The problem of the decline of capitalism is far from being exhausted and there are many questions that have still not been investigated in this study. The last half century has raised a series of new problems for revolutionary theory and furnished evidence allowing for a better understanding of the problems posed years ago. We make no pretence of having gone into all these questions, still less of having resolved them.
Our principal aims have been the following: first, to explain the basis for our conviction that the proletarian revolution has been on the agenda since World War 1. Second, to deal with the profound changes capitalist society has undergone, which make so many of the traditional positions of revolutionaries out of date: tactics which were valid in the nineteenth century have become counter-revolutionary today (parliamentarism, working in the unions, participation in national struggles). This has led us to show that only an analysis which leads to the recognition of the decadence of capitalism since 1914 allows for the integration of all the important phenomena which have appeared since then into a coherent world view:
•The curbing and slow-down of the growth of the productive forces by the dominant relations of production.
•The permanent exacerbation of antagonisms between factions of the ruling class.
•The appearance of world crises and world wars on an unprecedented scale, which get worse with each outburst.
•The inordinate development of the unproductive sectors at the expense of the productive sectors.
•The accelerated decomposition of all the ideological values of the system.
•The development of class antagonisms and the outbreak of proletarian revolutionary movements calling into question the system on a world scale.
•The development and strengthening of the state apparatus and its control over the whole of society (the general tendency to state capitalism).
All these phenomena can only be understood as expressions of the definitive inability of capitalist relations of production to fulfil the historic needs of humanity.
Those who speak of revolution today and deny the reality of decadence, fail to account for, not isolated phenomena, but the underlying dynamic which necessarily links these phenomena.
But to those who accept this interpretation of the present historical period, there remains the task of deepening the analysis of decadence and drawing out all the consequences which follow for revolutionary practice.