1st Edition

Within and Beyond Capitalism A Twofold Transformation

By Dieter Klein Copyright 2024
    206 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book argues for a twofold transformation to mitigate environmental catastrophe, avert war and overcome poverty and authoritarianism: a struggle for democratic, peace-oriented, social and ecological changes within the framework of a post-neoliberal, but still bourgeois-capitalist society, and a drive towards entry-level projects aimed at a great transformation beyond capitalism.

    Calling for the embrace of core values and institutions aligned with solidarity as opposed to capitalism, it advances four guiding ideas for the pursuit of such a path: redistribution of life chances and power, socio-ecological restructuring, redesign of democratic institutions, and reversal from confrontation to peace through international cooperation and solidarity.

    A presentation of the fundamental elements of a left strategy for socioecological transformation, this volume will appeal to scholars of social, political and economic theory with interests in post-capitalist futures.

    1. The Twofold Transformation – The Challenge

    The Challenge

    Transformation as an Emulation of Western Structures: One Strand of the Dominant Discourse

    Transformation as a Vague, Innocuous Cliché: Another Strand in the Dominant Discourse

    2. Five Possible Futures

    Scenario I: More of the Same Neoliberalism

    Scenario II: "More of the Same"—Only in a More Authoritarian and Less Civilized Manner

    Scenario III: State-Intervention-Modified and Green-Modernized Neoliberal capitalism

    Scenario IV: A Socially and Ecologically Regulated Form of Post-Neoliberal Capitalism (the Green New Deal)

    Scenario V: A Solidarity-Centred Society in Harmony with Nature; or, a Green Democratic Socialism

    3. The Theoretical Foundations of a Twofold Transformation

    Historical Experiences

    The Revolutionary Rupture

    The Reformist Path

    Transformation as a "Sublation" of Two Opposites

    Erik Olin Wright’s Socialist Theory of Transformation

    Ruptural Strategies

    Interstitial Strategies

    Symbiotic Strategies

    The Concept of a Twofold Transformation and a Consultation of Ernst Bloch

    "Pre-Appearance", "Process-Reality", and "Not-Yet"

    An Orientation Towards the "Novum" Instead of the Catch-All Term "Transformation"

    What Is at the Heart of Democratic Socialism? The Archimedean Point of a Socialist Theory of Transformation

    The Freedom to Pursue Self-Development and Real Individual Ownership on a Collective Basis

    Empowerment as the Starting Point of a Socialist Theory of Transformation

    Free Individuality at the Centre of Socialist Transformation Theory

    4. The Outlines of a Twofold Transformation: A Modern Left-Wing Narrative

    Objections to the search for a narrative outlining a project for an alternative society

    The "four Rs"

    First guiding idea of a modern left-wing narrative: equitable redistribution of life opportunities and power

    More life opportunities in the world of production and wage labour

    The multidimensional nature of inequality and valuing the sphere of reproduction in the everyday world

    Reclaim the Public!

    Second guiding idea of a modern left-wing narrative: a social-ecological redesign of economy and society

    Ways of living together in solidarity

    Third guiding idea of a modern left-wing narrative: a democratic redesign of economy and society

    Fourth guiding idea of a modern left-wing narrative: A Reversal of Confrontation into Peace through International Cooperation and Solidarity

    The Endgame of Leftist Strategy – An Interim Conclusion

    5. A Strategy of Perseverance

    Lengthy transformational process and ruptures of revolutionary proportions

    The Political Advantages of the Idea of a Twofold Transformation

    6. Positive Approaches for an Alternative Transformational Prospect

    Transformation and the Development of Productive Force

    Environmental Technologies as a Growth Area for Capital Accumulation and an Opportunity for Transformation

    Excess Monetary Capital as a Potential Source of Funding for Transformation Projects

    The Transformative Potential of the Intrinsic Logic of Social Subsystems

    Contradictions Within the Bourgeois State and Transformation

    A Shift in Public Consciousness

    Gateway Projects: Practical Entry Points into an Emancipatory Process of Transformation

    7. Eight Building Blocks of a Left-Wing Strategy on the Path Towards a Solidarity-Based Society

    First Partial Strategy: Self-Empowerment "From Below"

    Second Partial Strategy: Broadening Solidarity-Based Alliances

    Third Partial Strategy: A Unifying Narrative

    Fourth Partial Strategy: Public Discourse

    Fifth Partial Strategy: The Path Towards a Twofold Transformation

    Sixth Partial Strategy: Taking Advantage of Fragmentation within the Ruling Power Bloc

    Seventh Partial Strategy: Capturing State Power

    Eighth Partial Strategy: Overhauling the Political Culture and the Emancipating the "Human"


    Dieter Klein is a German social scientist and currently Senior Fellow at the Institute for Social Analysis of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. His work focuses on transformation research, multiple crisis of neoliberal capitalism, and narratives of the modern left. Klein was born in 1931 in Berlin. He studied economics in 1951-1955 at the Humboldt University in Berlin. In 1961 he earned a doctorate on "Integration of Finance Capital in Western Europe". In 1964, he obtained his habilitation on "Planification and Strategic Action in the EEC" and was appointed to the chair of Political Economy of Capitalism. From 1964 to 1977, he was the director of the Institute for Political Economy at the Faculty of Economics of the Humboldt University. In the Institute, the departments of sociology and demography were formed, which were among the nuclei of these disciplines in the GDR. Afterwards, he was prorector for social sciences of the Humboldt University until 1990. From February 1990 to July 1991, he was also the director of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Civilization Research, which had emerged from the work of those involved in the critical reform project "Modern Socialism Theory". Since 1990, he held the chair of Economic Foundations of Politics at the Institute of Social Sciences of the Humboldt University until his retirement in 1997, although he continued to give lectures until 1999. Since the early 1990s, he voluntary worked in the later Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and from 2000 to 2012 was a member of its board. He established the Foundation’s Future Commission and managed it until 2008. He is also a member of the Willy Brandt Circle.