September 20, 2015
System Creation vs. Proletarian Revolution
Lately, due to the structural crisis of capitalism, the radical left petite bourgeoisie has increasingly been in the business of initiating system-creating schemes. While most of these creations are totally absurd, none of these models are historical, or even reflective of actual tendencies in the existing contradictory processes of the capitalist mode of production. They exist only in the wild imaginations of certain sectors of the radical petite bourgeoisie, those who are in a race against the working class to produce a new mode of societal organization.
The petite bourgeoisie, in particular the most radical sectors of that class, is attempting to offer its own alternative, and even to claim Marxism (albeit with a myriad of sectarians definitions, as branding) and Marxist-flavored theories. They are driven to do so because as a class, they are dominated by capitalism. For the petite bourgeoisie (in contrast to the working class), this domination is not antagonistic, but it still weighs them down, leading them to struggle to become a leading force among all the popular classes for a societal alternative.
To achieve that goal, this petite bourgeoisie needs to attempt to displace the only class that does have an antagonistic relation to capital, under capitalism including in social formations dominated by imperialism: THE PROLETARIAT.
While struggling for its own leading role, the petite bourgeoisie in fact rejects, in theory and in practice, the leading role of the proletariat. But since it is based solely on a non-antagonist relation to capital, their own struggle for a societal alternative can only be external to capitalism’s fundamental antagonistic contradiction between capital and labor. Thus the only alternative it can produce is to make the living conditions under capitalism more bearable. They seek a more equitable or egalitarian society, which would involve an amelioration of the super-structure but not a radical transformation of the capitalist mode of production.
The petite bourgeoisie is very persistent and resilient in their attempt to offer their own societal alternative. This is resulting in their obsolescence. Since their alternative to capitalism is non-antagonistic, even the most radical sectors of that class are progressively being replaced by liberal sectors of the capitalist class.
At this moment Bernie Sanders, in the interest of capitalist bloc, is effectively displacing the most radical sectors of the petite bourgeoisie by articulating unity with them. He is more efficient in offering the same political alternative. Despite their watered-down and dogmatic Marxism, this radical sector is not even capable of demarcating from him and from the liberal sector of the capitalist class. Their brand of “socialism” is really not that different from the one being offered by Bernie.
The US radical left is now forced to deal with the consequences of their own longstanding immersion in reformism, populism, opportunism and revisionism. They must race against time to demarcate from that liberal sector of capitalism’s own brand of socialism (socialist in appearance but reactionary in content). But though they run, they cannot hide. Despite all their rhetoric, this sector is unable to demarcate from a situation they themselves created.
There are two tendencies within the radical left petite bourgeoisie in our time. One is the left opportunist tendency that is already bankrupt, unable to escape the trap it set for itself. The other is a proletarian revolutionary left. Though the latter is still currently mostly comprised of petit bourgeois elements, its primary task is to transfer from being an organization for the proletariat to an organization of the proletariat. If we are not successful in that transition, we will inevitably become stuck in the same predicament of petit bourgeois left radicalism.
It is objectively a class choice, a PROLETARIAN CHOICE. We are not the only ones who have faced this choice. The history of our movement is rich with experiences of non-proletarian revolutionary militants transforming themselves into proletarian revolutionary militants for the construction of a genuine proletarian alternative. Either we choose to prioritize our petit bourgeois careers (carving out a niche profession as a leftist intellectual, or advancing in the ranks of an NGO), or we choose the science of constructing proletarian revolution.
The proletariat, as a class, is not ready-made for revolution. The most advanced detachment of the proletariat, the communist militant (proletarian revolutionary militant), is to combat bourgeois and petit bourgeois ideology inside the proletariat for the class to become an autonomous class. This is one of the primary tasks of the communist militant. If we follow examples of previous militants, we can observe that in their practice.
The Concentration of Capital
The historical development of capitalism, inexorably but not uniformly, leads to a fundamental result: the concentration of capital.
Concentrated capital achieves market dominance by augmenting the scale of production, rationalizing it, and implementing new technologies for increasing the accumulation of surplus value.
In the final analysis, the concentration of capital determines the complex historical movements of capital, including division into individual capitals, the fusion between industrialists and financiers, and the various functions necessary for the reproduction of capital: material production, circulation of goods, and circulation of money. In all of these cases, the main aim is to accelerate the rotation of capital to constantly augment the rate of profit and open the possibility of credit (circulation of money).
The concentration of capital produces, in turn, fundamental transformations in the forms of capitalist property. Production for individual private capitalists is becoming obsolete, a thing of the past, and is gradually becoming geared toward groups of capitalists. This facilitates capitalists, a class of private owners, in appropriating a portion of the social capital. It also facilitates the constant historical formation of classes, class fusion, class transfer, and class dissolution to form a power bloc that dominates society.
The class struggle of the proletariat is the movement for the resolution and abolishment of all forms of concentration of capital and the judicial form of that concentration: private property.
Scientific Socialism/Dictatorship of the Proletariat
For the proletariat, even when they are not yet conscious of it, there is no need to engage in the practice of system-creating schemes. The solution for a new social formation exists only in the practice of resolving the antagonism that produces the source of all forms of concentration of capital: surplus value.
The discovery of this was not easy, but came through the process of development of proletarian class struggle.
The Paris Commune was simultaneously the initial expression as well as the end of a period in the history of working class organized struggle. Some observations and lessons from the Paris Commune:
* There was the fusion of a revolutionary theory with a revolutionary practice, of course with all their limitations.
* It was the first experience that radically demarcated from the petite bourgeoisie brand of socialism (Utopian Socialism) and their quest for non-antagonistic alternatives to capitalism.
* It marked the first defeat of the proletariat, followed by a brutal repression of the proletariat and sectors of the popular masses. But this demonstrated the need for a revolutionary organization of the proletariat, with Marxism as the most advanced theory to guide the revolutionary practice of the proletariat.
* It was also a success for the proletariat, who acquired a universal knowledge of the possibility of proletarian dictatorship. It opened up the road for proletarian revolution.
* The Commune forced the transformation of petit bourgeois intellectuals into proletarian revolutionaries. Before the Commune, Marx and Engels rejected the notion of insurrection, and afterward totally supported it, which clearly confirms that history is not created in the mind of intellectuals but by the masses. Marx’s actions are in stark contrast to today’s intellectuals. The latter take great pleasure in quoting Marx and Engels, thereby freezing their contributions in time, instead of finding general lessons from past practices to elaborate for the future.
* In the Commune, while the working class was the principal force, they were not the hegemonic leadership force. The working class was not the leadership force. The petite bourgeoisie was also present, and the working class did not yet have a unified proletarian theory to guide them. Scientific socialism was not the political line of the Commune, and thus could not guarantee its reproduction and survival.
Historically, humanity has so far produced one brand of socialism: scientific socialism. Scientific socialism is a political line of the international proletariat, which is to be applied by the proletariat in specific social formations, for the destruction of all forms of accumulation and concentration of capital through the destruction of its initial source: surplus value. It is the leadership of the proletariat, in unity with all working people, guiding the whole society on the path toward communism.
Scientific socialism is the ultimate level of class struggle, in which the revolutionary class, the working class, realizes power in a revolutionary struggle. This class takes power with the alliance of other dominated classes, under its leadership, and they enter a process of transforming the existing social relation to a new revolutionary social relation and mode of production.
So far, class struggle hasn’t produced any other kind of socialism. All the variations of “socialism” offered by the petite bourgeoisie are simply “system upgrades,” attempts to take away the historical role of the proletariat, for the protection and reproduction of capitalism. Marx and Engels first used the concept of scientific socialism to demarcate from the petit bourgeois metaphysical tendency of system creating.
Scientific socialism will sprout from the ashes of capitalism because all of its tendencies are manifested in capitalism. All the conditions to rid humanity of capitalism exist in capitalism, the proletariat in particular.
The proletariat is, in essence, the anti-proletariat, because they are objectively anti-capital (even if not conscious of this). No one wants to sell their labor power at a loss. No one wants the bulk of their labor to be unpaid, their labor power stolen. No one wants to be exploited.
The only way the proletariat can achieve their own abolition as a class is by the abolition of capital. That is scientific socialism.