The starting-point for the book is its chapter on methodology. Found here are not only critiques of conventional Soviet Marxism-Leninism and post-modernism, but also a new rethinking of the classic dialectic. For the most part, however, the book focuses on revealing the new quality now assumed by commodities, money, and capital within the global economy. The market has become not only global, but a totalitarian force that is not a ‘socially neutral mechanism of coordination’. It is now a product of the hegemony of corporate capital, featuring the growth of new types of commodity: information, simulacra, and so forth. The book demonstrates the new qualities acquired by value, use value, price, and commodity fetishism within this new market, while exploring the contradictions of non-limited resources (such as knowledge) and the commodity form of their existence. Money is now a virtual product of fictitious financial capital, possessing a new nature, contradictions, and functions. This analysis of the new nature of money helps to reveal the essence of so-called financialisation. Capital has become the result of a complex system of exploitation. In the twenty-first-century context this exploitation includes the ‘classic’ extraction of surplus value from industrial workers combined with internal corporate redistribution of income by ‘insiders’; international exploitation; and the exploitation of creative labour through the expropriation of intellectual rent.
Production relations vs. productive forces, social creativity vs. activism
Aleksander Buzgalin and Andrey Kolganov
post-SovietMarxism is concerned with the philosophical problem of the limits of socially creative activism. On an extremely abstract level, one can say that the socially creative impact of the social subject on history is possible and necessary in so far as it conduces to ending alienation and furthering the progress of humanity. Determining this measure is always a concrete task, performed by painfully real social and cultural forces, but what is certain is that a strategy of ‘impartiality’ always involves conniving with reaction, whether this is the obscurantism
. The systematising of these provisions, together with a discussion of the main trends of research in post-SovietMarxism, provides a starting point for our elaborations.
As we develop the traditions of critical Soviet Marxism (in post-Soviet left circles this legacy is referred to increasingly often as ‘Ilenkovist’), key provisions of the method of ascent from the abstract to the concrete and of the historical-genetic approach are being re-actualised in our work . In particular, applying the historical-genetic method to the
spheres of social life, and not just to the economy. This new commercialisation emerged after the period of relatively wide market restrictions and active social regulation in the second half of the twentieth century. One of the widely used analogues of this term in post-SovietMarxism is ‘market fundamentalism’, which as far as we know was, paradoxically, coined by George Soros ( 1998 ). The most important of the fundamental contradictions of such market fundamentalism catapults the antagonisms of the epoch of imperialism to a higher level. Its resolution requires the