Thursday, September 11, 2008

Towards a Practical Revolution

This document is now available online.

It's a general outline of the theory this blog is designed to explore and develop. My current primary goal is getting the research and supporting evidence for these ideas together to make a more solid argument for this theory.

Here's the basics, if you find this interesting, check out the longer document, and the rest of the blog.

1. The revolution is already beginning, i am not aiming to instigate it, only to describe it and participate in it.

2. The Proletariat is not a revolutionary class. The revolutionary class will be a third class radically different from both the proletariat and the bourgeoisie (as the bourgeoisie was radically different from both serfs and nobles) The new class is developing a radically new form of economic relationships.

3. These new economic relationships will prove to be more efficient and are begining to grow a new economic system to rival and replace capitalism.

4. Political action (violent or peaceful) will be a part of this revolution only when the capitalists use state power and force to maintain their obsolete system by attempting to outlaw or inhibit the growing power of it's replacement.

5. The new economy is based on creativity. The revolutionary class is the creative class. Art is the new form of economic relations.

6. This new economy will begin in the growing art/entertainment sector of our economy, but will spread to other sectors as it proves superior to the capitalist form.

7. Live performance (theatre, live music) is the most revolutionary (and will shortly be the most popular and important) art form. If we (artists) can gain control of the live performance section of the entertainment industry, we can kick start the revolution.


Scott Walters said...

Does this have any connection to the writings of Antonio Gramsci and his focus on the "organic intellectual"?

Rex Winsome said...

Not much. I'm not all that well versed in Gramsci, but he and his disciples were all about developing the industrial proletariat to become a revolutionary class. I don't think that will happen.

I see revolutionary potential in economic actors who exist outside of, or inbetween the two primary classes of industrial capitalism. I think artists, if we get organized and stop letting the economic power we create be tapped and re-directed by increasingly arbitrary bourgeois political structures, will rise between the businessmen and the laborers, replacing the entire mode of production in the same way that merchants rose to replace feudalism.

But, a more thorough look at Gramsci (and other Frankfurt school thinkers) can definitely inform and support the fleshing out of my theories. Thanks for the suggestion.

Scott Walters said...

I know a little about Gramsci from my research into Marxist and post-Marxist theory. You're right in saying that Gramsci was focused on the proletariat, but he believed that the ruling class could only be unseated through breaking their hegemony. Check this out:

Rex Winsome said...

These are some notes from my response to a friend's critique of this document. I'm maintaining my friend's annonymity by not posting his critique, but i want to keep my response in close proximity with this, so i can pull from it in future drafts. If anyone is reading this, it might be interesting.

Economics, society and politics are all interrelated. As economic realities change, social and political institutions adapt to them, which causes them to change again. The evolution of the stock market is a great example. Political and social institutions adapted to the need for easy flow of capital. Overtime that capital became more consolidated, and the exchange of it more complicated. The change from feudalism to capitalism started with economic innovators (the bourgeoisie) doing things in a radical new way, with no idea what effect it would have on the broader society. Their way of doing things caught on, and society and politics had to adapt. Eventually their new way of doing things proved too radical for the sociopolitical institutions of the day to adapt to it, and pa-pow! revolution.

I see the same sort of process starting now. People are doing things in different ways, artists might be starting out like capitalists, using the money they earn in capitalist jobs to start projects. But those projects work in decidedly anti-capitalist ways, not because they're revolutionaries, but just because they want to. There are more people working this way than you think, there's a whole network of them, and yes, many or most of them are losing money, doing it as a hobby, but the ones who aren't, who have managed to do it sustainably, are giving the capitalist music industry a run for it's money. None of them will ever get as rich as britney spears, cuz their whole project resists the commodification that makes that level of mass production distribution possible (which is why it's not capitalist). But all the many bands and musicians who are barely making a living on indie music are soon, as a group, going to be more powerful than the few big artists that the capitalist system elevates.

They, like the early bourgeoisie, don't know what it'll mean or what the new society will look like when that tipping point is reached, but i'm guessing it'll be an improvement, because it is less hardwired for drasitic inequality than capitalism. Value based on direct connection between producer and consumer limits the scale a producer can acheive in ways that value based on commodity fetishism and reliable identicalness doesn't. This will tend to result in numerous small producers, rather than a few large ones. Which will make for a different market, one that works more like the one capitalists romanticize than the one capitalism actually produces.