Despite the obvious parallels with coronavirus shutdowns, states still show little determination to put in place the measures we’ll need to deal with the climate emergency. For Andreas Malm, we need to stop seeing climate change as a problem for the future — and use state power now to impose a drastic reordering of our economies.
R48G: our formulation is free of the need to defend legacy marxism/leninism…and a proposal to (american) military sectors…
We have cited in two days two critiques of marxism. Our stance is, so what? Our task in to arrive at a path to postcapitalism, and we can do this without having to spend any time defending marxism or leninism.
Continue reading “Democratic market neo-communism…’compromise’ beyond reformism…?”
The dilemma here is false if the real issue with the classic revolutionary wing is that it has no real platform beyond regurgitated marxism and leninism. The revolutionaries are so focused on the great moment of seizing power that they have forgotten to state what kind of society should come next and how it will evade stalinism.
A completely revamped framework and strategy might be far more appropriate at a time of terminal crisis. The revolutionary left is stuck in leninist confusion and can’t rethink its position. The ups and downs of ‘competing’ reformist and revolutionary sectors is illusory. At the very least reformists need the revolutionary idea in order to think holistically about a new kind of society.
The entire planet is at risk and the chances of reformist measures dealing with the issues seems a vanishing percentage, perhaps the same is true of the revolutionary angle. But it is false perhaps to polarize these two extremes: we need a revolutionary reformism and a reformist revolution, next to a project that can move along reformist lines toward a revolutionary transformation. Part of the problem is that the revolutionary brand is stale leninism, feckless marxism, in the context of an undefined platform.
If the revolutionary and reformist wings could reinvent the left in the sense of saying what kind of society they envision, the false dualism might moderate and the public could respond.
Right now, democratic socialism is on the rise in American society. Revolutionary socialists who have kept the torch of socialism burning during the lean years will now have to merge with democratic-socialist demands of the current moment.
We have gone over this ground a dozen times and attempted to be critical of evolutionary reformism, but not with marxist cliches but with an attempt to recast a postmarxist perspective that still considers the revolutionary action directly. Responses to Chibber here still preach undiluted marxist boilerplate and the claim for ‘scientific socialism’. We have shelved the claims for science, but we can still consider the problems with the kind of compromised path promoted in his wake. The revolutionary left tends to be its own worst enemy as it remains stuck in the past, fails to see the problems with the Russian revolution and promotes leninism as a path to the future. We can reject leninism, more or less, and yet look to a truer revolutionary potential. At this point both sides need to examine each other, critically, and yet with a view to seeing that neither side has a clear path.
It is easy to critique revolutionism and yet the dilemmas continues to haunt those one the path to social democracy…
By Ahmed K. In December 2017, NYU sociology professor Vivek Chibber published a major strategic statement in Jacobin which has since played a large role in setting the terms of debate in the socialist movement, in particular in the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). Carrying the title “Our Road to Power,” the piece referenced […]
The debate over revolution or reformism can’t equate the issue of revolution with leninism, as we have argued here many times. The issue of revolutionary action needs a new reformulation and a something better than Marx’s flawed theories. The left can’t seem to grasp that leninism was a failure and this may not be an argument for reformism, but an injunction to rethink the whole question.
We quote the last section of the previous post: the issue of revolution is one thing, but the question of who is to lead it is another. The history of The marxist left shows both the failure of theory and the total failure in every instance of their attempts at revolution: so we must challenge their theories and demand a new standard of intelligence, ethical action, and much else. We cannot afford another episode like bolshevism. And yet the cults of marxism still dote on leninism and Lenin’s greatness. That’s bullshit. A real revolution would probably liquidate marxists/leninists in the first week. (no kidding?!)
Just by the way we have suggested a moderated revolutionary option like our
(ecological) ‘democratic market neo-communism’, it bypasses many of the contradictions that confound revolutionary options: this formula could fail but it is almost certain if you try this as an exercise you will produce something superior to what the old left was able to even consider in the mess of pottage of marxism: the reason is that we confront four (or five, including ecological versions) problems that must be solved together: politics as democracy/anarchy/authority, economy as markets/planning, revolution/evolution, and expropriation as a commons: that requires a new political constitution, a new balance of power between a presidential and parliamentary system, a new set of economic and ecological courts, a solution to the calculation debate, all the theories of markets, in a wodk a new economy that works beyond bureaucracy as domination and state capitalism, and a robust set of rights including economic rights. And you can’t do all this during a civil war. It must be clear in advance, the mere suggestion invokes a small army of legal thinkers able to mediate an immense number of issues. And finally the question of ethics arises: the current machiavellian world of politics will pass without question into the realm of ‘revolutionary’ psychopaths raised to ethics has no place in a value free ‘science’, no thanks. The marxist world hasn’t taken a single step on any of these but presume in the name of historical laws the right to ruthless revolutionary ad hocism.
That said, history shows few examples of deliberated revolutions: they mostly occur as side effects of unstable social situations. Look at the French and Russian cases: they are not cases of revolutionary theories along the lines of Marx’s theories.Still we should at least consider the revolutionary option then as potential and able to powerfully solve many issues closed to the evolutionary path. But the onset of social instability is imminent relative to the climate crisis. The revolutionary option is going to return but we must be ready and leave leninism, Marx’s false theories, and pseudo-socialist muddled thinking far behind. As things stand now the revolutionary option will recur, and one fears the marxist clutch of leninist/stalinist idiots will blow the chance all over again.
The challenge to compromised left stances is essential as is holding up the revolutionary option in the era of Jacobin and the DSA. But what does the revolutionary option mean?
We have been critical of marxism, but that can be a trap. And so has the reformist sector of the left been critical of revolutioinisms. And that is the tendency: to eschew the revolution angle and move into a social democratic track (now claiming the term ‘socialism’).
We should make clear that while we are critical of marxism we still uphold a revolutionary consideration. But then we must define the issue from scratch.
We have rejected bolshevism and leninism. We can examine Lenin historically but in the end we must cannot base a revolutionary option on the bolshevik revolution, and that includes trotskyism. We must break with the past and even with the flawed classic ‘State and Revolution’. The tendency to cluster around leninism to uphold a revolutionary option is unnecessary: the issue of revolution is not a leninist one, nor even a marxist one.
Revolution (whatever its rare to nonexistent incidents in ancient history) is a phenomenon of the early modern and the imputation that Marx/Engels defined the subject forever is false. To be sure, the idea of revolution was barely coherent and Marx and Engels gave it some substance, but on the basis of theories that are flawed. The idea was the epoch of capitalism would yield according to some law of history to communism. But Marx simply assumed that made any sense and never defined what communism was to be or what the mechanism might be. It was obvious the bolshevik case was anomalous and without any coherence. The disastrous result was that the bolsheviks stumbling into revolution somehow thought it would all happen by historical inevitability and that they were a law unto themselves and threw out all ethical issues in the name of value-free scientism. The end result was the reversal of fortune and the inevitable passing of the Soviet stupidity.
So we must carefully consider the option of revolution, its historical basis, and the danger of wrong theories. Bu9t the marxist cadre still to this day can’t critique Marx on the Russian failure.
The early modern shows the birth of the revolutionary idea, in many incidents, mainly the Reformation, the English Civil War and then the French Revolution. Despite the historical momentum behind these revolutions the thinking of Marx correctly cautions against their bourgeois character, but without seeing that the English Civil war was potentially a full spectrum of revolutionary ideas, or that communism was born at the dawn of modernity with Thomas Munzer, who shows the connection of revolution and reformation. And there is no inherent reason why a socialist revolution can’t be bourgeois although Marx’s emphasis on the working class was indeed cogent.A revolutionary constitution declares all men equal and that private property must be expropriated. We don’t need the working class to do that, granted the cogent warnings of Marx about class. But something is wrong here. I have never met a working class revolutionary. They were all upper middle class elite types. Something is wrong with theory here and it is hard to unscramble. And one could only agree with a marxist tendency to doubt elite revolution: yet that was the lenist outcome despite all the groupie blah blah about the great democratic moment of lenin. Baloney.
But now in the US we see the working class move into Trump’s base: the mentality of the proletariat suffers now from capitalist monopoly. The issue is confused. Social conditioning operates in the wake of capitalist methods of brainwashing which have become dangerous. The proletariat is still very real on a global basis, but the revolutionary working class is complete fiction in america. The left is middle class intellectuals chanting the working class mantra. That’s not the whole story, to be sure, but…
In any case we can’t base the revolutionary idea on Marx’s theories, after the failure of leninism/bolshevism.
We must refound revolutionary thinking on its own terms. It is not hard to do if you flush lenin, bolshevism and marx’s theories out of your mind.
The question is simple: we may indulge reformist thinking all we please but in the end we will fall short of the refoundation required to reprogram society from scratch. That simple, that and the legacy of the early modern which in its own way indirectly legitimated revolutionary action in the name of freedom. All the gains of freedom and democracy started initially via revolution. So we must be wary of compromised tactics that will betray the transition from revolutionary democracy to a completion in socialism. But the issue with socialism is expropriation while the issue of democracy became one open to the ‘freedom to be capitalism’. We must wonder if we can use the term ‘revolution’ for both cases. That makes the case for revolution in a pargraph without the sophistical jargon of the marxists, or marx’s useless theories.
We can see the necessity and yet the danger of revolutionary tactics. Look at the US: leftists talk of wage increases, medical issues, educational questions, but then adopt this as socialism after the fashion of such as Sanders. Such partial programs don’t go anywhere, or if like the new deal they do the next generation undoes them.
We can see that many things are required for ‘socialism’: we must deal with economic foundations, private property and its basis in capitalism, the nature of democratic politics and its corruption by capitalist big money and Wall street, and much else, and in addition we must deal with some real monsters: the issue of a fake international as empire, the corruption of statist politics as imperialism and disequalized economic relations, the question of covert agencies, deep state hidden factions, and the all around ethical corruption of the usual machiavellian politics. You won’t have socialism in a society run by the CIA. The latter has sixty years of dismantling revolutions, and they are good at it. So early on, a revolution must liquidate the CIA. Best of luck.
Apart form that revolutions shows the way they can produce the worst in men. So what standard is needed. Simple habeas corpus was beyond the dim wits of the bolsheviks.
A tall order, but we should at least not kid ourselves we will evolve toward this. To be sure, we must be clear to allow the theoretical possibility of a transitional passage. But it is clear that most of the reformist factions are unrealistic about what is required where the revolutionary option is clear about refounding a total system. Sanders calls himself a socialist, wishes an evolution, but he a member of the parliamentary cadre and bound by oath to defend the constitution and hence the murder or real socialist by covert action as that is given by executive order. So much for slow evolution to socialism.
That said, history shows few examples of deliberated revolutions: they mostly occur as side effects of unstable social situations. Look at the French and Russian cases: they are not cases of revolutionary theories along the lines of Marx’s theories.
Still we should at least consider the revolutionary option then as potential and able to powerfully solve many issues closed to the evolutionary path. But the onset of social instability is imminent relative to the climate crisis. The revolutionary option is going to return but we must be ready and leave leninism, Marx’s false theories, and pseudo-socialist muddled thinking far behind.
As things stand now the revolutionary option will recur, and one fears the marxist clutch of leninist/stalinist idiots will blow the chance all over again.