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According to the socialist-philosopher Immanuel Wallenstein, if the world doesn't become socialist,

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posted on Mar, 27 2009 @ 06:23 PM

I have not studied Wallerstein, so I’m curious about his “socialism or barbarism” view — what does he mean by a worse system?

I understand worst-case scenarios, like an inter-imperialist war going nuclear or biological leading to a kind of 'Mad Max' feudalism, but worst-cases are rare and not much to base your theory on. In the last 100 years we’ve seen some major crises and world wars that lead to new rounds of accumulation. How are things significantly different today?

As I see it, there are two new factors in play here: resource and environmental exhaustion, which can only be overcome by large-scale planning, and the widespread IT infrastructure, which makes possible economic planning beyond the dreams of the 1930s. Both of those tend toward socialist solutions.

I don’t really understand how a large-scale break down of accumulation leads to something which is exploitative and hierarchical and not capitalist and not socialist, unless he’s talking about the “Mad Max” scenario. Even that would seem to lead back to capitalism.

As Jose M. well said, Wallerstein is not saying that socialism is inevitable which was the position of mechanical marxist predictions in the past about the demise of capitalism. The Second and Third International prophecies about the end of capitalism tied together the thesis of the "inevitable end of capitalism" with the thesis of the "inevitable emergence of socialism."

The latter was deterministically thought as a result of the former. In Wallerstein we have the thesis of the "inevitable end of capitalism" without the "inevitable emergence of socialism."

As a matter of fact, Wallerstein is very insistent on the problem that the new historical system that emerge might be worst than capitalism and that all will depend on our agency and political struggles in the next decades. The thesis of the inevitable end of capitalism as a historical system that have lasted 500 years, is very well argued by Wallerstein not in THE NATION essay but in his books

Immanuel Wallerstein sees capitalism like other historical systems in the past: they rise and demise, they have a beginning and they have an end. The Roman Empire was a particular form of world-system that Wallerstein calls World-Empire and that lasted one-thousand years.

The Modern World-System is a particular form of world-system that he calls a capitalist world-economy and that so far have lasted more than 500 years. He explains in detail how historical systems end out of its own systemic contradictions.

In his recent books, Wallerstein has analyzed at length in what consist the contradictions that are going to lead to the end the present capitalist world-system (read his work to find out more about his analysis because it is impossible to summarize here).

However, there are important epistemological issues involved here. Wallerstein’s perspective represents a revolution in the social sciences because of his challenges to the analytical TIME/SPACE unit that informs most of social scientists today.

If you think about capitalism as many traditional social scientists, that is, from a nation-state unit of analysis, the argument Wallerstein is making does not make any sense. But if you take the global system, or as he says, the world-system as the unit of analysis with its large scale and long-term structures, then his argument is very coherent and easier to understand.

One of the points made by Avakian in his so-called new synthesis is about internationalism. He claims that the international system is decisive over the national context. Well, I find dishonest that Avakian does not acknowledge here the contribution and influence of Wallerstein on this point.

This is a point developed by Wallerstein in many of his historical sociological works since the 1970s. However, Avakian takes ideas and just cite the "founding fathers" or himself and never acknowledges the influence of contemporary marxists and neo-marxists in his perspective.

But coming back to the question of Wallerstein, I think that it merits a profound consideration because he is not only arguing about how capitalism is coming to an end but also about how if the global left does not create a new historical system that is better, the transnational capitalist elites will create for us a new and worst world-system than the present capitalist system in order to protect and defend their own privileges.

This is Wallerstein’s historical sociological thesis of what happened in the 15th century with the demise of feudalism in Europe. The feudal aristocracy created a new historical system to preserve their wealth. They created the capitalist world-system by going global and expanding to the Americas. This is what is called in history the European colonial expansion that created the world market and a new international division of labor. One of the many points raised by Wallerstein is that something like this could happen today but that nothing is guaranteed. There are no apriori outcomes for the coming struggles for the formation of a new world-system….

Class and race privileges still reign among the "white" left and this is why solidarity is extremely retarded in the U.S. And let’s not forget the power of Zionism that has confused and diffused the Left

Mod Edit: Removed all caps title.

[edit on 28-3-2009 by Gemwolf]

posted on Mar, 27 2009 @ 06:34 PM
Ill take anarchy over socialism

posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 11:18 AM
Me too, anarchy has more possibilites than tyranny!

posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 12:28 PM
Ya, but the anarchists in Catalonia Spain during the Spanish civil war failed to organize theirselves and failed to co-operate with the Republic which only aided the Fascist cause by their enemic inaction. The only military units that made any real offensive gains against the Fascists were the Communists, the rest failed miserably to even hold the ground that they started the conflict with.

When fighting fascism you must meet them with an organized military and organized society or you will loose! If we are to learn from the mistakes of history we should not repeat the failures of the Spanish Republic. Also the international failure of the western Democracies to come to the aid of the Spanish Republic left the Republicans only one ally, the USSR. The communists were the only ones to help the Spanich Republic. The American and British columns that fought in the International brigades were almost all communists.

The Germans and Italians were able to send a tremendous amout of guns, food and troops to assist Franco. The Western Democracies were too afraid of sparking another world war and refused to send any aid to the Spanish Republic. Both the international lack of unity among the Democracies and the domestic lack of unity among the Republican forces lead to the only outcome that was possible, the collapse of the Republic. Hundreds of thousands of Republicans died in Franco's concentration camps after the revolution with the West turning a blind eye.

If we can learn anything from history, we can see that the Western Democracies and the Catalan Anarchists did almost as much to undermine the stability of the Spanish Republic as did the Fascists. In hindsight, had the communists seized control early in the war, they very well could have driven the fascists into the sea by early 1938.

posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 12:50 PM
Socialistic or Feudal? Great choice. Freedom for selected few or freedom to few selected. So since Mr Wallerstein,while without doubt incredibly smart and wiser then me, is not a prophet - i think that choices that he outlined are not the only ones.
Marx, who (according to wiki) influenced him very much, was wrong and his ideas actually were catalyst for some very bad stuff. So he could be wrong too. And i really hope that disregarding if he is wrong or correct, result of his ideas would not be similar bloodbath.

posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 06:18 PM
Socialism would actually be a perfect system , if you do not let it turn into a Marxist kind of socialism , which is what has happened in every self-claimed socialist country.

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