Louis N Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Mar 30 06:41:54 MST 1995

The eventuality of returning to a previous "stage" of history has been
a very real one for the last 50 years or so. With the advent of nuclear
weaponry, there has always been a possibility that modern capitalist
society would destroy itself and cause the remainder of humanity to live in
some kind of pre-capitalist formation amidst the radioactive rubble.
Trotsky, who had a flair for the melodramatic, wasn't overstating the
case when he said that the choice was between socialism and barbarism.

Once again, however, I assert that the concept of an unbroken "upwards
and onwards" march of history can not be found in Marx. Chris Burford's
citation from the Communist Manifesto is one instance of this
anti-teleological approach, but there are many more. The contemporary
thinkers who read this into Marx do not do him a service. They make Marx
into more of a Hegelian than he really is. There's no question that many
Marxists adopted a "stages" metaphysic, but this is no fault of Marx himself.
There has been an awful tendency to turn Marxism into a religion with its
own eschatology, but subscribers to this list, with one or two exceptions
possibly, seem to be decent atheist folk.

Louis Proyect

On Thu, 30 Mar 1995 Steve.Keen at wrote:

> Richard's point about being able to return to a previous mode of
> production was forcibly established in recent times by experiences
> in Idi Amin's Uganda....

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