I haven’t read this book but from the information given I have from the start some objections, but directed toward the socialist left in general, even if I might well agree that ‘(Western) Marxism’ is somehow problematical. The issue here is more broadly the problem with Marxism itself which has proven incapable of achieving socialism via either reformist or revolutionary means. From the start let me say that, purity or not, the legacy of Bolshevism has proven if anything too pure in the sense of dogmatic fidelity to Marx/Engels in outline with the result that the failure to specify any reasonable constructivist path to socialism was lacking. And the results were a calamity, with the Chinese and North Korean remnants still left as a reminder of the botched realizations of the ideas of communism/socialism.
Let us hope the Marxist left is not being accused of a ‘purity fetish’ for rejecting the Russian, Chinese, etc, versions of the legacy in the era of Bolshevism, whose failure must finally be laid at the feet of Marx/Engels, however seemingly unfair that might be.
At the point of crisis in capitalism a sane path to socialism is needed and not a single formulation has ever made any sense. The issues of economics, markets, and capitalist industry were never really analyzed and the result is a kind of frozen mental state about the basics of a socialist transition. In general the legacies of historical materialism and dialectical materialism have been millstones around the neck of any clear vision of history and any constructive path. Marx’s abstruse theories made a botch of the whole legacy, one further stultified by the bizarre and always confused legacy of Hegel, and the total muddle of the so-called dialectic and the spurious speculative junk of Engels and dialectical materialism. If the left can simply drop all this baggage, disown Marx/Engels save as historical icons and start over with an intelligible view of history, a corrected critique of economics and markets, and an effective constructivist path to creating an actual socialism that is democratic, based on the expropriation of capital, and the creation of a Commons without the bias of Marxism against rights, liberties and democratic constructs. The Marxist International never had any plan for what would happen if they actually did take power, and the Bolshevik abortion, still in power in the Chinese distortion, is the result in its failure to really give any specific meaning to the term ‘socialism’ in the babble of junk philosophy based on the confusion of ‘dialectics’.
Cf. the text of The Last Revolution: Postcapitalist Futures, available as a free PDF at redfortyeight.com confronts this challenge with commentary on world history, the philosophical tradition, the analysis of markets in the context of both capitalism and ‘neo-‘communism, etc…
The Marxist left has so alienated the general public with spurious platforms of Marx boilerplate that any prospect of a postcapitalist transition are essentially out of the question. It would be good to start over and create something that is realistic, practical, free of Marxist philosophic speculation and fantasies of dialectic, and able to construct a robust neo-communist economy in the context of democratic liberties and traditions.
This perspective can be reviewed via the text of The Last Revolution