The Spaces of Capital: The Political Form of Capitalism and the Internationalization of the State1

Joachim Hirsch and John Kannankulam
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universit¨ t, Fachbereich Gesellschaftswissenschaften, a Robert-Mayer-Str. 5, 60054 Frankfurt am Main, Germany; j.hirsch@soz.uni-frankfurt.de, kannankulam@soz.uni-frankfurt.de
Abstract: In the course of the neoliberal globalization offensive capital has become more international. This development has placed the question of the state on the agenda once again. The central issue here is the extent to which the existing plurality of states should be seen as a historically contingent state of affairs which might not in principle last indefinitely, or as a structural component of the capitalist mode of production. One important aspect of this issue is the question of how the relationship between the “political form” of capitalism and “institutions” is understood. More often than not, even approaches that use Marxist theory have tended to address this question in an unsatisfactory manner. Keywords: state theory, internationalization of the state, historical materialist form analysis

In the course of the neoliberal globalization offensive capital has become more international. This development has placed the question of the state on the agenda once again and in a very specific way. The questions that arise relate both to the ongoing transformation of states and the state system, and to the significance of processes of supranational politicaleconomic integration—in particular, the case of the European Union (see Jessop 2008:198–224). The central issue here is the extent to which the existing plurality of states is a historically contingent state of affairs, which could in principle be overcome, or a structural component of the capitalist mode of production (on this point, see the controversy between Callinicos 2007 and Teschke and Lacher 2007). It is now beginning to be more generally recognized that neither a mere description of these developments nor a generalization of current trends will suffice. Current developments can only be understood if the analysis rests on an adequate theory of the modern, of the capitalist state. If one proceeds on the basis of the historical materialist theory of the state, one of the main questions to be answered is what ongoing internationalization processes mean for the political form of capitalism. In the debate about the internationalization of the state the analysis of this question has been unsatisfactory up until now. A clear indication of this is the fact that in debates the term “form” itself is used in a manifold and diffuse
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way (for example in Gerstenberger 2007a). Our own approach relies on the argumentation about social forms developed by Marx in his critique of political economy. Marx’s form of analytical argumentation meant substantial progress compared with classical economical theory which, according to him, provided the central key to an understanding of capitalist society (Marx 2005:89–90, 94–96). Hence our thesis is that the recent transformation processes of the state and the shifting of political scales can only be understood if we bring the problematique of ‘form’ into the centre of analysis. Our approach rests on the results of the— unfortunately—long-forgotten West German “State Derivation Debate” of the 1970s (see Bieler and Morton 2003; Clarke 1991; Holloway and Picciotto 1978), which we try to combine and develop further with the state theoretical arguments of Antonio Gramsci and Nicos Poulantzas. In our attempt to combine these apparently contradictory theoretical approaches (for this critique, see Holloway and Picciotto 1991), we see a promising and important opportunity for the further development of historical materialist state theory (Hirsch and Kannankulam 2006, 2009; Kannankulam 2008:36–63). One important aspect of this issue is the question of how the relationship between “political form” and “institutions” is understood. More often than not, even approaches that use Marx’s theory have tended to address this question in an unsatisfactory manner. The concept of political form is often equated with the concrete institutional structure of the state and its apparatuses (for examples of this, see Jessop 1982:190; 1990:206). This is, at the very least, imprecise. The political form of capitalism and the institutional shape of the political apparatus are not identical, and they cannot be derived from one another; their relationship to each other is complex, and involves both correspondence and contradiction. The concrete institutional shape taken by the state apparatus is form determined, that is to say, it is subject to structural constraints which result from existing relations of production and exploitation. These, in turn, impose limits on the range of possible modes of institutionalization. However, the political form can manifest itself in a range of different institutional configurations. This depends on specific historical paths, concrete economic relations and class constellations, relations of social power, and the way social conflicts develop. Our article is structured as follows: first we explicate how the political form of capitalism is to be understood and how the pivotal question of the relation between political form and concrete processes of institutionalization is to be dealt with. Our argument here is that processes of institutionalization are generally form determined but that form determination should not be misunderstood as if there is only one unilinear way in which this occurs. As a second step we give reasons for why the plurality of states is not simply a historically contingent appearance of capitalist relations of production but, in fact, a
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structural element of it. Although there is no causality between the genesis of a geopolitical pluriverse and capitalism, the plurality of states is nevertheless an essential precondition for the reproduction and existence of modern capitalism. “Genesis” and “validity” (Geltung) are analytically to be distinguished, a fact which is too often overlooked in the recent debates. On this basis we explore what exactly is to be understood by internationalization of the state and what consequences this has for recent scalar re-configurations. Finally, we discuss what implications the internationalization of the state has for the political form and the existence of the global system of capitalism in general. In this article, we do not explicitly deal with contemporary geographical debates, but we refer to them as a theoretical background. Our assumption is that the spaces in which economic processes unfold, and to which political institutions relate, are not predetermined. They come into existence as a result of conflictual processes of societalization and dispute, in a range of historical constellations. Spaces that are demarcated by political power are never congruent with other spaces, such as economic and cultural ones. In fact, one has to proceed on the basis that there is a heterogeneous diversity of spaces which overlap, intersect and in part have a hierarchical relationship to one another. In these spaces, different relations of dominance and power and different terrains for dealing with problems and interests manifest themselves. One example of this is the transfer of economic processes and political decision-making to the international level in the course of neoliberal globalization, which has led to a fundamental shift of power in favour of capital and to the disadvantage of the working classes (Brand et al 2008; see also Brand and G¨ rg 2003; Brenner 2004; Delaney and Leitner o 1997; Harvey 1982; Marston 2000; Swyngedouw 1997).

Basic Theoretical Considerations
We start with a brief exposition of our basic theoretical assumptions. These relate to the political form of capitalism and the relationship between social form and institutions. We do not deal with the legal form, which together with the political form and the value form is among the basic structural features of capitalist society (see Buckel 2007). As Marx and Engels observed, the shape taken by any given organization of rule depends essentially on the prevailing property relations and relations of exploitation (1953:20–22; on this point, see also Brenner 1985; Teschke 2003:8–9). The formation of the modern state is closely connected with the successful establishing of capitalist relations of production, but this is not a straightforward causal relationship. The particular political form of capitalist society manifests itself in the modern state. This society is fundamentally characterized by private ownership of the means of production, formally free labor,
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private production, the exchange of commodities, and competition. The commodities produced take the value form, and the law of value regulates societal production. The appropriation of surplus by the economic ruling class does not arise, as it does in the case of feudalism, through direct compulsion, but rather through the (formally equal) exchange of goods; and labor power is one of these goods. However, private production, the exchange of goods, and competition presuppose that members of the economic ruling class do not use direct physical violence either in their dealings with wage earners or within their own class. This means that fully developed capitalist relations come into existence only when violent physical compulsion is separated from every class in society, including the economic ruling class. The separation of “economy” from “politics” and of “state” from “society” is thus a crucial condition for the possibility of the existence and reproduction of the capitalist mode of production. The result of this is the “relative autonomy” of the political and of the state— or, because this expression can lead to confusion, what we call their separatedness or particularization (Besonderung). Because capitalist society breaks down into competing individuals and antagonistic classes, it is impossible for the members of that society to reach direct and conscious agreement on issues that affect them all. Just as the social character (Gesellschaftlichkeit) of their work imposes itself as an enforced external relationship mediated by the circulation of capital, so their political communality (Gemeinschaftlichkeit) is forced to take an objectified, reified shape that is separated from individuals. Individuals encounter this communality in the form of the state, as an external context of compulsion. The economic value form, the legal form and the political form must be seen as the basic structural features of capitalist society, features which are related to one another. The political form does not just constitute a “superstructure” resting on the economy, it is itself—as institutionalized in the state—an integral part of capitalist relations of production (Hirsch 2005:20–39). Economic (value) form and political form designate the historically specific manner under which class relations of capitalist societies are shaped and how classes relate to each other. The modality of the constitution of classes and class struggle are crucially shaped through these forms. The particularization of the state creates the conditions for an objectified and depersonalized mode of organization of social and class relations. The state is capitalist because it is an integral part of capitalist relations of production and is tied to these relations by virtue of its structure and functions, but it does not function as the immediate instrument of the economic ruling class or classes. The state is not a person, and it is not a consciously created organization set up for a particular rational purpose; rather, it must be understood as the material
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condensation of antagonistic class relations (Poulantzas 2000:123–139) and of relations of rule connected with these (race, gender) (Demirovic and P¨ hl 1997; Jessop 2008:157–177; Karakayali and Tsianos 2003; u Nowak 2006, 2009). By means of a process of socialization that takes the form of a state, members of the exploited classes are disorganized as individual citizens. Simultaneously, the state constitutes the terrain on which the development of a shared policy to be pursued by the ruling classes, who are actually competing economically with one another (the power bloc), becomes possible at all. Because the state is an institutionalization of competing and antagonistic class relations, it is not a closed apparatus but takes the shape of a heterogeneous network of agencies which are partly in conflict with one another. We can say that capitalist social forms, and so then the particularization or relative autonomy of the state, are not functionally predetermined and guaranteed, but rather produced and reproduced by societal action that is shaped by existing class relations and relations of exploitation. The existence and reproduction of these social forms are therefore fundamentally precarious. It is possible that societal struggles and disputes call into question the capitalist forms and thus ultimately the reproduction of societal formation as a whole. Social forms are thus objectifications of societal contexts that result from general principles of capitalist societalization which confront human beings in a reified way. They structurally determine the general orientations of perception and behavior that prevail in society. These orientations become concretized in societal institutions. This means that institutions can be seen as materializations of societal determinations of form (Holloway 1991:254–257). However, institutions and forms are not identical. Social forms, as the expression of a contradictory societalization context, establish, support and set limits to institutionalization processes, but this does not mean that such forms are fixed once and for all or that they will always appear in a specific configuration. For example, the value form that determines capitalism can be manifested in very different systems of money and credit. The concept of social form thus designates the context of conciliation (Vermittlungszusammenhang) between societal structure, institutions and social action. Because action that establishes and reproduces institutions is shaped by the antagonisms and conflicts that are specific to the capitalist mode of production, contradictions can arise between social forms and institutions. This means that it is in principle possible for existing structures to become incompatible with the process by which capital is valorized. It follows from this that the nation state is only one possible mode of institutionalization of the capitalist political form, albeit one that in historical terms has succeeded in establishing itself for a long period of time. Nevertheless, the transformation of
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societal relations associated with this, characterized by what Max Weber (1946:77) called the “monopoly on the legitimate use of physical violence” within a bounded territory, the principle of the formal rule of law, and a bureaucratic rationality that is predictable to a certain extent, has proved to be extremely advantageous for the reproduction of capitalist relations of production. Weber is certainly to be criticized for his theoretical foundations. This is especially true for his perspective of a historically continuing process of rationalization and the assumption that the modern bureaucratic state is an expression of this process. What is seriously masked here are the antagonistic class relations and structures of exploitation. But what is nevertheless to Weber’s merit is the fact that he clearly argued that the modern state is not to be defined by any historically changing means (function), but through its ends (form) alone; Weber is very precise in arguing that the modern state is a specific institutionalized form of physical force and violence (1946:77). And any serious attempt to analyze the changing institutional shape and functions of the state does need to take this as its starting point. To paraphrase Bob Jessop (1982:135), that is to say that form constitutes function, not only problematizes it, and function problematizes form. Having said this, we would argue that in recent criticisms of Weber, and the demand that his conception of the state should be abandoned, there is a danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater (Robinson 2001; see also Teschke 2003:49–53; 2006:543–546). Authors who argue along these lines fail to see that it is precisely the way the apparatus of force has become centralized and autonomous that makes it a central element of the capitalist political form. Even Robinson, who proclaims the arrival of the “transnational state”, is forced in the end to admit that this form of the state lacks the power to establish itself successfully, the capacity to use force, so that while “fiscal intervention, credit creation, tax redistribution and control over capital and labor allocations” may be formulated to a growing degree in the supranational policy arena, they can only be established in practice by the nation state (Robinson 2001:181; for criticism of Robinson’s position, see Block 2001).

The Nation-State System
It is certainly correct in principle to call for a move away from “methodological nationalism” in the analysis of the state (Smith 1995). However, this does not answer the question of why there was such a close connection between the coming into being of the modern nationstate system and the emergence of the capitalist mode of production, and its success in establishing itself, in the period between the 17th and the 20th centuries.
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The historical course of events reveals no causal connection between the successful establishment of capitalism and the emergence of the modern system of states (Gerstenberger 1990, 2007b; Hirsch 2005:50– 58; Reinhard 2000; Teschke 2003; Tilly 1975). These two processes cannot be reduced to one another, but they were historically connected and served to strengthen each other. The decisive preliminary conditions are to be found in the upheavals in feudal relations of power and property that occurred in Western Europe from the 11th century onwards. These changes were characterized in particular by the usurpation of imperial power by the feudal lords (Teschke 2003:76–96). The antagonism between the power of the church and secular rule, which was characteristic of the Holy Roman Empire, played an important part here (Spruyt 1994:34–58). The feudal mode of exploitation and accumulation contained an inherent tendency to territorial expansion (Brenner 1985b:238–239; Benz 2001:13; Teschke 2003:61–69, 83– 104). This led to military rivalry between the feudal lords, and between the lords and their vassals, and provided the decisive dynamic that contributed to the coming into existence of the modern state system. Military expansion required an increase in the internal power of the state and led to a greater demand for resources, and as this happened the feudal estates, in conflict with their rulers over the latter’s attempts to impose higher taxes on them, were able to force the rulers to give them more of a say in a range of important matters. Under medieval law and its principle of quod omnes tangit, ab omnibus debet comprobari, exceptional taxes could only be imposed if those required to pay them gave their consent (Anderson 1974:45). In combination with the adoption (reception) of Roman law, which took place between the 13th and the 16th centuries, this led to the setting up of a centralized administrative apparatus. At the same time, the money economy developed further. The pressure both to mobilize and to extract more resources (the coercion–extraction cycle) was one of the most important foundations of the modern state (Tilly 1975; Reinhard 2000). The wars and conflicts associated with religious schism were another factor that made it possible for absolutism to establish itself successfully in Europe. The parceled-out medieval form of rule was gradually overcome, though the precapitalist-feudal mode of accumulation remained in existence for the time being (Teschke 2003:264–268). Spatially separate territories came into being, as did centralized and professional administrative apparatuses. Step by step, the princely court was separated from the administration of the state (Hirsch 2005:54). This means that the development of the market and the money economy was not the result of a specifically economic dynamism, but was driven first and foremost by “disputes about the extent and forms of personal rule” (Gerstenberger 1990:512). The decisive factor in further developments was the fact that in England, as the result of a specific class constellation described by Marx
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in chapter 24 of Capital, and to a significant degree as a consequence of the way the class of large landowners who had emerged from the feudal system organized themselves politically in parliament, absolutism was not strengthened. What happened instead was that capitalism and the modern state became more closely interlinked with one another, so that they both developed more rapidly (Teschke 2003:249–268). By contrast with developments in continental Europe, the English feudal nobility gradually transformed itself from a military caste into a demilitarized and successful class of large landowners against which the peasants in their recurring revolts failed to establish freehold control over the land (Brenner 1985a:30–37, 46–62). After the Civil War fought against Stuart absolutism (1642–1649), the alliance between the capitalist landed nobility and those engaged in trade with the colonies succeeded in securing a situation in which private property rights were combined with commercial rents and political freedoms. Or, to put it another way, they managed to reestablish a traditional order within which parliament had long held a strong position (Magna Carta in 1215, the Provisions of Oxford in 1258 and Westminster in 1259; on these points, see Benz 2001:39; Grimm 1987:62; Teschke 2003:252–255). This provided the basis for the country’s economic and military dominance, which exerted increasing pressure on the continental European states to adapt to it. In contrast to developments in Britain, the feudal nobility in continental Europe did not manage to transform itself into a capitalist class. The French king was able to ally himself with the (trading) cities and to attain absolute power (Spruyt 1994:77–108). Against this background, it was the task of the bourgeois revolutions to impose by force a far-reaching “expropriation of the personal ownership of power” (Gerstenberger 1990:52). But these revolutions were, strictly speaking, only “bourgeois” in a limited sense. It would be more accurate to say that they were triggered by complex struggles over property and privileges in which the role of the bourgeois class was not initially prominent (Teschke 2003:254–255). This did, however, lead to a separation between the state and society, politics and the economy, which was a decisive precondition for the establishment of capitalist relations and so for the ultimate formation of the modern state. We can therefore summarize these developments by saying that it was not capital or the capitalist bourgeoisie that laid the foundations of the modern state, but a dynamic of power and conflict that was already present in the structure of medieval society as it underwent transformation, but which at the same time pointed beyond the existing historical shackles. Teschke is surely making a point against the a-historic school of neo-realism within the discipline of international elations in insisting that the Westphalian Order of 1648 was not an order of sovereign states in the modern sense, since the internal organization of states such as France still rested on dynastic and therefore feudal foundations
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(Teschke 2003:225–246). But it is one thing to argue that it was only in England that a sovereign state emerged and that this laid the foundations for capitalist development, and it is another thing to conclude that in feudal political structures such as in France the possibility for capitalist development could not be traced further back in history and/or that it could not be found in geographic regions other than England (Spruyt 2006:516). In Teschke’s argument it is either capitalism or feudalism, and one has to decide (Teschke 2003:96–97, chapter 4 passim). But this argumentative prison is too narrow. Even his theoretical mentor Robert Brenner allowed himself the freedom of admitting that he did in fact generally accept the explanatory models he was criticizing and that his aim was to add further explanation, not to reject them (Brenner 1985b:217). Therefore, we have to admit that the classic argument of Perry Anderson (1974) is more convincing to us than the narrow passage that Teschke offers, that:
the actual movement of history is never a simple change-over from one pure mode of production to another: it is always composed of a complex series of social formations in which a number of modes of productions are enmeshed together under the dominance of one of them (1974:423).

Nevertheless, historical developments thus show that one cannot assume that the coming into being of the modern state was a simple matter of a causal economic connection or a structural relationship, as the basesuperstructure theorem has it. However, this does not settle the question of whether the development of capitalism in the context of a plurality of competing apparatuses of rule was no more than a historical accident, or whether the compartmentalization of the political form into a large number of territorially demarcated spaces (individual states) is one of the fundamental structural features of capitalism. Nobody denies that it was this plurality that drove forward the emergence of capitalism and the modern state. Teschke and Lacher (2007) conclude, on the basis that the emergence of capitalism and of the modern state are two processes that cannot be reduced to one another, that the connection between capitalism and the existence of a large number of states is both genetically and structurally contingent, and that capitalism could equally well have come into existence within the political structure of an empire (2007:574). Both of these conclusions are questionable. Teschke’s confusion stems from his argument that, on the one hand, the successful establishment of capitalism as a relation of production rests on a differentiation between politics and the economy, which means that exploitation takes place without immediate physical compulsion and so “‘the state’ no longer needs to interfere directly in the processes of production and extraction” (2003:143). This means, Teschke argues further, that the
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state can confine itself to the essential functions of institutionalizing the capitalist property regime and “legally enforcing civil contracts among politically (though not economically) equal citizens” (2003:143). However, Teschke then goes on to claim that capitalism does not need a geopolitical pluriverse or a system of states in order to reproduce itself (2003:144–145, 266–267). If there is no need for a states system, a world state will be the only alternative. However, one needs to show that a world state is possible under capitalist conditions. Teschke confuses historical description with theoretical argument. Capitalism did not cause the territorially fragmented system of states to come into being, but it does not follow that this system is not necessary for the reproduction of capitalism. Against the background of the analysis as we have summarized it here, one could pose the question of how it can be that “a specific state form is internally related to capitalism as a social property relation: modern sovereignty”, as Teschke himself says, only to conclude in the next breath that this cannot explain the territorially bounded nature of the modern state (2003:144). It is undoubtedly the case that the geopolitical world of diverse states changes historically, and that this cannot be explained in a mono-causal way in terms of mechanisms of “economic” competition, but one cannot in any way conclude that we should therefore abandon the idea of systematic connections between capitalism, territoriality, sovereignty and the state. The parcelling-up of the apparatuses of rule does not arise from capitalist relations, but the historical course of events itself shows that it was one of the decisive preconditions needed for the development of those relations and for their success in establishing themselves. A central role is played here by the specific way in which the political form of capitalism is institutionalized, and the theoretical debate has so far paid little or no attention to this problematic (this is also true of Callinicos 2007). What happens is that the political form, that is to say the particularization or relative autonomy of the state, reproduces itself essentially via the mode of competition between states. The establishment and preservation of this form rests on the competition between individual states, each with its own institutionalized class relations and compromises. As we have shown, the capitalist state with its relative autonomy is a precondition which makes it possible for the contradictory and antagonistic relations between classes and groups to be regulated in such a way that societal reproduction can take place. This is because a joint policy for the economic ruling classes can only be formulated by means of the state, so that those subject to this rule can be bound both repressively and consensually into existing relations of power and exploitation. The capitalist mode of regulation is constituted territorially, rests on a politics of separation, and is coupled with a specific regime of
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citizenship and with the potential to mobilize nationalism that goes with this. This rests essentially on the fact that the classes facing each other in the context of global accumulation and valorization are themselves politically divided by the existence of individual states competing with one another. As a result, the possibility arises at the individual state level that cross-class coalitions will come into being with the goal of securing shared competitive advantages in the world market. The system of competing states organizes social contradictions and conflicts in such a way that the particularization of the individual state apparatuses in their relations with the different classes is strengthened. The plurality of states is therefore a constitutive expression and component of capitalist relations of exploitation and competition. States can thus be understood as the institutional materializations of an international network of contradictory class relations (Poulantzas 1974). The political fragmentation of the world market in the form of its political organization into individual states continues to be the basis of and precondition for differently structured conditions of production and class relations. One consequence of this is that capital, which is able to move across borders, can maximize its profits by connecting these spaces with each other or playing them off against one another. The development of capitalism is fundamentally characterized by considerable space–time differentiations, a set of circumstances described by Lenin (1974) as “the law of uneven and combined development”. This refers to the fact that competing capitals have to pursue the goal of extra profit because they may be ruined if they do not do so, and the result is the creation of systematic economictechnological differences. These differences are strengthened further by the advantages provided by the creation of regional clusters (Callinicos 2007:544–545; Morton 2007:612–615; see also Brenner 2004:12–32; Harvey 1982, 2001; Rosenberg 2005; Smith 1984; Wissen and Naumann 2008). Since the relationship of forces among classes condenses in ways that vary from one state to another, capitalism develops differently in different locations. These differences take the form of a pressure to adapt which is felt by those who have not been at the forefront of economic-technical and societal developments that are profitable for capital, and so are economically weaker. In this way, the class relations that are organized differently at state level exert a reciprocal influence on one another. This means that class relations at the level of individual states are always also determined by global structures mediated via the competition between states. The particularization of the state is thus the condition of possibility for the formation of specific class constellations on which the different conditions of competition rest, and this particularization is constantly being reproduced via the mechanism of valorization of capital and competition.
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The political form of capitalism is in the final analysis also the basis for the contradictory relationship between economic and geopolitical competition that is typical of capitalism (Harvey 1982, 2003; see also Callinicos 2007). The consequence of the separation of politics from the economy, and of the particularization of the state, is that economic competition and the competition between states are processes which relate to one another but function according to different dynamics. The relationships between states are determined not only by economic developments and interests, but also by strategies pursued by political actors which can be traced back to particular bases of reproduction and legitimation. The preconditions for the valorization of capital (which vary spatially and temporally) and thus, in turn, the relations between economic spaces, are also fundamentally dependent on the strategic options of these actors. This complex mechanism of competition also contributes to the preservation of the political form and the particularization of the state. For an analysis of imperialistic structures and dynamics these interrelations will certainly be of importance (ten Brink 2008). Neo-Realist approaches within the field of international relations argue that geopolitical competition and conflict do not merely stem from economic dynamics but follow dynamics of their own (Waltz 1979, 2008; Mearsheimer 2001; for a critique see Czempiel 2002). In arguing so they certainly point out an important aspect of international political processes but at the same time tend to neglect basic class, competitive and exploitative relations. This means that the process of global accumulation both presupposes and has as its consequence the existence of different political-societal spaces. These spaces are tied to the constitution in territorial form of states as apparatuses of force with their specific national processes of identification and legitimation. The real unity of the world market establishes itself with and against the form of the individual state, and this itself is one of the forms taken by the mechanism of capitalist competition. However, it is important to distinguish between the nation state and the national state. Territorial states are not necessarily, or even usually, “national” states in the strict sense of the word. The concrete form of the state system has not been fixed permanently. States can disappear, break up, and merge. As a result of the contradictions and conflicts that are inherent in the capitalist mode of societalization, the concrete configuration of the state system changes constantly. This, however, does not explain why individual states tend to be nation states. Nations do not occur naturally; they are the products of relations of power and rule (Anderson 1983; Balibar and Wallerstein 1992:197– 224; Jackson and Penrose 1993:202–205; Reinhard 2000:440–458). Exaggerating only slightly, one can say that states, as apparatuses of rule, use existing historical and cultural conditions to create the nation. The construction of national identities makes it possible to
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cover up social tensions and to neutralize class struggles. One can also say that nationalism cannot be “deduced” from capitalism; it follows as a consequence of historical processes and struggles that are initially independent of capitalism. At the same time, however, this connection indicates that capitalist production relations require specific patterns of legitimation that they cannot create themselves. The construct of “the nation” thus corresponds to the capitalist political form in a fundamental way. Under conditions of capitalist societalization humans are not only broken down into antagonistic classes, but are also simultaneously and systematically isolated and flexibilized as marketdependent individuals and robbed of their traditional social ties by incessant economic upheavals. There is therefore a tendency constantly to undermine and change radically social relations, cultural common ground, and collective orientations and life contexts, those things that make a society possible at all as a particular entity that is conscious of itself and capable of continued existence (Reinhard 2000:440–458). The modern nation and nationalism are the field on which social coherence is symbolically based. To put this in simple terms, it means that the “nation” is the ideological cement that holds together a society divided into classes and shaped by competition between individuals. One could follow Alain Lipietz here (1992:46) and speak of an “ex post functionalism”: historical developments do not follow a masterplan, but in retrospect one can nevertheless say that capitalism and nationalism, or to be more precise capitalism, the territorial state, citizenship and the associated nationalism are systematically connected with one another. One can therefore assume that regardless of the transformations that states and the state system undergo in future, the nation-state form of the individual state will not lose its significance.

Internationalization of the State?
Concerning the internationalization of the state there exists a huge literature, which cannot be dealt with here in detail (see, for example, Bieler et al 2006; Cox 1989; Hardt and Negri 2000; Held and KoenigArchibugi 2005; Mandel 1975; Murray 1971; Robinson 2004; Shaw 2000). Whilst it is frequently said that the state is being internationalized, the term remains rather vague. It refers both to an increase in individual states’ dependency on international economic-political processes and to the development of state-like structures at the supranational level. In this section we argue that the nation state or individual state has been, at least in historical terms, an important level at which the political form of capitalism has been able to concretize itself, but it is not necessarily the only level where this can happen. There have been state-like structures at the international level ever since the modern state system came into existence, since the competitive relation between states does not solely
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exist in open and sometimes armed conflicts but also in regularized modes of coordination, which, if need be, are institutionalized in corresponding international organizations and regimes (Teschke and Lacher 2007:570). The internationalization of the state has received a decisive impetus from the neoliberal restructuring of capitalism that has been described as “globalization”. This rests on the far-reaching deregulation of markets for commodities, capital and finance, and is at the same time characterized by comprehensive privatization. As a consequence, economic interdependence increases and there is also a greater risk of comprehensive economic crises. The global process of valorization and accumulation is increasingly escaping from the hands of individual states, which means there is now more need for regulation at the international level—as the global financial crisis that began at the end of 2007 showed (for a more detailed elaboration, see Hirsch 1998, 2005). The processes and struggles associated with these developments show clearly that in the context sketched above, in which principles of capitalist form are connected with historically specific patterns of institutionalization and conflicts mediated through crises, upheavals and processes leading to disassociations take place which challenge and transform the existing configurations of form and institutions. It is thus clear that the connections and dynamic of principles of form and patterns of institutionalization are expressions of existing contradictions rather than a harmonious, stable, and long-lasting relationship. Increasing demands for international regulation also arise as a result of growing threats to the environment, which cannot be dealt with by individual states acting on their own. At the same time, the globalization of capital is in a way accompanied by a globalization of subalterns expressed in growing levels of cross-border migration. Reactions to this involve tighter state control, which is an increasingly significant instrument used to regulate labor power on a global scale and has led in part to an institutionalization of surveillance and control at the supranational level (Buckel, Kannankulam and Wissel 2008). Against this background, the internationalization of state administration has received a boost. However, this mainly rests on the fact that the end of the East–West conflict opened up an opportunity for the powerful capitalist states, led by the USA, jointly to dominate the world and to impose economic and societal structures that would work to their benefit. One of the most important aspects of this was the interest of multinational corporations in securing the conditions of valorization at a level above that of the spaces of individual states. Another significant factor is the concern to create a system of states prepared to follow the neoliberal agenda of economic deregulation, privatization, and securing property.
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The advanced internationalization of capital, which was by then taking on new forms, was one precondition for this development, which replaced the Fordist variant of capitalism that entered a period of crisis in the 1970s. Companies which operate and are integrated internationally have become much more flexible in both economic and technical respects, and it is now easier for them to evade structures of regulation set up by individual states (as well as the class relations institutionalized in these forms of regulation). The neoliberal strategy designed to overcome the crisis of Fordism had two goals: to shift the relationship of social forces towards the interests of capital and to open up new opportunities for profitable investment. The result of this was a major shift of the global structuring of space towards the supranational and subnational levels, which was to the disadvantage of the institutionalized structures of regulation set up in the nation-state context. The transformation of states into “competition states” exposes them to intensified competition between economic locations in relation to opportunities for the profitable utilization of capital (on this point, see in particular Brenner 2004). This is combined with a clear dominance of decision-making processes located at the international economic and political level. In this way capital has succeeded in negating to a considerable extent the effects of structures enabling social compromises set up at the level of individual states. As a result its profits have increased significantly. The kernel of the processes labeled as globalization ultimately lies in a reorganization of class structures on a global scale which has led to a change in the relations between the classes and the states’ apparatuses in which the relationship between forces has clearly been changed in favor of capital. There are a number of dimensions to these processes that one can summarize with the help of the concept of the internationalization of the state. Firstly, it involves the internationalization of the state apparatuses themselves: a greater degree of dependence between individual states on international economic and political processes—though this depends on their economic strength and the extent to which they are integrated into the world market. This exposes them at the same time to greater reciprocal competitive pressure and is expressed in extensive restrictions on the room for maneuver they have regarding intervention in economic and social policy (“the national competition state”, Hirsch 1995). As a result of the constraints caused by competition between economic locations, institutionalized democratic processes in the framework of individual states become increasingly irrelevant (Hirsch 2005:202–240). It is important to note, however, that this development has not simply been forced on the states from outside, but was instigated and actively carried out by the states themselves in the period since the global liberal– conservative political turn at the end of the 1970s. Seen in this light, this is by no means a straightforward weakening of the states by an external process but a strategic self-transformation carried out by the
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states themselves. In a way that seems paradoxical until one looks at it more closely, the states are actors in a reconfiguration of spaces in which the individual state level declines in importance (Brenner 2004:30, 64). Another aspect of this development is the privatization of politics, which is advancing at both the individual state and the international levels. This is the result of a strategy designed to extend private property rights and open up new investment opportunities for capital. The states are confronted by internationally operating companies, actors whose weight has increased considerably. This means that politics is increasingly taking place in state–private negotiation and decisionmaking structures that are almost impossible to control. It is true that the “cooperative state” is not something completely new (Ritter drew attention to the phenomenon as early as 1979), since under capitalist conditions governments have always been forced to come to arrangements with powerful societal groups. But this has become much more significant and has led to a major shift in the relationship between politics and the economy, and between the state and society, and so too to new conditions for the reproduction of the political form of capitalism. One result of the internationalization of capital and the deepening competition that followed this is the development of regional economic blocs under the leadership of strong metropolitan states, especially the North American Free Trade Area and the European Union (EU). The EU is a special case of internationalization of the state, because what we can observe here is a more marked formation of state-like apparatuses at the supranational level (Bieler 2005). A further development that can be attributed to the dominance of the capitalist metropolises is the growth in the significance of international organizations, especially the IMF, the World Bank, the OECD, and the WTO, and the attempts to use these organizations to organize and impose the interests of the metropolises. In addition, there are less firmly institutionalized contexts of cooperation and networks such as the environmental and climate conferences, in which non-governmental organizations as well as international companies play an important role, G7 or G8 meetings, and others (on this point, see Schoppengerd 2007). The combination of these factors has led to a stronger spatial diversification of state levels and functions. It is true that no level has come into existence that is genuinely independent of the individual states, because the international organizations and regimes rest on the interest in cooperation of at least the strong states, and these states determine and place restrictions on how effective they can be (Wissel 2007b). However, these organizations are not purely intergovernmental. They develop dynamics of their own which have an effect on the policies of individual states. At any rate, attempts to evade these dynamics are costly and involve risks that cannot be precisely calculated.
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The internationalization of the state, in particular the diversification of spatial scales and functions and also privatization, is accompanied by a significant degree of internationalization of law (Cutler 2003; G¨ nther and Randeria 2001; Meyer 2005; Randeria 2006). There is u a trend towards the replacement of laws enacted by the state and universally valid within a particular territorial unit by “legal pluralism”. This is characterized by the existence of a number of different systems of judicial norms which are often in competition with one another, stemming in part from private sources (the so-called lex mercatoria), and in some cases regulating the same issues by applying different norms. The development and application of laws are thus decoupled to some degree from the individual states. However, it is important to distinguish between the generation and the enforcement of laws. When a conflict arises, the law is applied by individual states, which enjoy a monopoly on the use of force, and its application depends on the effectiveness of that monopoly (Randeria 2006). It is easier for “strong” states than for weak ones to evade international legislation and the international administration of justice, to the extent that strong ones do not recognize international legal authority at all. A final important background element in the internationalization of the state is the development of an international managerial class, which is also driven by the internationalization of capital. This class is made up of functionaries of states and international organizations, representatives of companies and the media, employees of academic think tanks, and so on. The interests represented here continue to be shaped by the competition between companies and states, but more firmly institutionalized contexts of debate have been created in which joint strategies can be discussed and formulated (Apeldoorn 2003; Cox 1993, 1998; Pijl 1997). This means that the “internationalization of the state” thesis needs to be qualified in a number of respects. This process is by no means one that takes the same form everywhere and envelops all states in the same manner, but rather a reconfiguration of political spaces on a global scale: a process that is largely determined by the dominance of the capitalist metropolises of the North/West; a process that serves to reinforce this very dominance. This rests mainly on the politics of a group of states which operate according to their interest to secure the conditions for the valorization of internationalized capital. The capitalist state is not a closed container or a unified subject, but rather an ensemble of heterogeneous apparatuses where different class relations which in principle go beyond the state are materialized. It is also imprecise to speak of the development of “statehood” at the international level. “Statehood” is a very vague concept—compared with, for example, Gramsci’s concept of the integral state (Gramsci 1971:244, 267). In the modern, capitalist sense the concept of the state is closely connected
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with the centralization and particularization of the apparatus of violence, and there are no serious signs of this happening at the international level. It is therefore false to say that the levels at which state-like institutions develop are in principle of equal status (Jessop 2002), or that the dominance of one level is a historical and empirical question rather than a theoretical one (Brenner 2004:73). As we have tried to show, it is possible to answer this question more precisely if one takes into account the political form of capitalism. Nor does the internationalization process do away with the conflicts between the metropolitan states, which can be traced back to different factions of capital, different constellations of social forces, and different forms of social integration. A result of this is that at the international level, state-like institutions are on the whole not very stable. The diversification of the state apparatus at different spatial levels has led not only to the erosion of liberal-democratic institutions that exist only at the level of the individual state, but also to a systematic irresponsibility, lawlessness and unruliness in politics. It makes it possible for “scale shifting” to take place: decisions that cannot be pushed through at one level are shifted to another level so they can be put into effect through external compulsion. Or this can work the other way round: decisions taken at the supranational level may not be implemented at the level of the individual state or the local level, or they may only be partially implemented (Randeria 2006 deals with this and provides some graphic examples).

Internationalization and the Political Form
We conclude this discussion by addressing the question of what the developments described above mean for the political form of capitalist society. Or, to be more precise, whether and to what extent they lead to institutional configurations which have a contradictory relationship to the maintenance and reproduction of that form and what consequences follow from this. Brand and G¨ rg state that internationalization leads o to intensified state-like “second-order condensations”, that is, at the subnational and supranational levels rather than that of the individual states (Brand and G¨ rg 2003; see also Brand, G¨ rg and Wissen o o 2007). This is a reference to Poulantzas’ definition of the state as the material condensation and institutionalization of a relationship of forces (Poulantzas 2000:128–129). There are some problems with this way of conceptualizing the question, since it suggests a hierarchy when in reality this is a matter of different qualities (see also Wissel 2007a:129). Indeed, strictly speaking, one would have to call this a second-order material condensation or second-order materiality. The specific element here is not that condensation in the sense of dealing with contradictions takes place at the international or transnational level, but
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rather that the materiality of the condensations takes on another quality because there is no international state or monopoly on the use of force. Within the individual state, the specific manner of the condensation of power relations is essentially determined by the centralization of the apparatus of physical violence and its formal particularization in relation to social classes, or as Weber puts it, the “monopoly on the legitimate use of physical violence” (1946:77). Within the framework of the individual state, the condensation of class relations applies to this apparatus of violence and so acquires a particular quality of durability and coherence. This means that social compromises can be embodied institutionally and it is easier to establish hegemonic relations. There is no doubt that internationalization affects the individual state’s monopoly on the use of force in a number of ways. It changes the relationship between the state and society and between politics and the economy, and it affects the particularization of the political. At the same time, however, there is no centralized and autonomous apparatus of violence at the global level (no “world state”), and under capitalist conditions no such apparatus can develop. Attempts to bring such an apparatus into existence have failed. The Charter of the United Nations (Art. 47) provides for the setting-up of a UN Military Staff Committee and for the placing of armed forces at the disposal of the Security Council, but this has never been implemented. In practice, the UN Security Council functions as a kind of body responsible for passing on the instructions of the dominant military powers—to the extent that the five countries with power of veto ever come to an agreement. This means that the “second-order materializations” coming into existence at the international level are bound to remain dependent on the degree to which the states that set them up and determine how they work are actually interested in cooperation. As a result, their scope is limited. They remain functionally restricted and fragmented. For example, they can be used to guarantee private property rights but are of very little use in any attempt to bring about binding material redistribution. The ongoing process of internationalization is being decisively shaped by the fact that individual states are determined to hang on to their own monopoly on the use of force. This even applies within the EU, though in this case there seems to be an initial move towards the creation of a supranational apparatus of violence in the shape of FRONTEX, which is a borderpolice coordinating agency responsible for the control and surveillance of migration. This is a consequence of the creation of a political territory that goes beyond the individual states (Buckel and Wissel 2008). But even if the EU were one day to develop into a genuine state, this would do nothing to change the existence of a state system that has always been characterized by changes in its concrete configuration. NATO, on the other hand, functions as a kind of joint apparatus of violence of the metropolitan states, but its effectiveness depends on whether or not these
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states are prepared to cooperate. And, as we have seen recently, this is by no means always the case. Finally, global relations of violence are currently being shaped by the fact that the USA, because of its military predominance, functions in practice as a kind of generalized apparatus of violence acting globally in the interests of international capital and of states allied with the USA. This, however, is a consequence of existing relations of military dominance and dependency, and it is certainly not leading to a generally institutionalized state-like apparatus, as the repeated instances of unilateralism in US foreign and military policy demonstrate. The system that consists of the dominant capitalist states, what Shaw (2000:199–208) calls the “global western conglomerate of states”, is neither a world state nor a supranational one. The internationalization process associated with neoliberal “globalization” has several consequences for the reproduction of the political form of capitalism. Firstly, the range of forms taken by the privatization of politics is leading to a change in the relationship between the state and society. The growing importance of private actors in different spheres, including policing and security, together with the spread of state–private negotiation systems, means that the “particularization” of the state or its “relative autonomy” is becoming more precarious and the dividing line between “politics” and “the economy” more difficult to identify. In the literature, this has been described as a movement towards the “refeudalization” of politics (Held 1991:223–227; Maus 1992; Scharpf 1991). Functions which regulate society are increasingly being taken over by businesses or nongovernmental organizations, and at the same time important foundations of representative liberal democracy are increasingly being called into question. The partial “denationalization” and pluralization of law is significant in this regard (Randeria 2006). Secondly, the differentiation of the state apparatus into separate levels changes the way in which class relations are institutionalized. Internationally operating capital, in particular, relates to a large number of fragmented state-like apparatuses. This can make it easier for capital to pursue its interests successfully via “forum shifting”, but it makes it more difficult for it to formulate and follow a relatively consistent policy. “Forum shifting” takes place when governments try to enforce their interests in changing between different regulatory institutions. This can be seen, for example, in conflicts around intellectual property rights that take place between WTO/TRIPS and WIPO (see Brand et al 2008; Braithwaite and Drahos 2000, chapter 24). The particularization of the state is the precondition for the very possibility of such a policy, establishing a relationship with the exploited and dominated classes that goes beyond competition between capitals. Further, it is questionable whether it is possible to compensate for the absence of a centralized state apparatus at the global level by anything like coordinated action
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on the part of the “international manager class”. In practice, capital carries out its policy in a network of different state apparatuses and systems of negotiation that is as heterogeneous as it is complex, and the democratic procedures involved here are largely limited with respect to the associated procedures for mediation and reaching compromises. This also has a negative effect on the prospects for the establishment of hegemonic relations. As a result, the capitalist power bloc is becoming more fragmented and heterogeneous (Wissel 2007a:108–130). Thirdly, the fact that international companies are becoming less and less dependent on contexts of reproduction organized on the basis of individual states means they are losing interest in societal integration as a whole. This is deepening divisions within societies. The erosion of liberal democracy is weakening a mode on which the particularization of the state rests to a considerable extent. Poulantzas (1973:58–65; 1977:81–114; see also Jessop 2006:53–56) points out that bourgeois exceptional regimes can give the authoritarian state more freedom of action in the short term, but in the medium and long term they are unable to recalibrate an “unstable equilibrium of compromise” between classes because the channels and regulatory mechanisms available in the “normal” liberal-democratic state (free elections, a free press, the multi-party system, and so on) have been weakened or even eliminated. It is true that the transformed post-Fordist state is not an “exceptional state”, but it has comparable features up to a point in that it takes the form of authoritarian statism (Jessop 2006, 2009; Kannankulam 2008; Poulantzas 1973). This means that in the course of internationalization, the political form of capitalism is called into question in this respect too. We can therefore conclude that the processes described as the internationalization of the state are leading to a situation in which the concrete shape of the system of political institutions is increasingly coming into conflict with the political form of capitalism. The political form remains fundamentally determining, but overall it is becoming more precarious. This not only leads to increased violence in society and in international relations, but also makes it more difficult to formulate and carry out successfully a policy designed to preserve stability in the long run. Since the stability of capitalist society and its capacity to reproduce itself depend essentially on the extent to which its political form can be guaranteed, we can expect that it will become generally more unstable and crisis prone. However, one cannot say with certainty what follows from this. Capitalism is not fundamentally “stable”; it develops with and through crises, and the result of this is constant radical change in its economic and political structures. The possibility of a gradual transition to a society that is no longer capitalist in the strict sense of the term but is characterized by other, more immediate forms of rule and exploitation cannot be ruled out altogether, although it is not very likely. However, future developments are not determined by any
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logic or “set of historical laws”, but depend on social struggles and the strategies of actors engaged in these struggles. It is not only conceivable but probable that neoliberal, globalized, post-Fordist capitalism will prove to be a historical episode just as Fordism was. However, it is fairly certain that it would be premature to proclaim the end of the nation state and the arrival of an era of democratic world governance (see, for example, Beck 1998; Beck and Grande 2005; Grande 2005; Held 1995; Z¨ rn 1998). There are good reasons to believe that we can u expect capitalism to remain organized politically into individual states, and that the structures of rule, division and exclusion associated with this will not disappear—even if there are fundamental changes in the internal shape of states and their global configuration.

Endnote
1

Translated by Dr Gerald Holden.

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