[Marxism] The Future Arrived Yesterday- "Socailsim or Barbarism" Obsolete As Our Choice?
gojack10 at hotmail.com
Mon Mar 8 23:55:51 MST 2004
Carrol, in his defense of 'pessimism', raises that old marxist idea, that it
is 'socialsim or barbarism' that faces humankind. He does this in a
certain opposition to the previous marxist 'optimist' attitude that
socialsim could only win out. This positive attitude of the traditional
school of marxism has been made obsolete by events though. It is no more
the mark of a perssimist that barbarism will occur before socialism ever
arrives, it is now a reality.
Earlier, I got torn apart(on this list) for suggesting that marxism never
truely accounted for what I called the 'negative value' produced by
capitalism. Capitalism trashed the planet to an extent that Marx and
Engels could not really conceive of, from their point in history. So they
saw it in a much more positive light than we should today. The marxists
in that time, and prior to about the '1970s, always posed the idea that it
was socialism or barbarism in the future ahead, if capitalism could not be
eliminated. But the idea of what barbarism would be like was never
clearly defined. Now we know though, because the future arrived
Mark Jones began to approach this reality on this list, as he concentrated
on the problem of the rapidly approaching depletion of oil that industrial
society was facing. I think that he convinced most of us on this list of
how important this was, before he passed away. The consciousness of what
barbarism will entail continues to be coming into view since that time, just
months ago, when posts from Mark Jones stopped. And now we see still more
of the big picture, than just a depletion of energy resources. Barbarism
is ecological collapse, simply because without ecological resources, human
life cannot fully exist.
Put in terms of the traditional marxist ideology, it is no longer a question
of socailsim or barbarism, but rather will socailism be possible now that
barbarism is arriving? Socailism wll have to be built UPON the foundtions
of barbarism, or human life will cease to exist at all. That makes the
traditional view that Marx and Engels once had of the future quite a blurry
and distant view, all from the rear view mirror. Socialism can no longer
stall barbarism, because it lost the race with time. Marxism is no longer
a science that is 'optimistic'.
Socialists need to re-evaluate entirely the economic foundaions of marxism.
The tasks of any future victory by workers, will be the reconstruction of
what may largely be almost impossible for human labor to reconstruct....
that would be nature itself. This is not 'pessimism', but rather it is
the new reality. It is a reality, that changes quite a bit the whole
framework of what might be the situation when victory for the working
classes finally should occur. It's a reality that posits a dramatic
collapse just shortly ahead for world capitalsim, and runs counter to any
notion that positive
change will be achieved in small increments.
Marxism originated with a positive attitude based on technology as being a
savior of mankind. But reality shows that technology has already
produced, under capitalist development, a barbarism that may take millenium
to erase the damage already done.
<<Pessimism comes in more versions than are dreamt of in your philosophy,
I am a deep pessimist, myself, and I could put up an argument that Marx
We do not know whether socialist revolution is possible. We do not know
whether, even in the event of a socialist revolution, a socialist
society can be successfully built.
What we _do_ know is that there is no other alternative route to human
survival. Or to put it another way, there is no knowledge more certain
than that contained in Rosa Luxemburg's either/or: socialism or
barbarianism -- with the qualification that given the large element of
contingency in human history, it is possible that the alternatives are
barbarianism or barbarianism.
When the only hope is a remote hope, choose the remote hope no matter
how unlikely its realization.*
The capitalist classes will quite clearly choose utter destruction of
all (Marx: "mutual destruction of the contending classes") rather than
peacefully dissolve themselves. Moreover: Only a working class that has
gone through the process of making a revolution will be a class fit to
build socialism. (Marx: "revolutionising practice")
We know things will change, and in ways we cannot predict. We just can't
know whether we will like the change or not. But as a character in an
old Peter Arno cartoon puts it (he is sinking into quicksand), "I've got
half a mind to struggle."
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