We cited this article already, and it is worth reading, but the general tone of doctrinal cavil is unfair, it seems. It is very late in the game to be accusing an author and leader of a major socialist party of being an idealist, etc… If it is that bad, it is hopeless, and noone wins. Appealing to Marx as the infallible authority, when the citers are as confused as those they criticize, seems to resolve all issues when in fact it simply perpetrates the confusion. The problem lies with the obscurity in Marx’s thinking which generates the ‘ou lala’ syndrome in Marx sophisticates.
The solution at this point is to snap out of marxism and recast the canon in a new and more practical form. That, I admit is tricky (look at the snippet below from WP), but the attempt to create ‘scientific socialism’ from the ‘Utopian socialists’ has backfired. We end with nothing. The troubles at the SWP are an opportune moment for a leftist formation to die and resurrect. It is therefore, of course, unfair to critique the gestating critiques as in this article. But I think that something major is required, and it requires a cure for Marx addiction: ‘scientific socialism’ wasn’t science, so tear up your notes and start over. It is not that hard: a practical sense of the revolutionary process, and the outcome called ‘communism’, in advance, in a global context, can jumpstart a new movement and a new communism.
In a ward citing chapter and verse in Marx to castigate doctrinal heresy is a sign that the left here has ossified.
Trhow Marx out the window, but keep the Communist Manifesto. Attempt to create a science of socialism, but don’t pretend that Marx did the job.
The problem here must be a difference of intelligence, and that’s a trap. Less capable minds get trapped in the work of a genius like Marx, and can’t understand him, nor understand his limits, nor summon the courage to apply negation to his affirmation. (I should not use dialectical metaphors, given the hopeless muddle on the left here, but, …c’est la vie). It is an elitist trap of the first order. And Marx was himself not smart enough to deal with the issues. That’s not a problem in a movement prepared to learn from many sources. But Marx has been made a canonized saying, with a doctrine of papal infallibility.
We are back in 1848, Capital has not yet been written, and the heirs of revolution must fend with a redifinition of their subject.
The cure for Marx addiction is no more Capital pedantry. Not more Capital period. Restate the issue of capital, economics, and a future communism without referring to Marx, and no more Hegelian fetishism of the dialectic.
You don’t own the communist idea, which isn’t the private property of that sophistical pope of Germanic pedantry, Karl Marx…
Various social reformers in the early 19th century founded communities based on common ownership. But unlike many previous communist communities, they replaced the religious emphasis with a rational and philanthropic basis. Notable among them were Robert Owen, who founded New Harmony in Indiana (1825), and Charles Fourier, whose followers organized other settlements in the United States such as Brook Farm (1841–47). Later in the 19th century, Karl Marx described these social reformers as “utopian socialists” to contrast them with his program of “scientific socialism” (a term coined by Friedrich Engels). Other writers described by Marx as “utopian socialists” included Saint-Simon.
In its modern form, communism grew out of the socialist movement of 19th century Europe. As the Industrial Revolution advanced, socialist critics blamed capitalism for the misery of the proletariat—a new class of urban factory workers who laboured under often-hazardous conditions. Foremost among these critics were Marx and his associate Friedrich Engels. In 1848, Marx and Engels offered a new definition of communism and popularized the term in their famous pamphlet The Communist Manifesto. Engels, who lived in Manchester, observed the organization of the Chartist movement (see History of British socialism), while Marx departed from his university comrades to meet the proletariat in France and Germany.
There is a lot in this article we haven’t discussed, and the issue of ‘two socialisms’ deserves another post….