I am often baffled by leftist/marxist strategy:they confess to the complete failure of their own strategy but then turn around and reaffirm the whole set of cliches that have fallen out of date, assuming they ever had a valid moment. Continue reading “working class science fiction of the marxists…//Revolution, Counterrevolution, and Reformism | Socialist Revolution”
The issue of reform versus evolution is often superficial: the onset of revolutions has almost never been planned, and where planned never happened, yet. Reform ends up compromised but moves in the dimension of the possible…
We might hope that in the end the reformist/revolutionary divide will prove illusory as new combinations of effective change emerge. But the dilemma tends to confuse all parties: the critique of reformism is entirely cogent, but the stance toward revolutionary transformation is mostly botched by so-called revolutionaries themselves who seem to expect they can transform society as the ‘good guys’ y given the revolutionary moment. Every example from the past shows failure. That’s depressing, but the reasons are not beyond analysis Continue reading “Reform/revolution and the lack of any serious platform”
The debate here is really over reformism/revolution, but neither side can really turn the tide or offer any real resolution of the dilemma. It has been that way since the nineteenth century and the era of Bernstein.
In the mean time it is useful to both continue the debate and yet for both sides to be mindful they cannot control the future here: two potentials are better than one and generate the needed thought at a time when revolution is seeding itself, next to a reformist trend seeding itself, and a murky future where the prospect of revolutionary is seemingly beyond conceiving. The future has surprised the left before, and the real question is whether either side could manage a socialist revolution if it landed on their head. Like escapees from a chain gang, both sides are ‘interconnected’…
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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.
Democratic Market Neo-communism? What do we mean by the term?
Socialists endlessly speak about socialism but never specify what that is supposed to mean. Pressed for answers they regurgitate old cliches. But the term is ambiguous and can be taken differently by different people.
The left needs to do some real homework here and the result might be better if it doesn’t even mention Marx. That’s too much for the faithful, but the reality that few admire Marx at all. You can mention him historically, take a critical stance to his theories and then distance yourself from his legacy and speak only of what YOU intend, and what you mean by ‘socialism’, prepare to define, derive, and deduce from scratch. Millions think you mean by the term that you will take over the government and murder a million capitalists. That’s what the Maoists did. If you deny that’s your intention, who will believe you if you constantly speak about leninism in religious awe. And the whole question suffers the charge of incomprehension of economics, and markets. Leftists mostly never even study the question and imply consider that once in power they can use planning to solve all problems. Think again.
True believers communicate only with themselves and fail to realize the futility of citing marxist slogans, theories and personalities. The general public winces at any mention of marxism, with the term socialism almost as bad. Leftists think nothing of claptrap about Leninism, an even worse case than the rest: you are dead in the water after the first sentence. Lenin, if not the perpetrator, was at the onset of a calamity. The articles at the ABC marxist websites/groups simply repeat old formulas and in the process make life impossible for ‘real’ socialists (what/whoever that is).
We have created a model/device to try and forestall this (perish the thought): democratic market neo-communism: you can’t speak about socialism (communism) in isolation any more: you must get specific about authority/democracy, markets and planning, the nature of the expropriation process and some kind of method to preempt state capitalism /bureaucracy and the fallacies of centralized planning. The material on DMNC suggests some ways to explore for answers. Just calling yourself a ‘socialist’ as blank label won’t work any more. And the issue of ‘ecological socialism’ has come to the fore. The left must reconcile two different trends, although some see the questions as linked.
It is understandable that those who mean to do it right are stuck with the social democracy dilemma and those who coopt the term ‘socialism’ for that purpose. But the solution is not to harp on Marx and try to enforce a party line, the tactic over and over again of dead beat marxists who have proclaimed hegemony over the whole subject,
One fears Sanders has actually finished himself off with his coopted terminology. He may be history for that reason. Sanders judged acutely a new situation, seized his chance and then wasted a golden opportunity.
Real socialists can work somehow with social democrats, but not if the core terminology gets ripped off for a deception.
But at least such people have seen the problems with the now dead tradition. And there is a chance that a hybrid will emerge as a golden opportunity. But the far left must then be ready and not blow another chance.
And, of course, the revolutionary option is by no means clear. But, whatever the case, at least try to renew the subject: you must start almost from scratch and restate the subject the general public can accept with a clear outline of the kind of society needed, in detail.
The revolutionary option requires double care in its exposition. The issue of violence puts you on the line confronting public cynicism. The whole question requires very careful thought and once again the slightest mention of Lenin, and probably Marx, and you are dead.
Then again those who are sick of pious gandhians on the left have some clear indications: was abolition worth the price of the Civil War, the Union dea, a very violent affair. The question is clear even as it remains murky. Almost all the advances of human freedom ended in violence. But the violence of the bolsheviks was totally off the wall insanity. And it gave ammunition to Gandhi to sabotage activist politics. To choose slavery to promote non-violence is not acceptable. The right is licking its chops at the gift Gandhi gave them.
And Gandhi was simply off the wall as he brandished the classic Gita where Khrishna enjoined Arjun to fight. Was Gandhi able to read?
What you propose must be logical, consistent, discuss clearly the issue of violence, guarantee an outcome with rights, a popular economic rights package not dependent on a vanguard of ‘tough guy’ revolutionaries trying to juggle budgets by fiat. We have even suggested revolutionary marshals! It is understandable that a revolution confronting civil war from capitalist criminals could go haywire, but that’s just success for the counterrevolution.
There is a good chance that a platform like our DMNC (which is at best a sketch) could suddenly become a popular option and realize itself to a new generation that has some assurance crackpot marxism and killer-leninism weren’t on the table.