I keep getting delayed in the completion of a new blogbook but the gist is already available in our two manifestos. However, the incomplete notes can be almost as useful as food for thought.
The onset of disastrous climate change has created a crisis for american and global politics setting a challenge its political and economic legacy and current insanity phase induced by the election of Trump. We confront a system now bent on dismantling its EPA and its climate treaty at the point of no return in the benchmark 2C global warming.
This tokens a stage of near social psychosis and presents the left with the prospect of revolutionary action. Given the shift of the millennial generation toward the left it is important for many of the legacy ‘lefts’ to examine their platforms and self-debrief the histories of the marxist style bolshevik revolution(s) in order to move on into a reformulation of the basic formulation of socialism/communism of the period of 1848. We can thus position the discussion almost back at the point of the onset of the industrial and french revolutions with the sudden crystallization of capitalist ideology followed in turn by the immediate challenge of the socialists/communists in the period of Marx/Engels. We can adopt this moment as a saga and prophecy of the future of the world system in the wake of the modern epoch and acknowledge the basic rightness of the challengers.
The prospect of revolution is troubling for many who can see the handwriting on the wall. We have discussed the question in a ‘virtual revolution’ mode to allow the basic review of the whole question to break out of the dogmas of past generations on the left.
Our mini-book, which follows the logic of our two manifestos, is in three sections dealing with the basic crisis, a new view of history, and a possible solution called democratic market neo-communism…https://www.dropbox.com/home/Public?preview=Democratic_Market_Neo_Communism_ver_5.pdf
1. Civilization in Crisis
The era of capitalist globalization has signaled that its world historical phase is approaching an end. Such an end need not be absolute and the issue is almost more a change of assumptions in our own minds about how the phenomenon of capitalism is to be taken. The debate over the end of history was misleading: we can have a postcapitalist system of markets under communism assumptions and constitutional foundations: we can define a whole spectrum of so-called de facto postcapitalist system. We will define a transitional hybrid that can serve to free the discourse, and its discourse from absolute definitions.
In all of the discussions of the end of history we have failed to foresee that we could be left with no choice but to move beyond the era of capitalist markets. Given the reality of climate change a system of unrestricted free markets will destroy a whole planet. We have dawdled in capitalist complacency as this calamity has crept up on us. And there is hardly a more severe condemnation of the capitalist mental framework than the way in which it has bewitched its ideologues to the point of ostrich denial of a transparent crisis in action. Therefore question of climate change alone forces the issue: whatever the nature and future of ‘markets’ the stark reality confronts us that completely ‘free’ markets are a malevolent anti-ecological force. We need to define an exit strategy from the obsessive generation of ecological and economic chaos generated by the ideology of such free markets.
But the question of postcapitalism can be overdefined in absolutes: as noted, we should propose a hybrid transitional system in which neo-communist foundations shepard a dialectic of opposites in a balance of powers…
More generally the whole foundation of secular modernity is threatened by the cult of capitalism. What do we mean by modernity and the secular? It is helpful to consider a larger view of history than the current marxist versions of economic historicism. We can avail ourselves of a classic legacy but at the same time create a kind of generalization of its premises with a new view of historical dynamics and evolutionary emergence. We live at a time when the classic darwinian theory of evolution has fallen into a range of falsifications. The use of that theory for ideological legitimation is notorious. Let us be clear: darwinism and evolutionism are not the same thing. The former is a rigid dogma about natural selection as the core dynamic of evolution. That thesis was open to objections from the start yet has persisted unreasonably due to its ideological hold on biologists, and the general public. We must suspect that this is still another aspect of the capitalist world view, especially given the evidence of social darwinist distortions of culture that have used darwinism for ideological culture control. The thesis of the ‘survival of the fittest’ lurks in a economic bastard form and this needs to be deprived of its spurious claims to science.
1.1 On the Threshold of Climate Catastrophe
The system of capitalist economy has defaulted to a runaway ecological nemesis controlled by a monopolist class mesmerized by ideological economics built on mathematical fraud and now poised to drive the system over a cliff. The prescient warnings of the prophetic early socialists have never been more relevant: this system will create its own doomsday scenario. Tragically the onset of the neo-liberal era in the 1970’s was synchronous with the first realization of the threat of climate change. The first warnings were sounded in the early stages of that economic counterrevolution, and an entire generation has been lost as the warnings have fallen on deaf ears. A series of limited measures have nonetheless been enacted, and a series of technical innovations have begun to show the way to a post-carbon era, but the capitalist capture of governmental action has produced a situation in the critical red zone: the ominous question emerges. Is it too late? We can see that without a revolutionary action to take control of the capitalist psychosis. We could be too late. The system is set to pass the projected limit of 2C temperature increase and yet even at this point the cpaitalist minset is not only unyielding but intransigent.
The tenets of self-regulating markets have been in effect falsified by the reality that the global market system cannot respond to an existential crisis. Setting them on automatic has generated a system beyond control.
1.2 Capitalism and Empire
The history of capitalism has seen a series of imperialistic economic phases, from as early as the Spanish empire of the sixteenth century.
The global system is now beset with the american juggernaut: a combined capitalist and imperialistic system transfixed by a militarism that has become malevolent. We confront a sphinx-like system beset with a cabal of industrial, capitalist, and military factions in league as they pursue nothing less than a series of ‘wars for profit’. The famous military industrial complex of Eisenhower has graduated to the status of a new and elusively covert tyranny.
1.3 The Deep State
This evidence shows that the american system has been taken over by a mysterious entity or entities often described as the ‘deep state’, but in different senses, from Peter Dale Scott’s version to that of Lofgren in his analysis in The Deep State. The period of the second world war and after indicates the threshold of the process of capture and control, although the course of american history from its beginning shows the process gestating from the start, with an early version of the disease in the Gilded Age.
But the period of the creation of the first atomic bomb shows the onset of the stranglehood of covert action, secrecy, national security and techno-capitalist collusion. The Manhattan project sowed the seeds of what was to come.
The american system is crypto-tyrannical cabal of arbitrary and hidden powers with no public accountability. And in the context of madison avenue psychological techniques applied to social communication it has become a de fact psychological tyranny of brainwashing, with intimations of the 1984 saga.
1.4 9/11, Covert agencies, and Drug Mafias
This period of the second world war and the manhattan project produced the first versions of covert action agencies, which soon were transformed into the CIA, and a host of other intelligence agencies. The rogue character of the CIA has been documented from the start with such egregious actions as the destruction of Iranian democracy and the many coups and interventions globally by an out of control agency whose legal foundations were botched from the start.
The later stages of the disease are grotesque. The evidence of a 9/11 conspiracy, shockingly missed by the general left, the history of the CIA and the ‘national security state’ and an almost inconceivable corruption of government in the connection with the drug mafias. It is a significant indictment of the system as is that we cannot properly diagnose let alone deal with the corruption of the american government by the war on drugs taken as a cover for its actual pursuit by government agents.
1.5 The Coming of Postcapitalism
Almost from the start of the industrial revolution in the eigtheenth century when the era of capitalism in its current sense began the destructive and exploitative character of its action was seen as a prediction of its eventual end. The early movements of the socialists and communists produced the first abortive challenge, one that was almost terminated by the distraction of the bolshevik fiasco. The failure of that movement was a tragic delay in the formation of a genuine movement able to become the successor to the original process.
The question was never resolved by the russian era of revolution and has resurfaced as the question of the future of a planet.
The coming of postcapitalism is ironically prefigured in the ‘end of history’ moment of 1989: the russian system collapsed on the way to a truer end of history! The era of postcapitalism is being rendered inexorable given the emerging catastrophe of planetary destruction…The term is ambiguous and requires a definition before, rather than after a revolutionary or other transition. The legacy of ad hoc ‘as you go’ constructs of the first aborted challenge to capitalism proved the undoing of the earlier internationales…
2. History and Evolution
The issue of revolutionary communism needs a new historical framework, one that has create a superset to the classic marxist legacy which can remain as a resource…
We can suggest a new lightweight version of the ‘eonic model’ which can be a useful guide to historical and evolutionary thinking…
2.1 the politics of evolution, the falsification of darwinism
The question of evolution has been controversial from the start, but became institutionalized around standard darwinism, to the dissent of many. The critique has been expropriated by the right which has expanded the challenge to darwinism with a version of the classic design argument. Modern biology has lost the original suggestions for a theory of evolution from the enlightenment period. It has produced a mindset fixed in institutional dogma as a form of social conditioning and an aggressive secular humanism that has created the darwin propaganda machine. Marx himself was one of the original critics of darwinism. But we need a view of evolution and history that is open to a broader set of hypotheses than those provided by scientism.
2.2 A New Model of History
How do we resolve the confusion over evolution. Biology is slowing undergoing a transformation of its internal theory but there is another way to get a rough glimpse of dynamics of evolution by looking at history…Beyond that we need a view of history that is not beset by the false claims of historical laws and which can deal with questions of free agency, economic determination versus evolutionary developmentalism, and the issue of teleological directionality. In the process it should examine the place of values in a realm of facts and the issues of religion and reformation, and the place of Christianity in the birth of modern communism, beside its versioning as a concealed capitalist ideology.
This new model of history is based on the evidence of world history and its dramatic non-random aspects, which can be roughly systematized in a version of historical directionality…It is also open to a set of ‘deductions’ that lend plausibility to its perspective. But we need only the barest outline of a new model of history, one that can also piggyback the rough outlines of the marxist system whose assumptions however suffer a kind of metal fatigue next to a great deal of dialectical challenge.
A look at the perspective of Kantian ethical socialism can buttress this approach and consider the form of Kantian historicism that asks for a solution to the riddle of history in a larger framework than reductionist science.
But we should adopt only the most general assumptions, and not pretend to a science of history in conventional form, instead remaining within an empirical confine.
This approach suggests the efficacy of a plan vanilla ‘discrete/continuous’ systems analysis which can show the teleological character behind historical chaos and in the process force us to take seriously ideas of the ‘evolution of freedom’, a useful end run around the usual ‘end of history’ propaganda…This can be interpreted as a progression of epochs. And this in turn can help to clarify what we mean by modernity and secularism.
2.3 epochs in transition, modernity, divides
Our model can be reduced to the simplicity of a rough outline of world epochs with the transition to modernity in the most recent transformation of civilization…This analysis distinguishes the early modern, as a transition, and the new era itself which begins in the early nineteenth century in the wake of the immense transformation from the sixteenth century onward. This model considers then the ‘divide’ point at the end of the transitional period: it leaves a question, why was the period just before and after 1800 so massively gifted with innovations? Our model suggests an answer. And it suggests the tandem emergence of a capitalist and a challenger, the socialist/communist movements whose prophetic action constitutes a chase plane action in the chaotic phases of free markets and their ideology…
This system is simply a reminder that a revolutionary process must distinguish teleological and the effects of free agency: the relationship changes as time goes on. A far larger process of social transformation is required than the usual version of revolutionary economism.
2.4 secularism and religion in world history
Our model gives us a clear rendition of the issues of religion, the Axial Age, reformations and the emergence of the secular framework. The left is the inheritor of the void left by the waning of Axial Age religion but its early Feuerbachian versions suggest the need for a larger framework. These issues were actually well analyzed by such as Kant, Schopenhauer and Hegel who brought the reformation to a close and set the religious legacies into a new evolutionary phasing still underway in our present…
2.4 end of history, evolution of freedom, free agents
Our model gives us another version of an ‘end of history’ argument in its examination of the rising effects of free agency in a system of macro action. The association of democracy and capitalism is seen to be arbitrary and the domination of free markets and its ideology, exposed as a planetary threat, falsifies the simple equation. From the beginning of the socialist movements the obvious counterargument has suggested a socialist foundation for real democracy…
3. Out of revolution
Our model gives us a better insight into revolution in the association of revolutionary action with the early modern period…
The symbolic year 1848 shows the spooky timing of the emergence of communism in the ambiguous revolutions of 1848, just after the ‘divide’ period of our transition. This is hardly coincidence and shows the reification of a prophetic action in pursuit of the runaway capitalist frenzy…
The year 1848 issued the classic manifesto of Marx and Engels. We can both echo and update/virtualize a new manifesto that attempts to realize a set of ‘hyparchic futures’, a term to be explored in another text…
3.3 econo theory, market socialisms
We need to upgrade classic marxist legacies with a close analysis of the neo-classical economic farce and its ‘theories’ as ideologies. We can also profit from study of the critics and proponents of market socialism and its brouhaha over the so-called calculation debate. This debate was won then lost by the left but was then won again in various considerations of computational economics…A clear and effective strategy as to ‘market calculation’ is needed on the left. In the age of computers, AI, and increasing insight into economic action the solution is at hand in various experimental post-Keynesian/socialist strategies…Since the capitalists have no serious theory of economic systems we are under no obligation to submit to critiques of socialism based on the sophistries of the calculation debate.
We begin to consider a practical version of a system that can mediate capitalism and communism, taken as ‘democratic market neo-communism’, a transitional system that can provide a resolution of the crisis point…We have a system that can mediate both markets and planned economies, next to a third autonomous sector with a degree of anarchist free for all. The combination of strong regulation, strong communist authority and a reflected set of opposites in balance, with an especial focus on the creation of a Commons of shared resources beyond capital as private property and an ecological legal system that can assist the passage beyond the crisis of climate…
3.5 Last and First Men
Man is proceeding as a species in transformation with the emergence of civilization seen as a new phase of human evolution. The almost inconceivable complexity of human evolution presents a challenge for a new civilization in the era of postcapitalism. Our challenge to darwinism was at least appropriate to the task of evading oversimplifications. Man is emerging from an embryonic phase of so-called civilization to a new form of society that can resolve both economy and democracy in social commune vested in the Commons…
Having critiqued marxism I should also hasten to point out that marxists are one good set of candidates for a postcapitalist transition. But the frozen mindset needs to be broken. As we noted yesterday endless efforts to defend leninism are pointless. Consider that that was a failure and start over. That’s a big job. Start at once. We have provided one way to go.
Make the period of Marx/Engels in the 1840’s a foundational saga and reinvent the subject after that, our approach which bore fruit in Last and First Men. The tenets of marxism aren’t really necessary and very hard to defend anymore, next to the leninist confusions. If we give up and denounce leninism, we can turn around and possibly learn from it. But it arose in very special circumstances. We must be wary of succumbing to a totalitarian system even as we remain wary of any system that is too powerless to make a communist foundation.
Step one, stop using the terms ‘marxist/marxism’. The whole game needs a new title and has to stop being a cult of marx.
In the end marxist/communists (and most socialists) are the only resource we have for what could be a grisly process.
our twin manifestos, etc…
Finishing this little blogbook keeps getting stalled but it is almost more useful as a set of notes. And the book already exists in a sense in our other texts, our twin manifestos, etc…
The point is to develop a whole new literature in a streamlined superset for the marxist legacy. This is hard for marxists: the scandal of the whole subject is that marx ended up in a muddle and couldn’t finish his project, Capital being a derelict.
We have suggested a simpler approach, with or without our model. Economies are constructs created by free agents in technological contexts. Their functionality, further muddled by the bad theories of neo-classical economists, should be assessed as experiments in motion (that’s what economists actually do in practice, collect statistics and create empirical models) with the factor of free agency as fundamental: men create economies and men can change them.
The marxist legacy won’t form the basis for a future leftist transition. Period. It has been torn to pieces over and over again, yet marxists are the last to know, it seems.
Historical materialism is a brilliant but failed analysis and tended to confuse the issues for those working toward some kind of socialism. My study of the eonic effect shows a way out of that morass, but it is too controversial for many. But a simplified version, the point of the blogbook, could do the job seamlessly. Communism doesn’t require a scientific theory based on economics. It requires a constitutional definition and a set of economic projects to serve a postcapitalist transition.
Our simplified model of history is based on a descriptive chronology that shows evidence of a dynamic in action. It can be taken non-dogmatically not as a speculative theory but as a warning: noone has gotten history right and we can suggest why and a way to assess at least something of its fierce complexity without fully committing to a hard and fast set of claims. And science has fumbled on evolutionary theory and we can offer a very simple work around. Since we don’t have the full evidence this model can be taken on provision empirically. But it suggests caution as to other views attempting in all cases wrongly a science of history. Here the issue of modernity falls into place and we can see that the social question of communism is related to the emergence, and completion, of the democratic project and its revolutions. We have suggested a form of communism that is axiomatic and constitutional with sectors that are still connected with markets, next to an experimental sector that is planed. And an autonomous subsector that alloys a final balance of three such sectors, etc…
The left cannot repeat the past: it must create a new solution and set of proposals. This can use marxism as ballast but each aspect must be critiqued and recast. The main issue is to evade sterile social democratic hype and at the same time create a social democratic version of its own, but hopefully with a communist basis. There might be a way to compromise but the old efforts to do so have all failed. Tony Blair was a laborite?
Since capital is global it is hard to see how our model could work, let alone generate a revolution. There are a number of way stations: a proto-communist starting point could ….well that was the point of our model! We allow an economic market sector under communism assumptions as constitutional axioms creating a Commons with economic rights. Property rights for large-scale economic entities would be phased out and/or highly regulated where transnational.
Marxism is unusual in its theoretical emphasis. No other modern revolution required such an apparatus of theory. Their basis was a set of political recipes, or praxis. I fear diehard marxist cadres are going to seize the opportunity and turn in circles in the same way of failure.