I’d like to suggest that a marxist, honestly considering the modern state of late capitalism and the historical narrative leading up to this moment, must conclude that incrementalist reforms in particular, but even radical or revolutionary struggles in general, have done nothing but band-aid the flaws of capitalism. In regards to this one quick point, I’d like to support it by sharing the conclusion to Marx’s chapter on The Working Day contained within Capital Volume 1:
Pages 415-416 posted:
It must be acknowledged that our labourer comes out of the process of production other than he entered. In the market he stood as owner of the commodity “labour-power” face to face with other owners of commodities, dealer against dealer. The contract by which he sold to the capitalist his labour-power proved, so to say, in black and white that he disposed of himself freely. The bargain concluded, it is discovered that he was no “free agent,” that the time for which he is free to sell his labour-power is the time for which he is forced to sell it, that in fact the vampire will not lose its hold on him “so long as there is a muscle, a nerve, a drop of blood to be exploited.” For “protection” against “the serpent of their agonies,” the labourers must put their heads together, and, as a class, compel the passing of a law, an all-powerful social barrier that shall prevent the very workers from selling, by voluntary contract with capital, themselves and their families into slavery and death. In place of the pompous catalogue of the “inalienable rights of man” comes the modest Magna Charta of a legally limited working-day, which shall make clear “when the time which the worker sells is ended, and when his own begins.” Quantum mutatus ab illo! [What a great change from that time! – Virgil]
And so, by “putting their heads together” and initiating reforms upon the working day to sustainable levels, workers avoid their own demise and, at the same time, the demise of capitalism that relies on their labor force.
Marx illustrates this concept earlier in the chapter by mentioning that,
Page 375 posted:
It would seem therefore that the interest of capital itself points in the direction of a normal working day.
However, due to the vampire-like sucking of capitalism upon its labor to extract value and not let go “so long as there is a muscle, a nerve, a drop of blood to be exploited”, it is only the reformation by leftists and liberals, and by the workers themselves, that sustain capitalism from itself.
And so we are left with the phenomenon where the coercive laws of competition undermine the capacity of the capitalist class to sustain their own livelihood (from the lack of maintenance of their labor force), but workers, putting their heads together in the interest of themselves, actually save capitalism from its own stupidity. Their reforms stabilize capitalism and have helped sustain it for centuries, allowing the system to remain strong well into our current generation.
A clear contemporary example of this phenomenon is found in environmentalism. Due to the interest in clean air, sustainable ecosystems, and beautiful landscapes, numerous reforms are proposed and slowly pushed through by the state. But rather than hindering or slowing capitalism, those reforms have merely stabilized it – just as shortening the working day did in the 19th century. Capitalism adapts, and enjoys the more bountiful and sustainable natural resources it can exploit for longer. It creates more commodities, green technology, to continue its perpetual growth.
Clearly, while reforms both liberal and radical and both incrementalist and revolutionary have made life very moderately better for the proletariat, the actual root of their long suffering is only made stronger and sleeker by these efforts.
The accelerationist solution may seem deceptively simple, but it rings true. For the greater long-term good of the working class, despite the inevitable short-term pains, rip off these band-aids. Allow the coercive drive of capitalism to destroy itself. Remove the reforms and welfare state that sustain its hegemony. Only by letting capitalism destroy itself completely and utterly can we prevent the failures of 20th century communism. With capitalism smashed by its own devices, socialism will finally have the opportunity to take hold and remain without struggle from the capitalist class. Vote republican, vote libertarian, vote for President Gingrich. And by doing so you will be ushering in the dawn of a new 21st century communist age.