The current marxist left is stuck in place and its now dated formulation has little chance of realization without recreating itself.
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, now a clever piece of crypto-fascist legerdemain. 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.
But the question of the left is much larger than that of the current chaotification of American democracy. The term emerges in the context of the French Revolution but its dimension is larger, emerging in the early modern with the Reformation and the mysterious birth of a working class revolution in the era of Thomas Munzer.
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.
But can movements as current live up to such a history? 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 core left is a strongly Marxist formation/cult and we should both study its sources here, and yet be ready to recast the legacy for a new era, that of climate catastrophe, and the ominous coming of postcapitalism. The legacy of Marx claims the mantle of science and dismisses all else as ‘utopian’. But the claims for science in this sense have proven to be far less than science, and the implications of this are an urgent attempt to recast this ideological nexus in a new form. The left must disown its own history in the context of the Bolshevik fiasco that threatens to make any transition to a new future impossible. 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. Marx was a dogmatic figure trying to force a movement, but the result has created a cult and stifled any notion of critique. But a critical marxism is needed and that is not at all hard to provide, if we can manage to communicate in the noise of rival ideologies.
We will simply list a series of ideas as new starting points, and also try to free thinking from false theories and their claims of science. To this confusion we must add the question of the biological theory of Darwinian evolution, currently under systematic assault from many directions. There is a simple way out of this quagmire and we can suggest that theories of evolution, like those of history, are not anything like science as yet.
The first issue is that of Marx’s claims for a science of epochs of production, viz. feudalism, capitalist, communism. The idea of epoch of world history works fine if it is a chronology or outline, but fails as an historical dynamic. And the idea has induced a kind of visionary inertia on the left, as if a transition to socialism was inevitable as a law of history. That is a dangerously complacent view. The real history of man is that of free agents who create their own futures. The danger is that modern civilization will simply drift into neo-barbarism. 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 basis of Marx’s theory is the key factor of economic systems as somehow the determinants of history, but his approach has consistently failed to provide a sound theory or science. The whole basis of the epochs given, such as feudalism, is mostly confusing nonsense. The feudal age does not really amount to an epoch in itself but is the outcome of the collapse of ancient civilization. The capitalist epoch is a confused periodization that fails to account for the way capitalism is a stream of economic and technological particulars and not a separate epoch. The rise of modernity is then annexed to the epoch of capitalism with a communist completion or endgame. The theory here is entirely fictive and the status of capitalism is a series of historical facts of the case from the Paleolithic to modern times. But confusion arises perhaps because the Industrial Revolution transformed capitalism into a new and potent format that has come to dominate modern society. Its status was forever debated, suffered its own refutations in the era of Bolshevism, and now has turned into a malevolent threat to the planet itself. Leftists have long argued the merits of socialism, often on the defensive. But now we can see that the capitalist endgame is inevitable yet we remain with no real alternative beyond the empty slogans of socialism The Bolshevik outcome suggests failure to define in advance what is intended will drift into Stalinism and the factor of definition defaults to a dictator. There are many other aspects to Marx’s thinking, but they can be studied on their own terms, and not as yet anything like a definitive blueprint for the future. The economic focus and the theory of historical materialism are too restrictive and allow real basis for a holistic social future. Marxism denounces idealism in the wake of Hegel and makes a fetish of a reductionist scientism that had already been challenged by the Romantic movement. The question of Hegel is another obsession where the larger question of the history of philosophy is long lost.
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. In addition we can move to a world history based not theories but on simply chronologies. 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 shenanigans 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 Trump and his gang. It is a moment when, if you can’t revolt, you end with your just desserts, 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.
Our basic foundation is a new form of world history based on periodization, setting aside the will o’ wisp of a science of history.
We can point to the model of the eonic effect optionally as a way to back up this perspective.
We can thus find empirical suggestions of real epochs, as far as we can tell: the era of Sumer and Egypt, the classical era and the Axial Age, the rise of modernity. We can take modernity and the sudden shift in history starting in the sixteenth century and setting a new era in motion in the nineteenth century. We can debate this, but it is useful and more than enough. Modernity is a complex nexus of great complexity on the fields of religion, science, philosophy, art, literature, and politics. The drama of democracy emergence and the related socialism counterpoint define very simply the politics of an era that has drifted into capitalist domination. Here Marx has cogently shown how the capitalists’ circle tends to usurp the form of democracy with a hidden form of domination. It is must be the task of a new left to resolve this issue without creating, as did the Bolsheviks something even worse.
That foundation is far more useful and intuitive as a periodization and allows a much more flexible working platform. Trying to demonize idealism in favor of a now dated materialism is a dead end. We can use our format of the rise of modernity to see the immense variety of philosophical positions in the context of secularism.
The transformation of capitalist society is still terra incognita and we must embark on multiple projects to formulate a coherent transition for the future. But in addition the larger world of modernity is still directly connected to our earlier eras, that of proximate antiquity, beyond that the genesis of higher civilizations in Sumer and Egypt. These chronologies allow us to study a massive diversity of ancient religion, literature and social politics. Instead of Marx’s brittle production theory we can examine a huge variety of economic systems and their issues. A new society cannot impose a narrow philosophical framework. It must have a quantity of variety and all the aspects of an open society, but with its own constraints. It must produce an economic system that works, is robust, and not based on some nightmare of state capitalism.
We can formulate a broad scheme of study materials already in the form of books and pdfs and then close quickly leaving the full account at ready.
We can cite Last and First Men, 1848+: Capitalism, Communism, and the end of history. The end of history debate is almost entirely a phantasm: it is much simpler to consider that democracy beyond capitalism will have a socialist structure. The history of the world via the eonic effect is ultras simple to start but finds a key cusp in the era of the early modern turning into the modernity we now take for granted.
We have two manifestos, a gesture to both consider and to move on from that of Marx, and a formulation of a non-utopian socialist framework: Democratic market neo-communism. This kind of structure attempts to rewrite democracy as socialism and socialism as democracy. Markets in a new form based on common resources blend with planning in a system based on a commons and an ecological vision.
We study the legacy of dialectic critically with a warning to be wary of this form of mystical logic and its unsolved controversies. If the left is to inherit the marxist dialectic it must try to study its true history and mediated the mystical traditions it springs from. In an age of New Age movements now far surpassing in numbers the left itself, the field of religious history, so evident in the Axial age, must find a field of study and some resolution of the hypercomplexity of given traditions that will defeat simplistic accounts.
While Marxists peddle their historical materialism, the legacy of occult Buddhism rose to attempt the destruction of the modern age, to the oblivious ‘bad digestion’ of leftist cults. This raises the question of religion. The world will demand tolerance but the religions of antiquity are rapidly passing. The world of the ancient religions will take care of itself in the epochal grinding of their legacies.
We have a text, Samkkya, Ancient and Modern as a tool to enter this mysterious legacy and the grandaddy sources of dialectic. The study of the Axial Age points to this directly. The resurgence of ancient traditions will devour in a short breakfast any simplistic account of such legacies passing into archaeology. A robust secular humanity would be perfect flag for operations, but its anemic state from the same world as Marx’ nations demands a larger dimension. The challenge to theism is the classic stance of much of the modern transition, but at the same a Kantian sense of the antinomial character of basic religious and philosophical notions can guard against premature formations of hymnal ideologies. The future of the Reformation will end up being an orphan on the doorstep of this new forming, dissolving reforming constellation of ideas. A socialist future can’t simply dismiss or destroy legacies inherited from antiquity in the name of historical materialism. There is no sentimental version of this and the obscure sourcing of fascist antimodernism ends up another vulture perched near the gateway to some kind of socialist somehow.
I think we have made our point: a constricted version of Marxist economic reductionism as historical materialism probably has no real set of second chances. The future will not submit to the simplistic ideologies of leftist radicals. And yet the Marxist left has made a prophet of Marx and is at the ready to liquidate heretics in even the slightest dissent from the canon. That’s a dangerous set of facts and the lessons of the history of religious fanaticism are relevant here. The lessons of the past and the hopes of the future are constructs of such complexity that the best we can manage is a kind of sampling of diverse legacies and a clear social and legal framework that can deliver a socialist economy freed from the harebrained idiocy of state capitalism. The better strategy is to ensure a diversity of potentials, mindful that the religious, philosophical and scientific totality needs to be carried to the future and not be submitted to some restricted formulation long since out of date.
The reader can adopt the simple periodizations of the onic model and/or delve into the texts on the subject.
But the realm of historical theory is a lesson in failure rarely learned. A second attempt at histomat will tempt the right to simply liquidate the left, indeed as with operation Cobra, that dark moment of the American intelligence agencies, so eager for what they call democracy. In the wake of the French Revolution, Marx spoke to a new kind of future, which proved elusive. Now we harly need socialist pleading: the capitalist fiasco has settle the question.
9780984702930-LFM_text(2): Last and First Men
The Anthropocene and The Coming of Postcapitalism ver 12
Capitalism, Communism and the Evolution of Civilization(1)
Decoding World History ED 1_6dcdx