1. Capitalism has long outlived any historical usefulness its many advocates may have claimed. As a system of economic and social organisation it creates the following existential contradictions: Obscene extremes of poverty and wealth; continual wars over resources and markets; environmental pollution, ecological destruction and the exhaustion of the essential natural resources necessary to sustain all forms of life. In addition, in the 21st century, capitalism is once again in a systemic economic, financial, political and moral crisis as well as sponsoring further military aggressions.
2. The capitalist mode of production is based upon depriving the world’s working classes of two essential means for promoting or sustaining security and welfare in their lives. The first deprivation is the complete loss of control over the nature and duration of their labour. This is a form of deprivation that lasts throughout their own and their children’s entire working lives. The second denial is the continued dispossession of the huge volumes of surplus-labour and surplus-value which working people, rural, urban, white-collar and blue, create whilst at work in their multifarious occupations.
3. All previous attempts at reforming, re-shaping or transforming capitalism by revolutionary or reformist political means, have failed to radically change the oppressive relationship between capital and labour. Either privately controlled capital has subjugated working people to its exploitation or state-controlled capital has done so in its stead. Despite, their rhetoric, Social Democratic, Fascist and Communist political ideologies and their organisational systems have all been based upon and retained a political and social elite, continued with capital formation (state or private) and enforced the extraction of surplus-value.
4. In face of the current capitalist inspired global dystopia, the historic task for humanity is the re-establishment of egalitarian (and fully communal) economic and social forms of society. Only this transformation can ensure the welfare and well-being of the planet and its inhabitants – human and non-human. Only by everyone becoming a worker and collectively co-operating to utilise the value and surplus-value produced by collective labour, can humanity salvage what is best from its own past and present creativity. Such a post-capitalist transformation is also the only means to preserve what is left of the rapidly diminishing global ecology.
5. The nation-state everywhere – and at all times – has above all else been a vehicle for the maintenance and enrichment of the economic, financial, political and military elite. At the same time it is the armed instrument wielded by the elite for the suppression of the population – particularly during times of crisis. As such it aggressively stands in the way of grass-roots solutions to any crisis the elite create, whether economic, financial, political or military. Communities are forced, by the state, to implement what is in the state elite’s own interests and are prevented by it from implementing what is in their own.
6. The economic modifications found necessary for the survival of the capitalist mode of production in the 20th century, have provided a glimpse into a future mode of production. The existence of large-scale, non-profit, public institutions such as health, education and social services along with small and large co-operatives have introduced actual and potential post-capitalist forms. Despite, being saddled with bourgeois and elitist practices, they have all proved viable and valuable for the working classes. As proto-models for a post-capitalist future, they only need the removal of hierarchy, patriarchy, rendered sustainable and subjected to communal regulation.
7. The words ‘socialism’ and ‘communism’ have become detached from any revolutionary content and for all practical purposes are now obsolete. They have become increasingly devoid of any substantive or universally agreed meaning. Consequently, the working classes and poor in general no longer feel any real attachment to them. Clinging to such obsolete abstractions is more of an idealised ‘fetish’ or an act of religious type ‘faith’, than a revolutionary indicator of intent or a pointer to the future. Yet the concepts originally attached to these terms – non-exploitative economic and social relationships – still has relevance and resonance, particularly among working people and the poor.
8. As a consequence of past mistakes, a renewed revolutionary-humanist paradigm of activism and theoretical understanding is both necessary and is now possible. Based upon the economic and organisational advances made by Karl Marx., Rosa Luxemburg and other pre-Bolshevik anti-capitalists, a way out of the recent and present sectarian vanguardist cul-de-sac is slowly but surely emerging. Building upon this original revolutionary-humanist tradition requires further collective effort, support and refinement along with its vigorous promotion by a new international movement – untainted by past deformities and shameful acts.
9. It was never sufficient – as some anti-capitalists once claimed – that the realisation of full equality for women within an anti-capitalist movement needs to be postponed until after some future revolution. From the outset any such revolutionary movement should have equal rights for women and ethnic groups, not only promoted, but accepted in practice and embodied within its principles. Patriarchy and patrifocality along with elitism and hierarchy have no part in any movement dedicated to an egalitarian, classless economic and social transformation, particularly one which expects and wishes to go beyond capital.
10. Theoretical and practical diversity within any movement dedicated to going beyond capital is both inevitable and necessary. Sectarian divisions within anti-capitalism are more often than not a result of egotistical arrogance and dogmatic certainty which emanate from this type of religiously minded frame of reference. It is a mind-set which despite its frequent use of revolutionary rhetoric – is essentially reactionary. Arrogance, dogma and divisions are a serious impediment, if not a absolute barrier to any future struggle against the capitalist mode of production. Diversity within the unity of this struggle is essential.
11. The guidelines and operating principles for a revolutionary-humanist practice within a new anti-capitalist movement should include at least the following. a) Opposition to capitalism in all its economic, social and political forms. b) Opposition to sectarianism and dogmatism. c) Opposition to polemical distortion in disagreements. d) Opposition to disrespect, sarcasm and intimidation. e) For, sharing of information and understanding, including joint tactical discussions. f) A refusal to allow theoretical differences to impede or prevent joint action.
R. Ratcliffe (September 2014)