We are so used to the marxist monopoly on socialism/communism that we forget that these are broad categories with no fixed definition and that has turned out to vitiate the left with what is the dumbest of mistakes: achieving power and opportunity unable to realize any result. The outcomeocme overall is the hard contrast of opposites where a less polarized construct could do much better. In the final analysis to destroy an older social formation completely to create a new one after insisting one wouldn’t, as proclaimed marx, try to plan for that circumstance has guaranteed failure, and in all cases. There are no exceptions to this, save conceivably cuba,but there the result seems unachieved.
The ideas of socialism taken in and of themselves are great ideas and some kind of realizable version ought to be a slamdunk, if only marxists are lingering in the background to spoil it.
One approach we have suggested is to see the obvious: a revolutionary (or reformist) outcome must produce a robust economy and that the marxist legacy was unable to do. Any such experiment must define the boundaries of power, and produce democracy, not in the feeble brands seen in the liberal tradition: it is a difficult void, and it is not enough to sloganize democracy: the result must have the power of viability and yet produce a democratic function. The real issue is not the details of socialist definition but the status of property and capital. Such a system can bother with a low level issue of property but must reign in the destructive processes of ‘capital’: that is more than ‘state capitalism’ which ended even worse than capitalism, but a system that actually creates economic rights. We have suggested a special kind of commons.
And so on.
Our model of ‘democratic market neo-communism’ is one combination with at least some definition in advance. It needs to be upgraded to a version of ecological socialism but has a basic set of definitions. Just on one point: it doesn’t abolish markets. If capital/property is part of a Commons then a market would not be dominated by profit obsessed corporations as it operates with licensed resources.
If a social transformation could arrive at some basic transformations if could leave much of the social construct intact: our idea of a liberalism that is a communism, and a communism that is a liberalism.
There is an obvious test here: a DMNC construct would never have the problem of a Berlin Wall. The stark polarization of opposites would not occur and beyond the group of minority capitalists it would be a popular outcome, far more so than current capitalisms (or bolshevik style pseudo-socialisms). With a real socialism the traffic would be in the other direction.