GIBSON-GRAHAM, Professor of Geosciences at University of Massachusetts, 6
[J.K. Gibson-Graham, “The End of Capitalism as We Knew It,” pg. 255-257]
Through its architectural or organismic depiction as an edifice or body, Capitalism becomes not an uncentered aggregate of practices but a structural and systemic unity, potentially co-extensive with the national or global economy as a whole. 11 As a large, durable, and self-sustaining formation, it is relatively impervious to ordinary political and cultural u, except through some herculean and coordinated struggle. Understood as a unified system or structure, Capitalism is not ultimately vulnerable to local and partial efforts at transformation. Any such efforts can always be subverted by Capitalism at another scale or in another dimension. Attempts to transform production may be seen as hopeless without control of the financial system. Socialisms in one city or in one country may be seen as undermined by Capitalism at the international scale. Capitalism cannot be chipped away at, gradually replaced or removed piecemeal. It must be transformed in its entirety or not at all. Thus one of the effects of the unity of Capitalism is to present the left with the task of systemic transformation. Singularity If the unity of Capitalism confronts us with the mammoth task of systemic transformation, it is the singularity and totality of Capitalism that make the task so hopeless. Capitalism presents itself as a singularity in the sense of having no peer or equivalent, of existing in a category by itself; and also in the sense that when it appears fully realized within a particular social formation, it tends to be dominant or alone. As a sui generis economic form, Capitalism has no true analogues. Slavery, independent commodity production, feudalism, socialism, primitive communism and other forms of economy all lack the systemic properties of Capitalism and the ability to reproduce and expand themselves according to internal laws. 12 Unlike socialism, for example, which is always struggling to be born, which needs the protection and fostering of the state, which is fragile and easily deformed, Capitalism takes on its full form as a natural outcome of an internally driven growth process. Its organic unity gives capitalism the peculiar power to regenerate itself, and even to subsume its moments of crisis as requirements of its continued growth and development. Socialism has never been endowed with that mythic capability of feeding on its own crises; its reproduction was never driven from within by a life force but always from without; it could never reproduce itself but always had to be reproduced, often an arduous if not impossible process. 13
Their description of capitalism as an all consuming monolithic force stifles resistance by foreclosing the possibility of meaningful reform
GIBSON-GRAHAM, Professor of Geosciences at University of Massachusetts, 93 –
[J.K. Gibson-Graham, “Waiting for the Revolution, or How to Smash Capitalism while Working at Home in Your Spare Time,” published in Marxism in the Postmodern Age by Antonio Callari et al in 1994, pg 188-197]
The birth of the concept of Capitalism as we know it coincided in time with the birth of “the economy” as an autonomous social sphere. Not surprisingly, then, Capitalism shares with its more abstract sibling the qualities of an integrated system and the capability of reproducing itself (or of being reproduced). Represented as an organism through which flows of social labor circulate in various forms, Capitalism regulates itself according to logics or laws,’ propelled by a life force along a preordained (though not untroubled) trajectory of growth. Often the unity of Capitalism is represented in more architectural terms.Capitalism (or capitalist society) becomes a structure in which parts are related to one another, linked to functions, and arranged “in accordance with an architecture that is.. . no less invisible than visible” (Foucauk 1973, 231). The architectural/structural metaphor confers upon Capitalism qualities of durability and persistence as well as unity and coherence, giving it greater purchase on social reality than more ephemeral phenomena. While Marxist conceptions usually emphasize the contradictory and crisis-ridden nature of capitalist development, capitalist crisis may itself be seen as a unifying process.Crises are commonly presented as originating at the organic center of a capitalist society—the capital accumulation—and as radiating outward to destabilize the entire economic and social formation.What is important here is not the different metaphors and images of economy and society but the fact that they all confer integrity upon Capitalism. Through its architectural or organismic representation as an edifice or body. Capitalism becomes not an uncentered aggregate of practices but a structural and systemic unity. potentially coextensive with the (national or global) economy as a whole. Understood as a unified system or structure, Capitalism is not ultimately vulnerable to local and partial efforts at transformation.Any such efforts can always be subverted by Capitalism at another scale or in another dimension. Attempts, for example, to transform production may be seen as hopeless without control of the financial system; and socialisms in one city or in one country may be seen as undermined by Capitalism at the international scale. Capitalism cannot be gradually replaced or removed piecemeal; it must be transformed in its entirety or not at all. Thus one of the effects of the unity of Capitalism is to confront the Left with the task of systemic transformation.