This blog-entry contains my “improvement” of another text -- this time, also a
shorter text -- by the E.A.g. [Equitist Advocacy
group], this one entitled “Reform versus Revolution”.
Here are links to the E.A.g.’s original version --
The Dialectic of ‘Reform # Revolution’.
Hypotheses on the Solution of the ‘Reform-vs.-Revolution’ Dialectical “Contradiction” [denoted above via the '#' sign, interpreted as a doubly-slashed [doubly-negated] equals-sign] for the Present Global Socio-Political-Economic Crisis.
To posit “reform” and “revolution” as a “radical dualism”; as two absolutely separate and opposed processes — as do so many of today’s self-degenerating, pseudo-Marxians (e.g., Leninists, neo-Malthusian “Marxists”, etc.) — is an example of the most crippling kind of UN-dialectical, self-defeating thinking.
Since such thinking is UN-dialectical, and asserts an UN-dialectical actuality in the empirical world — whereas, we hold, actuality IS dialectical [i.e., is a process of potentially-progressive, cumulative development, self-mediated by self-opposition] — such thinking leads to the most abject failures in practice.
There can be no “revolution” which is absolutely disconnected from its historical and recent past; which is an absolute re-beginning of the world, from scratch.
There can be no “revolution” which does not involve elements of gradualism and “reform” (i.e., of the self-transformative, self-remoulding of the only material available, the material of the past-become-present).
The concept of “absolute” revolution is a delusory abstraction, a figment of the imagination, “absolutely” impossible as an actuality.
Such thinking about revolution makes of revolution a «utopia» — a “nowhere” — a “place” of which it must truly be said that “you can't get there from here”.
Likewise, there can be no true “reform” that does not contain the possibility — and that does not increase the probability, however minimally — of triggering a “point of no return” for and to the old social system; of triggering more than reform, of triggering a revolutionary transition.
That is why ruling classes are so averse to reform, and, sometimes, why, by resisting even the merest reforms for too long, and by means too brutal, they may -- ‘contrary to their intentions, precipitate revolution anyway — by trying to forestall reform too viciously.
The key to successful revolution today, it seems to us, is to locate the embryo of the new, successor system to capitalism, within the present, predecessor system of that successor system; within the “Capital-relation” [Marx] as the present, predominate “social relation of production”, to use Marx’s term.
Having located that embryo, it should then be possible to chart a path of successively accessible reforms, which, if that path is followed to its completion, will lead to a revolutionary “point of no return”, and to a supercession of the capitalist system, in a new, higher, better system, one of newly re-growing “productive force” [Marx] -- i.e., one of once-again self-expanding, once-again ‘‘‘socially negentropic’’’, human-societal self-reproductive self-force; one of quantitatively AND QUALITATIVELY SELF-EXPANDING human social reproduction.
However, to be able to locate the embryo of the new system within the old, one has to have a clear understanding of what the old system is, and thereby, be enabled to form an inkling — indeed, a relatively concrete vision — of what that new system therefore must look like.
The legacy left by Marx and Engels, in terms of envisioning the successor system to the ‘capitals-system’ in any detail, is not very helpful in this regard.
The legacy left by Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Ceaucescu, Il-Sung, Jong-Il, Jong-Un, etc., «ad nauseam», is a very detailed legacy of a NON-successor to capitalism; of totalitarian, police-state dictatorship, and terror, by the state-bureaucracy — acting as a substitute, ‘primitive-accumulative’ capitalist ruling-class for a missing, or stunted, private capitalist ruling-class — against the working class; a legacy of proto-STATE-CAPITALISM, not of true, or democratic, communism; not the social system of the political-economic democracy of “the associated producers” [Marx]; not of ‘Marxian Democracy’.
However, utilizing those few loci in the extant writings of Marx and Engels where they sketch the new social system that they hold can “lawfully” arise out of capitalism via revolutionary reform — if we avoid the ‘Charybdic’ abyss of failed “reforms”, and the ‘Scyllic’ pitfalls of failed “revolutions”, all leading to “the mutual ruin of the contending classes” [Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto] — we claim as follows:
- The seed of the new system, the system of the realized DEMOCRATIC ‘‘‘politicization’’’ of the capitalist political-economy; the embryo of Political-ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY, is located in the 'Capital-EQUITY' essence of the “Capital-relation” [Marx], that Capital-value-relation being the predominating “social relation of production” [Marx] of the system that is named after it, the ‘‘‘Capital[ist]-System’’’. I.e., that embryo is located in the principle of “Stockholder DEMOCRACY” among capital-owners / “shareholders” in a given individual capital.
- That “embryo” matures via “revolutionary
reforms”, real reforms which change, incrementally, but qualitatively, the
social relation of production of the Capitals-system, by extending and
expanding — generalizing — that embryo, of “STOCKholder
DEMOCRACY”, increasingly, into ‘‘‘STAKEholder
- ‘Workers’ Capital’ — the
capital of collectively self-employing workers, in worker-owned producers'
cooperatives, which emerge within capitalism, as forms of the ‘‘‘self-«aufheben»’’’
self-negation of capitalism still within
capitalism’’’ [Marx] — is a modification of the
Capital-relation which also expresses and represents the embryonic form of
the new social relation of production, of the successor system to
capitalism; the system of “Free Association”, or
of “The Associated Producers”.
- The way to the new society — to
the higher successor to capitalist society — is via a succession of legal,
non-violent, constitutional reforms which GENERALIZE the Capital-Equity
relation, and principle, of Stockholder ECONOMIC
DEMOCRACY among capitalists [only], but NOT
e.g., by making every citizen a shareholder in the capital equity stock of
capitalist corporations, but also QUALITATIVELY,
via the constitutional ‘institution-ization’ of four new species — NEW
KINDS — of Social, Economic, Citizen EQUITY social property rights,
- CITIZEN EXTERNALITY EQUITY [This means the economic-democratic management of lethal pollution “Externalities”, as well as of other kinds of “Externalities”.];
- CITIZEN BIRTHRIGHT EQUITY [This one is the most like a mere quantitative generalization of Capital Equity.];
- CITIZEN STEWARDSHIP EQUITY [This one grows the “embryo” represented by ‘Workers’ Capital’ into a new social relation of production full-blown, superseding the Wage-Labor Relation.];
- CITIZEN ALLOCATIONAL EQUITY [This means the equal «per-capita» geographical allocation of citizen access to [their] social property.].
The capitalist ruling class will, of course, ideologically — and violently — resist even non-violently-pursued real reforms.
Their very resistance will further educate a ‘populist’ public, pressing for these reforms, to the need for a revolutionary re-constitution of capitalist society, into ‘Equitarian society’ — into that real,“democratic-communist society”; into that Political-Economic Democracy — which Marx, Engels, and the rest of the real communist movement, meant by that term.
That term does NOT mean the totalitarian, multi-genocidal STATE-CAPITALIST dictatorship, which is, in fact, the self-destination, and the self-destiny, of UN-resisted descendant-phase capitalism, and of NON-resistance to the ‘‘‘humanocidal’’’ agenda of its descendant-phase, self-degenerated ruling class — e.g., the self-destination of the core ruling class, as well as the rest of the society, that we all constitute and reproduce today, given our continued failure to resist, and to truly reform, that society/ourselves.