I'm trying to keep this open-ended, but what I am thinking about is a series of related problems, outlined here in a simplistic way:
1.Does history have a "motor"?
2.Has anyone correctly identified what it is?
3.Is it already a problem to be answering that question? Is it inherently an ideological problem?
4.Is is possible to have a theory of history without identifying a "motor"?
for dot and bornagainanarchist, here's the impetus of this question: when I say "motor" I mean, in an intentionally simplistic/mocking way, a single explanation of historical transition. Like, in Marx or Hegel, you get an account of what, dialectically, causes people to switch from one form of society to the "next" one. The reason I'm raising this here (as an "anarchist question," or a "question for anarchists") is because I'm trying to think about what relevance (if any) this has for us. That is, we are presumably aiming to bring about some sort of change. Does it matter, then, how we account for the changes that happen anyway? How do the changes we want to bring about figure into this? In that way it's related to the question, "do we need a theory of revolution?" (another thing that Marx had but that we don't necessarily).
Clearly, this is a question for everyone, not just anarchists. However, my assumption is that an anarchist answer would not be the same as everyone else's! :)
Also, to be extra clear, I'm not on the Marx team here. (though what team I Am on, I'm not sure)