A few more notes for our ongoing blogbook. I will try to produce a new Kindle book here anon…
In a way we have covered this material, but in another the issues remain to be explored at greater length. The question of history and evolution is a stumbling block for the current generation of secular leftists. Our framework of the eonic effect is too bizarre or else speculative for many. But we will continue to pursue a general paradigm shift on issues of history, historical dynamics, and evolutionary theories. We have a useful way of analyzing history that is helpful in understanding the question of revolution in historical terms. Social culture is close to being captured by conservative world views and these have anathematized the issue of revolution. But revolution is fundamental to modern history and it simply won’t make sense to produce a kind of Burkean world view that cannot see the facts as they are: the whole of modernity is a revolutionary transformation of world history, one that became braided with the capitalist dynamic. And that is confusing the issue. Marx and many others clearly analyzed the problem in their attempts to reanalyze the modern process and find the grounds for a modernity that was beyond the capitalist. But in many ways Marx and Engels were ambivalent about capitalism and they actually championed some aspects of it. But they were clear that if the opportunity was there the transition beyond capitalism should start at once, this being reflected in their actions in 1848. After that they became more subdued in the postrevolutionary stasis of much of the later nineteenth century.
The Russian Revolution has confused the issue and is misleading us: the question of a revolution against capitalism in an advanced economy has never truly been addressed as strange as that may sound. But we can see the dangers of the endless delay here: the powers of capitalist domination have increased apace and the result in the case of the american system is something increasingly grotesque, and now the tragedy is unfolding in the inability to confront climate change and the reactionary intransigence of the capitalist powers that be with respect to a system heading over a cliff. We no longer have the luxury of non-revolutionary options. But do we really have a serious revolutionary option. The near future can and must answer that question for we have few choices within the current system. And the crisis has been made worse by the onset of a figure like Trump and the threat of a crypto-fascist progressive disease developing to further confuse the situation.
We must counter that revolutions can come about with peaceful electoral means, so our stance is not some absolute. We must expect the historical reality in place to produce the opportunity needed and that means that we should be ready at the moment of crisis. In the final analysis the marxist brand has no truly viable solution, save in broad outlines. We have critiqued the marxist theory of history, historical materialism, stages of production theory, and the reductionist scientism of the era of early Marx/Engels. In general the canon has not really analyzed the problem of modern capitalist theory in a decisive analysis and remains on the defensive with respect to contemporary neo-classical economics, which is almost odd given the sheer fraudulence of that nexus of theory. The left cannot quite claim its advantage here and the reason is the mathematics of markets which have been put on a pedestal of economic mystique as the sole way to produce a viable economy, free markets. The classic marxist canon was indeed vulnerable here: the thesis was to abolish all forms of the market economy and replace that with a planned system. But the result was challenged quickly just at the start of the Russian attempts to transit to communism by the cogent yet sophistical arguments of such as Mises.
We have adopted a different approach: communism has no inherent association with a particular economic dynamic. The basic issue is the expropriation of capital or of the bourgeoisie and the return of the resources usurped by capital to a Commons of social ownership. That should be a fundamental axiomatic, and legal, starting point. Once the control of capital is returned to the Commons, and that is finally a global transnational entity, the question of what economic system a communist outcome should adopt remains open and experimental. We must assume the basics of a set of economic rights and a system that can provide those without exploitation or the drastic inequality of current economic ‘free’ market mania.
We have proposed a very simple hybrid (actually a universe of related models) where a communist foundation given constitutional strength on the basis of the Commons can house a related set of dialectical opposites: a planned sector, a relatively autonomous but regulated ‘market’ sector, and a lower level semi-autonomous almost anarchist sector of diverse options and potentials: a sector free from the obsessive domination of the state, with small scale entities of all kinds: shops, farms, communes, cooperatives, and much else. Such a system must have a strong democratic foundation but this requires a new politics that is completely liberated from the finesse of faux democracy so visible in the current american system. The whole issue of money dominating politics has to be solved and done right, period. A political process that is open, scientific and run by political representation that is publicly funded, barred from external funding, and subject to a reasonable set of rules about fairness. This entity must guarantee economic rights, but within the amplitude of the third sector. Such a system does not have to be obsessively ‘perfect’ in aspiration, but it must with a strong average reduced class, promote equality, grant a robust set of civil rights, and steer clear of the kind of totalitarian fixation that overtook bolshevism. That can happen because the citizens of an advanced capitalist are ready to deal with what comes next, in this case not at first so far from the starting point as one might think.
It is entirely reasonable to propose a communist foundation: there is no other basis for fairness, nor any exculpation of the capitalist class from the plunder of the Commons. But this must be a reasonable outcome: we need a very carefully thought out set of political options to serve the realization: again we have suggested a three sector solution: a strong executive, strong that is with respect to enforcing a communist foundation, but not an all powerful crypto-tyrannical oligarchy. This aspect must have strong but carefully regulated powers and be matched with a representational system that will mediate the issues of social economy. Finally there must be a set of legal bodies that can regulate ecological economics, and become a feedback loop in the gestation of economic functions, market and/or planned. The question of economy must be the subject of an independent legal court able to mediate the forms of economic activity in a mix of semi-marketized and planned operations. Such a system is useful because it is a postcapitalist system and yet still maintains much of the DNA of the former entity.
Older leftist formations were obsessed with logical absolutes. Our approach, and it is not really a form of compromise, allows a path to transcending the pairs of opposites that obsess both sides in a collision of narrow principles.
It is time to really grasp that there can be a postcapitalist order but that this not properly analyzed by the given cadres inherited by the legacy of marxism and others. We need not dwell on the limits of marxism, which was a brilliant starting point, so much as to snap out of the hypnotic allure of a fixed canon. At the same time we are not going to fritter away the basic issues in social democratic compromises of the kind that has produced the neo-liberal labor movement of England, for example
A revolution beyond capitalism is thus the prerequisite for doing it right, and the moment has arrived for just that. We have barely a generation before the apocalypse of climate takes effect, and need to face reality beyond the piecemeal issues of conventional activism.
The above as an introduction to our blogbook…
1. Capitalism and Crisis: an endgame
Capitalist globalization is reaching its endgame
as the status of the overall system becomes a question mark.
The ‘end of history’ propaganda was highly convincing, until it failed:
we have no choice but to try and control capitalist globalization
because its consequences are proving fatal…
1.1 The Crisis of Climate Change
The catastrophe to which the economic system cannot respond demands we
stand out from our self-induced mechanization as economic agents to change the direction of economic history…
1.2 Ideological mesmerization
We must ‘get the message’ of ideological hypnosis and the blindness it has created in capitalists and its public.
The overall effect is one of irrationality disguised as economic rationality.
We confront a zombie effect in the economic trance making it impossible for capitalists and their hired politicians
to grasp the most elementary difficulty with the emerging ecological catastrophe.
We have the grounds for intervention is this out of control psychotic politics…
1.3 Smith to Ayn Rand
Capitalist ideology emerges in the early modern and takes an especially virulent form in the versions of Adam Smith that
induced a ‘reevaluation of values’, to use a phrase of Nietzsche. The latter is almost an ironic footnote to the
economic transvaluation of the capitalists, who make selfishness into a virtue. The transformation is not without cogency could it be
assessed in a proper fashion (it almost needs its own new and higher Nietzsche to expose a new moral hypocrisy)…
We see the dangers of our situation in the progression
from Adam Smith, controversial enough, to a new toxic brand, the Randism of crackpot anti-communism. Ayn Rand in a finesse of Nietzschean parody
has bemused the moronic character of the capitalist character, albeit a cleverness of economic action, into thinking in terms
of the capitalist superman, a parody of Nietzchean as dark humor…
1.4 Economic Theories
There are no economic theories, or any that can pass as science. The transition from classical to neo-classical economics
has, however, immensely confused the issue with the invention of marginalism and its bastard marriage to calculus.
The inability to see that this is not a properly founded science has created a strangely delusive pseudo-theoretical mindset
in economists and the capitalists they have confused.
We are mired in a vast confusion of such economic theories which claim science but which are nothing of the kind.
Finding a zone of theoretical sanity requires a new almost ruthless streamlining of methodologies…
No more crackpot economics…
We look backward to see we are the prophecy of the era of the 1848 revolutions when the conjunction
of capitalism as political economy undermining democracy became apparent. We have reached
the prophecy’s period of realization…
2. History and evolution
2.1 historical materialism
We need a broad perspective on history and evolution that can reconcile, or at least mediate, issues of
secularism, religion, evolutionism, philosophies materialist and idealist.
We sense that historical materialism is a marxist classic but in many ways too narrow for
the global diversity we see in global modernity.
2.2 economic determinism
We must wrest economic thinking from deterministic models with a Kantian consideration of free agents
who must take control of their economic subjection. They are not bound by laws to a predetermined outcome
2.3 stages of production
We can both embrace and transcend marxist stages of production theory:
the base and superstructure have a correlation, but no more
We have a relativity of stages with the mediation of a postcapitalist projection into the future
as the the dialectical challenge to any such progression. A postcapitalist communism, rightly conceived,
can act as the induce endstate of formats of production
2.4 a new model of history
We need a new model of history, clarifying issues of evolution and able to deal with the place of values
in the realm of fact…
The old debate of materialism and idealism is obsolete now: we can change gears at this point between
multiple perspectives, and this can show us the deeper currents of modernity behind the onset of scientims
3.1 epochs in transition
We see instead of stages of production a series of epochs in transition
and the progression from Axial era to the modern era reifies this progression.
The issue is not capitalism versus communism
but the realization of modernity as a form of postcapitalism that also realizes the democratic core of modern revolution
We can stop here but bookmark a future set of discussions
bringing together the issue of religion, evolution, and
the future evolution of man in a culture liberated from economic obsessions…
3.2 religion in world history
3.3 human evolution
3.5 Last and First Men