Ditch arcane Marxist political economy topics: develop a comprehensive politics

Marxists spend all this time on ‘economics’, not politics. All this energy has gone into the transformation problem, the nature of productive & unproductive labour, causes of accumulation crises, whether household labour is value-producing. Arcane topics, not surprisingly, have yielded thousands upon thousands of esoteric texts. Meanwhile Poulantzas was an interlude when politics took centre stage. It needs to be acknowledged that there is only a rudimentary Marxist or communist conception of the political dimension of today’s capitalist societies – let alone how we conceive political life in a post-capitalist society. It means very little attention has been applied to how capitalist economic difficulties can be ‘capitalised upon’ by the exploited & oppressed, both now & in the future.

Yes, even Marxists have the right to follow their curiosity, but their organisations should encourage them to focus on how to apply scientific knowledge, the knowledge we already have, to policies – strategic & tactical – that can help us do good work. Marxist labour needs to be diverted from ‘economic’ investigation to political inquiry, from use values to modes of ruling.

For example, a massive desert is the lack of a persuasive practical psychology, knowledge that can help direct propaganda & policy, tactics & strategy. Take the conception of ideology. It has been almost exclusively focused on the living of beliefs, ideas, arguments; it has been preoccupied with discourse, with the cognitive aspect of mentation. It means the two most neglected themes are the affective living of ideology, & the non-conscious living of ideology (although here Lacan has been used by some).


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