We have a huge amount of material in print, pdf, and blog format that can help to reorient the left toward a kind of upgrade of the classic marxist legacy. That is almost inevitable at a time when the public simply won’t consider the older formulas and slogans. Many leftists wish to separate marxism fom the subsequent leninism, what to say of stalinism. But even that seems insufficient. That’s an entirely fair approach to a subject that suffered an unexpected future but in fact that only really works with true believers who somehow attempt to separate marx and engels from the russian revolution. The public won’t buy that either.
The whole subject has to start over and take up a fresh terminology, conceptual framework, and practical politics. In some ways the outer rim of socialism, the hoary reformists and issue activists have done this and it is not surprising they have greater success that the stalled and moribund marxist cadre.
The question requires both a reformist and revolutionary aspect. But the latter must offer a kind of failsafe in the way they propose a radically transformative platform. One way to do that is to specify in advance what socialism means in practice. Remarkably, almost no such studies exist that don’t simply regurgitate useless versions of state capitalism and the cover story of a working class politics, as usual run by a marxist elite. A detailed outcome of that vaunted revolution has to offer a means to move in a straight line to a viable and economically functional socialism, with rights and liberties inside a new form of politics that has to be democratic in any case.
The difficulty of the task should impress leftists, but doesn’t. The mantra ‘socialism’ is a enough as a pacifier for bawling infants.
R48G: history, evolution, revolution and the once and future modernity
February 16th, 2017 ·
At a time of leftist discombobulation it is important to get one’s bearings with a simple and practical version of historical dynamism that can animate a postmarxist generation. Our eonic model can do that but it is perhaps too strange at first to be taken seriously.
We have already dealt with that in our various manifestos, along with Crisis of Modernity and Out of
We can avail ourselves of the material if it is simplified to the point of being not a fixed theory but a set of questions and a range of answers. In the meantime the darwinian paradigm is starting to collapse and we are ready there. But unfortunately the older marxist left is too far gone in its dogmatic system to either appeal to a new generation or produce a movement that can accomplish anything. The DSA has surged in membership, great, 10,000 members? Hardly enough. I think Sanders should have led a real socialist movement, even a revolutionary one. Instead we are stuck with situation that has become grotesque. In part the problem was the ambiguity of ‘our revolution’, Bernie’s?
The planet is about to self-destruct: we are ready here with a program, a virtual revolution, or else the real thing, and this can translate immediately into some kind of action. I fear however that as with Sanders’ ‘Our Revolution’ we will fall short of the revolution needed in the frittering away of revolutionary jargon as ‘New Deal’ ‘play it again, sam’ attempted repeats of FDR. Why would we expect to succeed if the previous success was systematically analyzed and dismantled?
We are getting a lot of visitors to this site, and it correlates with our R48G series, so maybe we are onto something.
Our strategy here, however, is to operate with what many might consider an unrealistic strategy. Why challenge darwinism at a time like this? But our strategy is based on a sense that while we not equipped to either found a movement or operate celebrity style leadership we can do something related but different: do everything the hard way as the right way, not cater to public opinion to the exclusion of principles and to avoid issue activism fragmentation…Too old to found some new movement we can nonetheless not try to hedge on activism with partial platforms:
we have produced two manifestos
two world histories with several more in the background an emergency emphasis on the issue of climate change… an analysis and critique of marxism
an analysis of economic theories
a strategy on the calculation debate
an analysis of secularism and world religion
with an exit strategy for christians, along with similar possibilities with respect to islam and
a critique of darwinism with an indication for a substitute
a critique of dialectical materialism and, in the wings, a samkhya substitute a two-edged sword: evolutionary/revolutionary projects
there is more…that is a lot of controversies and any ‘sensible’ activist would concentrate on single themes…
we have also picked up to carry parallel activist issues of feminism, LBBT, BLM, and related issues, with a cowcatcher for cousin issues such as Basic Income, automation, etc, …
in short we have a basics for a blueprint for a new form of civilization…
we have deliberately not simplified or eliminated anything which may or may not mean we will ignored
and to this we add a warning that the left is mostly floundering in confusion…
We have proposed a new view of history and evolution based on this material and while this generates resistance and is a hard sell the fact remains that conventional marxist historical theory is no longer adequate. We have proposed a version of ‘eonic effect lite’ as a simple periodization of world history based a simple outline. In that context we produce a version of historical materialism and production theory as interpretations of world history without rigid theories.
The ‘eonic effect’ is more than a theory, not theory at all, because it shows why no theories of history in the conventional sense are going to work. In our framework then marxist theories are themselves a subset, a subevent with its own dynamism and we can deal with it on that basis as an entity to which we could apply a dialectic of some kind: affirmation, critique and reformulation. It is essential to recast the whole legacy while at the same maintaining its essential thrust: the economic aspect of historical evolution, but without is absolute character such as we tend to see in marxist discussions. Economies
are not easily characterized: they should be taken as empirical constructs and the progression of
capitalism to communism not as a form of teleological inevitability but as a (possibly logically inevitable) means adopted by free agents to freely create a postcapitalist economic civilization. The subtle difference is important because we need a a broad humanist psychology that can mediate determination in a scientific sense and free agency/free will in a kind of Kantian mix. In fact, Kant, with Schopenhauer and Hegel as variant interpretations of a classic ‘moment’ in philosophy, was the only philosopher able to produce the correction to scientism needed to make history safe for free agents, whatever the status of their free will. Kantian ethical socialists tried to gate crash conventional marxism at the end of the nineteenth century and their perspective remains as an untried variant of the socialist
mental universe. We have produced several rabbits out of a hat along these lines and it could make a big difference to a second time at bat for a new socialism. Let’s face the reality: traditional monotheistic religion succeeded, if it succeeded at all, because it respected the freedom of man, his free agency and the drama of the human will. To replace that with an economic theory with a thesis of determination
was always misguided. It was part of the tide of positivism that arose in the wake of the era of Hegel. But a true humanism needs to have learned enough about the success of religion to see that from the time of Zarathustra onward the free agency of man was a core humanist value. Kant brilliantly realized a truly robust version of such thinking for the age of science.
Virtually all of the marxist corpus can be restated very simply in terms of the ‘eonic model’ of world history, and the latter can be streamlined down to the point where it is a perspectivist option for simplifying the study of world history as a set of questions. And there is no reason why that corpus can’t be reused as a rough guide, the more so since an entire cadre already speaks that language. But marxist theories have been ‘refuted’ so many times and in so many ways that it is unwise to promote them dogmatically, to say the least.
A new generation has to be able to deal with neo-classicial economics (easy, it is most theory junk), figure out how to plan markets, unplan markets, create some form of postcapitalist market/planned economic under communist axioms, etc… Marx the prophet is a tonic but a bit too set in granite for flexible action. The labors of Marx/Engels in the 1840’s is such a classic that as a saga it is enough as a foundation for a complete recasting of the legacy.
I fear the legacy cadre is too stuck in its ideology to adapt to anything new. I think that will change however if a new generation, already in existence, after the watershed of 1989, tries to grapple with the capitalist catastrophe now in evidence. The prophetic irony that it is a question of going beyond capitalism, not just of doing FDR song and dance. Such a transition is tricky and fraught with peril, but the alternative we see now is truly fatal. So much for the capitalist end of history. Meanwhile the eonic effect like alka seltzer will dissolve in water and can be taken as as useful introit as a metannarative that fades into the background as a dogcatcher for artificial theorizing, the bane of marxist orthodoxy. The eonic effect can thus be taken as the simple assertion that history shows a non-random process operating in the background and that history has a hidden dynamics, maybe. This cannot change the necessity of free agency dealing with the content given by that probably real by barely visible hidden dynamic. Man makes himself, after history has produced the scenery and topics, and that is the bottom line in the end. The questions of economics are thus both fundamental, and yet, strangely, secondary and it is for man to create a first true economy that serves man in a system of ecological sanity