ICC position on Decadence and the Bourgeoisie in Developing Nations?

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Lurch
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Jul 13 2015 19:29

If I need to spell it out you; given the increased destructive capacities of weapons, the number of fatalities of combatants should go up everywhere"[i]

And we have to accept this logic, why?

This argumentation appears to accept that the longer capitalism continues, the greater destruction will result.

I'd agree with that. It's an argument for the destruction of the existing social order. Why are you citing it?

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Khawaga
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Jul 13 2015 19:36

Again, you are not getting the point of my post. My point is that the pro-decadence crowd are data mining to support their theory. That's it. If that's so hard to understand, I really don't know how to explain it any differently. That's why I am citing it.

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This argumentation appears to accept that the longer capitalism continues, the greater destruction will result.

Yes, it does but it also recognizes that there have also been a lot of developments that could benefit mankind, like life-extending surgery of severe bodily trauma. But since these benefits as unevenly distributed and typically commodified, the majority of the world's population will never enjoy them unless capitalism is negated. But my point, as others also have argued on this thread, is that you just don't need the confusing mess of decadence theory to explain any of this.

Lurch
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Jul 13 2015 21:45
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My point is that the pro-decadence crowd are data mining to support their theory.

And if the 'pro-decadence crowd' don't use empirical data, they are accused of invoking, in your words :"More world spirits..."

[Lurch]:

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"This argumentation appears to accept that the longer capitalism continues, the greater destruction will result."

Khawaga :

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Yes, it does but it also recognizes that there have also been a lot of developments that could benefit mankind,

Could of, should of, might have... The point is that at this moment in capitalist evolution, these developments do not, cannot, have not ,benefited "mankind" precisely because social relations have to be overturned, as has been recognised in the communist movement for the past 100 years. There needs to be ... whisper the unpopular phrase ... a communist revolution ....

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Khawaga
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Jul 13 2015 23:38

Oh ffs.

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And if the 'pro-decadence crowd' don't use empirical data, they are accused of invoking, in your words :"More world spirits..."

What fucking binary thinking is this? And also a complete misunderstanding of my critique. At times you lot (not you specifically) argue as if capitalism is developing as the world spirit. That's a problem, but an even bigger problem is that when you use empirical data you pick and chose that which supports your thesis. That's called data mining and is a much bigger problem than the other.

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Could of, should of, might have... The point is that at this moment in capitalist evolution, these developments do not, cannot, have not ,benefited "mankind" precisely because social relations have to be overturned, as has been recognised in the communist movement for the past 100 years. There needs to be ... whisper the unpopular phrase ... a communist revolution ....

Where do you get this mess of an understanding from? Again you're picking and choosing,building strawmen etc. As if the phrase communist revolution is unpopular around here. You are really a fucking idiot. What the fuck do you think the phrase negation of capitalism means? And here you were invoking Marx; at least you should recognize the nomenclature. But then again, I shouldn't be surprised given that youse seem to believe that Marx's theory of capital accumulation = decadence theory.

S. Artesian
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Jul 14 2015 00:08

So Lurch, could you answer my question? Is the decadence of capital embodied in its greater destructive power?

markyhaze
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Jul 14 2015 08:35

Back to the basics?

The basis of capitalist decadence is that the relations of production have become a fetter on the productive forces. This in no way implies that the growth of the productive forces is simply halted. We still see in some cases dazzling developments in the fields of science, etc. Military medicine has been cited which of course highlights just how many such advances are directly related to capitalism's tendency towards generalised war, but we could also point to the internet and real advances in human knowledge in the fields of AIDS research, our understanding of the origins of the universe and of the human species.

None of this is a refutation of decadence. We have no problem understanding such developments as examples of what Marx termed "development in decay". In fact we should expect to see more, given that the constraints of capitalist relations become ever more extreme as decadence continues. But they also underline that until capitalism is destroyed they remain a potential only, for the future use of humanity.

Khawaga wrote:
And here you were invoking Marx; at least you should recognize the nomenclature. But then again, I shouldn't be surprised given that youse seem to believe that Marx's theory of capital accumulation = decadence theory.

I think this highlights one of the central confusions in this whole discussion. There are opponents of 'decadence theory' who believe they are arguing on the basis of 'Marx's theory of capital accumulation'. In reality what they are doing is trying to artificially separate out this theory from his overall critique of capitalism as the last class society, ie. in shorthand, historical materialism. So the disagreement here is clearly not just about capitalist decadence but also about the relevance of the basic concepts of ascendance and decadence in this and previous class societies.

I think some of the arguments presented in this thread demonstrate that if you 'just' defend 'Marx's theory of capital accumulation' without his overall critique of capitalism as the last class society then you are not able to theoretically explain where capitalism came from, how and why it has developed in the way that it has, especially since the 20th century, and of course, where it is going. Capitalism just...appears...develops...and develops...

Khawaga wrote:
You are really a fucking idiot.

Er, flaming?

Oh, and btw?

Khawaga wrote:
when you use empirical data you pick and chose that which supports your thesis. That's called data mining...

If that's the definition of 'data mining' then Marx did quite a lot of it in Capital... In fact it's pretty much what we do when we're attacking capitalism isn't it?!

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Red Marriott
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Jul 14 2015 09:11

To suggest that I'm endorsing in any way capitalist progress is a weak argument not borne out by reading my posts; another strawman misrepresentation ... If anyone has ‘fallen on their knees to a capitalist God’ it's the ICC in their defence of a supposedly once-progressive ascendant capitalism. That pointing out how capitalism has technologically advanced, including in the field of medicine, is not an endorsement or applause for capital is surely not too hard to grasp? Especially for those who defend the claim of a ‘progressive ascendant era’ for capital – and for those who claim its technological advances in destructive capacity as proof of decadence?!

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Why should we fall on our knees to Red Marriott’s capitalist God in praise for any advances that have been made in the past 100 years?

Yes, sorry, that should be ‘up to 100 years ago and no further’. Your knees must be getting pretty sore by now from worshipping that one.

Contary to Lurch’s distortion I don’t dispute WWI was ‘shocking’; I just disputed his inaccurate comparisons of it with earlier ‘pre-decadent’ events. Lurch can't factually refute that his historical claims don't stand up, as I showed earlier, so he resorts to distortion and feeble sarcasm. His original claim was that;

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Discard all dissembling about previous massacres, genocides: in its extent and breadth, in its toll on civilian, as well as military personnel; in its destruction of the productive apparatus, above all of the flower of the proletariat; there’s nothing to compare to the scale of it: 20 million dead: a further 20 million weakened humans perishing of starvation and disease, in the ruins it created... It took a hundred years of war in the Middle Ages to rack up a death toll of 3.5 million – capital killed around 40 million or so in the space of six or seven years... In its wake: a global economic depression and a second, even more destructive global conflict.

I showed that his claim that “there’s nothing to compare to the scale of it” in “previous massacres, genocides” is simply wrong. He was claiming the greater historical scale of destruction as evidence for decadence. Yet now his slippery argument says such comparisons are invalid as any earlier deaths in the “ascendant” era were part of either ‘feudal decadence’ or didn’t inhibit capitalist growth. (Leaving aside the thorny question of what, eg the Taiping rebellion, did or didn’t inhibit growth in China.) Even if those claims were true it wouldn’t change the fact that his claims about greater scale of deaths etc are factually wrong. He claimed, eg,

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in its toll on civilian, as well as military personnel ... there’s nothing to compare to the scale of it

As I showed; both in absolute numbers of deaths and in relative proportions of percentages of affected military & civilian populations he’s simply wrong. When you make those comparisons they contradict his original claims.

I also showed how his uninformed claims about rent control as evidence of decadence don’t stand up against the historical facts. More cherry picking of ‘history’ that doesn’t add up...

Khawaga has already ably explained the sense of my posts and the non-sense of Lurch. I'll leave readers of this thread to see who has factually verified their argument or not.

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Joseph Kay
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Jul 14 2015 10:34

This house is falling down.
Seems ok to me.
The roof fell in a few years ago!
Yeah and now there's a brand new one.
But it's falling down!
What are you on about? This extension was new last year.
There's no room for further extensions! Look at this paint, it's peeling!
It could do with a lick of paint, sure, but I thought you said it was falling down?
It is, the second law of thermodynamics compels entropy to increase!
Only in a closed system; applying energy/labour is a countervailing tendency.
THIS HOUSE IS FALLING DOWN, WHY DO YOU REJECT THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF ARCHITECTURE?
etc

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Alf
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Jul 14 2015 13:05

doesn't work so well with a sinking ship though.

S. Artesian
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Jul 14 2015 13:44
Alf wrote:
doesn't work so well with a sinking ship though.

Yeah, but there's thing thing called material reality; we can know when a ship is sinking; we can measure the rate of sinking; we can distingish its "sinking phase" from its "floating phase."

You haven't established that the ship is in fact sinking. Instead you've pointed out that all eventually all ships sink, get scrapped, or are turned into amusement parks.

S. Artesian
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Jul 14 2015 16:00
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So Lurch, could you answer my question? Is the decadence of capital embodied in its greater destructive power?

Guess maybe that's being too concrete. Let's try this:

Can anyone supporting any iteration of decadence theory provide us with the characteristics specific to a decadent capitalism, one that continuously decays, deteriorates from its peak; and show that those decadent characteristics were not manifested prior to the peak?

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Khawaga
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Jul 14 2015 18:28
markyhaze wrote:
None of this is a refutation of decadence. We have no problem understanding such developments as examples of what Marx termed "development in decay".

And your supposed "evidence" does not support any theory of decadence; in any case what it refutes is the evidence of decadence by calling it into question.

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There are opponents of 'decadence theory' who believe they are arguing on the basis of 'Marx's theory of capital accumulation'. In reality what they are doing is trying to artificially separate out this theory from his overall critique of capitalism as the last class society, ie. in shorthand, historical materialism. So the disagreement here is clearly not just about capitalist decadence but also about the relevance of the basic concepts of ascendance and decadence in this and previous class societies.

Incorrect, what I've been arguing (and again I must question the reading comprehension of ICCers; alternatively that you lot cherry pick arguments to suit your faith). What I said is that what you guys are arguing is something unique and decadent, is something that Marx's explain as an effect of capital accumulation. And if you knew your Marx (which clearly you don't seem to, I am sorry to say) is that class society is a precondition for accumulation, and indeed it's result, it's product. This is just elementary Marxism. You guys remind me quite a bit of the SWPers I used to know back when I was confused enough to join their sect. For a purportedly Trotskyist organization, there wasn't much reading of Trotsky, but a lot of quoting of Tony Cliff. For the ICC there is a lot of quoting of decadence and spamming of ICC position papers (not always bad I should add; I sometimes find them quite good especially on national liberation) and assertion that "this is basically what Marx argued", but you don't seem to understand what that bearded fella really was on about. Not that citing Marx is any kind of trump card, but it's curious.

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So the disagreement here is clearly not just about capitalist decadence but also about the relevance of the basic concepts of ascendance and decadence in this and previous class societies

No shit! That's been the entire point of the discussion. What a lot of us are saying is that it is not relevant at all. It is not needed. And just to reiterate: why do you need a theory of decadence when what Marx wrote about capital accumulation spells it out in much simpler terms and quite directly. The accumulation of wealth on one pole is the accumulation of poverty and misery on the other.

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I think some of the arguments presented in this thread demonstrate that if you 'just' defend 'Marx's theory of capital accumulation' without his overall critique of capitalism as the last class society then you are not able to theoretically explain where capitalism came from, how and why it has developed in the way that it has, especially since the 20th century, and of course, where it is going. Capitalism just...appears...develops...and develops...

First of all: where do you even get this from? Is this the consensus at the ICC's forums? What you're basically saying is that since we don't understand decadency theory (and truth be told, since you cannot even explain it in easy term, neither do you) we must not even understand capitalism. Because, only the ICC's understanding of its historical development and pre-ordained teleological decline is the only one. Talk about ideological blinders.

Just to spell it out again, it is not a "defence" of capital accumulation; it is saying what's the need for decadence theory when what you are trying explain is better explained by the process of accumulation, which by the way, you know starts with the historical pre-condition of primitive accumulation, i.e. the institution of capitalist class relations. Now if you want to discuss the validity of capital accumulation, that's something else, but we are not discussing that (but I'd be more than happy to fwiw).

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Er, flaming?

Don't care, Lurch acted like an idiot, built straw men, cherry picked quotations and distorted other people's arguments to fit into his worldview that decadence is a fact. You're better at hiding it, but your argumentation is just as idiotic.

Quote:
If that's the definition of 'data mining' then Marx did quite a lot of it in Capital... In fact it's pretty much what we do when we're attacking capitalism isn't it?!

Wow, just wow. Just a bit earlier you wrote "We have no problem understanding such developments as examples of what Marx termed 'development in decay'". I can only understand that to mean that Marx was very aware of the so-called progressive nature of capitalism in developing the productive forces showing that communism is indeed possible because we can feed, clothe and house everyone on this planet. I am also reminded of his rather Orientalist arguments about capitalism brining civilization to what we today refer to as developing nations/global south.

But your statement points to how you don't understand the difference between political rhetoric and science/ theory building. You seem to confuse the two; indeed it makes all the more sense now; decadence theory is just rhetoric, it is not a theory, but a fairy tale you tell to yourself and I presume others that "history is on our side". Ideological hogwash.

Of course in my rhetoric, I will point out how capitalism is fucking everyone over and the planet. But when it comes to theory, I demand evidence and others will demand evidence. If you data mine, your theory is worthless because then it can be easily falsified. And people will actually not believe you because they can easily point to counter-evidence and people will then be suspicious of your politics. And that's in turn a political problem and won't win you any friends, but lots of shaking heads. People in general don't like being lied to.

S. Artesian
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Jul 14 2015 20:47
Quote:
"development in decay".

That' phrase Markyhaze claims is Marx's, and Marx uses it to explain, according to MH the development of scientific, technical, advances within, or circumscribed by the decay of social relations.

But where does Marx ever use that phrase in that manner? I don't recall, but since my memory is hardly what it used to be, I searched the Marxist Internet Archive, and guess what, the archive doesn't come up with any example where Marx uses that phrase in that manner, to explain scientific, technical advance within, and circumscribed by social decay. He uses it to describe the development of new labor relations within the shell of the old; he uses it to describe new property forms within the old (actually the same thing), but nowhere do I find an example of Marx talking about development in decay as Markyhaze claims he does.

So MH, reference please, just because I can't trust my memory, and maybe the old codgers at MIA also missed it.

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Noa Rodman
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Jul 14 2015 21:14

I don't know if it was mentioned, but a more recent article-series on China stresses that this growth should be regarded in context of the crisis of the advanced countries, ie China's rise is because the rest is declining. Final article in that series: http://en.internationalism.org/ir/133/china/part-3 (it's not much elaborated, so leaves many questions open)

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Jul 15 2015 17:16

Marx was pretty bad on this question, Engels and Luxemburg even worse. The ICC and possibly others will probably never except this. Time for a new thread I think...

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Jul 15 2015 19:04

Did Marx comment about the 1873 depression though, and moreover incline to see it as different (if not permanent) than previous crises? As for Luxemburg, she didn't live to see post-WWII period, so we don't know how she would have interpreted it (but her theory was taken up in some modified way by Kalecki et al.).

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Jul 15 2015 21:53

Marx and Engels speak of class struggles resulting in "either a revolutionary constitution of society at large or the common ruin of the contending classes."

This to me doesn't mean "ascendence then decadence" or "socialism or barbarism."

It means communism, or death.

markyhaze
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Jul 16 2015 07:39
ICC wrote:
As we can see from the following passage in the Grundrisse, [Marx] shows that even in decay a society does not stop moving:

"Considered ideally, the dissolution of a given form of consciousness sufficed to kill a whole epoch. In reality, this barrier to consciousness corresponds to a definite degree of development of the forces of material production and hence of wealth. True, there was not only a development on the old basis, but also a development of this basis itself. The highest development of this basis itself (the flower into which it transforms itself; but it is always this basis, this plant as flower; hence wilting after the flowering and as a consequence of the flowering) is the point at which it is itself worked out, developed, into the form in which it is compatible with the highest development of the forces of production, hence also the richest development of individuals. As soon as this point is reached, the further development appears as decay, and the new development begins from a new basis" (Penguin edition, 1973, p 541).

The wording is complicated, unpolished: this is very often the problem with reading the Grundrisse. But the conclusion seems limpid enough: the decay of a society is not the end of all movement. Decadence is a movement, but one characterised by a slide towards catastrophe and self-destruction. Can anyone seriously doubt that twentieth century capitalist society, which devotes more productive forces to war and destruction than any previous social formation, and whose continued reproduction is a threat to the continuation of life on Earth, has reached the stage where its "development appears as decay"?

S. Artesian
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Jul 16 2015 12:08

OK thanks for that. Good to know the source.

Except Marx concludes:

Quote:
As soon as this point is reached, the further development appears as decay, and the new development begins from a new basis"

The point was reached, according to ICC over one hundred years ago... so that new development from a new basis has been delayed quite a bit-- and even under the most generous terms, which are not ICC's, reversed if we consider the collapse of the fSU a restoration of capitalism.

In addition, I think there are real problems with Marx's analysis here, as poetic and lovely as it might appear. The "wilting of the flower" inherent in the plant's flower, doesn't mean the plant has gone into decay.

This is the problem when you try to make analogies from the "natural" world. You, should pardon the expression, "cherry pick" to get what you wanted from the getgo, and you're usually wrong.

The flower is but an extension, a mechanism, an expression of the plant. The flower is determined by its genetic material to blossom, facilitate fertilization and die so that the plant can reproduce. It reproduces the plant itself. The plant itself continues to live, experience cycles of growth, and "stasis" [winter], and flower again.

The "decadence" you cite gives us nothing but more "flowers," maybe even bigger "flowers." The "force" behind the flowers has not decayed. Is not decadent. It goes right on churning out flowers.

markyhaze
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Jul 16 2015 17:09

Well you can tie yourself in knots over plant analogies if you want, but Marx's main point here is surely clear enough: once the highest development of the forces of production is reached under capitalism, further development appears as decay.

S.Artesian wrote:
The point was reached, according to ICC over one hundred years ago... so that new development from a new basis has been delayed quite a bit-- and even under the most generous terms, which are not ICC's, reversed if we consider the collapse of the fSU a restoration of capitalism.

Delayed? Yes, in the sense that the proletariat has not been able to overthrow capitalism in the last 100 years. I don't agree the former Soviet Union was not capitalist but you're right in the sense that its collapse ushered in a new phase of chaos and capitalist anarchy which has made the conditions for revolution even more difficult and precarious.

S. Artesian
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Jul 16 2015 17:56

I'm not in any knots about the plant analogy. You brought up the passage by Marx, and the ICC commenter says its meaning is limpid. I don't think so.

The analogy that Marx uses is mistaken. The condition of decadence that he describes does not correspond to the actual course, actual manifestations of capitalism since 1914. The decadence that Marx describes is coincident with the manifestation of a "new consciousness"-- a new, qualitatively distinct development of the productive forces, and according to ICC that hasn't happened....

...which leaves us back at the starting point. What defines the decadence, the decline, the deterioration of capital and how is it measured?

This presumes that we can identify a "peak" prior to the decline and show in fact the peak expresses all of the previous development and differs from what has happened since.

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Jul 16 2015 18:57
Quote:
Well you can tie yourself in knots over plant analogies if you want, but Marx's main point here is surely clear enough: once the highest development of the forces of production is reached under capitalism, further development appears as decay.

And what the heck does "the highest development of the forces of production" mean? It is a very general statement and can be applied to almost any epoch of history; Marx may have thought capitalism had already reached that state under his time, the ICC a hundred years ago, the folks in Krisis and Exit! place it in the 1970s, and arguably the highest development of the forces of production could be when/if strong AI becomes a reality.

This means that we are back to, as Artesian says:

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the starting point. What defines the decadence, the decline, the deterioration of capital and how is it measured?

In addition, and I said above, you can't play a Marx quote as some "trump" card. And as everyone who reads Marx knows, the bit you are quoting is from a text that is unfinished, more of a collection of notes, that particular manuscript all of a sudden breaks off (not sure if Marx didn't finish it or if pages of the manuscript was lost). Artesian checked the MIA and didn't find another mention. Maybe the phrase is repeated in the MEGA, but I assume that if the word had been used more than once, the ICC would be able to point to all quotations thus strengthening the claim in terms of philology.

Hence, one quote (though I do stand to be correct on this) where Marx mentions "development in decay" does not mean that it was some huge important point to him. Like the autonomist making a lot of out of the general intellect, indeed turning it into a cornerstone of some sorts, you are taking something that is insignificant philologically and turning it into an entire theory, and even stating something as ridiculous that is is the "essence of historical materialism". Sure, you may have a point that Marx put a lot of faith in his productive forces comes into contradiction with the relations of production, but the notion of decay is not central to it.

I'd also be interested what the phrase is in German. The English translation of that particular text and the Grundrisse is rather poor.

S. Artesian
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Jul 16 2015 21:58

MH,

I recognize that I asked for the passage, but as Khawaga points out, "you" or the ICC is the parrty that thinks it underpins decadence theory.

"We" [the anti side of decadence theory] have asked, essentially, "what is unique to capitalism that makes the decadence theory unique to the critique of capitalism." That question essentially eliminates all the meta-theory, teleological mis-evolution interpretations that have been offered, and requires an answer based on capitalism's own "metabolism" and not that of flowers.

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Jul 17 2015 16:30

Chiming in for a brief note, as this thread has run its course in my view. The Grundrisse quote is in MEW 42, p. 446. The sentence runs as follows:

Marx wrote:
"Sobald dieser Punkt erreicht ist, erscheint die weitre Entwicklung als Verfall und die neue Entwicklung beginnt von einer neuen Basis."

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Jul 17 2015 16:51

Thanks Jura, the English translation does make sense to some degree, although wouldn't "collapse" be just as appropriate (I am going by the Norwegian meaning of 'forfall", which is pretty much similar to the German)? In the sense that decay's connotation is somewhat slow, but Verfall is more sudden/instantaneous?

But I may be making too much out of the similarities between Norwegian and German.

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Jul 17 2015 18:32

I think "collapse", "downfall" and "decay" are all admissible translations (but my German is far from good).

Anyway, Marx evidently thought that that point had been reached in his lifetime and took periodic crises (not wars, not the environment, not the supposed decadence of the arts; the last being more an indicator of the philistinism of decadence theorists than anything else) for evidence of that – as occurrences of the destruction of productive forces en masse. So in this sense, capitalism has been decadent since about 1825. Whether this is a viable standpoint or not is a separate issue (I don't think that, e. g., the postwar industrialization of much of Eastern Europe "appeared as decay", certainly not more so than the previous industrialization of England), but it is very different from the 1914 worship of latter day left communists, which has more to do with the symbolism of social democratic treason and the emergence of currents to which the sects of today trace their lineage.

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Jul 17 2015 20:07

I agree with Jura, and Jamal earlier, that this particular thread has run its course, but the debate itself can't be terminated.

It's clear that we are not going to agree any time soon about how we use the thought of Marx in this discussion, or about the notions of capitalism's decay, decline, decadence, or decomposition.

But would it be possible to approach the problem from a slightly different angle?

When the current to which my particular sect traces its lineage declared, in March 1919, the foundation of the world communist party, it introduced its Manifesto by asserting the following:

SEVENTY-TWO YEARS AGO the Communist Party proclaimed its program to the world in the form of a Manifesto written by the greatest heralds of the proletarian revolution, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. Even at that time Communism no sooner entered the arena of struggle than it was beset by baiting, lies, hatred and persecution of the possessing classes who rightfully sensed their mortal enemy in Communism. The development of Communism during this three-quarters of a century proceeded along complex paths: side by side with periods of stormy upsurge it knew periods of decline; side by side with successes – cruel defeats. But essentially the movement proceeded along the path indicated in advance by the Communist Manifesto. The epoch of final, decisive struggle has come later than the apostles of the socialist revolution had expected and hoped. But it has come. We Communists, the representatives of the revolutionary proletariat of the various countries of Europe, America and Asia who have gathered in Soviet Moscow, feel and consider ourselves to be the heirs and consummators of the cause whose program was affirmed 72 years ago. Our task is to generalize the revolutionary experience of the working class, to purge the movement of the corroding admixture of opportunism and social-patriotism, to unify the efforts of all genuinely revolutionary parties of the world proletariat and thereby facilitate and hasten the victory of the Communist revolution throughout the world.

The founding congress of the CI also adopted a platform, which repeated this idea that the epoch of decisive struggle had arrived, as indicated both by the world war and the world wide revolutionary response of the working class: “A new epoch is born! The epoch of capitalism's decay, its internal disintegration; the epoch of the proletarian, communist revolution”.

My question is this, and if anyone is interested I would suggest they begin another thread about it: would we be able to get any further in this discussion if we talked not about decay and disintegration, but about whether the revolutionaries of that time were right, or completely mistaken, to proclaim the beginning of the epoch of world communist revolution?

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Jul 17 2015 20:26

A strange epoch, an "epoch of" something which hasn't happened so far and which seems pretty far off as of today. The quotation cries out with revolutionary optimism symptomatic of a high point of a cycle of struggles (time and again militants have been too hasty in writing such declarations). The optimism is understandable given the context, but saying today that we live in the epoch of world revolution must to any reasonable person untouched by revolutionary politics and the surrounding teolology/theology seem like saying we live in the epoch of Rapture or of contact with the little green men.

I guess in another 20 years someone will issue a statement beginning "The epoch of final, decisive struggle has come later than the apostles of the socialist revolution and their followers in early 20th century had expected and hoped. But it has come.".

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Jul 17 2015 20:43

Yeah, I don't think that changed perspective would solve the impasse this discussion has reached as again we'd be discussing what characterizes an epoch, whether it is started or not and the evidence for or against. I think that one one main problems is that the ICC clings to a rather crude stages or history, history unfolds in clearly delineated epochs or some version of that. But I, and I think at least Artesian does as well, think more in cycles, that phenomena can be recurring, but nevertheless have some new content to them.

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Jul 17 2015 20:54

I'm with Jura and Khawaga, on the "change in perspective." But being true to my usual abrasive, severe, overreaching self, I'd go a bit further and point out what a mess those founders of the CI made of actual class struggle, practically; and at every critical, juncture.

If that was the beginning of the epoch of world communist revolution, they the founders of the CI were completely inadequate to their times.