This strange situation in the US is like an invitation to revolutionary transformation. And the situation can only get worse.
The revolutionary option is rejected by reformists, but the current system is itself revolutionary, in the midst of a revolution from the right. We should respond to a system that is subversive of its own legacy as it tries to pass into fascism with a ‘counterrevolution’/revolution from the left that can recreate democracy, failsafed as socialism. The latter has to be redefined and clarified to the point that it has popular support. That Trump’s base is unable to see their own advantage in a real socialism shows the paradox all along of the populist right. It takes a pretty big screw up by the left for that to happen. We disown the past and start with a new far-left populist socialism with both a robust new type of economy and an emergency economy as the world system slides into chaos.
The left needs a new perspective on world history beyond defunct historical materialism:
The tide is turning towards a new socialist perspective, But if the past is any guide the left will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and end up in the same state capitalism rut run by a one-party elite that was the inexorable fate of Marxist incomplete models. A new socialist social system requires a lot of work, historical, legal, constitutional, and economic.
We have a set of books and materials dealing with a hypothetical movement called The Red Forty-eight Group, with a manifesto and a neo-communist construct, Democratic Market Neo-communism in the context of ecological socialism.
We have made the point that the core left legacy,viz. marxism, by never specifying the nature of what was proposed due to Mark’s reluctance to get specific has too often wasted opportunities in fruitless wrong experiments, most notably the debacle of bolshevism. In addition, Marxism is far too complex a system for practical use, a point lost on many Marxists. Further, the complexity of the system masks a series of wrong theories. We should consider that no science in the realm of history, sociology, or economics really exists. So the pretense of having one is simply ideological propaganda. In many ways the issue of socialism is fairly simple (with complications of realization): it is a question of recipes not of historical theories like historical materialism. Marx has a host of brilliant insights but his overall theoretical perspective as in ‘Stages of Production’ theory as ‘Historical Materialism’ is egregious and mostly false, subtracting form the general cogency of his general empirical observations.
Our DMNC model is just that: a recipe approach to a neo-communist system of a new type: it is both a realizable blueprint and a model you can tinker with: issues of politics, authority, democracy, economics, markets and planning, expropriation and a Commons, etc, remind us that we must create a society that people will find just, efficient, and legally sound in the context of shared resources, equality, economic rights, and ecological socialism. A socialism (we don’t distinguish between socialism and neo-communism unlike legacy marxism) in a real sense should be immediately attractive to its publics, possibly exempting the capitalists, and we should note how the left has ended up with an antagonized public. In that case, something is wrong: people prefer the exploitation they know because they fear the outcome of Stalinism.
A model like our DMNC has nothing to do with any of that, and frankly may even leave behind Marx and marxism, save for their historical epic saga. We can put Marx on posters, and skip the rest. Let us consider the American Rebs: they had no theory, only a set of recipes, between republicanism and a barely conceived democratic idea (suffering ironically the same kind of discredit now suffered by socialism) inherited from antiquity under a cloud of discredit. How ironically similar to our current situation. they brought it off, but the result clearly suffered the diagnosis of Marx and the socialists as to the bourgeois revolution and democracy captured by capitalism. So they sermonized about ‘real socialism as real democracy’.
The point here is that the left can’t just chant mantras of socialism: they have to win over a new public with some real guarantees and future projections that are realizable, just and resolve the ecological crisis and economic terminal capitalism.
The Anthropocene and The Coming of Postcapitalism ver 12(1)
Some notes on a new platform: The Red Forty-eight Group
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.
We can conclude a set of books available via the web, for sale, or free, that animate a revised leftist platform and deals with a set of issues pointing to a new kind of platform. After that we will outline still another blogook as a work in progrees outlining the issues raised. We need an instant book done in one sitting and this is both a book and a mere outline of a book…
Two Manifestos version
There is hardly a moment closer to the threshold of socialism/communism than our own, but the whole situation is sterile
in its frozen absurdity. The concurrent crises or climate change, a pandemic and then racial protest point directly to the need for a new kind of society. And yet after a century and half of jargon the Marxist lefft both monopolizes the potential for revolution and balks at the actual possibility. We need something that is novel, appeals to a majority, is more than social democracy and able to foment change in the way that the current racial protests have done. The total refusal on the part of a majority is the result of stale conformity to a failed legacy. But a new perspective and a clear repudiation of the bolshevik past might be able to energize a social situation on the verge of terminal collapse.
We have been critical of the Marxist legacy even as we attempted to adapt some of its thinking into a new format.
At a time of social crisis in which the invitation to revolutionary (and/or reformist) action is almost a slap in the face
The thinking of Marx changed over the years and he with Engels actually had a better formulation early on in the period of the 1848 revolutions. the later Marx ended up making a theory of history that put capitalism into a kind of inevitable stage of history. The result tends to paralyze Marxists. The outcome might have been better if we had thought in terms of a hybrid of liberalism and communism: the absolute implied in Marxist theory has made the result unachievable.
The real issue is the status of private property or capital: if expropriate the capital of the capitalists and make that one change to an ongoing system we achieve the result foreseen in a far more practical way. Everyone, not just leftists, needs a genuine postcapitalist solution that doesn’t require the whole useless rigamarole of Marxist theory, and a result that is genuine socialism without the confusions of social democracy.
Red Forty-eight Group: notes toward a new leftist platform
The current pandemic has generated a revolutionary situation but not revolutionaries. In a way the work of Sanders has confused everyone: the term ‘revolution’ now means Sandernista social democracy. Small wonder everyone is paralyzed.
A revolution, for sure, is a big thing, but at some point, we need to confront what the world system itself has generated, like a rabbit out of a hat. Capitalism as we know it collapsed in the pandemic, and it remains to be seen if the capitalists can revive it. But the situation is there for those who are ready to construct a new future.
At a moment of crisis, we seem to be without a left: the American system’s situation is almost a demand to revolt to forestall catastrophe. But nothing is happening. we have said it many times: the Marxist model is misleading its adherents. Marx’s theories predict a socialism future. But never specify that they will be like or how to get there. It is easy to say ‘revolution’, but the revolution concept springs from the early modern and may not apply to a later period. That said, the moment of revolution is here and we should have been better prepared. It is interesting to study the BLM movement. They were prepared, sort of. The confusion arises because the solution is much simpler than we think but eludes those who apply kneejerk Marx quotes to everything.
We need, not a theory, but a recipe approach to construct a hybrid liberal/socialist system. In principle it is easy.
The literature of Marxism is vast, but there is nothing that is really practical We need a model and a new movement, that can exit the swamp of Marxist jargon and Marxist dogma to a simple recipe for a socialism that works, that is ecological, postcapitalist, with or without markets, with capital in a Commons, and a set of economic rights, along with the whole spectrum of liberal rights in a socialist context and with the issue of private property or capital seen in a correct light.
Two Manifestos version
Appendix: notes toward a platform for the Red Forty-eight Group
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.
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 conclusion is the construction of a new revolutionary framework (we must offer equally a version to the reformist wing with a warning about the problem of expropriation in that case) that can free itself for its own past with a creative energy chapter and verse marxist boilerplate no longer provides
We have completed our short booklet satisfying the requirement of crisis times of being ersatz done in one sitting, yet ready for instant amplification…
These notes are an introduction to a series of blogbooks that became Kindle books and they express our set of notes in greater detail…