History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Re/repost: Revolutionary confusions

February 21st, 2011 · No Comments

I am reposting this still one more time, due to the heavy demand, another 30k whopper.
I think that the public is so mislead from the right, and then from the left, that it is a miracle to see revolutions suddenly appear, followed by the Wisconsin demonstrations.

Then yesterday I put out the idea of the ‘virtual revolution’, to make the consideration of revolution in the extended sense discussable. That is also useful because of the extreme complexity of social structures, and difficult of correctly observing them in action, let alone changing their fundamentals.

My point is to think out loud at a moment of ‘revolution’ and to admonish Americans for their fake democracy, remind them of their revolutionary past, and demand a real democracy in a ‘put your money where your mouth is’ for those who have corrupted the democratic idea.

There is a lot to say here, but the first priority is to move past the Marxist, and then Leninist myths, that have delayed any organized change as much as anything from the right.

We cited Orlando Figes’ A People’s Tragedy, and it is fascinating to see the reality of the Russian Revolution: the resemblance to the Egyptian/Tunisian case is remarkable, as a series of street demonstrations in February 1917 brought down the Russian autocracy in a matter of days, with very few casualties. Within weeks a parallel liberal and socialist set of institutions came into existence, as the socilist idled in the Soviets, more or less on the sidelines, yet very much holding a good hand. This potentially fertile moment, which could have produced a world historical resolution of its moment was swiftly hijacked by the ruthless and genocidal Bolsheviks who weren’t a part of the original revolution, and who never instigated any revolution, only a coup d’etat.
I say this because the idea of revolution has been hijacked by Leninists, but the reality is something like what we see now. Beyond that there is a critical need to consider the potential for a true revolution of the American Revolution type, at a moment when the American system is in a state of terminal crisis. We can learn from Marx, but the sad reality is that Marxists have coopted the idea of revolution.
That is not a rejection of socialism, but a desperate hope the idea can be restored to its democractic fundamentals as the question of class and economy surge to the fore.

…I am surprised at the response, and yet not surprised. The (non-violent?) revolutons in Egypt and elsewhere are fueling the resonance of the idea, as it moulders in the Burkean tomb the right has placed it in, with immense help from the Leninist left ghost that still lingers.

But I think that the idea of revolution needs a deep retooling so that the inexorable disasppointment created by the reality behind ‘democracy’ undermines the hopes of so many.
Actually I am sure the Egyptian street revolutionaries are well aware of the problem and the need to absorb socialist and labor issues in the democratic rubric, without getting into the snafu created by Marxist leftists who want to coopt these revolutions (with usually accurate critiques of their deceptive character).
Our idea of the instant replay of the American Revolution, retuned to fixate socialism fundamentals freed of Marxist jargon is an exercise in this direction. There is a lot that could be said there, and we should wonder whether the phenomenon from Egypt to Wisconsin (the February Revolution wasn’t much different, to say nothing of the French onset) could lead to a revolutionary overhaul of the whole American system, in critical failure.
In the next post we can create a new category for this discussion…
Yesterday the blog got a stunning 31000 page views (the average is just under ten thousand), most probably because of the post on ‘Revolutionary confusions’.
People are worried, and starting to panic as they see the handwriting on the wall for USA civilization, so-called.
This situation tells me that people are being radicalized, but every time they move in that direction they slam into a stone wall called the ‘history of Bolshevism’.
Yesterday’s post pointed to the obvious way out from that: study the revolutions of the early modern, then the American, and of course the French. But the French Revolution never really succeeded and left a useless legacy of the Terror.
The Amerian case, despite its being a colonial revolt and thus slightly simpler, shows that revolutions, and not slow piece meal change, are world-historical innovations that produced freedom against the backdrop of antiquity, and that they can succeed and produce liberty. I say that because the garbage created by conservatives re: the French Revolution and leftists re; the Russsian revolution, have confused the issue.
The American case is telling, and it is ironically a template because of its flaws: the real humdinger being the look the other way tactic on slavery at the foundation: that is a reminder the job was not finished. Please note that the Civil War was another phase in that revolution, and that these precedents, and much else, demonstrate that that revolution is still not complete. A completion based on a form of liberal-democratic and socialist republicanism is crying out in the times we live in when the Wall Street gangster elite won’t stop their counterrevolution.

It is good to reflect on the success of the American revolution, but also, as its endless imitators fall in the trap (witness the middle east now) of neoliberal domination in the name of democracy, to feel responsible for the immense confusion created by Americans as they spread a fake across the planet, coopting the good name of democracy. That’s a bit alarmist, perhaps, but as we watch all the gains of labor being destroyed, and worse to come, and as we see a democratic presidnet triangulated out of real existence, the question must arise, is the revolutionary path inevitable. It is important to ask the question sooner rather than later, because the erosion of rights and the ability to resist proceeds apace, will soon create as situation that can’t be remedied.
Much more to say here, but Americans owe the world a real democracy, resulting from a real revolution. I cite the American case because, as noted, it bypasses the false legacy of Marxism (which still has a lot of lessons to teach us) and its fetish of anti-liberal revolutions. Actually, as cited, Michael Harrington outlined the issues very well a generation ago. I cite this author because insanity has overtaken many leftists, witness the case of Zizek. Whatever the case with his thinking, the center of gravity of American culture just won’t respond. We have something much better, and very classic.
The current elite is suffering insanity, and to contemplate two hundred years of the great American experiement reduced to nothing should be a wake up for those who indulge in the slogans of American exceptionalism.

So the problem is simple: Americans have corrupted the democratic idea, and need to do the job right.

Repost for ‘Revolutionary confusions’, plus links to lead up posts:
Out of revolution
The legacy of the French Revolution has forever confused the left (and in fact Marx and Engels sensed this after 1848, changing their tactics). The reason is that the differentiation of socialism from democratic action ended up creating a jackknife effect.

The question is simple: the only successful revolution of the period was the American. So that’s the prototype. But as Marx, and others, pointed out (to restate the howlingly obvious) this revolution was actually riddled with issues of class interest resulting in an ambiguous outcome: in fact the emergence in parallel of the capitalist economy confused everyone. So, as the Socialists/Marxists said, the revolution needs to be re-tuned to ‘real democracy’ which implies it would seem an element of socialist=democratic insight, that is, participation of all classes and a settlement that takes into account the confusing synchronous appearance of capitalism. Sounds simple, but the chaotification of the issues and the myth that some new kind of revolution should dispense with liberal rights and then with democracy created a monster of confusion and wasted effort.
Please note that the founders of the American system warned the future their work might not last very long, and in essence embedded revolution in their declarations. I am sorry, but I have to say it: the right to revolution is built into the Constitution.
If you say it isn’t then the original revolution/constitution is not valid either.

We need, not a sophistical Leninist conflagration, but a new American revolution that can free Americans from the gangster elite of capitalists that have destroyed democracy. That situation can’t be corrected by a leftist gangster elite of Leninists. That requires the revolutionary creation of a democratic/socialist republic, with a liberal set of rights, including rights against finance capital, etc, and a possible projection into the future of a communist final stage. But the latter has confused the issure. It is a big thing! Perhaps utopian. Note that the old left correctly (once) distinguished socialism (=liberal democracy) from the more complex ‘final stage’ (maybe) of communism. The progression to democratic revolution implying an element of socialist rights against capital is a sensible passage way to an unknown future, and represents at all stages a realizable and practical possibility that is not the dreaded ‘utopian’ so-called fallacy: the original American revolution proves it.
As the Wall Street gangster elite destroys all the exit points, and begins to destroy a whole society, it is important to consider if standard politics is finished. The founders we should note pretty clearly warned of this kind of situation, and even recommended a new revolution at frequent intervals.

Some leadup posts:

Tags: General · The Virtual Revolution

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