History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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R48G: Russia was never suitable ground for a communist experiment, and its fallacious strain simply leaves the question of socialism/communism open: never tried

November 17th, 2017 · No Comments

Despite its great historical interest the question of the Russian revolution should be declared irrelevant. And the marxism that led up to it should be broken down and reanalyzed.

In many ways the question of communism has nothing to do with the case of the Bolsheviks: the moment Stalin seized power the issue of communism was a dead letter, by definition. Communism can’t be a dictatorship, so if a dictator seizes control then the experiment is over: never tried. To be sure, the fallacies of the command economy could be argued as leading to dictatorship. But again, the marxist background to ‘command economies’ is a set of its own fallacies. In general Russia was never suitable ground for a communist experiment, and its fallacious strain simply leaves the question of socialism/communism open. Marxism’s rigid division of epochs confused the whole discussion.
In many ways the first real opportunity for a postcapitalist transition is in our own time and we must not let the history of fakes dominate our thinking.
There are many reasons why the time is ripe, the issue of climate catastrophe is central and capitalism’s minions unable to respond. We have the hard evidence that capitalism can’t be the end of history because it will destroy a planet. There are many other factors here with neo-liberal counter-revolution having trashed the state, produced endless (often useless) innovation amidst immense waste, and ironically begun to upstage the working class with an economics set to abolish workers. We can sense despite this that capitalism has peaked. We have a situation that should completely disown the mazxist/leninist era and produce an analysis that is from scratch, no doubt quietly taking over a number of themes from the marxist legacy. But let us consider that communism was not invented by Marx and that we are under no obligation to honor his cult. Marx was critical of his radical contemporaries and brought a level of acumen and intelligence to a field strewn with confusion. But at this point we can be as critical of Marx as he was of, say, Proudhon. It is an idle question. The issue is not applied marxism but a solution to the issue of postcapitalism. We can argue that while a postcapitalist future without communism/socialism is quite thinkable the fact remains that communism foots the bill as a logical deduction, but only if we can think clearly about the range of possibilities and the dangerous passage to a new form of thought, one filled with treacherous fallacies. The fallacies are sufficient to make us consider a failsafed approach: instead of applying untested abstractions we might test what we have seen already. And the first deduction should be the foundational issue of democracy, the critique of bourgeois democracy, and the logical equivalence of democratic rights with the necessary equality to match, and it is precisely the issue of communism. The problem suffered by bolshevism was the absolute antagonism to liberalism, and the attempt to create a new order from abstractions.
A better approach might be to consider that democracy, however compromised, has had successful revolutions, and that a postcapitalist transition can refound democracy as a set of communist axioms, which is not the same as a command economy. The issue of an economy is quite separate. Although the day is coming when a fully planned economy is possible a more reasonable approach might lie in seeing that the issue is communist axioms, not an economic dogma. A brand of market economy based on the expropriation of capital is actually quite possible and the establishment of a Commons might be the way to harmonize a hybrid system of markets and planning.
Crucial here is the reform of the fake democracy now current, a political form that is really a branch of the capitalist faction, a situation well analyzed by Marx.
A true democratic government will have solved campaign finance madness, etc, and created a rational foundation for a socialist future. We have created democracies before, we can do the question again, this time with a sounder basis in equality based on communist principles of a Commons.
This approach need not even focus on the working class, which may be disappearing. It will do what democracy does, and create equality, rights, and class equalization. The question can be entirely open and the working class given a special emphasis. But in the end all classes will merge into a kind of ‘universal class’ which will even include the capitalists themselves, given the expropriation of capital.
This solution/resolution is simply a remorphing of the template of democratic revolution and we know it is possible because its predecessors were possible. The issue of private property is not so difficult, we should hope, for it is not an issue of state capitalism or a state monopoly of function. The issue is constitutional.

All the endless debate over bolshevism needs to be scrapped as obsolete muttering. We have a new chance and if we can do an end run around marxist/leninists and the capitalist one-percent we will be able to pull it off. We can even hope for a relatively peaceful evolution to this although the outcome is likely to stall in another social democratic compromise. But an evolutionary path should not be ruled out…

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