2. Where does that get us? The answer is where it has already gotten us. Pretty close to zero. Official Marxism, by which I mean that of 2, 3, 4, 5, many Internationals positions itself as the channel of channels, the mediation of the advancing big C creative spirit and the reluctant backsliding flesh. It gets us to that point where we're conducting Marxism the way the medium conducts messages from the dead at a séance. "Give us a sign, oh great spirit, if you're with us today." And sure enough we always get the sign. "There's a crisis! Look, over there. Isn't that a crisis I see?" Sure thing. There's always a crisis. The stock markets tank, unemployment rises, profits fall. "Sooner or later" and "I told you so" are the paltry best we come up with.
3. So let's just say, it isn't a spirit thing. And "crisis" isn't a message from the dead,or the living, that capitalism has come undone when the undoing is itself the form for capitalist reconstitution. Confusing?
4. Then try this: It's a social
5. The failure of the left is that its every move is but a re-imagination of profit. The left re-imagines profit in the forms of taxation; in nationalization; in stipends, subsidies, distributions etc. That and those are not at all all nonsense, but they are all derivatives of value production, imaginings derived from profit.
6. Syriza's "capitulation" wasn't in its agreement to a new memorandum, and the agreement isn't a betrayal. The capitulation was predetermined in the paucity of its imagination-- where "the best" it could come up with was the re-imagination of profit as a European Union "New Deal," as a second Marshall plan. That's not imagination. It's nostalgia. Worse, it's delusional nostalgia, a memory of a past there never was; one scrubbed clean of its origins in blood, gore, and shit.
7. Clearly, the material basis for imagination is class struggle; the struggle for the overthrow of value production, for the abolition of value... and for the throttling of "productive labor" in that all notions of "productive labor" are class based. The revolutionary class has to imagine first and foremost its own abolition as laborers, as workers, as sources of value, as liquid pools of labor serving the purposes of exchange. It's not the "will to power" that informs history; it's the imagination of power that historical materialism grasps.
8. "We will work cooperatively toward our regeneration, the birth of communal luxury, future splendors and the Universal Republic."-- Manifesto of the Artists' Federation of Paris, April 15, 1971, cited in Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune. Kristin Ross, Verso, 2015, a book that is as indispensable in its way as Maksakovsky's The Capitalist Cycle.
August 25, 2015