On the Historical Specificity of the current stage of Capitalism and on the nature of the Era. LISBOA 4.5.2012

Dr. Dimitrios S. Patelis*

 

[CONGRESSO INTERNACIONAL MARX EM MAIO

3, 4, 5 MAIO 2012. FACULDADE DE LETRAS DA UNIVERSIDADE DE LISBOA].

Introduction.

On Theoretical Periodization of Capitalism.

The Logic behind the Maturation of the Conditions of Revolution in History.

The Necessity for Distinguishing Early from Late Socialist Revolutions.

The Subject of Early Revolutions.

The October Revolution and the unsolved Basic Contradiction of Socialism.

Late Socialist Revolutions and their Subject.

On the New Stage of Capitalism.

On the Current Structural Crisis of Capitalism and the Scientific and Technological Revolution.

The Intermediate Character of the Present Situation and Prospects.

Conclusions.

 

Introduction.

Scientific periodization of history is a necessary approach to the low-governed process of history, to the main theoretical and practical issues of humankind, is a necessary term of drawing strategy and tactic in any social movement with prospect. Historical eras are distinguished in the course of historical process as typical periods of development, with their own concrete content, with their own contradictions, with their own character and driving forces-subjects. From the perspective of the latter in each historical concrete era raises the specificity of the dynamics, the contradictory character of the social development and the inconsistency of a specter of possibilities, the direction and the tasks of the actual and potential historical subjects. From the point of view of the objectively identified elements, privileged for social theory and philosophy research, are the transitional eras, particularly those of them witch are offered in principle to empirical diagnosis directly during the live of a generation.

The problem of the Historical Specificity of the current stage of Capitalism becomes of great significance in the context of the contemporary globalized capitalism, especially under conditions of global, systemic and structural economic, social, political and ecological Crisis of that system. The above problem is a part of the greatest problem of the era: the perspective of the transition of society to the unified humankind.

I am convinced that scientific answers on the above problem can be given as a result of theoretical and methodological investigation of that problem, from the point of view of dialectical Social Philosophy, of theory and methodology of the Logic of History.

This paper is aimed to analyze the theoretical and methodological criteria of periodizaton and the characteristics of the contemporary stage of capitalism in the framework of the Logic of History. According to this framework, the historical process is regarded as a gradual transformation of the natural (including the biological) by the social, i.e., as a social sublation of the latter by the former. Such an approach overcomes the narrowness and sketchiness of periodization based on some invariable signs of the mode of production and establishes the periodization in accordance with the changing foundation. The stages in the process of development are analyzed here:

- As the unity of the natural (including the biological) and the social;

- As a process of emergence of the social from the natural;

- As the transformation of the natural by the social.

In this way, the following stages of development are distinguished out in the progressive historical development of society:

1. The beginning of the process of historical development the creation of historical preconditions for society (walking upright, homo sapiens species, the gregarious way of life and the corresponding natural-ecological conditions) before society existed.

2. The primary emergence of society primitive-communal system.

3. The formation of society (transformation by the emerging society of the natural environment, of those conditions from which it has emerged) class-antagonistic formations:

      Slave-owning socio-economic formation the birth of private ownership as ownership of the means of production;

      Feudal socio-economic formation the development of large private ownership on the non-adequate basis (on terms set mainly by nature);

      Capitalist socio-economic formation the development of large private ownership on the adequate basis (with means created mainly by humans). The completion of the formation of human society.

4. The maturity of society (inclusion of the natural base transformed) in the process of the development of society classless unified society, communism.

Theoretical research into the historical process makes it possible to reveal the main regularities of dynamics in the development of society and to trace the perspectives of humanity, which are not accessible to the conventional-empirical approach of modern times (Vazulin, 1992).

So, theoretical periodization of capitalism (based on the philosophical and methodological approach of the Logic of Marxs Capital, of the Lenins analysis of Imperialism, and of the Logic of History[1]), the key points of contemporary global capitalism and the inconsistency between capitalism and the use of scientific and technological progress are pointed out. Theoretical periodization of capitalism is deeply correlated with theoretical periodization of world revolutionary process, of the historical forms of socialist revolutions. Particular emphasis is given to the structural crisis of the capitalist system.

 

On Theoretical Periodization of Capitalism.

 

Capitalist socio-economic formation, according to the Logic of History (see Vazulin, pp. 371-94), is the completion of the formation of human society. It marks the growth of large private property on the basis of produced means of production, (relatively equal to this large private ownership basis), and the dominance of Commodity-Money Relations.

The external limit of the extensive development of capitalism is the formation of the world capitalist system (which is limited by the creation of the world socialist system). The internal limit of extensive development is the limit of extension (through concentration-centralization) of the capitalist ownership as an economic form; that is monopoly (see Lenin, 1917).

Despite the fact that capitalism moves towards its intensive growth, even from its maturity stage (capital appreciation due to machines produced by machines), the intensive growth of capitalism is dominant only at the stage of imperialism. The inconsistency between productive forces and productive relations is intensified. However, it cannot be absolute, because absolute inconsistency requires the absolute elimination of living labour from the production process and the complete automation of production (maximizing fixed capital and reducing variable capital to zero). However, this is an extreme limit (of intensive growth of capitalism), the reaching of which pertains to infinity. Reaching this limit would reject the essence of capitalism, as imposed by the core social relations of production, thus by the position of living labour in the productive interaction between society and nature. The attainment of this limit would also mean overcoming (qualitatively and essentially) the measure of existence of capitalism, as this is dictated by the inner core of the capitalistic relations of production, by the position of living labour in the productive interaction between society and nature.

From this point of view, the automatic collapse of capitalism is impossible and unachievable. But the immanent contradiction of capitalism begets the real historical limit of the intensive development of capitalism: socialist revolution, which in its essence focuses on eliminating the domination of private property in means of production.

 

The Logic behind the Maturation of the Conditions of Revolution in History.

The scientific diagnosis of the international revolutionary process, thus of the position and the role of each specific historical contribution to this process, is possible only in the context of the theoretical and methodological investigation of the causalities, which drive the logic of the history of humankind when is treated as a whole (see Vazioulin 2004). From this point of view the socialist revolution emerges as the necessary form of the law-governed social transition to the actually socialized humankind, to communism.

During the formation of society the escalation of the each time prevalent modes of the production developmental stages of the relations of private ownership (in slavery, feudalism and capitalism) also means an escalation in the transformation of the endowments of the natural and communal element, caused by the making of the social factor. Private ownership itself, whose climax is the capitalist private ownership, is nothing but the first negation of the nature and the community, a fact also signaled by the competitive element of the exploitation and oppression of class societies, as an expression of the animal struggle for survival, incompletely transformed by the social making. In this contradictory course the very social character of labour, of production, namely the foundation of human socialization and society, arises, forms and matures. Private ownership, in the contradictory course of its appearance, formation and development (climaxing at capitalism), promotes the social character of labour, while at the same time it puts various barriers to its further development. Now there is a need for revolutionary transformation of society to the second negation, the negation of the negation, aiming to a dialectical sublation of capitalism and of all the pre-capitalist (animal, communal, divisive, competitive, etc.) endowments of history (while maintaining all the cultural conquests of vital importance in a transformed form) as well as to a transition towards a unified humankind (in harmony with the nature), no longer being in the form of small individual communities at separate apartments (correspondent to pre-class primitive communities), but being in the first place on a global scale.

The contradictions of capitalism and the conditions for staging the socialist revolution (as a negation of capitalism in the first place) become mature as soon as the social character of production becomes a technical necessity, through the transition to mechanised production (through the transition from the formal to the real subordination of labour to capital). However at the beginning of the transition towards a mechanised production, the social (or to be more precise the very social character of production) barely appears. The social character of production reaches the stage of its maturity, through the transition towards an automated production, forming an integrated automated complex (automated not only regarding the chains of continuous, sequential production, branches of factories, and etc., but regarding also entire individual sectors as well as all the sectors, consequently the entire network of production in society).

The center of the international revolutionary process, due to the immanent imbalance in development in the framework of capitalism (nowadays on the increase), is defined in space and time by the interweaving interests, the aggravation and interlacing of internal and external contradictions, the historical endowments etc., of the international capitalist system in various countries, groups of countries and regions. The international capitalist organic system neither extends nor is established equally all over the planet. It brings humankind into an international lattice, into a networkmain frame (a chain, according to Lenin) of relations (production, interdependencies, domination, etc), whose endurance in the various parts of the planet fluctuates according to the historical situation, but with respect to the level of the imbalanced development of production and society as a whole. The contradictoriness of the system, its critical phenomena and the revolutionary situations, as objective conditions of the socialist social (not just political) revolution, is expressed with increased intensity and frequency in the occasionally formed weak links of this main frame.

his phenomenon is a basic characteristic of the law-governed international revolutionary process (with increasing effects today due to increased imbalance of development). However, in case it is not diagnosed, dangerous delusions may be spread, which result into the disappointment, the frustration and the retirement of the masses.

Despite opposite views, the victorious socialist transformations cannot start directly in the heart of capitalism. The spot they are going to start from again is not a matter of taste or subjective choice, but is defined by the law-governed determination of the occurring center (centers) of the international revolutionary process.

 

The Necessity for Distinguishing Early from Late Socialist Revolutions.

For the historically and dialectically educated mind it is clear that any complex historical process needs to go through early-fragile versions and phases until it is established and matures to its late forms. For example: bourgeois revolutions suffered repeated defeats, while several counter-revolutions and restorations of versions of the feudal relations and absolute monarchy occurred until capitalism was finally established. In this process there are two distinct periods: the period of the early and the period of the late bourgeois revolutions.

The international revolutionary process and the socialist building are not historical exceptions to this dialectical rule.

V. A. Vazioulin introduced the concept (historical category) of early socialism in the late 1980s-early 1990s, in order to develop the theory of the Logic of History concretising the dialectics of the contradictory route to communism, in contrast to the prevalent linear views of history (see: Вазюлин, 2005, pp.345-418). The depreciation of the momentous significance of early socialist revolutions may be overcome by exalting the position and the role they play within the dynamic of the changing structure of the transitional era that produces them, in the movement of this structure from phase to phase, within the dialectics of the international, regional and local element during the transition of humankind to communism, through the revelation, on this basis, of the dialectical relation between universal-general, special-particular and individual in their law-governed emergence, escalation and de-escalation, in the conflict between revolutionary and counter-revolutionary tendencies. Consequently, it is necessary to distinguish two stages in the revolutionary process and in the building of socialism on international scale in order to refound the theoretical communist perspective.

This concept as a form of reflection and generalization of the real historical process, according to its essential attributes, aims to show, through theory and methodology, the ways and the means for positive resolution at first in the field of revolutionary theory of the complex of problems that acts as the philosophers stone of an existential importance for the approaches and doctrines of the left. The adoption of this theoretical and methodological approach on the side of an increasing number of thinkers (mainly young) coming from various countries, traditions and components of the left-wing is a fact.

he first stage of this process consists of waves of the early socialist revolutions in countries described by an inadequately socialised level of production development. Early socialist revolutions result as a causality anywhere their objective conditions, among which is the revolutionary situation, appear.

 

The Subject of Early Revolutions.

The above processes are neither processes without a subject (according to Louis Althusser) nor above politics. Considering a generally undifferentiated view on the working class (apart from the concrete historical forms of labour), versions of which (from economism to metaphysics-messianism) are prevalent among the leftists, there should be an epigrammatic reference to the character of the subject of the early and late socialist revolutions.

The subject of early socialist revolutions is the traditional proletariat, the industrial working class, which is involved mainly in repeated, manual, executive, laborious, one-dimensional and often unhealthy labour processes, which emerge as a means for the (chiefly quantitative) satisfaction of constant requirements. Mans activity becomes a derivative of the prevailing technical and social conditions, is squeezed into them and is reduced to non-creative functions. The character of the labour of this type of working class is related to the transition from the formal to the real subordination of labour to the capital, which results from mechanised production. As a result of the latter the division of labour turns into a technical necessity dictated by the real conditions of production. The historical necessity for turning this traditional working class from a class in itself, that is, an economically defined category with no self-awareness, to a class for itself, fomed by workers with a class-conscious view of the world, and ready prepared and determined to pursue class conflict against capitalism, is generally connected with the development of the theoretical conquest of classical Marxism, hence the ideological appreciation and use of this conquest as well as the respective political-organisational patterns (i.e. the new type of Leninist party in the early 20th c.).

As a result of the action of this subject and its allies, the early victorious socialist revolutions appear and early socialism emerges, whose main characteristics and causalities were mainly revealed by the historical experience of the USSR. There are two basic characteristics of the early socialism that results from the victorious early socialist revolutions: a) it surfaces and develops on a (bequeathed from the version of capitalism it overthrows) material, technical and cultural basis, which is not completely commensurate to socialism (not to mention the instant prospects for transition to communism), under the conditions of an inadequately socialised character of labour and b) it emerges in a framework in which the forces of the capitalist world have the supremacy.

 

The October Revolution and the unsolved

Basic Contradiction of Socialism.

 

Some consider the character of the October Revolution in the way the Mensheviks and the Second International did: as early with the present meaning: as something emerging early, before its time, which allegedly occurred out of place and time, as if Lenin and the Bolsheviks had staged a coup d état. However, early socialist revolutions are neither ordered nor encouraged by any kind of deontology. They result as causality wherever their objective conditions, and mainly the revolutionary situation, appear. As revolutionaries the Bolsheviks had no other choice since the revolutionary situation had already broken out.

However, the endowments of the low developmental level of productive forces (with strong presence of the pre-capitalist manual-executive labour) de facto attach to the imposed by the socialist revolution relations of production the character of formal socialisation. Due to the fact that the victorious early socialist revolutions at first break out in one and later in more countries, they are under capitalist encirclement, while surrounded by stronger enemies and suffering foreign invasions and wars World War II, Cold War and numerous local hot military conflicts, which they face through the hasty building of socialism (i.e. industrialisation and collectivisation in the USSR), militarisation of society, geopolitical tactics for precipitate avulsion and protection of the maximum living space for socialism, etc. The imbalanced development of productive forces also leads to a low level of integration among the countries of early socialism, tension with geopolitical elements of the past, sometimes even to military conflicts between them (i.e. Yugoslavia-USSR, China-USSR, China-Vietnam, etc.).

It is understood that the degree to which the social character of production matures, which is necessary and enough for rupturing the weak link, as well as for overthrowing and negating capitalism, is not enough for the positive building, for the formation and development of communism. In the second case the criteria for evaluating the degree to which the social character of production (as well as the rest of social aspects) matures are no longer the criteria of capitalism, but the criteria of communism as a process. Therefore, there is a developing process of conformity non-conformity of the social character of production with socialist relations of production.

Consequently, the basic contradiction of early socialism (and the general socialistic building, as a process of the formation of communism) is the contradiction between the social ownership (formal socialisation in the beginning, nationalisation) of the production means and poor development, immaturity of the social character of production or, in other words, the contradiction between formal and real socialisation[2]. Thanks to the experience of the USSR and the Peoples Republic of China as well as of the rest of the countries that resulted from the early socialist revolutions of the 20th century (East Europe, Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, etc.) we can conclude that this contradiction, in connection with which all the rest of socialist contradictions (physical and mental labour, executive and administrative labour, country and town, equality of nations, etc.) is historically necessary and law-governed. Historical experience has revealed that early socialism (and any socialism) will either resolve, promote this basic contradiction, while moving to communism, or will regress during its resolution, will move backwards, which will result in subverting the conquests of the revolution and gradually enforcing tendencies towards counter-revolution and restoration before the final predominance of these tendencies.

At the stage of immaturity, of the process of forming and maturing the social character of production, both socialist and capitalist relations of production may exist. his stage is the material and technical basis of the necessity for early socialist revolutions, the coexistence of two social systems, as well as the counter-revolutionary attempts towards restoration, which accompany early socialist revolutions as a causality.

 

Late Socialist Revolutions and their Subject.

The completion of the first stage leads to the transition to the era of the late socialist revolutions, which will lead to the permanent and irrevocable elimination of capitalism. Only when the international revolutionary movement and socialism develop on such a scale that the possibilities for the parasitism of the developed capitalist countries will disappear (as well as the opportunities for buying off-manipulating all the components of their working class, both traditional and new) they will lead to the revolutionary transformation of the subject of late socialist revolutions and to the outbreak of socialist revolutions in developed capitalist countries focusing the struggle on the heart of capitalism.

Likewise, there are two basic characteristics signalling the onset of the era of late socialism: a) socialism starts to develop on a material, technical and cultural basis, which is completely commensurate to socialism (moving in the direction of communism) under the conditions of an adequately socialised character of labour and b) the development of socialism takes place within a framework in which the forces of the socialist world start to have the supremacy against the forces of the capitalist world.

The subject of the forthcoming late socialist revolutions is a different type of worker, who is formed and develops in labour processes described by renewal, development, creativity, development of creative abilities, global-universal orientation and the need for labour (not labour as a means and product for intimidation via starvation or repression). It is the subject of the activities connected with automatisation, which stop being considered as labour in the traditional meaning of the term, while a pre-representation of the developed form of those activities is provided by the most creative moments of scientific and artistic research activity, what Marx used to call universal labour. his subject is today produced and reproduced by the international capitalist system in an imbalanced way as a class in itself, under objective conditions that reproduce the phenomena connected with attitudes of labour aristocracy. he subject of this labour is not directly subordinated to the rigidity of imposed and established material and technical terms. It handles and creates full-range developmental and developing materials and ideal means and modes of the influence of man on his environment, which are at the same time both means and modes of correlation, interaction and communication among the people. It is exactly these characteristics that may distinguish the subject that, when transformed into a class for itself, will consciously carry out the basic contradiction of socialism, which will at the same time annul the contrariety between productive forces and relations of production (when productive forces will be transformed into relations of production and vice versa).

People are unable to control the objective conditions of their existence without being able to create and change them on purpose. This is the basic aspect of the start of the predominance of living against dead labour.

A law-governed and prerequisite condition of the course of humankind to communism is the conscious involvement of the subject in the promotion of revolutionary transformations to a degree directly proportional to the breadth and the depth of these transformations. Hence the vital importance of the fundamental development of the revolutionary theory and methodology through the dialectical sublation of the conquest of classical Marxism (see: Вазюлин, 2005) in order for this subject to constitute a class for itself.

However, in the first place this subject should exist as the agent of the respective properties related to cognition and conscience, which are not due to the inspiration from a holy or devilish spirit, but chiefly subject to the character of its working activity and its relevant broader cultural education.

When the USSR faced the need for transition from the extensive to the intensive type of development (late 1950s, early 1960s), the new subject that could promote this transition by elevating the basic contradiction of socialism to a higher level was statistically, socially and politically insignificant (some of its elements appeared in certain sectors of science, aerospace and military industry).

 

On the New Stage of Capitalism.

If we tried to give a concise definition of the current stage of capitalist development, of global imperialism, we would say that it is the transnational-monopolistic stage of capitalist subordination of humanity to transnational-multinational monopolistic corporations.

The characteristics of this stage are:

1. The concentration and centralization of capital, as well as socialization of production. The high-level development of the latter creates the current internal limit of capital extensive growth: the transnational monopolistic corporations, which play a decisive role in economic life on a global scale.

2.    The merger of financial and industrial capital, more specifically the subordination of the second to the first, and the formation of a global financial oligarchy on the basis of this financial capital. We need to stress the importance of instant financial flows, which are getting related to production trough several intermediary levels and forms. This is accompanied by the corresponding transfer of parts of the production process all around the globe, which has acquired pronounced importance, instead of traditional exports of capital and goods.

3.    According to the second stage of scientific-technological revolution, the creation of a technological basis of globally distributed and inter-networked production is done by transnational monopolistic corporations, in terms of production and not only in terms of export circulation of capital (also see Bakan, 2004). The creation of such a basis, on the one hand leads to the real subordination of global labour to globalized capital (the global distribution of labour turns out to be a technological need), and on the other hand, marks the beginning of the creation of global productive forces, shaping the technological basis for the unification of humanity, according to radical changes of character of the labour[3].

4.    Given the change of the limit of extensive growth of capital (due to the restoration of capitalism in most countries of early socialism in the twentieth century) as well as of the limit of intensive growth of capital (due to the second stage of the scientific-technological revolution and restructuring of production), the following results are observed:

      Escalation of the division of the world among the international monopolistic corporations and subordination of society to these corporations.

      Reconstruction of forces and establishment of poles for the division of land (soil, subsoil, sea, air, space) and power among the biggest and strongest capitalist powers.

Globalized imperialism is a distinct stage of the development of capitalism. During this stage the dominance of multinational monopolistic conglomerates and of financial capital is shaped, instant cash flows are becoming significant, the technological basis for the unification of production is created by conglomerates, the redistribution of wealth among multinational monopolistic groups is increased and the major capitalist countries are struggling for redivision of land, subsoil, sea, air, space and power (see and Ziegler, 2002, 2005).

The scientific and technological revolution is associated with the transition from the extensive to the intensive development of the economy as a whole. This correlation leads to radical transformations in the structure and dynamics of productive forces:

       With respect to the combination of quantitative and qualitative characteristics of products, taking into account the meeting of the needs of all the members of society (more or equal to the minimum, less or equal to the maximum), and the waste by-products that derive from the productive activity upon nature and society

       With respect to the breadth, depth, strength, inflexibility-flexibility correlation, rate of operation, layout and the interconnection of technological provisions of production means, as determined by the nature, level and degree of integration of scientific knowledge in those

       With respect to the nature, level and degree of combined targeted implementation of laws of nature and society, depending on the degree of conversion of science into a direct productive force, which entails the corresponding expenses of natural and social resources

       With respect to the texture and character of objects, materials and processes of the productive activity upon nature

       With respect to the technical and organizational aspects of distribution of labour

       With respect to the character of labour, the kind of effort that is required from the subject to produce the object (directed to the part or to the whole, manual and intellectual, continuous-repetitive-monotonous and rotating-changing-creative, executive and performative, and so on)

       With respect to the kind of psychosomatic properties of the subject (human being) of the labour, in terms of the structure of this subject, the scale (individual, group, unified humanity) and the relationships between its components

       With respect to the correlation between creative and destructive processes, and so on.

This revolution upgrades the subject of labour in a controversial way, by upgrading the real terms of production. The creation of different levels of automated production systems, dramatically changes the position and role of humans in production as well as the dynamics of the productive forces of society. These changes do not involve quantitative expansion of production processes on a stable-invariable technological basis, but mainly qualitative changes on the productive forces, the technique, the organization and the training-education of the subject of labour. These are the exact changes that mark the transition towards the intensive type of economic development. The above processes are taking place in a contradictory way. This is not a linear evolutionary process of pure technological character. These processes are associated with the entire complex of human activities and relationships (with the prominent role of relations of production) and require a gradually more active and conscious involvement of the social subject. These processes are unlikely to be thoroughly and effectively interpreted, by applying the various technocratic approaches or the methodologically similar anti-technocratic trends (both unable to understand the dialectical character of the development, the logic of history).

 

On the Curent Structural Crisis of Capitalism and the Scientific and Technological Revolution.

Any new technology intersection (paradigm) is not consolidated into large-scale production instantly and effortlessly. At first it appears as an abstract potentiality from the existing range of practice-applied outlets generated by basic research and fundamental scientific knowledge, in a feedback connection with the technological capabilities and the production needs of the time. Thus, it escalates into actual potential, through applied orientated research programs, which evolve into experimental manufacturing processes and industrial production surveys - in particular patents until it is made productive, through its technological processing. The above process is not a linear process of free choices, based on a series of logical steps. The actual socio-economic conditions (profitability in the case of capitalism) are involved in every step along the way, accelerating or retarding, orienting and disorienting, creating incentives, disincentives, barriers or failures, imposing certain directions over others, and so on. Only a small part of patent rights, held by the monopolistic conglomerates, are used in a productive way. A great part of them remains bound (using the benefits of the patent monopoly and the capacity of patents to block innovations) in order not to be used by competitors, as long as there are chances of profitability or monopolistic excess profit from already invested capitals in other preceding technologies. The last thing the monopolistic conglomerates desire is to provide competitors with a new series of unexpected strategic moves. Typical example of this are the institutional changes in higher education and research (the Bologna Process, Common European Research Area [ERA], and so on), changes that suggest the systematic undermining of basic research (physical and social) and clearly support the institutionalization and reproduction of a unilateral mechanism, oriented towards directly applied and technological outlets, rather than the available acquisition of basic research.

In any case, technological reconstructing of production is neither the first nor the most direct or only solution chosen by capital. As a result of the intensity of the quarrel in conditions of crisis (which occurs between the poles of labour and capital at a national, regional and global level, between the monopoly corporations for intrasectional and intersectional domination, between old and new imperialistic poles, between monopolized and non-monopolized capital, and so on) and the resulting changes of global current events, capital has the tendency to resort to the following solutions, or a combination of these:

1.    Relocation of production (spatial fix) of the enterprise in countries and areas with the optimal combination of exploitation of labour, energy, natural resources, transfer, anti-pollution legislation elasticity, and so on

2.    Technological reconstruction of production (technological fix)

3.    Transport to more lucrative, less concentrated, and so on branches of production (product fix)

4.    Exodus to the financial sphere (financial fix), through the sale of production units, and the turn to financial or other temporary investments (also see Silver, 2003).

As a rule, the solutions chosen by capital are derived by a series of repeated trial and error, until the choice is the safest way, always depending on the circumstances and the choices of competitors.

As far as the technological component of productive forces is concerned, which is the basis of the actual intensive development of capitalism, we need to note that there is some contradictory, deterministic escalation.

In the early twentieth century, the first stage of scientific and technological revolution (the beginning of automation in the level of production, departments, laboratories, single energy-productive units, in series and in sequence production-assembly, mass production via assembly lines, Fordism, Taylorism, and so on) set the ground for the intensive development of imperialism. At this stage, the export of capital over the export of commodities has a vital role, as this is gradually shaping the global system of productive relations, on the basis of financial capital, within the privileged area of circulation. Crises and wars have consolidated the policy of state-monopoly regulation in various forms. The experience of the previous structural crisis of capitalism (1929-33), shows that before the outbreak of the crisis, there is a significant slowdown in the pace of industrialization (Richta, 1967). Since the decade of 1930-1940, during the Second World War and especially during the Cold War, 'monopolies put into circulation a large number of inventions and patents, thus increasing the pressure for innovation. Expenses are spent very quickly on basic and experimental scientific research. The social position of technique is restored and economic growth is remarkably accelerated again' (op. cit.). This recovery is largely associated with the Keynesian policies of state interventionism, public expenditure and state-monopoly regulation, the origins of which are linked with war and military expenses. This recovery is associated with labour struggles and the exercised pressure that is exercised (de facto) by the countries of 'early socialism', which emerged after World War Two.

The second stage of scientific and technological revolution (which coincides with the rapid growth of multinational corporations) began in the late 70's and 80's. The key feature at this stage is the transition to another level of intensive development of capitalism, the intensive development of an information technological complex (single automated complexes, production of automated devices by other automated devices, automation of industries, space technology, launch of telematics and networking in the level of a world wide network). This has resulted in restructuring in terms of labour relations and relations of production, stimulated by the strategy of neo-conservatism/liberalism; the latter expresses a different view, opposed to bureaucratic rigidity, which is a typical feature of the state monopoly scheme.

These days are marked by a new turning point in the productive forces, a turning point that paves the way for the upcoming third stage of scientific and technological revolution. The range of possibilities of that stage leads to new achievements in basic scientific research. Hence, a wide array of attainments is imminent: intensified promotion of automation and information-technology complex, upgrading of networking, telecommunications, biotechnology, nanotechnology, emergence of new sources of energy with a high rate of return, and new flexible ways of using soft and renewable energy resources, new possibilities of impact on humans and the human psyche, hydrogen energy, etc. The multinational companies and the countries that control and manage these achievements of scientific and technological progress, hold a hegemonic position in the world.

The transition to the new technological model will be the new third stage of scientific and technological revolution that will radically enhance the socialization of production. In addition, it will further develop technologies and production processes within a global scale, the nature of labour, and the efficiency of basic strategies of economic development. In other words, it will radically change the characteristics and the composition of the global working class. Under these conditions, new channels of communication between research, technology and production, as well as new requirements of education and training, for the subject of labour, will be established.

By upgrading the social character of labour, in the process of this contradictory development outlined above, the lines of the labour camp are enriched with new armies of workers who are not associated with repetitive, monotonous, manual and execution-based jobs, but on the contrary, with renewable-developing, mental, and performance-based jobs (involving creation, installation, configuration, monitoring, control, optimization, and development of automated technological processes of various types and levels). The type of personality and collectivity that these new workers develop, gives them the opportunity to evaluate the scientific and technological potentials of humanity, in a global-scientific scale. This view enables them to exceed the limitations of hetero-determination (and therefore of defensiveness-negativity) between the two poles (labour-capital) and highlight the best potential not only for the needs of a specific class, but of society as a whole and for the inevitable necessity for the unification of humanity. This is a necessity that objectively matures in any subsequent turning point in the development of productive forces, with the main component being man himself as the subject of labour. For the unification of humanity to happen, in the context of another type of development culture, a necessary condition is a harmonious relationship with nature, not as an excuse for some selfish motives, or as fragmented solutions; it is rather an all-round protection, a rehabilitated and consciously creative development of the objective conditions of human existence.

 

The Intermediate Character of the Present Situation and Prospects.

Under conditions of global, systemic and structural crisis, the most aggressive capitalist forces are desperately seeking ways out of the crisis, destroying the main force of production (working-class) through the social war against labour, using public external depth and other instruments for colonization of regions and countries, not only of traditional depended post-colonial countries, not only of the so-called Third World, but also of peripheral countries of one of the three centers of the so-called First World, of the European imperialist integration-European Union[4] (such as Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain). The targets of the most aggressive forces of world global financial capital in this war are the people of the weakest links of the system, especially of the Eurozone's periphery, against which they are using brutal forms of colonization. The outcome of this war will be largely dependent on the international revolutionary process, on whether (and to what extent) the international labour forces will effort to develop their own strategy of coming out of the crisis, and on whether the global capitalism will be disrupted, through the detachment of some of its weakest links.

If we try to understand the present era with respect to the international revolutionary process, we will realise that it is a period in which the round of the early socialist revolutions is not completed; it is also a period preparing the preconditions for late socialist revolutions. A strategic issue of our time is the theoretical preparation for the new stage of the historical development of society, for late revolutions, late socialism.

The revolutionary movement has to address with respect but without dogmatism and critically-revolutionarily evaluate the highly valuable experience of all the components of the defeated movement and particularly the experience connected with the early socialist revolutions of the 20th century, without being trapped in sanctifications, memorial services, resurrections and scornful-nihilistic renouncement.

Early socialism provides the opportunity for deeper and more realistic examination of future processes. The investigation of the course of early socialism in countries where it prevailed with its own means (and particularly in the USSR) is important not only for the development of the theory of early socialist revolutions, of early socialism, but also for the development of socialism in general as a process for the transition to communism. It is exactly in the deeper and most durable version of early socialism, in the USSR, where the contradictions and causalities of early socialism, and generally of any socialism, were expressed in the most vivid way. Thus, the new revolutionary theory, the Logic of History, appeared in this country, when the contradictions of early socialism became visible and started the self-criticism of that society. Classical Marxism proved its power through the victories of the early socialist revolutions of the 20th century and the progress of early socialism. The weaknesses and inadequacies of classical Marxism started to appear when early socialism was unable to resolve its contradictions and the bourgeois counter-revolution prevailed in most of the countries of early socialism.

The defeat of one or some of the early socialist revolutions does not prove by no means that socialism, as a law-governed stage of the development of humankind, was completely and permanently defeated and that communism is a utopia for fantasts. The defeat of the early socialist revolutions and the death of early socialism in some countries, or even in all early socialist countries, is not a warrant for historical pessimism, or for resignation from the communist prospect. Revolutionists should be taught by their defeats and have more concrete targets after them, by renewing and redeploying their forces.

The global capitalist system that today dominates, despite its contradictions or, more specifically, via its contradictions managed to promote labour socialisation to a higher level before finally defeating the early socialist system (almost) completely. Counter-revolution and capitalist restoration are a necessary and law-governed (but not unavoidable) moment of this stage. The death of early socialism, the defeat in the final analysis of most of the early socialist revolutions is a very possible outcome of this historical period (although not an absolute necessity).

The emancipation of humankind, the elimination of alienation, presupposes a great increase in productive power, indicating a high degree of its development. Moreover, this development of productive forces (which itself implies the actual empirical existence of men in their world-historical, instead of local, being) is an absolutely necessary practical premise because without it want is merely made general, and with destitution the struggle for necessities and all the old filthy business would necessarily be reproduced; and furthermore, because only with this universal development of productive forces is a universal intercourse between men established, which produces in all nations simultaneously the phenomenon of the "propertyless" mass (universal competition), makes each nation dependent on the revolutions of the others, and finally has put world-historical, empirically universal individuals in place of local ones (Marx/Engels. The German). The inability in moving from the extensive to the intensive development of production, on a large-scale, as well as the geographical restriction of the attempts in countries with middle and low developmental level of productive forces finally led to the already known outcome.

To put it mildly, it is naive to attribute the reasons for the defeat of early socialist revolutions and the restoration of capitalism mainly to subjective administration (Stalin, Khrushchev, bureaucracy, degeneration of the democracy of the soviets, treachery and errors of Perestroika leaders, etc).

The objective contradictions of early socialism (connected with its basic contradiction) broke out intensely. An essential term for the survival of early socialism via the practical resolution of these contradictions (by promoting the transformations towards communism) was also the foundation of a course based on serious and systematic research. That was the difficult way. But the easiest way was followed: these contradictions were not researched and the adopted solutions accelerated the final predominance of counter-revolution and the restoration of capitalism.

The soviet administration was not able to produce such theoretical research or even to understand its necessity. But the defeat came mainly due to the fact that in the critical turning-point of history of early socialism there was neither objective nor subjective possibilities to resolve these contradictions.

The possibilities for restoring the historically antiquated regime are reversely proportionate to the breadth and depth of changes the revolution has brought about. But no counter-revolution can eliminate the revolutionary conquests it battles.

The lessons humankind can draw from the experience of early socialist revolutions are invaluable. The only thing it has to do is realize the possibility and the necessity for reconsidering history from the angle of revolutionary theory and methodology. These lessons mean mainly getting beyond simplifying patterns, doctrines and delusions by dialectically developing-sublating social theory and philisophy, including classical Marxism itself (see The Logic of History), by making the contradictoriness of the historical revolutionary process more concrete, as well as by making the law-governed prospects for a socialized humankind more concrete, not as a mere negation of capitalism, but positively, as a different type of culture, of civilization, within which the overall historical making of humankind is dialectically sublated.

 

Conclusions.

There are two great and correlated problems, on the solution of which will be depend on the understanding of the nature of the era, the revolutionary theory and practice of our era: the theoretical reconstruction of the current stage of Capitalism and the positive definition/prediction of unified society, of communism. The dialectical approach of the Logic of History, suggests a periodization in accordance with a changing foundation, depending on the development of the main contradiction of this system, on the stages of scientific and technological revolution, on the character and the level of socialization of production, on the character and the level of the subject of the labour, on the correlation between extensive and intensive development, on the class strangle and on the world revolutionary process.

The globalized imperialism is a distinct development stage of capitalism, as during that stage: the dominance of multinational monopolistic conglomerates and of financial capital is shaped, the instant cash flows are becoming significant, the technological basis for the unification of production is created by the conglomerates, the redistribution of wealth among the multinational monopolistic groups is escalated and the major capitalist countries (as well as their poles) are struggling for redivision of land, subsoil, sea, air, space and power.

The social character of peoples attitude to each other is developing regarding the conditions, process, and result of labour attitude towards nature, regarding the mode of production. The movement for socialism, the revolutionary process, emerges us a necessity on the contradictoriness development of the labours social character.

According to the 20th centurys historical experience, two stages of revolutionary process and building of socialism in world scale are distinguished: the Early and the Late Socialist (communist) movements and revolutions. The Early Socialism emerges and is developing on a material and technical base, which is not at all of corresponding socialism, in conditions of insufficiently socialised character of labour, while the capitalistic world has the supremacy in the correlation of forces.

The basic contradiction of early socialism (and of every socialism as a historical process) is the contradiction between the relations of production and the productive forces, between social property of the means of production (formal socialization, nationalization) and insufficient growth, immaturity of social character of production, or in other words, the contradiction between formal, and real socialization. The early socialism (and each socialism in general, as a process of making of communism) either will solve this basic contradiction moving to the mature socialized humankind (communism), or it will regress to the counterrevolution and to the restoration of Capitalism.

The Late Socialism begins developing on material and technical base which is corresponds to socialism, while the forces of socialism begin to surpass against forces of world of capital.

It is necessary to distinguish the Subject of Early from the Subject of Late Sosialist Revolutions, to define the correlation between both of them (accordingly, between the levels, the forms, the means and the ways of the organization and conducting the revolutionary struggle), to realise the concrete limits and the creative potential of the main revolutionary social force of era, the diversity and the inner unity of the components of nowadays working-class, to develop dialectically the scientific-theoretical, ideological, organization and practical aspects of the victorious revolutionary strangle of current era. The dogmatic ignorance of those radical changes, insisting on stereotypes, ideological and organizational-practical shapes, may lead to many failures and disappointments can bring catastrophic impact on development of the revolutionary movement.

We are living in an intermediate era, when early socialist revolutions are moving towards the completion of their cycle, while the late socialist revolutions have not started yet, but the preconditions for the transition to them are under configuration. On the one hand, the intermediate character of this period creates a feeling of immobility, of absence of prospect, while on the other hand it provides the opportunity for the development of theory. The latter will require long and systematic collective studies, given that the number and perplexity of the processes under investigation cannot be compared with what classical Marxism comprised. Basing on the achievements of dialectically developing theory (on describing, explaining and predicting the Logic of Historical process), a revolutionary movement in correspondence with the possibilities and the needs of the era will be developing on a practical-political and organizational level.

The theoretical and methodological approach of The Logic of History to the fundamental problems of social development (on Early Socialist revolutions, the extensive and intensive development of production forces, formal and real socialization etc.) provides a key to the comprehension of an objective reason for a number of social phenomena, opening a whole spectrum of research approaches. Such phenomena include, for example, the problem of the objective reasons for the victory of the capitalist counterrevolution and restoration as opposed to the prevailing reduction of these reasons to a subjective factor, the problem of perspectives for mankind etc.

The Current Structural Crisis of Capitalism (correlated with the impact of counterrevolution and capitalistic restoration in the most of the countries of the Early Socialism of 20th century) provides the opportunity to research the contradictions and the moving powers of that system. But the revolutionary theory is not a pure science, is not an academic issue. The revolutionists do not have the right to attend as apathetic spectators the social war and demographic catastrophe of the peoples, without contributing theoretically and practically in the race. Those contradictions, manifest themselves most relief in as most relieving for the "weakest links" of the system, where the situation[5] (as a localized in time and space momentum of historical era) requires the development of a front, of a revolutionary movement, based on fundamental vital needs, for the survival of millions of people in an anti-imperialist struggle, for national and social liberation, for democratization, against the most aggressive forces of global financial capital, against new forms of colonialism. Through this theoretical and practical struggle will take place a very important radicalization of masses, in a process of maturation of the revolutionary subject for the unification of humankind.

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* Member of the International Research Grup The Logic of History and of the Circle of Revolutionary Theory. Assistant Professor, Dept. of Sciences, Technical University of Crete.

E-mail : dpatelis@science.tuc.gr

[1] See The International Logic of History School, and Vazulin, 2005, Vazjulin, 2005, Vazjulin, 2011.

[2] In the first place this contradiction may be perceived in proportion to a historical contradiction in the development of capitalism. In the early phases of capitalism (until pre-industrial handicraft, manifactura) the labour of a craftsman worker (working with manually-operated tools) was formally subordinated to the capital through the supervisory, organisational, administrative, etc. operation of the capitalist. Only when production is mechanised and the division of labour becomes a technical necessity dictated by the real conditions of production is labour really subordinated to the capital.

[3] However, this is not a linear process without contradictions. Those changes of the character of the labour, are tendencies, more or less pontificated-deformated, because of the subordination of global labour to globalized capital. In modern global capitalism, the labour which is associated with the operation and development of several levels and forms of automation, is part of the overall labour, localized in more or less certain enclaves. The automated production has as a broader basis the still non-automated production.

 

[4] The current crisis is a chance for the people to liberate themselves from illusions about the character of E.U. E.U. is an imperialistic finance and political prison of peoples, and Euro (as a construction of European finance capital) is the main monetary-financial instrument on this exploitation.

 

[5] Any metaphysical detachment of situation from the historical era is completely unrealistic and ahistorical. In dialectical methodology of history, situation is a localized in time and space momentum of historical era, especially during global systemic crisis in weakest links.