The terminal economic crisis of capitalism is evident in the growing level of destruction of wealth; of the many wars and the massive human destruction caused; and the inevitable onset of climate catastrophe. These are all the terrible consequences of the capitalist class that cannot help but destroy nature on which it is parasitic. The capitalist class cannot survive without destroying the popular opposition to its rule and with it nature; the working class cannot survive without overthrowing the ruling class and imposing its own solution: survival socialism.
Society vs Nature?
Most analyses of this mortal predicament cast ‘evil’ capitalism against ‘good’ nature. This idea is now highlighted in the term Anthropogenic that refers to the changes brought about in climate (nature) as a result of industrial society. For climate warriors society has to ‘return to nature’ to survive or otherwise suffer the pain of extinction. Marx did not agree. For him, society and nature were one. The contradiction between society and nature was not that of capitalism versus nature, but one that runs through the heart of capitalism.
It is the contradiction between the class that uses its natural labour power to meet its social needs and reproduce itself as part of nature - the working class in the widest sense, and the capitalist ruling class that expropriates workers’ productive value as its private property, destroying all that is natural in society to increase its wealth. This is not about the neo-liberal 'financialisation' of healthy capitalism. The whole capitalist class is parasitic on the natural labour power it exploits. Therefore the concepts of class struggle, of class war, refer to the fundamental contradiction between nature as use-value and capital as exchange-value that permeates the whole of capitalism as the motive force of the historic rise and fall of capitalist society.
The Dialectics of Nature
We can call this the dialectics of nature, which recognises that the Marxist concept of dialectics is not confined to ‘society’ as separate from ‘nature’. For Marx, dialectics was a method of analysis which took as its starting point the reality of social change as a material process driven by humans producing to meet their basic needs. Before the birth of capitalism in Europe in the 16th century human society was seen as dominated by nature because its ability to ‘control’ nature was limited. Change occurred when new technologies allowed greater control of nature, that is growth in the forces of production and the growth of a social surplus.
Thus society evolved by a series of ‘revolutions’ in social relations to create new classes of owners and producers. Men overthrew women in lineage societies to privatise the surplus and create patriarchal class society; then some men became slave owners to privatise the labour of other men and all women; then some men became landowners in tributary or feudal society, privatising the labour other men and all women as rent; finally, some men who started as merchants became capitalists by creating the factory system to privatise the labour of landless labourers. Each revolution enabled the new class to proclaim its historic superiority in developing the forces of production to new heights only to be replaced by a new revolutionary class capable of even greater feats until they too become defeats.
End of Class Society
Each historic class society harnessed nature for private wealth. The socialised forces of production clashed with the privatised relations of production that formed a barrier to their further development. So too capitalism, which long ago ceased to develop the forces of production without first destroying them. The contradiction between social labour and privatised property that runs through capitalism has reached bursting point. Thus capitalism is overdue to be replaced by a new revolutionary class, this time one that is genuinely superior because it is represents universal humanity.
A socialist revolution is necessary to restore those forces of production to nature by removing the parasitic capitalist ruling class. Capitalism has terminated the pre-history of class society and created the pre-conditions for real human history where the privatised surplus is is expropriated by social labour, not under a condition of scarcity, rather of plenty. The contradiction between potential humanity/nature to reproduce itself and the ruling classes that expropriated the social surplus, can now be resolved (the negation of the negation) by the working class, no longer an oppressed class, but as universal humanity, ending the privatisation of social relations and socialising production as part of nature. The Age of Plenty replaces the Age of Scarcity.
Social revolution for humanity/nature
Quoting from the article ‘Why is Russia in Syria’: “How do we want to die? Ground down by a terminal crisis of global capitalism? In one or other of the proxy wars that fosters national, religious or tribal divisions, slaughtering 100,000s of workers to smash their democratic or socialist revolutions? Surveilled and executed in our streets in the mayhem of global terror? Or will those who survive these, then face death by climate or nuclear meltdown? Of course these are all in the last analysis manifestations of the decline and collapse of global capitalism. Economic crisis makes wars necessary and the massive waste and destruction of war-torn capitalism makes climate collapse more certain. It should by now be obvious that capitalism has to die for the working masses of the world to survive!”
The question then is “how”? As in all historic crises of modes of production that stagnate, they fall when a new class overthrows an exhausted and defunct ruling class. Today we face a terminal crisis. If the working class does not rise up in time to replace capitalism with survival socialism, humanity and many more species will become extinct. This time the stakes are higher than ever before. It is not just about breaking barriers to the further development of the productive forces, but overcoming the barriers to our survival as humans. The ruling class must be overthrown, not simply because it destroys the potential for future development, but because it is capable of destroying humanity/nature embodied in all past and future social development.
Can we do it?
Can we do it? Yes, capitalism has created its own gravediggers. Everywhere, it has abandoned bourgeois democracy and the rule of law and now rules by naked force, militarising society to destroy all political opposition. Its weakest point is US imperialism whose productive capacity is now devoted to the military destruction of humanity. The US is forced to confront its rivals directly through invasions, occupations and ongoing wars. In its desperation to contain its old rivals Russia and China, whose demise as ‘communist’ states allowed them to emerge as new imperialist rivals, the US turned the triumph of global capitalism into its own nemesis.
This explains why the US and its EU and Japanese allies must act to contain their rivals by expanding NATO and building economic trade blocs like the TPP and the TTIP? It also shows why growing popular opposition to war forces the US to use proxies like al Qaeda and IS to create an ‘Islamic’ mortal enemy in the ‘clash of civilisations’ to divide and rule the global working class and shift the blame from capitalist terrorism to Islamic terrorism.
The proletariat stands for humanity
Capitalism has outlived its use-by date. It openly destroys humanity/nature by dividing and repressing the working class globally. It has to be overthrown by actively resisting its destruction at every point. The class war is being fought everywhere by Arab and Kurd warriors resisting military dictatorship and imperialist bombs, by anti-austerity and anticapitalist youth, by unions defending casualised workers, by hackers and whistleblowers, by social mediaphiles using the internet as a weapon, and by climate warriors opposing fracking and deep sea drilling. This is an international class war where the arsenal combines ideas, high tech, civil disobedience and military resistance.
However, the class war will be disorganised and fragmented by imperialist memes of nation, Islam, terror, violence, etc until the working class becomes conscious of itself as the class that represents humanity and fights for itself as humanity. Essential to this task is the international organisation of the working class as a united anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist force with a program for socialist revolution that can counter and defeat the organisation of the imperialist ruling classes. That program must empower the working class in its historic mission of restoring humanity/nature. Its victory in the class war will open the way to a future communist society. The victory will be sweetest for women workers who were the first representatives of humanity to be socially oppressed.