N° 31. Le capital et l'humanité

 Mars 2002

Numéro disponible en ligne sur le site du Cairn : http://www.cairn.info/revue-actuel-marx.htm

Sommaire                    Abstracts


« Le troisième millénaire s’ouvre sous l’égide du capital, agent d’une mondialisation qui  achève pratiquement l’unité de l’espèce humaine, et fait désormais de toute question locale ou particulière l’affaire de tous, et de l’avenir une cause commune. 

La domination planétaire du capital financier pénètre, dans ses fibres les plus intimes l’existence de chaque habitant de la planète : précarisation des situations, dégradation du travail, assujettissement des corps, appropriation des savoirs, asservissement des imaginaires, arasement des cultures, militarisation des espaces (réels ou virtuels), omniprésente menace de l’éco-désastre. 

Mais ce sont là aussi les conditions d’émergence d’acteurs nouveaux, capables d’affronter et de remettre en cause l’ordre régnant. Reste à découvrir les potentialités, à décrypter les signes, à donner un nom à l’avenir. »

Tel était le programme du Congrès Marx International III, Le capital et l’humanité, tenu à l’Université de Paris-X Nanterre, en septembre 2001, qui a rassemblé un millier de chercheurs venus du monde entier, et dont nous publions ici quelques textes majeurs.

Recueil rassemblé par J. Bidet et E. Kouvélakis. 



Samir Amin, Mondialisation ou apartheid à l’échelle mondiale ? 

Peter Gowan, Le gouvernement du monde par l’Amérique a-t-il un avenir ?

Odile Castel, Concurrence systémique et sociétés civilespouvoir et contrepouvoir au stade de l’ultra-impérialisme 

Richard Poulin, La mondialisation du marché du sexe 

Jean Lojkine, L’esprit du capitalisme à l’épreuve de ses pratiques

Daniel Bensaid, L’Humanité au-delà du capital 

Alex Callinicos, Egalitarisme et critique sociale 

Pierre Macherey, Althusser et le jeune Marx 

Domenico Jervolino, Communisme de la finitude, éthique de la libération, paradigme de la traduction 

Jacques Bidet, En quel temps, en quel monde vivons-nous ? 

Jorge Kohen, Hommage à Alberto Kohen 



Christine Delphy, Penser le genre. L’Ennemi principal (F. Armengaud) 

Emmanuel Renault, Mépris social (Y. Quiniou) 

Arno Münster, L’utopie concrète d’Ernst Bloch. Une biographie (J.-M. Lachaud) 

Mario Kessler, Heroische Illusion und Stalin Terror. Beiträge zur Kommunismus-Forschung (M. Löwy) 

Dominique Berthet, Proudhon et l’art (J.-M. Lachaud) 

Alain Bihr, La reproduction du Capital. Prolégomènes pour une théorie générale du capitalisme (J. Lojkine) 

Denis Collin, Morale et justice sociale (T. Andréani) 



Samir AMIN. Globalisation or Apartheid on a global scale? 

The new liberal globalisation, based as it is on the monopolies enjoyed by the centres of the global capitalist system in the fields of technology, the access to natural resources, the centralisation of financial means, communication, and the possession of mass destruction weapons, can only accentuate the polarisation of wealth at the planetary level. For this very reason, its hegemony can only be sustained by way of a world-wide system of political apartheid, in which the political rights of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America are flouted. Faced with such a logic of accumulation, an effective response by these peoples can only be based on principles implying the regulation of international economic relations.


Daniel BENSAID.  Humanity beyond Capital. 

Will there be an "After Capital", and what will it consist of? Can it be that the madness which Marx considered to be written into the logic of capital has now  resulted in a fundamental crisis in civilisation, threatening the very conditions governing the reproduction of the human species? And will there still be a humanity beyond capital? The generalised commodification of the world, with the litany of violence that goes with it, warrants one's having doubts about it, in particular after the failures and disillusions of the last century. Out of the struggles waged against capitalist globalisation, something is however being reborn: an international of resistance, endowed with  the capacity to cast again the dice of hope. 


Jacques BIDET.  What World, What Age are We Living in? 

In attempting to qualify the age we live in, I shall resort to a barbarism: global-statalitarian imperialism. « Imperialism » refers to the principal component which, in order to achieve a more radical realisation of its telos, enlists the support of a global-statalitarian dimension that is essentially hidden. « Statalitarian » points to a long-term tendency which, though still embryonic, is beginning to resonate through our world. The term refers to « the State », though not to any usual conception of  the social-democratic State or the liberal State of the rule of law. The reference is rather to a class-hegemonic State, with an echoing of the term totalitarian. « Global » indicates that what is involved is a single statist configuration, encompassing a territory coextensive with the entire planet, a population which is humanity, and a mastery of all material and cultural wealth appropriable according to the law of profit.  


Alex CALLINICOS. Egalitarianism and social critique. This article considers, in the light of the revival of anti-capitalist critique since December 1995 in France and the protests at Seattle, Prague, and Genoa, the conceptual gap between normative political philosophy and explanatory social theory. It argues that the egalitarian liberalism of John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin and others may offer some philosophical resources for closing this gap and allowing normative theory and social critique mutually to support each other


Odile CASTEL. Systemic Competition and Civil Societies: power and counter-power in the phase of ultra-liberalism.The growth in inequalities, both inside the North and South and between North and South, is the consequence of the new logic  -systemic competition-  governing the way capitalism now functions, in the phase of ultra-liberalism. The mobilisation of civil societies on a planetary scale can involve the emergence of a possible counter-power. Given the unlikelihood of the development of economic alternatives in the absence of any political alternatives, we may wonder to what extent civil societies have the capacity to formulate a political project offering a global alternative to capitalism.


Peter GOWAN? American Global government :Will it work ?  Part1 questions widespread beliefs that globalisation has ended national capitalisms or has overcome the classical contradiction between the national and international within capitalism. It argues that current efforts to pacify this contradiction in a strongly institutionalised set of global markets are fragile and that political struggle between capitalist states still plays on important role in international economics. Part 2 argues that the bipolar Cold War structure of international politics gave the United States a robust system for anchoring its political dominance over the capitalist core. Part 3 explores the great geopolitical challenges facing the United States in Eurasia following the Soviet Bloc collapse and the rise and opening of China and argues that Washington has not coped with these challenges very successfully since 1989. Part 4  argues that  the US today is not proving able to establish a viable, consensual basis for global macro-economic management or for handling core dominance over the South and it faces a very serious, chronic problem of international political legitimation of its political domination. Part 5 claims that the Bush administration is attempting to deal with these problems through shifting the international political agenda onto terrain where American political instruments are supreme - the military field. The article concludes by noting some implications of this analysis for the


Domenico JERVOLINO.  The Communism of Finitude, the Ethics of Liberation, the Paradigm of Translation.

The emergence of  historical Marxism took place within a paradigmatic framework postulating the autoproduction of man (Tosel). In reformulating the Marxian project as one of liberation, we must start out from our finite existence as acting and suffering subjects in history. It follows that such a reformulation of Marxism requires both a theory of agency and an ethics to be envisaged as the thrust towards self-realisation of a living being endowed with a discursive faculty, a being who strives for a meaningful life within a community of humans. It is here that we recover the link between the theme of agency and the theme of language, in particular relative to the question of the plurality of languages and of the potentialities of translation, envisaged as a paradigm of being in common and of the common agency of humans.


Jean LOJKINE. The Spirit of Capitalism: how it comes through the test of its own practices.

While the crisis in employment and the generalisation of a condition of instability affecting the masses constitute a challenge for the sociologies of agency, the original and ever-present division between economics and sociology would seem to condemn the latter, and, more specifically, the sociology of work, to an oscillation between  incantatory denunciation and a role as dispenser of  palliative social remedies. The sociological fields of « work »,  « organisation », and of the  « (palliative)  social » are totally cut off from the debates and strategies of alternative collective action, which are beginning to emerge within the economic field.

Drawing on recent research dealing with cases of trade-union intervention in the management of firms, the author outlines the terms of what could constitute a sociology of « levels of agency », linking the fields of the « social » and of the « economic », and in which workers’ « autonomy » would not be exclusively confined to its current place, in the margin between the prescribed rules and the actual functioning of operational units. Freed from such a marginal space, it could also involve an engagement in the tactical and strategic levels of decision-making within a firm. It would furthermore mean that, alongside the intervention of workers’ trade-unions, the specific action of alternative managers and  « experts » should also be taken into account within the consultative bodies of firms.

Pierre MACHEREY. Althusser and the Young Marx

This paper offers a rereading of Althusser's article entitled « Sur le jeune Marx », written in December 1960, and published in 1961 in the March-April issue of the review La Pensée, before its republication at the beginning of  Pour Marx The article enables us to understand how Althusser addressed Marx's thought by way of a series of political, theoretical and historical assumptions which were new, and by eliminating what he termed an « analytico-teleological » approach to the question. The result of such an approach was to show how the category of « Theory », when examined in the moment of its emergence, proves to be a fundamentally  practical category (and not a speculative one, in accordance with the interpretations which, hitherto, had gained far too widespread acceptance).  


Richard POULIN.  Globalisation and Sexual Exploitation. 

Capitalist globalisation today involves a commodification of human beings unprecedented in History. In the last thirty years, the most dramatic change in the sex-trade has been its industrialisation, its banalisation and its massive diffusion world-wide. This process of industrialisation, in both its legal and its illegal forms, generating profits amounting to billions of dollars, has created a market of sexual exchanges in which millions of women and children have been converted into sexual commodities. This market has been generated through the massive deployment of prostitution (one of the effects of the presence of military forces engaged in wars and/or  territorial occupation), in particular in the emerging economies, through an unprecedented expansion of the tourist industry, the growth and  normalisation of pornography, the internationalisation of arranged marriages, and by way of the needs generated  through the accumulation of capital. This particular aspect of globalisation is one which draws together an entire range of questions (economic exploitation, sexual oppression, Capital accumulation, international migration, racism, public health, the stratified nature of the economy-world, unequal and combined development, poverty, etc.); questions which are decisive, if we are to understand the evolutions affecting the world we live in. From now on, certain phenomena previously considered marginal occupy a strategic and central position in the development of world capitalism. For this reason, the sex industry is increasingly taking on the guise of an ordinary sector of the economy.