Capital: Totality and Imperialist War

Submitted by redtwister on December 15, 2005

Capital has constituted the world as totality. Abstracted from all regional particularities, it has submitted the totality of the human beings to its universal dictatorship, transforming them into simple means of its valorization. But it has not eliminated the contradictions, in the contrary, it has simplified and sharpened it.

It has not abolished the contradictions proper to the dominant classes of the past, no more than the defects specific to all class societies (for instance: racism, oppression,...). Here also, Capital has carried out these contradictions to their maximal expression and multiplied to infinity all the atrocities of the exploitation societies of the past.

In its substance itself, Capital contains the totality and the dispersion, the force until the generalized centralization (centripetal force) and the centrifugal force, unity and separation, the frantic tendency to the building and to the development of the productive forces, in the same time that their total depreciation and destruction... and finally, the permanent need of alliances and unions and the imperialist war of destruction. It means at each time of expressions adopted by the essential contradiction which characterized it: the contradiction between valorization/devalorization. That means that the essential element of Capital, its life, is the permanent valorization of the value, what it can't achieve without permanently revolutionize the mode of production and spark off convulsions, still permanently, of devalorization (1).

Social-democracy, in its right as well as its left versions, has never understood the inherent contradiction of Capital. Its theories were only vulgarizations of marxism or, better said, consisted to translate into a "marxist" language the theories of the vulgar economists of that period. Not to understand the contradiction, is not to understand the movement, which means life, the being. So, Capital was assimilated to one of its particular aspects, and in general to its positive aspect (which is the proper of all vulgar economy, apologizing everything). So, all the theories of the decadency of the financial capital, of ultra-imperialism,... start with the positive pole of capitalism and with the believe that Capital was at a certain moment progressive in itself, that it developed the productive forces without hindering it and destroying it in the same time (2) and that it contained as unique tendency, the universal centralization. In fact, social-democrats have never understood Capital as a being, as a phenomenon in motion and in constant revolution, as a value in process. They were then absolutely unable to understand that the whole world was a world of production and of reproduction of Capital which did not exclude, but in the contrary conditioned and determined, the permanence and the development of properly capitalist wars.

As far as they have never understood that within the essence of Capital was contained its universality and in the same time, the war of destruction of the other capitals (and they have less understood that that war is a war of destruction of the historical subject of communism: proletariat), the social-democrats had to find a new element to explain the permanent intensification of the world capitalist wars at the end of the past century. Then, new theories have surged defining imperialism as a historical novelty containing a gathering of new characteristics, as period, as phase,...; these theories implied a revision and an absolute falsification of history. As if capitalism could not, well before, have been imperialist (3).

Capital was always imperialist! Moreover: from pre-capitalist societies of pre- and post-christian classes exploitation, Capital has inherited the need of war between the dominant classes for the sharing, of the world. But under the capitalist dictatorship, these wars of affirmation and of development of the mode of production, these wars of plundering and of sharing of the means of production, which in the other modes of production developed itself occasionally and depending of considerable and extremely complex factors, became totally systematic and necessary: capitalism can't live without war; the real subject of imperialist war, it's Capital.

From the believe that imperialism was a kind of politic of capitalism which corresponded to a period or to a determined phase and to a kind of action which corresponded to the "capitalism of the imperialist countries" (!), the social-democracy achieved to conclude that the wars under capitalism could or could not be imperialist (4) or, differently said, that in the middle of the 19th and 20th centuries, the wars between States could not be imperialist. Indeed (but the development of that issue would lead us to pass the limits fixed by this text), the bourgeois and counterrevolutionary practice of the social-democratic parties avoided them to understand Capital. Reciprocally and more essentially, these new so-called "anti-imperialist" theories permitted to justify the imperialist politic of the international social-democracy (5).

As we have showed it many times, the imperialistic character of Capital has to be find in each atom of value in reproduction. Each particle of Capital searches the biggest valorization possible (it means the maximization of the rate of profit) and is ready to sacrifice everything to obtain it (including its own bourgeois manager, as Marx will show it). In that process, it enters in the general circulation (Capital seen in its totality), it means that it enters in the general field of competition and war to obtain that valorization. The biggest mass of capital is put in the best conditions to obtain a bigger rate of profit and, to do that, the concentration and the centralization are developed in symbiosis (6).

All capital is a mass of particles of capital united for the war of valorization, which tend to stick to other particles on its way. All institution for the imperialistic war (army, state, constellation of states,...) is, at that consideration, the exclusive executioner, in its war, of the politic of Capital (and consequently of a unity of the capital). It's therefore absurd to separate the State of the capital and the imperialism of the latter, and to pretend that during the capitalist period non-imperialist States exist and/or non-imperialist wars. Capital has reduced all the realities to its own reality. It has submitted all the previous subjects (human beings, groupings, states, alliances of states,...) to itself as a totalitary reality and has transformed them into simple means of its valorization, into simple instruments for itself. Capital has in the same time transformed itself into an exclusive subject, into a subject by excellence.

The reason why Capital as total and world Capital expresses itself, in the same time, as particularized capital, as capital split up in different particular capitals which fight each others; the reason why it will never exist under the shape of only one consortium, of one and unique monopoly or of a worldwide ultra-imperialism which would have abolished the whole of its contradictions, all of that deduced from the essence of Capital itself and in any other manner from the particular characteristics of countries or States. In each atom of value in process, lays not only the essential necessity to ally and to centralise, but also to be able to carry out that unification only against the other capitals in valorization (7). It's necessary to explain here the opposition with communism. While the unification of the proletariat is an objective in itself and that it does exist a total coincidence between the objective of communism (the world human community) and that process of association, of unification, for the capital in the contrary, the unification is a simple antithesis (a purely negative negation), a simple mean to be more powerful in the trade war and the military war.

The capital wants to become more powerful in the trade war, not only for a superficial problem of markets (which is in general the only one understood by the vulgar economists, including the social-democrats), but also because the valorizing value attracts the value to be more profitable in the buying of the means of production: a scale economy, and/or the so-called "external economies",... Said differently, the more the capital which transforms itself into productive capital is important, the more it's easy to obtain and to pass the average rate of profit.

Regarding the military war, it's only the following of the trade war at a superior level, for the same general reasons and because the open war is won, in the same time, in the development of the productive forces and in its following in the military economy.

In all cases, from the joint-stock companies, to the banks, states or constellations of states, the main characteristic of all union, is the alliance of miscellaneous interests where the opposition is inherent to the submission of all to the market, where all the agreements presuppose the autonomy and the selfishness of each of the contractibles.

The optimal functioning of these unions is not precisely defined by the identity of the interests, but in the opposite, by the recognition of the conflicting interests of all the parties and by the partial and occasional renunciations of each of the contractibles on behalf of the only common interest (8): the one to be in the best conditions to reproduce the capital, that means to win the war. The opposition with the kind of unity of communism, becomes more obvious, because in communism there is no renunciation, no particular sacrifice on behalf of a supposed common good, but in the contrary, the direct affirmation of the interest of the human being and the species, without any mediation or subordination.

That's why, even when communism expresses itself locally, as a territorial action, carried out forward by a fistful of men in any point of the world, it contains the totality, and in any of these particular expressions, it develops the interests of the world human community (9). That's why it does not need any democracy which comes to organize and hide the oppositions (by repressing if necessary); it does not care of a democracy which comes to conciliate the interests, and unify and organize what is socially antagonistic.

In the contrary, the unity of the capital (10) is always a unity of capitals versus other capitals. The development of the capital can't be anything else than the development of war -against communism of course, but also- against the other capitals. Achieved at that point, the valorization of the capital can't be realize anymore but by destroying its rivals, or by centralizing and revolutionizing its productive forces, which is exactly the same. Indeed, all development of the productive forces in an enterprise, in a grouping of enterprises, of countries... (which works, without any exceptions, to improve the conditions of valorization, could it please the capitalist or not, the president of the republic or the trade-unionist on duty), attacks the conditions of valorization of the capitals of the whole world, then devalorizing the means of production.

At the present circumstances, and that so many imbeciles in freedom proclaim that such State is more imperialistic than another, that such president is an imperialistic agent and in the opposite such other is not, that the problem lays between imperialistic countries and "under-developed" countries (!) or which is the same, we should find a cordial harmony and peace between the countries, or moreover that if in the world we could achieve to the perfect and well balanced development (!) of capitalism, wars could have been avoided...; then in the present circumstances, and that all these idiocies (and many other complementary stupidities!) are in the air, we have considered as fundamental, regarding this issue, to put some dots on the "i". It seemed important to us, above all regarding the particular aspects of the imperialistic contradictions, not to let it be understood in the vulgar and journalistic sense given by the bourgeois , but -in all circumstances- as inherent expressions to the reality of the world capitalistic society. It's obvious that that way of understanding the things lets only one alternative: the continuation of the imperialistic barbary or the destruction from the top to the bottom and vice versa of the whole society based upon Capital.


1. Let's remind that all revolution of the productive forces in a given sector -revolution always introduced to increase the rate of profit (extraordinary surplus value)-, decreases immediately and directly the unitary values produced in that sector, as well as the means of production, but devalorizes also (although not by an immediate manner) the unitary values of goods from all sectors, including more specifically the means of production of the whole world, which constitute the physical matter of the fix capital (buildings, infrastructures, manufacturing plants...).

2. Which constitutes in itself, a full revision of the basises of Marx's arguments.

3. Cf. "Le pire produit de l'impérialisme: l'anti-impérialisme" in Le Communiste No.25

4. And it's historically very clear that the social-democrats didn't made any reference to the revolutionary war of the proletariat against Capital, but well to the wars between nations.

5. The social-democracy in South America, in agreement with the bourgeois classification between countries, corresponded to the social-democracy of the "non-imperialist countries"; it denied the vulgar materialist theory of the worker aristocracy, but was obviously not less imperialist than the others (which would have no sense!). It clearly constituted, as in any other part of the world, a decisive force against the revolution and at the service of the recruitment of the workers for the capitalist war.

6. That symbiosis has contributed to the false assimilation between each of these concepts. The distinction done by Marx in the "Capital" between the concentration -"based directly on the accumulation or moreover, identical with it"- and the centralization, that means "the concentration of already existing capitals", keeps all its pertinency because "though the relative expansion and intensity of the movement of centralization depends also, to a certain point, of the level already reached by the capitalist wealth and the superiority of the economical mechanism, the progresses of the centralization do not depend of a positive increase of the social capital."

7. Except of course the explicit unification of the whole capital against communism, against proletarian subversion. And we say explicit unification, because the capitalist war, the war between imperialist forces is de facto an implicit unification (under cover of the separation and war) against the proletariat and its historical objective: communism.

8. One has not to forget that the very basis of the capitalist society presupposes the historical production of the individual, of the citizen, that means the war of everybody versus everybody, ruled by the right which recognizes the generalized antagonism of the individuals as basis and ground of their existence. The "unitary society", the nation, the people... is the common existence of these individuals confronting each other throughout their mutual recognition as owners of goods. The democracy is precisely that permanent reproduction of atomized and selfish individuals confronted with each other, in the same time that their generalized conciliation. The generalization of the conciliation is itself the product of the universality of the alienation of the personal activity (wage labour) and is imposed by the violence and the terrorism of the state.

9. Marx underlines that: "... even though it could have happened in only one industrial district, a social revolution stands at the point of view of the totality, because it's a protestation of the human against dehumanized life, because it starts from the point of view of each real individual, because the collective being (gemeinwesen) where the individual tries not to be isolated anymore is the real collective being of the human, the human being." (Gloses marginales critiques à l'article: "Le roi de Prusse et la réforme sociale par un Prussien" - Karl Marx)

10. "The capital can exist only as numerous capitals." (Grundrisse - Karl Marx)


Related content