Source: Perspectives on Capitalism and Socialism: Polling Results from Canada, the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom | Fraser Institute
These results show that in principle socialism could be a massively popular framework in the current context of capitalism in crisis. The left needs to reformulate its platforms in order to achieve something more than social democratic/welfare state ‘socialism’.
As we have noted here over and over, the left in the context of Marxism is its own worst enemy and has plied the stale Marxist dogma system decade after decade without a murmur of critique or any sense of innovation or moving on. Such is the muddle here that the general public cannot differentiate in their minds core left Marxist socialism from the pseudo-socialism/communism of China, or North Korea! The current left is incapable of disentangling themselves from these monstrosities. It is a hopeless position, in fact, and there is no chance of reviving this dead corpse given the state of mind of Marxists who are stuck in the cultic fixation on Marx/Engels and their flawed and useless ‘historical materialism’ and ‘dialectical materialism. How is someone going to embrace a cogent and real left if one must swallow these by now archaic monstrosities. The whole field becomes the religion of uncritical followers who cannot get past boilerplate leftism with constant repetitive quotation syndrome.
The only solution is to start over and create a viable and robust ‘new socialism’ that disowns the legacy of the Marxist starting point, which we might note completely took over and monopolized the original socialists and created a closed ideology instead of an active research project. The result is immense literature that is now essentially a dead letter.
In The Last Revolution, I have tried to attempt this restart by starting over with a new formulation, one that displaces Marx/Engels to a historical promontory and reformulates the whole framework of postcapitalism, and this in the new context and crisis of climate change. This framework of ‘democratic market neo-communism’ shows how a true communism can create a sound economy, in the context of achieving classic social democratic aims as economic rights, in the context, not of state capitalism but of a Commons and a global initiative of a new International free of the Stalinist imperialism of thugs. Marxists fumbled the ball on markets, and a framework of socialist markets in the context of a Commons, along with the now maturing technologies of planning, can make a robust socialist system thrive.
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The public cannot embrace a ‘real socialism’ because they have never been given any real platform to that effect; small wonder it balks at anything beyond the welfare state version.
Marx and Engels fit very well into their own time and place and produced a vibrant cascade of global influence in the Second International. But the Leninist Bolshevism revealed at once the limitations of Marxist thinking and showed how easily, almost inexorably, it could slip into dictatorship. The idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat, a term forever confusing, has to be one of the worst ideas ever proposed for socialism, granting that its original meaning has been lost. Marx was a very dominating figure and completely eliminated all dissent in his limited framework. The classic Manifesto is all that is needed (although that work is itself flawed) while texts like Capital are hopelessly confusing with their half-baked ‘theories’.
Social democracy isn’t enough, and we can see how even that has been successfully marginalized by capitalists.
We have but to watch the pitiless and almost deliberate destruction of the Amazon Basin, and the total failure of any party whatever to offer any rescue, to consider the dangers of anything less than a global Commons.
The world needs a real socialism, one that can deal with the issue of private property in the large: the massively destructive field of global corporate domination is the original target of real socialists, but the expropriation factor is botched by Marxists who idea of state ownership is, in reality, simply another form of tyranny. The creation of a true Commons with checks and balances, and a global component and version is the real challenge. For those who always had doubts about the challenge to basic capitalism, we can say that times have changed: the dangers of capitalism have become acutely visible beyond even anything that Marx foresaw and we can see that capitalism in its current form is a danger to the planet and to the whole of global civilization. A half-way sane neo-communism that breaks with the past and creates a simplified yet coherent platform beyond the dogmatic dead cliches of Marx/Engels could prove very popular for the simple that it speaks to the general interest at a time of terminal crisis. This initiative can be revolutionary and/or reformist. It is clear that we have waited too long, and have lost a golden opportunity in the Second International’s tragically flawed Marxism. And yet the tragedy of Bolshevism could easily have been avoided. The powers that be have remarkably strengthened to the point that even minimal social democracy is impossible to achieve via political measures. A strange thing has happened, in the name of democracy an authoritarian system of near total control has arisen along with a fascist cabal of ‘deep state’ and covert agency operatives that have crafted a ‘democratic’ monstrosity that is in danger of a final outcomes as fascism with a democratic face.