A critique of ideas that make us weak.

This is a problem:

George is right, capitalism must go. (though he does not fully say that – he says neoliberalism must go, implying that some capitalism is ok?) Many people know capitalism is at the root of poverty, racism, climate crisis and war.  It must go. What must be done to make that happen?

Capitalism must go to save the planet. And…?

Monbiot’s message:  We need a new story. This is like saying we need a new theory of evolution. It is an insult to history.  There is a story, one he does not mention here.

The old story is as good as new.  Better.  Scientific socialism proposed by Marx and Engles has been around for about 180 years and it is not a “story” but a comprehensive theory and mode of praxis.

Here are three keys elements of the theory.  Please follow the links to get a sense of the theory.

Why and how revolutions work.
“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”  (Marx and Engles)

The forces of production get out of sync with the relations of production till there is a new mode of production.

To really get this, it helps to understand historical materialism and labour theory of value. 

The theory social change does not mean it describes every moment of history.  It does provide a way of understanding the change process.

How capitalism prevents socialism.
Somehow it produces and promotes people like Monbiot!  He sounds anti-capitalist but undermines effective opposition to it. Just as people start to rebel, they get side tracked by ideas that will weaken the rebellion. Just why that happens is explained by the theory of base and superstructure.  Capitalists ideas come to the surface all the time.  Capitalists own the media, the education system.  They make capitalism sound normal and natural.

“Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement.”  (Lenin) To keep that theory alive takes a bit of doing.

Action and Knowledge
How do we know what works? What is right? We lean through action – then we iterate – create new hypothesis – test them – learn more.  Science is dialectical.  You can’t just dream up something and then persuade people to make it happen.  Knowledge is dependent on social practice.

“The intellectual virtues underlying Lenin’s philosophy of science—his anti-orthodoxy, his anti-dogmatism and his insistence on debates that meets the standards of rational enquiry, are now in as much need of being reclaimed as the core virtues of politics as they were when he first defended them.” (Joe Pateman)

And learn from history!









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