As noted in a post today, the era of the Russian revolution was an immense opportunity squandered because of the way marxism had conditioned thinking in abstractions, mostly from Marx who could never really be critically examined, without any consideration of the implementation of something practical and realistic. In part the fault lay with ‘stages of production’ theory that fallaciously posited a succession of epochs, i.e. feudalism, capitalism, communism… This scheme made the final stage of communism an almost teleological outcome, without defining what it should be.
Our critique has suggested that capitalism was never a stage of (economic) history but an ongoing process in existence since the rise of civilization in the Neolithic Its sudden amplification in modern times is an aspect of modernity itself, and of the industrial revolution, which was a technological watershed but not a stage of history either.
Feudalism was an aspect of the occidental middle ages but as the latter term suggests was really in the middle of a larger epoch. It was the outcome of the decline of the Roman empire, speaking very generally.
Communism is simply up in the air: to prophesy its coming was a form of propaganda but without specification such a prediction set the stage for the fiasco of Russian bolshevism and its complete botch of anything resembling a new stage of history.
The intent of our model of ‘democratic market neo-communism’ is to suggest that the real epoch is that of modernity, a point that requires no dogma, and to consider that we can arrive axiomatically at the idea of ‘commuism’/’socialism’ from ideas of democracy, fairness, equality, and ecological reasoning but that this must assume the action of free agents who on the basis of those values construct a new type of social system. Ironically, if we do that we prove Marx right! But without any theory to go with it. That theory was a disaster in the way it proclaimed itself science thence banishing all discussions of values as utopian. The result was a sterile scientism and an invitation to psychopaths like Stalin.
We can easily produce a better periodization of history, one that is not a theory (although it is suggested by our ‘eonic effect’) but a highly intuitive and practical/empirical outline:
This merely follows the broad contours present in most textbooks of world history: ca. 10000 to 8000 (the socalled Natufian period), 8000 to the sixth millennium, two stages of the neolithic: from there to around 3000 BCE, then to around 600 BCE, then to the modern era, ca. 1800 (at close range we can see a definite transition period from 1500). We see that feudalism is really in the middle of the next to last era, the middle ages, that capitalism is gestating throughout, and that communism, democracy, and revolution are close correlates with the early modern. The sudden transformation of capitalism does not mean that modernity is a capitalist epoch. To think so might drive us to destroy modernity to produce communism, a not uncommon fallacious lurking in the background. The whole marxist formulation is a mess.
Such a simple scheme is all that socialists need for a ‘theory of history’ and from there we can study particular economic systems and their histories. This scheme is optional, we can periodize history in many ways, but if we look closely we can discover that it has a logic of its own (it follows our eonic effect, but that is at the sidelines and not needed). The point here is to escape the confusion created by Marx’s theory and to realize history offers us to a high probability as future of decline and barbarism and an endstate of ‘communism’ only if we can create it as free agents. And it must be a viable system that is well defined. We have suggested, what Marx and his fellow socialists suggested, that it is really a realization of democracy.
One of the traps of marxism is the ‘hard break’ between capitalist and communist epochs.
But a more reasonable interpretation might be like our ‘democratic market neo-communism’: this is really a liberalism turned into communism, and a communism that is still a liberalism. This is something further that is constructivist to the degree that it requires the solution to four issues: democracy, markets and planning, and ‘communism’ in the form of a Commons. Even in this incomplete form we suspect, given the starting point of a Commons, that it is realizable and practical. It is revolutionary but could be reformist: all you need is the equivalent to ‘nationalization’ as expropriation which in this form could be an electoral outcome …and a new constitution. But the resemblance to a liberal system just might make it a very popular choice indeed.
The point is clear that our expectations of ‘communism’ have defeated us as imaginaries. The moment we get specific we can see the relative ease of creating a new system, and the dangers if we leave that future to the stalins.
We have to wonder looking at the Bolsheviks, what were they thinking???