As the TV shows prattle about the post-Covid world let us note the mysterious moment of this crisis and the way it is pointing beyond our present to a new society.
The crisis of a pandemic in the crisis of capitalism in the crisis of climate change. That seems to spell crisis, a word with occult aroma and one used by Marx to depict the capitalist hypnosis. The sudden shut down of a whole economy is awesome and seems to show a natural world wrecking its revenge on capitalist planet destroyers and their economic obsessions, ecological madness, and political crypto-fascism.
We should consider that the revolution is underway and even if the powers that be fearful of any interlude try to enforce status quo ante there is no real going back at this point.
————-a blogbook still a blobbook in progress and two abbreviated manifestos…
We have some references to books ready on the issues of a new leftist framework.
We have two manifestos (short versions at the end of this post), a short blogbook or notes thereof
and an idea for a new movement: The Red Forty-eight Group…
Notes and a short blogbook
We have some notes for a new blogbook attempting to integrate the themes of a new kind of left. In fact our outline is almost enough given the way prior books of this time contain the finished result already, more or less. There are several of these already and our short set of notes is enough.
We need a new framework for the left…Marxism is a dead cult at this point. Much in Marx can pass over into the future but we must finally start from scratch…
We need for this
a critique of marxist historical theories
respect for but distancing from Marx/Engels and the obsessive quote mongering
a new approach to evolution, and world history
a new approach beyond ‘theories’ to empirical outlines
a new approach to economic histories
a perspective broader than historical materialism
a critique of scientism and the way marxism fell in that trap
introduction of fact/value distinction (!) into desert of histomat
a close look at Kantian ethical socialism
a paper airplane goodbye to the posthegelian obsession with the false conflict of idealism,materialism
a quick take on quantum mechanics and electrodynamics with wistful ‘double take’ on materialism
judicious pilfering of the things marxism got right and still usable
a construct of possible ‘socialism’ and/or ‘communism’
a break with the past, the magic wand/goodbye with ‘neo-‘and the passage to ‘neo-communism’:
we don’t have to justify past errors: our viewpoint is new, from scratch
attempts to survive neo-classical economics, its fake theories and the marginal revolution
ways to construct a socialist economy that actually works, can compete and surpass capitalist versions
the classic ‘clearing question’, the Misean attack, and computational economics
some kind of method to construct market socialisms in the context of planning…etc…
we have specific material on what we call ‘democratic market neo-communism’
which tries to answer to the objection that ‘socialism’ is empty verbiage until we get specific
a review and critique of Marx/Engels on ‘utopian versus scientific’ etc:
if marx’s theories aren’t really scientific we are back to model construction, not we hope ‘utopian’
exploring models of neo-communist economies, with markets, planning in tandem
The legal construct for a Commons (as opposed to state ownership/state capitalism)
We need to realize that the left barely has a platform that is specific beyond sloganeering
The revolution/reform dichotomy simply resurfaces into the discussion.
Our DMNC is based on the idea that we can remorph liberalism into communism, and vice versa
Remorphing can be more successful than total social construction which is complex and prone to error.
We are in desperate spot, a revolutionary moment in a system that could squash revolution
and in which evolutionary reform is itself in checkmate…
The sudden disintegration of the american system warns us that we need to be ready….
We have spoke of the Anthropocene and the Capitalocene. Here can adopt the title Chulhucene, a recent neologism that actually invokes HP Lovecraft’s usage…(google that)
Notes for a new blogbooklet….
1. The Crisis of Civilization
We are at a moment of emerging social crisis and collapse in the sudden decline of incomplete and fragmented modernities in which the capitalist phenomenon has started to metasthesize into a malignant social formation. We reject the idea that this is an age of capitalism: it is form of modernity that allowed unchecked capitalism to overtake the whole social formation
1.1 Ecological Calamity
The industrial revolution reaches its nemesis as capitalism turns malevolent and becomes a destroyer of an entire planetary system..
1.2 the reign of neoliberalism
The current period is designated as the reign of neoliberalism, but it is one and the same capitalist formation and ideology that emerged in the period the industrial revolution…it didn’t have to be that way..
1.3 Capitalism and modernity
Capitalism is not an epoch in world history but a component of modernity that has tried to become the definition of modernity when it should have been subjected to socialist interaction from the start…
1.4 Revolutions per second
The history of technology fascinates us but it is not the real driver of social history. Nonetheless th industrial revolution is unique moment, but prone to the mistake of technological thinking applied to all social constructs. But the business of social construction is far more complex than any technology…
1.5 1848 Red Fortyeight Group
The period of the post-revolutionary period in France produced a cascade of attempts to correct the tendencies of the the original in the birth of multiple leftist formations converging to the year 1848 with its failure to realize a properly constructed to the question of modernity…
2. History and Evolution
The place of history in evolution and evolution in history are a useful generalized category pair beyond the economic fundamentalism of much leftist thinking (dominated by confrontation with capitalism)
2.1 Epochs and ages
Marxism posits a set of economic epochs but the scheme fails to fret the ultra-complex factors of world history as a whole. The ages of economic organization might better find a large periodization in what modern archaeology has found as the natural progression of the epochs of civilization, roughly the Neolithic, the wake of Sumer and Dynastic Egypt, proximate antiquity and the rise of modernity.
2.2 The Eonic Effect
The ‘eonic effect’ is basically the periodization above but comes with a crackerjack surprise in terms of an insight into the evolution of civilization. But theories of history are risky: it is enough to follow simple chronologies as above and take simple modernity and its early modern as the basic ‘epoch’; this is far larger that capitalism. The two are not the same.
2.3 The modern transition
The eonic effect shows world history fretted in a complex of transitions and the early modern is a classic example.
2.4 Man and Evolution
Ultimately man evolves in a larger schema than that given by darwinism and that evolutionary process gets a glimpse in the eonic effect itself
2.5 Last and First Men
The coming of homo sapiens is key focus for the left and coming to an understanding of human evolution is a stage in the evolution of man beyond his present, beyond capitalism to socialism. We must be wary of the terms of evolutionary discourse and isolate the ideological factors in ‘theories’ proposed, not the least by capitalist economists.
Two (mini-) Manifestos:
Toward a New Communist Manifesto
At a time of social crisis, the classic Manifesto of Marx and Engels in the era of the 1848 revolutions resonates with an eerie relevance for the age of neoliberalism and dangerous climate change. The clever fiction of the end of history is exposed as an artifice of philosophic legerdemain, Hegel from the bottom of the deck. The original tour de force would be a hard act to follow, but in reality our ‘new’ manifesto is a studied echo of the old brought to its real future, via the prophetic desperation of two revolutionaries before their time. But we must free ourselves from both capitalism and an old left in a recasting of the issues for a new or Neo-communism for a postcapitalist future.
Democratic Market Neo-communism We need a new form of liberal society in the test of the expropriation of capital and the construction of a new form of democratic and ecological ‘socialism’. Such a system will be based not on state capitalism or state ownership of property but a Commons. Socialist markets may continue next to sectors of planning and will be based on resources licensed from a Commons. Such a system can function immediately and is not utopian but realizable if liberal systems are realizable. It will seem (neo-) communist to a liberal and liberal to a neo-communist.
We can invoke the era of the 1848 upheavals, in the last tremors of the mighty French Revolution, has been called a turning point in world history, but one which failed to turn. That failed moment prophesied the failure of modernity and its future realization. It is an ironic aspect of our current era that this ‘revolution manqué’ is an apt metaphor for our own predicament. It threw down the gage to the future of the whole of industreality. That remarkable period of revolt was a shot over the bows of the capitalist revolution unfolding toward its long march to globalization, with the problematical outcome of its success beset once again with the haunting realization the failure to turn is a world of markets going mad. A rational limit or else overthrow of the new capitalist affair might have spared the planetary community much suffering, but now the issue goes into the critical zone, as the crisis reaches a point of no return. And that moment has a symbolic significance in terms of a larger view of world history. Capitalism is haunted by its own history as a malignant and incomplete modernity throwing the whole legacy of civilization into jeopardy.
As the planet nears the point of no-return at the threshold of climate criticality, the conservative sector of the American congress threatens to veto the US treaty obligation with respect to the recent Paris climate conference: this example typifies the extreme terminal ideological seizure of consciousness by capitalist ideology and tokens a recompute of the American system of government…
The crisis of capitalism is the crisis of planetary destruction in the onset of catastrophic climate change. And this is becoming a crisis of modernity itself. The inability of the powers of government to mediate the capitalist process condemns both and asks for a program of (new) communism to bring sanity to a body politic mesmerized by the ideology of economic illusion. The tenets of free market economics have been exposed to stark falsification in the inability of the system to respond to the disaster of climate change. This extreme example leads to a second look at much of the rest of the ideology of random economic activity. Self-regulating markets are shown to be a myth. The effect of ideology blinding agents to their situation is clearly prophesied by the earliest observers of capitalism.
Marx/Engels correctly saw the crisis of globalization and deserve to speak for our present in the rough outline of their remarkable Manifesto. We must try to ‘throughpass’ their classic while creating a more flexible superset of that classic as a venue to practical realization. We will concretize the result with a gesture to define ‘market neo-communism’ as one realization of the original proclamations. We must emphasize the prefix ‘neo’ and move to a discussion of a New Communism as if encountering the idea for the first time.
Marxist shibboleths The world of Marx and Lenin are ancient history now. We are not endorsers of such legacies and speak only to the future in a new set of frameworks. Socialism (we use two terms as a single term: socialism or communism as synonyms) We offer no defense therefore of the past, critique Marxist theories and Leninist politics, or simply move on past them.
Last Phase of Capitalism Socialism used to be a dream state of the future, denounced as impractical. Now capitalism forces our hand with the distortion of minds, economies, and ecologies, and postcapitalism desists from aspiration to become necessity. We can point to the eerie downfall of the capitalist Faust in the pact with the logic of derivatives and catastrophic margin calls. We refer the reader to the Hollywood movie…. the profits in downfall. The last phases of capitalism show the capitalist axioms proceeding toward the destruction of the world system in an orgy of financialization… The period 2008 made plain a new form of capitalist finance: the bet against the system, an omen of the self-destructive character of the capitalist lunacy syndrome…
Last Men and their Smartphones The passing of the Leninist Interlude has given the appearance of final sanction to the capitalist future, but already by the end of the twentieth century the reality would seem that a flawed socialism was abandoned to search for the real thing, even as the so-called neoliberal age began a rapid conquest of globalization, economy, and government. The fall of the original Leninist interlude begins even to seem a mistake, despite its massively flawed outcomes.
The basic development of communism is and remains nonetheless a world historical outcome to the modern transition, in ambiguous relation to democracy, and will spawn sooner or later a new version in the wake of the failure of bolshevism… At the moment of climate crisis, we sense the desperation of the euphoria over the capitalist miracle with its final gesture of planetary destruction. The debate over the last man, which started with Nietzsche takes an ominous leftist form as the ideological rigor mortis of capitalist ideological in its final symptoms produces a social nexus completely bemused to the point of blindness to the destruction of environment, and the final carbon destiny of the capitalist industrial revolution. Nietzsche was a distortion of the early modern, but had a point about the ‘ last man’: the participants in the modern experiment are moving toward the completion of the ‘great transition’ or the evolution of man, and this requires that ‘free agency’ come to an understanding and self-replication of the macrosequence…. But the downside is the commodity fetishism so visible in the smartphone mania outbreak at the point of atmospheric breakdown.
Last Phase of Capitalism We can conclude by pointing to the eerie downfall of the capitalist Faust in the pact with the logic of derivatives and catastrophic margin calls. We refer the reader to the Hollywood movie…. the profits in downfall. The last phases of capitalism show the capitalist axioms proceeding toward the destruction of the world system in an orgy of financialization… The period 2008 made plain a new form of capitalist finance: the bet against the system, an omen of the self-destructive character of the capitalist lunacy syndrome…
Drafting a New Manifesto… and Economic system
Our stance must reckon with the difficulty of even listing all the issues relevant to the case. We start with a stripped down simplification:
Consider a liberal system with one change: the expropriation of capital.
The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property. But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few. In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property. From the Communist Manifesto
We come to a simple resolution of the issues in crisis: the core of the Manifesto of Marx and Engels, the expropriation of the bourgeoisie: we must propose the return of the property wrested from the Commons to the Commons. We are done.
Democratic Market Neo-communism
Communism/socialism has many confused representations, ours will attempt to create a very broad blueprint that reconciles many opposites:
The details will be left out as we combine two ideas: the abolition of private property, or the expropriation of capital, with a system deliberately balancing a set of opposites: planning, markets, top down control, bottom up semi-anarchist autonomy…Many discussions of communism confuse the foundational logic of expropriation with the creation of a particular economic system. But the two issues are not the same: a communist system founded in a constitutional starting point can then proceed to construct an economic system to match. There is no inherent reason why a communist system can’t adopt experimental hybrids in a transition to a new kind of neo-communist economic system.
1. step one is the expropriation of the bourgeoisie, at the high end. We leave a lower threshold to semi-autonomy, subject to regulation. Property, i.e. industrial macro projects, belong to the Commons. All natural resources belong to the Commons. This distinction is important because the control of economic resources by a one-party state is highly undesirable: a separation of powers requires a set of economic bodies, legal and practical, to regulate economic issues.
2. the executive power consists of a strong state that guards the revolution, protects the Commons, but which otherwise has limited powers which are delegated to different branches of government. This sector with be a one party or zero party state, republican with a president and set of guardians, and an elected president. This branch of government requires additional revolutionary challenges to the vices and excesses of authoritarian governments. This requires a global transnationalism in the midst of a communist nationalism, a commitment to a new globalization of states beyond imperialism, robust versions of free trade that are liberated from the capitalist brands of exploitation and out-sourced working classes, and the abolition and reconstitution of all covert agencies and their false-flag conspiracies. The market sector must be divorced completely from military capitalism. The ‘deep state’ must be exposed, neutralized and replaced wih an open system with established laws as to surveillance, ideological mind control, and political deceptions.
3. a congress (and/or Senate) and a set of courts based on multiparty democracy that is completely free of big money of any kind. It will be meritocratic, with short elections, state sponsored advertising on an equal basis, etc…: creating a reformed democracy given the grotesque distortions
of the american example. This combination of one-party and multi-party systems is a unique innovation requiring careful consideration of its draft status in the realization of a open society in the context of a superset with strong but limited authority.
4. a set of economic institutions and courts to match will mediate the issues of development projects, allocations, planning…the central state will not be allowed to muddle through this sector which operates with a separation of powers. This set of legal bodies must include an ecological court mediating the economic impacts of industrial activity. This overall framework will mediate three sectors of the macroeconomy:
5. the resulting macro economy will be a hybrid of state corporations and entrepreneurial startups created by individuals with licenses to operate with ecological resources.
6. there is a lower threshold below which a high degree of autonomy is left to balance the anarchist pole of the equation. This sector can show many combinations of small-economy/communes/farms/NGO’s etc…
7. the system must have strong authority next to a democratic core with rights and liberties and a populist program that deals with labor, education, medicine ( these probably free), housing, employment in populist emphases, and move beyond the sterile anti-liberalism of earlier communists.
This system requires many additional details but our snapshot is an attempt to generate a way to break old habits to think in a new way. As the text of Toward a New Communist Manifesto are aware, we have spoken in terms of the universal class rather than the working class. The universal classis the class of all classes and enforces the idea of the equality of all in a common class. A focus on the working class is entirely appropriate in this context and can be brought to the fore as appropriate.
We need a new perspective on history and a rough outline of the context of revolutionary neo-communism: communism is an innovation arising in the wake of the french revolution (in fact its primordial birth was in the early modern reformation, if not the ancient greek utopians). Our model of history is a simple ‘narrattive’ of epochs in a chronology of civilizations. Economic systems exist inside and influence but do not fully determine these cultural complexes.
Our framework begins with the crisis of climate change. Homo sapiens is a highly destructive species tending to the destruction of all environments in his wake. The modern industrial system has both revolutionized development and handed the curse of environmental scofflaw destruction to this species man. Unrestricted free markets are an emerging calamity.