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The End is Nigh!
Prophets of Final Collapse
“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” - Matthew 24:36
The year is 1844. This is it, the year that William Miller predicted the long awaited return of Jesus Christ. Advent was upon them. The Millerites were prepared for the Second Coming.
Jesus did not, in fact, return. This lapsed prediction has come to be known as the Great Disappointment. Millerites, who became what we now call Seventh-Day Adventists, shifted the goalpost. Instead of 1844 being the year of Christ’s return, it was merely the beginning of the long march that prepared the world for his return. In their updated belief, the return could be any day now. The Last Day.
Among communists and the workers’ movement, a similar belief exists regarding entities such as the stock market and the global economy. They proclaim with each successive economic crisis that the end of capitalism is upon us and the contradictions of capitalism have brought it to a death kneel. The Panic of 1866 was the final crisis; the Great Depression was the final crisis; Black Monday broke the seventh seal. The 2007 Financial Crisis was the final crisis. The long crisis borne out of the COVID-19 pandemic is the final crisis. Or is it?
Communists and members of the workers’ movement have cried doomsday from their soapboxes. Surely this next crisis will be the final one. This is naive optimism. Capitalism will not die of its own contradictions. Economic booms and busts are integral to the system. It is working as intended.
Instead of viewing the transformation of capitalism to communism as waiting on a ticking time bomb, the final crisis, we should understand the necessity for organization and subjectivization of the working class. It is the job of communists to see how the class exists and how they resist the system. The working class can destroy the machine. It is non-revolutionary–possibly even counterrevolutionary–to believe in a mechanistic teleology that boils down to the idea that capitalism is a suicidal machine that will one day jump off of the roof and go into economic freefall, ushering in communism.
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