We have set up a whole blogbook at the Red Fortyeight website/blog. We can leave it incomplete for the moment on the way to an actual book: but the fragments are almost enough….
You can use this public domain style for an attempted postmarxism marxist, a cameo presentation for a revolutionary attempt at postcapitalism as the planet starts down the tubes…
1. The Crisis of Modernity: the onset of climate change
The idea of the crisis of modernity is a response to the postmodern fallacy of seeking a ‘new age’ after modernity. We are confronted with something different: a decline from the assumptions of the early modern. And this is compounded by the effect of capitalism on everything else, and its destructive impact.
We can challenge the assumptions of modernity any time we wish, but the real point is that the robustness of those original axioms is sufficient if only they can be realized in some intelligent rendering. A could example is the issue of democracy: the original vision has become corrupted by a whole series of blights.
Most of all the crisis of ecology generated by capitalism has thrown the whole of the modern project into question. In many ways the communist idea emerged in the early modern to reckon the implications of the modern, from the start.
1.1 The question of the modern
The question of the modern requires a new kind of model, one that can challenge religious/reactionary anti-modernism.This is provided by the ‘macro’ model so-called, from World History and the Eonic Effect: world history shows a developmental logic in a macrosequence of transitions and modernity is the last in the series. These transitions alternate system action and free agency. The modern transition is thus a complex whole, a transition between epochs, and is at a higher level than what follows, which defaults to free agency. We have the gist of our answer…
The crisis of capitalism is that of modernity itself, as the element of free agency distorting a system…
Modernity shows an integrated dialectic (in the right use of that term) of counterpoint opposites: religion, science, tradition, reformation, monarchy/liberalism, revolution/evolution, enlightenment, romanticism, capitalism, socialism/communism. Much confusion arises over the dialectic. We can use the term for paired opposites, and their debates, eschewing the mystical versions.
1.2 The endgame of capitalism globalization
The explosion of modern economy is misleading: it came very late and tended to dominate the definition of modernity. The result was a confusing set of contradictions. The modern transition generated the onset of globalization (the macrosequence has been at this for millennia) in a late recursion of those of earlier periods, and this has taken an economic form, rather than a religious one. The result is the drama of globalizing economies that Marx/Engels predicted, and saw get underway…But that process, as they sensed with prophetic moment, is a system inclined to fly out of control, and the current crisis of climate is a good example!
The initial assumptions of modernity, suddenly creating a capitalist modernity, have in less than two centuries brought the whole system to near collapse, with the sprectre of climate calamity threatening the whole experiment. But in one of our most classic counterpoints the sudden emergence of capitalism was matched at the start with the demand for an eventual postcapitalism.
1.3 History and (R)evolution
The study of world history will expose the realm dynamic of modernity, showing it to be a stage in a larger dynamic or ‘macrosequence’, to use an evolutionary language.
The macrosequence is a form of developmental ‘evolution’, a term that refers in its correct usage to a complex directional manifestation, one visible in world history.
The formalism of macro/micro suddenly shows its direct application to a complicated kind of dynamical system, one balancing free agency and systematics.
The sudden appearance of revolutionary movements in the last phase of this sequence, i.e. in modernity is a illustrative of what the overall progression of civilization is about, in a complex interplay of slow/fast factors…The issue of revolution is critical for an understanding, but has tended to suffer false theoretical frameworks, e.g. the dialectic But these ‘microrevolutions’ have tended to oversimplify the issue of cultural revolution, which requires a mastery of the larger ‘revolution’ visible in the dynamic of modernity itself.
We should see ‘revolutions’ not via theories but as associated with the macro factor itself, with a warning that ‘revolution’ outside of the macro sequence can change its character…
1.4 The enigma of the Axial Age
The macrosequence is discovered via a complex set of clues, starting with the Axial Age.The evidence of historical discontinuity and the related transformations of directionality in world history have a spectacular set of exemplars that can also help to elucidate the mystery of the modern
1.5 A new model of history
The understanding of the Axial Age is that of a step in a sequence: with the basic clues we can easily complete the analysis to discover, or suspect a larger sequence…
This model is based on
the idea of a set of transitions
the sequential logic of these transitions
the ‘evolutionary’ or developmental character of this sequence, which has a micro and macro aspect
the relationship of agency and system in the cocreation of civilization by men and greater nature.
the model has a considerable set of properties, but the basic macrosequence is the basic idea, and its twin aspects of free action and system action explain most of what is needed to understand modernity.
A finite transition model invokes a complex division point near its end, and this property is very much in evidence, and part of what figures like Marx were struggling with.
2.Out of Revolution
2.1 The modern transition
We have found the basis for understanding the equal enigma of modernity: it is a finite transition in a larger sequence and shows a termination point or ‘divide’ around 1800+: this key issue is vital for seeing the later chaotification now overtaking a whole planet…
2.2 The dialectic of capitalism
The term ‘dialectic’ is subject to many confusions, although we should try to adopt transparent usages because the idea, prior to abuse, can be useful. For example the modern transition shows outcomes that are ‘dialectical’, which simply means that two or more outcomes emerge in potential and/or in parallel. We thus see capitalism emerging with a parallel synchronous process, e.g. the democratic revolutions evolving into socialist/communist resolutions… The dialectic should refer to such ‘counterpoint’ opposites and not indulge in mystical triads… The dialectic of dyads versus triads is hopelessly confused by marxists, and we should use only the simplest dyads until and unless we can find a better or larger understanding…
2.3 1848: the prophetic year
The divide process at the end of the modern transition extends through the first generation after around 1800, and this period, with a symbolic drama altogether apt ca. the 1848 revolutions, with Marx, Engels et al in attendance (we should include the counterpoint dialectic of anarchist synchronous actors, e.g. Bakunin)
Our model tells us that the onset of socialism/communism is parallel to that of capitalism just at the divide to the modern transition and both aspects have the appearance of apparitions, i.e. appear at the last moment and tend to contradict the long early modern preparation. Capitalism begins to distort modernity, as socialism/communism attempt a ‘chase plane’ pursuit and response. Both aspects shows the ominous transition from system action to free agency characteristic of our model and both aspects are liable to distortion. Capitalist distortion is obvious from start to finish. The marxist left produces a powerful corpus in response, but this factor of free agency is a warning that we are dealing with fallible agents. We might suspect the influence of positivism, which had a clear critique in the early modern, scientism, darwinism, reductionism, and preposterously, the Hegelian dialectic. The overall result is flawed and has no correct theory of revolution…the Russian bolshevik revolution proceeds with inadequate theories and is different in character from the revolutions of the early modern….
2.4 Marxist shibboleths
Marxism produces a powerful basic corpus, but, as noted, it has elements of distortion, or so we suspect…
2.5 Leninist interlude
The question of Leninism arises in this context as a hard to evaluate circumstance that carries a flawed ideological complex Lenin is a key figure, but he is not easy to understand and not safe to imitate. But the issues of his action in the generation of the Second Internationale are the riddle to be resolved at the period of the current crisis.
3. Once and Future Communism
The basic development of communism is nonetheless a world historical outcome to the modern transition, in ambiguous relation to democracy, and will spawn sooner or later a new version in the wake of the failure of bolshevism…
This requires a new and fresh recasting, with a completely new understanding of history, ecology, and economics. The issue is larger than capitalism and must create a new understanding of man and his nature.
3.1 Last Men and their smartphones
As the planet begins to incinerate the late capitalism of smartphones obsesses the mass mind with commodity fetishism. This distraction has displaced all sense of the calamity under way.
Nietzsche was a distortion of the early modern, but had a point about the ‘last man’: the participants in the modern experiment are moving toward the completion of the ‘great transition’ or the evolution of man, and this requires that ‘free agency’ come to an understanding and self-replication of the macrosequence…
3.2 The ends of history
The end of history debate is related to this issue of the ‘last and first men’, but has been distorted upside down to make capitalism that ‘end’. But surely the original and true meaning is that of a system to succeed the capitalist phase, and this without voiding the basic democratic outcome of the modern transition…
3.3 The profit in downfall
The last phases of capitalism show the capitalist axioms proceeding toward the destruction of the world system…
3.4 Floating fourth turning points
The macro model suggests a generalization of ‘revolution’: floating fourth turning points’ (after the three known epochs in succession in the macrosequence), as cultural transformation at the level of replicating the early modern, but in a postcapitalist version…
3.5 Neo-communist manifestos
We can leave our quick sketch incomplete as a set of notes for a new neo-communist manifesto: the need for a new realization of classic communism in a challenge to the dangerous possibility of a planetary system lost climate calamity and the ideology of capitalist mesmerization that has made the whole spectrum of political consciousness blind to the obvious…