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.