A Pictorial Theory of the State

This is the first of what will be a series of articles about the State. I feel it is a concept which is far too phenomenal to be understood by theory alone, as academia attempts. Thus I have utilised these goofy cartoons to help us understand clearly just how we experience the state in capitalist society. 

Most of us see the state as something like this.

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On Referendums, Broken Dreams and Political Realities

I wrote this just prior to Greece’s 2015 referendum upon the budget forced on them by the European Union, where it was overwhelmingly defeated with an emphatic ‘Oxi’ vote. While I could not predict just how emphatic the anti-austerity victory would be, nor the immense betrayal of the people by Syriza leadership (with all the caveats that entails), my point was to argue that referendums are not a signal of democracy’s strength but rather its weakness. The fact it had come to a referendum at all was a sign of how increasingly violent European politics had become. This is an argument which has been only gained currency since.

While Greece’s impending Sunday referendum on a specific set of austerity proposals is being heralded by some as a victory for democracy, it represents nothing less than a defeat for the prospects of a democratic and egalitarian Europe. Far from an active engagement in civic life, a referendum is a violence committed against a people by dividing them into two separate camps in which they are forced to become openly hostile political agents. Not political in the sense of attempting to change and shape the world around them as independent rational actors; not even social in the sense of being able to effectively structure their socioeconomic relations with one another; rather, a referendum pits the population into opposite sides, destined to clash with one another: yes vs. no. Continue reading “On Referendums, Broken Dreams and Political Realities”