Repression in Capitalist Societies

Acute and suggestive, Corey Robin on analyzing despotic, tyrannical, and totalitarian power in the capitol of capitalism:

 “However much coercive power the state wields–and it’s considerable—it’s not, in the end, where and how many, perhaps even most, people in the United States have historically experienced the raw end of politically repressive power. Even force and violence: just think of black slaves and their descendants, confronting slaveholders, overseers, slave catchers, Klansmen, chain gangs, and more; or women confronting the violence of their husbands and supervisors; or workers confronting the Pinkertons and other private armies of capital…

The fact is that a great deal of political repression happens in civil society, outside the state. More specifically, in the workplace.

There’s a reason so much of American repression is executed not by the state but by the private sector: the government is subject to constitutional and legal restraints, however imperfect and patchy they may be. But an employer often is not. “

Gruesome contemporary example.

I love Robin’s book idea: Careerism: Prolegomena to a Political Theory. I think it would likely be an incisive clearing of the goopy theoretical decks on power and hegemony.

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