Indeed. -- It seems that most (if not all) international unions are built around questions of the economic and seek to purposefully hinder political capacities for cooperation and solidarity (except where 'national defense' is concerned, of course). It's hard for me to imagine an alternative at the scale of the nation-state unless non-state actors are included in the democratic process in some way, ensuring that trans/inter/post-national interests are included in the decision making structures.This, in turn, inspired this bit of rambling from me:
At one level that sounds right to me, but at another I find myself wondering... I am sure you have heard the cliche that after Bismarck and Lincoln the nation-state has amounted to an insurance company backed by an army. Really, this is just making Foucault's point about the late modern rise of disciplinarity/ biopolitics, right? Is this something simply to bemoan or to grasp about where we are?
Democracy is the idea that people should have a say in the decisions that affect them, and it isn't clear to me why biopolitics cannot have a democratic face as well as its awful anti-democratic ones, really. I find myself wanting to pressure your suggestion that "non-state actors" need to be "included" in democratic processes -- of course I agree with this, I think the definition of democracy already implies this even -- but isn't it a bit tricky to imply they are "excluded" too straightforwardly once we get Gramsci's point when he talks about hegemony or Althusser's point when he talks about ideological state apparatuses? Contestations among sociocultural positionalities invigorate and undergird all state agency indispensably.
Part of the problem with too much of the anarchist imaginary is that it tends to reduce "the state" to something dispensable before proceeding to dispense with it, in ways that cause it to radically misconstrue state space both as a multilateral working reality but also as an ongoing democratizing possibility. That given nation-states are suffused with incumbency and hierarchy and routine violation is of course true, just as lamentably as anarchism would have it, but this seems to me a problem for rather than of the state form.
What is wanted is equity-in-diversity, an actually substantial scene of consent to the terms of one's life, which seems to me to demand universal equal rights, healthcare, education, income, and recourse to law -- not so far from the vision of Roosevelt's Four Freedom's or of the UN Declaration -- funded by steeply progressive taxes and administered by actually accountable periodically elected authorities under the terms of universal franchise.
I'm not sure that looks so different from an insurance company with an army again -- provided this is not an army paid for by the people that ensures they remain subservient to private for-profit insurance companies, but the accountable administration of insurance as a public utility and common good. Both are biopolitical governmentalities, the parochial for-profit insurance scam and the insurance that creates a legible scene in which citizen-subjects consent to the terms of their lives, but only one affords abiding and deep democracy.
This is not to say that There Is No Alternative but to say that the people must see to it that authority means what it says (this is for me the act of exposure but also the enactment through exposure at the heart of Occupy) -- another way of saying government must be of by and for the people, just like you thought at age four -- another way of saying the state must not be smashed but democratized.