One of the problems with the left is that it has no focus on ecological issues despite the efforts of many to bring marxism into the age of climate change. But the whole structure of marxism is miscast at this point. It seems like its whole energy goes into a wage increase for factory workers, who wouldn’t by and large spit in their direction. History has left the left behind at this point. The marxist package speaks to the industrial age, especially its onset, and the proletariats it spawned. The resulting framework doesn’t really respond to the question of climate change, nor can it communicate with a general public on general issues: the marxist left has placed the whole emphasis on the working class. But that is counterproductive at the moment. The world of early industrialization has past, the proletariat has transformed into something else and the bourgeoisie has learned how to control/robotify the working class or what is left of it. Look at Trump’s base, a hard to analyze anomaly, or the working class remnant? Marxists expend their whole energy considering the working class but will do nothing themselves, it seems, unless they can get the working class to do it. The working class mantra is a lazy excuse for doing nothing and a bit of an insult to that group. We need to change the whole framework of radical action and we still maintain a focus on working class issues. But the perspective might do well to shift toward what we have called the universal class. If the working class isn’t even revolutionary as predicted, why are we pouring energy into a void? There any number of working class individuals, middle class individuals, upper (middle) class individuals, business class individuals, even capitalist individuals, who will respond as individuals in the universal class to the need for radical action. All those class elements might suffer their own ideological or class biases, but individuals can be exempt, and individuals are all the left can deal with. The abstraction, the ‘working class’ is not an individual and has no dynamic as such. It is a waste of energy to preach about the working class. But individuals can respond. The older formulations took this approach: electoral politics (democracy) was about individuals and their vote not about classes.We lose nothing thus if the working class is a de facto majority in any such (electoral or not) system or group.
The views of Marx entered because the politics of his time was unable to integrate the working class into its scheme, which was hallucinating the chances of democracy. Our situation is different: we need to appeal to individuals and create a majority out of that, and there perhaps for the first time the working class can come into its own to the extent individuals come to the fore in a new movement for all classes: as individuals.
A new left at a point of crisis can only appeal to individuals and create a framework that aims at socialism or communism by appealing to individuals and that socialism must be melted down and recast as an ecological pitch, even as it can easily maintain its classic thrust in terms of economic issues, cultural issues, and issues of democracy, markets, planning and revolutionary expropriation.
It is apt that socialist thinking could so easily be adapted to ecological crisis. But that has to be accomplished in actual fact and in terms of a new formulation of economy, class, and nature.
There is very little time left and yet in part because of marxism the older left is paralyzed, and frozen in the memory of its failures. The only solution is to break with the past, disown those failures and stop constantly reintroducing the failed solution into the new moment. We have tried to show that marxist theory is so flawed it is not worth bothering with, although much of it is quotable resource material, if it can be cited without scrambling thinking all over again. Perhaps that is expecting to much. Then a whole new framework is needed.
We have created one here:
the redfortyeight group: an abstraction of new leftist group/party, movement: fill in the blanks
a critique of marxist theory, especially histomat and stages of production theory
a reevaluation of the ‘utopian versus scientific socialism’ debate: marxism cannot found a science…
construction of social models bases on values rather than pseudo-scientific laws
a new empirical perspective on world history, the factual study of economies in history
(history shows its own elusive structure)
the foundational aspect of modernity, rather than the false epochal analysis of …feudalism, capitalism, communism…
a critique of causal models of history and a reintroduction of the element of agency
positing socialism/communism as the action of free agency operating with values, ideas of freedom, etc..
pointing to the need to define the elements of a new society instead of assuming historical inevitability stands behind the coming of postcapitalism
we can consider socialism/communism as future options based not on teleological theories or modes of production but on the issues of fairness, equality, shared resources, democratic potential, and the crisis of capitalism itself which is on its way to planetary destruction
This kind of reorientation needs to both sift through and abandon marxism, making Marx/Engels primordial saga figures, but moving beyond the chapter and verse citation of holy scripture that has paralyzed the left.
Here reformist/revolutionary options seems to coexist in a transitional dilemma. But if we embrace one, reformism, we are too limited but if we embrace both then the revolutionary option, perhaps becoming dominant for that reason, can mediate true socialism and social democracy. We can’t be too ambitious to eliminate this duality, but if we embrace both then the leading idea is the status of the revolutionary option (but that can be debated).
We have pulled a rabbit out of a hat: ecological socialism as ‘democratic market neo-communism’. this combination is a tool, a model, a blueprint and open to very specific realizations as a practical strategy.
It is useful because it requires no theory of history, no causal reductionism, takes the epochs of history as we find them with an emphasis on modernity.
It stops the fetishization of capitalism as a stage of history
It points to the crisis of capitalism as the foundation for postcapitalism: socialism?
This formulation can be adopted in five minutes by all parties at all levels of education, understanding or experience.
It points to specific tasks in a series of dual pairs: ecological social refoundation in terms of democracy/authority, planning/markets, and a neo-communism based not on state capitalism but on a Commons in the context of expropriation. This scheme will aim to resolve both working class issues and ecological issues but will also point beyond class to a universal class. It must have a robust set of economic rights, and a strong set of ecological institutions in a constitutional framework. Instead of the revolutionary action of the working class we have the revolutionary action of the elements of the universal class which contains the working class and any of its activism as a subset.
Again, we note that this ECO-DMNC model can self-explicate in five minutes and can commence immediately as a viable social construct or movement. Our idea of the ‘redfortyeight group’, or any such label and framework.
One observes that despite a century and a half of study and education hardly anyone understands the marxist corpus and the result so obvious now is that the left is paralyzed because they can’t figure out what they are about.
Our new type of model echoes yet divorces itself from the past and is ready effective immediately.
It needs a certain amount of ‘filling in the blanks’ on each of the issue raised. This system is open to all but can also be given a working class focus, or any number of focal points. Its constituency is the universal class.
But the intuitive overall model could be realized almost overnight, as it were, and with a good chance of success. It is a remorphed liberal system and if liberal systems can work then this one will work day one. But be much more effective…
You can take this as a model for something different, but the time is up for rehashing marxist theory: something needs to happen right away, beyond the intertia and leninist speculation ad infinitum with no praxis that has stalled the left since 1989, which said goodbye to leninism/bolshevism, perhaps even older marxism, but not socialism. It fact that year said goodbye to capitalism also: the west had no intention of installing capitalism in Russia. The wolf packs of ‘capitalist’ predators descended on Russia and crippled it. We can conclude that capitalists can’t create a social framework.
Everything about american politics points to a near parody of real government and to a strange harbinger of revolutionary necessity in some form.