We spend a lot of our time dismantling idiocy on the left between attacks on capitalism and the right. We are stuck with celebrities who take up the discussion space and displace the few who could really lead here.
The riots in France are already stalled because noone has a program to offer. This situation is close to revolution but has no leadership, platform or connection with socialist or communist legacies, not surprising given the completely unacceptable brands that take the name, as with bolshevism/stalinism. A second bourgeois revolution is hardly the solution, since France is the almost primordial revolutionary exemplar, but of such bourgeois revolution. We need to offer something here that can inspire hope that the classic idiocy of marxism/leninism points anciently to something much better in the future, something that appeals to a general public as sensible, rational, prosperous, ecological, efficient and fair. People (in our present) almost instinctively approve of democracy, but not communism. It should the other way around. The two poles must meet in a new hybrid. Our version offers an equal stake to all (a Commons), extensive economic rights to employment, health care, education, etc), a system of human rights in a democratic/constitutional communism that restricts libertarian rights of ‘property’, with a parliamentary system or Congress that is free once and for all of the monied ‘bribery’ that makes a mockery of current so-called democracy.
This is a selection from the Kindle/public domain PDF of Democratic Market Neo-communism transferred back from PDF format to microsoft Word with possibly quirky results.The point here is to abandon classic communism as the nightmare it is for a version as here that will produce a robust economy, satisfy ecological constraints, and still appeal to a new public, the universal class and its core sector the working class. The way to do that is to create a communism with the look of liberalism, and a liberalism with the look of communism. A difficult task, at first, but with a new set of mental habits the job almost does itself.
The original document needs more work, some amplification and a closer focus on ecological socialism. Start thinking, how construct a neo-communism that will not provoke a fury of refusal in a general public? Our version has three sectors and allows markets run by socialist entrepreneurs/managers to license resources from the Commons to engage in a new form of socialist market. Issues of ‘clearing’ and the hastles of such as Ludwig Mises don’t even arise, in theory. But new forms of planning are visible on the horizon we have a system with immense potential light years from the stolid idiocy of marxist type pseudo-communism with its state capitalism, etc…
- We offer to the reader an exercise: how would you construct ecological socialism inside democratic market neo-communism? Quite a tricky task! But actually the job is almost done from the way we set up DMNC. Note the innovation of ‘ecological courts’: issues of ecology and economy require mediation (consider the current riots in France)
Although ecological socialism is invoked at the start as the whole point of the exercise the resulting formulation is a blank form that defines a new type of social economy and should be more specific about what an ‘ecological socialism’ would be like in cultural/political terms. The formula given is easily adapted to multiple forms of ecological transition and allows a hybrid of universal/working class and ecological socialism/communism. Any thinking along these lines must be very careful as to ecological versus universal/working class economics. Reducing the working class to a peasantry in a no-growth economy might certainly be effective in the struggle with climate change. Such an abortive outcome is effectively blocked in our formulation, but as the recent uproar in France makes clear, ecological and working class issues can be end in conflict, especially given the gross blundering of Macron in fomenting an unequal ‘austerity’ package on workers while leaving the capitalist class with increased benefits,no doubt to be paid for by the working class.
Our formulation offers a guarantee of economic rights and if realized resolve such stupidities. But relative wealth equality in an ecological socialism must resolve the issue of growth,or even degrowth, and the question remains, what is a robust version of our own idea? Can this system generate the output needed for its own definition? The answer should be a ‘Yes’ given the way both planned and market processes are conjoined. The system has the benefits of both planning and ‘free markets’ in a system that can function from day one.
But if a social construct can manage the expropriation of private property the task of ecological socialism is almost accomplished at a stroke IF the resulting social definition inserts its ecological projects and aspirations in specific terms. The format must define the legal form of the Commons and be clear that this is not state capitalism. The highest authority as a ‘Presidential’ head of state with an associated communist party (the overall construct has four types of parties in a parliamentary system) has limited powers and can’t decree economic issues but must ensure the integrity and safety of such a Commons. The details of ecology and economics must be the job of different sectors, such a body of ecological economists/anthropologists.
The document selection starts here:
Democratic Market Neo-communism
At a time of developing climate catastrophe it is important to bring to the fore the challenge of revolutionary change. There is no reason why this can’t be followed with an electoral path, but the implications are revolutionary and remain that of constitutional renewal. This approach, even as it can and should inform mainstream activist logic working on issue initiatives and electoral options, is a discipline of thinking on problems holistically, involving social, economic, constitutional and political perspectives in the context of a totalitarian capitalist regime, with global domination as its keynote. Our perspective is thus both nationalistic and internationalist. The times require the dangerous passage of revolutionary regime change, even if this provokes an apparently unrealistic goal, and this must at least be contemplated as a potential option.
The current election of Trump suggests the american system has entered the kind of reactionary deadlock that has too often cursed its history, witness the period leading up to the american civil war. The reign of climate deniers coming the fore simply amplifies an already disastrous situation, created by the american ‘rogue state’ with its imperialist wars fueled by the military-industrial complex, its deep state and uncontrolled covert agencies showing strong evidence of false-flag dark ops, next to a corrupt political system beholden to capital interests. The developing crisis of climate change confronting a political system unable to respond shows a system entering the critical zone. The current system is not stable and we need to consider the dangers in the situation we face. If nothing else the revolutionary option is failsafe logic, the ready fire-extinguisher. But ‘if nothing else’ is not enough as the failure of the powers of be calls for intervention. It is also possible the imputation of revolutionary change can lead to preemptive change on the part of the established regime.
It is important to consider the revolutionary option and to declare in advance what the aims of revolution should be. This is nothing less thatn what the founders of the american system suggested might be needed, ‘ a republic if you can keep it’. Democracies emerged in revolutionary periods of turbulence and the founding fathers anticipated the future of this reality. Here we will propose a hybrid of democratic and socialist models in the form of what we call ‘democratic market neo-communism’.
Here the legacy of marxism is both the best and the worst of possibilities. The public will not accept a canon of marxism in its classic form, although this could change. It remains an crucial resource taken historically. We can list some issues that will force a caesura from the marxist legacy:
the bolshevik/stalinist outcome of the Russian revolution the limits of classical economics used by Marx
the failure to consider neo-classical economics and its ideology
exclusive emphasis on the working class rather than the ‘universal class’
the confusions of historical materialism and its stages of production theory
The key problem is that of theories of highly non-linear complexities that require empirical approximations. We will suggest a different historical framework in a short set of notes to the main section. The core of marxist thinking can be adapted to our loose historical model. The reader is ready to go in five minutes with this substitute for theory using
a simple chronology of epochs. We must displace the marxist core to the status of Old Testament to a New Testament restating a key set of ideas, and here the idea of communism, recast as neo-communism, is the best candidate if the proposal can sever its link to bolshevism, and work in the context of democratic logic. The older legacies remain important
as reference sources, but we need a streamlined restatement that has divorced itself from stalinist idiocy.
We have proposed therefore a new ultra simple non-theoretical perspective on world history and a return to the era of the emergence of communism in the era of early Marx/Engels. We can focus on their classic Manifesto. But we must restate the issues in a new way and we can’t cut and past marxist boilerplate as a procedure. We propose a simple nexus of ideas, and this centers around what we can democratic market neo-communism.
We can cite the material on this from Toward a New Communist Manifesto (pdf, Amazon), and Last and First Men, as a companion discussion, and this can serve as the bare starting point for a balanced version of a postcapitalist system. We should re-emphasize the need for an ecological communism and this requires a new view of history and culture, one easily adapted to our different take on world history.
This essay is short, a gesture toward a longer discussion, and a way to jolt thinking into a dialectic on the revolutionary prospect. We have clipped the material to outline form to jumpstart a new line of thinking about the crisis we face. We must act now, within a time frame of less than a decade to be ready for what we face.
Democratic Market neo-communism: a short sketch…
We will with the core idea of the classic Manifesto of Marx and Engels:
…The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property. But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few. In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property… From the Communist Manifesto
Communism/socialism has many confused representations, ours will
attempta to create a very broad blueprint that reconciles many opposites:
The details will be left out as we combine two ideas: the abolition of private property with a system deliberately balancing a set of opposites: planning, markets, top down control, bottom up semi-anarchist autonomy…Many discussions of communism confuse the foundational logic of expropriation with the creation of a particular economic system. But the two issues are not the same: a communist system founded in a constitutional starting point can then proceed to construct an economic system to match. There is no inherent reason why a communist system can’t adopt experimental hybrid in a transition to a new kind of neo-communist economic system. Our references imply a discussion of the US system and yet invokes a transnational system.
1. step one is the expropriation of the bourgeoisie, at the high end. We leave a lower threshold to semi-autonomy, subject to regulation. Property, i.e. industrial macro projects, belong to the Commons. All natural resources belong to the Commons. This distinction is important because the control of economic resources by a one-party state is highly undesirable: a separation of powers requires a set of economic bodies, legal and practical, to regulate economic issues.
2. the executive power consists of a strong state that guards the revolution, protects the Commons, but which otherwise has limited powers which are delegated to different branches of government. This sector with be a one party or zero party state, republican with a president and set of guardians, and an elected president. This branch of government requires additional revolutionary challenges to the vices and excesses of authoritarian governments. This requires a global transnationalism in the midst of a communist nationalism, a commitment to a new globalization of states beyond imperialism, robust versions of free trade that are liberated from the capitalist brands of exploitation and out-sourced working classes, and the abolition and reconstitution of all covert agencies and their false-flag conspiracies. The market sector must be divorced completely from military capitalism. The ‘deep state’ must be exposed, neutralized and replaced wih an open system with established laws as to surveillance, ideological mind control, and political deceptions.
3. a congress (and/or Senate) and a set of courts based on multiparty democracy that is completely free of big money of any kind. It will be
meritocratic, with short elections, state sponsored advertising on an equal basis, etc…: creating a reformed democracy given the grotesque distortions of the american example. This combination of one-party and multi-party systems is a unique innovation requiring careful consideration of its draft status in the realization of a open society in the context of a superset with strong but limited authority.
4. a set of economic institutions and courts to match will mediate the issues of development projects, allocations, planning…the central state will not be allowed to muddle through this sector which operates with a separation of powers. This set of legal bodies must include an ecological court mediating the economic impacts of industrial activity. This overall framework will mediate three sectors of the macroeconomy:
5. the resulting macro economy will be a hybrid of state corporations and entrepreneurial startups created by individuals with licenses to operate with ecological resources.
6. there is a lower threshold below which a high degree of autonomy is left to balance the anarchist pole of the equation. This sector can show many combinations of small-economy/communes/farms/NGO’s etc…
7. the system must have strong authority next to a democratic core with rights and liberties and a populist program that deals with labor, education, medicine ( these probably free), housing, employment in populist emphases, and move beyond the sterile anti-liberalism of earlier communists.
This system requires many additional details but our snapshot is an attempt to generate a way to break old habits to think in a new way. As the text of Toward a New Communist Manifesto are aware, we have spoken in terms of the universal class rather than the working class. The universal classis the class of all classes and enforces the idea of the equality of all in a common class. A focus on the working class is entirely appropriate in this context and can be brought to the fore as appropriate.
We need a new perspective on history and a rough outline of the context of revolutionary neo-communism: communism is an innovation arising in the wake of the french revolution (in fact its primordial birth was in the early modern reformation, if not the ancient greek utopians). Our model of history is a simple ‘narrattive’ of epochs in a chronology of civilizations.
Economic systems exist inside and influence but do not fully determine these cultural complexes.
Our framework begins with the crisis of climate change. Homo sapiens is a highly destructive species tending to the destruction of all environments in his wake. The modern industrial system has both revolutionized development and handed the curse of environmental scofflaw destruction to this species man. Unrestricted free markets are an emerging calamity.
1. The Crisis of Climate
1.1. The world at two degrees: the crisis of climate forces the issue of regime change: the need for an ecological communism..
2. The failure of capitalism: the failure of capitalism to deal with its generation of climate calamity shows that self-regulating markets are a myth
3. The classic formulations of marxism are entirely apt but we must restate/update the issues and disengage from the legacies of bolshevism, etc… We tend to eschew theories in favor of empirical histories and practical metaprogamming: praxis. There is no simple solution to the problems of economic, historical and evolutionary theories and we need to operate with a set of experimental procedures. Our historical perspective allows a
‘dialectic of teleological judgment’ in the estimation of history.
4. We must state in advance what system we propose as a successor to capitalist dominated politics: we can derive the idea of the Commons from a categorical imperative in a Kantian republic of ends. We can propose post- capitalism as a crisis intervention in a catastrophe and ideological hypnosis, and the action of free agents able to refound a new economic order on the basis of a new set of values. We can cite in passing the marxist theory of the stages of production leading from the feudal to the communist stage, but our framework is larger than this classic and brittle theory: we consider instead the action of freely creating a new form of economy to deal with crisis.
5. We must both transcend and fulfill the liberal tradition, that is, the result must have a democratic core. The ‘end of history’ debate was bogus but had a point: the progression of epochs in history shows a definite process beyond mechanics toward the realization of freedom, thence democracy.
The goal of postcapitalist logic must be to establish a true democracy free of the domination of capital powers. Democracy is more than the rights of capital and is founded in the shared ecology of the Commons.
2. History and Evolution
2.1 The marxist theory of historical materialism is a teleological theory of history and puts excessive emphasis on economic determinism. We can propose an empirical outline of world history as a substitute and create a chronology of history since the Neolithic with an extension to the evolutionary emergence of man. In the process we can refound Marx’s early objections to darwinism. Our view of history can point to a useful sketch of a path to a real evolutionary theory even as it remains agnostic as to theory and yet aware of the fact of evolution. This approach can free thinking fromthe social darwinist curse that has used evolutionary darwinism for social darwinist exploitations and class warfare.
Our new model of history will automatically resolve this issue with a lightweight alternative to darwinian pseudo-science.
2.2 We see world history as a progression of epochs (we can also propose a very specific model of historical evolution to highlight this), of which modernity is the most recent: we see a transition to a new epoch, and the age period that follows. This can help to create a framework of the secular in a new and broader sense and free debates from materialism/idelaism dead ends. In the modern case we see the early modern and its immense generation of innovations, with a possible epxlanation, and a debriefing of Eurocentric questions. This is followed by the onset of a new age period in the nineteenth century. This analysis has a remarkable property: the end of the transitional period around 1800 shows a kind of divide as the character of the historical dynamic changes. We need no hard conclusions about this but it is significant that to a long view capitalism and communism emerge together. It was clear from the start that a successor to capitalism would move in parallel and then overtake the chaotic economic system at the starting point. It is no accident that Marx and Engels appear at this point with a proposal for the new era of economic modernity.
2.3 The basic outline clearly delineates a immense spectrum of emergent properties from the Reformation to the Enlightenment. The sudden appearance of so many innovation near the divide point is not accident. We
see that revolution in the early modern is a strong element in the change of epochs, but we can also see that revolution in the post-divide period will have a different character: the early modern shows a dynamical spontaneity to revolution, while the wake after the divide will require explicit free agency, a point instinctively understood by Marx/Engels who tried to create explicit protocols of revolution, a very difficult task, but one realizable by careful analysis of the steps to a revolutionary transformation. Ironically, however,
‘revolutions of free agency’ have a higher degree of freedom than dynamical revolutions (which show their historically chaotic character). This elusive set of insights can be taken as reference to our historical model. The point for us here is very simple: we must not apply theories to social constructions. Instead as free agents we must apply praxis, or practical recipes of ‘how to’ in order to create in freedom a constitutional construct. Our model, we should note, is designed to allow ‘theories’ only for the past looking backward: the free agent never sees dynamics in the present. This strange model is hard to understand and isn’t needed to proceed save to note that we dare not wait for a system to evolve to a new state. Our action as free agents is based on an analysis of the failure of capitalism and the need as free agents to create a new successor.
2.4 As noted the industrial revolution and capitalism emerge very rapidly near the divide point of the modern transition. In tandem emerges a series of chase plane successors and this are crisis vehicles for a system that is unstable on its way to globalization. Within a mere two centuries we can already see that capitalism is likely to destroy planetary civilization without intervention.
2.5 The year 1848 is in many ways symbolic as the starting point of a new era of world history: its classics revolutions were the first to respond to the emerging dilemma of capitalism and show the first appearance of socialist alternatives. This prophetic moment sets the tone for the new world of bourgeois society as an unstable first stage of modernity.
The yellow vest movement entered its “fourth act” this weekend, with another round of radical protests by over 130,000 people throughout the country. This time, the state response was even more brutal, with 89,000 gendarmes mobilised across France in an attempt to prevent the yellow vests from demonstrating – peacefully or otherwise – resulting in over 2,000 arrests.
We have critiqued the term ‘marxism’ many times, starting with our previous post, so our view of a site called ‘marxist.com’ is clear.
But this site often has cogent pieces, mixed with bad marxist theory. As here.
In any case, the suggestion to move to revolution is ‘on target’ save only that the left, marxist mostly, is not ready for that, as can be seen in the confusion over working class issues and ecological ones, the hated carbon tax, etc…
Continue reading “France: the yellow vests, Act IV – turn the movement into a revolution!”
Source: What It Means to Be a Marxist
I am surprised given the number of links to Jacobin from the Darwiniana and R48 blogs that Jacobin would so brazenly or else in complete ignorance publish a piece like this. I can forgive its author, who must think he is brilliant, but not Jacobin. Firing squad?
Jacobin doesnt’ even support revolutionary action, but plies the bad rep ‘jacobin’ (tough guys, I guess) and needs marxist filler material on marxism to even out its page layout. Authors of such pieces take courses in places like the LSE where enthusiastic teachers peddle all the cliches of ‘marxism’ and then pat on back such students into true believership with rote boilerplate form marx/engels.
It is a cruel thing to do at this point. Continue reading “what it means to simply drop marxism…//What It Means to Be a Marxist”
The social and political situation in France is moving at a breakneck speed. In less than a month, the ‘yellow vests’ movement has put the country on the threshold of a revolutionary crisis. In the coming days, this threshold could be crossed. What will be the decisive factor in pushing the movement forward?
“The Gilets Jaunes that you see in the streets,” said one organizer, “they’re being bled dry financially. The wealth gap is getting wider, and we’ve reached a point where there are the very rich and the very poor.”