Revolutionary midwifery to generalized self-management
The Communist International: Midwife of the Transition to Socialism
believe that the emergence of an international socialist organization
or ‘party’ of the world working class is an indispensable moment of a
revolutionary process transitional out of capitalist decay and into
global socialist society. But we disagree with the presently prevailing
attitudes concerning the nature and role of such an organization.
The best metaphor we know for the whole activity of the world Party is that of midwife.
The communist international is midwife to the birth of global socialism
from the womb of global capitalism. That Party does not, essentially, “lead”, “embody”, “exemplify”, “prefigure”, “represent”, “manage”, “command”, or dictate to the baby!
does not simply “lead” the class-for-itself. Rather, it is itself led
by its own acute reflection of the real dynamics of the immediate
revolutionary process, and of the real movement of humanity as a whole.
Its deep-rooted theoretical discernment of the needs of human
evolution, of the laws of that whole immanent movement of cosmological
evolution, within which human evolution is a latest and leading bud, is
its guide. The Party is led, in its interventions within its class
aimed at insuring that humanity takes the right road, by its ever
deepening grasp of the law of the Necessity of Freedom.
does not “embody” the socialist movement, or socialism as a quality of
social relations, in any exclusive sense whatever -- how could it? The
socialist movement, the movement toward socialism -- which is simply the real movement of human evolution at the present time -- is omnipresent in the world today -- in the whole human race, the world over. It is
omnipresent in the world-wide network of production and distribution,
of objectively socialized, cooperative wealth-creative activity -- the global division of labor
-- which is now the practical, material premise upon which rests the
existence of virtually every locality on the planet. This vast
international organization of social-reproductive activity has grown up
unconsciously as a whole, and behind the form of the world market -- the international competition of capitals -- but as its secret content, increasingly undermining and outgrowing that form. It renders the life of each individual alive today a world product; the material and spiritual product of the whole species, past and present -- giving each individual a manifest
self-interest in society as a whole, and in its global production. For
said individual cannot properly be conceived to exist, to have ‘self’,
apart from that great whole of selves which is society, the species.
This living global fabric of reproductive activity, the very epidermis
of the biosphere, is the pre-natal body of socialism.
The socialist quality of social relations simply cannot subsist in any smaller grouping; cannot be expressed by any lesser whole, or be reproduced on any local basis taken as isolated from this necessarily global process of the reproduction of that quality -- the lesser whole which is the revolutionary
Party most decidedly included. For this global totality of the species is the real
interior of every individual, every locality, every particular social
formation contained in it, however “external” and “far away” it may
appear to undialectical thought.
The lives of those who make
up the revolutionary Party are themselves but one organ of the present self-pregnancy of society,
and of the labor of birth which has begun -- part of the baby -- and
cannot pretend to be the baby already, delivered in advance.
Who belongs in the revolutionary Party?
Not those who desire private power and personal glory. This time, they
will not find it there. Not those who crave destructive violence for
the sake of revenge,
or as an end in itself. Rather, those who have already begun to see
over the capitalist horizon, to feel the birth pangs and labor pains
all around them -- those who find fulfillment in contributing this
service -- of midwifery -- to humanity.
Rather also, those who understand
the terrible social cost, in suffering and loss, of mass violence,
just as they know the ‘undeferable’ urgency of the birth of socialism,
which cannot survive delay, and who would thus minimize the agony of that birth, and maximize its joyfulness.
In the revolutionary Party belong all those who find their glory in beholding the drama, the adventure, the grandeur, the romance, and the beauty of the Dawning of Humanity, even while participating in, and humbly contributing their vital part to, that great unfolding in which they are inextricably included.
Create the Communist International, Midwife to the Revolution!
Not Bureaucratic Power, but loving service to human evolution, is its watchword.
Workers of the World, Unite!
War that does not supersede its pre-conditions is generalized self-mutilation
On the Evitability of World War III
In decadent capitalism, the colossal magnitude of the developed
productive forces of society expresses itself -- quite lawfully and
predictably -- as the colossal destructive power of the means of war.
The further growth of the potential productive forces -- of social
self-knowledge and knowledge of Nature, called “science” and “technology” under capitalism -- continues, but it can less and less be
realized as productive force (meaning force of expanded production of
society; force productive of social expansion; both intensive and
extensive, both qualitative and quantitative), i.e., as the
growth-force of society.
Instead, this potential is increasingly shunted away into the
ever-expanding production of the military means of social destruction
-- the fusion bomb, napalm, anti-personnel bombs, poison gases,
synthetic germs, gigantic missile-carrier boats, and the like, as well
as other forms of social waste -- that is, this vast potential expanded-life-reproductive force is increasingly ‘realized’ as social
destructive force. The productive forces increasingly become negative;
anti-growth or contractive forces of society, applied by global human society itself, to global human society itself. Their negative state
represents an actual gradual depletion of social resources, and an
accumulating potential for sudden realization as catastrophic
negative growth, or self-accelerating contracted reproduction (self-‘unproduction’) of the
global humanity which their ascendant, positive state had only just recently brought into existence.
But it is only, by now, in this destructive and finally self-destructive form that capital can any longer accumulate its advancing productive forces as capital -- that is, profitably, and without eating fatally into the exchange-value of the historically accumulated “proprietorship” or “equity” account on its “balance sheet”. The constructive realization
of the collective productive force of human society today, under the
reign of the capital-relation, would mortally wound the entire
carried-forward fixed asset valuations (the very liquidity-equity base needed to pay off
debt obligations) and accumulated debt obligations
-- that superstructure which IS “accumulated capital”
itself -- through the massive technological obsolescence, and extinguishment of capital-value, that it would
entail, at a stage in the self-evolution of the capital-relation when fixed asset
valuations and capitalized past debt, rather than the value of current
product, forms the major portion of core-capitalist-owned exchange-value
(the opposite of what was the case during capital’s “ascendant phase”).
War itself is the acute phase of the general ‘in-growing’ and ‘impaction’ of the productive forces in decadent capitalism -- the
veritable self-implosion of social reproduction. The social state called “war” makes violently visible, in the red glow of gutting fire, the
negative sign which increasingly but stealthily hovers over the
unprecedented magnitude of the productive forces throughout the
decadent period of the capitalist mode of human-societal self-production.
The social self-force, the force of social evolution, ordinarily
oriented timeward and self-ward (pro-self-development;
pro-essence-realization) reverses; becomes ‘ante-time’ (“reactionary”)
and ‘anti-self’ (self-obliterative). In this negative state, the
productive forces devour themselves, like the Worm Orobouros, hurling
human society askew on a trajectory toward barbarism and extinction.
Capitalist war -- “inter-capitalist war”, ‘inter-nation war’, or,
really ‘intra-capitalist war’; ‘intra-world-market war’ -- is an
explosive manifestation of the self-contradiction
of capital, of its enfetterment of its productive forces. War is the
self-devastation of society, and
of the biosphere, which is society’s real body. It is the realization
of fictitious capital, of negative use-value, of anti-wealth.
Socialists, who by definition belong to the tendency of the positive
abolition of capital, must do everything in their power to preclude
the capitalist “solution” to capital’s crisis -- viz., the negative
abolition of capital, its self-annihilation,
taking not just capitalist
society but society in general down with it. The twin moments of this
capitalist solution are war and depression, self-cannibalization of
humanity by war and “self-cannibalization” of humanity by “austerity”.
But the only value such diverse efforts may yield depends upon, and will lawfully be in
vain without, the renascent social climate that only the programmatic
thrust of a world socialist movement can create. This programmatic
thrust has to be based upon the socialist scientific discovery of the
socialist program for this era. That means a program that can solve the
present sharp economic crisis as part of ending the whole period of
capitalist decadence (of which the present crisis is only an acute
moment), which has brought pauperization, looting, and decay to the
majority of the world’s populations, solving that crisis by restarting the positive development of the productive forces -- realized as expanded social
reproduction -- on a world scale, for the ‘inter-mutual’ and resonant
benefit of all peoples -- inaugurating a new era of global prosperity in the total sense of that word: the Socialist Renaissance, the opening chapter of human post-prehistory on this planet.
This must be a program around which the working classes of the whole
planet can rally in international unison, and for whose step-by-step
implementation the socialist movements everywhere can press and agitate.
Such a programmatic movement -- and its successive-approximation
realization as a transition to global socialism -- is the only lasting
preventative to war. It is the beginning of the conscious, deliberate
ending of capitalist society by capitalist society itself, at the undeferable insistence
of its decisive internal ‘negate-ive’ pole, the world proletariat.
Apart from such a programmatic thrust and content,
the socialist movement can only be, as it is at this moment, a dim
shadow of itself, a fumbling, floundering holdover from past tradition
that can’t quite seem to ‘remember’ its real mission, or the real
essence of the motives and conceptions of its many founders, who could
and did. Apart from such programmatic pith, the socialist movement is
doomed to remain a hollow formal shell of, at
best, mere ethical idealism; at worst, sordid brokerage of bureaucratic
power -- and as either, a shallow, ineffectual pushover for -- or
inadvertent tool of -- Fascist Barbarism.
With respect to the task of discovering the socialist program of our
times, Marx’s most “abstruse” and “abstract” conceptions could not be
more relevant, helpful, and concrete. Theory could not be a more
vitally practical value. For a sound socialist program can come about
only as the fruit of a dialectical-scientific human self-comprehension of the
actual process of global human social self-reproduction ongoing at this very
moment; the comprehension by humanity of the self-creative praxis of humanity.
The choice is clear : War, Barbarism, and Extinction, or the practical collective self-mastery of self-expanding human social self-re-production -- necessarily also containing its theoretical mastery -- by the associated producers.