Issue 10 – Capitalism and Democracy

Editor: Sonay Bayramoğlu

A Critique of the “Equality-Blind” Democratisation Programme of the Bourgeoisie
Metin Özuğurlu

The paper attempts at revealing a basic paradox characterizing Turkish politics: On the one hand the society is marked by Sharp class-based contradictions between Capital and labour; on the other hand the political sphere is shaped by polarities without a class reference and content, as can be observed in the opposition between cosmopolit and nationalist camps. The aim of the paper is to question how Turkish bourgeoisie, whose strategy is based on the repression of labour power and submitting it to the requirements of Capital, could, at the same time, pretend to be the main actor in the promotion of democracy in Turkey. Therefore in order to reveal the material conditions behind this apparent contradiction and to demistify the “equality-blind” democratisation programme of the bourgeoisie, the paper focuses on three aspects of capitalist relations in the neoliberal period: The peculiar form taken by global capitalism which leaves no room for the working classes to use traditional democratic means of participation; the changing meanings of the concepts of freedom and equality for neoliberalism and finally the material conditions of labour which is not politically organized yet to overthrow and restructure the political arena in class terms, though it possesses this very potential. The concluding argument of the paper is that the question of democracy is a matter of working class politicisation.

Keywords: Democratisation, Bourgeoisie, Turkey, Neoliberal Period, Equality-Blindness.

Marx and Civil Society

Mehmet Yetiş

The controversial term “civil society” appeared in the eighteenth century political thought to denote a new social sphere which had a different set of relations than those of the State. Kari Marx adopted this concept which had already been located in a skeptical theoretical discourse by Hegel, and came up against the problematic nature of the state-civil society dichotomy. Approaching the Hegelian conception in a highly critical fashion, he reversed the relationship of civil society to the State, and tried to conceptualize civil society as an important determinant of the political sphere. In his view, it was not the State but civil society which determined the other pole of the so called dichotomy. This paper focuses on the various aspects of Marx’s discussion on the contradictory character of civil society, within the context of a conceptual elaboration. It argues that Marx’s critical attitude towards civil society gradually evolved into a necessary component of a much broader political perspective or strategy to overcome the state-civil society dichotomy.

Keywords: Civil Society, Marx, Hegel, State, Dichotomy.

The Possibility for “Real Democracy”: Paris Commune
Mustafa Bayram Mısır

The author, through an analysis of the experience of Paris Commune, attempts at finding out the possibilities of real democracy for Marxism. He argues that historical materialism does not only make a critique of bourgeois democracy as a form of political domination or any other type of democracy in class-based societies; but it also further elaborates the “idea of democracy” as a human aspiration for “equality” and “liberty” and derives insights for the historical possibility of real democracy, namely the withering away of the State. That’s why Marxism is reconciliable with the “idea of democracy”.

Keywords: Paris Commune, Marxism, Historical Materialism, Withering away of the State, Democracy.

Underdevelopment and Democracy in the Historical Process
Faruk Ataay

This study deals with the problems of political regime and democracy in the underdeveloped countries from a historical perspective. İt makes a critical overview of those theoretical approaches on the interrupted and limited character of democracy in the underdeveloped countries and emphasizes the validity of the Gramscian concept of hegemony. Throughout the study, the establishment of democratic regimes in the postwar period the rise of the authoritarian regimes since the 1960’s. democratisation processes in the 1980’s and the new “wave of democracy” in the 1990’s are discussed respectively. The basic argument lying at the core of the article is that the study of democracy and democratisation should not be severed from the broader context of changing class relations in different historical contexts.

Keywords: democracy, class relations, hegemony, Gramsci, Marxism.

Rendering Women’s Labour Visible: An Overview From Marx to Delphy
Gülnur Acar-Savran

This article is based on the argument that despite methodological statements to the contrary, Marx’s work in general is gender-blind and that it deports women’s domestic labour under capitalism from the purview of social theory, thereby dehistoricising it. The discussions around the concept of domestic labour at the beginnings of the second wave feminism on the other hand, are stamped from the outset, with Marx’s abstractions concerning housework. İt is only with various versions of dual systems theory that women’s domestic labour is situated within the context of the articulation of capitalism and patriarchy and thus made a gender specific object of analysis. Contending that the dual system theories of socialist feminists are not sufficiently materialist analyses of patriarchy, Christine Delphy, for her part, develops a theoretical framework based on the concept of “domestic mode of production”. In this framevvork, ali women are subjected to the same social relation of exploitation and hence share the same class position. This abstractly over-generalized approach to women’s position within patriarchal capitalism, however, has limiting effects on the possibilities of developing concrete policies with respect to overcoming the hierarchical-gendered division of labour in the home generally and transforming radically both the private and social organisation of care more specifically.

Keywords: patriarchy, women’s labor, domestic labor, Marx, Christine Delphy.

Political Economy: Elegant Gravestones
Işaya Üşür

The author makes a historical review of the etimology and genealogy of the concept of political economy and shows how the economic and political are separated by the dynamics of capitalist relations. According to the author political economy has initially developed as a moral philosopy from Aristotle to 19th century; then it was attributed different meanings by the mercantilists, physiocrats, classical and neoclassical economists. İn the modern age political economy was fragmented, severed from its normative content and was reduced to a mathematical language. Thus the focus of economic analysis was restrained to the analysis of the markets, resulting in the fact that concepts like property were excluded from the field of economic theory. The basic argument of the study is that this fragmentation can be overcome by referring to the approach of Marx to political economy.

Keywords: political economy, capitalism, Marx, Aristotle, neoclassical economics.

Karl Marx’s Relation to Moral Philosophy and to the Theory of Justice
Doğan Göçmen

This essay deals with Karl Marx’s relation to moral philosophy and the theory of justice, it summarises the debate on this issue in the English speaking world between 1970’s and 1990‘s. The crucial issue that stays at stake concerns the nature of Marx‘s criticism of capitalism. The main question around which the whole debate turns is whether Marx’s criticism of capitalism is erected on ethics and on a theory of justice or whether it is an immanent criticism of the logic of the capital and therefore a theory of emancipatıon from Capital as such. The essay, after introducing the basic statements of Marx (and Engels) on ethics and justice, makes a critical evaluation of the main positions within the debate.

Keywords: moral philosophy, theory of justice, Marx, capital, emancipation.