Mattick on the "inevitability" of communism

6 posts / 0 new
Last post
Mattick on the "inevitability" of communism
Printer-friendly version

I was surprised to see this

I thought that it was generally thought to be a silly idea ?

I read the ending of the

I read the ending of the communist manifesto to mean that if the bourgeoisie falls, it is BECAUSE OF the victory of the proletariat. there is no other class.

" Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable."

Revolutionary factors

The factors identified by Marx in the Manifesto are required (the concentration and the association of proletarians in plants), but not sufficient. Other factors are required (party, mass strike, Soviets, proletarian armies ...). It is difficult to identify all the factors necessary to complete the overthrow of the capitalist society, but they sure appear both gradually and cyclically. Gradually because of the evolution of capitalism, cyclically due to its crises.

According to me, there is no absolute certainty about the victory of communism. Moreover, Marx suggests in the same Manifesto:

Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master(3) and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.

You have to think seriously about the possibility of failure if you want to win. 200 years of futur capitalism, until fully exhausted all the natural and human resources. The final degeneration, permanently prohibiting any movement towards communism.

i totally agree that it makes

i totally agree that it makes no sense to say that communism is strictly inevitable. 

i got in an argument (with a plank) as to whether contemporary communists are revisionists... especially on this question.

not inevitable

We would certainly agree that there is no inevitability about communism. It's true that certain formulations by Marx give this impression - for example in the Communist Manifesto itself, but the passage cited by Tagore is clearer (although not explicitly referring to capitalism) and opens the way to an understanding of the historic alternative alternative between socialism and barbarism, as we argued in this article quoted below on the concept of the historic course in the workers' movement: The fact that humanity ultimately faces this  alternative became much clearer when capitalism entered its period of decline, (see for example Rosa Luxemburg's use of the concept in the Junius Pamphlet).  


"The concept of the "historic course", as developed above all by the Italian Fraction of the Communist Left, is derived from the historic alternative developed by the marxist movement in the 19th century: the alternative between socialism and barbarism. In other words, the capitalist mode of production contains within itself two contradictory tendencies and possibilities - the tendency towards self-destruction, and the tendency towards the world-wide association of labour and the emergence of a new and higher social order. It must be emphasised that for marxism, neither of these tendencies are imposed on capitalist society from the outside, as for example in the bourgeois theories which explain manifestations of barbarism like Nazism or Stalinism as alien intrusions on capitalist normality, or as in the various mystical and utopian visions of the advent of communist society. Both the possible outcomes of capital's historic trajectory are the logical culmination of its innermost life-processes. Barbarism, social collapse, and imperialist war derive from the remorseless competition which drives the system forward, from the divisions inherent in commodity production and the perpetual war of each against all; communism, from capital's necessity to unify and associate labour, thus creating its own gravedigger in the proletariat. Against all idealist errors which tried to separate the proletariat from communism, Marx defined the latter as the statement of its "real movement", and insisted that the workers "have no ideals to realise, but to set free the elements of the new society with which old collapsing bourgeois society itself is pregnant" (The Civil War in France).

In the Communist Manifesto, there is a certain tendency to assume that this pregnancy would automatically result in a healthy birth - that the victory of the proletariat was inevitable. At the same time the Manifesto, in talking about previous class societies, shows that if no revolutionary outcome takes place, the result has been "the mutual ruin of the contending classes" - in short, barbarism. Although this alternative is not clearly announced for capitalism, it is the logical deduction flowing from the recognition that the proletarian revolution is anything but an automatic process, and requires the conscious self-organisation of the proletariat, the class whose mission is to create a society which for the first time allows humanity to become master of its fate".

I havent read the text by Mattick but it looks like a substantial one and would repay careful reading....


Thanks Alf, the quotes from

Thanks Alf, the quotes from Luxemburg's pamphlet on wikipedia should be enough to convince my friend that it's not a "modern Communist" (his disparaging term) revisionism of Marx.