[1982] André Gunder Frank. The Political-Economic Crisis and the Shift to the Right (In: Crime and Social Justice n° 17, pp. 4-19) | Democracy | Capitalism

André Gunder Frank. The Political-Economic Crisis and the Shift to the Right. In: Crime and Social Justice, No. 17, Meeting The Challenge of the 1980s (Summer1982), pp. 4-19. Published by: Social Justice/Global Options Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/29766139

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  THE POLITICAL-ECONOMIC CRISIS AND THE SHIFT TO THE RIGHTAuthor(s): Andre Gunder FrankReviewed work(s):Source: Crime and Social Justice, No. 17, MEETING THE CHALLENGE OF THE 1980s (Summer1982), pp. 4-19Published by: Social Justice/Global Options Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/29766139 . Accessed: 20/11/2011 22:05 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at  . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspJSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. Social Justice/Global Options  is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Crimeand Social Justice. http://www.jstor.org  Thoory and R?50Qrch THE POLITICAL-ECONOMIC CRISIS AND THE SHIFT TO THE RIGHT Andre Gunder Frank* INTRODUCTION We are pleased to print the following article by Andre Gunder Frank in Crime and Social Justice. Three sections were chosen from the chapter entitled The Political Economic Response to Crisis in the West in his book Crisis: In the World Economy (1980a), the companion volume to Crisis: In the Third World (1981a). The first section addresses the general shift to the right by govern? ments in the West; the second, the intensification of political repression internationally; and the last, the nature of the ideological challenge from the Right. These selections are not a theory of the rise of the Right. Frank has done this elsewhere in Crisis: In the World Economy and in other works. It is the task of this preface both to place Frank in the history of pioneering theory and to supplement the following article with an overview of the theory rom which the logic of events was derived. In the 1980s, increased political repression and expanded activity of the state apparatus is a certainty. The context, as Frank shows, is global, particularly with the proliferation of extra-legal paramilitary right-wing forces to complement the dirty work the state does in secret, the burgeoning prison populations, and an array of repressive legislation to combat a supposed rise in terrorism, enacted to assuage a legitimate and popular fear of crime. This repressive legisla? tion, from the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to the current ominous approach to criminal code reform in the U.S. Senate (S.1630), must be seen as part of * Andre Gunder Frank is a Professor of Development Studies at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, and author of Crisis: In the World Economy and many other publications in economics and world-systems theory. Reprinted by permission from Andre Gunder Frank, Crisis: In the World Economy. Published by Holmes & Meier Publishers, Inc. Copyright 1980 by Andre Gunder Frank. a worldwide pattern, a pattern of global reaction manifested both in the central powers of the world-economy and in the states of the periphery. The current expansion of repressive police powers in the United States resembles developments in urope described by Frank below. ABOUT THE A UTHOR Andre Gunder Frank was born in Berlin in 1929. He was educated in the United States, where he received a Ph.D in economics from the University of Chicago in 1957. In 1962, Frank went to live in Latin America and between 1963 and 1965 wrote his seminal work Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Latin America (1967). This work contributed to the development of an alternative perspective for studying modern social change, one which fundamen? tally challenges the dominant developmentalist perspective in social science. Whereas the developmentalist premise essentially posits a globe consisting of relatively autonomous societies, developing in relation to one another along roughly the same path, although with different starting times and at different speeds, the alternative perspective begins with the modern world-system, which emerges in the 16th century as a European-centered world-economy, as its unit of analysis. The zones of its division of labor operate as an omnipresent division of centers and hinterlands, or cores and peripheries, united and reproduced through processes of capital accumulation and unequal exchange (Hopkins and Wallerstein, 1977). Those who along with Frank became known as depend? ency theorists had come to recognize an untenable dispar? ity between prevailing developmentalist theory and historical fact. Instead of viewing underdevelopment or economic backwardness as a matter of starting ate, they came to see it as itself a condition produced in the course of and as a result of the rise of capitalism. This central theoretical theme was expressed in Frank's phrase the 4 /Crime and Social Justice  development of underdevelopment (ibid.). In short, capitalism was seen as underdeveloping the periphery, an analysis which was clearly anathema to the capitalist developmentalist thrust of John F. Kennedy's Alliance for Progress and Peace Corps in the wake of the Cuban Revolu? tion. Frank's book Dependent Accumulation and Under? development (1979) tries to shed his strictly dependency heritage. Rather, it ventures an explanation of underdevel? opment through the analysis of the production and exchange relations of dependence within the world process of capital accumulation. Between 1968 and 1973, Frank taught and conducted research in Chile. The above-mentioned book and his World Accumulation 1492-1789 (1978) were the products of a period marked by both the hubris of Salvador Allende's electoral victory in September, 1970, and the tragedy of the coup of 1973. I stress this period to show that when Frank speaks of political repression and the corporatist command state, he speaks from experience. Prior to leaving Chile, Frank increasingly focused on the nature of the current economic crisis. In fact, in 1972 he publicly expressed the opinion that the capitalist world had entered another major crisis of capital accumulation. This essay is now Chapter 1 of Frank's book Reflections on the World Economic Crisis (1981b). Frank here argues that as of the mid-1960s, the world-economy entered a long-cycle contraction. As noted earlier, capitalism as a global mode of produc? tion tends always towards uneven development spatially and sectorally, which we call the industrialized core and the superexploited periphery. Capitalist development and accumulation are also temporally uneven. Capital accumula? tion is a cyclical phenomenon - the business cycle is well known to practically all observers. What has been less accepted by government economists is the thesis that the world capitalist economy is also governed by long waves of 50 to 75 years in duration. These waves consist of two phases: the irst is a period of growth, of expansion econom? ically, such as characterized the world-economy from the end of World War II to 1966; the second is a period of no growth, of stagnation, which today takes the form of stagflation. These long-wave cycles ceased to be denied by 1978 when the Bank for International Settlements (the central bankers' central bank), the Club of Rome, and even the Trilateral Commission seriously began to consider an economic downturn of the Kondratieff type (Frank, 1980a: 22). The long-cycle downswing which ensued in 1966 is characterized by worldwide stagnation in investment and growth, declining and lower profits, stagflation, the intro? duction of cost-saving measures, and the failure of major financial and industrial concerns. As Frank (1980a: 23) notes, downswings have exhibited certain political/ economic transformations that have made a recuperation of profits possible, thereby stimulating innovative major new investments and then expansion of production in the next upswing. The mechanism at work is this: the capital/labor ratio has become too high in the boom, resulting in lower levels of investment. The major enterprises move to recuper ate the previous rate of profit through a preference for cost-reducing rationalization and invention. Most important, however, are the political defeats of the working class in class struggle, exemplified by the defeat of the revolutions of 1848 for the European working classes and the defeat of the German revolution (Spartacist uprising) of 1918, which was followed by the general defeat of labor through the 1920s. The latter paved the way, made the political space, for the rise of classical fascism. ANAL YTICAL BASES FOR THE RISE OF THE RIGHT Marlene Dixon, another pioneer of the world-systems perspective, has stated the premise that wherever there exists a conjunction between great concentrations of power in the hands of ruling minorities and times of economic and sociocultural crisis, fascism is possible (1982b: i). Like Frank (1981b: 7-8) and Gross (1980), she locates the root of the rise of the Right in the world crisis of capital accumulation, in the adaptive responses of national and transnational capital on the one hand, and the acute, radical and potentially violent social dislocation such adaptations provoke on the other (Dixon, 1982b: i-ii). There is likewise agreement that any neofascist arrangement in the capitalist core will unfold according to a logic of its own and will assume a form unlike that of classical German or Italian Fascism. The policies of national and transnational capital will demand the pillaging of the working classes and underclasses of the advanced countries and the intensification of exploi? tation for the emerging working classes of the semi periphery (Dixon, op. cit). This makes clear the ideological function of Huntington^ essay The Crisis of Democracy: it is a call for the consolidation of oligarchic power and for the imposition of national controls to assure that the transnational corporate powers, given their nonterritorial character, are able to keep their concentration of wealth intact. It is for this reason that the following selections by Frank begin with an examination of the rise of the Right by introducing the worldview of the Trilateral Commission in regard to the democratic distemper. This emerging worldview, as Gross and Dixon have noted, insists upon a supra-governmental, nonterritorial managerial formula capable of consolidating ever greater concentrations of wealth and power. Dixon (1982b: iv) in particular has observed that the complexities of modern forms of neofascism are thus complicated by the fact that it is not a question of subduing a single nation-state, but a whole system of states within the world-economy. While it is clear that a policy of global reaction has been implemented by capital, the outcome is by no means predetermined. The experience which has been solely that of the periphery will now come to haunt the U.S.: we will likely experience a stripping away of democratic veils in the face of a hostile transnational power, but not a dismantling of the formal democratic machinery. The Reagan adminis? tration is the beginning of a long period of conservative rule in which the share of the national wealth allotted to the Summer 1982/ 5  working class and underclass will diminish with the imple? mentation of reactionary social policies and direct rollbacks in wage levels. The abandonment of the New Deal (high-growth capitalism) policy of industrial peace, as well as the deliber? ate immiseration of the unemployed population, will have profound social consequences for which the ruling powers are prepared. First, an accentuation of sexism (Kress, 1982), of racism (Bush, 1982), and of incarceration (Platt, 1982) are certainties. The deliberate fostering of right-wing evangelical movements by the right wing of the ruling class is well documented (Huntington and Kaplan, 1982). Abov'e all, the sudden intensification of right-wing paramilitary organizations reflects the repressive necessities of the bourgeoisie, which is unable, or unwilling, to directly unleash state terror because of the necessity of affirming the power of the Constitution to protect national stability (Dixon, 1981b). The existence of these right-wing extra legal forces also creates a pretext for fighting the terrorism of the left and the right. Frank's article underscores the degree to which the rise of the Right is international in its manifestations (see also Crime and Social Justice 15, Law and Order in the 1980s: The Rise of the Right and Con? temporary Marxism 4, World Capitalist Crisis and the Rise of the Right ). Finally, it seems appropriate to underscore several of Frank's conclusions in the following passages. First, the success or failure of the Right's self-proclaimed revolution (which in reality is a counterrevolution) depends entirely upon whether the working class and its allies are sufficient? ly organized and equipped with leadership and political policies to deflect the attack that will certainly intensify s the crisis is aggravated. For while the crisis in capitalism is being used by capital to launch a dangerous offensive against the funda? mental rights of labor and democratic forces, the additional danger exists that the popular resistance to the restructuring of the world-economy will, according to Frank, be derailed into nationalist/regionalist, cological, or bourgeois women's movements, thus rendering protest ineffective at best or reactionary at worst. Yet this need not come to pass: self-conscious intervention on behalf of the workers' movement and its democratically inclined allies holds the potential for an alternative resolution to the crisis. While the following article is not current in terms of the factual data presented, Frank's analytical framework proves to be of enormous value in the prediction of future trends. It is the method of analysis that should be learned from, for the exposition of empirical data follows from the tedious gathering of newspaper clippings which validate the analysis. Frank (along with Ernest Mandel and Giovanni Arrighi and others) realized early on that what the world famous Keynesian advisers took to be short-term recessions, momentary bad dreams in the eternal fantasy of an un? broken chain of capitalist prosperity, were indeed the early signs of a long-term apitalist crisis of capital accumu? lation. As such, the policies initiated during the Carter administration and intensified in the Reagan era reflect the logic of the necessities of capital: the world defeat of the working classes and the imposition of restrictions on civil rights where bourgeois democracy places restraints on the centralization of oligarchic power and concentration of wealth. This shift to the right in the centers of power was initially reflected in the electoral arena, where the organized Right took the initiative in the ace of bankrupt policies of social reform that require a high-growth economy. Frank also spoke to the continuing development of religious and paramilitary right-wing ormations: today we see the Ku Klux Klan, the Moonies, and the U.S. Labor Party (National Democratic Policy Committee) on the move and functioning as organizational provocateurs. The current trends in criminology-preventative detention, the abolition of parole, criminalization of strike activity, and the increased use of incarceration-reflect the Trilateral Commission's call for moderation and restriction of democracy and represent a concerted political, legal, economic, and ideo? logical assault on the rights and standards of living of the majority of the populations of the world. The methodological tools of analysis used by Frank are available to all who wish to pursue this line of thought further. While the theoretical framework is rooted in Marx's Capital, the following selections on world-systems analysis and neofascism should be a useful beginning point. SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY Amin, Samir 1976 Unequal Development. Brighton: Harvester. 1974 Accumulation on a World Scale. New York: Monthly Review Press. Arrighi, Giovanni 1978 The Geometry of Imperialism. London: New Left Books. Bahro, Rudolph 1979 The Alternative. London: New Left Books. Bush, Rod 1982 Racism and the Rise of the Right. Contemporary Marxism 4 (Winter). Dixon, Marlene 1982a World Capitalist Crisis and the Rise of the Right. Contemporary Marxism 4 (Winter). 1982b Tyranny Will Come Silently, Slowly, Like Fog Creeping in on Little Cat Feet. . . . Contemporary Marxism 4 (Winter). 1981a Limitations Imposed by the Capitalist World-System. Our Socialism 2, 2 (May). 1981b On the Situation in the USA Today. Our Socialism 2, 8 (October). 1981c The Transition to Socialism as a World Process. Our Socialism 2, 2 (May). 198Id Abstract: The Degradation of Waged Labor and Class Formation on an International Scale. Our Socialism 2, 2 (May). 1980 The Challenge of Transnational Capitalism. Our Socialism 1, 1 (Fall). 6 /Crime and Social Justice
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