A Global Revolutionary Class Will Ride the Tiger of Alienation

  • Hardy Hanappi University of Technology of Vienna, Institute for Mathematical Methods in Economics & VIPER - Vienna Institute for Political Economy Research
Keywords: revolutionary class, alienation, global class of organic intellectuals, political avantgarde, socialism, capitalist algorithm, socialist algorithm


This paper investigates how the global class of organic intellectuals will emerge. It thus updates Marx view on class struggle dynamics of the 19th century by taking the quantum leap of productive forces during the last 200 years serious. The most striking new element is the tremendous increase of the force of information power brought about by ICT. The emergence of Fascism and Stalinism in the first half of the 20th century was just a frightening first symptom of the coming age of alienation. Today, basing class membership – including the emergence of class consciousness – only on the (physical) local position in industrial production units is insufficient, even misleading. Global production is by its inbuilt complexity blurring the visibility of a specific worker’s exploitation status. There is necessary alienation, but then class struggle managed disinformation and manipulation is added. For the progressive classes this implies that they are split along the lines of their respective education status – how far the fog can be dissolved. This is where the concept of the global class of organic intellectuals, of an avantgarde, enters. The paper shows that already in the emergence of this new socialist agent the structures, in particular the information structures, of the next mode of production have to be present. It turns out that features, which are evil for capitalist thought are often the most important ingredients for the constitution of the forerunners of a socialist global society: persistent contradictions and diversity, exploding oscillations, deep and time-consuming dialogues, irrational solidarity, aesthetic stubbornness. The new intellectuals can remain rooted in local circumstances, can be organic, because they share many of these features with the exploited classes within which they act as catalyst, as avantgarde. In the end global socialism, organised by a revolving class of organic intellectuals, has to master alienation. This is the challenge.

Author Biography

Hardy Hanappi, University of Technology of Vienna, Institute for Mathematical Methods in Economics & VIPER - Vienna Institute for Political Economy Research

Hardy Hanappi is currently ad personam chair for Political Economy at the European Commission and director of the Vienna Institute for Political Economy Research (VIPER). For more details on his curriculum vitae see http://www.econ.tuwien.ac.at/hanappi/cv_Hanappi.pdf .
He has been project leader of numerous research projects and author of more than 200 publications (see http://www.econ.tuwien.ac.at/hanappi/publications.html). After his retirement from the TU Vienna in October 2017 he still is providing the annual lecture series in “Political Economy of Europe” and “Information Economics”.
Besides global political economy his most recent research interest concerns the development of quantum political economy. He is married to Professor Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger, has three children and lives in Vienna.

Special Issue: Communicative Socialism/Digital Socialism