Rough Theses: Alienation; the State


This is the fragment of a thought.


Britain. State welfare is the replication of Nature. Human beings in receipt of benefit are alienated from wealth in a profound manner: the source of wealth is invisible; production itself is invisible.

Penal restrictions on benefit – sanctions for instance – serve as an economic deterrent. The state, in the provision of welfare, is able to deter certain forms of behaviour, whilst vaunting others. Punishment is able to direct activity – if 1 is offerred a job, then 1 must accept it.

Workfare is a logical extrapolation of this fact. In concrete terms, the state is able to direct labour-power to the service of individual Capitalists. The worker is powerless. If they object, they are murdered in an economic fashion: they are deprived of their economic self-replication.

As a consequence, workers are alienated not only from the product of their labour. They are alienated from their labour-power itself.


Hegemony is embodied in this process. State welfare – in the present period – is an economic contract with the bourgeoisie. It operates as a pledge of allegiance. If the terms of this contract are broken, the proletarian party is subject to economic violence: starvation, homelessness, want – all manufactured on an inordinate scale.

Economic sustenance is provided by the observation of these limits.

Hegemony is, therefore, a process of ideological domination born out of material violence. The material basis of hegemony is coercion.


State welfare & its noted ideological characteristics are an extension of fact. In the 1st volume of Capital, Marx writes that ‘the pressure of the unemployed compels those that are employed to furnish more labour’. (Karl Marx, ‘The General Law of Capitalist Accumulation‘, Captal, Vol. 1.)

From this, we may conclude that the general process of bourgeois hegemony is intimately concerned with the management of labour-power & its material constituents.

Ownership is of primary concern in this consideration. Unemployment, to the dispossessed, is a firm reminder of their economic precarity – their inability to produce for themselves. Variable Capital (labour-power) is an economic futility in the absence of wider productive forces.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s