- Capitalism and Alternatives -

'Beyond' Marx?

Posted by: Barry Stoller on February 14, 19100 at 12:02:19:

In Reply to: Is it really? How can one be happy with hatred in their mind? posted by Quincunx on February 09, 19100 at 11:30:18:

: I woud like to see a non-authoritarian alternative to capitalism become the dominant system of distribution in order for humanity to reach its full potential.

Great. Any suggestions?

: Since that hasn't happened yet it looks like everybody will have to wait until overloading the carrying capacity of the planet kicks off an ecological catastrophe. Maybe then the economic system will change and we can all go beyond Marx...

Curious, this millennia reliance upon ecological castrophe to initiate social change. SDF, I believe, has also touted ecological castrophe as the midwife of revolution. What exactly is this belief based upon?

As I see it, imperialism defines the social relations between those who have oil (etc.) and those who use oil (etc.) as constant capital to beget more profits. (Let's assume that unproductive consumption of oil, etc., is nomimal compared with capital's reproductive consumption of oil, etc. Even in the case of wide-spread unproductive consumption of automobiles, private ownership versus public---and I'm talking about lavishly funded public transportation, i.e. the kind that people would actually like---, it is capital which primarily benefits from today's private automobile culture.)

Let's NOT assume a shortage of oil (etc.) would occur overnight like Halley's Comet or any other such milliennial disaster. ANY ecological castrophe would occur over years---and would, I believe, only initiate another world war fought over the increasingly limited supplies of oil (etc.).

World wars, history has shown, ARE the midwives of revolution. Ruling classes are weakened by fighting other ruling classes; proletarians are armed; capital's social relations are exposed as antagnonistic to the interests of working people; the relations between capital and their puppet governments become strained; war opposition can develop into class opposition, etc., etc.

Because of these factors, maybe then the economic relations will be changed. How this opportunity could go 'beyond Marx' is unclear; ALL revolutionary situations are the province of Marxist theory.

To posit, however, as some Greens do that oil shortages or other such ecological doomsday scenarios will instigate social change for the better is unclear. Such crises would only acerbate the class conflicts already extant in imperialistic policies regarding the ownership of natural resources. Example: any oil shortage would be primarily felt by the poorest sections of the population (globally, then nationally)---not simultaneously---therefore social change will begin at the bottom of society. Again, how this sort of thing could possibly be 'beyond Marx' is beyond even cursory reasoning.

'Beyond Marx' I suspect is a code term for spontaneous, peaceful revolution---a fairy tale concocted by middle class 'radicals' to assuage their middle class guilt-trips. The Greens---who are primarily composed of the educated middle class---would be advised to acknowledge that in the event of ecological castrophe, the working class (and the small proprietors) will be hit first and hardest---long before the educated middle class Greens ever feel the effects of such privations. To advocate (when the inevitable world war begins the last desperate grab for the last of the oil reserves) that the working class (who inevitably is drafted to fight such wars) take their weapons and TURN THEM ON the class enemy AT HOME instead of using them on their working class equivalents overseas is the primary task of the Marxist vanguard.

Most likely, all the Greens will be doing---in such an unfortunate event---is chanting 'Give Peace a Chance' outside the courthouses (like they always do) when the going gets rough. 'Beyond Marx,' indeed.

In short, when the ecological shortages begin to be felt (and they inevitably will), the question facing the working class will be whether or not to: (1) fight over the last of the natural sources so capital can make one last dollar selling iot back to the working class; or (2) fight capital---with the weapons supplied by capital---in order to create a government where PEOPLE NOT PROFITS deal with such issues as ecological scarcity.

And that question is very much a Marxist question. The Greens will be useful ONLY after the struggle ends (favorably for the working class) in assisting the working class find alternative energies. Not leading the working class, mind you---working FOR the working class.

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