The left must critique and recast its program…//A worldwide epoch of revolution is being prepared
Marxism has a false monopoly on the left and its format needs a ‘critical Marxism’ to be ready without jeopardizing the world’s last chances for postcapitalism: the Marxist-style left has failed every time it had an opportunity. We have suggested a lot of simple ways to recast the failed legacies here.
Some ideas: the term ‘marxism’ alienates the public now where in the second international it was massively attractive. Drop the ism and call it something else.
If you use the term ‘marxism’ it is not clear if you include or exclude Stalinism. An incompetent state of affairs. The left must disown its own past and reclaim terms like ‘socialism’. We have our own version here, not a simple slogan but a four-term system that stops oversimplification: ‘democratic market neo-communism’, DMNC: this system is designed to be a transitional construct to create a new kind of system that even socialists couldn’t imagine, what to say of capitalists.
The revolutionary transition is perilous. Could we somehow manage with capitalism? Thatcher exclaimed, there is no alternative. Bill Gates wants a Green capitalism. Consider the reality, this is the rough year the Amazon Basin bites the dust. Forty years ago the warning was clear, going, going. Now it is gone and we still hope reformist capitalism has the answer. We are dead by capitalism. But can the left do any better? Maybe, maybe not. But we don’t really have that choice anymore. So amend Thatcher, postcapitalism, there is no alternative. And we don’t have another forty years to waste. But both sides will get it wrong, most probably. We need new models: our ‘Tinkertoy’ DMNC, rapidly forces thinking into a more realistic problem and solution. Apparently, the Green New Deal will create windmills in the midst of industrial devastation.
Most of the public thinks revolution will lead to Stalinism, and they could be right. A new socialist revolution must examine its foundations. The problem is NOT easy and must balance democracy and authority, markets and planning, property and a Commons, economic rights, civil rights. Creating democracy under conditions of socialism is not so simple.
Further, the US intelligence/covert agencies are likely to inherit authority, as they did with Lenin and the old Tsarist curse turning into the Cheka. The left never discusses this. What will you do? Pour laughing gas down the vents at Langley? The CIA has seventy years of experience in fascist counterrevolution, and a much bigger budget. Chanting slogans like ‘socialism’ is always oversimplified: the problem is at least a four-term system: socialism, democracy, economic markets as socialist markets, planning and its problems and new solutions, the nature of a Commons and the dead-end of state capitalism, the fake science of historical materialism and the need for new views of history and evolution. Time is short and the attempt to use the older legacy as-is will fail immediately. The Marxist left has done zero homework on any of this.
But it is easy to criticize Lenin, as the savage counterattack of the capitalists and the Whites turned everything into savagery.
The world is not what it was in the time of Marx. Thus US capitalist system is a labyrinth of complications. It has almost twenty million small businesses. How will a revolution deal with the order of magnitude increase in complexity? What will you do, day one, with twenty million irate small businessmen? Are you going to liquidate capitalists, as did the Chinese in the name of marxism, who liquidated a million capitalists, and then ended up in the same mess as before. There are endless problems like this. Will expropriation include fifty million house owners in suburbs? So where will twenty million instant counterrevolutionaries live?
Critical marxism must be severe, but it is not as such a compromise solution. There are real ways to leverage a real transition to postcapitalism. Our discussion is not about embracing reformism. At the same time, it is possible against the odds for a reformist transition to the expropriation of capital. Marxists, idiots or not, held to the issue of revolution, and they are probably right in that. Like the Christians in their catacombs, they are waiting for their moment. But the result failed.
We have suggested a much simpler approach than that of dinosaur Marxist cultists. There is a way out here. And one new factor is the demand of climate change that has made some transition almost inevitable, even as fascism, barbarism, dictatorship, Sweden bunkers for the rich, Putinism lurk vulture style. The left has one last hand to play: be wary of stale marxist cliches. But Marxists, even the hopeless idiots, are closer to the future than most. We suggest they be shanghaied into our Red Fortyeight Group. Thatcher kept saying there is no alternative. Now the slogan transitions, postcapitalism, there is no alternative.