< < <
Date Index
> > >
Re: appearance and essence of global class conflict
by Alan Spector
03 April 2002 03:50 UTC
< < <
Thread Index
> > >
Ah, the good old "appearance and essence" twins.

Actually, most people (in my opinion) misunderstand the Marxist sense of
appearance and essence, which is quite different from Plato's sense that
said that essence was truth and appearance was illusion. The Marxist sense
sees appearance and essence as a unity of opposites, where each defines the
other. Just as it is (obviously) one-sided and incorrect to be taken in by
appearances and ignore what is inside (the old "You can't tell a book by its
cover" strategy), it is also incorrect to completely ignore the appearance!
It is about probabilities, after all. You can usually tell something about a
book by its cover.

Class struggle, in the sense of people struggling as a species to control
our lives, which means our ability to act, which means our labor, -- in that
broad sense, class struggle underlies all socio-political struggles.  But it
is a leap to ignore the way that the fundamentals can clump up in ways that
create other types of forces, tensions, structures -- which may be
temporary, but can be stable enough to sharply influence a particular

A (possibly not too successful) metaphor:   Fundamentally, we need oxygen in
our brains to survive. Fundamentally. But sometimes, the way to ensure that
one gets the oxygen is to keep one's hands firmly on th steering wheel of an
automobile and watch the road carefully.

While the struggle, world-wide, between the producers and the takers is
fundamental, there are structures, such as nation-states which develop to
protect the interests of various of those (nowadays) capitalists.
Capitalists cannot detach completely from nation states because: 1) they
fight among themselves, and 2) because they need to have ways to concentrate
their power, including military ways.

So I agree with Gernot when he says that there is a world-wide struggle that
underlies all the current crises. But the expression of that world-wide
struggle can take other forms -- there are "lumps in the gravy", there is
unevenness; there are contradictory forces at work, all of which prevent the
"logic" of "one great big capitalist class and one great big working class"
from fully developing in a mechanistic way.

Alan Spector


----- Original Message -----
From: "g kohler" <kohlerg@3web.net>
To: <wsn@csf.colorado.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, April 02, 2002 2:45 PM
Subject: appearance and essence of global class conflict

> appearance and essence of global class conflict
> People like Plato, Marx, Sir Walter Bagehot, and many Canadians
> distinguish between appearance and essence - the surface and what's
> really behind it. Take Argentina (recent events) for example. People
> were demonstrating in the streets and battling with police about
> economics. That looks like a national class conflict. But
> those-in-the-know know that the Argentinian government's policies were
> enlightened by the great enlightened one - namely, the IMF
> (International Monetary Fund). This leads me to believe that the
> *essence* of the conflict is Argentinian people versus global corporate
> class,  and that the *appearance* of the conflict is Argentinian people
> versus Argentinian government and Argentinian corporate class. Lesson -
> In a globalised world, in which national jurisdictions are but provinces
> of the world(-)system, any class conflict appearing locally is but an
> appearance of the one, grand, and essentially global class conflict. How
> do you like this bit of e-philosophy?
> Gernot Kohler
> Still paying $22.95 a month for unlimited dial-up? Get 3webXS, only $9.95
a month!!!
> Switch & Save at http://www.Get3web.com/?mkid=emt001

< < <
Date Index
> > >
World Systems Network List Archives
at CSF
Subscribe to World Systems Network < < <
Thread Index
> > >