Marx’s muddle in the Communist Manifesto…//a sane socialism the last option//…Maybe Civilization Was a Mistake, After All 

Civilization was possibly a mistake. It led to capitalism five hundred years ago, and that was unquestionably, absolutely a mistake.

Source: Maybe Civilization Was a Mistake, After All – CounterPunch.org

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Returning to the state of the hunter gatherer is amusing but could obviously never happen: instead a feudal chaos might overtake the wasteland of capitalism, fronting a host of malevolent forms of domination. In reality the only option is a properly defined neo-socialism where before the entities defined as socialism were nothing of the kind. Bolshevism was a monstrosity and doesn’t discredit socialism because it wasn’t any such thing. Socialism has never been tried because it has been confused by both Bolshevik nutjob socialism and the bad theories of Marx whose work tends to monopolize its definitions, unfairly.

The reality is that socialism has never been tried because no one can reify a realistic model of how it can work. The same fate was that of ‘democracy’ which for centuries was said to be discredited and unworkable.
In fact more realistic definitions of socialism could be both very workable and very popular because they could establish real democracy for the first time. Our multiple models of ‘democratic market neo-communism’ could resolve the issues of social democracy, equality, democratic freedom and postcapitalism with a new kind of democratic social order.
Update: We noted that socialism has never been properly defined. Consider Marx’s Communist Manifesto. He tries several times in different ways to ‘sort of’ define ‘communism.’ One is a list of ten principles:

Nevertheless, in most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c.

This list has a number of useful suggestions but is incoherent and can only muddle any revolutionary trying to establish a Marxist system as ‘communism’. Some of the eclectic principles are of great interest, but overall little is defined. Note amusingly the wish for a central bank: the US has just that, the Federal Reserve (private owned, to be sure, and which might well be abolished. It is extremely difficult to create a foundation of socialism/communism, and Marx’s achievement was to blast his way past the mystications of the capitalist order, with some initial but incomplete success. The reality is that Marxism never arrived at a procedure for carrying out a postcapitalist transition.
Update 2: Our model of the DMNC (democratic market neo-communism, as ecosocialism) tries to define a ‘neo-communism’ (the older term ‘communism’ is a train wreck and strictly avoided) but explicitly in terms of multiple other concepts. A one-term usage, ‘communism’, is almost always incoherent. Our DMNC might itself have problems but it moves the discussion to a four-term system where multiple concepts are defined together to mutually failsafe a more specific framework. The DMNC makes a complex statement about democracy/authority, markets/planning, a Commons/expropriation (at a high level, and a lower indifference level), and all this in the context of being a container for ecosocialism. This method takes a liberal system and incrementally remorphs it into a neo-communist system. Such a system must define how a revolutionary cadre will create and yield to a democratic assembly (as did the American Rebs, btw).

But however difficult, it IS possible to do this right, for the simple reason that ‘socialism’ is a form of democracy and we have many examples of that.
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Civilization was possibly a mistake. It led to capitalism five hundred years ago, and that was unquestionably, absolutely a mistake.

Source: Maybe Civilization Was a Mistake, After All – CounterPunch.org

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