Hesitation, turning in circles: ambiguity of terms like ‘socialism’


Looking at Venezuela, and it is but one in a long history of turning in circles at the key point of constructing ‘socialism: we see once again that the term has always been too vague for anything practical, it seems. It suggests a social democratic path using the other terminology, inducing a complacency that leaves the situation unready when the cat pounces.That moment has arrived for Venezuela as the US invades. Thus the term is ambiguous and leads to misinterpretation.. We have charged Sanders with using the term ‘socialism’ to mean something far short of that, and the term ‘revolution’ as, who knows, raised eyebrows. Perhaps a little unfair: the terms were mangled long ago, and we can see that even Chavez played this game, one inherited now by Maduro. But the problem is that thinking is crippled inside a dilemma: the original meaning of the term pointed to a (revolutionary) transformation of society and the expropriation of the bourgeoisie. But instead the term is a fluid vagueness that induces the sense one is a socialist when in fact that is not the case. In Venezuela this shabby decay of terms diffused from a decayed socialist historical milieu, rendered the worse by the Sanders, is fully in action, it seems, and has left the whole situation to indecision, or else simply semantic complacency short of completing the task implied by terminology. Again, it is not good to cast judgment on the complexity of Venezuela, but we can at least note the repeated puzzlement of leftist observers confronted with the failure to complete a revolution: the result was always still capitalist with a stubbornly chaotic bourgeoisie. The use of the term ‘socialism’ is a foul ball.  In the end this is the fault of marxist theory which has failed to produce a clear definition of terms and a procedural technology of social transformation that can guide leaders at the key moment.  To be fair completing a real revolution would prove unpopular with the imperialists and as with Cuba invasion could be in the offing, so we can consider an alternate interpretation: the term ‘socialism’ can be a sort of social democratic bluff as one crouches to pounce, at the right moment…It is possible also to evolve slowly to our DMNC, at least in theory, but the issue of expropriation would be difficult by that route. Maduro and Chavez had everything in place to do that, but the oil gravy seems to have induced socialist euphoria with no socialism

Our idea of ‘democratic market socialism’ however incomplete produces an example and implies a series of tasks entailes in a practical gesture of socialist (or in our usage neo-communist) transition. The key tasks to be accomplishes include

the key component of expropriation…it may be too ambitious thus, and there might be a simpler approach, but the result is not socialism. Social democratic compromise has always failed because the capitalists are left with all the power needed to take back the system with no Commons.

given resolution of expropriation the next step is the creation of a Commons, a legal constitutional framework of shared resources that stands beyond the centralized control fallacies of state capitalism. The Commons would be a social given, and not controlled by some set of one-party victors who have achieve a revolution.

the construction of an economy that really works, we have suggested socialist markets plus a planned sector, and a low level sector with a sort of anarchist flavor: an indifference level of small scale formations left to themselves (subject to regulation). This kind of system is both rigid and yet very flexible and could easily resolve the muddle over frankenstein stalinist economies. An ordinary citizen, perhaps with some backup from some form of born again ‘union’ can sue to ‘get his share’ of the Commons. It is not a decision of state capitalists, etc…

the construction of a strong top down (presidential) authority and a strong bottom up democratic system with, say, a parliamentary system. The powers of the top authority would be limited to the guardianship of the Commons, foreign affairs, with not control the economic specifics,  and all in all a complex system of checks and balances must be put in place to be able to speak of democracy and authority in one package. Issues of economic, legal, and ecological rights must be set down very clearly with guarantees of their efficacy. How the bolsheviks got away with the term ‘communism’ without such clear structures and guarantees is hard to fathom: a state controlled by covert agencies must be guarded against with great diligence . Bolshevik outcomes were totally fake from the start. There is a lot more here and there are many possible variants. But the legacy of so-called pseudo-communism of an earlier era has discredited all concepts and terms to the point where the obvious flaws of liberal democracies can now hide behind the history of grotesque abortions of an lost terminology.

The Bolshevik legacy required a totalitarian system forced on a population, a sure symptom of botched realization. The question of the ‘total’ balance of society is rendered in our system into a three/four term system with check and balances.

There is every possibility our DMNC could instead be a popular and supported outcome to the same degree that the pseudo-democracy we see in a case like the US is thus: members of a DMNC system would find the whole combination attractive indeed with many resolved issues: free education, health care, cheap or free housing, all sorts of employment opportunities, economic rights, legal rights and freedoms, and legal recourse to the Commons against political attempts to control resources as state communism. Such a system has constraints: regulation, no rights to own large capital formations in private as theft from the Commons (but every right to license the same for lookalike corporate economic formations run by socialist entrepreneurs), ecological restrictions and protocols (nature as it were an entity with its own rights), relative degrees of ‘differential equality’, that is, equality roughly realized with estate taxes, etc…, and a dilemma in motion of both robust growth economics subject to ecological constraints and/or degrowth economics via the host of many models of such…The citizen has the further option of the Sector Three zone where he can experiment with low level social entities from small shops, light industries, ngo’s, communes created from housing complexes, (and/or houses, small farms left to sector 3) etc, etc…The point here is to found neo-communism but produce an economy half way sane in format, a task not as difficult as it looks because it is a finite set or remorphed steps from liberal democracy and economics. If one is possible so its the other, save only the strong barrier of a Commons against primitive accumulation, monopoly formations, etc…

Life is never simple but these kind of systems have a very high chance of success because they are in many ways the same as before with a change of labels….Not only that they have corrected the chronic capitalist malaise factors and should in theory be able to thrive far better than the ‘sick man capitalist’ derelicts of the capitalist era.






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