motion of class antagonism, it follows that the contradiction inherent in 'social form' is, at the same time, a contradiction within social phenomena, as for example the self-contradictory form of the state; and between social phenomena, as for example between the economic and political. It is for this reason that Marxism is neither a theory of oppression/ domination nor an economic theory, but a theory of the contradictions of social reality and, as such, a theory of the historical I movement of the contradiction of domination. I shall refer to the social relations of production in terms of the presence of labour within capital because the latter expresses the meaning of the former in a more explicit way.
In order to understand the form of the state, the notion of 'substantive abstraction' needs to be characterised more strongly. I argued above that every social phenomenon is placed as a presupposition and premise to each other as a mode of existence and mode of motion of the historical process of the presence of labour within capital. Substantive abstracting seeks an understanding of the society's concrete existence and development. 'Substantive abstraction' is not to be understood as the empirical abstraction criticised by Marx (1983, p.352, fn. 2) as 'abstract materialism': 'It is, in reality, much easier to discover by analysis the earthly core of the misty creations of religion, than, conversely, it is, to develop from the actual relations of life the corresponding celestialised forms of these relations. The latter method is the only materialist, and therefore, the only scientific one. The weak points in the abstract materialism of natural science, a materialism which excludes history and its process, are at once evident from the abstract and ideological conceptions of its spokesmen, whenever they venture beyond the bounds of their own speciality'. Contrary to empirical abstraction, to abstract substantially is to trace out the inner connection of social phenomena, an inner connection which constitutes social phenomena and their relation to each other as modes of existence of this very inner connection: the presence of labour within the concept of capital. Whereas empiricist abstraction aims at grounding things by identifying their common essence, substantive abstraction attempts to understand essence as the interrelation between things which is constitutive of those things themselves. In addition, substantive abstraction, unlike empiricist abstraction, exists in and through practice (as the inner form of social relations) and not just in the theory by which the abstraction is made. Hence, the working of substantive abstraction constitutes an abstraction of and in,as opposed to an abstraction from, social reality - an abstraction which exists as concrete and in practice, through, in and as social reality and as its process. Social form has no existence separate from concrete historical development, as for example Jessop's understanding of 'determinate form' to which more practical terms have to be added, seems to suggest (for critique see Gunn 1989, 1991).
For Marx (1983, p.106), social antagonism can by itself have no existence. Antagonistic relations express themselves always in forms (value form, money form, form of the state). Form is seen here as the modus vivendi of antagonistic relations and, as such, form is 'generally the way in which contradictions are reconciled' (Marx 1983, p.106). The term 'mediation' (see Gunn 1987, 1989; Psycho-pedis 1988; Bonefeld 1987b) is of vital importance here since it connotes the mode of existence of a dynamic relation of antagonism which allows antagonistic relations to 'exist side by side' (Marx 1983, p.106). The existence of social antagonism in forms 'does not seep away' (ibid.) the inconsistencies of antagonistic relations; rather, these forms constitute the existence of this relation a constitution which exists historically and has to be analysed in an historical fashion. However, as noted by Psychopedis (1988, pp.75-6), 'the point of the mediation of abstract and concrete is to show that the abstract category of labour presupposes capitalist society (that is the abstract element in the notion of labour presupposes the real abstraction of labour sans phrase in this society)'. Hence, the interrelation of the logical and historical: 'As a rule, the most general abstractions arise only in the midst of the richest possible concrete development, where one thing appears as common to many, to all. Then it ceases to be thinkable in a particular form alone' (Marx 1973, p.104). Substantive abstraction is a 'methodic assertion that one cannot found the categories beginning naively with the "real" or the "concrete", but only on the basis of the development of a "process of synthesis" of the givens of intuition and representation' (Negri 1984, p.47). This method of theorising works within the proper motion of its object which it has to keep 'in mind as the presupposition' (Marx 1973, p.102). Conceptualising social reality in this way opens up the idea of the world as 'nothing else than the material world reflected by the human mind, and translated into forms of thought' (Marx 1983, p.29). Substantive abstraction seeks an understanding of the constitution and movement of the (self-contradictory reconciliation of the capital/labour antagonism that constitutes social reality as a whole.
It follows that the primacy of class antagonism is a logical and, at the same time, an historical presupposition. The social relation between capital and labour is an historical presupposition because the foundation of this relation is the historical struggle which led to the separation of the mass of the population from the means of production and subsistence during the process of primitive accumulation (see Marx 1983). The separation of the labourers from the means of production had to be accomplished historically before capital could constitute itself as the social form determining the conditions of life. The capitalist mode of exploitation and mode of domination rests on this historical presupposition. At the same time, the historical presupposition of the separation of the mass of the population from the means of production and subsistence has to be reproduced during the development of capitalism as the 'sine qua non of the existence of capital' (cf. Marx 1983, p. 536; see also Bonefeld 1988). The historical result of class struggle during primitive accumulation inverts into historical presupposition and serves as premise and precondition for the historical existence of the class antagonism between capital and labour, a premise which_has to be reproduced in the motion of capitalist reproduction if the social form of capitalist domination is to continue. From the standpoint of accomplished capitalism, the conceptual approach is bound up with the historical reality of the process of capitalist social-historical existence within its proper motion. This process is determined by the substantive abstraction that illuminates social reality as a mode of existence of the class antagonism of capital and labour. In turn, this class antagonism was itself the result of the historical processes which led to the capitalist form of social reproduction. Hence, the result (capitalist social relations) presupposes its historical generation which, in turn, has to be continually reproduced through the operation of the historical process of capitalism. The latter serves now not as historical result but as conceptual and historical presupposition. This historical presupposition attains generality, from the standpoint of accomplished capitalism, jn an inverted form: it would be wrong to let the conceptualisation of forms follow one another 'in the same sequence as that in which they were historically decisive. This sequence is determined, rather, by their relation to one another in the mode of bourgeois society, which is precisely the opposite of that which seems to be their natural order or which corresponds to historical development' (Marx 1973, p.107). The presence of labour within capital as the historical result of primitive accumulation inverts into the historical and conceptual presupposition of the social reality of capitalism. The political, as will be discussed below, inverts from the historical process of bourgeois revolution to an historical form determined within the context of the category of the abstract labour, namely social form of reproduction as domination. The development of capital's domination fosters a process of displacement and constitution of the contradictory unity of class antagonism as every set of forms provides a mode of existence in which the antagonism of capital and labour can move. The contradictory existence of abstract labour as the social form of wealth founded on exploitation pushes each mediation of the contradictory existence of surplus value production to its point of supersession resulting in a new set of contradictions. Hence, the displacement of production towards the state and towards the world market as the most developed mode of existence of abstract labour.
In sum, the foundation of the social relations of capital and labour, as argued by Clarke (1978, 1982), lies outside the economic and the state simpliciter. Or, more precisely, the foundation lies not just outside of the economic and the state, but rather 'it suffuses the circuit' (Clarke 1980, p.10) of capital as social reality. Having said this, it follows that 'it is the concept of class relation as being prior to the political, economic and ideological forms taken by those relations (even though class relations have no existence independently of those forms) that makes it possible for a Marxist analysis to conceptualise the complexity of the relation between economic and political, their interconnections as complementary forms of the fundamental class relation, without abandoning the theory for a pragmatic pluralism' (Clarke 1978, p.42). It follows that political and economic relations imply different modes of motion of the fundamental class antagonism of capital and labour. Lastly, as a reality of class antagonism, bourgeois society exists only as a movement of contradiction, the development of the contradiction being determined by the outcome of the class struggle.
What is the social context within which the proper motion of the category of abstract labour attains generality as mode of domination of the capitalist form of social reproduction? Capitalist social reproduction is social reproduction in inverted form: private production in a social context. Since the sociality of private production is not a matter of the conscious decision of society, and since the latter exists only in the inverted form of private fragmentation (commodity production), the sociality of private production confronts individual producers as an external and independent process, which, as argued by Marx (1974, p. 909), is their condition of existing as private individuals in a social context. Hence, labour as substance of human existence in a specific social form. The existence of labour as homogeneous and quantitative ability to work assumes social quality, or, social form as abstract labour confronting individual producers of commodities as social power within the circuit of social capital. The 'most general abstraction' attains practically existing generality as production of abstract labour, that is, value. Capitalist production is not use-value production, but value production which, in turn, is surplus-value production (see Negri 1984), and not only surplus-value production but social reproduction of the social relations of production (see Clarke 1982). In the social process of value, productive, commodity and money capital are forms taken by capital-value in its self-contradictory process of self-valorisation. The circuit of social capital exists only as a mediation of the restless appropriation of labour. 'If we take all three forms [money, commodity,productive capital] together, then all the premises of the process appear as its result, as premises produced by the process itself. Each moment appears as a point of departure, of transit, and of return. The total process presents itself as the unity of the process of production and the process of circulation; the production process is the mediator of the circulation process, and vice versa' (Marx 1978, p.180). Thus, the movement of every particular capital is itself only a particular moment of the generality of its form.Valuecan only be grasped as a movement and not as a static thing . Considering the movement of value as a mere abstraction is to 'forget that the movement of industrial capital is this abstraction in action' (Marx 1978, p. 185). The different forms of value relate differently to labour as the substance of value and as means of valorisation in the process of exploitation. The motion of value exists therefore in the form of a dialectical continuum as production sans phrase (objectification of capital in machinery and hence as immobilised) and, at the same time, as mobility sans phrase (value in the form of money as social incarnation of abstract wealth) This dialectical continuum exists as a process of contradiction within which different forms of value coexist and within which particular capitals transform in a successive movement from one to the other value form. Seeing productive, commodity, and money capital as forms that value assumes in its restless process of expansion, their distinctiveness exists only as unity in difference ,and hence as a contradictory movement full of inconsistencies. Capital 'circulates in the shape of a constant change of form, its existence is process, it is the unity of its form, it is the constant change between the form of generality and the form of particularity, of money and of commodity' (Reichelt 1978, p.48). The foundation of this process is living labour as substance of value that assumes social existence in and through the circuit of social capital.
The transformation of value from one form to the other integrates production and circulation as different moments of one process. Each moment is a result and a presupposition of the other in and through the exploitation of labour. The total movement of capital exists as social capital within which different capitals exist only as distinct moments of the one process (difference-in-unity; result and presupposition of each other). Hence circulation and production are opposites in unity tearing down the barriers to restless capitalist intercourse, an association of the 'valorization of value as the determining purpose, the driving motive' (Marx 1978, p.180). The social validation of appropriated labour in circulation implies the social comparison (Vergleichung) of particular capitals in terms of their worth to the dynamic limits of socially necessary labour-time expressed in money (realisation of an average rate of profit). Since capitalist production is social production in private form, the question is how socially isolated (private) labour is rendered social: this question contains the key to understanding the social process of value and the measurement of all things in terms of money. Capital exists as individual capital only within the historically dynamic and changing composition of the social process of value - appropriation of labour in terms of social labour. Particular capitals are only moments of this process, the mobility of which is made felt to each particular capital in and through the fluidity of money capital. The circuit of money capital is, according to Marx (1978, p. 140), the 'most striking and characteristic form of appearance of the circuit of industrial capital'. Social capital, as the movement of the social totality of value, achieves a real existence in and through the circuit of money capital. The latter is the 'form in which the social character is manifested to particular capitals' (Clarke 1978, p.65).
In money capital the difference of the material existence of value is obliterated. Money capital expresses the 'undifferentiated, homogeneous form of value' (cf. Clarke 1978). As such, money capital is the 'ultimate expression of value'; that is an expression of 'capital's ability to impose work (abstract labour) through the commodity form (exchange value)' (Marazzi 1976, p.92). Hence, money capital is the ultimate expression of the 'abstraction in action' of labour in capitalism. This 'abstraction in action' achieves its most elementary form of the existence in the circuit of money capital (M. . .M'), a form which reduces capital 'to a meaningless condensation' (Marx 1966, p.391) without, however, dissolving the existence of particular capitals.Rather, it imposes upon them the social character of their own existence, while 'eliminating the relation to labour' (cf. Marx 1976, p.456). At the same time, money capital exists only in and through labour (M M'). The value of money capital is not determined through the value it represents in relation to commodities, but through the surplus value which it produces for its owner (see ibid.). Hence the contradiction between labour as substance of value and its obscuration in the circuit of money capital - the incarnation of the process of abstract wealth appearing in money capital's apparently self-valorising capacity. The constitution of the contradictory unity ofvalue production in terms of money represents the power of labour as constituents of social form.
Money capital is the rational expression of equality, productivity, repression and thinghood (Dinglichkeit) that characterises the determination of wealth as social process of abstract labour. 'The general interest is precisely the generality of self-seeking interests Therefore, when the economic form, exchange, posits the all-sided equality of its subjects, then the content, the individual as well as the objective material which strives towards the exchange, is freedom. Equality and freedom are thus not only respected in exchange based on exchange values, but, also, the exchange of exchange values is the productive, real basis of all equality and freedom' (Marx 1973, p.245). As an expression of equality, money serves as a moment of exchange that constitutes the working class in terms of wage labour. However, the exchange between capital and labour is not just a simple economic exchange on the market. Rather, the wage is not the price of labour as such but of labour power, the ability to work. The realisation of this potential is a process which occurs outside the limits of the market. Hence Marx's vital distinction between labour and labour power. The separation-in-unity of labour and labour power indicates the contradictory power of money, expressing equality as a mode of existence of domination. The concept of money, displaced from the contradictions of surplus value production and, at the same time, the ultimate expression of these contradictions, is a concrete representation of tilt social reality of class antagonism. Money posits the exclusive form of the self-contradictory existence of the category of abstract labour. 'Money has the advantage of presenting me immediately the lurid face of social relations of value; it shows me value right away as exchange, commanded and organised for exploitation' (Negri 1984, p.23). As a relation of formal equality, money signals the inequality of property relations and represents formal equality as a relation of domination. Whether money serves as measure, medium of exchange or capital, it realises and represents the social process of value whose existence appears to be constituted by the property of capital and not by the property of labour as the formative power of social reality. Money as form of value measures the productive power of capital to impose work in a repressive and 'oppressive, nevertheless contradictory, way. In the circuit of money capital, as a distinct moment of the circuit of social capital, capital assumes a reality which disregards labour as concrete labour (use-value aspect of commodities) inasmuch as the social usefulness of labour is eliminated; labour assumes a mode of existence in the meaningless, but elementary, form of money capital. Money capital is capital in its general and elementary form (see Clarke 1978). 'Capital in general, as distinct from the particular real capitals, is itself a real existence. . . . For example, capital in this general form, although he longing to individual capitalists, in its elementary form as capital, forms the capital which accumulates in the banks or is distributed through them, and, as Ricardo says, so admirably distributes in accordance with the needs of production' (Marx 1973, p. 449). The self-contradictory social process of value comprises different moments of capital which exist only as distinct-in-unity from the continuum of forms of abstract labour in process. Hence an 'internal but necessary' differentiation of one process: social reality of class antagonism.
The central contradiction in this process is not the contradiction between production and exchange, or between value created (latent value) and value realised (as socially necessary labour). The central contradiction of this process is, rather, constituted in the class relation of capital and labour. The context of the social production of value is composed of the inversion of social production as private production and the realisation of the sociality of private production behind the back of the private producer. The contradiction between the crisis-ridden process of unfettered accumulation (value as process of self-valorisation) and the historical limits of capital, as expressed by market constraints upon the realisation of value with an average rate of profit, constitutes a constant compulsion to each individual producer to conform to the process of abstract wealth in action, so as to determine the productive power of labour as a moment of expansive valorisation. The compulsion upon each individual capital, if its devaluation is to be avoided, not only to produce, but to increase relative surplu-value in the course of accumulation, forces upon each capital the necessity of expelling living labour from the process of production and of attempting to decrease necessary labour to its utmost. This process relates to the 'relation between necessary labour and surplus labour that is . . . the relation between the constitutive parts of the working day and the class relation which constitutes it' (Negri 1984, p.72). Capital exists only in antithesis to living labour as the substance of abstract labour.
The contradiction of social production in the form of capital relates thus to the substance of the social reality of value, the presence of labour within capital. The self-contradictory existence of capital is temporarily 'normalised' through the class struggle over the re-composition of the production process and, of importance here, through the expansion of production through circulation. The compulsion towards expanded appropriation and homogenisation of social reality is a tendential part of capital's own reality: that is, the displacement of production to the world market. At the same time, the mode of existence of the abstract in the concrete reality of the world market is presupposed and premised by the whole process of capitalist reproduction. The most developed form (that is the world market) 'is directly given in the concept of capital itself' (Marx 1973, p.163). The world market constitutes the presupposition of social reproduction 'as well as its substratum' (Marx 1973, p.228). The world market posits the most developed mode of existence of abstract labour. The world market constitutes the place 'in which production is posited as a totality together with all its moments, but within which, at the same time, all contradictions come into play' (Marx 1973, p.227). The inversion of social reproduction as production of capital is complete: the world market as the result of the conceptual displacement of substantive abstraction transforms into a premise of abstract wealth; a premise which serves as a presupposition for the reproduction of the social relations of production. The world market constitutes a mode of existence of the presence of labour within capital. The conditions of life are thereby subordinate to the richest concrete development of the antagonistic tendency of capital and labour. Accordingly, the utmost expansion of the process of abstract wealth founded on exploitation comprises also the expansion of the power of money as form of value because of the international character of the circuit of money capital within the circuit of social capital situated on the world market. From the conceptual standpoint advocated here, the displacement of the presence of labour within capital from production to the world market subordinates the conditions of life to the most richly developed form of the category of abstract labour. Hence, the development of national economies is subordinated to the equality, repression, ultimate expression and thinghood of value in the form of (the international character of) the circuit of money capital. The constitution of the world market turns into the premise of the imposition of work in national economies (see v. Braunmtihl 1978).
The notion of the primacy of class antagonism as the 'logical and historical presupposition, the social condition for the existence of individual capitalists and workers' and as 'the basis on which exploitation' (Clarke 1982, p.80) and political domination rest, makes it possible to conceptualise the complexity of the relations between diverse phenomena, notably the relation between the economic and the political. Further, it provides a conceptual tool for analysing the interconnections of the variety of forms as complementary forms of existence of the fundamental class relation (see Clarke 1978). The political relations do not primarily correspond to, or reproduce, economic relations (the so called functions of the state for capitalist accumulation). Rather, the political complements the economic as, together, different forms of the same fundamental class antagonism. However, the political complements the economic only in a mediated form as a moment moving within the proper motion of class antagonism. The state is not a state in capitalist society, but rather a moment of the class antagonism of capital and labour (see Holloway/ Picciotto 19/ I). The understanding of the political is thus an analysis of the unity-in-separation of different forms assumed by the class antagonism and of the process of the working of this antagonism.
The thesis of the primacy of class antagonism over the forms assumed by the class relation rejects structuralist and fordist arguments as sociological studies of different aspects which do not aim at seeing them as modes of existence of the presence of labour within capital. Contrary to the debates introduced above, the notion of the primacy of class antagonism effectively says that structures do not exist. Of course in a sense they do exist, but they exist only as modes of existence of class antagonism and hence as social process, and not only as social process but as historical results of the working of class antagonism and hence as historical premises for class struggle. As such, structures exist as things qua reification of human relations. Historically achieved structures of the capitalist state (see Negri 1988 on the Keynesian welfare state) are structures imposed upon capital and the state through the historical development of class struggle which compelled the state to reconstruct the way in which labour is contained within the context of the expanded reproduction of value.
The conceptual understanding of the actual historical process of capitalist social reality needs to be conceptualised within the context of valorisation, that is, of abstract labour in action. This conceptualisation, in turn, inverts the historical precondition of capitalism into an historical result and precondition of class antagonism-'Human anatomy contains a key to the anatomy of the ape' (Marx 1973; see also Psychopedis 1988). The precondition is the historical becoming of the presence of labour within capital which is then converted into the premise of capitalist social reality, a premise which, in turn, exists as precondition of capital's historical process. The constant and dynamic effort of capital to restructure its control over labour is the precondition of the stability of capitalism, a stability that is based on the reproduction of the historical premise of the capital labour class relation. The continuity of the presence of labour within the concept of capital exists only as practical and historical discontinuity (see Bonefeld 1987c; Negri 1984).
The apparent fragmentation between the political and economic appears as a relation of things ('structures') and is thus part of the fetishisation of bourgeois society (see Holloway 1980; and Holloway's contribution to volume 2). This fetishisation of social reality makes it necessary to theorise the inner connection of society - but 'all science would be superfluous if the outward appearance and the essence of things directly coincided' (Marx 1966, p.817). However, it is these fetishisms which are taken as the starting point in structural 'Marxism', including the debate on Fordism: 'although the internal relationships are concealed, they are understandable to the popular mind' (see ibid). To accept social reality as a whole, without insisting on the antagonism which composes it and which processes it, is 'to not grasp [distinct moments] in their unity. As if this rupture had made its way not from reality into the textbooks, but rather from the textbooks into reality, as if the task were the dialectic balancing of concepts, and not the grasping of real relations' (Marx 1973, p.90). The 'abstract materialism' of structuralism and its resurrection in the debate on (post-)Fordism not only reproduces the fetishised forms by way of thinking; it also does not move within the object of its thinking and does not risk the assertion of reality through abstraction, an abstraction which is well within that reality and which exists in practice.
Social Constitution and the Form or the Capitalist State
The historical constitution of abstract labour as the generality of the social relation of capitalist reproduction presupposes the historical constitution of the state. The first chapters of Capital presuppose the existence of the state as an historical process and premise for the reality of the law of value. The dismantling of feudal(10) restraint is an historical process that establishes social conditions which constitute the reality of value production: the free individual bound by legal relations instead of relations of direct coercion, territorially homogeneous markets, money with a political title (see Marx 1973, 1983), the political protection of the right of property and the provision of infrastructural means within which the law of value can unfold. This formal, but nevertheless real, determination of the state comprises an historical development in which the state arrogated to itself particular functions." The historical development of the state transforms from the political revolutionising of personal relations of domination into the political normalisation of bourgeois society. The impartiality of legal standardisation of rights reasserts the liberation from feudal constraints within the proper motion of capitalist social constitution (individual freedom and equality). In capitalism, the constitution of the general conditions within which formal freedom and equality obtain are abstracted in a form distinct from exchange relations and production (see Holloway/Picciotto 1978). The state enforces the norm of social interaction between property owners in a way which safeguards the formal recognition of (property) right to which each individual is subject. This relation of the state to society implies that private individuals exist as abstract individuals endowed with standardised rights and, as such, treated as abstract citizens (see Blanke/Jtlrgens/Kastendiek 1978; Holloway 1980). This treatment complements politically the processing of class as wage labour. This reassertion of the right of property denies the existence of class' (see Gunn 1987a). The form-determined function of the state is something real and as such provides legitimacy for the state (see Agnoli 1975). These functions cannot be provided by the conscious decision of the community since the community exists only in the inverted form of the private individual in a social context characteristic of commodity production.
However, behind the sanction of the right of property lies the doubly free labourer (see Marx 1983, pp.166, 668) and the concentration of the conditions of the means of social production and subsistence in the hands of capital.Behind formal equality and formal freedom lies social reproduction in the form of capital:value production (that is surplus value production; see Negri 1984). The formal safeguarding of rights inverts into the substantive guaranteee of exploitation (see Gunn 1987d) and specifies the state as a moment within the 'context of the valorisation process (cf. Clarke 1978). The form of the state, as social practice, inverts hence from achieving the instantiation of human rights which, itself, is the right of political emancipation (revolutionising of direct relations of power) to imposing work as the social reality of the right of property which, itself, is a negation of social emancipation. The constitution of social reproduction as reproduction of capital involves the state as a distinct moment of the imposition of value and the organisation of life around imposed work. The form of the state, which attains generality in terms of the harmonies of formal equality and formal freedom as political domination, is hence posited as political organiser of the 'republic of the market': formal freedom and equality as mode of existence of exploitation. The political guarantee of the right of property determines the state as a strong state that imposes the rationality and equality of the right of property over society in the attempt to contain the social antagonism of capital and labour by the force of law.'2 Therefore, the contradictory unity of surplus value production is displaced to the form of the state in a way which concentrates the social reality of exploitation in and through the guarantee of formal freedom and formal equality of property rights. The social process of formation and implementation of rights in and through the state mediates exploitation in and through the form of rights of property.
This social determination of the state, as an historical pre-condition,reality and process of the social relations of production, charactertises the state as an 'illusory community' (cf. Marx/Engels 1958) subsuming particular interest(private production and exploitation) as universal (social reproduction and the republic of the market as human right). The contradictory unity of surplus value production is mediated as social existence in the form of the state as 'external', as 'alienated form of community' (cf. Marx/Engels 1958). This determination of the state in the historical process of capitalist class relations posits, at the same time, its substantive character as imposing law and order: instead of privileges, the state sets rights; instead of relations of will and power, the state sets relations of legality; instead of despotism, the state concentrates coercion as law and order; instead of relations of conflict, the state sets contractual relations of social interaction. The concentration of the universal in the form of the state presupposes the state as 'concentration of bourgeois society' (Marx ~973, p.108). This constitution of the state involves the displacement of control over the means of production into the form of the state, imposing order in and through legal standardisation of formally equal property owners. The social process of wealth as one of value is thus displaced and constituted politically in the form of the safeguarding of rights, equality and freedom upon which the social reality of the process of value rests. 'The 'concentration of the coercive character of bourgeois society in the form of the state' (cf. Agnoli 1986) guarantees and sanctions the right of property for each commodity owner in a form independent from them. The particularisation of the political as distinct from the social implies that the state can only relate to the private individual in a social context through certain general forms, that is monetary or legal means and direct coercion, so as to impose the existence of the private individual as an abstract citizen within the rule of law.(14)
Formal freedom and equality figure not as accomplished fact but as a process of class antagonism. Formal freedom and equality constitute the historical presupposition of the state, its historical premise and result. The mode of existence of the state inheres in the historical tendency towards expanded social organisation of social reproduction in terms of law: the elimination of social conflict in and through the instantiation of human rights, that is, law and order control. It is here that the process of surplus value production attains generality in the form of political domination. The dynamic unity of surplus value production does not eliminate the antagonism of capital and labour, but pushes continually each mediation of the contradictory unity of surplus value production to its point of supercession inasmuch as formally equal, but mutually exclusive, property rights (see Marx 1983 on the working day) constitute relations of exchange as relations of politicial domination, involving the imposition of relations of legality over the class conflict. Therefore, the state exists as the political concentration of social normalisation, organisation and domestication of social conflict in forms conforming to formal rights and the safeguarding of these rights through coercion separated from society and, at the same time, existing within society. The particularisation of the state from society entails specific functions arrogated by the state in the development of capitalism. The historical tendency of 'statification' is presupposed in the substantive abstraction of capital and labour and in the result of the concrete historical moment of the abstract tendency as concrete class struggle. The legalisation (as well as political supervision) of the social relations implies at the same time their statification, a statification which aims at the development of the social relations of production in politically supervised, legally controlled, non-conflictual forms (see Agnoli 1975; Blanke/Jurgens/Kastendiek 1978). The organisation of social conditions through and in which the process of value exists is perceived here as the state's content as mode of domination, a content which is presupposed in the determination of the state as historical result, reality and process of capitalist social relations. The separation of the political from the social operates within society. Thus the contradiction between form and content; particularisation of the state imposing the generality of formal freedom and formal equality as 'community', the content of which is the 'perpetuation of the slavery of labour' (cf. Marx 1969, p.33), a perpetuation that comprises the 'sine qua non of the existence of capital' (ef. Marx 1983). The 'autonomised [verselbstandigte] power of the state' (cf. Marx 1974, p.882) entails the form-determined content which puts the state right back into the process of value. Hence, the state is constituted as a contradictory unity of form and content (see Clarke 1977), a unit that is impossible to separate inasmuch as, in practice, it constitutes a dialectical continuum.
The social normalisation and pacification of the aspiration of labour in the sphere of social reproduction is beyond the scope of the private contract between capital and labour and the latter's existence for capital as merely a means of valorisation. The social organisation of the reproduction of labour, which seeks to harness the power of the working class as a moment of valorisation, can only be processed by the state as a distinct moment of the class antagonism between capital and labour, a moment within which the contradictory unity of surplus value production exists as a political relation, complementing the economic. The pacification of class conflict into forms of law and order caused, regarding the regulation of the working day, 'capital at last to be bound by the chains of legal regulation' (Marx 1983, p.233). The displacement of the contradictory unity of surplus value production (in its mode of existence as formal freedom and equality) to the state specifies the state as a moment of the social relations of production that preserves the conditions of capitals' existence: living labour. This preservation of living labour, both in terms of the existence of the working class and the normalising of the aspiration of the working class within the limits of value, is abstracted from capital as individual capital and conforms to the state's constitution as a mode of existence of the social relation of capital and labour. 'The legal chain of regulation' thus exposes capital's general need, as social relation, for living labour opposed to capital in its real existence as individual capital. Capital cannot exist without the state The form of the state is thus to be seen as a distinct mode of existence of exploitation in that the state internalises in its historic development the preservation of the substance of value (living labour); the state mediates capital's dependence on the reproduction of labour power within the limits of capital. The state attains historical existence in the dialectical process of these functions arrogated by the state. The development of the state needs to be seen as one in which the contradictory unity of surplus value production is processed in a political form, as a moment of the same process of class struggle: social reproduction as, and in and against, domination.
The tendency of the state to arrogate to itself functions of organising labour power (housing, education, skills, health, social reproduction, discipline, living conditions, legal provisions, enforcement of legal rights, organisation of free time), and likewise the processing of the aspiration of the working class within the historical limits of capital and the state, is restricted by the state's own precondition: surplus value production and the domination of capital. The state is a mode of the existence of labour in capitalism (see Agnoli 1975). The statist moderation of the 'perpetuation of the power of capital and the slavery of labour' (cf. Marx 1969, p.33) posits the state, in regard to labour, as an instance of oppression and, at the same time, an instance of its existence in capitalism (see Agnoli 1975). The state provides 'things we need, but in a form that is oppressive' (cf. London 1980) as it denies and disorganises by use of force, in the name of citizenship, social emancipation in contrast to the political emancipation characteristic of capitalist domination. This contradiction of the state exists not as accomplished fact but as process of class struggle. Therefore, it is not sufficient simply to indicate the class character of the state. Rather, the class character needs to be analysed as a specific form and praxis of class domination (see Holloway 1980; Holloway/Picciotto 1978), and, as such,open to the class struggle itself. The attempt of the state (and capital) to harness class conflict into bourgeois forms of legality and to confine the aspiration of the working class to the limits of the state (and capital) implies not only the legalisation of social relations; it implies also the recognition of the aspiration of the working class and the processing of the latter's aspiration in a way that denies the existence of the working class as class by processing its struggle through the forms of abstract citizenship.
The state is thus to be conceived of as the concentration of the coercive character of capitalist society, both as its historical presupposition and its historical premise and result. The historical composition of the state during fascism cannot be seen as an 'exceptional' form of state (Poulantzas 1974 )nor can the so-called 're-authoritarianisation' of the state during the crisis of Fordism and the strengthening of the authoritarian character of the state in post-Fordism (Jessop, Hirsch) be seen as a qualitatively new period in capitalism. Rather, the coercive character of the state exists as presupposition, premise and result of the social reproduction of the class antagonism and not as an exceptional form of the state or as a qualitatively new period of capitalist development. The historical determination and composition of the form state as the 'concentrated and organised force of society' (Marx 1983, p.703) is a process of class conflict, entailing the political attempt to sustain and reassert control over labour. In the face of the difficulty of periodising specific historical forms of capitalist development (see Clarke's contribution to this volume), the attempt to contrast specific forms of political violence to phases of a seemingly civilised use of political power disregards the general character of the form of the capitalist state. The sociology of different types of capitalist modes of production (as in Poulantzas and the debate on (post-)Fordism), entails an essentialisation of specific aspects or functions, arrogated by the state to itself in the course of the class struggle. The question about the authoritarian character of the state, and its historically concrete role vis-a-vis the social, concerns the composition (re/decomposition) of the historical presupposition of the state as premise of the social conflict (see Clarke's contribution to this volume). The republic of the market pre-emptively stabilising the process of value through corrective repression of the aspirations of labour attains generality in the state's 'preemptive counter-revolution' (Agnoli 1975), that is in the re-imposition of the value form over the conditions of life. The 'relative latency of the terrorist use of force' (see Hirsch 1978) involves the imposition of the historical premise of the state's own constitution (that is capitalist domination) against the presence of the real possibility of labour's indiscipline, social unrest and the strength of the working class as manifested in commanding living standards incompatible' with accumulation. This use of force entails the safeguarding of social reproduction in the form of capital by maintaining the 'peaceful, civilised, formally legal and democratic form of appearance of bourgeois society' (see Hirsch 1978). The development of the form of the state is neither a reflection of political and ideological changes, nor merely a result of economic crisis, but a mode of motion of the self-contradictory form of the capitalist state in the face of the crisis-ridden development of accumulation and, as such, a process of the constituting power of labour within capital. The limits of capital are, at the same time, limits of the state: the presence of labour within capital. The activities of the state 'are bound and structured by this precondition [the reproduction of the capital relation of its own existence, by the need to ensure (or attempt to ensure) the continued accumulation of capital' (Holloway/ Picciotto 1978, p.25). This domination does not have to be theorised anew at the level of the state, since the powers the state arrogated during the historical development of capitalism are already 'inserted in a particular society' (Clarke 1978, p.64) and since it already exists as the historical precondition of social reality as a whole.
Seeing the state as a mode of existence of the presence of labour within capital implies that the state cannot be understood as agent of capital. The state cannot provide general conditions suitable to every particular capital beyond the guarantee of the reproduction of the social form of social reproduction, because each capital exists only in relation to each other as a moment of a single process that constitutes it. Social capital exists only as a process of difference-in-unity with the life-cycle of value. For capitalist reproduction to take on the form of overaccumulation and crisis, each individual capital must be involved as a moment of the social process of value in terms of negation (devaluation) and affirmation (average rate of profit). The state and capital depend on the continuous reproduction of the transformation of value as between particularity and universality (see Reichelt 1978), mediated and composed within the circuit of social capital (see Marx 1978, ch. 1-4). Therefore, one cannot derive the historical development of the state from the specific interests served by particular policies (as for instance implied by Jessop's reference to hegemonic interests of different capital logicians). Rather the form of the state needs to be seen as a mode of existence of the class relation which constitutes and suffuses the circuit of capital. Consequently, the form of the state attains existence as the political mode of existence of the abstract category of labour in action. In turn, this constitution of the state is displaced to the world market as the concentration of the richest concrete development of the constituting power of labour within capital.
The mode of motion of the state within the context of valorisation needs to be seen within the context of the world market if the 'inner connection' between the economic and political is to be understood in its materialist constitution as distinct-in-unity. In the debate on the (post-)fordist state, the world market is perceived as a power that dictates state policies and coerces the state to reconstruct its historical form of existence (see Hirsch/Roth 1986). To be sure, the world market dictates, but its existence is not power as such but the constitution of the contradictory unity of surplus value production. The so-called 'dictates' of the world market are the dictates of the crisis-ridden development of accumulation that obtains only in and through labour. The dictates of the world market amount to the displacement of the class contradiction from the conflict between necessary and surplus labour to the constitution of this same contradiction within the form of the world market. The form of the state is a moment subaltern to the international movement of capital, that is, to the richest possible concrete development of the substantive abstraction of class antagonism (see v. Braunmuhl 1976, 1978). The state is constituted within the proper motion of the 'mode of existence of social capital operating internationally' (v. Braunmuihl 1978, p.176). The world market constitutes a mode of existence of the contradictions of social reproduction: global concentration of capitalist accumulation, that is the negation and affirmation of appropriated labour. 'Each national economy can only be conceptualised adequately as a specific international and, at the same time,integral part of the world market. The national state can only be seen in this dimension' (v. Braunmtihl 1976, p.276; my translation).
The conceptual (and practical) movement of the class antagonism of capital and labour contains a further displacement of the contradictory unity of surplus value production. Money capital, as the ultimate expression of value, expands its mobility into the utmost possible space of the world market. The contradiction involved in the coexistence and sequence of different value forms composed within the process of social capital is the potential autonomisation (Verselbstandigung) of monetary from productive accumulation concentrated on the world market. This autonomisation involves the displacement of the contradictory unity of the production process (that is labour and valorisation process) to the constitution of this same contradiction in the form of a contradiction between productive and loanable capital (that is, the contradiction 'between the factory and the credit system'; Marazzi 1976, p.92). This process is mainly constituted through the development of the credit system 'in which money no longer functions as a hoard but as capital, though not in the hands of its proprietors, but rather of other capitalists at whose disposal it is put' (Marx 1978, p. 261). The self-contradictory character of capital assumes an apparently 'independent form' (Marx 1966, p.382) in interest as a relation between the owner of money capital and the manager of production. This displacement of the contradictory unity of surplus value seemingly eliminates the relation of interest profit to surplus value. However, interest profit exists only as a mode of existence of surplus value. Hence social reality is constituted as a movement of contradiction in and through labour, a movement in which the contradictory unity of surplus value production reasserts itself in M. . . M1 - 'the meaningless form of capital, the perversion and objectification of production relations in their highest degree, the interest-bearing form, the simple form of capital, in which it antecedes its own process of reproduction' (Marx 1966, p.392). Productive accumulation has to succeed in order for money capital to be sustained, while the failure to turn credit into productive command over labour reasserts, for productive capital, the limits of the market to realise capital profitably in the form of insolvency and bankruptcy. At the same time, the default of productive activity ~ threatens to bring about a collapse of the credit relations, upon which social relations rest. In order to sustain the most elementary, V and meaningless, form of capital, labour and productive capital needs to be sacrificed so as to make it possible for banks to absorb heavy losses without default, while the sacrificing of surplus value production on the altar of money destroys the basis in and through which the meaningless form of capital exists. The units of monetary and productive accumulation reasserts itself in and through their destructive separation. The subordination of the contradictory existence of the production process (labour and valorisation process) to the supremacy of money, displaces, as a form of class struggle, the contradictory existence of the production process into a contradiction between credit and functioning capital. This displacement of the contradictory unity of surplus value production is indifferent in terms of social command as its form of wealth is meaningless in content (use value production); none other than the uncoupling of the valorisation from the labour process (see Marx 1983p.48).
Within the crisis-ridden development of accumulation, the development of the capitalist state is processed in immediate form through social unrest and in mediated form through monetary constraints. Basic for the development of the state is the social conflict over the imposition of the value form upon the conditions of life. It is through the power of money as form of value that the imperatives of capitalist social reproduction make themselves felt to the state.(15).The displacement of the antagonism of capital and labour in the form of monetary pressure involves the state because of the state's responsibility for national currency (state as central banker). Seeing the relation between money capital and the state as a relation in which the contradictory unity of surplus value production 'makes itself felt by the state in a mediated form' (Clarke 1978, p. 66), indicates the materialist discontinuity of the real process of class antagonism: erosion of tax base, balance of payment problems, and accumulation \/ of public debt that exists as claim upon a certain proportion of tax revenue (see Clarke 1988a). These pressures indicate the reassertion of the contradictory unity of surplus value production over the form of the capitalist state in and through the abstract average of the money power of capital. In order to understand the working of the money power of capital, one has to descend 'from the monetary image of crisis to an analysis of the crisis of social relations, from the crisis of circulation to the crisis of the relation between necessary and surplus labour' (Negri 1984, p.25). The antagonistic tendency of the class struggle is concentrated in the power of money as the incarnation of value in which the substance of its own existence is seemingly eliminated. In order to avert collapse of credit,the sacrificing of productive activity and labour on the altar of money involves, fundamentally, the reimposition of the power of money over the conditions of life.16 This reimposition involves the state in imposing the generality of social existence (value production) over the social in and through the elementary form of capital (see Clarke 1988a; Marazzi 1976). In this process, the self-contradictory form of the state attains generality as the 'harmonies' last refuge' (cf. Marx 1973, p.886), harmonies of formal equality and formal freedom upon which the historical constitution of the state rests. The state as the harmonies' last refuge represents thus 'communal interest', imposing the lurid face of equality in the form of money over society. The state attains existence as the collective representative of money in command: the subordination of the conditions of life to monetary scarcity, involving law and order control as its preconditions, premise and result. This development of the state, as represented by monetarism, is presupposed in the substantive abstraction of bourgeois society, a presupposition which now serves as premise for the class struggle (see Marazzi 1976; Clarke 1988a).
This article has aimed to show that the relation between structure and struggle is an internal one The attempt to understand social reality in its 'proper motion' (cf. Negt 1984) demystifies structures by viewing them as historical forms of existence of class antagonism, and so as forms in and through which class antagonism exists. History is the history of class struggle, as Marx declares in the Communist Manifesto; however, as he adds in the 18th Brumaire, under conditions imposed on human activity through the results of former struggle which serve as a premise, as a new basis for this struggle itself. Consequently, objective laws of capitalism are to be discussed as forms through which and in which class antagonism exists in capitalist societies. In the event, to speak about 'objective laws' implies the fetishistic reification of social relations as relations of things. It is impossible to make a contrast between the laws of capitalist development and class antagonism without falling into precisely the fetishism Marx criticises in 'Capital'.
The disarticulation of structure and struggle (Hirsch) separates what belongs together as inner nature, or as actual and alive. To make a contrast between the unfolding of objective laws and class struggle is to see the crisis of social reproduction (and its resolution) as an inevitable process of what is seen as a structural disintegration or integration of a corresponding relation between economic and political subsystems. The understanding of struggle as an effect of the unfolding of objective laws of development posits the inevitability of crisis and/or recovery and rejects, by implication, the Marxist understanding of history as one of class struggle. Such reasoning is teleological because crisis is seen as a transitory period in which the unfolding of the objective laws of capitalist development defines the emergence of a new mode of domination appropriate to a new corresponding regime of accumulation. The role of class struggle is strictly limited within this framework (Hirsch).
Conceptualising the capitalist state as a form of social relations, one has to reject Jessop's and Hirsch's notion of the relation of structure and struggle. An understanding of the state as movement of social contradiction rejects a structuralist conceptualisation of different phenomena in terms of 'structural adequacy'. Once the state is no longer seen as the political form of class antagonism, complex historical phenomena can indeed only be 'analysed as a complex resultant of multiple determinations' (Jessop et al 1988, p.53). Once social 'form' is understood otherwise than as 'mode of existence' of the social relations of production, one is left with systematising these relations into economic relations, while the political relations have to be theorised in relation to the economic as relatively, if not radically (see Jessop 1986), autonomous from the economic. The constitution of social reality, in Jessop, follows the 'independent logics of political and ideological domains', forcing the scientific mind to follow, in descriptive terms, the strategic line of capital in the face of 'various dilemmas, risks, uncertainties and complexities', emergent strategies, trial and error techniques etc. (Jessop et al 1988, p.8). Since class relations are reduced to one (strategic) mechanism/cause amongst others (relations in production), the material world of capitalism emerges as a systematic cause of the struggle between different 'capital logicians' determined by (allocation) interests. This understanding rests on seeing social reality as determined by ~ combination of structural development and (individualised) subjectivity. Once class antagonism ceases to be considered as the primary relation, the social antagonism of capital and labour appears as a pluralism of contesting social forces. The consequence of Jessop's equation of capitalist strategies with class struggle is the dismissal of an understanding of history as the history of class struggle. Hostile to form analysis, while proclaiming in its favour, Jessop acknowledges merely structural contradictions. The constituting power of labour, as the abstraction of social reality in action, is thereby dismissed. An understanding of contraction internal to domination is pushed into oblivion. Instead one has to embark on an individualistic analysis of effect and result, the ontological depth of which is 'the theoretical capacity to penetrate beneath the actual course of events to more fundamental mechanisms and causal powers which generate these events in specific circumstances' (Jessop et. al. 1988, p.28; see also Bhaskar 1989). Consequently, 'Thatcherism' can be approached best by a 'polytheist' approach (Jessop et. al. 1988), because there are many multiple causes and effects and hence 'many Thatcherisms' (cf. Jessop et al. 1988, p.9). Such a conceptualisation of social reality carries within it the danger that it is in the end tautological: first of all the outward appearance of reality is taken for granted (multiple causes), and then it is in the light of this outward appearance of reality that social development is assessed (see Gunn 1989). The question for Marx was how to understand multiple determinations/causes and effects in their interrelation. To take the outward appearance of reality as the conceptual starting point (multiple causes as in Jessop; disarticulation of structure and struggle as in Hirsch) without insisting on the social relations that constitute social reality runs the risk of finishing up conceptually where the theorising of the critique of political economy starts.
1. See the selection of articles, with important introductions, by Holloway/ Picciotto 1978; Clarke 1991
2. See also the selection of articles by Bonefeld/Holloway 1991.
3. In Poulantzas (1980), the discussion moves into the direction of Hirsch's approach.
4. On the conceptualisation of the state in terms of the base/superstructure metaphor see Jessop (1982). The widely canvassed version of Marx's base superstructure metaphor in state theory, that is the superstructure arising on the economic base, is not only misleading in view of the state but also regarding Marx's theory itself. The triumph of the base superstructure metaphor in structuralist Marxism was the triumph of, what Marx termed in Capital vol.1, abstract materialism over what I see as the substance of his work (substantive abstraction). However, this triumph constituted the dissolution of both which can be seen in Poulantzas's (1980) later work where he attempts to derive the state not from the economic base but from the social relations of production.
5. Jessop's effort to systematise social relations into structural entities concerns also the social relations of production. Jessop sees the social relations of production as being restricted to comprising economic relations. The relations of production are in turn systematised into relations in production and relations of production (see Jessop 1986, p.5). The former are said to comprise the working relation between classes within the structural entity of production, that is, the relations between capital and labour in the factory (Jessop 1986). The latter refers to relations of resource allocation and to the 'appropriation of surplus labour in determinate forms' (Jessop 1986, p.5). Such a view is simply wrong in terms of a Marxist theorising. Jessop seems to suggest an understanding of the social process of value as a mechanism of distributing available labour power between the various branches of production which, in turn, exercise functions in the production process (for a similar view see Althusser 1975, p. 167; 1977, p.87). Jessop's affirmation of Althusser's misunderstanding of the law of value as a law of the social distribution of labour tells us nothing about the particular social form (that is substantive abstraction) of labour. 'Such a method can only identify static structures, and is forced to pose a qualitative change as a sudden discontinuity, a quantum leap between structures; and not as a process, a qualitatively changing continuum' (Elson 1979, p. 141). Jessop's understanding of the law of value is formal (causal relations) and lacks explanatory power. We are left with a technicist reading of the law of value.
6. See Gunn 1989 on the status of Marxist categories and the relation between first order and second order theory, both of which, as argued by Gunn, presuppose each other. Therefore, the introduction of 'inter-mediate' concepts, as in Hirsch and Jessop, distinguishes between 'levels' of analysis which cannot be separated.
7. According to Marx (1983. p. 141) the global movement of money acquires to the full extent the character of the commodity whose bodily form is also the immediate social incarnation of human labour in the abstract'.
8. In English, the concept of power encompasses quite different meanings which are expressed separately in other languages: potentia versus potestas or Vermdgen versus Macht. The difference is important as it signals a dialectical continuum of different extremes: While potentia (or Vermdgen) is constituting social activity, potestas (or Macht) connotes the social making of history founded on a particular fixed dimension of social reality (see Negri 1989, p.49). As such, when speaking about the power' of the working class one has to bear in mind its power as a constituting social activity within capital, a power which is separate,although connected as an extreme pole of a dialectical continuum, from the power of making history.
9. The term 'abstraction of' points towards the development from the actual social processes to the social form in which they exist (see Marx 1983; Lukacs 1968). The notion of substantive abstraction is identical in meaning with Marx's (1973) notion of the abstract as existing within the concrete and vice versa.
10. 'Feudalism' is used here in its analytical and popular sense: that is the constitution of social relations in and through personal relations of domination. For a discussion on feudal society and the rise of capitalist social relations see Gerstenberger's contribution to this volume.
11. Left to their own devices bankers will tend to fuel overaccumulation by overexpanding credit. The historical development of the state arrogated powers to restrain the growth of credit. These powers provide the basis for the state's monetary and financial policies (see Marx 1966 on the 1844 Bank Act).
12. See Marx on the 'Jewish Question' where he makes it clear that the right of property is not merely one right among others but, rather, the paradigmatic right.
13. However, while safeguarding the right of property, the state has no power to guarantee the realisation of appropriated labour by capital. The state is a mode of existence of the social relation of capital and labour and, as such, a distinct moment of the process of abstract wealth.
14. In Liberalism, right is merely seen as an abstraction from, as opposed to an abstraction of, social reality. This is so because the social unity of object and subject is regulated under the universality of bourgeois right, permitting a philosophy of law as a normative philosophy, that is, the instantiation of rights as the highest social concept of human existence.
15 What follows is an un-systematised conclusion for further research on the problem of the self-contradictory form of the capitalist state in the face of global overaccumulation and the constitution of the circuit of social capital on the basis of credit. At this level, the argument criticises, by implication, fordist and structuralist theories that discuss those problems in disarticulation from class antagonism.
16. See Clarke 1988a on the crisis of Keynesianism and the rise of monetarism as involving just such a re-imposition of the power of money.
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