R48G: revolutionary musings/abstractions? and a Kantian perspective….
May 6th, 2017 •
We have cited an older post from this spring on the subject of views of history and ‘Kant’s challenge’ to
find the logic or pattern of history.
The question of revolution lurks in the background of all our discussions regardless of our stance as to its efficacy beyond abstraction.
Let us note that in a situation where many activists cannot endorse revolutionary action, not surprising perhaps, our idea of ‘virtual revolution’ is a useful reminder that whatever the practicality or realistic hope for revolutionary change the fragmented issue activism of too many distracts from attempting to integrate a full platform of issues, projects, and aspirations in the fields of economy, politics, and
culture. Prominent here must be the issue of climate and ecology and the ongoing disaster of global warming.
This virtual revolution can help us to confront the system as is in a realistic manner, however seemingly unrealistic the prospects for ‘over the barricades’ civil tumult. The point here is that dealing in abstractions of comprehensive social change isn’t totally fruitless: ideas proclaimed can and will induce change, if only to induce chattering teeth in elites who in fact know only too well how corrupt the current American system really is. So, at the least, abstractions can be the first budge toward moving the giant rock.
And it is necessary to reinvent political activism, as we have suggested here many times. We might reiterate our postmarxist perspective by citing the figure of Kant and his idea of history proceeding toward a ‘perfect civil constitution’. The rise of modern politics is it suddenly remorphed into democratic, then socialist, revolution, reflects this obvious question that has degenerated into the post- Hegelian nonsense about the ‘end of history’. Modernity shows a Kantian progression toward a ‘perfect civil constitution’, but obviously, the result is far short of perfection! So we have made progress but the process is still underway. This is a far more intuitive version of the question that isn’t muddled by the sophistry of the trick play called the ‘end of history’.
The Kantian perspective can be useful to think in practical terms about the need to not get stalled in the realization of constitutional evolution. And we learn the lessons given by the early socialists and then Marxists that the democracy breakthrough was challenged from the start by the ambiguity over the idea of freedom and its early libertarian/capitalist corruptions. In a way Kant is one of the sources here despite his stolid early liberalism and his work spawned a parallel version of socialism based on a core notion of the ‘republic of ends’, a system that respected the rights of all men taken equally in a system
Capitalism assisted in one way and denied in another the trend toward equality and now we see a system out of control as a neo-totalitarian capitalist/oligarchic pseudo-democracy controlled by capital. The grounds for a new transformation/progression toward an improved ‘civil constitution’ is screamingly obvious. But here the bolshevik corruptions of such tenets has alienated the general public from what otherwise is its insistence now on democracy. That insistence must inform the degenerated version of marxism we see in the Russian revolution. We need to recast the whole subject and this requires
deriving a new politics based on equality, or equalization, and ideas of freedom that cannot be sacrificed to economic mythology such as the fictions of free markets.
We rapidly produce a recursion of the early logic of the socialists who deduced the clear logic of
‘communism’ from the principle of fairness, as the status of social production reverts to a commons.
This need not forgo the question of market which might thrive as well under the aegis of the Commons.
The point here is that the Kantian perspective is a constitutional praxis, an completely intuitive, where the Marxist canon has too ambitiously attempt to create a science of economic developmental systems. Such theories are an obstacle now because they have been repeatedly challenged, and produce obstinate opposition in a majority of the public.
an older post: