At a moment of social crisis we sense the impending collapse of a whole civilization. Premonitions of disaster seem foretold in the pandemic crisis and the explosion over racism in the US. The situation is rendered grotesque and tragicomic in the idiocy of the Trump regime.
By most measures of social analysis the moment demands an intervention if not a revolutionary challenge that can confront the whole configuration of social malaise.
We have assembled some resources here and begin with two manifestos, with some accompanying ‘blogbooks’ on the general context of a new left.
A moment of near social collapse finds no left in place with any kind of significant movement. That’s because they are all dominated by marxist jargon and are simply ignored at this point. The period after 1989 is a generation ago and should have ignited the process of creating a new left from scratch. In a way the Occupy movement tried to do that, but its thinking didn’t amount to much.
We have a lot of materials based on the framework of the Redfortyeight Group
I take this as a movement abstraction that points to a new formulation altogether:
you need a path beyond marxism that can speak to economics, world history, revolutionary/evolutionary socialism, done from scratch without a single quote from marxism.
The core heroic saga of Marx/Engels in 1848 is a good introduction but after that something new is needed. The later period of Marx trying and failing to finish Capital is not helpful and confuses everyone.
A movement needs to show how a democratic socialism can arise, be constructed, with a robust economy, and a set of institutions that can realize ecological socialism.
We have made a few steps in that direction with our two manifestos and show book on world history.
But the marxist world is a religion and if you dissent in the slightest you are out. That world dominates the left but also preempts anything radical now.
We have here two manifestos dealing with this and a series of ‘blogbooks’ linked to here with a summary set of notes on the issues raised.
We have three short books as both blogbooks and Kindle books. We can summarize their topics with a set of notes.
A new left needs a new view of history, an ecological socialism that can deal with climate catastrophe, a system of socialist fairness that can repair the damage done to modernity by extreme capitalism.
Some issues of the blogbook series…
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 metathesize into a malignant social formation. We reject the idea that this is an age of capitalism: the propaganda of capitalism claims a economic epoch of economic domination, but socialism and capitalism emerged in tandem with the possibility lost of a balanced and sane system from the start.
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 very 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 the industrial revolution is a unique moment, but prone to the mistake of technological thinking applied to all social constructs. The business of social construction is far more complex than any technology…
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.
3. Once and Future Socialisms
3.1 What is to be done?
Lenin’s classic tends to mesmerize us with the failed bolshevik disaster The Red Forty-eight Group disowns the whole legacy and resolves to study is failure and create a decisive break in historical continuity: a revolution in the ranks of the revolution.
3.2 Creitical marxism
We have considered the classic image of Marx/Engels as inpsriational as we move rapidly through a critique of marxism to some new starting point. Dialectical materialism should be dismantled on the spot and the issue of dialectic repaired with a new insight into complex systems. There may be a higher logic in the hegelian culture kampf of geist but in the nonce straight dyadic logic is the only safe tool available.
3.3 New Manifesto
We have a new manifesto taken as echo of the Marx/Engels classic and yet a new call full bullet points for a fresh revolutionary restart…
The shibboleths of socialism sounded in a void are not enough: we must attempt constructed socialist blueprints and the process moves from the forced focus on socialism to a complex system of interacting components: democracy/authority, markets/planning, and properties/individualities versus a Commons of expropriation, the latter the fundamental task of what is taken as or called neo-communism, as in democratic market neo-communism. This complex system contains four complexities in one and shows why bolshevik oversimplifications were inadequate to social reformation.
To this democratic market neo-communism we must bring an ecosocialist content and make the basic construct serve to create an ecological socialism.
The current moment stands transfixed by the moving calamity of climate change, and now in our immediate present, in the US, the tragedy/farce of the Trump presidency. The eerie strangeness of such a drone fascist pretender has generated a mysterious revolution in reverse gear, a sort of tragicomic coup d’etat that moves in the tide of reactionary anti-democratic forces attempting to undo modernity as such.
The place of the left is to stand ready for a rescue operation that can diagnose the tragedy unfolding via capitalism and take the path to a new social formation, assuming it can envision what that might be. It might be socialism but the term is too vague at this point and we become specific about what that means.
The left arises in the early modern as does the modern novelty, revolution. The early Greek city-states, and elsewhere, essentially invented the genre, no doubt, but it is not until modern times that the process takes a formal rendering. We can see the Reformation as the starting point and the beautiful and preposterous Utopia of More prophecies a new genre.The English Civil War, despite its confusing history is a key moment in every respect. But then in the Restoration we see the confusing mix of counterrevolution and oligarchy smothering the democratic potential of the triumphant Parliament. This phenomenon reflects the critique of Marx of such compromised democracy manque.
The charge of utopianism is castigated from the right, and the left, and is charged by Marx himself as a mere precursor to his ‘scientific’ socialism. But if a later age finds his science wanting we are thrown back to the philosophical if not utopian ‘blue print’ formulations that pass through the early modern gestation of revolutionary action. The early modern most naturally equivocates a kind of dialectic of revolution, democracy, and finally socialism. The classic phasing of the French Revolution produced the modern version of socialism and communism in its wake, during which the issues of class, ideology and liberalism were the object of world-historical debates. There Marx’s unique contribution was to show the framework of liberalism, to spawn democracy, was de facto captured by the capitalist regime. From there he proceeded to a set of theories that seem less useful now, as they provoke their own metaphysical ideology, based on economic fundamentalism. World history is a curious enigma and will not yield easily to the regime of science. We can invoke the world of ‘models’ to consider a continuum of applied socialism in practice.
The legacy of marxism propounds a view of history that is of dubious scientific value. The tenets of productive force determinism seem dated now but served to generate a tremendous early tide of movements
The core of marxism is useful, but we must start from the beginning all over again.
Marx/Engels are almost perfect as epic figures in the core heroic saga of 1848 and the gestation of socialism in France in the wake of the French Revolution.
Our task here is to posit a new leftist formation, The Red Forty-eight Group as a superset and exit point for all the endless Socialist This/Socialist That sects that can’t fathom their deadlocked condition in the current situation which in the US is practically begging for a revolutionary action.
The idea of the red forty-eight group looks to the year 1848 whose seminal significance is a forward pass to our time of the basic milieu of revolutionary action and the emergence of modern politics.
Most of this already exists in various books which we will cite at the end of this short summary of their issues.
At a moment when in the US the shennanigans of Trump have almost singlehandedly created an invitation to revolution we find the whole left paralyzed.
In addition the coming of the Covid-19 pandemic has shown a grotesque further horror demo from the Trump and his gang. It is a moment when, if you can’t revolt, you end with your just desserts, slavehood. Slavehood and slavery are technically not the same but the difference seem marginal at this point.