The best thing Zizek might do is retire, he looks light a ghost, that of lost era of bolshevism
: I cannot via Google figure if he is a Stalinist or not??? He might make an expose the failure of Bolshevism, Stalinism and look to a new sense of the term ‘socialism’. As things stand, he is negative advertisement for socialism, a term we have suggested should no longer get used in isolation, and as in relation to neo-communism with a neo-. The field of Marx isn’t going to work. A radical shift is needed.
Our idea of ‘democratic market neo-communism’ is one way to failsafe the term ‘socialism’, which might also become ‘neo-socialism’, …
Slavoj Žižek writes in Jacobin that today’s exploding ecological crises open up a realistic prospect of the final exit of humanity itself. Might socialism be our off-ramp, or is it already too late?
In the strange situation we find ourselves in we have entered the realm of the right to revolution: the capitalism dominated republic at the last chance moment can’t move in any way to meet the crisis of climate. But what does that imply?
Given the history of the left we must disown the whole legacy, referring to the marxist cadre, which however can move into a new framework easily.???
In fact this sad situation could jackknife the left and end in a civil war of the left in addition to the right.
We have suggested that unless the left can disown the Bolshevik legacy it will inevitably revert to Stalinism, We need to propose revolution with a new approach.
We have suggested that slogans of socialism aren’t enough: we must have a complex four plus term system to proceed in a way that can invite the respect of those
who cannot trust the marxist legacy.
Our four plus term system is failsafed with a balanced set of opposites. It is a neo-commmunism that disowns all previous communisms and its four plus terms
are democracy, socialist markets, planning sciences, a Commons to which all have equal access in principle, requiring expropriation of capital in the large, a new communism with economic and liberal rights, a parliament, with three dialectical parties, a fourth presidential party of executive powers and guardian of the Commons.
It has an indifference level below with the state allows let go and a sort of free zone of personal ownership, and other organizations.
The result is not leviathan aiming toward total control.
This system requires no teleological theory and can be based on a world history given via periodization: its core epoch is simply modernity, following the rise of the Neolithic, the rise of higher civilization and proximate antiquity. The Marxist system of epochs is simply propaganda and our new approach points to the need to construct a new system and not just wait for it to happen, the vice of teleological marxism.
Revolution is justified by the logic crisis and capitalist insanity, but must offer its own failsafes: procedures of revolution, revolutionary marshals, clarity as to the status of counterrevolutionaries, habeas corpus throughout to guarantee against false jacobinism, and much else. This system is benign but no fried to counterrevolutoinaries. Revolutionary transition must seize control of the fascist covert agencies at once, and start over with a new kind of intelligence agency.
This system can have immense appeal to those who confront the coming calamity of capitalism, climate and ecological disaster. Economic and liberal rights, even during a revolution void, and aiming to equal rights in the Commons.
There is a lot more to say here, and our model refers to the US, but then after that to a community based on a new International.
It is not a buddy system with the remnant leftists steeped in the hopeless muddle of Marxism and pervaded with crypto-stalinists with murderous jacobinism.
They need to say goodbye the useless baggage of leftism that nearly destroyed the socialist future in the era of Bolshevism
There is a lot more to say, here: our four term system needs to marginally increase its complexity as an experiment in real time. This system needs to take the next step and infused its dynamic with ecological socialism.
Leftist ideas provoke great resistance, but at the point where you realize you are dead in a system where rights aim apparently to sink civilization indifferent to capitalist catastrophe the path to our lifeboat becomes possible. The outcome is freedom but not the right to capitalist domination of resources.
So, you weren’t able to keep it, what next…?
The ‘revolution’ option is enshrined in the lore of the original revolutionary outcome of American ‘democracy’. That the result wasn’t much of a democracy and points to a new future of the genre: an intelligent socialism is the prescription needed for a ‘real democracy’.
That may seem unrealistic but the future of the American system as is seems quite unrealistic…
The issue of capitalism and its critique and the potential of postcapitalism is conditioned by its own history of bad theories, false models, confusion over economics and the mystification of neo-classical models, with a cult-like domination of Marxist thinking which has severe flaws. As much as one might admire Marx’s efforts, his theories are very flawed and thus the whole basis of a socialist/communist left has all along been based on theoretical confusions. Marx’s ‘stages of production’ theory has surely helped to derail thinking and activism on the left. Any capitalist can safely denounce Marxism as crackpot theory and score a one-up that most cadre cultists can’t answer.
Marx condemned us to an epoch of capitalism that had to exhaust its potential before turning into something else. A disastrous perspective. Capitalism is not an epoch of world history but a process that should have been balanced from the start as Marx/Engels seemed to have understood early on in the 1848 period. The later Marx seems to have changed. Capitalism is strangely fomenting its own demise. Its destruction of the Amazon Basin is surely a turning point. Capitalism is taken as an autonomous system, but should be seen as a process inside a large system. Instead its match with a socialist wrapper never happened. The result is a kind of aborted modernity that never emerged in proper fashion. One problem is the jackknifed opposition of socialism/capitalism where the two might have led to a construct like our ‘democratic market neo-communism’. The latter takes a liberal system and asks, can we make one change: expropriation of capital to a Commons, maintaining the rest, more or less? Why not. Attempts to construct a whole society from scratch is a form of complexity that can lead to Stalinism in the confusion of categories. This approach is not social democracy, as such, but that category done right.
The system of capitalism has become so complex no one can quite visualize its structure.
Try googling “#number of small businesses, US’ https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=number+of+small+businesses+US
The result is a staggering 30.2 million small businesses. The system has expanded to a point where it is a labyrinth. It is not easy to consider changing such a system.
Our model allows an indifference level below which the larger system allows let-go. And the issue of markets has been botched. There is a possibility as many socialists later realized of markets inside a socialist system.
It is no mystery that capitalism is so hard to reckon. The left in fact has no accurate theory or model and the domination of marxism drives out any new paradigms.
So it is not surprising that the left makes little progress. The Second International shows a global movement ruined by the legacy of Bolsheviam, and marxism.
The left rarely disowns this legacy and suffers cognitive dissonance in the usage of its own terminology: does socialism refer to North Korea/ Yes, No. but leftists remain in confusion. You MUST start over with new terminology.
A whole new terminology is needed and a new start. Marx is not a prophet of a world religion, but his thinking is almost impossible to critique. The same mess of pottage is recycled over and over again.
So, there is hardly any mystery to the failures of the left here. Leftists don’t know what they are talking about, apply bad theories to hypercomplex systems, and never learn from their mistakes.
Let us note that social democracy is not good enough. But if revolutions are off the table, then all discussion is on false premises. A century of social democratic efforts seemed to have succeeded but the capitalists dismantled almost all of it.
But we cannot be dogmatic and should take reformism/revolution as an inevitable duality.
But the climate question is going to give the left another chance, and it may be a case of stepping backwards into still more confusion. I would say start over with a simple model of socialism or our toy model of ‘democratic market neo-communism’.
Our approach takes a liberal system and remorphs it into a neo-communism. The two Janus-faced so-called opposites begin to meld into each other. It is easy to critique Bolshevism, but its example is misleading even as it gives a warning; if revolution is essential its execution is perilous. Reformist just might come to cusp where the expropriation of capital could be legislated.
Whether yes, no, maybe or let’s wait and see, an examination of why predictions of capitalism’s demise are thus far off the mark is a healthy exercise. I thus was interested in a new book wrestling with these issues, Foretelling the End of Capitalism: Intellectual Misadventures since Karl Marx by Francesco Boldizzoni. Foretelling is a curious hybrid as the author is quite critical of capitalism but also has a pessimistic outlook regarding its replacement; it is rare for a book to receive praise from a Wall Street Journal reviewer and New Left Review contributor Wolfgang Streeck. Foretelling provides a strong challenge to the thinking of critics of capitalism and those who subscribe to leading theories, particularly Marxist, of the end of capitalism.
The legacy of marxism/leninism in its phase of bolshevism is one of a hard contrast between opposites and the obliteration of one society to construct another, the later however never really defined in advance by those proposing a new society.
Our suggestion is that this was a mistake due to the way thinking tends to polarize and in the history of socialism this process is notably at work. But the result has so far never produced a successful outcome. It could hardly be otherwise and social construction from scratch is a tremendously difficult task, one that ended up disastrously in the hands of dictators.
Closed world of marxist cult
January 9th, 2015 · http://darwiniana.com/?s=last+and+first+men
I am often surprised at the failure of many leftists to see the limits of marxism: that is because they cannot easily mix with outsiders, and have a closed view generated by conformity. That creates a situation of naivete: the general public won’t even listen to many of the old jargonized pitches of classic marxism.
The intent in Last and First Men is to change the ‘habits’ of thought that cluster around the ‘dead mass’
of nineteenth century to bolshevik cliches.
At a desperate moment radicals are so turned off they start to reinvent the subject in chaotic fashion. LFM shows a way to do that systematically while still doing justice to the canon.
I think more generally that ‘historical materialism’ is a dead duck in a culture now dominated by as many buddhists as marxists. It is irresponsible at this point to turn off systematically so many in the general public.
The issue of neo-communism can make ample use of the old marxism and yet completely change all the labels, rewrite theory/history and translate the core ideas of class and ideology to a new framework.
As things stand now the old marxist left is blocking any real activist group in the way it dogmatizes stale jargon.
I cannot even subscribe to the main marxist listservs to exchange commentary. Hard to believe
We linked to this already today and it is invaluable to have a critique by someone like Mandel of the trend toward ‘market socialism’ that arose in the wake of the ‘calculation debate’ ignited by Von Mises and which was critiqued by a whole series of socialist counterarguments in what seems in retrospect something of a stalemate. A good example of the genre is:
The Economics of Feasible Socialism Alec Nove
It is interesting that Mandel attempts to argue with Nove, not Mises, et al.
But I have to wonder if anyone has arrived at answers here but overall the capitalists claim to have won the argument and we have lived in neoliberal land since the time of Hayek et al, who spring directly form the Misean attack, which was a timely (1921) counterattack in the context of the Russian revolution which coincided with this introduction of the whole, partly sophistical but also in part cogent, Misean argument about markets. Mandel’s excellent critique of the socialist responses to Mises, viz. market socialism. Given the nature of Mises’ prediction and the outcome of bolshevik economic madness/idiocy, it is not surprising that socialists have been on the defensive, and almost nettled by the play of sophistries. That neo-classical economic theory deserves an equal share of critique, if not ridicule, but clarity tends to be lost in the confusion of debate (mastery of the field with its mathematical confusions is almost impossible using the texts of the subject, cf. e.g. Krugman/Wells and their college textbook(s) ). That equilibrium theory was in part the invention of socialists is a further irony. It is fair to say that all parties are confused to some degree. But a defense of planning by Mandel is entirely apt in the seeming partial rout that produced so many leftist students of market socialism.
The scale of the problem is mind-numbing:
How many small businesses are there?In 2010 there were 27.9 million small businesses, and 18,500 firms with 500 employees or more. Over three-quarters of small businesses were nonemploy-ers; this number has trended up over the past decade, while employers have been relatively flat (figure 1). https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/FAQ_Sept_2012.pdf
To bring planning to this is an olympian task.
A pioneer in the computational economics sphere is Cockshott’s classic: Toward a New Socialism
Our own view is a mixture of paired opposites: our ecological socialist ‘Democratic Market Neo-communism’. This perspective says that we must do four or more things at once:
resolve the political question, resolve the market/planning question and resolve the nature of expropriation, demanded from the revolutionary (or even electoral) left: the creation of a Commons, which is different from state capitalism.
Our model does not fully resolve the economic question but creates a mixture of both planning and market sectors that can construct a new form of communist system where markets coexist with planning, but with post-capitalist corporations that license resources from the Commons. Properly realized such a mixed system has a larger potential than one pole of the dilemma. We can see a broad field of planned economics, and a parallel field of modified market entities. And a possible third ‘anarchist sector’ below an indifference threshold allowing small scale entities free to do as they please. The mixed system as noted is like a reserve genome of social dna and moves into the future but still preserves its historical forms (in the third sector). This system is different from market socialism.
It is a seemingly contradictory/dialectical combination of opposites that must mediate themselves with checks and balances, and experimental trials of potential solutions. Noone has that solution yet.
The nature of an international remains as a further challenge where this DMNC model attempts first a ‘socialism’ in one country and doesn’t as such or at first attempt the immense problem of global system which would immediately become a reverse socialist imperialism (??).
It is hard to know exactly how this would play out but we must suspect that its strong control mixed with flexibility could stage the kinds of experiments that would evolve to a solution the problem that has bedeviled the left from the time of Marx. Failure to define some kind of workable system has put the socialist left into the limbo it finds itself in.
But the situation is rapidly changing: the claimed victory, in part sophistical, of the Misean wing and the neo-liberals is proving pyrrhic: we now face the reality even if we can’t solve the problem of socialist economics we will have to anyway: the capitalist system is producing devastation and will end by destroying a planet. And the further peculiar situation has arise of rightist/fascist/ irrationalism that simply denies the issue of climate calamity on its way: the ideological hold of capitalist ideology is proving to be a form of near psychosis. So we have to trot out the whole flea market of socialist ‘told you so’ but still clunky economic ‘solutions’ to postcapitalist inevitability.
The ecological DMNC is designed to be able to remorph a liberal system into a (neo-) communist (we can hardly use old terminology of Chinese, North Korean, etc, monstrosities monopolize the terms) one and then proceed with enough probable viability to start to allow thence experimental upgrades, a sort of permanent revolution. It is not simple matter to deal with such complexity even if we begin to suspect that the planning option has some resolution, viz. technological, computational, and soon AI angles of attack.
Our solution with three sectors (and a double political system with both democracy and strong presidential authority, the latter however a revolutionary party to guard the Commons,but few other powers) (cf our various manifestos) allows both centralization and distributed powers of economic control and let go, and while it remorphs a liberal system is also open to many of the goals of classic left discourse, e.g. worker cooperatives, etc… But in a Commons worker cooperatives can control but not own the resources they use, etc…
This kind of system can start immediately, today/tomorrow and then inch its way forward.
It has strong control and an anarchic side, planning and a new kind of market, ecological imperatives and associated ecological courts and law and many possible versions of ’emergency mode’ alternates. It must satisfy the demand for a robust economic populism with economic rights to employment, health care, housing, etc…
Noone has found a solution to the economic question but this DMNC can with confidence stage a beginning evolution that is functional day one toward a more sophistical outcome.
Noone has won the arguments here and we can’t expect to be able to fully resolve but we do have a plan/procedure and revolutionary (or evolutionary) project to set in motion, one that can reconcile many opposites in a pressure cooker of social equalization moving from the relative starting point of mixed opposites…
Despite its reputation for basket case economics the idea of communism (socialism) as in our ‘democratic market neo-communism’ should be able to create far more efficient economies than pure capitalism. We need at each point to qualify the terms /communism/socialism/ to some key specifics: the issue of democracy and authority, the issue economics in practice, e.g. socialist markets and planning and the creation of a Commons. The prospect of affluence as the climate crisis deepens has little in the way of guarantee…