Monday, December 12, 2016


Guattari writes that economic and political phenomena are “a structured totality, a concrete whole, the result of historical development, [and] defined by a set of determined relationships.” This is to say that the world political and economic system is not merely the juxtaposition of various Capital-Nation-States, and that developments, deformations and innovations, predation and delay, are the contents and elements of an organically linked and historically determined material totality.

Guattari writes that the contradiction between the ends of capital, the endless accumulation of surplus-value, are in contradiction with the means of capital, i.e. “the unlimited development of productive forces, the unlimited production of use values.”[1] In order to overcome this, capital retains the system of nation states as “instruments for enhancing capital.” It is only by state intervention that surplus-profits and accelerated advancements in the forces of production are absorbed in a manner that does not threaten capitalist relations of production and exchange, and it is only in and through state intervention that capitalist relations of production and exchange are ensured. Thus, Guattari writes, “monopolies and the state are joined in an organic whole, state monopoly capitalism.”

The owners of the means of production and exchange are not internationalist, they are rather compelled to internationalism by the international character of the division of labour and the development of the forces of production, but aim to occlude the relations of production from their so-called ‘internationalism.’ These owners cannot dissolve the system of states because the basis of their class rule depends on their various states which enforce capitalist relations of production.

Guattari writes that while the bourgeois revolutions were marked by "the emergence of a bourgeois royalty" followed by a political struggle among these factions, today so-called ‘bourgeois revolution’ is rather staged as “a historical sham, an artificially maintained archaism allowing the oligopolies to develop.” Thus, “only a narrow sphere of production is inserted into the global process of reproducing capital,” while this reproduction takes hold of and repurposes feudal or precapitalist social relations, “by strengthening archaic structures and by making compromises with the old ruling classes, showering them with dollars to consolidate their position.”

Felix Guattari, "Nine Theses of the Left Opposition (1966)" in Psychoanalysis and Transversality: Texts and Interviews 1955-1971 tr. Ames Hodges (Los Angeles: Semiotext[e], 2015).

[1] Ibid, 137. 

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