Paul Cockshott wpc at
Fri Mar 31 14:03:32 MST 1995

Ron makes the point that
The point I wanted to make was that the notion of "PROGRESS" (
which is so often linked with the passage of time) is
questionable. For example are we better then the apes? Is it a
reasonable question? Yes we are more complex and powerful but we
are also more cruel and irrational. We have great potential but
time and time again fail to realise it. We will probably be the
only species that knowingly destroys the very environment that
allows us to exist.

I think Ron is right to point out that progress is in certain
senses not a 'good thing', certainly not for those subjected to
it. Capitalist industrialisation, can be both progressive and
a life of misery for those caught up in it. Similarly in the
USSR the elimination of the Kulaks may have been progressive but
it must have been pretty grim if you were a Kulak. But for those
on the wining side of history, progress is its own criterion
of morality. Progress does not have to be judged, it is the
the judgement.

Ones attitude to progress depends upon whether you think that
you are on the winning side. If you think that the working-class
is now on the losing side, that capitalism can not be beat, then
progress may begin to look a bad idea.

I prefer to think that we are just in a short term period of
retreat, and that in the end progress is with the side of
the poor and oppressed. This may contain a streak of wishfull
thinking, but it seems a necessary optimism if one is to built
any sort of movement.

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