Last and First Men strikes the chord of faith/doubt that lingers in many minds on the left: we approach the communist idea and then backtrack away. And these days that process hardly occurs: we backtracked long ago.
The tenor of LFM is not dogmatic, and I am open to any kind of challenge, and I could even consider that merely thinking and talking aloud about communism could induce change (in capitalist nervous nellies who will compromise as a last resort).
But the affirmation in LFM is full and real, save only that it is still a bit vague. And stated as a gedanken experiment. But in the end we will probably ‘gedank gedank’ all the way to a full pledge for communism.
The Fukuyama ‘end of history’ gambit bought time for capitalism, but if you look closely that gambit doesn’t really occur in Hegel. So I brought in my new model in LFM and showed how an end of history argument can work: democracy in an ‘end of history’ can be directional, but the catch here is totally simple. Fukuyama implied that democracy implied capitalism. Nothing in the end of history meme requires including capitalism under democracy. It could just as well be communism. It might just be that the end of history process has to switch to postcapitalism. Look at the hopeless mess of american ‘democracy’. We lapse from the end of history because of capitalism.
So the whole argument is paper air plane stuff, and out of the window.
It is clear now after the neo-liberal generation that capitalism and democracy don’t mix too well.
Thus the focus on postcapitalism as communist democracy resurfaces with grim precision as the early Marx/Engels crowd foresaw. So the issue of a communist endgame needs a certain discipline to keep it in focus: the mirages of capitalism come swift and delusively. And they will come fast and furious just as the overall situation gets desperate.
I think there are decision procedures to help evaluate the indecision.
For example, the course of capitalism has taken material from the commons, more and more and more, and turned that into private property. So we must decide: will we allow the treasures of nature and the profits of their extraction via their arbitrary declaration (by force, usually) of ownership to stand: this effects the future of millions in what is most probably a version of hell.
The world is already partitioning into new classes, as those with billions buy up private islands while the armored police forces prepare to enforce this regime. There are a lot of examples like this and in a dread process the present created by capitalist psychopaths will predetermine the future of millions to come.
We see the moral logic suffers a fast reversal and we should at least be ready with the right stance on the communist logic. We can look at history, slavery and the Civil War to see a close analog: Many, many thought abolition as idealistic as some find communism now. Slavery went on and on and then finally in a conflagration such as the Civil War the tide turned, perhaps not for good.
In any case, the issue is in principle put rightly by Marx/Engels to the ‘proletariat’, whatever slide in the logic has suffered this to be in distortion now. But the ‘proletariat’ is a ‘cliche’: a snapshot or picture in our minds: the real definition lies in the rising majority that now belong to it, including the mass of workers with not work. So our definition must adjust.
The issue is that a majority will see no future in a system that has suffered a reversal of process from creating wealth for all to a contraction that could end badly. We should consider that NOW is the time to have the fire extinguishers installed, and the rest of the apparatus readied for postcapitalism. In too much delay the choice will be dictatorship of the capitalist class or dictatorship of the communist party class. We need to navigate a fresh track to a better outcome, not by modifying communist definitions, but by giving them some real clarity and an honest realization.