[Marxism] The Future Arrived Yesterday- "Socailsim or Barbarism" Obsolete As Our Choice?

Tony Abdo 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.

Tony Abdo

<<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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