Criticizing marxism is an uphill battle but one has but to read some of the older attacks to see why it is inevitable, to say nothing of the clear failure of bolshevism. The old dusty classic Main Currents of Marxism is a good example.
It is not hard to rescue the core of marxism, however. First, dismantle the ‘theories’ and then move on with what’s left, careful to begin restating or simply rewriting it. Stop referring to marxism. Create a ‘saga’ of the early Marx/Engels and then leave that behind. The terms ‘socialism’ and ‘communism’ really ought themselves to be changed, but that is perhaps too severe. But their semantics must be rethought.
One problem here is that moving beyond marxism tends to result in moving toward social democratic thinking. That is not our point at all, although we have been willing to consider that history. Marxism has tended to emphasize the revolutionary path, and something called ‘communism’. We don’t wish to move on from that, although as noted we aren’t going to indulge in hate mongering social democrats and offer a version of our models and thinking for an electoral/evolutionary strategy in parallel/reserve.
s the issue of revolution really viable? We can hardly know, almost every revolution was unexpected, but our task is to be ready under that circumstance with a clear plan, a democratic focus, a viable economic strategy with both planning and socialist markets, and a Commons (instead of state capitalism), etc…our model or tool called (ecological) democratic market neo-communism points to the task of being specific. We need to specify how to act in a revolution, with a set of failsafes: we could even have revolutionary marshals on the sidelines to analyze all outcomes and warn against deviations and coup d’etats. Bolshevism couln’t even manage habeas corpus and aborted into covert agency fascism almost at once (granting the calamity of the civil war). This scheme must deliver the goods and soon: a robust economic set of rights must move into place very rapidly. And what of the Civil War, is one inevitable?
We have equivocated the universal and the working class, deliberately. The universal class is the set of all classes (as in set theory) with the working class one of the prime, if not the prime subset or focal class. But in general we cannot make anyone class an absolute as marxism does with the working class. At the same time that classic strategy should stay in place, but it needs to be understood. The working class focus in the classic marxist legacy turned out to be a failure and we must address the question of vanguards. We might consider that vanguards are inevitable and define their properties, give them checks and balances, define their code of behavior, and limit their powers. We once suggested a sort of platonic guardian group, forbidden to own property, who act to guard basic communism or the Commons but have no powers beyond that. They can’t own dachas, nest eggs, etc..We have suggested, off the wall, a one party state of communist revolutionaries that acts as that guardian vanguard, on top of a three or mutli party parliament that oversees regulates the actual state with economic and ecological courts and worker unions (we amusingly suggested in the american case, a Senate of working class membership, again with defined and perhaps limited powers). To this we must bring the actual content of ecological socialism.
Etc…Marx criticized this kind of thinking as ‘utopian’ but times have changed. No one in his right mind will agree to a group of marxists rewriting their future with no plan in advance in a cadre of one party revolutionaries. That’s just not going to happen.
With the above better specified and a robust set of economic and legal rights there is a good chance an enthusiastic public would even vote in such as possibility and/or support a revolutionary refoundation.
We should be clear that democracy in relation to socialism is complicated in the most obvious way by globalism. Are the coltan miners of the congo going to get to vote next to the american iphone users? The term democracy in this larger context suddenly loses its meaning: a properly constituted revolutionary group has the right and the duty to act in the name of a larger democracy that is a real but abstract ‘international’. Dangerous thinking? Perhaps but the original idea of revolutionary action always dealt with this issue.