If we’re going to fight the system that dominates us, and all the injustices created by and inherent within it, it is important that we understand the nature of that system—and how it interacts with the state (and vice versa).
You may find the Capitalism & the State slide deck helpful as you work through the readings and questions.
- Vivek Chibber’s pamphlet, “Capitalism & the State” (PDF)
- Ed Rooksby’s article, “‘Structural Reform’ and the Problem of Socialist Strategy Today”
- For those who prefer listening, Chibber talks about “Capitalism & the State” on Youtube.
- Nicos Poulantzas, “Towards a Democratic Socialism”
- Vladimir Lenin, The State and Revolution
- Michael Heinrich, “The Bourgeois State: Class Domination on the Basis of Freedom and Equality” (104min total, roughly 60min talk + Q&A)
- What is your biggest takeaway from the readings?
- What problems and/or shortcomings do you see in the readings?
- What would you say to someone who says that “the politicians are the problem” or that “the lobbyists are the problem?”
- What does Chibber mean when he writes that in a capitalist democracy “there is a big difference between holding office and having power?”
- Socialists have spent over a century debating whether socialism can be achieved through the existing capitalist state or whether the class-biased nature of that state makes that strategy a dead end. How does Andre Gorz’s concept of “non-reformist reforms” fit into this debate, and is it useful for us?
- How does the PRO Act fit in with our discussion of the capitalist state, labor movements, and labor parties?
- DSA is currently developing a platform to be adopted at this year’s National Convention, and many of you have read it. How do you see the ideas we’ve discussed appearing in the draft platform?
- For those of you who were able to get to some of the readings or videos beyond Chibber and Rooksby, is there anything in particular that you found useful or important to consider? Do those resources provide any particular insights into topics or questions we’ve covered so far?
- Chibber asserts that the state is not neutral. Instead, it is beholden to capitalists who can engage in capital strikes even if they lose the elections. What are the implications for us as socialists as we try to develop strategies that can effectively combat capitalism?
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