Part One: “… the consciousness of the necessity of a fundamental revolution”
In the Communist Manifesto, Marx writes:
“Does it require deep intuition to comprehend that man’s ideas, views, and conception, in one word, man’s consciousness, changes with every change in the conditions of his material existence, in his social relations and in his social life?”
In this statement Marx is arguing changes in material existence and social relations must produce changes in consciousness.
Based on his argument, we can assume when, in the German Ideology, he and Engels wrote capitalism gives rise to,
“a class which forms the majority of all members of society, and from which emanates the consciousness of the necessity of a fundamental revolution, the communist consciousness”,
they were making the argument capitalism gives rise to changes in material existence, social relations and social life that produces a communist consciousness.
I ask this, because I certainly don’t want to be accused of “stringing quotes together”. I want to be sure these two concepts — one from the Communist Manifesto, the other From the German Ideology — actually are related. I want to be sure the two arguments form a discrete, coherent and continuous line of reasoning going through their life’s work. This is so when I ask dumb fucking vanguardist groupuscules (like, e.g., the SWP (UK)) why they exist, I am on solid ground. But. more important, I want to make sure I am on solid ground when I begin looking at the arguments of both Kautsky and Lenin on the issue of working class consciousness. I don’t want any silly mindless vanguardists to say I am taking Engels or Marx out of context when I rip Kautsky and Lenin new assholes.
Part Two: “Lies, damned lies and statistics”
In part one of this series I made four points:
- Critical socialism is not the same thing as socialism proper: the first is a political criticism of capitalism, the second is a process created by capitalism itself.
- Socialism proper is nothing more than a transition from individual production and exchange to directly social production and results from the historical action of the capitalist mode of production itself on the conditions of labor.
- As against Mises’s argument that inequality of talents and abilities among the members of society is the precondition and determining force of social life, Marx argues the development of the productive forces obscures religious, social, intellectual and individual differences.
- When confronting this universal leveling power of the productive forces, the old dying order makes futile attempts to check or break it by political means, i.e., by employing the state power to protect its privileges.
In this part, I will show how Mises falsified empirical evidence, misrepresented Marx’s theory of capitalist concentration and centralization of capital, and some thoughts on why I think the Austrian school as a whole serves only as ideological cover for the apologists of the fascist state. The Austrian school provides these fascists with a conveniently pessimistic model of the real state of society in the absence of the state that is employed solely to discourage the working class from recognizing the need for its abolition. In short, Austrian theory reinforces the argument that there is no alternative to the fascist state.
In Marx’s and Engel’s manuscript (not published in their lifetimes), The German Ideology, they set out what must be a surprising argument if you read the typical member of the Marxist Academy, because that argument is still not taken seriously by Marxists, who insist the social revolution is a political event — the seizure of state power.
Introduction to this revision
On the Left there is a real prejudice that Paul Krugman’s Keynesian policy ideas represent a more humane form of capitalism than Obama, Bush, Geithner and Bernanke neoliberal policies. Or that state social spending represents a more moderate face of capitalism than calls to dismantle entitlements and welfare spending. Even anarchists like Chomsky or Marxists like Wolff buy in to this stupid proposition.
Let’s be clear about this: there is not a dime of fascist state spending on anything that is not aimed at prolonging the life of capitalism. There is not a single penny spent on the poor that is not aimed at anything but intensifying their poverty. We are talking about a class of cannibals that have ruthlessly leveled entire cities to gain a competitive industrial advantage. If you think capitalism has a human face, you should get your fucking head examined.
Henry VIII exterminated 70,000 men and women to force the working class to accept wage slavery. The folks who control wealth right now, slaughtered millions on every continent to accumulate it, yet we still have dumbasses in the movement who think Obama cares about the unemployed and about your health? We are facing a class of predators who would feed on your children if they thought it would give them a competitive advantage. These are people who will drive our species to the brink of an extinction level event, secure in the knowledge there is profit to be made.
Our limitation, naiveté, is the inability to imagine just how inhumanely they can act toward entire sections of humanity to make a buck. We on both the Left and Right can talk all we want about the Constitution or “human need”, but this is meaningless to these people. They have already told us “The Constitution is not a suicide pact.”
Translation: “Whatever we have to do, we will keep our monopoly over the wealth of society.”