We have critiqued ‘historical materialism’ repeatedly here, from the left and suggested a new approach that could serve the left better than the dated legacy of Marxism. This article starts with an attack on postmodernism and its rejection of historical laws, etc…But the issue of history is not so simple and the lack of a science does not entail the lack of analysis. The issue is falsely posed: we can reject a ‘science’ of history without rejecting a larger analysis of its essential nature.
The eonic model is a new breakthrough that distinguishes ‘system action’ and free agency and shows how the two interact as we place the issue of civilization in the context of post-Darwinian evolution.
This model uncovers the unsuspected dynamic behind world history and its connections: the category is an evolutionary model and a two-level micro/macro distinction.. No other model can match the blend of historical determination and the action of free agents inside it.
This model can easily adapt to new versions of liberalism, socialism, and what we call neo-communism. The interaction of a system and a free agent is the key to this approach and occurs in ordinary life in dozens of examples: the most obvious being the ‘system action’ of an automobile and the ‘free agency’ of the driver.
The left including Marxists would do well to recast their whole subject and start over ASAP as time runs out for the left: an old-style revolution in marxist terms isn’t going to happen: what is needed is a platform with a more generalized model of history and crucially a reminder that now ‘laws of history’ are going produce postcapitalism: men/women as free agents must construct and realize a new model of society.
The International Marxist Tendency proudly presents the Winter 2021 issue of the In Defence of Marxism theoretical journal! This latest edition is themed around the topic of historical materialism. We publish below the editorial by Alan Woods.