The last post has an interesting video.
Enjoy. But the problems with marxism are going to spoil the hope after 2008 for a kind of neo-marxist revival. A pity, since the issues echo with marxist themes. I think that the way Marx ends up being the name of an ‘ism’ exhibits part of the problem. Marxism is a quirky hodgepodge that speaks to a kind of domineering Marx effect that has made the whole game a dogmatic confusion, and a cult of personality.We need to move on to a new form of universal discourse on the question of communist entry into a postcapitalist future. The phenomenon of marxism forces lockjaw of marxist cliche repetition.
I was recently reading a book called the Idea of Communism, from a seminar post-2008. I don’t think I am stupid, but was unable to grasp what these people are talking about. The whole book was as if in a private dialect of philosophic madmen. It is the legacy of Hegelian diarrhea and the ‘dialectic’ that has turned the whole tradition into gibberish.
Gibberish. And the smartest people are the worst offenders.
But the gist of the marxist legacy is clear enough: it was the common fare of the 1840’s that Marx/Engels rescued from confusion and codified. A brilliant feat, but the framework or wrapper of historical materialism isn’t working at this point. And a reminder that everything in marxism was borrowed. And the legacy of the Second Internationale and Bolshevism is a non-repeatable phase of history (fortunately) that is over. But note that communism is not a marxist monopoly: the whole initiative can be recast without marxism, or else with reconstructed portions of the classic legtacy. Marxism is a lot to reinvent, and much of the core discourse remains relevant. The question is, why reinvent the wheel? You have no choice at this point. Every time you try to deal with the ‘ism’ you get the same cliches of theory that need to be left behind. Much of the critique of ideology, social class, and economic theory remains of value and is usable, and this can be carried into a new format.
LFM will try to do a kind of shock treament on the old legacy of historical materialism. The historical model proposed might seem even more confusing and complicated. You will never reach the core of the model: it is a super enigma: the whole thing will end up in a short chronicle of history, economic depiction, and a practical project of dealing with economies in the large. But this is no longer someone’s theory, but a general enquiry into history/evolution that is an empirical outline rather than a theory, and with a way to exit the bogus Darwinian ideology, economic fundamentalism, and economic determinism, and the marxist jawbone exercises over bad thoery that pervades sociological reductionism and finally marxist creeds. The current culture is stuck on bad evolutionism, bad historical theory, bogus economics, capitalist or otherwise. Something like clarity needs to be rediscovered.
http://last-and-first-men.com/LFMfinal_2014_chap_2.pdf: LFM shows that history is far too complex for a theory of any kind, let alone historical materialism. But we can construct a partial type of model that allows us to get a glimpse of historical dynamics.
We can isolate enough structure to see the way to proceed with a movement of neo-communism. The only solution to theory is that of active historians who write ‘scripts’ or chornicles of empirical history and deal in free agents, with some degree of will, who make history. This simple and fundamental issue is completely scrambled by marxism which has a nervous breakdown if you dare to mention free will. Beyond that we see the larger context of modernity, and the philosophic innovations of this early transitional era. And yet marxism abandons the whole of German Classical philosophy, one of the most brilliant phases in world history, for a sterile positivism and a now out of date materialism, combined with darwinism, to produce one of the most mediocre concoctions in the history of movements, religions, and revolutionary projects. The cutting edge of communism, created before Marx, is lost in the result.
But the symbolic gesture performed by Marx/Engels was itself one of the great innovations of modernity, and is prophetic of a probable solution to the problem of a capitalist self-destruct. We can produce a larger historical context that can use and transcend the legacy.
The value of this approach is that we exit the sterile assumptions of materialism, and confront the task of constructing practical communist economies that can work. The question of communism is simple. Industrial private property is creating a global self-destruct. A communist system must expropriate that nexus of industrial persons and make them subject to a larger social framework. There are thousands of ways to do this. And there is no reason why that has to suffer the incompetent idiocy of the Bolsheviks. It is hard to grasp the behavior of the Bolsheviks.
All the charges of utopianism were once leveled against democracy. For centuries critics pointed to the debacle of Athens, and the discussion ended. But the modern transition reinvented the genre and realized it in practice, save only the confusion created by capitalism confusingly born in the context of democracy. The problem was obvious, in a way, the ideas of ‘rights’ were not properly formulated, and allowed the rights of property to negate other rights.
Are we to spend the next millennium being warned of communism? We were able to construct democracy after the failure of Athens. We can surely create a communist version of democracy in the wake of the Bolshevik failure. And the clue is the American revolution, a bourgeois revolution. Rethink the combinations of this subtle failure and ask how to do it right, beyond the domination of bourgeois capital. The solution is right in front of us. We can remorph the basic example to produce the solution to a communist question mark as a variant of bourgeois democracy. It is not utopian. It is not very hard: large scale industry that has plundered the commons must be returned to the commons (which isn’t the same as state capitalism). It is the unlimited free reign of free markets that is now proving utopian. And we should start soon: the power of the capitalist elites is close to the absolutely totalitarian, and the whole effect is going to cripple a planet. Perhaps a communist revolution, now confronting a new form of ‘democratic’ despotism can achieve real democracy beyond the tyranny of markets. People who seize power should consider the action of the American revolutionaries: they had the option of a new King George and a monarchy. They chose to create a republic and a democracy. We must have revolutionaries that are intellitent at the key turning point. Communism doesn’t require totalitarian control. The problem we suffer is the jackknife against liberalism that produced anti-democratic thinking (in Russians conditioned to tsarist domination).