Toward a New Communist Manifesto
Minutes of the Red Forty-eight Group
At a time of social crisis the classic Manifesto of Marx and Engels in the era of the 1848 revolutions resonates with an eerie relevance for the age of neoliberalism and dangerous climate change. The clever fiction of the end of history is exposed as an artifice of philosophic legerdemain, Hegel from the bottom of the deck. The original tour de force would be a hard act to follow, but in reality our ‘new’ manifesto is a studied echo of the old brought to its real future, via the prophetic desperation of two revolutionaries before their time. The era of the 1848 upheavals, in the last tremors of the mighty French Revolution, has been called a turning point in world history, but one which failed to turn. It is an ironic aspect of our current era that this ‘revolution manque’ is an apt metaphor for our own predicament. It threw down the gage to the future of the whole of industreality. That remarkable period of revolt was a shot over the bows of the capitalist revolution unfolding toward its long march to globalization, with the problematical outcome of its success beset once again with the haunting realization the failure to turn is a world of markets going mad.
Our Manifesto takes from Marx and Engels the prophesied endgame of the expropriation of the bourgeoisie. The time for that great revolution, the last, is here. But if we examine the legacy of marxist revolutionaries we must expose the e.g. Bolshevik action of a pseudo-communist bourgeoisies. A new formation must create a set of guardians beyond private property and beyond the class ideology of revolutionary one-party rule.
The current planetary crisis has created a unprecedented turning point: the place of capitalism in the onset of climate change indicts the whole basis of the economics of free markets and leaves global culture at the brink. The logic of markets in the dynamic of globalization has created a situation that requires a global response, and a revolutionary transition to a new era of postcapitalism. It is hard for many to accept this fact, but the stark reality is that a system out of control is being subject to the control as domination of a capitalist bourgeoisie unwilling to allow even modest efforts to contain the disaster.
The solution requires a mutation that recreates the classic legacy that starts from its beginnings in the wake of the French Revolution and the period of the 1840’s when figures such as Marx and Engels began to systematize a new revolutionary canon.
The result of their labors has been what looks now as a perspective too limited for the contemporary situation we confront, and one compromised by the legacy of Bolshevism. The classic manifesto of Marx and Engels must stand in for that legacy as it falls away to be replaced with a new version applied to the moment foreseen by the prophecies of 1848.
We can continue the discussion in terms of a putative new communist constellation or party, The Red Forty-eight Group.
We can state the issue in a nutshell with one quote from the CM:
The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property. But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few.
In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.
The context is a global revolution against American imperialism and the larger capitalist globalization colonialism, on the analog to the American rebellion against British colonialism. As with the American revolution (or the French) no theory of history, revolution, or economics is required.
What is required is a view along the lines of the Manifesto of a revolutionary passage to (neo-) communism in the expropriation of the bourgeoisie. The outcome will be a globalizing version of (market) neo-communism with a foundational abolition of private property, but an open question on planning/markets. If markets are socially owned, or if they are simply abolished at the end, the point is that this transitional framework can be to simply jettison the whole round of harebrained marxism, and yet able to use that and other resources as references.
Note again that the American Rebs were not subject to any requirements of theory, belief, or religion. They didn’t have to be idealists or materialists, theists or atheists.
Some of that legacy can be carried by the new group, and we can expect to inherit much of older cadre. The whole marxist canon is simple the Old Testament, an historical backdrop with its classic prophets, Marx and Engels. The new phase of global action needs a New Testament able to break the mechanics of frozen habit and robotic consciousness that overtakes all cultic forms of thought.