GUEST BLOG: Dave Brownz – 1492-2022 THE RISE AND FALL OF THE CAPITALOCENE

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Year 2022 is year 3 of Sars CoV 2,  and year 270 of Climate change dating from 1750. But the year we should be paying attention to is year 530 of the Capitalocene, dating from 1492, the most critical juncture in human history, so far.
Before Columbus found his ‘new world’ the world was unglobalised. Asia was a continent to itself from Beijing to Babylon. China never bothered to go beyond trading links into Africa. The Ottomans never penetrated the heart of Europe. Europe itself was a relatively barren peninsular on the periphery of West Asia that forced the Viking raiding parties into the ‘new world’ without the means to establish lasting colonies.
So the Capitalocene marks the onset of European society colonising the world and nature to launch global capitalism. Colonisation transformed Europe into the capitalist engine room sucking in masses of value from the ‘new world’ to create its rich hordes.
Why was the Capitalocene so significant? Pre-capitalist societies went from from communes to empires, and sometimes back again, as if in an closed circuit. For the first 200,000 years, humans lived in what are best described as communes, organised horizontally as egalitarian societies around the mother’s lineage. Survival depended on a society run on collective lines, and a division of labour between the sexes where “mothers ruled”.
Historical variations in these relations were exceptions that proved the ‘rule’. Some lineage societies on the margins remained relatively unchanged (eg Polynesia). For most, they represent points in the transition from lineage society to class empires, which may have lasted 40,000 years, where men’s development of herding and warfare allowed the gradual formation of a male ruling class accumulating wealth as tribute.
These latter societies were characterised by the vertical movement of tribute from producers to the ruling classes which built city states and paid tax collectors, the military and religious castes to maintain their rule. They were also unstable since there were limits to the extraction of tribute set by nature and by internal rebellions or foreign wars. Most collapsed or were defeated in war when they could no longer pay the costs of top heavy militarised state.
That is why, when the Europeans first colonised the world, they found both communes and class empires at various points of development or collapse in this closed cycle. Europe itself was a mixing pot of factional feudal states left over from the demise of the city states of Rome and Athens. Its need to break out of poverty and debt encouraged the formation of free port cities harbouring the new middle class of traders, the bourgeoisie, and merchant adventurers, sponsored by the indebted feudal class to colonise the ‘new world’ as sources of new wealth.
What the European colonisers found in Asia, Africa and the Americas, was a treasure trove of natural and existing wealth, gold, silver and many other commodities, a crystalisation of centuries of past and future unfree labour, including slave labour. But instead of the new wealth being blown on conspicuous consumption by the aristocracy, most of it was circulated as currency financing the growth of capitalist production in the cities and the land.
That is why 1492 marks the onset of the Capitalocene – the globalising grab of natures resources including labour power which created the conditions for developed industrial capitalist production from 1750. Those conditions were the exploitation of the surplus labour power of landless workers by the owners of the means of production, for profit in the European states and in the colonies.
In year 530 of the Capitalocene, what are our prospects in 2022? Are we not overdue, in year 3 of Sars CoV 2,  and year 372 of climate catastrophe, for a year zero for the return to the Commune? Not a time travel back 40,000 years but a Galilean time travel into the future of the Commune.
Kim Stanley Robinson in Galileo’s Dream used his dreams of time travel to the moons of Jupiter as a device for peer reviewing his revolutionary science as he faced the inquisition of Rome for rejecting the dogma of the Sun’s movement around the Earth.
Yet we face an equally fateful social inquisition against Karl Marx today.  Anti-science post-modern movements suppress the most elementary scientific knowledge of humanities’ course around the sun as inhabitants of Earth. We can use time travel based on today’s science to show the predicted outcome of both our specie’s extinction, and its survival and regeneration.
So let’s make 2022 year Zero for the return of the commune on Earth, and the beginning of the end of 15,000 years of class society destroying nature’s equilibrium. The new commune is embryonic within dying capitalism in the form of the scientific knowledge that leads to the overthrow of the Capitalocene and creates the conditions for the return of society to nature.

Dave Brownz is TDBs guest Marxist blogger

9 COMMENTS

  1. Can I just say… Brilliant. That, was brilliant. Thank you @ DB.
    I have a blunt force trauma kind of [think] going on. I’m piss poorly educated so any idea/s I might have are born of a turnip plus pick axe kind of reasoning. In other words I only have myself to blame for any ideas, right or wrong, that hatch in my lonely coop and that’s why I’m delightedly surprised to find great solace in your Post.
    It can’t be argued, the best and easiest way to defeat the enemy is to get to know the bastards.
    From a purely local POV, I, in my own two-left-feet kind of way, am trying to weld farmers with urban.
    Alarmingly, AO/NZ’s farmer-centric ‘Ground Swell’ movement, for example, is a toxic script written in the offices of the elite enemy. ‘Ground Swell’ was, in my opinion, purposely designed to disrupt and alienate farmer from urban and that drives me a bit nuts.
    Our entire and beautiful AO/NZ could easily be a commune in effect. Not necessarily one of tie died panties and dreadlocks ( I’m not judging.) but one of co-operation and resource sharing.
    No free and easy coin in that for you though, aye boys?

    • Cheers countryboy. More blunt force needed. Yes the commune can work only if it unites the city with the countryside. The class that produces lives wherever the work is. It is the class enemy, the gentry of the city and countryside that unites against us and tries to divide us. Our unity is the basis of the commune. The vast majority who produce kick out the small minority of parasites and organise a democratic principle for equality based on the simplest of principles, the mother’s protection of her children which allocates shared labour and shared output so that the system reproduces itself without competition, violence and destruction.

  2. Best part of the commune system?
    “the public service had to be done at workmen’s wages. “.

    Worst part of the commune system? It is but a step towards full communism. ”
    “Thus in Marxist theory, the commune is a form of political organization adopted during the first (or lower) phase of communism, ”

    For once a commune is established
    “But in order to join and become an integral part of the provincial federation, the commune must conform its own particular charter to the fundamental principles of the provincial constitution and be accepted by the parliament of the province. The commune must also accept the judgments of the provincial tribunal and any measures ordered by the government of the province. (All measures of the provincial government must be ratified by the provincial parliament.) Communes refusing to accept the provincial laws will not be entitled to its benefits.”

    So who “elects” the state and provisional overlords in the politburo to set the “fundamental constitutions”?

    Would a commune based on capitalistic principals, as voted on by the commune members (as in an Isreali Kibbutz) be tolerated by the ruling elite?

    Worth a read

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commune_(model_of_government)

    Even from the start the ruling elite were not happy with the Paris Commune model. How dare the members wanting to sort out the democractic process first instead of storming Versailles.
    “Marx found it aggravating that the Communards pooled all their resources into first organizing democratic elections rather than gathering their forces and attacking Versailles in a timely fashion. ”

    The commune model is the first step to communism where the power of the commune is destroyed to cater for the overlords in the politburo. Democratic communes are gone. Not a good model of governance, or at least as bad as any we know of currently.

    • You need a bit more imagination than that of quoting old blueprints applied to today’s changed conditions. The Capitalocene threat of extinction changes everything. But the principle of mother right that allowed society to survive for 100,000s of years will center the new commune. If the mothers’ protection of their children was key to the survival of hunter gatherer society before it fell to the patriarchy, think how much more that protection is necessary today facing our species extinction. Past communes were works in progress under specific historical conditions. Democracy and equality have to have a guiding principle. I think it is mother right. So lets see what lessons we have learned from the past and apply then to building the commune today.

      • So when is your commune being organised? One thing to say what is needed, another to actually do.

        Or are you going to be sliding on someone’s coat-tails?

    • marxism is a THEORY not a THEOLOGY so open to adaption to changing conditions…hence the postwar europian social democratic consensus.

  3. I would argue that the godless heathens did not worship the European god, and then later on the acceptance of the theory of evolution allowed European conquerors to designate non white ‘others’ as sub human, and deserving of even further exploitation.

    The conquerors retarded offspring [from alcohol, harmful grains like wheat and processed foods like flour and sugar, awful spine affecting shoes, clothing and harmful medicines, as well as sickened exploitative thinking] would then interbreed and infect healthy and in balance nature worshipping societies with sickened blood lines, sick ideologies and the bad habits of unnatural diets and medicines.

    **Infant deaths and famines were and are natural processes that kept the herd strong, much as the wolf keeps the caribou strong.**

    These were removed by modern man, in his drive toward autonomy from god and experimentation and manipulation of god given rules and laws. The weak got to live and breed. We have a surplus of food, which kills just as readily as a lack of food.

    This loss of belief in a space travelling creator with a 3D bio printer that seeded the various humanoid sub species, is also a very important date point that initiated deleterious belief regarding mans relationship with the earth.

    Early man was given instruction via passed down teachings and books like the bible, this was to preserve the earth and man, as well as all the other creatures.

    Olde societies had and still have enshrined beliefs that served to protect the hand that feeds, mother earth. All of the ancient world practised earth preservation religious ideologies.

    Now, the godless scientists and bureaucrats still looking to make a buck out of gods garden, have a new plan to reverse their earlier legacy.

    All the while, ‘primitive’ man who still worships ‘spirits’ and still also follows ancient teachings given by the wise ancient seeders [gods] and passed down for millennia.

    This loss of earth preserving spiritual teaching of olde, and the furthering of various materialistic ideologies continues to drive ‘who’ and ‘what’ but not ‘why’,, which remains hidden in our spiritless descent from grace.

    This grace period is drawing to a close.

    Nature is inherently capitalistic. The strong bull who passes on the best genes helps to keep the herd and the planet in health. Favouring all as equal is not in line with scientific common sense. The road to global redemption is narrow, and the old rules and laws are just as important today as before, much more so as things are heating up,, and the prophecy of being consumed by fire appears to be coming to fruition.

    Fiyah pon Babylon.

  4. By 1492 England had built its cathedrals, Europe’s great orchestras we’re formed and the Chinese had sailed around the world.
    There was a healthy trade in spices, silk and other goods between Asia and Europe.

  5. The Ottomans never entered the heart of Europe. Thus, the Capitalocene marks the beginning of European society colonizing the world and nature to launch global capitalism. Why was the Capitalocene so important?

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