In its current form the socialist/communist left is stuck in versions of marxism that can’t activate properly as transitional or revolutionary options.
The bolshevik era shows clearly that put into action the principles of Marx will derail…
The left simply dawdles in its past and the revolutionary moment if it came would derail all over again. The public will not stand for a repeat using marxist cliches: the whole framework must be rethought, and divorced from marxist cadres (which are mostly jargon chatter clubs without the slightest intention of anything radical)
We have suggested a number of issues, a primary one being the misleading character of Marx’s stages of production theory: it implies a theory of history by which various epochs of economic organization succeed each other concluding in communism. But that theory is very weak, never examined, and very misleading because it never specifies what communism is in advance. The bolshevik era began with a set of ad hoc fictions and began to make things up as they went along under difficult conditions that resulted in totalitarian assumptions, covert agency domination, confused views of economics and the declaration that whatever they did was ‘communism’, but it was not. The left was incredibly unable to dismiss the stalinist outcome as ‘not communism’ and allowed their enemies to point to that outcome as showing that socialism had failed. (we don’t distinguish socialism and communism in the way Marx did).
We have tried to suggest that we can’t just talk about communism (socialism) in isolation and that the issue is at least a tetrad of requirements using a simple model that forces thinking to aggregate a set of contradictions. Our ‘democratic market neo-communism’ is such a model and says that you can’t solve the problem in isolation but need to consider in tandem the question of democracy, markets/planning, and the nature of a Commons. And this must be done in advance and hopefully by a new generation able to think outside the marxist box (without necessarily rejecting all of Marx, of course). the real problem is still more complex than a tetrad but the point is clear that a complicated system needs to be thought through with a strategic sequence of realization.
The advantages of the model shown above is that it enables a system that is not ‘state capitalism’ and can base itself on a Commons (which requires a new body of law) where all can equally share by law, an economic system that can embrace both markets (now based on licensed resources form the Commons) and planning, and balance strong authority to guard a new constitution with a parliamentary/congressional democracy and to this one must add a strong ecological component.
That is a huge amount of work and the marxist left has done none of it. Typically marxists cite a quote from Marx to solve any issue unaware that the whole field is full of bad theory and imaginary revolutionary thinking.
The sad reality is that marxist leftists will be slaughtered on the spot if they try again. The left must recalculate its theories, strategies and occassions and rebrand entirely. Our tetrad (ecological) DMNC presents a tricky problem and you can’t just do a rush job in the middle of a revolution, you must have it down pat before you start. Marx disastrously refused to specify what communism would be like. That had a certain rationale in his time, perhaps, but we can’t adopt that approach any longer: the public must know in advance what can constitute ‘communism’ and the result has to be so well designed that people will embrace it gladly.
Our model is useful because it evades the hopeless muddle marxist theory and presents a simple well designed and populist ‘starter communism’ that is really a remorphed liberalism that has moved past the boundary of expropriation. It seems hopeless that marxism could ever regain the world’s confidence but a careful restart will become not only possible but soon inevitable…