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The End of the End of History



In the Boston Review, historian Maximillian Alvarez reflects on how Francis Fukuyama’s “end of history” thesis has been discredited by the global turmoil and economic instability of the past decade. At the same time, our “hypermediated” daily lives give us the sense that reality is one eternal present, eroding our grasp of historical change. What’s clear, suggests Alvarez, is that we must fight for the history we want. Here’s an excerpt:

And yet many of us, especially those in the ranks of the so-called resistance, routinely confront this reality with a cavalier, Fukuyaman confidence that this, too, shall pass, that “sanity” will eventually be “restored,” and that history will stand stalwart witness, attesting to future generations that we were on the “right side.” But can we honestly, and with certainty, say that history—as we know it, and as we are capable of knowing it—will still be there? Can we rest assured that the end of history will sustain itself, even if history cannot?

We are now fighting on terrains where the old rules of historical warfare no longer apply. In the hypermediated reality of an endless political now, the meaning of history is determined and enforced not by the myriad monuments reminding us of our past, but by those who employ enough blunt force to occupy our attention in the present. What this will mean for the “end of history” is by no means clear. For history, though, only the old truth holds: you’ve got to fight for it.

Image via the Boston Review.


History is going to be fought out in material reality, in a real class war, in the context of the US Empire fighting to remain top dog super-power of the planet in a world of monopoly-capitalist “over-production” crisis. That economic crisis is due any minute to burst out in a financial meltdown worse than 2008.
Trump’s recognition of the Zionists’ conquest of the Golan Heights, further extending what the imperialist world calls “Israel”, which is in actuality an armed colonial camp on Arab land, is a further apparent crushing insult to the Third World, and further display of Washington’s power and diktat coming on top of the blitzkrieg destruction inflicted on Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.
But, but, but…
The world socialist revolution really is the world socialist REVOLUTION. The crushed and exploited really will rise up to become the unbeatable forces of epoch-making proletarian revolution.
Dark reaction appears to prevail, despite Washington’s retreats from Afghanistan and Iraq.
But just like the Second World War, in the imperialist world’s last great crisis warmongering period, with the Nazi hordes at the gates of Stalingrad and millions of people fearing that the world was being plunged into total fascist darkness with no escape in sight, so all the misery, torture and war-savagery perpetrated by reaction is going to drive out its very opposite. This is the dialectical material reality of history.
Today’s Third World “jihadist terrorist” response to imperialist barbarism is going to mature, shift and change and become the revolutionary socialist response to US imperial bullying. The feeble and half-hearted “popular frontist” left-nationalist block-headedness seen in Latin America (the half-way house Venezuelan Bolivarian “Revolution”, for example) is going to give way to far more determined and capable revolutionary Leninist movements.
In other words, there will be a negation of the long years of the world communist movement being dominated, since Lenin’s death, by the revisionist inanities of “peaceful progress by left pressure”, “peace campaigning”, popular frontism, support for “left” bourgeois parliamentarianism etc, AND a negation of the horrendous damage done in the world ideological fight by the liquidation of the Soviet Union and socialism in Eastern Europe under Gorbachev’s idealist brain-rot.
Country by country, the proletarian revolution is going to triumph.