I am not sure whether Karl Marx did or didn’t see that capitalism could survive another one hundred and fifty years or more, but I would argue he did see that a system based on profit and surplus-value as opposed to use-value was in conflict not just with the interests of the working classes but with nature as well as far back as 1844 when he wrote the economic and philosophical manuscripts. Fredric Engels and later on Vladimir Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg were also aware of the problem.
Today capitalism is as Lenin would say in its highest stage of development and what he called its final stage imperialism. The USA, Britain and now Europe are all neo-liberal economies and engaging in neo-conservative military actions to secure control of the world’s natural resources. The IMF, World Bank, WTO and now NATO are all being used in conjunction with each other to enforce the imperialist agenda of the USA and its partners to solve the crisis of capital accumulation and the need of the capitalist system to grow exponentially at a rate according to David Harvey of 3% per year to maintain the system. From an eco-socialist perspective we can argue that this level of growth isn’t sustainable and that the planet is reaching the physical limits of production based on profit and capital accumulation.
If this is so, and I believe it is then human development needs a new mode of production based on human need and use-value. My argument for the British Left being a part of the European Left is that for such a mode of production to supersede the current global capitalist system, just as capitalism became the global system replacing feudalism socialism needs to become global replacing capitalism. My belief therefore is that British Marxists and non-marxist have no option but to be internationalists first and foremost rather than nationalists. Within that context each nation state will find its own social and cultural road to socialism as they have their own form of capitalism, the alternative to a progressive socialist model of economic development is a regressive conservative nationalist politics and fascism.
European Union and the British Left