At a time of social crisis both planetary and in the US a revolutionary perspective isn’t even controversial anymore: this strange situation in the US is like an invitation to pass to revolutionary transformation. The revolutionary option is rejected by reformists, but the current system is itself revolutionary, in the midst of a revolution from the right. We should advocate caution as to revolutionary imaginaries but point to the need to respect a Big IF and be ready with a framework for the future. A strange future looms: capitalism is no longer an option.
In the US the public stands by as its president commits pandemic genocide with no possibility of intervention. Democracy is defunct. The legacy of classic Marxism leaves us with virtually nothing here except slogans about ‘socialism’ and Marx’s refusal to speculate about the future while admirable is no longer appropriate as the world system moves toward calamity. The crisis of climate change escalates in ominous foreboding, intensified by a pandemic and the resurgence of racial protest diagnosing the tragic flaw of the American legacy of slavery. But the core crisis is of capitalism itself and its destructive career from the triumph of markets to ecocidal destruction of a planet. Alienation in market mechanics has created a paralysis unable to prevent the destruction of the Amazon, an unprecedented calamity. Such is the delusive force of ideology that politicians in the grips of near insanity wish to foment and accelerate this destruction.
The theories of Marx/Engels are dated now, and have been challenged so many times that to use them indicates a refusal to learn from history. The left needs a new view of world history and evolution, an updated critique of political economy, and a clear project of social transformation in the key of postcapitalism as ecological socialism. Such a venture cannot preach the empty slogans of socialism but must specify a political, economic, constitutional, and cultural platform that can recreate democracy properly defined in a system that has achieved the revolutionary (or reformist) expropriation of capital.
At a time when the old ‘working class’ is really a middle-class parvenu and too often bemused as Trump’s base, we can adopt a more complex perspective of the Universal Class instead of the ‘working class’ which nonetheless remains the core focus of the Universal Class: the latter is able in a flourish of set theory to unite multiple subsets in parallel diversity and unity, feminist, racial protest, subsets can operate as themselves and in tandem in a larger class action. Leftists tend to consider a class imaginary as the near-fiction now of the assembly line proletarian when in fact the ‘working class’ taken as those subject to wage labor, or better as those who are passive with respect to capitalist dynamics, includes a near totality as a subset of subsets of the Universal Class.
This form of history is more useful because it leaves behind the dubious quest for a science of history and uses empirical outlines with a focus on economic histories instead of the cumbersome and fallacious ‘stages of production theory’.
Our DMNC model is just that: a recipe approach to a neo-communist system of a new type: it is both a realizable blueprint and a model you can tinker with: issues of politics, authority, democracy, economics, markets and planning, expropriation and a Commons, etc, remind us that we must create a society that people will find just, efficient, and legally sound in the context of shared resources, equality, economic rights, and ecological socialism. A socialism (we don’t distinguish between socialism and neo-communism unlike legacy marxism) in a real sense should be immediately attractive to its publics, possibly exempting the capitalists, and we should note how the left has ended up with an antagonized public. In that case, something is wrong: people prefer the exploitation they know because they fear the outcome of Stalinism.
A model like our DMNC has nothing to do with any of that, and frankly may even leave behind Marx and marxism, save for their historical epic saga. We can put Marx on posters, and skip the rest. Let us consider the American Rebs: they had no theory, only a set of recipes, between republicanism and a barely conceived democratic idea (suffering ironically the same kind of discredit now suffered by socialism) inherited from antiquity under a cloud of discredit. How ironically similar to our current situation. they brought it off, but the result clearly suffered the diagnosis of Marx and the socialists as to the bourgeois revolution and democracy captured by capitalism. So they sermonized about ‘real socialism as real democracy’.