Zizek’s work on dialectical materialism has been criticized here, but in the end the marxist core group is too addicted to this to give it up. What to do? Critics can point to this confusion and pronounce marxism not only bad science but ridiculous philosophy. Marx and Engels must be kicking themselves for letting this confusion overtake their subject. They were determined to enter the age of science, but let a small morsel of Hegel pass, supposedly disguised as ‘material dialectic’, and that small bit has risen to overtake marxism, with people like Zizek trying to make the whole thing Hegelian since the material version doesn’t do justice to Hegel. People who found movements are always defeated in this way. What’s the answer? We don’t need an answer. Instead we create a movement that is not founded on theories, philosophies, or economic conjectures. Instead we focus on the histories of individuals, their theories and philosophies, and more closely focus on a set of descriptions of movements, theories, philosophies, but oriented toward practical tactics to create new economies and their politics. And the domain of the chronicle expands to include the whole modern transition, from the sixteenth century to the present. In fact we can take the modern transition as ending around 1800+ and the French to 1848 revolutions as foundational experiments trying to set the outcome of the modern transition with particular attention to economic framework, taken as capitalism under examination: there the proposal is for a variant of the modern transition where the issues of economic democracy enter and complicate the emergence of capitalist domination, etc… Already we see one mistake in the marxist formulation: it wishes to revise one aspect of the modern transition, and make everything subject to that, via economics. That can’t work: we must recompute all the elements of the modern transition, science, religion, philosophy, economics, art, etc… It would be more scientific, and more practical to make the ‘communist’ initiative refer to the modern transition as a whole rather than the one subcomponent of economics. Popper, traitor to socialism, got one thing right: we can’t create a formal theory of something so vast. But we shouldn’t focus on something too simple either: embrace the whole and there piecemeal social engineering must evaluate wholesale/piecemeal analysis. We can do this because history did this, via human agents, and we see that a larger sphere of operations, however incomputable, may be more computable than the incomputable subsets. In a word, we should take the whole of modernity as the foundation for a postcapitalist revolution. The luxury of free markets was a temporary experiment coming to a dangerous fixation and possibly catastrophic ending. We have let free market capitalism determine all parameters for the sake of a few capitalists and their profits in the holy Baal worship of, trickledown? In reality we were consigned to proto-communism from the start. We let government decide issues of education, the post office, etc…Now we must let the free marketeers private even this remnant or decide the whole strategy was wrong and start over, if we still can. The early communists to marxists were right: something dangerous was being born and they sounded the warning without delay: Adam Smith, around 1776, and the response/feedback on its way by 1848.
The only option is piecemeal social engineering, starting with a piecemeal communist ‘restart’, one mindful of the larger context of modernity. We are two hundred years behind the curve, since the Bolshevik trial didn’t work, or else was cancelled. Which was it? In any case we need to try again without being fooled by theories or addicted to philosophic luxuries. We should keep in mind that the one successful modern revolution was the American (with the French showing everything wrong with it, so it was also a failure), and start piecemeal communist social engineering with that: a colonial revolt passing to the world system, etc… We will stop here and not pretend to have a full platform. But the questions of marxist economic theory, dialectic, and/or historical materialism are very small substreams in the field of the modern transition. What dialectic really meant was to simply catalog the list of oppositions and their dynamics. Look at the way the idea of causality enters marxism and ejects the idea of freedom. What? The larger modern transition shows the clear corrective dialectic or counterpoint of science/causality, liberalism/freedom, with figures like Kant clearly aware of what was going on and carefully studying this dialectic in the modern transition, etc…Clearly a communist movement must carry the modern transition and its contradictions to a postcapitalist new branding, without contracting the result from totalization into totalitarian rigor mortis.