[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.
STAGES OF REVOLUTIONARY DEVELOPMENT
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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