Some quotes on the idea of a final crisis of capitalism/collapse of capitalism.

Pannekoek, 1934

http://www.marxists.org/archive/pannekoe/1934/collapse.htm

“what in the older Marxist literature was always treated as a stupid
misunderstanding of opponents, for which the name ‘the big crash’ was
current. Without there being a revolutionary class to overcome and
dispossess the bourgeoisie, the end of capitalism comes for purely
economic reasons; the machine no longer works, it clogs up, production
has become impossible.
(…)
The Marxian view [is] that the collapse of capitalism will be the act
of the working class and thus a political act (in the widest sense of
this word: general social, which is inseparable from the take-over of
economic power)
(…)
Socialism comes not because capitalism collapses economically and men,
workers and others, are forced by necessity to create a new
organisation, but because capitalism, as it lives and grows, becomes
more and more unbearable for the workers and repeatedly pushes them to
struggle until the will and strength to overthrow the domination of
capitalism and establish a new organisation grows in them, and then
capitalism collapses.
(…)
It is not due to the economic collapse of capitalism but to the
enormous development of its strength, to its expansion over all the
Earth, to its exacerbation of political oppositions, to the violent
reinforcement of its inner strength, that the proletariat must take
mass action, summoning up the strength of the whole class. It is this
shift in the relations of power that is the basis for the new
direction for the workers’ movement.

The workers’ movement has not to expect a final catastrophe, but many
catastrophes, political — like wars, and economic — like the crises
which repeatedly break out, sometimes regularly, sometimes
irregularly, but which on the whole, with the growing size of
capitalism, become more and more devastating. (…) Severe struggles are
bound to take place. And should the present crisis abate, new crises
and new struggles will arise. In these struggles the working class
will develop its strength to struggle, will discover its aims, will
train itself, will make itself independent and learn to take into its
hands its own destiny, viz., social production itself. In this process
the destruction of capitalism is achieved. The self-emancipation of
the proletariat is the collapse of capitalism.”

*

Bernstein, 1899
http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/bernstein/works/1899/evsoc/preface.htm

“against the notion that we have to expect shortly a collapse of the bourgeois economy, and that [the left] should be induced by the prospect of such an imminent, great, social catastrophe to adapt its tactics to that assumption. (…) The point at issue is between the theory of a social cataclysm and the question whether with the given social development in Germany and the present advanced state of its working classes in the towns and the country, a sudden catastrophe would be desirable in the interest of the social democracy. I have denied it and deny it again, because in my judgment a greater security for lasting success lies in a steady advance than in the possibilities offered by a catastrophic crash.”

*
Luxemburg, 1900
“the theory of capitalist collapse (…) is the corner-stone of scientific socialism.
http://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1900/reform-revolution/ch09.htm

*
http://www.marxists.org/archive/bukharin/works/1924/impacck/ch05.htm
Bukharin, 1925
“What makes this theory [of capitalist collapse] so attractive?
Its ‘economic determinism’ (‘objective limits to capitalism’, ‘strict outlines of economic laws’, etc.). Further, its (alleged) confirmation by empirical facts (sharpening of the situation as a result of the hunt for markets, periods of catastrophes, ‘catastrophical character’ of the whole imperialist epoch, etc.). Last –but not least – its ‘revolutionary’ character.”

*

http://www.marxists.org/archive/korsch/1933/crisis-theory.htm
Korsch, 1933
“A great shortcoming of the form in which the discussion of crises took place hitherto, especially m the circles of the left and far-left wings of the workers movement, was to be found in their search for a “revolutionary” crisis theory per se, just as in the middle ages one searched for the philosopher’s stone. Historical examples, however, can demonstrate quite easily that possession of such a supposedly highly revolutionary crisis theory says little about the actual level of class consciousness and revolutionary preparedness for action of a group or individual believing in the theory, thus it is well known that for thirty years, from 1891 to 1921, the Social Democratic party of Germany had in the crisis section of the Erfurt program an especially revolutionary crisis theory which even today can hardly be improved on in respect of radical clarity. (…) This contradiction between theory and practice becomes still more drastic when we cast our eyes towards some well-known individual crisis theorists of pre-war Social Democracy. There is the subsequent arch-reformist Heinrich Cunow who in 1898 in the Neue Zeit founded the first explicit collapse and catastrophe theory. It was none other than Karl Kautsky who in July, 1906, in the preface to the fifth edition of Engels’ Utopian and Scientific Socialism announced the directly imminent “death crisis” of the capitalist system which “this time has no chance ever again to be softened by a new era of prosperity on a capitalist basis!” In the controversy over crisis and collapse theory arising since 1913 from Rosa Luxemburg’s book on The Accumulation of Capital we find from the beginning reformists and revolutionaries on both sides (among the followers inter alia Paul Lensch, among the opponents Lenin and Pannekoek) , and even the two most important present day epigones of Luxemburgian theory, Fritz Sternberg and Henryk Grossman, can hardly be described as especially determined and efficacious representatives of a practical revolutionary politics.
In the immediate post-war period the apparently unavoidable and already commencing collapse of the capitalist system on a world scale awoke unfounded illusions among a wide section of revolutionaries. At this time, the then “left Communist” theoretician Bukharin had already collated fantasies for a new scientific theory of this supposed capitalist destruction of the world in his notorious Economics of the transition period. But the revolutionary practitioner Lenin coined the revolutionary phrase – later to be repeated by his followers ad infinitum under quite different conditions, but during the conditions prevailing then revolutionary in its effect – that “there is no such thing as a situation with no way out for capitalism.”

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