geert lovink on Fri, 18 May 2001 16:37:12 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Kojin Karatani: The Principles of New Associationist Movement (NAM)

[Last week, Tomohiro Okada gave me a copy of Kohkoku (, a
bilingual "Future Social Magazine", April/May 2001, special topic: "Let's
Play", a special issue, produced for Earth Day in Tokyo, April 21. The magazine
opens with ascii illustrations and the feel of yet one another of those
Japanese lifestyle magazine, filled with exotic information going nowhere. At
first glance it is a radical extension of the New Economy business journals
such as Fast Company for CEOs and their servants, troubled by an acute lack of
creativity. Anyway. This one might be different. It contains an interesting
piece about the manufacturing and prizing of disposable chopsticks and models
for recylcing and forest certification systems. There is a piece on Brazil,
"Land of Serendipity", news on media culture, a piece on non-profit
organizations "speaking a creole language on the street market", proposing an
economy based on mixture of corporations, NPOs and individuals. This is all
still very much in line with the Cluetrain Manifesto and books such as Funky
Business which try to reannimate tired capitalism with crazy ideas. But there
was also interesting stuff, such the Open Money project, economic theory
extending the experiences from the local exchange trading systems (LETS),
followed by two essays Keith Hart, Money in an Unequal World and Michael
Linton/Ernie Yacub, Money and Community. This and more material is available
online: Masaaki Ikeda, editor of Kohkoku, wrote me that the
basis of 'future social design' could be traced in the New Associationist
Movement (NAM). Last year, the Japanese philosopher Kojin Karatani wrote down
the principles of this movement ( which you
will find below. NAM so far is much talk, not much practice, other sources in
Tokyo assured me. We will see. Perhaps we will some more material, and opinion,
and hopefully good news. As Masaaki wrote: "I think there must be much
potential for revolution in Japan. Japan is on the final stage of capitalism,
faster than any other country." /geert].

The Principles of New Associationist Movement (NAM)
By Kojin Karatani

A Preface
B The Program
C The Organization
D Explanation of the Program
E Current Problems Concerning the Form of NAM

A Preface
In the summer of the year 2000, we in Japan began a new associationist movement
aimed at abolishing capitalism, nation, and state or their amalgamation
(capitalism=nation=state). We call it NAM. As a consequence of the decisive
failure of Bolshevism, social democracy-in any of its guises-has become
dominant in the world today. In it we cannot find any hope for a real change;
it is the way capitalism=nation=state has adapted itself for its own survival.
At the same time, anarchism (or associationism) has been re-emerging, and it
might be that our NAM movement is part of this tendency. However, our starting
point is a thorough scrutiny of associationism itself-why it has thus far been
so ineffectual. NAM intends to be transnational. Thus we address the principles
of our movement to the people of the world who struggle in various situations
with the intention to abolish capitalism=nation=state, for a transnational
solidarity and association.

The history of movements that have aimed at the abolition of capitalism and
state stretches over nearly two centuries. They have gone under the names of
utopian socialism, communism, or anarchism. Reviewing this history at the end
of the 20th century we have to admit that the movements have failed miserably.
However, so long as capitalism and state endure-no matter what their ideologues
claim to the contrary-counter-movements against them will continue to appear
and reappear. And for the movement to be young and fresh and functional, a
fundamental reflection of the previous movements is a sine qua non.

Capital and state are two separate things in their modus operandi. Capital
belongs to a principle of exchange, while state belongs to the principle of
plunder and redistribution. Historically speaking, it was in the stage of the
absolutist monarchical state that they were combined. The state necessitated
the development of the capitalist economy in order to survive and strengthen
itself; while the capitalist economy has had to rely on the state, because it
has not been able to affect all productions to make them part of it, and what
is more, it continues to be dependent even upon un-capitalized productions such
as the reproduction of humans and nature.  Thus, after the rise of industrial
capitalism and bourgeois revolution of state, they two joined together and came
to form an inseparable amalgamation, yet at the same time as sustaining their
own autonomies.

So it is that we have to consider counter acts against capitalism and state as
one and the same movement. Marxists after Engels sought to overcome capitalism
by resorting to state authority (i.e., parliamentary revolution), rather than
by means of violent revolution. Which does not mean, however, that this last
was non-violent. Inasmuch as they were relying on state power, the revolution
by violence and that by parliament were equally violent. They were insensitive
to and dependent upon the power inherent in the state. On the other hand,
utopian socialists and anarchists were sensitive par excellence to the power of
the state, but insensitive to the power of capitalism. They held that if only
the state would disappear, a society of association would form itself by the
spontaneous potency of the mass. Marxism sought to counter the power of
capitalism by way of state power, and consequently transformed itself into a
state power. But how can we counter capital without resorting to state?
Anarchists have not answered this aporia, while rebuking Marxism for its
centralization of power and, in many cases, they only daydream about the coming
of utopia in an aesthetic transcendence. Insofar as keeping such a stance,
anarchism will continue to tacitly or paradoxically affirm capitalism.

It is certain that anarchism has been innocent and pure with respect to the
ideal of socialism. But this was because it was powerless. This powerlessness
cannot be ascribed to the tyranny of Marxism. There must be self-examination of
its powerlessness; so much so that our associationism derived from utopianism
and anarchism, the self-examination and critique are necessary. Still, the
logic of the counter act against capitalism and state can be found only by
examining the conjunctures of the age when Marx and Bakunin lived, since there
is no possibility in the social democracy that was established in the 19th
century after their deaths.

What is dominant today, after the collapse of Marxism in the late 1980s, is the
tendency bundled generally under the term of social democracy, that is, the
stance to leave the capitalist market economy intact, and solve the inequality
and contradictions caused by it by way of state regulation and redistribution
via the parliamentary democracy. Obviously this totally lacks the idea of
abolishing capitalism and state-it is simply a reiteration of what Eduard
Bernstein advocated in the late 19th century. Furthermore, as clearly
exemplified by World War One, being social democratic within a nation-state is
not contradictory to being statist and hegemonic toward foreign countries.
Today's world-wide tendency of social democracy will tread the same path if it
continues to omit a self-examination of its tragic past. We cannot see a
recovery in the movement to abolish capitalism and state. The popularity and
permeation of social democracy prove the fact that it is the best means for the
survival of capital/state amalgamation.

Meanwhile, certain states have been promoting non-profit organizations and
local currencies, as well as liberalizing their educational systems. These acts
appear to support the tendency toward associationism, but they do not.  In the
first place, states do these things only because they want to free themselves
from the charges of local economy, social welfare, and education-which are
becoming heavier and heavier because of the globalization of capital-by leaving
them to non-governmental businesses.  Therefore, the expectation that these
non-capitalist organizations would expand and replace capitalism is only
illusory. Neither can they weaken capitalism. They appear increasingly as the
means for capitalism and state to elongate and eternalize themselves.
Nonetheless, we can also employ the tendency as a means to counter capitalism
and state.

In addition, there has been an increase in the reflexive movements to protect
national and local economies and culture against the globalization of
capitalism. They have anti-capitalist motivations, yet are different from what
we consider as counter-acts. The trap in which those who intend counter-acts
against capitalism and state tend to be caught is a return to an enclosed
community. Only those individuals who have once been cut off from traditional
communities can form true associations. Thus counter-acts against capitalism
and state must include counter-acts against traditional communities as well.

Under this light, we have to reconsider the logic of the counter-act against
capitalism and state. After the occurrences of 1968, antisystemic movements
(Wallerstein) of students, women, minorities, and consumers have replaced the
hierarchical revolutionary movements centered on vanguard party and workers. In
one aspect, these are a regeneration of anarchism (associationism), and sustain
the same weakness-avoiding the centralization of power, they can only be too
dispersed and fragmentary to render an effective counter-act. We consider the
tasks of minorities, feminism, and environmental concerns as fatally important,
but stress that they lack a recognition of the relation of production delivered
by capitalism, and the relation of production between the advanced and the
third world countries.  The points of these antisystemic movements are already
supported by the idea of bourgeois revolution, and modern states cannot negate
them. That is to say that even after they are realized, the relation of
production in the capitalist economy will remain intact. In actuality, these
movements have achieved a certain success as they have gradually lost impact
and been subsumed into social democracy. What is at stake now is still how to
achieve a clear prospect about the abolition of capitalism and state, and how
to combine these dispersed movements into one. This is the task of the New
Associationist Movement.

B The Program The New Associationist Movement (NAM) begins based upon a
scrutiny of the historical experience of all socialist movements beginning in
the 19th century. The program can be quite simply summarized in the following
five articles. Inasmuch as one agrees with them, s/he can develop his/her acts
dependent upon individual situations and creativities.

(1) NAM is an economic-ethical movement. In reference to Kant's term, we might
say, "economic policy without ethics is blind, while ethical intervention
without economic concerns is empty."

(2) NAM organizes a counter-act against capital and state. This is a
transnational worker as consumer movement. This is practiced, figuratively
speaking, within and without the capitalist economy. But, of course, it is
impossible in the strict sense to stand outside the capitalist economy. The
struggle without aims at organizing an association of non-capitalist
production and consumption; the struggle within is centered on boycotting in
the process of circulation (consumption).

(3) NAM is non-violent. It not only denies violent revolution, but also
negates any use of state power by parliamentary means. This is because what
NAM intends is an abolition of the capitalist currency economy-that which
state power can never abolish-and also the abolition of state power itself.

(4) NAM's organization and movement themselves embody what it intends to
realize. Namely, by way of introducing the lottery into the election process
(I will explain this later), it prevents a bureaucratic fixation while at
the same time guaranteeing a participatory democracy.

(5) NAM is a realistic movement that abolishes real contradictions; it is
born out of realistically existing premises. In other words, it is a
movement to overcome the social contradictions caused by the development of
capitalism (that has reached the stage of information capitalism) by way of
employing the social potencies produced by the same development.

C The Organization
1. If there are certain amount of participants, the group can be a unit of
NAM, and call itself ** NAM. The unit is organizationally and economically
an independent entity. In order to be a member/participant, however, the
individual has to belong to at least three categories: (1) region -where one
lives; (2) social class according to one's occupation-student, office
worker, homemaker, owner of small business, writer, etc; (3) the thematic of
one's interest-as exemplified below.

Each of the categories is considered as an autonomous association, yet every
member belongs to multiple categories at the same time. Multi-dimensional
participation is necessary to protect the categories from being enclosed and
exclusive (especially according to region and class). Many civil acts are
constituted and enclosed by their own themes and targets. Certainly, it is
necessary for them to be autonomous. They would lose their inherent
characteristics should they add other dimensions unconditionally, or belong
to other principles. Nonetheless, individuals can get out of the enclosure
by belonging to other dimensions. For instance, region has to be
acknowledged as a unit of life circumstance, but an individual has to get
beyond it by belonging to other dimensions.

The categories of class as well as thematic interest can be, for that
matter, considered as regions of a phase space, if not of a physical space.
In the place of orchestrating such a slogan as "Think Globally, Act
 Locally," NAM realizes it as an organizational principle. NAM began in
Japan, but it intends to be a transnational movement, going beyond the
borders of Japan. Even when NAM becomes a global association, the above
principle will be consistent-at that time Japan will be deemed a region.
Every individual belongs to a region, while s/he belongs to a global domain
in terms of his/her thematic interest as well as class/occupational
position. NAM is a rhyzomatic association, consisting of multiple
regionalities. It is different from the "International," that had
nation-state as its unit, as well as from just an international network
between individuals.

The following list presents the categories of thematic interests. They can
be roughly divided between the counter-movements immanent in the capitalist
economy and that which is exscendent to capitalist economy. They are just
examples, and can be changed according to the members' own interests.

a) Immanent Counter Acts

Racial Minority
Sexual Minority

b) Exscendent Counter Acts

LETS (Local Exchange Trading System)
Non Profit Organizations
Free Schools
Aid to The Third World

2. Each category/region has a representative and a secretariat-this not only
the physical region but also the class/occupation and thematic interest. A
representative of a category/region cannot hold the post of another. Among
the representatives of all categories is the center-the representative
council--which is, as it were, the association of associations. Within the
center, again, representatives are elected. In each level, first, three
candidates are elected by a secret vote (in a plural ballot system), and
finally, the representative is chosen by lottery; the rest are vice
representatives. The term of office is a year, but if there is a recall, it
is terminated.

The central representative council holds a central secretariat. The
secretary general is chosen by and among the members of the central
representative council. At the same time, the central representative council
has an auditors' committee, which inspects the accounting and management of
the center and reports to all members. This committee also rules the
contradictions between the units and recall actions. The members of the
auditors' committee are chosen among those who have experience as
representatives or secretary-generals.

Aside from members, NAM has associate members. They can participate in
conventions and speak as they wish, but cannot participate in
decision-making, such as the election of representatives.

There are no secrets in NAM; all the issues and arguments are reported to
all members. For this purpose, all members are required to have a computer
or be accessible. For that matter, each unit can have an independent
homepage or rather must have one.

3. Within NAM, local currency in the sense of the local exchange trading
system (LETS) is used. For members' or associate members' labor, donation,
and service, NAM pays with the currency called nam. This makes volunteer
activities not one-sided gifts or self-sacrificial services, but subjective,
open, and reciprocal exchanges. NAM is an immanently economic-ethical
activity in this sense. Employing LETS is also important in order to spread
this as a regional currency of thematic interest, not limited to the
physical regional currency.

D Explanation of the Program

(1) NAM is an economic-ethical movement. In reference to Kant's term, we
might say, "economic policy without ethics is blind, while ethical
intervention without economic concerns is empty."

Socialism was ethical at its outset. This was not just to pursue economic
equality. Being ethical is different from and even opposite to the morality
that state and community impose. It is, as Kant stated, to be a free subject
and treat others not only as means but also as free agents. This is only
possible by abolishing the capitalist market economy that treats people only
as means. Thus socialism appeared necessarily as an ethical intervention. Of
course, the ethical motivation cannot by itself overcome capitalism. But it
is because Marxists have omitted it that we must stress it now.

 In the preface of Capital, Marx clarified his stance as follows:

To prevent possible misunderstandings, let me say this. I do not by any
means depict the capitalist and landowner in rosy colors. But individuals
are dealt with here only in so far as they are the personifications of
economic categories, the bearers [Träger] of particular class-relations and
interests. My standpoint, from which the development of the economic
formation of society is viewed as a process of natural history, can less
than any other make the individual responsible for relations whose creature
he remains, socially speaking, however much he may subjectively raise
himself above them.

Marx never accused capitalism or capitalists from a simple-minded moral
viewpoint. His ethics existed in his decision to abolish the relational
structure of capitalism; it was never in the morality that behaves as if it
went beyond the relational structures subjectively. It is precisely in this
decision that Marx's ethics existed. The natural historical structure-like
the relation between capital and wage labor-can never be abolished if it is
left alone. If not for our ethical intervention, the capitalist economy will
endure permanently. Socialism is not a natural historical necessity, but an
ethical intervention.
 The people-or the others-who we have to take into consideration must
include not only the living but also the dead as well as the unborn (the
future others). If the present capitalist economy endures as it is, a global
crisis will undoubtedly hit humanity. Sacrificing 'future others' for the
sake of our present happiness by public consensus-is to treat the others as
only means, not as free agents. Being ethical is possible only by
terminating capital's unrestricted accumulation. Thus our movement is

NAM is an association of individuals, and based upon the ethics of
individuals. Or rather, ethics is an individual problem in essence. Not to
mention the state, any organization-even anti-state society or class
assembly-does not contain an immanent ethical nature. In their daily lives,
individuals belong to various organizations-government offices,
corporations, unions, civic organizations, political parties, village
communities, and so on-while NAM is not another organization that stands
side by side with others. To participate in NAM does not require
breaking-away from others. NAM is an association of those individuals who
intend to be ethical while belonging to the other existing organizations.
After all, the movement of NAM associates people who are enclosed within

Furthermore, it is not correct to say that NAM begins a new movement. Within
the real development of the capitalist economy, many counter movements have
already arisen. The role of NAM is to become a mediator that associates
various movements that are isolated or even in conflict. Which does not
mean, however, that NAM rules them. For instance, suppose there is an
organization all of whose members belong to NAM, but it is considered
independent from NAM. Or suppose there is an organization that is unrelated
to NAM yet whose practices are NAM-like, we welcome and appreciate it. What
we intend is finally not an expansion of NAM, but an expansion of a NAM-like

(2) NAM organizes a counter-act against capital and state. This is a
transnational worker as consumer movement. This is practiced, figuratively
speaking, within and without the capitalist economy. But, of course, it is
impossible to stand outside the capitalist economy. The struggle without
aims at organizing an association of non-capitalist production and
consumption; the struggle within is centered on the boycotting in the
process of circulation (consumption).

The term "market economy" is often used in order to conceal the fact that
what is going on is the act of capital. Capital is the movement M (Money)-C
(Commodity)-M,' yet in the reverse, it consists of the exchanges C-M and M
'-C. When it is said that the market economy is efficient in terms of the
adjustment of price, veiled behind it is the movement of capital. To be
precise, the capitalist market economy and market economy in general should
be distinguished. The abolition of the capitalist market economy is not
equal to the abolition of the market economy or money. The global network of
consumers/producers cooperatives that we envision is not a return to a
self-sufficient community, but a market economy open to all the free,
independent producers. According to our vision, in this exchange, currency
would not engender surplus value; it would be something like LETS, which
does not turn into capital.

However, this is not a fantasy to be realized at the stage when we seize
state power. It is to grow within and against the capitalist economy. Karl
Polanyi likened capitalism (the market economy) to cancer.  Coming into
existence in the interstice between agrarian communities and feudal states,
capitalism invaded the internal cells and transformed their predispositions
according to its own physiology. If so, NAM is a culture of anti-cancer
cells, as it were. It dogs capitalism, and gradually encroaches upon it.

The drive of capitalism is that of an auto-reproduction toward its
perpetuation. Capitalism is thus interminable. No matter how futile and
harmful it is, it does not end. Even if our thought changes, or the state
regulates it, it does not end. Capitalism is not a product of our desire,
but our desire is the product of capitalism. Notwithstanding this power,
however, if and only if it fails to capture surplus value, it will die out.
NAM won't 'overthrow' capitalism; it will just make it die out quietly.

Marxists in general basically saw capitalism as a deceptive version of
feudal domination. That is to say, they saw that it cheated surplus labor
from workers. This was the idea of the Ricardian Socialists (the Chartist
Movement) before Marx, but not of Marx. Marx, on the other hand, attached
importance to the fact that capital's essence was in the form of merchant
capital-attaining surplus value from spatial difference. Meanwhile,
industrial capital attains surplus value (relative surplus value in
particular) by incessantly producing new value systems temporally-that is,
with compulsive technological innovation. This categorical division does not
prevent industrial capital from attaining surplus value from the activity of
merchant capital. Capital constantly travels the world over, looking for
cheaper labor power. And finally, the surplus value (for industrial capital)
is attained as the difference in the process through which workers in sum
buy back what they in sum have produced. For this reason precisely, surplus
value cannot be taken into consideration within the limited realm of
individual enterprises or nation-states. It should be grasped only as the
total surplus value in world capitalism. Within these limited domains, what
we know empirically is only profit. Surplus value is always invisible, like
a thing in a black box.

The relationship between capitalist and worker is essentially different from
that between master and slave. This is the relationship between those
individuals who are placed in the money form (general equivalent form) and
in the commodity form (relative value form). Capital exists only in the
movement Money-Commodity-Money; only by the incessant metamorphosis (or
trans-substantiation) can it self-reproduce. In this movement, capital is
definitely the one that is subjective. But at the end of the cycle, capital,
too, has to stand in the position of the relative form of value (selling),
and it is precisely at this moment and this moment only that workers are in
the subjective position. This is the place where the commodities of
capitalist production are sold-the place of consumption. This is the only
place where workers in totality with purchasing power are in the buying
position. Marx articulated this: "What precisely distinguishes capital from
the master-slave relation is that the worker confronts him as consumer and
possessor of exchange values, and that in the form of the possessor of
money, in the form of money he becomes a simple center of circulation-one of
its infinitely many centers, in which his specificity as worker is
extinguished."  For capital, consumption is the place where surplus value is
finally realized, and for this objective precisely, the only place where it
is subordinated to the will of consumers/workers.

In the monetary economy, buying and selling as well as production and
consumption are separated. This introduces a split in the workers' subject:
as workers (the sellers of labor-power commodity) and consumers (the buyers
of capitalist commodities). In consequence, it comes to appear as if
corporations and consumers were the only subjects of economic activities. It
also segregates the labor and consumers' movements. In recent history, while
labor movements have been in a deadlock, consumers' movements have
flourished, often incorporating issues of environmental protection,
feminism, and minorities. Generally, they take the form of civil action, and
are not connected to, or are sometimes even antagonistic to, the labor
movement. After all, though, consumers' movements are laborers' movements in
transposition, and are important only inasmuch as they are so. Conversely,
the labor movement could go beyond the bounds of its 'specificity' and
become universal inasmuch as it self-consciously acts the consumers'
movement. For, in fact, the process of consumption as a reproduction of
labor-power commodity covers a whole range of fronts of our life-world,
including child-care, education, leisure, and community activities. But what
is at stake here is obviously related to, yet clearly different from, the
process of reproduction in the sense of Gramsci-the cultural ideological
apparatus such as family, school, church, etc. In our context, it is first
and foremost the process of the reproduction of labor-power as a topos of
ordeal for capital's self-realization, and hence the position in which
workers can finally be the subject.

Marxists failed to grasp the class relationship between capitalist and
wage-worker particular to the capitalist economy. They believed that what
had been evident in the feudal system came to be veiled under the capitalist
commodity economy; therefore, the workers were supposed to stand up and
overthrow the capitalist system according to the dialectic of master and
slave. But in reality, workers do not stand up at all, because, Marxists
believe, the workers' consciousness is reified by the commodity economy, and
Marxists' task, as the vanguard, is to awaken workers from the daydream.
Marxists believe that the reification is caused by the seduction of
consumerist society and/or manipulation by cultural hegemony. Thus, to begin
with, what Marxists should and can do is to critically elucidate the
mechanism. Or to say it outright, that is the only business left for
Marxists today. What Fredric Jameson calls "the cultural turn" is a form of
'despair' inherent in the Marxist practice. But lurking in its core is a
production-process-centrist hope. Then, what is the shortcoming of civil
acts?  In keeping a distance from labor movements, they lack a penetrating
stance toward the capitalist relation of production. They tend to be
absorbed into the social democracy that, approving the market economy, seeks
to correct its contradictions through state regulations as well as the
redistribution of wealth.

Finally, there are two ways to stop the perpetual movement of the capitalist
economy. One is the struggle immanent in the capitalist economy. This is
centered on boycott movements. Another struggle is to expand the
non-capitalist market economy (producers/consumers cooperative and local
currency). We call the latter an exscendent struggle. In the process M-C-M',
there are two critical moments that capital has to confront: buying
labor-power commodity and selling products to workers. Failure in either
moment disables capital from achieving surplus value. In other words, it
fails to be capital. That is to say that in these moments, workers can
counter capital. The first moment is, in Antonio Negri's phrase, "Don't
Work!" This really signifies, in our context, "Don't Sell Your Labor-Power
Commodity!" or "Don't Work as a Wage Laborer!" The second moment says, like
Mahatma Gandhi, "Don't Buy Capitalist Products!" Both of them can occur in
the position in which workers can be the subject. But in order for
workers/consumers to be able 'not to work' and 'not to buy', there must be a
safety net whereupon they can still work and buy to live. This is the very
exscendent struggle involving the producers/consumers cooperatives. The
struggle within inexorably requires these cooperatives and the formation of
LETS (Local Exchange Trading System). Furthermore, the exscendent struggle
can accelerate the reorganization of the capitalist corporation into
cooperative entity. NAM intends to organize the interaction between the one
immanent in and the one exscendent to the capitalist mode of

To repeat, it has been widely believed among Marxists that the struggle
against capitalism should be centered on the seizure of power by workers by
means of strikes. In contradistinction to this, we stress the importance of
the struggle of workers as consumers; and this is not because of the fact
that the labor movement has historically declined. This is because of the
nature of the way surplus value is exploited by capital-within a vast domain
of circulation that is like a black box. If so, the struggle against
capitalism should be done within the black box. This principle is pertinent
not only to the present/future, but also to the past.

In the late 19th century, when the parliamentarianism of Bernstein and
Kautsky was on the rise, Rosa Luxemburg and Lenin denied it and proposed a
strategy centered on workers' general strike and political uprising. Neither
of them could even prevent the imperialist war. The truth is that if workers
had had the power to prevent the war of state, it could have been much more
advanced and powerful as a social revolution than the political revolution
(the Russian Revolution) that actually occurred, thanks to the turmoil of
defeat. And if I can continue the subjunctive mode further: what if the
workers of the time had conducted the movement that I propose-boycotting
capitalist products while working and living normally-in the place of the
strikes that jeopardized their lives? What if the general boycott had been
done worldwide under the leadership of the Second International. I believe
that the capitals and states could not have countered it. Summarizing the
Marxist movement since the 19th century, we can conclude that its main
mistake was due to its ignorance of the relation between the capitalist
economy and the state. Only by acknowledging this experience, can the new
associationist movement begin.

Gramsci spoke of revolutionary movements using figures of military tactics:
the war of maneuver (frontal attack) and the war of position. The war of
maneuver signifies a confrontational and direct fight with the state
government, while the war of position indicates a struggle within and
against the hegemonic apparatuses of civil society, residing behind the
state governmental apparatus. In this context, he clearly stated that what
had worked in the Russian Revolution would not work for Western civil
societies.  "In Russia, the State was everything, civil society was
primordial and gelatinous; in the West, there was a proper relation between
State and civil society, and when the State trembled a sturdy structure of
civil society was at once revealed. The State was only an outer ditch,
behind which there stood a powerful system of fortresses and earthworks . .
."  This stress of the war of position in civil society residing behind the
state offers the basis for those who focus on the critique of culture today.
Yet Gramsci's war of position cannot simply mean the struggle over the
cultural hegemony. It shows in the passage of Gramsci vis-à-vis Gandhi.
"Gandhi's passive resistance is a war of position, which at certain moments
becomes a war of movement, and at others underground warfare. Boycotts are a
form of war of position, strikes of war of movement, the secret preparation
of weapons and combat troops belongs to underground warfare."  He evidently
sought the crux of the war of position in boycott movement.

(3) NAM is non-violent. It not only denies violent revolution, but also
negates any use of state power by parliamentary means. This is because what
NAM intends is an abolition of capitalist currency economy-that which state
power can never abolish-and also the abolition of state power itself.

Marxists held that the economic domain was a base structure, while state and
nation were super structure. Furthermore, they restated that the super
structure nevertheless was relatively autonomous to, though determined by,
the economic base. First of all, the very notion that the capitalist economy
is base or infrastructure is itself questionable. The world organized by
money and credit is rather one of illusion, with a peculiarly religious
nature. Saying this from the opposite view, even though state and nation are
composed by communal illusion, precisely like capitalism, they inevitably
exist thanks to their realistic grounds. So it is that we cannot dissolve
them by saying that they are illusory.

In the Outline of the Critique of Political Economy (Grundrisse) are the
expressions: base and superstructure. Yet Marx never emphasized them as a
formulation. These concepts are not so crucial as compared with those in
Capital. Furthermore, historical materialism was the stance that Engels
developed before Marx; but, because Engels said, otherwise, that Marx
formulated it first after Marx's death, it came to be believed that Marx
coined it. If historical materialism were equal to Marxism, it could have
always existed without Marx. Meanwhile, a work such as Capital could not
have existed without Marx. Historical materialism seeks to understand the
history that culminates in the capitalist economy from the vantage point of
capitalism, retrospectively. Marx expresses this, as 'the anatomy of human
is useful for the anatomy of apes'. That is to say, capitalist society makes
it possible for us to see the previous societies from the economic
viewpoint, but it is impossible to understand capitalist society the other
way around.

In the place of base and superstructure scheme, we should think that
capital, state, and nation are based upon different principles of exchange.
The view to see them separately is lost because in the bourgeois modern
state they form a perfect trinity. Let us separate them into three different

The Marx of Capital stresses that commerce began in-between communities.
"The exchange of commodities begins where communities have their boundaries,
at their points of contact with other communities, or with members of the
latter. However, as soon as products have become commodities in the external
relations of a community, they also, by reaction, become commodities in the
internal life of the community."  The commodity exchange is a peculiar form
of exchange among other exchanges. And nation and state are those very two
other preceding types of exchange. First, there is exchange within a
community-reciprocity of gift and return. Though based upon mutual aid, it
also imposes community's code-if one does not return, s/he will be
ostracized-and exclusivity. Second, the original exchange between
communities is plunder. And rather it is this plunder that is the basis for
other exchanges: Other exchanges begin only at the point where mutual
plunder is given up. In this sense, plunder is deemed a type of exchange.
For instance, in order to plunder continuously, it is necessary to protect
the victims from other plunderers, and even nurture economic-industrial
growth. This is the prototype of the state. In order to keep on robbing, and
robbing more and more, the state guarantees the protection of land and the
reproduction of labor-power by redistribution. It also promotes agricultural
production by public undertakings such as regulating water distribution
through public water works. It follows that the state does not appear to be
abetting a system of robbery: farmers think of paying tax as a return (duty)
for the protection of the lord; merchants pay tax as a return for the
protection of their exchange and commerce. Finally, the state is represented
as a supra-class entity of reason.

The third form is what Marx calls the commodity exchange between
communities. This exchange occurs only where there is a mutual consent; and
it is where state and legal system already exist. As I said elsewhere, this
exchange engenders surplus value or capital. The surplus value (for both
merchant capital and industrial capital) is earned by exploitation; it is
similar to, yet different from the plunder by feudal state. The exchange
(commerce) is rendered ostensibly by an equal exchange (between spatially as
well as temporally differentiated systems), but definitely results in an
unequal exchange and the unequal creation of wealth.

Aside from these three, there is the fourth exchange, what we call
association or LETS. It is based upon different principles. This engenders
exchanges that are not exploitative like those of the nation-state, and
reciprocity that is spontaneous and inclusive unlike that of the agrarian

a plunder and redistribution
b reciprocity of gift and return
c exchange by money
d association

a feudal state
b agrarian community
c city
d association

a state
b nation
c capital (market economy)
d association

a equality
b fraternity
c liberty
d association

In his famous book, Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson said that the
nation-state is a marriage between nation and state that are originally
different in kind. This was certainly an important suggestion. Yet it should
not be forgotten that there was previously another marriage between two
entities which were totally heterogeneous-that between state and capital. In
the feudal ages, state, capital, and nation were clearly separated. They
existed distinctively as feudal states (lords, kings, and emperors), cities,
and agrarian communities, all based upon different principles of exchange.
States were based upon the principles of plunder and redistribution. The
agrarian communities that were mutually disconnected and isolated were
dominated by states; but, within themselves, they were autonomous, based
upon the principles of mutual aid and reciprocal exchange. Between these
communities, markets or cities grew; these were based upon monetary exchange
relying on mutual consent. What crumbled the feudal system was the
permeation of the capitalist market economy. On the one hand, this
engendered absolutist monarchical states that conspired with the merchant
class, monopolized the means of violence by toppling feudal lords
(aristocracy), and finally abolished feudal domination (extra-economic
domination) entirely. This was the story of the wedding between state and

Feudal ground rent became national tax, while bureaucracy and standing army
became state apparatuses. Those who had belonged to certain tribes, in
certain clans, now became subjects under the absolutist monarchy, grounding
what would later be national identity. Protected by the absolutist state,
merchant capital (bourgeoisie) grew up and nurtured the identity of the
nation for the sake of creating a unified market. Yet this was not all in
terms of the formation of the nation. Agrarian communities that were
decomposed along with the permeation of market economy and by the urbanized
culture of enlightenment always existed on the foundation of the nation.
While individual agrarian communities that had been autarkic and autonomous
were decomposed by the osmosis of money, their communalities-mutual aid and
reciprocity-themselves were recovered imaginarily within the nation.

Anderson points out that the nation plays proxy for religion, after it has
declined. In this situation, what is important is the fact that religion has
existed as and in the agrarian community. The decline of religion is equal
to the decline of community. In contradistinction from what Hegel called the
state of understanding (lacking spirit), or the Hobbesian state, the nation
is grounded upon the empathy of mutual aid descending from agrarian
communities. And this emotion is awoken by nationalism: belonging to the
same nation and helping each other-the emotion of fraternity. This is the
so-called marriage between state and nation.

It was amidst the bourgeois revolution that these three were officially
married. As in the trinity intoned in the French Revolution-liberty,
equality, and fraternity-capital, state, and nation copulated and
amalgamated themselves into a force as inseparable ever after. Hence the
modern state must be called, sensu stricto, the capitalist-nation-state.
They were made to be mutually complementary, reinforcing each other. When
economic liberty becomes excessive and class conflict is sharpened, the
state intervenes to redistribute wealth and regulate the economy, and at the
same time, the emotion of national unity (mutual aid) fills up the cracks.
When facing this fearless trinity, undermining one or the other does not
work. If one attempts to overthrow capitalism alone, one has to adapt
statism, or one is engulfed by nationalist empathy. It goes without saying
that the former appeared as Stalinism and the latter as fascism.

Among the three principles of exchange, in the modern period, commodity
exchange (the c type) expanded and overpowered the others. Inasmuch as it
operated within the trinity, however, it is impossible that the capitalist
commodity exchange could monopolize the whole of human relation. With
respect to the reproduction of humans and nature, capital has no choice but
to rely on the family and agrarian community; in this sense capital is
essentially dependent upon the pre-capitalist mode of production. Herein
exists the ground of the nation. On the other hand, while absolutist
monarchs disappeared at the hand of bourgeois revolutions, the state itself
has remained. The state can never be dissolved and subsumed into the
representatives of national sovereignty (=government). For the state, no
matter what kind, always exists as the bare sovereign vis-à-vis other states
(if not always to its nation); in crises (wars), a powerful leader (the
subject of determination) is always called for, as evidenced in Bonapartism
and fascism.

We frequently hear today that the nation-state will be gradually decomposed
by the globalization of capitalism. This is impossible. When individual
national economies are threatened by the global market (neo-liberalism),
they demand the protection (redistribution) of the state and/or bloc
economy, at the same time as appealing to national cultural identity. So it
is that any counter-act to capital must also be one targeted against the
state and nation (community). The capitalist-nation-state is fearless
because of its trinity. The denial of one ends up being reabsorbed in the
ring of the trinity by the power of the other two. This is because each of
them, though appearing to be illusory, is based upon different principle of
exchange. It is not erased by any enlightened critique; unless it is
replaced by the exchange of association, it will endure.
 As I have showed, Gramsci stated that in Russia, the State was everything,
civil society was primordial and gelatinous; in the West, there was a proper
relation between State and civil society; thus he suggested that the war of
position should replace the war of maneuver (frontal attack). Whether there
was a proper relation between State and civil society, that is, whether
there was a mature civil society should be restated, in our context, as
whether there was a proper copulation/amalgamation between

In Italy, fascists smashed the Leninist struggle that was led by Gramsci and
centered on the occupation of factories. Its weakness was due to its
reliance on nationalism. Meanwhile, in Russia, where the wedding of
capital/state/nation had not been completed, wars were fought on behalf of
the Tsar himself and not for the nation; therefore, the socialist revolution
had been able to, or had to, resort to nationalism. Since then, many
socialist revolutions have borne national independence movements; in those
regions where state apparatuses and capitals conspired with colonialist
powers, it was the socialists who informed and realized nationalism. The
success of the revolutions unfortunately does not teach us anything further
concerning the struggle where the capital/nation/state trinity is well

Bourgeois revolution-qua the formation of a democratic nation-state-has
always been violent, for this was the deed of robbing the state power of
absolutist monarchy. This revolution is still going on world over,
especially in developing countries, under various names and by various
agents. And it is unfair for the people of advanced nations to condemn the
violence. But the revolution after the bourgeois revolution, namely the
revolution to abolish capitalism and nation-state, cannot be anything like
the bourgeois revolution-seizing state power and transforming the society.
So it is that we call NAM not a revolution, but a counter-act.

Marx thought that the socialist revolution would be possible only in the
most advanced country, England, because socialism was supposed to be
possible only in the stage where bourgeois society was fully ripe, ripe
enough to decompose. Nonetheless, in reality it could not have seemed less
likely to him that it would occur. In the particular situation where
universal suffrage was installed and labor unions strengthened, revolution
seemed like it had receded even farther into the distance. What receded,
however, was the revolution that was imagined from the vantage point of and
as an extension of bourgeois revolution; the fact was that from that
juncture on, a different kind of revolution came to be called for. One
should not forget that it was under such circumstances that Marx came to
grips with the task of writing Capital.  His recognition that a criticism of
capitalism would no longer suffice made him write such a monumental piece.
And in this respect, too, Gramsci's shift from the war of maneuver to the
war of position is suggestive. According to his analysis, the shift had
already begun in the late 19th century. "The problem of the political
struggle's transition from a 'war of maneuver' to a 'war of position'
certainly needs to be considered at this juncture. In Europe this transition
took place after 1848, and was not understood by Mazzini and his followers,
as it was on the contrary by certain others: the same transition took place
after 1871, etc."  The political struggle's transition from a "war of
maneuver" to a "war of position" was conspicuous, more than anywhere, in
Britain at the point in time when the Chartist Movement by the Ricardian
Socialists ran out. Thus Capital must be read as that which provides the
logic of the war of position.

How, then, is a true socialist revolution possible in a highly bourgeois
society? Marx did not answer this question directly. Yet it is certain that
he had already confronted the same question in Capital.  After Marx's death,
the remarkable advance of the German Social Democratic Party encouraged
Engels, who then came to think that a revolution was possible by
parliamentarianism. This is an extension or a version of bourgeois
revolution (violent revolution). Whether it is relying on parliamentarianism
or armed force, the use of state power is itself violent. For the state
power is grounded upon a monopolization of violence. According to Max Weber,
the state is equal to a human community that demands an actual
monopolization of the means of executing physical violence within a limited
domain. Whether by compulsion or agreement, the execution of might is
violent through and through. Therefore, all those who are involved in
politics are flirting with the demonic power lurking in violence, it might
be said.   In this sense of Weber, social democracy is in the least
non-violent, albeit less violent. Social democracy seizes state power by
resorting to the majority vote in the parliamentary system, and seeks to
redistribute the wealth extorted from capital (as tax) to workers. If so,
(as seen from the stance of the radical libertarian Hayek), the difference
between Bernstein and Lenin is not as large as it seems. Both of them resort
to state power, that is, violence. One is a soft statism, while the other
hard statism. From our vantage point, neither seeks the abolition of the
labor-power commodity, namely, wage labor.

A disciple of Engels', Eduard Bernstein, totally removed the residue of
revolutionary fervor that Engels had harbored. Then, of course, Lenin and
Rosa Luxemburg attacked this tendency. Denying the observation that the
socialist revolution was possible only in bourgeois society where the
capitalist economy was fully developed, they insisted that a jump over the
stages was not only possible but also necessary.

This problem should be expressed, however, less as that revolution was
possible only in advanced nations than as that in the advanced nations,
classical revolution-which inherited the form of bourgeois revolution-had
become obsolete. Thus a new idea was required. It was that the revisions of
Engels etal were the responses to this situation. In the nations where
capitalism was not fully developed, revolutions tended to follow the path of
bourgeois revolution. Many of the socialist revolutions of the 20th century
sought to establish the modern nation-state itself by way of national
liberation or independence; they succeeded because of this objective.
Therefore, the problem ever since has been to discern if a jump is really

It was Trotsky who pioneered a keen understanding of the problem. After the
Russian Revolution of 1905, he came to think that a jump would be possible
since the bourgeois civil society in Russia was only poorly developed, and
the main target was the state power. Yet he also confronted the
impossibility of the jump. For the government led by the proletariat class
had to itself render the primitive accumulation (namely, the robbing of
farmers)-that which capital had previously done-and an absolutist
dictatorship was required to do this. He had a conviction in his theory that
the aporia could be solved by the permanent revolution. And the real
situations subsequently proved his prophecies in both aspects.

Leftists in the advanced nation-states praised, envied, and even mimicked
the heroic violence typical of the revolutions in underdeveloped countries,
while ignoring the aporia inherent in their own circumstances. They
cherished the revolutions of backward nations from the vantage point that
they could corner the capitals of advanced nations by blockading markets. In
consequence, however, the blockades only cornered the economies of socialist
nation-states, and had no power over the development of world capitalism.
Furthermore, in the late 1980s, the bourgeois revolution-that which had
supposedly been jumped over-finally hit the socialist bloc.  After a detour
of one full century, the leftists have now returned to the position of
Bernstein, of a social democracy; and this has totally lost the objective of
abolishing capital and state. Not only has it not been able to prevent the
imperialist war, but it has also been involved in the frenzy itself. And it
is quite possible that it will repeat the same faux pas in the future. Yet,
as all of us know well by now, Leninism cannot replace it. Is there an
alternative? I would posit that it is found in Capital, the book Marx wrote
as he deliberately remained in England where the possibility of revolution
was fading away. As I have explained, capital, nation, and state and their
trinity are rooted in the necessary forms that human exchange could assume,
and therefore, it is nearly impossible to get out of the ring. Marx in
Capital, however, discovered an exit, the fourth type of

In The German Ideology, Marx made an addition to the text written by Engels:
"Communism for us is not a state of affairs which is to be established, an
ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the
real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of
this movement result from the now existing premise."  Since that time, Marx
persisted in this stance. In the twenty years after, he discovered the
possibility of communism in several "movement[s] which abolish the present
state of things"-the cooperatives of producers/consumers. He, for instance,
saw stock companies as "the abolition of capital as private property within
the confines of the capitalist mode of production itself."  This is because
stock companies abolished the previous integrity of capitalists by the
separation of capital and management. Yet this is only a passive abolition
of the capitalist system. Marx discovered the positive abolition in the
producers' cooperative of which stockholders are workers themselves. In this
context, Marx spoke of a new phase of "individual property" as opposed to
"private property."

The capitalist mode of appropriation, which springs from the capitalist mode
of production, produces capitalist private property. This is the first
negation of individual private property, as founded on the labor of its
proprietor. But capitalist production begets, with the inexorability of a
natural process, its own negation. This is the negation of negation. It does
not re-establish private property, but it does indeed establish individual
property on the basis of the achievements of the capitalist era: namely,
co-operation and the possession in common of the land and the means of
production produced by labor itself.

What does this distinction between "private property" and "individual
property" mean? Precisely because modern private-ownership was that which
was awarded by the absolutist state in exchange for paying taxes,
private-ownership is equal to state-ownership. So it is a total fallacy to
abolish private property by means of state-ownership. The abolition of
private property must be an abolition of the state itself. To Marx,
communism came to signify the establishment of a new kind of individual
property, and this was because he considered communism as being equal to an
association of producers' cooperatives. This is where wage labor
(labor-power commodity) is done away with. This notwithstanding, however,
producers' cooperative and/or consumers' cooperatives have been belittled by
those Marxists who believed in communism as being equal to the state owned
planned economy. The cooperative movements were originally conceptualized by
utopian socialists such as Robert Owen. They actually began to grow in
Britain in the 1850s, after innumerable setbacks. Far from denying the
cooperative movement, Marx in fact saw communism in it-the association of
free and equal producers.

In The Civil War in France--written as an address to the general council of
the international working men's association--Marx wrote: "if united
co-operative societies are to regulate national production upon a common
plan, thus taking it under their own control, and putting an end to the
constant anarchy and periodical convulsions which are the fatality of
Capitalist production--what else, gentlemen, would it be but Communism,
'possible' Communism?"  In this sense, communism is a project in attempt to
shift the social relation that is realized by the monetary exchange in the
capitalist economy into the association of free and equal producers, and
furthermore, into a global association of associations.

This endeavor is moral in essence. In Kant's terms, it demands, "So act that
you use humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other,
always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means."  If not for
this commitment, we will achieve only communalism or collectivism instead of
communism. The first step of the communist revolution is supposed to be
realized by the proletariat's seizure of power, state ownership of private
property, and state control of whole production. Certainly this process
would "put an end to the constant anarchy and periodical convulsions which
are the fatality of Capitalist production," but it is far from "the
association of free and equal producers."

What is crucial here, however, is not merely the fact that Marx saw a
possibility of associationism, but that, at the same time, he was aware of
its limits and difficulties. Thus his ambiguous stance toward it. In
consequence, Marxists in general came to be watchful about consumers'
/producers' cooperative movements. The limit of the cooperative movements
lies in the fact that they are constantly placed in severe competition with
capital. Their options would either remain partially in the area of
production where the capitalist mode is hardly developed, become a stock
company itself, or be defeated in the competition and go bankrupt. So it is
that Marx believed that it was imperative to transfer power from the state
to producers themselves. Then, concerning this idea, Bakunin attacked Marx
along with Lassallians. "That was Lassalle's program, and it is also the
program of the Social-Democratic Party. Strictly speaking, it belongs not to
Lassalle but to Marx, who expressed it fully in the famous Manifesto of the
Communist Party, which he and Engels published in 1848 . . . Is it not clear
that Lassalle's program is in no way different from that of Marx, whom he
acknowledged as his teacher?"  It must have been a gross misunderstanding,
if not outright slander; Bakunin ignores the deployment of Marx's thought
during the 60s and 70s.

Marx was critical of the idea (i.e., of Lassalle's Gotha Programme) to have
the state protect and foster cooperative production. Marx was clear: "That
the workers desire to establish the conditions for co-operative production
on a social scale, and first of all on a national scale, in their own
country, only means that they are working to transform the present
conditions of production, and it has nothing in common with the foundation
of co-operative societies with state aid. But as far as the present
co-operative societies are concerned, they are of value only insofar as they
are the independent creations of the workers and not protégés either of the
government or of the bourgeois."  In other words, Marx is stressing that the
association of cooperatives itself must take over the leadership from the
state, in the place of state-led-cooperative movements. Whereby capital and
state would wither away. And this kind of proposition of principle aside,
Marx never said anything in particular about future prospects.

The controversial thinker Carl Schmitt made an insightful comment on the
death of the state vis-à-vis consumers'/producers' cooperative. He stressed
the autonomous dimension of state and politics, and his idea that the League
of Nations idea could never decompose states; it would only result in
hegemony of a strong state or a group of states. "Were a world state to
embrace the entire globe and humanity, then it would be no political entity
and could only be loosely called a state. If in fact, all humanity and the
entire world were to become a unified entity based exclusively on economics
and on technically regulating traffic . . . [s] hould that interest group
also want to become cultural, ideological, or otherwise more ambitious, and
yet remain strictly nonpolitical, then it would be a neutral consumer or
producer co-operative moving between the poles of ethics and economics. It
would know neither state nor kingdom nor empire, neither republic nor
monarchy, neither aristocracy nor democracy, neither protection nor
obedience, and would lose its political character."  In other words, Schmitt
also implies that if it were possible to abolish state (politics), it would
only be possible with consumers'/producers' cooperatives. In this situation,
though the state remains, it will no longer be a political one. In addition,
we might say, though the market economy remains, it will no longer be that
which we know as a capitalist market economy. It is not that, as is commonly
thought, the abolition of the capitalist market economy is equal to the
abolition of the market economy or money in general. For the global network
of consumers'/producers' cooperatives is not a return to an enclosed
community, but an open market economy.

(4) NAM's organization and movement themselves embody what it intends to
realize. Namely, by way of introducing the lottery into the election
process, a bureaucratic fixation is prevented while a participatory
democracy is guaranteed.

Concerning the concept of 'dictatorship of the proletariat', today's
Marxists seem to be uncertain, being silent as they are. In the late 19th
century when the German Social Democratic party (SPD) gained power in
Parliament, Engels gave up on the idea of the realization of the
'dictatorship of the proletariat'. Later Lenin revived it as a strategic
goal, and his communism resulted in the dictatorship of a party, the
dictatorship of a bureaucratic system. As a result, parliamentarianism again
seems to offer hope. We have to reconsider this back and forth. In
principle, the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' is a counter concept to
'dictatorship of the bourgeoisie'. The latter signifies a representative
(parliamentary) democracy: the democratic parliament that was historically
constituted by overthrowing the absolutist monarchy, was equal to a
dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. If so, the dictatorship of the proletariat
in Marx's sense cannot be any retrogression to before the dictatorship of
the bourgeoisie, such as the feudal system or an absolutist domination.
 Marx himself saw a concrete image of a proletariat's dictatorship in the
Paris Commune, which was an endeavor of anarchists (Prouhdonists), and not
of Marxists. But Marx appreciated it with a solid ground-as a corollary of
his early theory of state (in his A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's
Philosophy of Right in particular). What he grasped as crucial therein were
a distinction between civil society and the governmental state in the modern
state, and a separation between private individual and public man. That is
to say, individuals are equal as public men, while as private individuals
they belong to the class system of the capitalist relation of production.
What is more, the right that individuals can have as public men is only a
kind of legislative power, namely, the right to vote; and they cannot have
any administrative power. The substance of the sovereignty of people is that
they only can vote. If we think about it, it is surprising that even in
democratic nations, there is no democracy in working circumstances such as
corporations as well as government offices. In a sharp contrast, the Paris
Commune was both a legislative organ and an administrative organ. It had a
system that not only elected but also removed judicial officers as well as
administrative bureaucrats. In this sense, it was a double abolition of
civil society and governmental state in the context of modern nation-state.

The real difficulty, however, was in maintaining such a system. One idea was
to make both election and recall by secret ballot. But it was finally
impossible to prevent bureaucratization, namely, the entrenchment of
representatives, entirely by this means. As Max Weber said in his Politik
als Beruf (1919), the bureaucratic system is inevitable and necessary in
those societies where the division of labor is developed; and it cannot be
discarded simple-mindedly. According to Marx, in communist society the
division of labor is supposed to disappear; but in the transitional period
preceding it, the bureaucratic system as a division of labor is
indispensable. For instance, the Soviets in the Russian Revolution were
similar to the Paris Commune, a huge social experimentation. It eventually
came to be dominated by one party (the Bolsheviks) and the bureaucratic
system. Why? It will not suffice to point out the failure and betrayal of
the Bolshevik leaders. The Paris Commune lasted only two months; it was
crushed by government troops supported by the Prussian army. But even if it
had lasted longer, it would have resulted in a similar system as Soviet

The evil of the bureaucratic system lies in its centralization of power. The
only way it can be avoided, I believe, is to introduce a pure contingency
(i.e., a lottery) into the electoral system. In the concrete, it is to
introduce a lottery at the end of the process, in its most crucial and
determinant phase, after several candidates have already been chosen by
normal voting. The idea is to introduce contingency into the topos where
power is always concentrated; entrenchment of power in administrative
positions can be avoided by a sudden attack of contingency. If universal
suffrage by secret ballot, namely, parliamentary democracy, is the
dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, the introduction of a lottery might help to
lead it further toward the dictatorship of the proletariat.

In passing, it is believed that the modern representative parliament is a
derivative of Athenian direct democracy, and that a direct democracy is
possible only in a small community like Athens, certainly not in
contemporary nation-states where only a representative system can work.
Finally, however, whether direct or indirect cannot be measured in this
manner. Greek democracy and modern representative democracy are essentially
different. Modern representative parliament began as an assembly of the
representatives of different classes; then it was expanded with limited
voting, and eventually developed into the universal suffrage, along with the
expansion of the bourgeois revolution. Montesquieu said: " . . . the
suffrage by lot is natural to democracy, as that by choice is to
aristocracy."  That is to say, the parliamentary system is not inherent in
democracy, but in monarchies and the aristocracy. On the other hand, the
essence of Athenian democracy existed in the lottery system it employed to
choose administrators, and not in the parliamentary system. In the Athenian
assembly, secret voting was invented as a means of removing leaders who
tended to be dictators. Even in direct democracies, the appearance of
dictators could not be totally prevented. The secret vote, rare as it might
have been, was actually used at critical conjunctures. It is said that the
crux of modern bourgeois democracy exists in the secret ballot in choosing
representatives and the rule of changing regimes by way of this method. But
if, as Grecophiles say, the technical origin of the bourgeoisie's
dictatorship is Athenian democracy, we could maintain that the technical
origin of the proletariat's dictatorship that goes beyond it is traced back
also to the Greek political invention-the lottery.
 Nevertheless, it goes without saying that not everything can be determined
by lottery. Even in Athens, lottery was not used everywhere (i.e., in
military). And it is significant that today the lottery is commonly used
only in choosing unpopular posts. Considering these examples, what is
preferable to us would be to choose the most crucial post by lottery: i.e.,
first choosing three candidates by secret vote (three in one choice) and
then finally electing one by lottery. Because the last and most crucial
stage is determined by contingency, factional disputes or conflicts over
successors would not make sense. As a result, a relatively superior, if not
the best, representative would take up the post. Furthermore, the one who is
chosen could not parade his/her superiority and power, while those who are
not chosen have no reason to refuse collaboration. This kind of political
technique would be functional and would go beyond the cliché, "all the power
will fall."

We should not assume that the human nature of willing to power will ever
disappear; that the difference of individual abilities will ever disappear.
We rather think that these natures cause evil solely because of the
institutions or the lack of our understanding in them. The evils of power
could be avoided by introducing a contingency (by way of lottery) in the
magnetic power center. This is not in the least what is to be realized in
the future; it can be fully realized at present in various institutions
(corporations and government offices). Many people are troubled by
bureaucratic monopolization and fixation, even more than the issues of wage
and labor time. This has not been solved even by the union's participation
in management. In the former socialist Yugoslavia, where the self-management
of workers was realized, bureaucratization could not be avoided. Meanwhile,
even within capitalist corporations as they are, if and only if management
is executed by means of suffrage and lottery, can we consider it as a full
self-management of workers. This has not been possible, because of the
majority domination of stockholders. In contradistinction, in producers'
cooperatives, the right of decision making vis-à-vis management is equal
among every member, regardless to the amount of stock they hold; and still
the monopolization of power will be inevitable if not for the lottery

Organization for the counter-act against state and capitalism must introduce
within itself the device of introducing contingency in the magnetic power
center. If not, it will be like the one it intends to counter. Yet, on the
other hand, various civil acts that have begun to negate power-centralist
hierarchical organization remain scattered and are yet to be gathered for a
collective intervention for the counter-act.

If and only if we introduce the political technique above we will not have
to fear centralization. NAM not only has to aim at the realization of
participatory democracy, but also has to embody it within its own
organization. Therefore, as its organizational principle, NAM adapts the two
systems: lottery in the election of representatives and individuals'
multiple belongings.

(5) NAM is a realistic movement that abolishes real contradictions; it is
born out of realistically existing premises. In other words, it is a
movement to overcome the social contradictions caused by the development of
capitalism (that has reached the stage of information capitalism) by way of
employing the social potencies produced by the same development. Therefore,
it needs to scrutinize historical experience as well as challenge the

The capitalist economy is customarily subdivided along historical stages:
mercantilism, liberalism, imperialism, and late capitalism. To understand
this view in the concrete context, see it from the vantage point of the
shift of world commodity. The world commodity in the age of mercantilism was
woolen-products, and in the age of liberalism it was cotton products. The
capitalist products that supported Great Britain, the empire that had gained
supremacy over the world up until the earlier half of the 19th century, were
nothing other than textile industries, which did not require mammoth
capital. Later British capitalism declined in the process of introducing
heavy industries, in competition with state-supported German heavy
industries. (The producers' cooperatives that the Marx of Capital considered
as a good rival of stock companies, quickly declined also because of the
German mammoth state capitalism.) That is to say, in the stage where textile
industries were dominant, producers' cooperatives could rival stock
companies too a large extent. Later, Engels as well as the German Social
Democratic Party rather welcomed the effect of capital becoming mammoth from
the vantage point of socializing (having the state own) it-they thought that
was socialism. They thus came to belittle the cooperative movement.

The transition to the stage of heavy industry caused chronic depression and
unemployment. This fostered imperialism, which fully blossomed in World War
One. World War Two occurred as an extension, while, at the same time, a new
phenomenon intervened-it was, whether fascism or New Deal, what can be
considered as a Keynesian intervention of state into the economic process.
In terms of the world commodity, it was the shift to durable goods (cars,
electrical products, etc). Since then, the age of mass production/mass
consumption (Fordism) has continued, reaching a saturation point in the
1980s. After that, capitalism has tended to achieve surplus value by a
compression (digitalization) of communication in the process of circulation,
rather than the development in the production process. Thus, the world
commodity has been information. The digitalization is delivering radical
transformations in the relation of production and industrial composition. It
is especially in the domain of guild-like merchant capitals that aims at
intermediary exploitation (agencies, wholesale dealers, distributors) where
the previous relations of production are being decomposed. Replacing them
are the systems where producers and consumers exchange directly. This change
will inevitably invite a large amount of unemployment and reorganization of

The transition that we have been observing beginning in the 1990s rivals,
both in its radicality and amount, the transition in the 1870s, epitomized
by the chronic depression after the world crisis in 1873, the exploration of
capital, the shift to imperialism. At the same time, however, the present
transition is also deconstructing the contemporary forms of capitalism-i.e.,
the state capitalism à la Prussia and corporatism that were formed in the
period of the former transition. In this deconstructive sense, the situation
called neo-liberalism corresponds to the stage of liberalism under the
economic-militaristic domination of Great Britain. While in the 1870s, heavy
industries=mammoth capitals came into existence, the present transition to
information capitalism is marked by the decomposition of large corporations
(aside from transnational corporations) relying on states' corporatism, and
the rise of mid-to-small corporations (of venture capital). NAM intends to
intervene in this precise tendency to reorganize the mid-to-small
corporations by way of (non-capitalist) cooperatives and LETS. In this
sense, the present situation is becoming similar to the age when Marx paid
attention to the producers' cooperative in Britain.

We are not optimistic about the situation created by the expansion of world
capitalism, neither are we pessimistic about it. The osmosis of the
capitalist economy is at the same time creating the conditions that abolish
it. This dialectic is exemplified by the coming of the Internet. This thing,
that was created as a military defense system and used by capitals, is now a
necessary means for counter-movements to capitalism and state. The same is
true of e-money-an arm for capital and a means to expand LETS globally. NAM
could not exist if not for cyberspace. The counter-act against capitalism
has nothing to do with romantic nostalgia; it exists amidst the world
intercourse engendered by the world capitalism.

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