- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Global class crisis

Posted by: Barry Stoller on February 02, 19100 at 01:40:17:

In Reply to: Question for the vanguardists, oppurtunists, anarchists and all of the above posted by David on February 01, 19100 at 11:29:10:

: This brings me to a comment that I head from my [socialist] uncle, which as basically that revolutions are made by the middle class. If the middle class is happy, revolution will inevitably fail unless it is a military coup. However, as soon as middle class children start starving and families get sick and die from curable diseases, the atmosphere is charged with sentiments of revolution.

Simplified to the point of error. Capital eradicates the middle class (defined properly as the class of independent owners of the means of productions) by commodifying their skills and then socializing their skills. There are exceptions to this rule, but the general trend is clear. Communist revolution is predicated upon the truth that proletarians (those who own nothing but their ability to work) have nothing to lose, .i.e. literally own nothing, but their chains.

: As Stoller as stated many times, socialism is predicated upon the wealth and industrialization of capitalism, so that it can create enough abundance for all of society. This would explain why all the aforementioned countries quickly slipped into dictatorships as the promised abundance never came to fruition.

Yes---except you give more credit to capitalism than I do.

Industrialization (the mode of production) is what socialism is predicated upon; capitalism (the social relations) is what ultimately undermines the mode of production...

Soupy pointed out:

"The Communist Manifesto," Marx wrote, "had as its object the proclamation of the inevitably impending dissolution of modern bourgeois property. But in Russia we find, face to face with the rapidly developing capitalist swindle and bourgeois landed property, just beginning to develop, more than half the land owned in common by the peasants. Now the question is: can the Russian "obshchina," though greatly undermined, yet a form of the primeval common ownership of land, pass directly to the higher form of communist common ownership? Or, on the contrary, must it first pass through the same process of dissolution as constitutes the historical evolution of the West?"

"The only answer to that possible today is this," Marx and Engels concluded, "If the Russian Revolution becomes the signal for a proletarian revolution in the West, so that both complement each other, the present Russian common ownership of land may serve as the starting point for a communist development."

I'm no expert, but this is pretty much in line with Lenin's program as I understand it.He was hoping there'd be revolutions in the major industrial countries--a revolution which, as we all know, never happened.

The main thing to keep in mind about the October Revolution is World War One.

This was a capitalist war, a war of capitalist domination of the entire planet. The human costs were terrible. The moral credibility of the Bolsheviks was undeniable in this context. Because of the world upheaval of this war, the possibility of world revolution seemed quite plausible. And Marx and Engels were clear that communism, to be successful, must involve many countries in unison.


Any upheaval in economic relations in any country of the European continent without England, is a storm in a teacup.(1)


[T]he communist revolution will be not merely a national phenomenon, but must take place simultaneously in all civilized countries.(2)

Now, why do the 'civilized' countries seem to be the one least likely to overthrow capitalism?


The receipt of high monopoly profits by the capitalists...makes it economically possible for them to bribe certain sections of the workers, and for a time a fairly considerable minority of them, and win them to the side of the bourgeoisie of a given industry or given nation against all the others.(3)

This tension between nations, of course, erupts into world wars. And then, as before, class crisis becomes global---and so does the possibility of global revolution. And then, as before, the weakest links in the capitalist chain are the exploited countries that do NOT have enough to bribe the ideological compliance of a labor aristocracy (middle class, as I believe your uncle means it). Russia and, presumably, China will play similar roles as before... although this time around they will have the industrialization required to support communism (at least longer than before)...


1. Marx, The Revolution of 1848-9: Articles from the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, International 1971, p. 205.

2. Engels, Principles of Communism, Monthly Review 1952, p. 16.

3. Lenin, 'Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism,' Collected Works volume 22, Progress Publishers 1964, p. 301.

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