The 2008 crash and coronavirus crisis have revived interest in the theories of J.M. Keynes, the liberal English economist.
We talk with world-renowned economist Richard D. Wolff about how the pandemic has accelerated changes to the terrain of work and what we need to do to build a broad working-class politics in the 21st century.
The left is fixated on revolutionary futurism, as well it might be. But the record of success is poor. It is worth studying the eonic effect, its model, the modern transition (i.e. the early modern), the concept of divide and the model’s distinction of ‘system action’ and free agency.
Revolutions produced the modern world, but it doesn’t follow that we can produce revolutions at will.
The left must get it right and be ready for their chance. Unfortunately, they are stuck in dubious Marxist theories of history. Marx was brilliant in many ways, but his theories of history are very poor, and mislead leftists.
The left needs a new framework, but they are stuck in the old format and the example of Bolshevism constantly misleads.
It might help to abandon theories of history as science. Not a single one has ever succeeded, ever. And all for one good reason: history is a blend of dynamics and free agency. No law of history can work for that reason. it might help instead to forget theories and focus on period outlines.
Marx is attractive because his theory is really ideology and offers a strange prediction of communism. He could be proved right, but the left must give up such theories and focus on the action of free agents who create revolutions in their own terms.
Marxists expect the working class to resolve the social question of revolution. But it is unlikely. The era of proletarian revolution has passed in advanced economies. This definition eliminates all other classes including revolutionaries like Marx.
But there is a better way here: the working class is more than factory workers: it is all wage laborers and more all those who are passive against the force of capitalism. That includes the proper inclusive set and is closer to a viable majority. Marx charges all other classes but the working class with class bias. But now the same is true of the working class.
The issue of revolution is becoming one of ecological sanity and that factor needs a central focus. One has the feeling that the era of revolution will soon return in the coming crisis. But a Marxist view here could scramble that hope with outdated thinking.
The idea of a revolutionary class doesn’t work in our time. We need an association or movement of all those committed to postcapitalist transition.
America’s battle over “critical race theory” reminds us of an ugly truth about the enduring white supremacy that’s long defined this country. In a potent racist backlash moment against the rising Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, many states have moved in Orwellian “Big Brother” style to entirely ban discussions of structural and institutional racism from K through 12 and college classrooms. And much of the public is on board with this agenda, as July polling from Ipsos reveals that 36 percent of Americans support “a ban on CRT in public schools.” More
This is a useful article and important for our critique of Marxism along with our hypothetical abstraction: The Red Fortyeight Group. Our critique of Marx’s historical theories has an ironic result: the core of his work stands out as more coherent: issues of historical materialism move the side but empirical histories and issues of class, working class, remain in place.
We deal with a new way to consider class: the universal class and its subsets, the working class, along with a complex nexus of overlapping classes.
But the definition of working class is ambiguous now/ If we define it as ‘all those who are under wage labor the ambiguity of the category is striking because salaried managers in capitalists orgs are working class (??) Or else, all those subject to capitalism dynamics.
To be clear we must multitask multiple initiatives in the various entities in the universal class. To make the working class the focus of radical action is entirely apt A radical action needs multi-focus on multiple class formations that are ‘working class’ but perhaps also lower to upper middle class.
A transition to socialism must have a plan for the whole universal class.
More needs to be said here, but the strictures against the pseudo-left are of great interest here….
The development of the class struggle is putting to the test political programs, tendencies and parties.
Workers entering into struggle in India, the United States, and internationally must be made aware of the brutal legal vendetta pursued against the Maruti Suzuki workers and redouble their efforts to secure the freedom of the 11 who remain behind bars.
The hunt for reliable data and the entanglement of race-class demographics in the era of Trump.
Today marks 150 years since the start of the Bloody Week, when the French army drowned the Paris Commune in blood. For Karl Marx, the Paris revolution was the greatest working-class uprising in his lifetime — and a model for what socialism might look like.
As the calendar moves from April 22nd to May 1st, something significant is coming into view. Unions, working class organizations and activists in North America increasingly are leading the transition to a climate-safe economy.