The Red Fortyeight Group is a generalize/generic radical movement, reformist/revolutionary evoking the
mystique and classic moment of that seminal year that was the first challenge from a post-liberal challenge to the emerging capitalist, bourgeois system.
Having rushed to complete ‘Decoding World History’, it is time to consider a new form of the left. So,…
Decoding World History ED 1_6dcdx
…this is another ‘blog book’ in progress next to “The Anthropocene…” and “Capitalism, Communism…”, etc:
The Anthropocene and The Coming of Postcapitalism ver 12(2)
Capitalism, Communism and the Evolution of Civilization(1)
A theme of a new left requires a completely new prospectus and yet a useful critique and selection from the Marxist corpus. The left needs a new view of history, evolution, and socialism/capitalism. And it must if not reformist offer in advance a failsafed revolutionary transition. Being a revolutionary isn’t quite the issue: the greater system of history will do the revolution for us, yet we need to be ready. The pandemic is a good example: for a short moment, the capitalist system in the US shut down in an astonishing ‘revenge of nature’ moment. A true have should have been ready and could have simply taken over. Instead, we witnessed a fascist coup attempt from the right.
The public will refuse to connect with the old-style Marxist project. Something novel and failsafed must replace the old crypto-Stalinist Marxism.
Our outline of ‘democratic market neo-communism’ can help to break old habits and reconceive a leftist platform.
The task is complex and must construct a new kind of economy inside of a democratic framework of planning and markets.
The new left must study ecology, climate science, democratic constitutions (plus Marx’s critique, no doubt), economic rights, the idea of a Commons,
private property, and expropriation, and become a liberalism remorphed into (neo-communism) and a communism remorphed into a liberalism.
That requires a vast amount of work and can’t be done on the fly in the time of a revolutionary chaos.
The task is hypercomplex and will fail inexorably in the archaic leninist/marxist format.
Marxists however have made the whole subject too complicated. To expect radical activists to master a text like Capital is unrealistic.
A new left must be ready to assemble a new system in a matter of months, economics, legal systems, democratic failsafes, etc…
And Marx himself seems to have suffered his way to completing his project but left his work incomplete.
The short work of 1848, The Communist Manifesto is all that is needed. Marx’s failed effort to create a science of history confused everyone.
We need to expand on these outlines in a form that uses ‘recipes’ rather than theories.
And the ‘democracy’ in ‘democratic socialism has to robust and protected from the trend toward Stalinism that lurks in old fashioned marxism.
The world has a secret wish for socialism but doesn’t trust Marxist legacies to deliver.
Our outline will critique marxist historical theory but make us of the material of marxism that is not theoretical scientism, e.g. historical materialism, and stages of production theory.
We need to bypass a ‘science of history’ to use simple outlines. The critics of Marxism start to lick their chops when the naive marxist faithful talk about a Marxist science.
Issues of class, ideology and empirical economic studies remain and Marx/Engels can be part of a core epic heroic saga of the era of 1848.
The theme of the working class remains as a core theme and platform but it is important to consider the idea of the Universal Class to see that the working class is inclusive of nearly all the other classes. The idea of working-class state was botched by its own champions and suggested to revolutionaries in the past the path of liquidation of whole classes and needs to be seen as also an inclusive category. Better than the idea of the working class is the idea of ‘those frozen in capitalist dynamics’ as prisoners of economic exploitation. But the working class remains as a flagship theme of the transition beyond capitalism. But consider all those who live under wage labor as the working class, that includes far better a totality of those who pass into socialism
Marxism is burdened with two pseudo-sciences, historical materialism and dialectical materialism. To make these object of conforming belief was as disaster for the older left.
Sideline these ‘invitations to dissent’ for a simpler set of perspectives in plain prose without Hegelilan confusions, scientism, and economic fundamentalism.
The whole field of dialectical materialism should be critiqued and set to one side as a research project.
The theory of Evolution as Darwinism is a millstone around the neck of a whole society subjected to the grotesque Darwinian pseudo-science.
Stalinists were the worst offenders worse even than the social Darwinists, and the natural selection madness turned into genocide.
A very simple strategy is to consider the fact of evolution in deep time, and to be wary of what doesn’t exist yet: an evolutionary theory.
Decoding World History shows what a real theory of evolution might look like, and the result is complex for any such theory.
Marxism has frozen in place and become a kind of religion. At the same time there are no really active groups or movements in the sense that there were in the Second International. But we can’t repeat that era’s material. The Reform/Revolution axis has produced a general stall.
We can easily create a framework that works in both modes. But marxism could be easy to repair
The current left in its most radical form can’t shake loose from useless baggage like historical materialism So throw it out and adopt a simpler view of history. It just won’t happen that histomat will prevail in a future creating a cultural Marxist sausage. Throw out histomat and the real work of Marx suddenly stands out.
Socialism is making a comeback but lacks a coherent framework. A new tragedy is possible, the planetary crisis will evoke a new socialism, but no one on the left is ready as the outcome moves in another direction. The dilemma is another version of ‘socialism or barbarism’: the gangsters, Putins, and Stalinists will be quite ready.
The last year is a foretaste of the coming chaos. At some point the system will simply become dysfunctional and close to begging for a revolutionary but sane transformation. But who is ready for that.
But marxism could be easy to repair. The key issue is to be wary of theories of history and claims for a science of history. Such efforts always fail. The question of science is changing. Marx lived in an era when thinkers we ambitious to take the Newtonian revolution into all fields of knowledge. The results were always a form of scientism, dread word. And the generation of Marx saw the mysterious Romantic movement pass on from scientism as Wordsworth walked the countryside of England thumbing his nose at Newton. That powerful ‘dialectic’ leaves most oblivious to the larger context of modernity, secularism, and science.
In the final analysis, the public will reject anything to do with Marxism given its Stalinist legacy. So change the labels and disown the Stalinism. And the namesake ‘ism’ with ‘Marx-‘ needs to go. Socialism is not the namesake of a founder, semi-religious at that. Call it something else. Observe the Marx email lists: you can only quote marx and go ‘oulala’, how brilliant. Marx however was no Newton, and even a newton could never resolve word history to economic categories. Strangely, the claims for a Marxist science played into the hands of the capitalists.
Move beyond theories to simple outlines of history. Our analysis attempts to carry what is of value but to move on completely from the failed frameworks of the past.
A good example is ‘historical materialism’, a very rigid and reductionist analysis that is totally out of data. The attempt to create a science by Marx has backfired completely.
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…
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…
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 Critical marxism
We have considered the classic image of Marx/Engels as inspirational 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 created a path to both critiquing Marxism and sublating it into a larger framework where the work of Marx/Engels can inform but not undermine a new left.
We critiqued Marx’s theory of history and suggested a new way to treat world history beyond economic categories. The world system is going into shock and the left needs
to sound a fresh note to break the maechanical habits of the older ideology whose outcome was that of Stalinism.
Socialism can’t be the intellectual property of one branch of the left: it must have universal appeal and not turn into a near-religion as did Marxism.
To be continued.