The three big crises of our time are all part of the crisis of the Capitalocene. Economic crisis means that capitalism has exhausted its ability to produce profits without destroying nature. The extinction crisis means that nature is fighting back against end of the biosphere. The third crisis is that of revolutionary leadership. How to build the a revolutionary movement with a program to lead the revolution to end capitalism and build the Commune?
A decade ago, Adam Sacks denounced climate activists for failing to get to the root cause of climate change. But for Sacks the root cause was the wrong turn humans took when they embarked on rapid industrialization, hierarchies of power and destruction of nature. The solution was to apply the correct ideas to reverse this process, and create local, democratic and collective economies.
Around the same time, some Marxists argued it was not the wrong ideas, but capitalist class exploitation that was the cause of the destruction of nature, and that the only way to stop the collapse of the ecosystem was full-on activism to overthrow capitalism and build a world socialist society.
A decade has passed and the ability to stop and reverse climate change is less likely even with a socialist revolution. And still the majority of humanity fails to act, or does so only in order to reform capitalism. Today, such is the damage to the ecosphere, more climate activists are openly calling for the end of capitalism.
This sounds radical but it is not even that. Capitalism for most means the market, precisely what bourgeois ideology argues when it talks about equality and freedom to buy and sell. Most still claim that the Anthropocene is an aberration from true capitalism caused by rich and powerful people putting themselves before nature and humanity.
But as we argue here, radicalism does not go the root of capitalism. It does not recognise that rich and powerful people are motivated by profit because as the owners of capital they can accumulate wealth only by means of exploiting labor and the rest of nature to the point of destruction. There can be no reconciliation of capitalism with nature.
Hence, capital can only survive by destroying the means of its own survival, nature. This is why the current crisis is existential. It is terminal because it combines both economic stagnation (the decline of profitable production) and the destruction of the ecosphere. Humanity must destroy capitalism and give birth to the embryo of socialism to survive as the fully developed Commune.
We have to understand that the fundamental contradiction between nature and capital is the root cause of the failure of capitalist production and that this knowledge is the key to our survival. Capitalism must be overthrown by the producers, who go on to build a society in which production is for need, and is sustainable because the union of nature with society is restored.
Critical to this transition is the capacity of the producers to organize democratically and smash capitalism and all its institutions. To do this the working people (producers) have to escalate their direct action against capitalism and all its institutions to survive, learning the hard lessons, that nothing can be defended or won without a global socialist revolution.
To overcome the crisis of production which is also the extinction crisis, we have to resolve the third crisis – that of revolutionary leadership. Revolutionaries fight to build an international democratic movement modelled on the Commune where all delegates are elected and recallable, are paid no more than the average workers’ wage, and militias are built to defend the movement from inevitable state repression and fascist gangs.
In that movement all political currents debate solutions. Reformists try to keep the movement limited to what is ‘realistic’ or ‘feasible’ within capitalism. That is no solution. Anti-Capitalist radicals fight to overcome those limitations and face state and fascist violence with organised and armed defence. But there is no agreed model of a future society in harmony with nature. Models based on indigeneity, localism, technical fixes, etc., fail to understand that the embryo of socialism conceived by capital is already straining to be born.
Marxists stand on the lessons of history: that capitalism in destroying nature has exhausted its historical mission; that no concessions can be made to the ruling class; no compromises around the sharing of power; no trust in bourgeois and petty-bourgeois leaders; no faith in the police or army taking our side; no war but class war and no victory but socialist revolution!
As a Marxist I argue that without overcoming the most dangerous crisis, that of revolutionary leadership, there can be no successful revolution against the Capitalocene, no chance to reverse ecocide and the threat of extinction, and as a result, no new society in harmony with nature that makes it possible for humanity to develop to its full freedom in the form of the Commune.
Dave Brownz is TDBs guest Marxist blogger because every Left wing blog needs a Marxist.