TWELVE THESES.

1. As a system of economic and social organisation, Capitalism has long outlived any historical usefulness its many advocates have claimed. This is because it creates the following existential contradictions: Obscene extremes of poverty and wealth; continual wars over resources and markets; environmental pollution, ecological destruction, species extinction and the exhaustion of all the essential planetary 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 working lives. This is a form of deprivation that lasts throughout their own and their children’s entire working lives. The second deprivation is the continued appropriation by the elites of the huge volumes of unpaid-labour and thus surplus-value which working people, rural, urban, white-collar and blue, create whilst at work in their many 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, existing upon exploited wage-labour. They all continued to control the means of production, managed capital formation (state or private) and forced the extraction of surplus-labour and 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 ecological balance.

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 and control of the working 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 compelled, by the elites state forces, to implement what is in their own interests and are prevented by them from implementing what is in their own.

6. In the 20th century, the capitalist mode of production had to be modified in order to survive it’s international crisis of relative overproduction. The economic modifications found necessary for its the survival, have provided a glimpse into a future mode of production. The creation in the 19th and 20th centuries of small and large co-operatives, large-scale, non-profit, public institutions such as health, education and social services have established post-capitalist forms of economic and social organisation. Despite, being saddled with bourgeois and elitist management practices, these developments have all proved viable and valuable for working class needs.  As embryonic models for a post-capitalist future, they only need the removal of hierarchical,  patriarchal management structures, subjected to communal regulation and their activities rendered ecologically sustainable.

7. The words ‘socialism’ and ‘communism’ have become detached from any revolutionary-humanist content and for all practical purposes are incapable of encapsulating and expressing humanities present and future needs. As political terms 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 political abstractions is more of an idealised  ‘fetish’ or an act of religious type ‘faith’, in an outmoded and disgraced idea than an indicator of revolutionary intent or a pointer to a post-capitalist future. Yet the essence 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 in the 21st century is now possible. Based upon the economic and organisational understandings formulated by Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg and other pre-Bolshevik anti-capitalists, a way out of the pattern of creating sectarian cults with ambitious leaders with illusions of superiority over working people is slowly but surely emerging. A new generation has emerged without the ideological baggage of previous generations. Building upon original revolutionary-humanist traditions requires further collective effort, support and refinement by a new international movement – untainted by past deformities and barbaric acts.

9. It was never valid – 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. Human beings are members of one species and the ideas of superior and inferior sub-divisions within our species is a patriarchal and class creation, refined and re-manufactured by the bourgeoisie to justify modern oppression and exploitation. From the outset any such revolutionary movement  should have equal rights for women and ethnic groups, not only promoted, but created 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. Any movement dedicated to going beyond the capitalist mode of production will need to be both theoretically self-critical and practicality diverse. For example; the concept of anti-capitalism has merely a negative relationship to capitalism. It does not stand as a self-afirming positive; whereas the concept of revolutionary-humanism is its own self-afirmation.  Moreover, no one has a monopoly of useful ideas and effective practices. Dogmatic and sectarian divisions within anti-capitalist movements are more often than not a result of egotistical arrogance and dogmatic certainty.  Such divisions stem from 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 overall anti-capitalist unity of this struggle is an expression of reality and therefore an essential element.

11. The guidelines and operating principles for a revolutionary-humanist practice within a new anti-capitalist movement should include at least the following principles. a) Opposition to capitalism in all its current economic, social and political forms. b)  Opposition to sectarianism and dogmatism. c)  Opposition to the distortion of other people’s ideas in any disagreements. d)  Opposition to disrespect, sarcasm and intimidation of other people. e) For, sharing of information and understanding, within any debates and discussions. f) A refusal to allow different perspectives to impede or prevent joint action.

12. A new mode of production needs to arise on different principles than the one it replaces. Outdated ‘muck of ages’ ideas and practices need to be progressively and resolutely abandoned along with the old mode of production which created them. For example, the assumption that mass-production and consumption of millions of products is the natural or social entitlement goal of humanity needs to be seriously questioned. Wealth measured in the form of masses of disposable products to be endlessly consumed is contradicted by the massive pollution and ecological damage which it creates to human environments. It is also contradicted by the loss of community and the consequent devaluing of human beings and human relationships.

Roy Ratcliffe