So as Marxists, as I understand it, we’re supposed to consider systems like feudalism, capitalism and socialism as fundamentally transitory. I also understand that communism is different, being classless and therefore containing no contradictions that would drive any “autodynamic” or organic social change. Maybe I have a skewed understanding of our ideology, but this feels like a bold assertion. If history can be summarized as class struggle, and communism has no class struggle, is communism the end of history?
Hopefully this makes sense.
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the history of all things, not just humanity, is the creation, development, and resolution of contradictions. this happens on the small scale and the large scale, the general and the specific scale, etc.
the recorded history of society is the history of various types of class divisions because that’s primarily what has been the greatest catalyst for human development for all of recorded history. and, by class i’m referring not only to class divisions created by different economic models (feudalism, capitalism, etc) but also divisions like race and gender too.
but, there is a long history of contradictions before recorded history during “primitive communism,” and there will be a long history of contradictions once all class contradictions have been resolved as well. what about contradictions between humans and nature? these can range from ecological things like building infrastructure that becomes part of the surrounding ecology, to bioengineering that resolves contradictions with how our bodies have evolved for very different conditions that they no longer, by and large, inhabit. what about the contradictions between technology and biology? or of earth and space? what about inherent contradictions within human interactions? what about contradictions between species?
there will always be contradictions to resolve, and the resolution of contradictions always creates more contradictions to resolve, in an infinite cycle or until the human species no longer exists. this is really what “development” means in marxist theory. the difference between now and then would be that, for the first time in human history, we as a global society would be able to consciously, actively and efficiently resolve these contradictions with real intent. in this sense, this would better be understood as the beginning of human history rather than its end because it would be the beginning of self-directed human history.
just imagine a world without the need for violence and all the death and wasted production it entails, a world where you can reliably expect your life to improve rather than society being on the brink of extinction and enduring constant crisis all the time. there will still be things to do, and people will probably be better equipped to do them too.
A great and thorough explanation. There is no “end of history” and there never will be. The dialectical logic of class society however dictates that there must eventually be an end to class struggle and that can only be the victory of the proletariat and the abolition of classes. New struggles will then emerge.
Slavers of old would have never imagined that one day you would not only pay your slave, and not own them. They would have even more trouble imagining that you do not own slaves, and in fact they own your vineyard and you work alongside them.
It’s the same here, we have no possible frame to imagine a world beyond communism.
You’re right that the big question is: what happens to the class struggle after there are no classes? Is it the resolution of the contradiction? But there will be new contradictions, that’s one thing we can be sure of at least. There will probably even be contradictions with the classless society on one hand and… something else on the other that we cannot imagine.
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New class societies may re-emerge at certain times and in certain places, but they will be seen as undesirable aberrations and the results of disruptions of the normal functioning of advanced human society by natural disasters, ecological catastrophes, etc. temporary setbacks in the civilizational level of a society going back to world-historically outdated modes of production. The struggle will then be to reverse these backslides and prevent them from gaining enough strength to replicate themselves elsewhere. They will be treated like occasional outbreaks of a disease.
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The difference there being that socialism is a more advanced mode of production than capitalism. The struggle for socialism in a capitalist society is therefore progressive. The re-emergence of class society in a communist world would be regressive, similar to how we today would view the re-emergence of slavery or feudalism (though the bourgeoisie would love to bring the former back if they could and is currently trying very hard to actually bring back the latter as corporate fiefdoms).
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Our communist descendants will still face struggles with the ecosystem that they will need to overcome, they just won’t be struggling with each other.
They will tell tales of the prophets from Lemmygrad.
History stops when the last human dies, communism is just a different structuring of societi, people will continue to live and make actions, and write books, and do things, and that’s history
No, communism is the beginning of another and better history in humanity.
No. History never stops. As usual they will be probably no point in which we could even tell “this is where we stop, this is communism”, the changes will still be made. What next? No idea, figuring this one is the task of some future Marx.
I don’t think it would be the end of history, just the end of history as we currently know it. There would still be events worth documenting, for example, but history books would look a lot different if they weren’t so focused on the conflicts that are inevitable in class society.
Once the final stage of communism is actually achieved, we’d still have to be careful to prevent new classes from emerging (or old classes from reappearing). Humans lived in a classless society for a very long time; we’d certainly be much better prepared than they were since they had no prior experience with class society, but it’s still a very important issue. We’d need to ensure that everyone is educated on the dangers of introducing classes and remove any risk of counterrevolutionaries causing trouble.
I actually asked one of the older comrades in my org about this. Class didn’t arise out of nowhere, so there’s certainly no reason to think it wouldn’t do so in the future, or as you said classes might reappear. A lot of liberals take that as some grand slam indictment of communism, funny enough. Yeah dude, as it turns out, no one can reliably predict what’ll happen 300 years after they’re dead.