Ken MacLeod's comments.
The title comes from two quotes:
“Work as if you lived in the early days of a better nation.”—Alasdair Gray.
“If these are the early days of a better nation, there must be hope, and a hope of peace is as good as any, and far better than a hollow hoarding greed or the dry lies of an aweless god.”—Graydon Saunders
And I had thought the Star Fraction was something I had made up:
The monstrosity of the imperialist and bureaucratic regimes has made the category of barbarism to become superseded. The colossal means of destruction, developed by imperialism and by the bureaucratic workers' states provoked a change in the dangers mankind is facing. It's no longer a question of falling into a new regime of slavery, of barbarity, but something much more serious: the possibility that the planet be transformed into a desert without life or with a degenerated life due to the genetic degeneration provoked by the new armaments. There is not only the danger of degradation of life due to an atomic war; there is also an immediate danger: that nature is going on to be destroyed, and principally the energy resources, that essential base of the ruling of man over nature. The exhausting of oil resources in a few decades or in a century is putting a terrible menace upon mankind.
Facing those dangers, we can expect no solution from the bureaucratised workers' states and the leaderships that rule over them. Those leaderships conduct us to the border of the precipice. The only way to avoid it is to wipe out the national borders, the imperialist ruling and the capitalist private property. In order to obtain that the national borders be wiped out, there is no other mean than the permanent mobilisation of the world proletariat and the unification of its struggles with that clear purpose. But to wipe out the national borders, imperialism and the capitalist private property by means of the revolution and the permanent mobilisation of the proletariat and its allies, is only advocated by one organisation, the Fourth International, is only defended by one current of the workers' movement, Trotskyism. Therefore, despite our extreme weakness, the alternative is clear. The question is no longer barbarism or socialism but holocaust or Trotskyism.
Only the proletariat conducted by Trotskyism will give an answer to the greatest challenge mankind ever had: the conquest of the cosmos. Today, that conquest of the cosmos is a coercive necessity that changes the traditional dialectic of Marxism between freedom and necessity. Marxism did state that through socialism we enter the world of freedom and we abandon the world of necessity. Today, the exhausting of energy resources in the soil and the growth of mankind require unavoidably the conquest of new energy sources. In the short range - a couple of centuries - the energy provided by the planet will unavoidably be exhausted, even with the most rational use of it. But mankind has an infinite source of energy at its disposal in the cosmos: the solar energy. That's a real challenge for mankind, that can only be faced if the perspective of war is left behind and if we enter the stage of building socialism. Socialism will go beyond the absolute freedom stated by classical Marxism and will obtain a new combination of necessity and freedom, in order to obtain a relative freedom. The necessity imposed by some men - the exploiting classes - upon other men - the exploited classes - will disappear and the coercive and human necessity of the conquest of the cosmos will be assumed.
Only Trotskyism, conducting the proletariat, will make it possible for mankind to enter into the stage of the conquest of the cosmos, that means, the creation of artificial satellites with a quality of life as good as on earth, that will collect solar energy and send it to earth by microwaves in order to have an energy nearly free of charge and in infinite quantity. Capitalism did have a progressive role because it meant the conquest of the whole planet, fundamentally America, Africa and Asia, for a new kind of production. It was a great challenge to which capitalism has given the response in its progressive stage. Socialist mankind has a still greater challenge, the greatest one ever hold by mankind: at the very moment when the continuation of the imperialist regime or of the bureaucratic regimes puts us in front of the holocaust of the human race, Trotskyism points out the possibility for the greatest jump made by mankind, the conquest of the universe by socialism.