Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wobbly Times number 45

A political revolution aims at replacing the rule of one class with that of another class. The mode of production within those societies which have undergone a political revolution can remain the same, as it was before the political revolution triumphed or, the mode of production can undergo a change to another mode of production. In contrast, a social revolution reflects a complete change in the mode of production and a change from a classless governing structures to a class ruled, political State or from a class ruled political State to classless governing structures.

The American Revolution was a political revolution which changed the classes who ruled America but did not change the mode of production within the former colony. The American Revolution changed the classes who held political power over the country and its producers that is: the workers, slaves and farmers. Before that revolution, America was politically dominated by the classes who ruled the United Kingdom. The ruling classes of Britain were composed of: landlords, aristocrats and capitalists. After the triumph of the American Revolution, the ruling classes of the United Kingdom no longer held political sway over America. The new rulers of America were native born capitalists, landlords and slaveowners: the classes who led the American War of Independence. Thus, the American Revolution was a political revolution which broke Great Britain's rulers' imperial grip over the country. The American Revolution was also a political revolution which did not change the modes of production within the territorial boundaries of the newly formed union of states. Those modes of production were: capitalism and slavery.

"In studying such transformations it is always
necessary to distinguish between the material
transformation of the economic conditions of
production, which can be determined with the
precision of natural science, and the legal, political,
religious, artistic or philosophic ‘ in short,
ideological forms in which men become conscious
of this conflict and fight it out. Just as one does not
judge an individual by what he thinks about himself,
so one cannot judge such a period of transformation
by its consciousness, but, on the contrary, this
consciousness must be explained from the contradictions
of material life, from the conflict existing between
the social forces of production and the relations of
production. No social order is ever destroyed before
all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have
been developed, and new superior relations
of production never replace older ones before the
material conditions for their existence have matured
within the framework of the old society. "- Marx

"In one point, however, the history of the development
of society proves to be essentially different from
that of nature. In nature ‘ in so far as we ignore
man’s reaction upon nature ‘ there are only blind,
unconscious agencies acting upon one another,
out of whose interplay the general law comes into
operation. Nothing of all that happens ‘whether in
the innumerable apparent accidents observable
upon the surface, or in the ultimate results which
confirm the regularity inherent in these accidents
‘ happens as a consciously desired aim. In the history
of society, on the contrary, the actors are all endowed
with consciousness, are men acting with deliberation
or passion, working towards definite goals; nothing
happens without a conscious purpose, without an
intended aim. But this distinction, important as
it is for historical investigation, particularly of single
epochs and events, cannot alter the fact that the
course of history is governed by inner general laws.
For here, also, on the whole, in spite of the
consciously desired aims of all individuals, accident
apparently reigns on the surface. That which is willed
happens but rarely; in the majority of instances the
numerous desired ends cross and conflict with one
another, or these ends themselves are from the outset
incapable of realization, or the means of attaining them
are insufficient. thus the conflicts of innumerable
individual wills and individual actions in the domain
of history produce a state of affairs entirely analogous
to that prevailing in the realm of unconscious
nature. The ends of the actions are intended, but the
results which actually follow from these actions are
not intended; or when they do seem to correspond
to the end intended, they ultimately have consequences
quite other than those intended. Historical events thus
appear on the whole to be likewise governed by chance.
But where on the surface accident holds sway, there
actually it is always governed by inner, hidden laws,
and it is only a matter of discovering these laws." -Engels

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