“ESSENCE OF TIME” MANIFESTO
INTRODUCTION. CONCEPTUAL AND EXISTENTIAL FRAMEWORK
Any political movement unites people of different views and beliefs. Such diversity is natural and, in a certain sense, essential. But this has nothing to do with omnivorism: there must be something unifying people who have set out to work together for a common cause.
This “something” is not even a guiding imperative, but rather a framework embracing political, moral and existential territory that is common for all participants.
The “Essence of Time” movement is based on just four principles.
Principle # 1. Each of us perceives the collapse of the USSR as a personal tragedy. Those behind the collapse deprived us of our Motherland. This is especially clear today, that the same forces are trying to deal the final blow to Russia, using the same techniques that allowed them to orchestrate the collapse of the USSR.
The loss of the USSR is a real loss for us. The pain inflicted by this loss does not diminish over the years. It hurts even more, for the tragic awareness of how much we have lost only grows over time.
A ruined Soviet Union lives on in our hearts. And because it lives on, the USSR can be brought back.
The ability to bear in one’s heart what was lost in reality is a crucial pre-condition for a revanche. And a revanche it should be—we speak of nothing less.
The pursuit of a revanche is a comprehension of the bitterness of defeat and a readiness to win. Only that, and nothing more.
We regard the collapse of the USSR as defeat of our people and our personal defeat. But we did not surrender. We are ready to fight on and win.
Principle # 2. We seek to know why the Soviet Union collapsed and who is to blame for the tragedy. We understand that this is a matter of great complexity, that the enemy used sophisticated and vicious weaponry against us, and that it still creates decoys and smokescreens. We avoid simple answers. For we understand that, as the Russian saying goes, “simplicity is worse than theft”, which is to say that any simplification here would be a gross misdeed.
We will spare no effort of mind and soul in order to get to the truth. In seeking the ultimate answer we are ready to learn and to clear away the barriers of increasing complexity. Unable to provide a comprehensive answer today, we will provide it tomorrow. Russian folklore tells of seven pairs of iron boots that must be worn-out
before a deed is accomplished. If necessary, we will wear out seventy-seven pairs. For we pursue the ultimate answer to our question, and we will find it.
Principle #3. We seek to know not only who was responsible for the decay of the USSR and what the true intentions of those who paved the way for its collapse were. We also want to understand how to restore what was lost. We struggle through to the truth for the sake of this understanding. It takes ten times more effort to restore what was lost than to find the answer to by whom, how and why what we loved was taken away.
We do not fear such difficulties. We strive for a true, comprehensive solution as to how to restore what was lost. And we will find it.
Principle #4. Without love, reason is weak. Without reason, love is blind.
But neither reason nor love is enough. We strive to understand the nature of our defeat and see the path to victory not just to entertain our minds and soothe our heartache. We not only long to know how to restore what was lost. We long to have it back.
Heart and mind, even when combined, are weak unless the will is involved. We have this will. We are ready to fight to restore what was taken from us. We do not want ecstasy, we will not writhe in convulsions. We will be cold in action, not losing our passion. Our reason will clear one hurdle of complexity after the other.
These are not just exercises for heart and mind. We need to love and to know in order to act.
Following Karl Marx, we say, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, the point is to change it.”
This is all that unites us. Only these four principles – nothing more. They constitute a conceptual, moral, existential and political framework. We feel and think differently within this space. We set off on a common path. We believe the journey to find what was lost will bring us together, but we will still remain different. Which, we repeat, is natural and even essential. Each of us is suffering the loss and understands its nature in his own way. But all of us want to bring back what was lost. And we will do it. We long to have back what was lost, and we will.
Let those who do not share these four consolidating principles step aside. We disapprove of both the sectarian intolerance and the omnivoric lack of will
Having defined everything that unites us, we shall now focus on what, we believe, will make it possible for us to accomplish our one and only strategic aim.
PART 1. ON THE CONTENT OF THE MODERN ERA
CHAPTER 1. TWENTY YEARS ON
Twenty years ago the Soviet Union collapsed.
Twenty years ago the Red banner over the Kremlin was pulled down.
Twenty years ago anti-communism and anti-sovietism became the official ideology of the new, post-Soviet Russia.
Twenty years ago it was declared that the collapse of the USSR manifested Russia’s liberation from the hideous shackles of sovietism, rather than being a disaster. It was claimed, that Russia had returned to the fold of global civilization, namely, to capitalism.
A great deal had to be rejected in the name of returning to capitalism – the great state built by titanic efforts and countless sacrifices; the soviet lifestyle, and unique historic path.
The project called “capitalism” has proven itself to be far from in keeping, to say the least, with Russia’s historic and cultural identity.
Vladimir Lenin stated as much quite compellingly in his early work “The Development of Capitalism in Russia”. His opponents, the Pochvenniks1 claimed the same, and did so quite compellingly.
However, it doesn’t matter who said what on the matter. What counts is the historic practice. The bourgeoisie in the Russian Empire took centuries to develop. It gave birth to many prominent political and public figures. Yet as the decisive moment came, after the February Revolution, the bourgeoisie showed a staggering lack of will and incompetence. In half a year they lost everything. They acted in a way completely different from the French, English, and even German and Italian bourgeoisies.
The differences were so striking that an inevitable question arose about the causes of such impotence on the part of a class which possessed every conceivable historic chance.
The bankruptcy of the Russian bourgeoisie following the February Revolution turned into the downfall of the country itself, which the Bolsheviks with great difficulty saved from total destruction. How did they accomplish that? They pursued a strict anti-bourgeoisie strategy, meaning that they said “no” to an amalgamation of the Russian historic and bourgeoisie identities, having discovered some insurmountable barrier between the bourgeoisie and the Motherland.
The Bolsheviks had no time. They could not waste time explaining why the choice was between capitalism and Russia. They were not capable of philosophical comprehension of this “either” –“or” by applying the classical Marxist construct, as it suggests that every country has to pass through the capitalist stage of development.
What Bolsheviks did was declare that Russia had already passed it. In a helter-skelter manner, yes, it had passed the capitalist phase nonetheless in some way. In what sense had it passed? Why already passed?
The Bolsheviks did not supply a satisfactory explanation to those questions, and nor could they.
1 Pochvennichestvo – a Russian social movement. It arose in the mid-19th century. The Pochvenniks believed that Russia was a special civilization, an alternative to the West, they recognized the special mission of the Russian people as being the saving of humanity; they preached the bringing together of “educated society” with the “national grounding” on a religious-ethical basis.
Their opponents, the Pochvenniks, elaborated on this matter. But they did not show the way forward either. Actually, they were just glorifying the spiritual merits of feudalism, setting it against the spiritual impoverishment of the bourgeois.
Bolsheviks showed the way forward and led Russia on a radically anti-feudal and anti-bourgeois path.
What is the secret of the incompatibility of Russia’s historic and cultural identity and capitalism? Is it down to the incompatibility of any multiethnic empire with the bourgeois, which always turns into a “parade of bourgeois nationalisms”? Or is there something deeper involved?
The need for an answer to this question is now particularly pressing.
Our opponents from the radical liberal camp have already given their answer.
They said: “The Russian spirit and the Russian cultural matrix cannot be combined with capitalism. We might not understand why, yet we recognize this. We do not want to figure out why because we know that for us the choice is either capitalism or death. This means that in order to live on (i.e., to build capitalism) we will have to deal with Russia the way a cook deals with a fish. We will urge the Russian spirit to mutate, radically alter the core of Russian culture, drastically transform the Russian cultural matrix. What else can you do?” That is what liberals say.
Even though Russia is struggling through a catastrophic period, a time of great despair, in order to overcome an impasse, at least at this point we need to find an adequate answer as to WHY Russia is not compatible with capitalism. What is the mystery of their incompatibility?
Let us admit the obvious.
Twenty years ago Russia plunged into a new affair with capitalism. This time, with more disastrous consequences than in February 1917. The disaster of that February, the disaster of the bourgeoisie as an incompetent ruling class, lasted little more than half a year. The current affair between post-communist Russia and new capitalism has already lasted twenty years . In those twenty years, capitalism has not created anything, and it has destroyed everything.
Our opponents blame Russia, saying that it only imitates consent to marriage with capitalism whilst still piling up focused and stubborn anti-bourgeois resistance.
If so, our opponents say, even the most drastic means are necessary to push Russia to capitalism. Yes, they say, these means should be even more radical than before – de-sovietization in the manner of de-nazification; foreign control; dismemberment, if necessary. And all this for the sake of the greater glory of capitalism.
For, if capitalism fails, really fails, the consequences will be more devastating than de-sovietization, foreign control, dismemberment, and so on, as capitalism alone can show the way out, can somehow keep things afloat. It is the only Saviour.
Before our battle with our opponents enters a decisive phase, we must find a definitive answer if what they claim is true. Can our opponents be right? Can capitalism be the only salvation? Could it be necessary in this case to forcibly remove the barriers that for centuries preclude Russia becoming fully bourgeois?
In order to get an honest and comprehensive answer, a fresh analysis of capitalism is required, an analysis that will substantially reexamine capitalism’s past, and provide guidance into its future. What we need is not anti-capitalist propaganda and advocacy. We need theoretical tools that enable us to find a sincere answer as to the nature and prospects of capitalism, which means, essentially, to determine how to get Russia out of its miserable and dreadful state. Is the solution to make the country capitalist at any cost – or is there some other course?
We will not anticipate the answer to this question.
We will not work to some preset idea.
We will research capitalism with the utmost scientific sincerity, using a conceptual construct which will allow us to take everything into account – the objective achievements of western capitalism, the crash of the USSR with its anti-capitalist stand, and the humiliating nightmare of the last two capitalist decades in Russia.
CHAPTER 2. ABNEGATION AND ABNEGATORS
Twenty years ago, a fundamental abnegation of Russia’s own historic path occurred in the name of accelerated construction of a “bright capitalist future.” It was accompanied with slogans of a return to global civilization (i.e., capitalism), of the rapid attainment of a “normal life” (i.e., capitalism).
Cynically, this abnegation was formalized as a return to the original national traditions that were trampled by “hideous Bolsheviks.”
The abnegators used pre-soviet symbols and semantics. They dismembered the empire and trampled the values that created it, supplying people with an anti-soviet pseudo-imperial substitute. They were practically explicit that it was nothing but a substitute that had to reconcile the broad strata of Russian society with their new policy.
In the meantime, the abnegators openly despised these broad strata. Inspired by the fact that these strata had already given their support by electing Yeltsin in June 1991 as the President of the RSFSR, the abnegators treated the population, who had backed them up, as “trash”, as a “mob” that would “lap up” any substitute.
We need to discuss the reasons why the awful slumber of abnegation has lasted for twenty years. We cannot but admit the obvious:
This nightmare could not have lasted so long if Russia had not been so badly damaged.
This slumber of abnegation is unprecedented in its length, its consequences are dire and humiliating. It affects everything: education and healthcare, industry and agriculture, military defense and security, law enforcement and demography.
This does not allow us to dismiss the question of whether the country is still alive at all or not. We will leave professional optimists, along with those who listen to their exclamations that Russia has “risen from its knees,” to their own devices. We have to be honest with ourselves about whether the current situation is simply an incredibly long and terrible slumber or the death of the country?
If we address this issue then we have to be serious about it. We will thoroughly measure parameters that will provide a truthful answer to this terrible question. And we’ll recognize that Russia, having entered the capitalist path in an ugly way, was terribly injured. However, Russia is still alive and little by little awakening from a coma-like sleep of twenty years.
We must abstain from any sweet illusions. Russia is not fully awake. It still hovers between life and death. The forces seeking the death of Russia are very likely to achieve it. But no matter how likely this result is, Russia still has a chance to survive. We must make the most of this chance. We cannot forgive any weakness, any apathy, any excuses maintaining that Russia’s friends are utterly frail while its enemies are infinitely strong.
What path should Russia follow? The same capitalist way, but to a far greater extent, including the repression of everything anti-capitalist? And what if the entire tradition is anti-capitalist? Then it should be suppressed entirely? But what will remain of Russia then?
CHAPTER 3. TOWARDS A METHOD
We need a method that can fully express the essence of the modern age. Since everything else depends on the answer to the question of this essence.
Does this age provide a chance for anything but capitalism? If it does, then what?
It is clear that if there is no such chance, the collapse of Russia is imminent. And if it can still survive after its spirit has mutated, the core altered and the cultural matrix shattered, then it will not be Russia anymore. But if there is a chance, can Russia seize it?
To approach the answer, which literally is of a crucial character, we have to agree on a methodology that will allow us to discover the desired answer, while resisting the temptation of simple propaganda or endless academic intellectualizing.
Political methodology has three basic elements: honesty, intelligence and will. It is the honesty, intelligence and will of those who seek to escape an impasse that determines whether it is possible to actually escape the impasse.
We shall begin with honesty. It is common knowledge that Russia lost the Cold War, and the victorious powers treat Russia today the way victors are supposed to treat the defeated. Do we not still have the honesty to admit the following?: “Yes, we have to face a humiliating and terrible defeat.”
Why are we afraid and deny reality? Do we fear that reality will shatter so-called healthy forces? Healthy forces are strong forces. And this is why there is nothing to be afraid of. Those who are crushed by this sort of admission will be crushed regardless when the first serious challenge arises.
Thus, the losses are minimal and the gains are enormous. Acknowledging this humiliating, awful defeat mobilizes firm and courageous individuals. It will give these
individuals new strength. And truly – the hammer stout the glass will break and forge the sword.2
When we have acknowledged the personal defeat, after we have suffered over it as the greatest of tragedies, the feeling that acknowledgement brings will be the blow of the hammer. And the sword forged by the hammer will be a new man, one that is capable of saving Russia from imminent doom. Such a man will be born in the fire of a very specific suffering that has been titled “catharsis” since the days of Ancient Greece.
After we have discussed honesty, we shall proceed to intelligence.
Was Russia defeated in the Cold War? The fact that it lost some kind of war is indisputable. But was this war the canonic “cold war” as most prominent anti-soviet activists claimed it was?
There is a famous book by Richard Nixon titled “1999: Victory without war”. The title itself indicates that the contest lost by Russia was more complex than a classical war, albeit a cold one. It is of crucial importance to recognize what kind of contest was lost. Any sort of inaccuracy is inexcusable here, as the enemy plans to use the same weapons to wreak complete havoc in Russia. This is why we need a full, deep and merciless analysis of the phenomenon called Perestroika. This is especially true now that everyone sees a new perestroika, “Perestroika 2,” being enforced on Russia today, twenty years later. This is the very perestroika that if not stopped will be the ultimate downfall of Russia.
However important the notions of “intellectual war”, “diffusive war,” and the like are, the deepest and fullest for us is the notion of the Game.
Russia was not defeated in the late 1980s. Rather, it was outplayed. If this fact is acknowledged it will reveal the key contradiction of our time — the contradiction between the Game and History. Previous centuries have never seen such a heated and ruthless contradiction.
The American political scientist Francis Fukuyama’s famous article “The End of History,” written twenty years ago, was, no doubt hollow like any trendy text. Why then did it become so popular? Why did it practically turn into the ideology of globalism?
The problem of the end of history is infinitely deeper and more tragic than the article of the same title, which was written using trivial Harvard clichés. The end of history is the beginning of the absolute power of the Game in the form of manipulative combinations, created by the elite in the absence of a public will and people as such. At the end of the day, it is the people who make history.
Those behind the collapse of the Soviet Union fought more than just the USSR as a geopolitical opponent and communism as an ideological one. They fought history itself. Entirely new techniques were implemented that were designed in the forge of political postmodernism, which abhors history and the grand historic projects that enable the historic drive of progress. It abhors all this, including even the “Human” project.
2 A citation taken from Pushkin’s “Poltava”.
The war with the USSR and communism was waged against history and human beings, meaning against humanism and progress.
The USSR and communism turned out to be the principal and at the same time weakest links in the historic chain. Dismantling the USSR and communism was just a prologue to dismantling history and humanity.
Thus let us acknowledge the humiliating defeat.
Let us comprehend our enemy’s might and perfidy, the scale of its evil intentions and the ultimate nature of its anti-human projects.
After we have acknowledged the humiliating defeat and the scale of the evil to which we lost, we shall see the full extent of the loss. In the end, one of the determining components of the victory was the state of minds and hearts enforced by the enemy, eliminating the very notion of “loss.”
What was to be eliminated was the soviet identity, tarred as a shameful and bloody pathology, completely lacking any sort of positive content. Can such a pathology be mourned as a loss? Not at all. If the past is dreadful, it is a happiness to be relieved of this horror. “Those who told us that the past was not appalling, they were lying, lying, lying to us! They were hiding the truth from us! And now we have finally found this truth! Now we can see! We disclaim our past, we repent of it!” This is what rattled around in the heads of many of our compatriots.
This rejection of the past was complimented by a very specific image of a positive future. With every new round of catastrophe, it became clearer that the image of this future was more materialistic and anti-spiritual than ever before. And in this future, instead of “heaven on earth,” there are many small and tiny heavenly morsels, such as jeans, processed meats and the like.
Thus, the abnegation of the past and the idealism that was typical of this past becomes a substitution, a mess of lentil pottage of these small and tiny heavenly morsels. And this was the intention of the enemy. This is how the enemy planned to reach its final goal. The enemy succeeded, but it has not yet gained ultimate victory over Russia and history at large. And because it has not yet been completely successful, the enemy is malicious. This is why it is rushing towards new de-Stalinzations, de-sovietizations, new major and minor perestroikas.
After we have endured the defeat and comprehended its scale, we must ask ourselves whether we can concede the defeat.
Therefore, the third challenge, the challenge of will, adds to the matter of mind and feeling.
This is a key issue today. Those who intend in earnest to keep on fighting have to face challenges that are unprecedented in their complexity. They have very little time to overcome them.
If those who intend to keep on fighting accept themselves as a given, as who they are now and nothing more, if they do not transform themselves, replacing the dreary
beings they once were as part of personal self-transformations, then the new battle will inevitably be lost. This time it will be lost for good.
And this is where the principal and determining super factor is added to the three methodological factors analyzed above – honesty, intelligence and will. This factor is love.
Do those who want to fight for Russia have this love? Not love in general, but rather a love that is extreme and final, a love that does wonders. To what (or to whom) should this feeling be addressed? To the clothing that covers a historico-cultural identity? Or to the identity itself? And what kind of identity is this? How do we avoid splitting it and killing it with varied scientific notions?
Manifestos are not meant to solve mysteries. A mystery necessitates a sacrament. This is why, after we have discussed the importance of transforming love, we shall presume that the love is already in existence. If it already is, then what comes next?
Then love comes to power to purify and transform.
Honesty says that what you love is dying.
Love demands you save what is dying.
Honesty says that you — the way you are — cannot do anything.
Love says that you must.
The conflict between “must” and “cannot” becomes increasingly intense and seems even more hopeless. Finally, the mind suggests a way out: “It is you, the way you are, who is unable to save what you love. Since you must do it, you need to become another you. And this ‘other you’ will solve the problem that the ‘present you’ cannot.”
Revanche consists of acknowledging the defeat and an intention to win in the future. Not to talk about the victory, but to win. Since Russia was outplayed in an extremely sophisticated game, and since a new sophisticated game is being enforced on it again, the revanche is to win. Since the game is extremely complex, one can win it only having fully understood and mastered the rules of this game, the laws and the ways to conduct it.
We must understand all this not with our minds alone, but instead must embrace it entirely in order to play the game and win.
The game is not only complex and cunning. It is repulsive. Your entire being rejects any embracing of it. Even more so, because the complexity requires the highest degree of professionalism, which you lack. And most of those who have this professionalism have already defected to the enemy.
Because the only way to save what you love is to win this game, you become a specialist the way a mother willing to save her child becomes a doctor. By doing so, you really become someone else. Honesty, intelligence, will and love transform you. And in this transformed state you are able to solve the original problem.
This is neither magic, nor mysticism. The most evident form of transformation is education (both formal education and self-education). Political education and self-education take on an extremely pressing importance in the current situation.
To save the country, there need to be thousands and even tens of thousands of individuals who are politically educated in a new way and bound by a deep mutual understanding that is both moral and theoretical. Ideally, these are individuals who have gone through one major political school, similar to Lenin’s famous Longjumeau, but infinitely more profound, detailed and massive.
We must talk of salvation only because it will establish the basis on which rescue teams will form. Marx was right: scientists have been explaining the world for too long while the task is actually to change it.
Yet this declaration did not prevent Marx from supplying explanations, did it?
CHAPTER 4. US AND OUR PREDECESSORS
Creating “The Communist Manifesto”, Marx analyzed the bourgeoisie of his day.
Now it is time to analyze a completely different bourgeoisie — the bourgeoisie of our time.
To analyze the bourgeoisie of his time, Marx used a conceptual construct of his own design. This conceptual construct is still essential. We cannot, though, consider it to be comprehensive, equally applicable at any time and fully descriptive of the phenomenon we are interested in. Marx’s “Capital” and other works by Marx and his followers focus attention on the most crucial factor, the factor of material production, or in other words, the principles of the artificial material environment, which only man is able to create and develop, and which, though partly subservient to man, at the same time dominates him.
Max Weber argued with Marx, not as with a wily villain, but rather as with a great scientist who succeeded in brilliantly analyzing the key factor — material production. While he recognized the crucial importance of the artificial material environment itself and the laws, governing within it, Weber tried to convince Marx’s supporters to consider society as another independent factor that is not a material, but that is rather a social environment, which is just as artificial as the material environment, and is created by man and governed by its own laws, both adopted by man and ruling over man.
Man builds society as a system of regulators, Weber claimed. This system of regulators is historically transient. History is the process of change in the type of regulators and society.
A single, separate individual cannot create and control the artificial material environment. It is created and controlled by people organized in social communities.
But did Marx not talk of about human sociality?
He definitely said something, and did so with the utmost certainty.
Marx did not want to acknowledge the system of social regulators (or, in his terms, the superstructure) as a separate factor that is even partially autonomous from the artificial material environment (or, in his terms, the base).
Marx, Einstein and Freud could not aesthetically accept a range of equivalent factors, as it were. These three great scientists had to derive all laws from a single source: Einstein’s curvature of space-time, Marx’s labor theory or Freud’s Eros. At the end of their lives, Einstein and Freud rejected the principle of deriving the world from a single factor. Einstein acknowledged dark matter, Freud acknowledged Thanatos. But Marx did not live into the twentieth century, with its far-reaching and very dark correctives. Whether he reconsidered something at last and what exactly, is not clear.
Marx’s desire to derive everything from a single principle, giving rise to monism, and not some other theory, determined Marx’s extremely complex attitude to imperial Russia. When he decided to study Russia separately, Marx embarked on the rejection of methodological and theoretical monism. The extent to which he could have succeeded is unknown.
But it is the very inconclusiveness of this path of Marx’s that inhibits us from relying on his theories concerning the essence of the modern age, let alone the chances of Russia in the 21st century.
Synthesizing Marx and Weber is of primary importance. It is important in the sense that an analysis of the artificial material environment, which is created and developed by man, should not be rejected, but rather supplemented with an analysis of the social environment, which is determined by a system of regulators.
Analyzing modern capitalism and determining the prospects of capitalism, is possible on this basis only. Marx revealed a great deal and predicted an amazing amount. However, he did not reveal and predict everything.
Marxism played an intricate role in the life of Soviet society. It created this society and helped it overcome many obstacles. However, it also slowed down its development.
Soviet ideologists feared the development of Marxism. They strongly blocked it, believing that the stability of Soviet society was determined by the ideology in which the role of sage was reserved for Marx. The canonization of Marx became one of the features of Soviet society. Another feature was the rabid anti-Marxism of Pochvenniks and liberals. A third one was the arbitrary interpretations of Marxism emanating from the political struggle of Soviet elite clans. These factors did not allow Russia to adequately respond to challenges.
In the Soviet era, a synthesis of Marx and Weber did not take place for purely political reasons. It was not ideologically needed and thus was rejected in an authoritarian manner, despite the scientific need and despite the fact that the main prerequisites for this synthesis had been created by Marx, Weber and their followers. Other preconditions were in place too. As well as the artificial material environment (which man creates and develops, and which affects man), as well as the social environment (which man also creates and develops, and which affects man), there is also man himself. As an individual factor, man is no less valuable than the technosphere and society.
By developing the material environment and society, man develops himself too.
Subject to laws of the material environment and social laws, man is also subject to cultural and anthropological laws.
Erich Fromm, one of the greatest psychoanalysts and philosophers of the twentieth century, studied these laws in detail. In fact, Fromm admired Marx and did not refute him. He called Marx one of the greatest minds of humanity. He strived to add an autonomous knowledge of humanity to Marxism and knew how exactly to carry out such an addition.
The new construct, which includes these additions, among other things (such as the hidden metaphysical polemics of Marx and Hegel, a theological analysis of the historical materialism of Walter Benjamin, Bogdanov’s “Tectology”, and so on), enables us to re-evaluate the essence of the modern age. In terms of theory, we have a great deal to do yet, but we can be certain enough of the essence of the modern age. There is no doubt that here a synthesis of Marx and Weber will be instrumental.
CHAPTER 5. CAPITALISM – THE REALITY AND THE ILLUSION
The collapse of capitalist illusions is the principal novelty of the modern age.
The project of rapid capitalist construction in Russia — and in turn the dismantling of the USSR, the Soviet system, the global communist system, and the global ideological and political power balance — was based on these very illusions. They decided to dismantle all of it in order to rush into capitalism no matter how hideous the results would be.
Ilya Ehrenburg wrote the novel “Trust E.N.” in which he referred to a kind of political trust that proclaimed a slogan “Europe Now!”
The USSR, the Soviet way of life, the whole global project, an alternative to capitalism, were dismantled by the creators of the Trust C.N. (“Capitalism Now!”).
The Trust’s creators argued that the only salvation was capitalism. They said: “We don’t give a damn to what extent capitalism is compatible with Russia. We’ve had enough of mollycoddling it. If Russia and capitalism are inconsistent then that is Russia’s problem. Capitalism is the only salvation.”
The arguments of Trust C.N.’s creators compelled and enticed the naive Soviet society. Yet by 2008, the bitter truth the society thought it was accepting had proved to an illusion.
Capitalism as a non-alternative way, as the final outcome of the history of mankind, is an illusion. Francis Fukuyama’s article “The End of History”, rather primitive at first glance, but with a deep underlying conceptual message, did a great deal to promote this illusion.
Now we see that there is no end of history as seen by Fukuyama, the neo-Hegelians from whom Fukuyama learned, and adventurers who turned Fukuyama’s rumblings into the political flag of so-called globalism.
It is obvious that there is neither an end to history nor a clash of civilizations, as proclaimed by Huntington, Fukuyama’s conservative counterpart who took it upon himself to give conceptual guidance to the USA’s Republican Party.
But what is there, then?
We have already stated that the collapse of the capitalist illusions, the very illusions that gave rise to perestroika and post-perestroika, which turned out to be the most bitter and humiliating period of our history, is evident:
– the period, when the new mythology with its slogan “Down with the ‘hideous sovietism’ in the name of capitalism!” was taken for granted;
– the period of self-betrayal, of rejection of its own historical path: “Why do we need it if there is one single capitalist historical highway?” ;
– the period of vile and nervous craving for capitalism: “We made a mistake, we backed the wrong horse; we should abandon any fantasies. At least we will eat our fill and have real fun.”
What seemed real turned out to be an illusion.
What seemed to be a victory for common sense over the Soviet “illusions” then, turned into illusion itself.
We shall also state another point.
The conceptual and analytical manifesto “Post-perestroika” admonished twenty years back that these illusions would collapse. It warned us not to take these illusions for real.
Twenty years ago, it was said that the victory of world capitalism was deceptive, that the affair planned by Trust C.N. would have detrimental consequences.
Alas, despite these admonitions society succumbed to the seductive voice of capitalist sirens, hired to carry out dirty PR work for Trust C.N.
The owners of the Trust are now incredibly rich and the rest have been plunged into frustration. It could not be otherwise, since the very criminal pseudo-capitalism predicted in the “post-perestroika period emerged, since the global capitalist illusions the book focused on collapsed under the very scenario described there.
And if we do not come to our senses then everything will develop in keeping with that scenario, and it will be utterly deadly both for Russia and the whole world. To avoid this, we have to come to our senses now.
Now or never. This is the cost of the issue under discussion.
If the tremendous frustration caused by the last two decades cannot lead Russia to find the strength to overcome the imposed strategy of renouncing its own historical path, its downfall is imminent. And it will not take long. If Russia fails to come to senses now, by 2020 Russia will no longer be found on the global map.
CHAPTER 6. THE FUTURE OF THE TRUST C.N.
Despite what we assert here, the Trust C.N. insists that there is no alternative to capitalism. It says the capitalist project should be completed, whatever the cost, no matter how great.
Does the Trust C.N. itself believe in its historic rightness?
If you carefully read all of its pseudo-conceptual documents and explore the ideas of the authors of “Strategy-2020” (and its additions), “Strategy 2030” (and additions), the strategy of democratic modernization, the strategy of intellectualizing the economy (4th grade intellectualization, 5th- who wants more?), a feeling of great frustration and embarrassment might overwhelm you.
It surely will. Yet the relative depth and intelligence of certain authors is not the issue here. Trust C.N. is a failure.
The documents, ordered by them, contain not a single word of truth.
For this reason, they have neither a desire to recognize the disaster of the immediate situation, nor a will to overcome those tendencies that add to the disaster on a daily basis.
Trust C.N. still does not believe that Russia’s non-capitalist tendency is not a deficiency, but something completely different. This is the reason why its sirens can change the intonation of their singing, at best, but can do no more than that.
Disbelief in the historical, global significance of what made Russia distinct from its historic Western opponent, hinders their ability to develop a strategy to get out of the current disastrous state of affairs, since it is a result of that very disbelief.
If you have no faith, no love, no hope will be in you. If so, you feel free from being fully responsible. Being irresponsible, where will you find strength to overcome macro-social trends incompatible with the life of Russia? How could you start simply to take seriously what is serious.
The Trust’s conceptual papers lack a serious approach, and it is their fundamental feature, which relates to the fact that none of the creators of those documents doubt, even for a single moment, that the documents are out there on their own, and the process is going its own way.
Openly sarcastic in public, they feel quite comfortable in taking part in so-called “intellectual discussions.” They say it freely: the cause is lost. Since what cannot be cured must be endured, they babble and get ready to “run with it.”
Thus, the officialdom is reluctant and unable to overcome destructive tendencies. As these tendencies are generated by what it will never reject, what it cherishes more than the life of country. Because the official apparatus is unwilling and incapable of overcoming these destructive tendencies, the collapse of the country is imminent.
The officialdom does not care about this collapse. But we do.
The official apparatus is not willing to rebuild Russia. It wants to settle in their foreign estates and from there observe the collapse of Russia, the way a spectator watches a fascinating theatrical performance.
The bureaucracy is delusional in everything concerning its resettlement in the West. So much the worse for them. We, for our part, do not intend to settle in the West. We want to be victorious together with the country or to die together with it. And we believe in our triumph. We do not seek a cozy harbor. Russia is the ship from which we will not flee.
Yes, this ship is in a deplorable state. Yes, a terrible hardship is looming. That is fine.
We accept the challenge and therefore address society with this manifesto, seeking historical and global responsibility.
We address our manifesto to those who have opened their eyes, to those who feel all the shamefulness and detrimental fatality of the impulses that led Russia to stray from its historical path, to those who want to bring Russia back to its own truth and authenticity.
Others will also open their eyes — but only when it is too late. That’s why it is so important for those whose eyes are open to find the strength to form a strategic response to the dire challenges before us, to fully recognize now all the bitterness of the last twenty years, to learn the fundamental lessons, to ensure that what happened will never happen again, and by doing so to atone for the disgrace of the last twenty years.
Using what we have learned, it is necessary that we immediately develop a new conceptual and strategic course. A new historical project for Russia and for all humanity.
The project is not enough, though. We need a subject that is capable of accomplishing this project.
The project — now or never.
The subject — now or never.
Now or never is the main battle cry of our time, because later it will be too late, because later there will be no “later” for those who love Russia.
Our new and last manifesto is for those who have realized, or are ready to realize this.
We have already substantiated why this manifesto is the last one.
And now we will substantiate why it is new.
CHAPTER 7. THE COLLAPSE OF ILLUSIONS ALONE?
As we continue to discuss the essence or content of the modern age, we absolutely refuse to narrow it down to the statement of the fact that the capitalist illusions
collapsed. We need an analysis that is capable of identifying the genesis of this collapse, its structural and functional features, consequences and possible ways out of it.
That is exactly what a methodology based on a synthesis of Marx and Weber is for. If used to analyze the current situation, the results will be as follows:
The bourgeoisie as a class was formed in the midst of feudal society.
Feudalism allowed and even encouraged such a class to be formed.
Feudal lords needed merchants, who would lend to them. More than that they needed the rudiments of a future industrial production.
А knight could not do without a smith who would forge his armor. In order to be victorious in wars, a king needed muskets, cannons, ships as well as swords and pikes, and a great deal of other provisions.
Long before capitalism triumphed, an inevitable historic compromise emerged between feudal lords and the bourgeois.
Scientific and technical achievements, which gave rise to industrial growth, gradually tipped the scales in favour of the bourgeoisie.
This tendency formed through great bourgeois revolutions. Though violent and radical, they were only completing the process that was already taking place. Bourgeois families ascended the ladder of success, embracing the spirit of humility, diligence and obedience to law. Born deep in Christianity, the new religion of Protestantism facilitated this entire process.
We should not in any way embellish the triumphal procession to power of the capitalist class. This class never frowned on robbery. Much of bourgeois wealth was generated by selling slaves, piracy, and the rampant despoiling of colonies. Still, the foundation of Western and later oriental capitalism was not criminal.
“We work while you are carousing,” said the bourgeois to feudal lords.
“We live in modesty and you are surrounded by luxury,” they said, showing their modest brown frock coats, their frugal lifestyle, their culture, their homes.
Whatever criminal waters ran deep in the rising bourgeois, the essence of the bourgeois was anti-criminal.
The bourgeois said to all other strata of the feudal society: “This is a feudal lord, who gets money by robbery or servility, but we work, hoard money, pass on our meager savings to children, who accumulate more in the same honest way, and so on from generation to generation.” They did not lie. There was social evidence that honest work, tenacity, intelligence, prudence and the ability to take risks were the fundamental features of the new emerging class.
We shall compare all this with the project of Russia’s Trust C.N.
Soviet society, as opposed to the feudal society, could not make the bourgeois a new law-abiding class, with its own norms, values, principles, ideals, and project.
How much money could a law-abiding, highly paid Soviet specialist save during his life?
Could such a specialist, no matter how highly paid yet law-abiding, raise at least a million rubles? Even if an academician put away a thousand rubles a month (which is almost fantastic) and carried out his activities in the capacity of a member of the Academy of Science for 30 years (which is also almost unbelievable), he or she could raise 360 thousand rubles3.
The creative intelligentsia, writers, filmmakers, screenwriters, artists, and the like, showing all the qualities of Pushkin’s “Miserly Knight”, could probably spare somewhat more. Yet the history of the Soviet Union had no representatives of these professions who showed such qualities and were attracted to saving like this.
A careful analysis of highly paid professions shows that the law-abiding strata of Soviet citizens who had high and very high capacities to accumulate funds were unlikely to exceed a thousand people, while their potential combined savings certainly did not exceed 1 billion rubles.
Meanwhile, for the Trust C.N.’s project to be carried out, key assets worth more than a trillion rubles had to be rapidly acquired.
Thus, the Trust had to either abandon its project of rapid construction of capitalism in Russia, or allow the purchase of key assets by three categories of non-law-abiding citizens.
The first one is the so-called tsekhoviks (shadow entrepreneurs in the Soviet Union). They were Soviet citizens who worked on the cusp or, more often, beyond the brink of breaking the law. Still, this is the most law-abiding of the three groups. The Trust C.N. used this group for their project because its members at least produced something. Even if it was done illegally, or done with illegally obtained resources. In any event, this group, which was constantly in the zone of extreme risk, had to distance itself to some extent from the local corrupt bureaucrats, and from out and out criminality. Otherwise, a tsekhovik died or rotted in jail.
Though bowing and scraping before the mafia and corrupt officials, they could not afford to be fully dependant on either of these groups. Did many of them prosper while the project of the Trust C.N. was being carried out? At most, dozens of representatives of this category did.
The second category is made of speculators who did not produce anything. Soviet society regulated pricing strictly. Therefore, anyone who sold the goods from the state store in the market would reap a huge profit without producing anything. If the first category could be placed in the dark gray area, then the second one is in the black zone.
The third category, which is blacker than black is thieves with their common funds – the obshchak, or kitty of an organized criminal group.
Without going into issues of initial capital raised in more complex ways (including from the intelligence agencies), we reach the conclusion that privatization by Trust C.N. was inherently criminal. (It should be noted that the initial capital raised in more complex manners that we omitted to discuss above were just as criminal.)
3 Around $ 300 000 (calculated at the average rouble/dollar rate for the last Soviet decade)
Thus, the bourgeoisie, which slowly grew within feudalism was essentially non-criminal. Meanwhile, the bourgeoisie nurtured by the Trust C.N. was extremely criminal and could not be otherwise.
Companies were sold for next to nothing and even given away for free, and still this type of privatization could not make a difference in the nature of rapidly created capitalism.
For just this reason, the capitalism that was built in Russia differed drastically from any more or less “normal” capitalism. Though this, as it were, “normal capitalism” was inherently predatory too, and drastic measures had to be taken often to rein in the most ravenous manifestations of its predatory nature.
The Trust C.N. masters did not nurture a normal, imperfect capitalism as found in other nations. Instead, they fostered a criminal monster, a devouring pseudo-class. They managed to nurture it. The class started to devour everything, on the principle of “the appetite comes with eating”, and it has done so for the last twenty years.
Could those behind the Trust C.N. not understand what they were doing? They certainly could not. However, they created exactly what they wanted — the death of Russia. Let them not lie by saying they wanted to save Russia, adapting it for capitalism. They were carrying out their liquidation project.
Now that we have compared the type of savings, we shall compare the rest.
At the end of the day, there is also the so-called primitive accumulation stage. In classic cases when capital forms slowly in the fold of feudalism, the “white” component may prevail in the primitive accumulation, though others are always present. But if capital is formed rapidly, the proportions of “gray” and “black” components naturally increase during primitive accumulation. And then there arises a strong need to terminate this phase, to tear off the accumulated capital from the criminal cord. And if it is not done, quickly and ruthlessly, the country where such a capital is dominant is not criminalized, it becomes entirely criminal.
A criminal state is inherently unstable. It cannot coexist with normal, even criminalized, but not criminal states.
The distinction between a criminal and criminalized state is the line between life and death. Criminal states are destroyed ruthlessly. One example is the destruction of the notorious pirate kingdoms. Even if this does not happen, criminal states destroy themselves, but they are usually destroyed like a fatal disease conveyor by those who come into contact with them.
Could it be that the creators of the Trust C.N. did not understand these basic concepts? No, they could not have failed to understand these concepts. Yet they did everything they could to inhibit Russian capitalism from getting out of primitive accumulation. They strongly encouraged all forms of its criminalization and they achieved their goal. The class mutated completely, dropping metastases in all institutional shells.
This wasn’t the will to build capitalism, rather the will to destroy Russia through criminal pseudo-capitalism, by transferring all functions of the ruling subject to this criminal pseudo-capitalism and transforming the state into a criminal monster.
Did the “Post-perestroika” manifesto admonish this to happen? Definitely.
Did it happen? There is no doubt.
That was not, by any means, a coincidence or stupidity.
Is the situation reversible? Yes, given that a powerful rejection of any, even non-criminal capitalism is inherent in historical Russia.
With deep regret, we must state that the current government does not have any real intensions to remedy the situation. The obvious tasks arising from the above are not even put on the agenda. For example, there is no attempt to deal with the problem of overcoming the deadly prolonged phase of primitive accumulation or the problem of de-criminalizing the capital. These specific problems are increasingly replaced with a suspicious starry-eyed idealism. Is it a lingering naivety? Or a mask, that the subject is wearing because it fully understands that the country is about to be devoured completely and is reluctant to resist it?
Historical Russia rejects any form of capitalism.
The conscious formation during these twenty years of criminal capitalism is incompatible with Russian life.
What else is it of vital importance that we discuss in connection with the fate of capitalism in Russia and the world, in connection with the answer to the crucial issue of the essence of the modern age?
CHAPTER 8. THE BOURGEOISIE AND SOCIAL AIMS
The supra vital feature of a genuine bourgeois class is its ability to act as a leader of society or, to put it another way, as a driving force for society. The genuine bourgeois in their day were a true leading class, a class that did what the widest strata of society strove for.
After they proclaimed “liberty, equality, fraternity,” the bourgeois undoubtedly developed a society that was quite different from this great ideal. Yet it was never historically fruitless.
It bridged humiliating estate divisions.
It gave the land of the nobles to the peasants.
It developed a new social type of community: a bourgeois nation.
It offered a new perception of human destiny, values and ideals.
However, it turned out soon that there was a dark undercurrent, and the grand achievements were accomplished thanks to an unbelievable effort of the exploited masses and the working class in particular. It turned out that under the cover of talk of values, the Golden Calf was slowly elevated to the pedestal.
Nevertheless, that rising, historically consistent bourgeois class took humanism and social progress seriously.
A rising, historically consistent bourgeois class had a mission, its own vision of the future, a grand historic dream.
This is reflected in culture and art.
A rising, historically consistent bourgeois society was not culturally fruitless. It gave birth to great literature, music and painting, which meant that it succeeded in conveying a new quality to humanistic aspirations.
Which is why we cannot deny the cultural and, hence, humanistic mission of the genuine bourgeoisie. While the culture it created was ruthless to its creator, this was not abnormal or pathological, but rather a norm of historic life. We shall give credit to the grandeur of the bourgeois, which began to form in the West in the midst of feudalism in the middle of the fifteenth century, and by the early nineteenth century had become a supreme and leading class.
CHAPTER 9. THE BOURGEOISIE AS A CLASS THAT ACCOMPLISHED A COLOSSAL HISTORICAL AND SOCIO-CULTURAL PROJECT
Characteristic Russian broodings along the lines of “what must be done?” and “who is to blame?” are necessary but insufficient. It is impossible to answer the question “WHAT must be done?” if there is no answer as to WHO will do that WHAT.
By answering the question of WHAT must be done, we analyze the PROJECT which will bring about necessary historic transformations in the course of its implementation.
By answering the question of WHO is to pursue that WHAT (that is to accomplish a historical and necessary PROJECT), we analyze the SUBJECT.
No project is possible without a subject. Equally, no subject is possible without a project.
A subject outside a project is merciless and is quick to disappear from the historical scene. A project deprived of a subject is a mere abstract utopia.
A project lacking a subject is groundless and turns into a humiliating daydreaming.
The rising bourgeois had its Modern project and at the same time it took the role of its subject, that is to say a class, capable of accomplishing the project.
The rising bourgeoisie issued a social order for its grand project.
Great thinkers carried out this commission.
Their names went down in history.
A grand cohort of enlighteners succeeded in opening new social and spiritual horizons for humanity. Yet they were only a part of the intellectual army called to its historic colours.
It offered to one part of society a secular, strictly enlightening version of the Modern project, and to others a red-hot religious version of that same Modern.
Therefore, the project proclaimed by the bourgeoisie is much broader than a classic enlightenment, with classic European enlightenment referred to here as classic in most cases in comparison with American or more broadly Anglo-Saxon enlightenment.
However, that comparison does not cover even the most essential nuances without which the Modern project cannot exist. Thus, its religious modifications (so-called Christian modernism, or religious modernism on a broader scale) are in close correlation with secular modifications of the same grand project.
The Modern project is a grand edifice with room for a great deal of diversities.
The simplest way to bridge the gap between Marx’s and Weber’s theories is to add this characteristic to what is called Marxist analytics of capital.
The bourgeoisie is a class that established a new kind of artificial environment where humanity dwells. In other words, new types of productive forces.
The bourgeoisie is a class that established a new social environment and new types of regulations. Not only new productive relations as a phenomenon defined by productive forces, but a new type of legitimacy.
CHAPTER 10. CLASS SUPREMACY AND LEGITIMACY
Legitimacy is a set of reasons for why one class executes supreme control over other classes. Society will accept supremacy of a class only on the basis of the fact that the supreme class is seen as the only provider of public weal. This is the only ground for stable patterns and political systems to be established.
History teaches us that an illegitimate supremacy is ugly and never durable. A leading class that loses its legitimacy has to make it up with violent dominance, without using bayonets which, as Lenin stated, can’t be sat on (in the sense that a power is not able to sustain itself only through the use of compulsion).
The bourgeois gained its historic legitimacy when it created the great Modern project. It is extremely important to note that the bourgeoisie, having presented the project as the bearer of a common weal and having claimed itself to be the subject to implement the project (i.e. being the source of this “weal”), actually set the boundaries of its own legitimacy. The bourgeoisie settled on definite projective, ideological, conceptual terrain and marked it as its own.
Adjacent territories became foreign.
It is exactly the Modern project that legitimizes the bourgeoisie as a subject to realize the project.
It is within the terrain of this project, the terrain of its legitimacy, that the bourgeoisie subdues its inherent brigand spirit and transforms itself from “a class for self” into a “class for others.”
This is the reason why no existential mutation of the bourgeoisie and its full alienation from ideals and goals occurs in this territory.
It is obvious that bourgeois stepping out of the terrain of Modern will result in disastrous and deadly consequences both for the bourgeoisie and humanity at large.
We should compare again the classic, genuine bourgeoisie with what formed in Russia. Have our criminal bourgeoisie and its creators, Trust C.N., established a new type of legitimacy? Have any steps been taken in that direction? Not a chance. On the contrary, its ideological entourage suppressed any attempts to form anything legitimate, because legitimacy requires a moral stance, values and ideals of some kind.
No class striving to gain legitimacy will worship the Golden Calf, let alone impose it on society at large. This is staggeringly counterproductive as well as immoral.
Meanwhile, the Trust C.N. set about destroying any makings of legitimacy. An unimaginably wild and parasitical class has proven to be morally and ideally uncurbed. No historical precedents of anything similar are to be found.
However, it is vital to state that anything related to actual Russian capitalism is hopeless and pathological, it is more important to discuss a different point. The fate of any contemporary capitalism. Note: any capitalism. Even one deprived of those bestial features that have been imposed on Russian capitalism and that lead it and its whole society into an incredible, unprecedented impasse.
CHAPTER 11. THE BOURGEOISIE AND THE MODERN AGE
Perhaps the contemporary bourgeoisie and the global capitalist system overstep the limits of their legitimacy?
Perhaps the bourgeois abandons its projective, axiological and essential terrain, within which it can exist as a “class for others”?
Perhaps the bourgeois class despises all its historical obligations?
Perhaps the bourgeois class sheds its curbs of moral, goals, norms, common ideals and values?
What if this is what they do now?
The definition of the modern age depends on the answer to this question.
We answer affirmatively. Capital, no matter how pathological or normal, loses its global and historical legitimacy. If Marx’s theory can be supplemented with Weber’s, at least, the loss becomes evident and adds tenfold (at least!) to the abhorrence of our internal situation. Thus, no opportunity to cure Russian capitalism is left, unless someone is there to carry out a methodological and political inversion and to indulge (instead of building socialism in an isolated country) in building in this particular country a unique capitalism, which will not lose its legitimacy here, having lost it everywhere else.
Yet the problem is so acute and frustrating that it makes such methodological and political research dubious.
The symptoms of abandoned legitimacy loom obvious and ominous in the modern bourgeois.
Given that the bourgeois made their first attempt to accomplish their goal in Germany in 1933, the scale of the problem is huge. We are talking about one of the most menacing challenges humanity has ever had to face.
Yet – and such a conclusion is based on the above – as we proved to be the weak link in the global chain once again, we have to do everything at once: to realize how possible such a new rise of Nazism is, reviving a situation of mortal combat with the dark forces of Nazism, to find a response to this reincarnation, given that it is real and imminent.
That is why we focus special attention on the seemingly abstract problem of the Modern project, which Weber and his followers took a great interest in.
We sense our troubled current Russian and global situation and we want to get an answer to the crucial issue of the contemporary era – whether capitalism has lost its project, and hence, any legitimacy.
Everyone everywhere needs the answer. It is of the utmost importance to our long-suffering land.
Why did Russia reject capitalism in 1917? Was it historically right and grounded?
What exactly did it refuse – Marx’s capitalism or Weber’s capitalism? The question is valid, as capitalism can be understood as a complete and closed system only if it is Marx’s capitalism, Weber’s capitalism, and Fromm’s capitalism at the same time. Yet those capitalist aspects that Weber studied and that are defined by the notion Modern are of most importance for us now.
CHAPTER 12. THE MODERN PROJECT AND THE FATE OF RUSSIA
Russia’s fate will soon be determined by what is called excess population, which will grow to 100 or even 120 million people, given Russia’s expanding criminal capitalism.
Criminal capitalism will be happy with no more than 40 million people to create a super-stealing machine and claim it cynically as its country.
If no external pressure is exerted, Russian criminal capitalism will pursue in a smooth and easy-going manner its goal of being above the state.
The majority of our fellow citizens, including first and foremost those of no longer needed intellectual occupations, will have to choose whether to die here or flee abroad.
“Death” (with versions such as “marginalization”, “lumpenization,” and so on) and “flight” variants will be carried out simultaneously. Some will flee abroad, others
will have to die, losing themselves in drink, being sent mentally ill or becoming marginalized. Russia today sees both projects running the show, a phenomenon that many sociologists nonchalantly consider normal or even optimal.
It takes at least 5 million people a year for the “flight” option to reach the criminal ideal, and it requires just as many for the “death” variant.
10 million people falling out of society will transform Russia into a superstructure with both a criminalized core and periphery. The structure will become increasingly unstable. Whether it will stand for 6 or 8 years or collapse sooner cannot be predicted.
A decaying house may collapse for any reason. It may fall in on itself if you slam a door too hard, open a window, or even sneeze. Given that the logic of global processes urges external forces to act, imagine a decaying house hit with a battering ram.
We can merely discuss whether it will be shattered on the first blow or by the tenth, or how hard and focused those blows are.
Until the so-called excess population has been turned by the criminal and capitalistic mincing machine into mince, it still has time to wake up. Our moral, existential, historic duty is to encourage it, sparing no effort, binding ourselves fully to this cause.
It is wishful thinking to believe that our fellow citizens, or the “excess” population (we are just as excessive if this process continues), will wake up because of our simple slogans. Lenin’s simple slogans and decrees are what everyone tries to resort to, failing to understand that those slogans were advanced at the final stage of the process of taking power. They were preceded by other stages that involved activities other than slogans.
Bolsheviks appealed not only to bread, peace and the sharing out of the land of the nobles. If they had, they would have never defeated the socialist revolutionaries from whom they borrowed these slogans. Bolsheviks also appealed to the great Red anti-capitalist project that allowed historic Russia to see in a complex manner what was consonant with its sacral essence.
Banal whining that the Bolsheviks’ essence was anti-Russian quickly loses its appeal even for those who are doing the whining. Many have realized after 20 devastating years that even intellectual bolshevism proved itself somehow consonant with the deepest peoples’ inmost, ultimate, chiliastic aspirations.
A deep, popular bolshevism coexisted alongside the bolshevism of intellectuals. The secret of this bolshevism has not been discovered, and the Bolsheviks could not take power, let alone hold it, without this other bolshevism.
Thus, we should neither deny the importance of the simplest slogans nor plunge into their tempting simplicity. Either Russia in the twenty-first century will find itself another big project after all its turmoil, or it will cease to exist.
Our objective is to present Russia with this big Project, a successor of its past that will focus it in the future.
A big project, no matter how complex and obscured, comes first. Then come simple slogans.
Our objective is not only to provide this project but to create a consistent subject capable of realizing a new project, similar to how the bourgeoisie of the past centuries were able to realize the great Modern project.
The Bolshevik party in 1917 presented not only the big project but itself as the subject capable of realizing it. If this is true, the Bolshevik party could not be considered a party in the classic sense. It was something more.
A project involving the creation of academic books, even ones of the highest quality, does not appeal to us.
A project involves more — a powerful conceptual magnet that is able to draw anything that harbours the capability to be magnetized.
The current situation is what turns cold academic texts into conceptual magnets. We shall not say that the problem is impossible to solve. In the end, it was the current situation that turned Marx’s texts into such magnets. The situation produced a whole range of individuals who studied day and night complex Marxist concepts, not deprived of a political passion, of course, but not identical with it. Those who read Marx, retrieved passion from Marx’s texts, they found this passion, bound it to their will, strengthened and transformed it.
They could achieve it only because history urged them to. Some claimed to hear its steps while others heard their names called. They did more than talk — they proved it with task and toil.
Thus, we will not claim that a combination of Marx and Weber and God knows what will not have the same effect that a highly academic work titled the “Capital” had in the early twentieth century.
Instead we shall discuss how a synthesis of Marx and Weber excites modernity, transforming into a concentration of political and metaphysical passion.
CHAPTER 13. THE FATE OF THE MODERN AND THE FATE OF CAPITAL
When addressing the matter of the fate of capitalism in terms of whether it retains or loses its legitimacy, we have to step outside the bounds of classic Marxism, which does not consider the matter of legitimacy as fundamental. Strictly speaking, Marxist terminology does not use the concept of legitimacy at all.
To understand the fate of capitalism, the notion of legitimacy must be introduced to Marxism. This involves theoretical and practical political challenges that are to be overcome by combining Marx and Weber. We will lose Marxism otherwise (which will lead to an essential analytical and political disorientation), and we will not be able to analyze the key issue of the twenty-first century.
The capitalist class was formed politically and historically in the course of creating the Modern project. This class sought supremacy and legitimacy, and presented this project to society as a principle and its most valuable non-material asset.
When not bound by this project, the capitalist class is shorn of any historical mission and, as a result, its legitimacy. If we cut off the Modern project from the capitalist class, what is left of the latter? Palaces and yachts, binges and manipulations on the stock exchange. That will not suffice to legitimize its claims and privileges.
Even a normal capitalist class has an ugly and criminal character outside this project, let alone its mutated Russian version.
Thus, to analyze the Modern project means to find out what is the fate of capital in the twenty-first century. The fate of capital is completely predetermined by this project. And the fate of the capital is a key concrete political issue in the twenty-first century. Retaining legitimacy by capitalism deprives non-capitalist and anti-capitalist political movements of any strategic prospects. The question of whether such movements can use the possibilities opened up, however, is another matter.
Isn’t the matter of prospects the key one for practical politics, at that?
No doubt, apart from legitimacy, there exists “supremacy in itself.” When capitalism loses legitimacy, it still retains a supremacy and may exert it by means of force alone, which creates a brutish, half-bestial dominance.
But, firstly, such forms of supremacy have never been stable — the history of mankind is rich with such examples.
Secondly, they may be successful only if the end of history has taken place, which is to say the accelerated formation not of spectral “world governments”, but of a clear and utterly anti-democratic “iron boot.”
The contradictions between China and the USA, the USA and Europe, between those powers and India, preclude capitalism from establishing a worldwide iron boot in a historically short period of time.
Thus, the matter of the legitimacy of capitalism which is equal to the fate of the Modern is of substantial political importance, as it is at the same time the issue of the chances for a strategic victory by capitalism’s opponents.
So, first of all, we have to deal with the fate of the Modern project, which is to say with a problem that is completely absent in Marxism, utterly conceptually, notional and linguistically absent.
Having done that, we have to focus on an analysis of class forces in the context of the delegitimization of capitalism (if it does exist) which is to say that we can step onto a familiar for Marxism analytical and theoretical platform.
So, what is the fate of the Modern project?
It is impossible to answer this question without looking, at least briefly, into its content.
CHAPTER 14. THE MODERN PROJECT
Speculating on the notion of the Modern, both Weber, who did not yet refer to it as a project, and his followers compared the Modern (or, alternatively, modernity) to the Pre-Modern, which they referred to as a traditional (or agricultural) society.
Modernization is a transition from a traditional (or agricultural) society to a modern (or industrial) society.
Marx would say that it is a transition from a feudal to a capitalist formation. But in some senses traditional society is a wider concept than feudalism, though the two are quite closely related.
Concept variation is not the issue here, however. The way that Weber and his followers interpret the word “society” (or “socium”) is. They regarded society as a specific reality, one that is substantially autonomous in relation to super-reality (an artificial material environment within which a society is formed).
If Weber and his followers had only addressed agricultural society, they would have been very similar to Marx and other proponents of the formation theory. However, they identify traditional society and that has nothing to do with casuistry. A traditional society is a society with certain regulators, which Weber followers deem no less important than the dominant mode of production (certainly agricultural, in the case of a traditional society).
In this specific scientific field, the importance of which is determined by the current situation (or more exactly, by the looming disaster), types of society are connected primarily with the regulators that turn elements (for example, individuals) into a system (for example, a full-fledged society).
Tradition regulated social life at the Pre-Modern stage. For this reason, Pre-Modern society is called traditional.
Tradition as the soul of a traditional society (recalling Pushkin’s “habit — the states’ soul”) gives rise to collectivism or communality. And vice-versa, the destruction of communality is the dismantling of traditional society.
Thus, tradition is the main regulator. Collectivism is a way of life. What is next? Certainly, the estates principle as a principle of differentiation of role functions. Family aristocracy as the ruling class. The monarch as a mouthpiece of its interests. Religion as the legitimization of the monarchy (the monarch as God’s anointed).
And the people as a community, bonded by religion, the very religion that provides legitimacy to the monarch. It was important for the French monarch to be anointed in the cathedral in Reims. It gave him real legitimacy. And this is one of the cornerstones of the history of Joan of Arc.
The maturation of the bourgeois in the fold of the feudal (or traditional) society. The formation of the bourgeois as a class, mostly urban (as opposed to the feudal lords as large land owners). The formation of the bourgeois as the owners of the industrial sector (in contrast to the feudal lords who owned the agricultural sector).
These factors had a great influence on public life, though other factors were just as decisive as influences. Two new actors emerged on the social and metaphysical stage.
First there were religious dissenters, Protestants, who greatly problematized the legitimacy of the monarchy at the time. The French monarch, anointed by the Catholic church in Reims, was legitimately considered the King of the Catholics. However, he
was by no means seen as being legitimate for Protestants, who regarded the Catholic Church as the Church of Satan. A special type of absolutism was sought to overcome this contradiction, which meant that the legitimacy of religious anointing would be transformed into Louis’ XIV formula: “The state is me.”
But such a transformation does not provide a sustainable legitimacy. In addition, yet another new character appears on the scene: secular man. Secular man deems the Catholics, Calvin and Luther to be religious fanatics.
While not numerous, they were burned on the bonfires of the Inquisition. When their numbers grew substantially, the existing form of government failed because man had changed drastically.
A new material environment, rich with the spirit of science and technology and the new man with his seditious secularity, required new regulators and new rules for the social game to emerge. Otherwise, there would be no society at all. Indeed, even a relatively stable artificial material environment, let alone a social environment, still does not reproduce itself as a natural environment.
Capitalism declared: “I will build new rules, new regulators, and will save society from collapse and chaos.”
It was a very important statement because people still remembered the horror of chaos, religious wars and more. Capitalism came and legitimized itself through great social changes.
Capitalism abolished the estates principle.
Capitalism atomized the traditional society, throwing huge massive rural populations into proletarian-industrial urban life.
Capitalism formed a new communality: the nation. Now not religion but rather language, nationality, culture and ethos regulated the affiliation of an individual to community.
Capitalism created a new industrial world.
Capitalism granted new rights to massive populations that were previously deprived of any rights.
Capitalism (perhaps most importantly) made the law a hyper-regulator of this fundamentally new society. From that point on, everything was regulated not by tradition, not by habit, which is “the states’ soul”, but by law, written and strictly executed with the support of respective legal institutions.
Capitalism established a new political system and called it democratic.
Capitalism rebuilt all the previous subsystems of traditional society. And so what exactly did capitalism do? Yes, it implemented the Modern project, legitimizing itself as a leading class.
In addition to the above aspects of the usual elements of the Modern project, it also includes both religious and secular metaphysics.
While the role of religious metaphysics in Modern is important, the substance of the project is certainly determined by the presence of secular metaphysics, which is to say the presence of progress and humanism as supervalues.
Not usual values, but supervalues. The metaphysics of the project exists only until the progress and the humanism are charged with supervalue essence.
And such essence has to be universal and absolute, meaning that it has to be addressed to each nation, to all peoples, each representative of humankind and humanity in general.
As for religion, the Modern merely allows its existence, whilst strongly separating church and state, rationalizing religion in the extreme, which subjects it to a very significant transformation.
The balance between intellect and faith in religious modernism dramatically shifts in the direction of the intellect, with all the consequences that entails.
CHAPTER15. THE EXHAUSTION OF THE MODERN PROJECT OF ITS CAPABILITIES
Once the Modern project is analyzed, the prognosis becomes mere paperwork. It is not difficult to demonstrate the exhaustion of all the above mentioned aspects of the project. Yet what strikes one to begin with is the extent of the exhaustion of its metaphysical axiological potential.
The absolutization of the term “democracy” is becoming the main and most evident sign of such exhaustion. Today, the Western practice is to build upon the absolute priority of formal democracy over anything else.
Yet until quite recently, the Modern was clearly not synonymous with democracy. A positive meaning that Western politicians and political philosophers used to put into the concept of “authoritarian modernization” is obvious evidence of this. Now the USA and the West at large declare authoritarian modernization to be their main enemy, a kind of “axis of evil”. Is it possible to change policy in such a drastic way without breaking off with the metaphysics of the Modern, or in other words progress and humanism? Definitely not.
A formal democracy?
Consider some archaic country that is home to two cannibalistic tribes, one of which believes men and women are equally eatable, whilst the other believes that only women are. These two tribes form two parties, hold democratic elections, form a parliament, reach some cannibalistic consensus: “We agree in general: human flesh is proper nutrition. But we have some disputes regarding particular issues.” If all the procedures for disputes are complied with and cannibal authorities are properly divided into branches, then we have a formal democracy in place, don’t we? But what does it have to do with the Modern?
This example might seem too bizarre, but actually it isn’t, and soon if the same policy the West carries out in North Africa is implemented in Central Africa, it will be a literal example!
The support provided over all by the United States and the West to the Muslim Brotherhood, Taliban, and other movements that suddenly became “democratic” is in no way bizarre. We witness democracy turn from essence into form, a form that’s not only indifferent to content but aggressively opposed to it, which dooms progress and humanism as predominant values of the Modern project, as well as the project itself.
There is more to this political renunciation by the West of this locomotive of the Modern, the supervalues of the project and the project as such. We are dealing with a more profound renunciation.
There are reasons why ecological issues were already on the agenda of the Club of Rome. The Modern is based upon the right – probably formal, but strict – of every country in the world to progress and humanism. Such a right existed even in the colonial period. It allowed Kipling, as a herald of British colonialism, to claim “the white man’s burden”, meaning that the “white” Western locomotive towed a train with a multitude of both “white” and “non-white” cars towards progress and humanism.
The philosophy and analytics of the Club of Rome are based on the validity and even necessity of detaching all train cars from said locomotive, which has been towing these cars in a certain direction.
The accelerated development of all humanity remains a utopian concept. Yet the accelerated development of huge Asiatic countries (such as India and China) is already an established fact. The locomotive cannot tow these cars and provide over two billion passengers of these cars with the same wealth that those in the locomotive have.
The planet’s resources are not sufficient to do so.
The passengers will soon become the owners of the train. This metamorphosis is absolutely unacceptable for the locomotive team.
After considering the political and political economic rationale of the West‘s renunciation of the supervalues of the Modern (which means renunciation of the project in itself), it is necessary to consider one more underlying factor — the anthropological factor.
The Modern project is permeated with the will for development, but only for a certain kind of development, a development called progress.
This type of development implies that the anthropological material (i.e., homo sapiens) remains unchanged.
It implies that the Soviet project to create a “new man” (thus, new humanism) was both utopian and counterproductive at the same time.
It implies that there is no need to eradicate evil in a human being – instead this evil can be used for a good cause.
It implies that evil, if properly organized, will contribute to the good in the same way that animal competition for survival promotes evolution.
The Modern project managed to “properly organize” anthropological evil. It is its great achievement. Properly organized, evil became the generator of development, a development that has to do primarily with productive forces. In other words, with the artificial material environment.
Man became more and more conditioned by this environment, which meant a slowing down of progress (at best), and in fact is prone to stagnation and potentially the degradation of man. It resulted in a tremendous gap between the parameters of the artificial environment and those who inhabit it. The average person does not develop (and even degrades), and in the meantime the environment develops fast. Such a gap is referred to as the “scissors.”
Every year the “scissors” open wider and wider. When they open to a certain degree, a disaster is imminent. Somehow (it does not matter how exactly), a stagnant element (Anthropos) will find something in the developing environment (Technos) that would allow it to destroy both Technos and Anthropos.
To prevent this, it’s necessary that the development of Anthropos be accelerated or that the development of Technos be terminated. But the Modern does not accelerate Anthropos’ development. It has no keys to this door. At the same time, the Modern is not able to stop (let alone wind up) Technos. In fact, the project gives up and admits it cannot avoid the approaching catastrophe for a great number of reasons, both general and particular, both material and nonmaterial.
Among the fundamental nonmaterial reasons is an exhaustion of the metaphysical principle of consolation declared by the Modern. Man is the only creature in the world that knows about his mortality and experiences this knowledge as a burden. Naturally, man covets consolation, or in other words some version of immortality. The most basic version of consolation known to humanity is religion.
Once religion stops acting as consolation (once man becomes unreligious), there is a need for other versions of consolation. The Modern has practically claimed its ability to ensure psychological and social wellbeing in a world where there is no consolation. The attempt of the French Revolution to offer alternative versions of consolation within the framework of the same project (Goddess of Reason, the Supreme Being of Robespierre) were suppressed.
The non-consolational spirit of the Modern was highly effective throughout the nineteenth century. But by the beginning of the twentieth century the modernist (progressive, humanistic) creative inspiration of non-consolation finally came to nothing. Non-consolational projects always come to nothing rapidly. When the non-consolational pathos of the Modern (“our deeds stay on Earth”) fizzled out, the project started to malfunction.
By the early 21st century it had become clear that it wasn’t random failures that were being experienced, they were unrepairable breakdowns of the whole project.
In brief, such is the metaphysical exhaustion of the Modern project.
Having described it, we move to the social exhaustion of a project.
Socially, the Modern is based on the principle of disintegration of traditional society. Splitting traditional collectivist society into atomized individuals, the project acquires higher social dynamics.
Figuratively speaking, traditional society is thrown into the furnace of the locomotive known as the Modern project. While traditional society exists, there is a furnace that keeps burning. You can keep throwing additional portions of this society into it, but when there is nothing left of traditional society, the furnace grows cold and the locomotive stops moving.
The examples of Western and Asian countries that embarked on the path of implementing the Modern project show this clearly. In Asia — India, China, Vietnam — a large section society remains in Pre-Modern conditions, presenting an almost unlimited resource for this very furnace. The key word here is almost unlimited. Sooner or later there will be no resources for the furnace of the Modern in Asia and in the rest of the world. What are the options then?
Those who have no interest in this kind of problem should look closely at the present. The West has nothing left of traditional society. Nothing can be thrown into the furnace of the Modern, save for illegal immigrants. The situation is the same in Russia, which makes speculations about our modernization even more tragicomic. Discussion of the Modern, meanwhile, is strongly avoided in Russia.
Consequently, countries where traditional society is not fully used up but is already being thrown into the furnace have an advantage. Such a social advantage turns into a political-economic advantage.
At this point, the fact that the Modern has run its course not only in political, metaphysical, and social spheres but also in the political-economic arena, instantly becomes apparent.
After the USSR collapsed and the world returned, as it were, to homogeneous capitalism, the capitalist law of irregularity of development in its highest (imperialist) state returned.
Old capitalist countries develop at an ever slower pace. Young ones begin to overtake them. The old capitalist countries try to keep the leading positions by means of war. The classic type of such a war is World War I.
In this sense World War III is bound to resemble the Great War, but not the second great war, as World War II began in a world where capitalism was not equally developed, for which reason this war was the war of concepts and projects and not of economic interests.
Having freed itself from the wars (both, “hot” and “cold”) of concepts and projects, the world returned to the wars of economic interests. To keep its leadership the USA has to stop China. The United States is neither willing nor able to give up its leadership. There are two ways to stop China. A soft way is to arrange a counterbalance and undermine China’s internal stability. There is a hard way, too. It is unlikely that the soft one will work and so the hard one will be used. And very soon the world will be driven to nuclear war.
The institutional exhaustion of the Modern is evident enough. The project uses the institute of law as its hyper-regulator. What is happening to international law in the world? And what begins to happen with the law based upon the principle of national sovereignty?
The exhaustion of the Modern spreads to this very sovereignty. This includes the institution of the state. Everybody talks about the crisis of the national state, and the national state is one of the key inventions of the Modern project. Accordingly, the crisis of the law, nation and state leads to the complete exhaustion of the macro-social grounds for this project.
A discussion of micro-social exhaustion is just as pertinent. Man, family, communicative fields, culture in the Modern — they are all close to complete exhaustion.
Even if the Modern project survives in Asia, what is the good of it? Remaining in one macro region only, it will no longer be a universal pan-human project. As explained above, in Asia the Modern will become exhausted too, though somewhat later than in Europe. This is the reason why the key question now is what lies beyond the Modern. This question is even more pertinent now that the project, with one foot in the grave, is being pushed to its final collapse by its founder, the West. The Arab Spring is strikingly clear evidence of this.
Seeing the Modern reaching the point of exhaustion, the West feverishly tries to kill its own child, and thus deprives capitalism of any legitimacy. Could it be that the Western countries are doing this for the sake of gaining a new legitimacy? Perhaps the West (and capitalism at large) has in store some alternative options concerning legitimacy?
When discussing the fate of capitalism and the content of the modern age, we cannot sidestep such an important and pressing issue.
CHAPTER16.THE MODERN PROJECT AND OTHERS
The model of the clash of civilizations assumed by American neoconservatives in 2001as an alternative to the end of history failed when Barack Obama was elected. In fact, it failed even earlier than that, when the conservatives began discussing a new project, the Greater Middle East, with Arab and other “springs” tightly built into it.
The model of a strategic union between Islamism and the West seriously and for a long time replaced the model of the clash of civilizations. This model was already realized in specific alliances: the West and the Muslim Brotherhood, the West and the Taliban.
Islamism, which was declared as American neoconservatives’ chief enemy, now becomes a good friend of the USA. Supposedly, this is because Islamism meets the will of Islamic nations.
Such cunning explanations do not and cannot satisfy anyone, of course. But for us, what is important here is not to examine this plot closely but rather to discover the strategic substance outlined by this plot.
To discover this substance, it’s necessary to understand what distinguishes Islamism from Islam, the great world religion worthy of respect.
Islamism is quite a recent invention. In that sense, it radically differs from fundamentalism. The latter, at that, is to a large extent a modern replica of Islam, rather than its archaic version.
Antiquity, or rather the failure to clear the barrier of modernity, means the condition of the Pre-Modern. Is it possible to talk of the Islamic Pre-Modern, albeit with some reservations? Of course it is possible. For various reasons that are both objective and authoritarian, part of the Islamic world shuns Modern and keeps retains Pre-Modern purity. But it is a small and vaguely defined part.
Conscious rejection by the Muslim countries’ elites of the Modern project, which had already started to put down roots in their domains, is a much more distinct phenomenon. Such a renunciation has the nature of a much talked-about conservative revolution. Its supporters aren’t afraid to use modernist or event postmodernist political technologies. The combination of such technologies with a renunciation of the Modern, and with a desire to bring reality back to a Pre-Modern stage (certainly extraneous in this case) is the Counter-Modern. The Counter-Modern is as well-developed a project as the Modern. We have every reason to say that the Counter-Modern with deep inner satisfaction is watching the process of the exhaustion of the Modern and facilitates it.
Such is the meaning of a strategic rather than an opportunistic alliance between Islamism and the West, because the West is elaborating for itself a new Post-Modern project. In other words, the West is adapting itself to a very specific life on the debris of the collapsed Modern.
This “life after life” is based on a profound contempt for the predominant values of the Modern, namely, progress and humanism. Humanism, the glorification of the greatness of Man, is particularly alien to postmodernism.
The Post-Modern, to begin with, hates any greatness at all. Secondly, it hates the human being. For the Post-Modern “Human” is the project “coming to its end.”
The Post-Modern hopes to replace “human”, a creation too firm for it, with something utterly amorphous and unstable, something that could be with every justification titled post-human and post-humanity.
The Post-Modern despises and hates history.
The Post-Modern hates development. The ideal of postmodernism (though postmodernism totally rejects idealness) can be regarded as controlled degradation, controlled decay.
The culture of the Post-Modern (and culture creates the human type, after all) is impregnated with the spirit of death. The Post-Modern doesn’t conceal it. It openly swears allegiance to Thanatos and to the spirit of perversions of all kinds.
A detailed description of the Post-Modern as a project is clearly out of place here (besides, alongside man, the Post-Modern denies any authenticity, any projects, any metaphysics).
But an analysis of capital cannot be comprehensive without revealing the two alternatives to the Modern project: the Counter-Modern project, and the Post-Modern project, and the links between them.
It is appropriate to indicate here two types of connections.
Firstly, there is a connection between two very different players which is established to allow the playing of a common game. The alliance of the USA and Islamism, which is forming now, is extremely illustrative here.
The connection is also established to develop a new architecture of the world, while staying transitional yet also acting as an architecture.
What is this new architecture?
In the 1950s and 1960s, China’s leader Mao Zedong put forward a model that was far from being senseless. The model had a “global city” as a core and a “global village” as its periphery.
Thus, in the transitional architecture that is being cobbled together now, the Post-Modern seeks to play the role of the architectural core, which is to say a kind of global city. The Counter-Modern is staking a claim to becoming the global village. The division of roles and spheres of interest is not final, yet the very principle of this division can overcome a number of challenges which cannot be positively resolved within the Modern project.
For example, they can reject global development and, in some sense, development itself. The development is antagonistic to the Counter-Modern. “That’s great!” exclaims its postmodernist partner. In this case there is no need to develop all of the periphery, to share the valuable resources with it, to worry about what will happen if the periphery becomes more effective than the core or even has to become more effective.
Indeed, the Post-Modern makes no claims to development as the predominant value. If something will be left in the global city that continues to develop, that “something” will be completely subjected to the task of keeping the counter-modernist periphery under control.
Thus, the Modern project is nearing its exhaustion. What’s more, it is no longer needed by the ruling class. And there is a desire to finish it off as soon as possible. There is an alternative to it – an alliance between the Post-Modern and Counter-Modern.
Should we consider the game to be over, with no practical opportunities to interfere?
No. Firstly, although the might of the Modern is close to exhaustion, it is still strong enough. Secondly, the existence of Russia impedes this ominous reformatting of the world.
PART 2. RUSSIA AND THE MODERN AGE
CHAPTER 1. EXCESSIVE POPULATION
What is the real aim of the Trust C.N. that destroyed the USSR twenty years ago and that formed a new reality?
Does this Trust realize the full extent of just how pathological capitalism really is?
Is it ready to overcome this pathology, curbing at least the most terrible processes, such as the prolonged orgy of primitive accumulation, which is to say stealing from their own people, a process within which people are no longer able to bear the burden of Russian statehood on their shoulders?>
Or rather, will the Trust deliberately increase these pathological tendencies, pursuing evil objectives of liquidation?
Can it be that the pathological tendencies are growing because of momentum in view of the fact that the Trust has lost its control, it has entirely used, after these twenty years, its ambitions to establish normal capitalism in Russia and to integrate the country completely into European (or global) civilization?
Not wishing to exaggerate this very grim situation, we shall assume that the Trust (or its least destructive part) still cherishes the illusion of turning Russia into a so-called “normal” capitalist country which can, among other things, enter both NATO and the EU.
We do not assert that this is exactly the case. We consider it as the most fortunate possible outcome. And even in this case, an impasse is evident. The impasse is both strategic and tactical. The tactical impasse is created by unsolvable or nearly unsolvable problems, which can be recognized by applying a classical Marxist analysis.
Challenge №1. Exiting the rampant primary capital accumulation.
Denying any propaganda and relying on analytical data only, we have to face an absence of any, even the smallest, manifestation of Trust C.N.’s intention to solve this problem.
The transformation of our capitalism into something normal (which is to say compatible with the life of the country) would save Russia. Russia matters for us more than our ideas and projects.
Challenge №2. This challenge belongs to the classic Marxist sphere to the same extent as challenge №1 and is called labor division.
The global market is fantastically overregulated. Russia is not a superpower, not the USSR, it does not dictate the rules – instead it obeys them. The established rules (and they will get stricter) dictate that Russia plays a raw-exports role. How could it be otherwise?
Russia is not able to supply the global market with huge amounts of cheap and disciplined labour. China, India and other Asian countries can achieve that.
Russia cannot become one of the key agricultural countries of the world. It can and has to provide itself with food. It can and has to sell as much grain and other agricultural products as possible. But it cannot be a strategic competitor for the countries of the First World that focus on agricultural production and that have developed high-tech production with large-scale subsidizing.
It cannot become a strategic competitor for the key agricultural countries of the Third World either, which are home to huge armies of very cheap and very hard-working labour sources and where not just one but three crops can be harvested a year.
Trust C.N. destroyed the Russian industrial system, over the last twenty years it has done away not only with scientists and engineers that are essential for the industry but also the working class, formed in the USSR with a great effort and now lacking any elementary self-reproduction.
Are those post-industrial scenarios?
Consider that scientists and engineers’ salaries are less than that of a barely qualified worker, given that the whole intellectual sphere of Russia is underfinanced, with this sphere the subject of greater havoc than that industry in general, and that 30 million hectares of cultivated area have been lost (more than in the World War II) due to Trust C.N.’s project.
Thus, what remains is a raw-exports role, shameful and futureless even with high prices for raw materials. And what if prices begin to drop, as they are more than likely to do?
Even with prices on raw materials high, what does this raw-exporting peripheral scenario mean for Russia?
We have to face the obvious: the production of raw materials for export requires no more than 10 million people. An additional 20-30 million people will have an “honorable” role in various services, either administrative and financial or other. What about the others?
After all Russia, is home not to 40 but to 140 million people.
Highly qualified economists publish one research paper after another, saying unanimously that this raw-exporting, peripheral scenario that we are examining now renders the remaining 100 million people obsolete.
These people might be fed with oil prices high or might not. In the latter case, they will be disposed of either in a soft manner or otherwise. They will be alcoholized, pumped with narcotics, thrown into a half-bestial state, cranked through meat grinders of so-called local conflicts, and so on.
The intelligentsia as well as the common people will become excessive in this case. Intellectuals will become needless in such quantities even for peripheral capitalism. No other role is reserved for them in this scenario.
But both problem №1 and problem №2 and other similar problems that are perfectly revealed by a classic Marxist analysis are not the most significant issues as long as Trust C.N. is indeed willing and able to transform our pathological pseudo-capitalism into a somewhat reasonable state.
In this case, legitimization is the primary and strategic problem.
Even if the Trust is not intentionally destroying Russia, devouring and dismembering it, but rather is doing something less sinister.
Even if this Trust is striving for some sort of “normalization” of Russian capitalism. How and by what means does the Trust intend to legitimate its infinitely ugly child? The Trust is unlikely to assume some ingenious methods of such legitimation, as it plans not only to build capitalism, but also to integrate Russia into the so-called international community, even as a periphery of that international community.
Therefore, both the periphery of the international community and its core always use one and only one method to legitimize capital — the Modern project. This means that Trust C.N. has to implant this project in Russia, doesn’t it?
The very bashful and awkward moves of our elite, which has suddenly taken to talking about some modernization, have nothing to do with a realization of a somewhat adequate Modern project in Russia.
Firstly, the Modern project has never been carried out using the methods proclaimed by the ideologists of our modernization.
Secondly, the project itself is close to exhaustion.
Thirdly, in Russia, unlike in powerful Asian countries, there is no traditional society that can be thrown into the furnace of the Modern.
Fourthly… here we are moving on to the most crucial point.
CHAPTER 2. THE MODERN PROJECT AND HISTORICAL RUSSIA
The political process will not become the process we need without us telling ourselves and others the truth, and we must include those who are our most irreconcilable adversaries. We must tell the de-Stalinisators, de-sovietisators, anti-imperialists and Russophobes, say it to their grinning faces:
“Yes, you are right! Historical Russia is not compatible with the Modern.
“To overcome this fundamental incompatibility we must abandon all Russianness, imperialness, Sovietness. It also must be abandoned in one go, since Russianness, imperialness, Sovietness are links in the same chain.”
Having acknowledged this truth — and this is what most honest Russian patriots are afraid of doing — a next step is to be taken. We must answer a question: why is Russia not modernizable and why has it struggled against modernization for centuries?
Even Asia, which is more distant from the Western centre of modernization than Russia, eventually agreed to modernization. Russia’s culture, of course, is Western, and also Christian.
So why is Russia not modernizable? Unlike not only Europe and the USA, but also China and India?
The reason is that both Europe and the USA have an organic and detailed paradigm of development — the Modern project.
Europe and the USA staked on this card in the global game based on the philosophy of history. They gained much, but paid a very high price.
Europe and the USA won because over the last five centuries (since circa 1500 AD and up to the end of the twentieth century) the Modern has been the paradigm within which development advanced in a most vigorous and systemic way. Europe and the USA were developing faster than other regions and were able to legitimize capitalism better too, for only the Modern project, as was already stated, allows it.
Asia, unlike Europe and the USA, does not have a fundamental know-how when it comes to development. Asia does not claim its paradigm to be the one and only. It claims uniqueness in other areas. And those claims are profound and compelling, indeed. When it comes to the development paradigm, Asia lacks any claims to it. Which is the reason why it borrows the Modern as a foreign paradigm relatively easily, adjusting it to its cultural identity, its world outlook.
Adjusting yet never fully embracing it.
Adjusting and reaching great successes, tactical initially, like the living standards increase, the growth of economic (hence, any other) might. Still, this is only the first step.
As it succeeds, Asia strives to take the eternal Western competitor out of the game. When it has been done, Asia will continue developing until there is nothing to throw into the furnace of the Modern. And after that it will halt. The development will stop. Devoid of development, humanity will not, in a sense, be humanity any more. This scenario would have been the only one if it weren’t for Russia.
After all, even if the West dares to challenge Asia and destroys it to the extent that it is not able to combine its Oriental resources with the Western paradigm of modernization, it will not make any difference.
Anything of this kind can be accomplished only by means of a massive nuclear war. Let us assume that this happens. What’s next?
The West cannot extend the Modern for a great number of reasons. Unlike China and India, it cannot throw its traditional society into the furnace of the Modern. The West has already used its society for this purpose long ago, and now there is nothing to throw into the furnace.
So, Asia adopted the Western paradigm of the Modern…
Asia achieves huge successes as a result of this adoption…
A collapse of the West as Asia’s adversary…
Inertial advancement of Asia within the framework of the borrowed Western Modern project…
Next – the halt of development.
We repeat that this would have been the only scenario if there were no Russia. This will become the only scenario if Russia ceases to exist.
How can Russia prevent that fatal scenario, and what’s more in its current condition? Or scenarios, if we consider the ruthless destruction of Asia by the West as a second scenario?
The reason is that Russia, unlike Asia, has its own development paradigm, which is completely different from that titled the Modern.
That Russia has a special path is not the case. Russian Pochvenniks like to talk about that special path, without specifying, however, what makes it “special.”
The fact is that Russia possessed and still exclusively holds — even in its current, extremely dire condition — such a non-material asset as a development paradigm alternative to Modern.
Russia was reluctant to integrate into the Modern for centuries and it developed nevertheless. What results is not Russia’s otherness at large, but rather an ability to formulate and, most importantly, to realize the non-modernist method of development. Not to reject development like pre-modernistic Asia did. Not to copy development, like Asia when it broke off from the Pre-Modern. But to develop in a fundamentally different way.
While the West was able to demonstrate the fantastic successes of the Modern, urging Asia to copy this project, Russia’s development was like a five-wheeled bicycle. You could ask us: “Well, you’ve invented such a monster, but what for?”
Now and then our “five-wheeled bicycle” turned out to be a very effective means of travel. It was undoubtedly so during the Soviet period. We achieved pretty impressive results in the pre-Soviet period too, staying within the Russian development paradigm.
Russia coalesced with its development paradigm no less than the West did with its Modern. Russia can be torn from its paradigm only by changing its cultural core, by dismantling its cultural matrix, which is to say by completely driving out the Russian spirit and fundamental Russianness from Russia.
Had the Modern been the only victor from the point of view of philosophy of history, while our development paradigm would have completely lost its effectiveness, Russia would have faced a tragic dilemma: to abandon development, condemning itself to destruction, or to abandon everything that seemed to be valuable and important.
But there is no trace of any historiosophic triumph of the Modern. This project is in its death throes. It may be worth saving it partly to prolong these death pangs and to gain time for the setting of humanity on different rails of history. The alternative is the complete rejection of history and the terrible consequences that go with it.
If the Modern project is in its death agonies, then Russia’s know-how in development is priceless for everybody who cares for humanity and who does not want it to ignominiously cease to be, settling for non-development, whether this be non-development Asian or Western style.
Yes, Russia was lured into the rejection of its own development know-how, it was made to think that its “five-wheeled bicycle” was useless.
Caught in the trap of temptation, Russia has condemned itself to self-destruction. But the refusal is not final or unalterable. It hasn’t destroyed itself completely yet.
It just needs to get moving forward again, using the means of transportation it invented itself.
It has to learn to use it again.
It has to learn to love it; to understand its importance from the viewpoint of the historical fate of humanity.
It has to learn again how to love and respect itself as a creator of these means.
Rejecting rejection, Russia will save itself and the world. It will save humanity as an essence inseparable from development.
But if it persists in the abnegation that was declared twenty years ago, Russia will destroy itself. It will be not only a country where 100 millions of people are an excess. It will find itself a fundamentally excessive country. A country that has no place in a new world project configuration. Such a configuration will inevitably emerge, if Russia does not reject the rejection.
CHAPTER 3. THE NEW CONFIGURATION AND RUSSIA
Asia is unwilling to reject the Modern project, understanding that by using this alien but very convenient means of transportation, it will achieve a historic triumph on a global scale. It can get rid of the foreign means of transportation after that.
The West at large, and the USA in particular, can accept nothing of the kind. The West knows that it can prevent Asia’s triumph in two ways.
The simple way is by literally destroying Asia. If the West decides to, it will have to do more than just destroy the production of the largest emerging countries in Asia; it must also exterminate the bulk of the population.
Not that the West is not ready for that. The West is ready to fight Asia’s triumph by any means, but still this simple solution is prone to most serious consequences.
The West knows that it is extremely difficult to exterminate Asia without destroying itself. This is why it resorts to a more sophisticated way of preventing the Asian triumph, reserving the “simple” solution as a last resort.
What does the sophisticated method involve?
It envisages a change in the world project configuration.
The Modern project ceases to be the mainstream for humanity. The Counter-Modern is being introduced to the game. For a start its so-called Islamist version is being launched (again, we insistently ask that this should not be confused with Islam). Simultaneously, the Post-Modern project is being introduced to the game.
The essence of the Counter-Modern is a conscious rejection of any development, even the technical one. A new Middle Ages is declared to be the ideal. Does it mean a return to the Pre-Modern? In no way.
The Pre-Modern possessed everything that has to be abolished now, everything that paved the way for the Modern. First and foremost, the will (although non-bourgeois it is still very intense) for progress and humanism. That will was raised by the pre-modernist West in the midst of certain religious concepts, evolving in a certain way. The very logic of that evolution resulted in the secular metaphysics of the Modern, namely, the metaphysics of progress and humanism.
The Counter-Modern rejects all this. It withdraws from the Middle Ages the potential of development and love of fellow men. There is only one way to do it – by prompting certain communities towards regression.
The Soviet Perestroika and the Russian Perestroika-2, which has begun now, are exactly such incentives towards regression. Did Trust C.N. want to build capitalism in Russia or did it have more far-reaching and grimmer plans? In any event, the results of its activities generated regression, and could do nothing other than this.
The change of the world project configuration implies introduction of such forced regression on a much broader scale. President Barack Obama called the Arab Spring (the inducement of the Islamic world towards regression and archaization) the second fall of the Berlin wall, and not without good reason. The first fall represented regression in North Eurasia. The second fall of the Berlin wall manifests regression in a large region close to Russia that is full of dangerous processes.
Then, more “falling of walls” will follow, opening the regions a path to regression.
The regression need not necessarily be of an Islamist character, yet it is Islamism that has a great influence on large masses and that is quite intensely regressive. This is why the role of the locomotive of regression, the locomotive of archaization, is attributed to it. A role that is fraught with all corresponding consequences for Russia.
The advancement of regression and the archaization processes on our territory, combined with a strategic alliance between the USA and Islamism on the platform of the new countermodernist Middle Ages…Isn’t it clear that the existence of such a combination alone leaves no chance for Russia? Russia is no competitor to Islamism in anything that concerns countermodernist actions. It loses itself as a provider of a salvation paradigm of development. It already proved itself unviable in the Modern, and it will even more quickly prove unviable and useless in the Counter-Modern.
Nonviability and uselessness…
Whether an Islamic caliphate or a mosaic of archaized states will form where Russia used to be, whether the Islamic caliphate will fight China or China will engulf the pieces it needs — it does not matter if Russia ceases to exist.
The Post-Modern has no room for Russia either. It is a foreign and alien project and is authorized to be joined by alien forces. This project is competing with the Counter-Modern in terms of filthiness, a filthiness that is completely inconsistent with Russia’s historic identity.
Finally, this project is completely incompatible with Russia’s territorial integrity.
The Modern in Russia? But this project, as we have established, is close to exhaustion. Besides, Russia is not able to use the resource called “traditional society” for modernization purposes. Unlike Asia, Russia is deprived of it.
Finally, Russia is more resistant to the classic Modern as something alien and dangerous. Every cell of its historical and cultural identity resists it.
Russia realizes, if not in the mind then in the heart, how crucial it is for the world to have a paradigm of development that is different from the one that the Modern offers. This project can be forced on Russia by an unprecedented religious, cultural and political violence. Before it gives birth to the Russian Modern, though, the violence will destroy Russia, and with it Russia’s all-important paradigm of development, extremely important right now, in the twilight of the Modern.
Thus, the Modern project destroys Russia.
Yet the new world project configuration, which is offered by capitalism and can no longer present the Modern as the source of legitimacy, is destructive to Russia as well.
Where is the way out then?
The only possible salvation is that Russia recognizes itself as the only provider of a paradigm of development, one that is completely different from the paradigm offered by the Modern. A paradigm of global and historic importance which is enhanced with the exhaustion of the Modern. What paradigm is it?
CHAPTER 4. ALTERNATIVE WEST
What hinders us from clearly comprehending the nature and essence of this tragic paradigmal gift of history with which Russia is endowed, the gift it rejected twenty years ago, the gift that is crucial for humanity today?
What impairs us from comprehending this gift is a lingering, political and historiosophic conflict between the Occidentalists and the Pochvenniks, lasting across centuries. The conflict that formed stereotypes of perception of our historic fate.
Those stereotypes have always stood in the way of complete historiosophic self-understanding and self-determination. Now they are more dangerous and hazardous than ever.
Occidentalists are adamant that there is only one West, a part of which Russia keeps failing to become.
Pochvenniks believe the West is an utter evil that Russia shall be shunned from.
Meanwhile, no positive answer has been supplied as to what Russia is, if it is not the West.
Pochvenniks argued that Russia is not the West. What is it then? Pochvenniks have never given an answer. The reason why is clear. Being immensely intelligent and sensitive, Pochvenniks could not fail to understand that Russia is not Oriental, not Asian. Russia and China and India are too immensely different.
In the end, it’s the case that Russia and the West were all Christian self-identities. Inexpiable war of the two branches of Christianity, Catholic and Orthodox, could not prevent them from appreciating the fact that it is only a war of two branches of Christianity.
Thus, Pochvenniks do not see Russia as the West, but they do not see it as being the East either. What, then?
Historiosophy cannot be content with eclecticism offered by a respected discipline such as geopolitics. All is clear to the representative of this discipline: since Russia is neither West (meaning not Europe), nor East (meaning not Asia), then it is a hybrid that is Eurasia. Geopolitically, Russia is definitely so. Yet even in the light of politics, such a discourse is inferior, as there are Andrey Sakharov’s “liberal Eurasia” and several “conservative Eurasias.” Is there any place for historiosophy in this discourse?
Eurasianists excruciatingly experienced historiosophic deficiency.
Perhaps we should call Russia a bridge between the West and the East. Though such definitions contained a certain substance in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, they fully lost it by the end of the twentieth century, let alone the second decade of the twenty-first century. It became clear that the East (China, for instance) does not need any particular bridge to build relations with the West. What is Russia’s place then?
On the matter, Vladimir Soloviev wrote :
“Which East do you want to be:
The East of Xerxes or of Christ?”
As we can see, the need to define the historiosophic essence of the Motherland causes a split in concepts that enable one to give such a definition. The concept of the East splits into two completely different types of East. Yet, no matter what the life of notions may be called, dialectics or otherwise, it is governed by its own laws. According to these laws that split the East into two, the similar break up shall give rise to two Wests.
The two Wests result not only from such dialectics of concepts, which are abstract and speculative. History itself speaks of two Wests that have existed since ancient time.
They were praised by Homer in the “Illiad”, and
the war between Troy and the Achaeans is the war between one West and the other, a war of destruction and the metaphysical in a sense. Otherwise, Homer would not have glorified it. And even if he had, it would not have had such an impact throughout the millennia.
A Roman poet, Vergil, who left just as deep historic, philosophic and artistic marks, traces Aeneas’s family from Rome to Crete. In this light, the war between the Achaeans and Troy is the war between Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations.
What we are speaking of here is not historic facts, interpreted differently in different ages – instead we are dealing with lasting identifications, cultural threads in the labyrinth of historiosophy.
The thread woven by Virgil in Aeneas runs through ages just as Homer’s does. These poems formed identities, they were learned by heart in lyceums and gymnasia. This is why the social and cultural models they developed were much more essential than archeological excavations and historical manuscripts.
Ancient Rome took a lot from Greece, yet it saw Greece as its antagonistic alternative. When devastating Greek cities, Roman warriors wrote “Avenging Troy.”
Caesar’s Empire and the Empire of Alexander the Great are two different Wests.
Leaving Rome, Constantine the Great sought to build a new eastern capital in Troy and chose Constantinople.
The Byzantines never referred to each other as such, they called themselves Romaioi and knew exactly that they were an alternative to Rome, not its replica.
Byzantine conveyed this centuries long alternativeness to Moscow.
A third Rome is not the case here. The case is that embracing the gift of alternativeness, Russia formed an alternative to the West, choosing Greece, not Rome, as its destiny.
We shall look more closely at the outlines of the alternative paradigm of development, the only one that confronts the paradigm of the Modern, remaining precisely the paradigm of development.
Breaking the traditional society to pieces, the Modern project throws it into the furnace and moves on, creating a society of individuals. This society is atomized and for this sole reason can be regulated by institutions that the Modern develops. By the institution of law, which is a social super-regulator for the Modern, for political institutions, and the like.
After Peter the Great, Russia could no longer use Pre-Modern regulators, which are efficient only if society is traditional. Peter cut the ties with tradition too drastically. Yet Russia does not recognize the law as its super-regulator, which means that it does not step into the territory of the Modern. In the meantime, Russia develops rapidly.
If not law, what is the super-regulator that allows Russia to create a rapidly developing non-modernistic society?
An analysis shows that the regulator is culture, which plays a different role in Russia than in the West. In the West, no one will say that a theatre is a rostrum. No one sees prophets and moral (religious in a sense) mentors even in the most prominent writers.
Russia, meanwhile, has always seen Pushkin, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky in that way.
Thus, Russia retains collectivism, which ensures development, while the Modern project relies on the destruction of collectivism.
In the Soviet era, Russia developed a unique industrial and even post-industrial collectivism.
This one aspect is enough to show that the paradigm of the Modern and Russia’s vision of development are fundamentally different.
Yet there is more to it. Russia does not accept the concept of secular inconsolability that the Modern is based on. Russia always seeks the secular or quasi-secular consolation (which is to say a nonreligious path to immortality) . Fyodorov’s “Common Cause”, the philosophy of cosmism, and the Bolsheviks’ bogostroitelstvo (God building) demonstrate that. What is important here are not historically transient particularities but rather Russia’s willingness to find a secular inconsolability.
Which is, again, an alternative development paradigm.
This document does not allow for a full description of the alternative. The suggested evidence is enough to admit that it exists. In this paper, this admission is enough, as we have to proceed to analyze the political consequences of this fundamental fact.
Russia embraced Bolshevism as a Western Marxist teaching and as something consonant with its identity that is profoundly popular. Though embracing the Western Marxist teaching, Russia accepted neither capitalism nor the Modern as the means to legitimize capitalism, but rather as something that is an alternative. Russia’s commitment to the fundamental principal of an alternative West is obvious here.
This might be the reason why the West despises Russia much more violently than the East. You can hate something so fervently only if it is both close and different, if it is a historiosophic competitor. Because valid historiosophic competition is possible only if competitors possess alternative paradigms of development.
Now we shall comprehend the obtained political result.
If the Modern was the means to legitimize capitalism, and if Russia for centuries (before the Bolsheviks and under them) was the provider of a concept of development that is alternative to the Modern, how could Russia legitimize its capitalism? It would have to cross over to the territory of the Modern to do so, would it not?
Russia, being loyal to its mission and gift of destiny, could not but refuse capitalism. Marx was an Occidentalist and anti-capitalist devoted to development and to rejecting the Modern project. This was precisely the reason why Russia embraced Marxism. Russia embraced it emphatically and subjected it to a profound rethinking. Of that which history offered it, Russia could accept only Marxism. Russia did so, adjusting it to its own vision. There is a duality that is organic for Russia, two Bolshevisms: the occidentalistic, Marxist, and the popular. If not for the duality, the Bolsheviks could not have won the Civil War, let alone built a powerful country.
That is what we lost in 1991—we lost not just a potential form of statehood but also our historic fate.
That is what we lost and have to find again. How can we not find it if our capitalism proved to be a “walking pathology”? If we cannot embrace the Modern without abandoning our historic destiny and our own identity? If the capitalist West,
which nourished the legitimacy of the Modern for itself is now ready to take this project to the scrapheap? If we lack any basic Asian conditions to prolong the death agonies of the Modern? If we do not want to prolong the death agonies but rather intend to find a new living?
Capitalism has lost any legitimacy. It will either rapidly turn into fascism or obediently disappear from the historic scene. Capitalism is unlikely to just disappear, however, as it is forming new world project combinations outside its legitimacy and beyond the boundaries of capitalism proper. But these Nazi like “multistoried humanity” combinations are just as incompatible with Russia’s survival as the transfer to the territory of the agonizing Modern.
So, how can we save Russia and the idea of development along with it, and therefore everything in the world? Humanism … and Man as such…
CONCLUSION: ABNEGATION FROM ABNEGATION
Having accepted capitalism (and, hence the Modern project) Russia denied itself. Now it is time to deny the abnegation, meaning that we must reject the Modern project and capitalism. Accordingly, Russia has to find new life on the other side of capitalism.
It is not a judgment call, voluntarism, wishful thinking, or utopian daydreaming. It is the only chance for Russia and mankind. Unless mankind is desperate to plunge into countermodernist or postmodernist games.
The first project is the Modern project, which is on its deathbed.
The second and third projects are Post-Modern and Counter-Modern. Their evil essences are enhanced with the creation of post- and counter-modernist world project configurations.
If these are not options for Russia, then the nation needs a Fourth project.
This project is based on an alternative paradigm of development, which Russia has been keen on following for centuries and which, when the Modern is agonizing, is the only savior of the idea of development, and thus of a human being and humanity.
Direct remakes are historically underproductive. Yet it is not difficult to see that communism, ridiculed and slandered, was not foolishly brought by strangers onto long-suffering Russian soil. It is deeply in tune with the fate of Russia, it corresponds to the ultimate principle of that fate, which is precisely an alternative pattern of development.
Russia abnegated communism at a very bad time.
Russia sweared allegiance to capitalism at a very bad time.
Even the most terrible mistakes sometimes have a historical meaning, which is not completely detectable. There were reasons for this to happen. Did that happen to make Russia – having drained the bitter cup and finding itself on the verge of an abyss –realize the profound meaning of what it had denied, and find the strength to profoundly reconsider its past rather than just return to it.
What we and the world need today is not a remake of the Red project. We need a Fourth project which will incorporate the finest features of the ruined Soviet past. A project that will take into account some great and mysterious tradition, revealed by the tragedy that occurred in Russia. Could it be that the tragedy occurred to make the tradition fully clear?
Absorbing all the best from the communism that Russia experienced, the Fourth project will revive everything that historical communism rejected, failed to achieve and comprehend.
Historic communism rejected metaphysics, the ultimate principle of secular consolation. We will rehabilitate this principle.
Historic communism renounced the need to fight for a new man and a new humanism. We will bring it back in the new project and in a new life.
Historic communism blundered ontologically and psychologically at the same time. It failed to oppose, firmly and victoriously, the fullness of life principle (what Fromm referred to as “to be”) with the principle of alienated life (“to possess,” in Fromm’s terminology). We will rectify this mistake.
Historic communism failed completely to build a bridge between a particular principal of exploitation and the common principle of alienation. We will build that bridge.
Having solved the task of industrial development, historic communism stopped at the barrier beyond which science turns into a fully-fledged productive force with all the ensuing political and economic consequences. We will clear this barrier.
We admit that since science has become a fully-fledged productive force, in the 21st century the place of the intelligentsia as a social layer is taken by the cognitariat, as a class possessing all rights that result from science’s new status.
We acknowledge that this class has been crushed over the last twenty years, that it became the most persecuted and exploited class in Russia. We will piece together the remnants of this class, structure it and use it for support.
The Fourth project is more than a historical necessity. It is not merely the only path for the salvation of humanity . It is also the means to legitimize power.
The Modern project legitimized the supremacy of capital. The Fourth project will legitimize the supremacy of the Russian cognitariat, shattered and abased, yet still not demolished.
We realize how terribly difficult the task before us is.
We comprehend how hard the way to the solution is.
Yet we are aware as well that there are no other options to save Russia, that if Russia dies then all of humanity is doomed.
Amid utter despair brought by the enormous defeat of our country, we find a tiny glimpse of light. We can see that we can get out of the impasse, and get out of it we must.
We are fumbling to find the way out. Yet where we saw utter despair, now there is a light coming from a narrow crack. This light shines from our post-capitalist future, and when we have achieved this future, we will repent for the past twenty years of abasement. We will restore what we lost and will obtain more.
We do not see the light completely yet, but we are no longer blind. We must help those around us to also see the light. We will gather together all those who aspire to this. We will overcome the spirit of defeat in ourselves and in others.
We have a chance to triumph and we must use it to the fullest. This is our duty before the living and the dead.
August 14, 2011