Decoding_World_History version 11
This is a new version of Decoding World History, still a bit ragged, but the material needs to be out in the open as soon as possible. This is a generalized perspective open to multiple viewpoints, but a clear use for it on the left arises from the obsolete character of Marx’s model of world history.
I recommend marxists ditch Marx’s stages of production theory and simply adopt a general periodization of world history. Critics of Marx have forever pointed the problems with the economic interpretation of history. Mostly they haven’t listened. But the verdict now is to leave the dogmatic marxists behind and adopt a more usable outline of history for a new generation.
The issue of the eonic effect can be set to one side: the issue is to see world history in outline, review theories of evolution beyond darwinism, see the significance of the rise of the modern and then to see that socialism can arise inside liberalism whose revolution in the early modern actually succeeded and to see that the two can be remorphable the one into the other. The whole false effort to construct a communist abstraction with no model and in total contradiction to democratic foundations has failed in all cases. But a real communism should be a fairly simple thing to bring off, if we don’t end up confused all over again by Marx.
The emergence of socialism in the early modern next to its twin liberalism should token a realizable future for its construction. But complicated theories of economic history remain to confuse the issue. We need rather to construct a modified democracy that is based a step beyond Capital and its capitalists. Not some fantastic concoction of marxist abstractions. This is not an exercise in social democracy claiming to be socialism, a la Bernie Sanders, but a genuine brand of ‘communism’ nee instantly as ‘neo-communism’ (the old term is dead) and based on the expropriation into a Commons of property, that is, Capital in the large. It is now close to insanity to have not done this from the start. Exxon Mobil in the for once correct insight of Marx is the result of primitive accumulation, which means a gang of capitalists seized assets belonging to all humanity as their private property. And the end game is a terrible verdict: climate catastrophe and a gang of capitalists predators who can’t see the tragedy they are realizing. So the idea of a Commons is that the resources of nature belong in a Commons, and that requires its own careful elaboration, because it doesn’t mean state capitalism, or state ownership of the means of production. It is something far more complex in a balance of powers, an idea that the early american republican democrats understood. A state communism led by a one-party gang of marxists faithful has failed in every case and not what we are talking about. A Commons is a shared resource with legal means of redress for those who are members of a large ‘common wealth’. That means that if you don’t get yours you take the state to court under the laws of the Commons. But the point makes clear that our concepts are empty boxes or paper bags. The term ‘socialism’ or ‘communism’ is bandied about, but what does it mean? The same was once true of ‘democracy’. And the critiques of Marx show that we can construct what are really bourgeois democracies. But the point is clear. We must construct from a recipe a new form of political existence, one that presupposes prior efforts as with the question of liberal then economic rights. Such as system done right is not so arcane to construct, but can realize a socialist brand of democracy with a computable number of steps to its constitutional clarity.
In any case this generalized world history can lead the way out of the morass of economic theories of history which never worked anyway.