Micah White has such an interesting take that I cite his post here, but without full confidence anymore the OWS is going anywhere. And the Occupy Central in Hong Kong has turned into a sphinx: I can’t determine anymore what is really going on.
The activist spectrum of the OWS is gestating the future of activism in the funeral of communism. But the rebirth of neo-communism awaits the resolution of the end of history riddle in a new formulation of democracy beyond liberal capitalism. The new communism must resolve the transition beyond capitalism without the substitute of a leviathan closure system: this can only happen when a kind of maturity emerges that can both critique liberals and yet bring the legacy of rights and autonomy into an experimental transition to a postcapitalistic system. That requires a stable ideology that is both communist beyond bolshevism and neo-democratic beyond the hopeless transition to a new tyranny in the american ‘yankee doodle’ endgame. I am not sure of what I am seeing in the Occupy Central configuration, but I suspect it shows in part the nemesis of the original OWS movement’s indecision on the threshold of revolution, and the inexorable crypto-bourgeois non-revolution in action. But this Chinese case is crucial because we must bring democracy to communism, and communist postcapitalism to democracy. So far we have the two ‘half a donkey’ trots at odds with each other.
Michael White: The greatest achievement of Occupy Wall Street is what it teaches us about the nature of social change and the future of peaceful global revolution. We learned, for example, that the dominant theory of revolutionary change is too heavily influenced by materialist analysis. Social change materialism cannot fully account for postmodern spiritual insurrections like May 1968 and ultramodern uprisings like Occupy Wall Street. Nor can it explain pre-modern paradigm shifts like the epiphany of St. Paul and the conversion of Constantine that ushered in the Christianization of Western Civilization. Ultimately Micah White calls for another approach to social activism: an inquiry into the political power of metanoia (epiphany).
This is fascinating, but I am not sure if this is clear: a challenge to ‘social change materialism’ is carried out in explicit detail in my Last and First Men. The Preface briefly sets out an idea very close to Micah’s in its ‘virtual church of the Holy Brick’, a long range ‘hyparchic futurism’ of the kind that generated the Xtian Church. But we can’t expect that a ‘garbled second act’ of the Xtian legacy will ever work. The only thing that resembles this for the new era is the protocommunism of the era of 1848, and the first sally on that basis failed. That it is not the end of it, and we can expect that ‘formal communism’ as a pre-marxist root idea can regenerate in due order with a good portion of its trial run in recursion. Marx/Engels got a lot right, but there is something awry in the result. Micah seems to be hinting at this with provocative terms like ‘epiphany’. But we can’t rehash old religions at this point, although I have several times suggested a new revolutionary church of Munzer, a new Reformation. But that is not likely to happen spontaneously at this point: Xtians are too devastated by rightwing destructions of Xtianity. If it were up to me to create a Munzerian Xtianity I would radically lead that into the future with a format traditional believers couldn’t accept. So one might do better to start with a fait acoompli: the vestigial reformation in Kant/Hegel, the abolitionists, and a new and better version of Feuerbach, something beyond idiot debates over ‘god’, atheism, materialism versus idealism. The Marx/Engels moment surged into a brief grandeur but was undermined by its positivistic association in a period now over. The simple task of rewriting the core legacy, fine the way it is, beyond the stale isms of the 1840’s is both easy, and yet impossible frozen thinking of legacy marxists.
Check out the ‘hyparchic futurism’ of the Preface to Last and First Men: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/75650151/LFM_review_copy_selections.pdf. If we wish epiphany on the left that is the way to go, and it is a difficult path, but one the original Xtians were able to muddle through. But we can’t do a second act of that classic, although ‘hyparchic futures’ can indeed be a directive, if someone out there can direct it. But it won’t step in the same river twice, and an imitation Xtianity reborn is not going to happen. The activism of hyparhic futures as revolutionary generation of new civilizations requires a creative new version for a new age beyond the Axial Age. The era of 1848 produced the first steps.