Thursday, June 14, 2018

Why are the LIberal Writers So Depressing?

Some potential for conflict here I think
 Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

Just saying the problem with the world is "greed" explains nothing.

What is the authors intention in this article below? I do not think the word capitalism appears once. He talks of the emergence of European powers in the 15th century competing for world markets, labor and raw material (although he doesn't mention that either, they were simply driven by the desire for "subjugation" in the abstract) What was the economic foundation of these states? What is history?

The political orientation of authors like this one, Hedges is another and there are many more, leaves one in a state of despair. The period described boils down to the greed of rich individuals or a collection of rich individuals who want to subjugate people. The crisis facing global society at the moment is greed whatever that is and Bush had a lot to do with it. Are these individuals feudal lords?

"What the Bush administration did was simply take one gulp too many and the result has been a kind of national (and planetary) indigestion." the author writes.

What does this mean? It sounds like a cooking show. The reason this world outlook is so empty and depressing is that those holding it do not have a historical materialist world view. Not only is there no such thing as capitalism, therefore no capitalists, there is no working class either. Working class history in this author's mind doesn't exist. The class struggle doesn't exist whether it is in the form of the Native American's struggle against colonization and the introduction of capitalism to the continent or the factory occupations and strikes in France and the US during the 1930's or the revolutions in Russia, Spain and around the world.

That's why this worldview is so pessimistic and is more likely to be read by the petit bourgeois than working people. There is no force in society that can change society for the author, the working class doesn't exist and certainly cannot play a revolutionary role if it did. That working people could govern society would be an absurd concept. And perhaps the most important aspect of this thinking is that there is no alternative to capitalism, to the present mode of production and the political superstructure and social organization that arises from it.

This is the doomsday school of thought.

Compare this to what Engels wrote:
The materialist conception of history starts from the proposition that the production of the means to support human life and, next to production, the exchange of things produced, is the basis of all social structure; that in every society that has appeared in history, the manner in which wealth is distributed and society divided into classes or orders is dependent upon what is produced, how it is produced, and how the products are exchanged. From this point of view, the final causes of all social changes and political revolutions are to be sought, not in men's brains, not in men's better insights into eternal truth and justice, but in changes in the modes of production and exchange. They are to be sought, not in the philosophy, but in the economics of each particular epoch. 

Here there is an attempt to explain the workings of society and what form it takes.
Engels continues:
The growing perception that existing social institutions are unreasonable and unjust, that reason has become unreason, and right wrong, is only proof that in the modes of production and exchange changes have silently taken place with which the social order, adapted to earlier economic conditions, is no longer in keeping. From this it also follows that the means of getting rid of the incongruities that have been brought to light must also be present, in a more or less developed condition, within the changed modes of production themselves. These means are not to be invented by deduction from fundamental principles, but are to be discovered in the stubborn facts of the existing system of production.
Engels, Socialism Utopian and Scientific part 111

What is happening
now is that a global order that was brought about in the aftermath of a second great global war between the capitalist powers that killed some 50 million people is collapsing. The bi-polar world where two powers were able to maintain a certain stability for a period ended with the collapse of Stalinism and now we have a declining US imperialism, a power that for a brief moment of the 21st century dominated the global scene, threatened by the rise of China.  Despite its decline, US imperialism is armed to the teeth and the most dangerous and destructive force on the planet.

The author of the linked article is right when he writes that the events we have witnessed over the past period, "....could, in the end, result in ruin of a historic kind". We have made that very clear on this blog that unless capitalism is overthrown and replaced by a global federation of democratic socialist states, capitalism will end life as we know it.

But we have a more optimistic and realistic view. The working class, united and conscious of the task history has laid out for it, is the only force that can prevent the environmental and humanitarian catastrophe that capitalism offers. History teaches us this. There are no guarantees, leadership is a major factor in the outcome of any struggle. But the working class has the power to change society of that there is no doubt.
Here is the article:

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