As we used to say as kids playing cowboys/indians or mock battles, ‘We now take prisoners, beg for mercy’…That will have to pass for backslapping reformist ‘Comrades’ …
Modernity, revolution and postcapitalism… June 28th, 2018 • Our discussions today reinvoke our discussions of modernity and revolution with a focus on the possibility of postcapitalism.
Watching the documentary The Weather Underground (2002) (see Independent Lens review, PBS) is a painful experience. Included with this award-winning documentary about Vietnam-era revolutionaries is the smaller and separate interview with David Gilbert, who remains imprisoned in New York for his part in the 1981 Brinks robbery in which some of those involved in the robbery killed two policemen More
“When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you—pull your beard, flick your face—to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you.” —John Lennon Brace yourselves. There is something being concocted in the dens of power, More
Modernity, revolution and postcapitalism… June 28th, 2018 • Our discussions today reinvoke our discussions of modernity and revolution with a focus on the possibility of postcapitalism. Source: Mod…
We have been critical of marxism here without completely rejecting all of Marx’s insights and this seems problematical to some but nothing can make the point clearer than confronting a figure like Zizek. In fact, our stance mainly refers to the the legacy of bolshevism, but the pop ‘marxism’ of Zizek is material we should be wary of. In fact, I have a book trying to expose the confusions of dialectical materialism.
Zizek has created marxist chocolate fudge of this subject and I find myself unable to even read his take on the subject.
In the end Zizek lives in his own world and/or some marxist/leninist universe or else in some Hegelian disneyland.
This makes clear why we divorce our material from marxism and marxists. It is impossible to resolve the issues in Zizek because they are barely comprehensible.
The subject of dialectical materialism needs to be left behind in search of a new kind of left. The dialectic has confused almost all the leftists who use it, despite some classics that seem profound (and might be), e.g. from Western Marxism, and it is important to focus on what needs to be done and not try to justify, defend, or excuse the truly impossible muddle in which most marxists have ended up. Marx saw the dangers and in a way that drove him to make the problem worse by obsessing efforts to be scientific. But the result wasn’t science and a figure like Zizek makes it clear that the Hegelian bravura applied to dialectical materialism can sell books in the Zizek cult, but serious revolutionaries up to their last chance of real socialism need to travel light. Dialectical materialism, a concoction of Engels that Marx in a more ferocious moment toward his friend might well have shelved at once.
We need to simply note that we are socialists, reformist or revolutionary, and we adopt our own canon, and don’t need anything from marxism, let alone Zizek. We point to a kind of bare framework that deals with the practical questions of social transformation, economic reconstruction (and deconstruction, to use a postmodern term, ouch!), constitutional/legal constructs for a new type of specified socialism (e.g. our DMNC model), etc…
The issue of dialectic never arises because it has been left behind as a luxury revolutionism plain doesn’t need. We deal in recipes, not theories or theories manque as philosophies. We steer clear of Hegel, save historically, and can study his dialectic historically, but we may be out of time for that. Hegel is important for one chestnut, in our view: in a rising scientism he considered the ‘metaphysics’ of freedom in history.
We can proceed without his corpus in any case.
The issue is fearsome: marxists and bolsheviks may well have destroyed humanity’s three strikes to construct socialism as postcapitalism. That task struck out with marxism so we need to do something very different in a new attempt, if the chance ever arises. Let’s consider the American rebs, many of them high class Virginian planters, and many more dirt farmers. They carried out a revolution, one of the very few that succeeded, and they did that without a set of theories or Hegelian pastiche, or the dialectic. They were not yet confused by the philosophy of revolution.
We need that kind of plain sense. The socialist version is actually more difficult because the original revolution ended in a set of confusions (there Marx was very good at exposing the capitalist seepage into so-called democracy) and a socialist revolution is going to provoke a different kind of opposition. But either way the job of revolution and the construction of socialism has to be stated without the truly hopeless field of nonsense peddled by leftists now.
The steps should be clear, justified as logical elements, but at all points intuitive, etc…The sad reality is that socialist recipes aren’t that complicated (although they can be bad recipes) and can be done without training in Hegel or the reading of Capital. All we need is the original Manifesto, the rest is for academics and should not be used to confuse a general public, a confusion that is all too profitable for those who appoint themselves as the guardians of the esoteric cult.
We have often said it, and now it has happened: all the great revolutions in history had a spontaneous indirection, the French and Russian revolutions are good examples. Continue reading ” R48G: spontaneous revolution…red forty-eight group and evolutionary/evolutionary dualities…”
The anniversary of Lenin is a moment to reflect on history, the history of marxism, and its failures.
But the day after the birthday we need to move on from Leninism. The fascination with Lenin can forestall the need, necessity, of a new left with a new framework. A close look shows that Lenin’s moment was very distant from ours and the marxism he espoused should be upgraded to something better. In the final analysis his cadre despised liberalism and democracy, grew in the shadow of tsarism and gave that a kind of rebirth in the false view of communism that came to the fore.
Lenin must be seen in the context of the infamous Civil War that ended up spoiling everything and injected a terrifying and unreasonable violence by all parties, a factor suppressed from sentimental readings of history, and which cursed the whole of bolshevism throughout.
We need to be thinking in a different, which is the reformism versus revolution debate: we can take the revolutionary question in a different way, and in any case the issue of revolution is more to do with historical circumstance than the deliberate intention of revolutionaries. If the revolution comes a new system is going to be a difficult and tricky passage and needs to quite forget leninism….
Speaking a revolutionary socialist one can criticize Lenin and the bolsheviks if only because time has moved on and we are out of time to defend the failures of the marxist past. We confront a very…