The model of democratic market neo-communism needs to confront both social democratic illusions (see previous post) and its own potential illusions in the way it recasts the working class in terms of the Universal Class. Is this approach socialism from above? elitist? In theory it is not, but in practice it could go in many directions.
We have designed the nexus of ideas as a both/neither set of options. Invoking the working class is the fundamental breakthrough in thought generated by Marx/Engels but its legacy requires examination and critique. It is still class based, and its record of success has been mixed. Waiting on the working class in our time has stalled the left completely, and now we see the way that the right has captured the working class, at least to some degree. And we are dealing with more than working class issues: the working class versus/and/or climate change. We have tried to devise a means to collate multiple perspectives: there is absolutely no reason why the Universal Class can’t be taken as the working class. But it might be better to consider the ‘set complement’ of the bourgeoisie. Or anyone with a wage labor job, or whatever: a large more than a majority of the whole set of classes. There is an immense sub-class of people who are not the ‘cliche working class’ and yet essentially in the category so-called.
The Universal Class is a more useful way to energize an immense number of otherwise essentially classless/class bound people who are suffering from capitalism but without any determined movement invoking their allegiance. Our idea of the Universal Class can shift gears in a moment to deal with a whole set of subsets of the set of all classes. In any case, the needs of the moment are for a movement based on principles, not class, and these principles need to balance a populist set of initiatives with the usually dangerously class-bound issues of nationalism, top-level government/foreign policy, in the context of a socialist internationalism.
We have cited the (often misleading) case of the American revolution, which was a top down and a bottom up populist combination. But a top down effect in the generation of democracy, so-called, and not so called, actually occurred. The result was a compromised outcome, no doubt, made worse if not ridiculous by its compromise with slavery and soon its imperialistic tendencies. But the fact of the matter is that a group of people (by definition in the Universal Class) created a system from a set of principles, to be applied to the Universal Class.The result had a very considerable populist outcome. The top down effect can’t be rejected out of hand. Let’s face reality: we are desperate, and can’t wait on the working class. A vanguard of the Universal Class can move to create, at least, a constitutional foundation of a new hybrid: democracy and communism (and another hybrid, NOT social democracy, market communism).
I think the left fails to see the way the ‘working class’ is really a hybrid now with the middle class. It won’t respond in the way Marx suggested. And the issue of post-carbon economics isn’t going to be related to the interests of the working class in the UAW sense: a no growth economy isn’t going to be on the platform of the working class.
Things fall apart: the brilliant corpus of ideas generated in marxism has encountered a new reality, and needs a new future. The issue is postcapitalism and a democracy to match that.
To be blunt: there is no reason why a vanguard of the Universal Class can’t create a system of communism which is democratic with an economy that can balance planning with a special type of markets, with an ‘anarchist’ lower threshold sector that balance a set of opposites. And we should hasten to note our alternatives are not mutually exclusive: there is every possibility of the Universal Class generating or being an umbrella for working class formations. The point here is the issue of a communist foundation: the expropriation of capital in the large and the creation of a state independent Commons mediated by independent courts and economic regulation/planning bodies.
Needless to say the ‘something from above’ seemingly implied here wouldn’t work without a ‘something from below’ factor, the energized action of subsets of the Universal Class, variously the working class.