[Marxism] Question: An epoch of social revolution

Waistline2 at aol.com Waistline2 at aol.com
Thu May 6 09:04:28 MDT 2004

Marx and Engels believed that the concentration of the proletariat 
brought on by giant industry would set the stage for the socialist 
revolution. Yet not one single industrial nation has gone through 
a socialist revolution. The standard explanation has been that the 
emergence of imperialism shifts the worst aspects of the 
contradiction between productive forces and relations into the 
colonial world. This gives capitalism a reprieve.

Imperialism is not what saved capitalism. Shifting of 
contradictions did not mean there was a lesser or a different 
capitalism. To change, something has to be added or taken away. A 
horrible oppression developed in the colonies to facilitate a 
horrible exploitation. Oppression of itself never brought about a 
revolution. Only a qualitative change in the productive forces can 
destroy a system. Qualitative change comes with the introduction 
of a qualitatively new and antagonistic quantity. Imperialism is 
not qualitatively new or antagonistic. Imperialism is monopoly 
capitalism. Monopoly capitalism is a stage of capitalism itself. 
The answer lies elsewhere.

The answer is that no system goes out of existence until there is 
no more room for the quantitative expansion of the productive 
forces. Fettering of the productive forces by the existing 
economic relations begins with qualitatively new means of 
production coupled with new forms of motive force.


Revolutionaries cannot struggle against the quality "capitalism." 
They must deal on the quantitative level with specific stages of 
development. The revolutionary Left of our country fails when it 
simply counterposes capitalism to socialism, rather than defining 
the stage of development and fighting it out stage by stage.

Let's take the analogy of the birth of a baby. What if a recently 
pregnant woman goes to the doctor for her first examination and 
the doctor tells her to lie on the operating table and push? That 
is exactly what we do when we abstractly say the answer is 
socialism. Or when the Left calls on the workers to revolt. The 
role of the doctor is to guide the woman through the various 
stages of her pregnancy. This can be done only if the doctor deals 
with each specific stage of development within the quality 

The quality "revolution" demands the same treatment, and we are 
the doctor. Marxists understand that "the communist party is 
midwife to a society pregnant with change." Qualitative statements 
such as "Smash Imperialism" or "For the Dictatorship of the 
Proletariat" are easily stated. Any sectarian leftist can do this. 
The rub comes with trying to understand and work within the 
concrete and specific stages of development. It means we have to 
understand when the growth of the baby in the womb is complete and 
it is time for birth. It means we have to understand at what point 
the struggle is no longer reformist and economic, but leaping to 
political and revolutionary.


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