The propaganda of capitalism is very strong, and the record of Bolshevik cooptation of the socialist/communist idea was so complete, that we never consider the context of global capitalism as it is, and the danger it poses as it proceeds unchecked.
The power of capitalist elites is accelerating, and one reason is the inability to challenge the reign of ideas that enforces a set of confusions. And the attempts to produce a challenge get derailed by marxist boilerplate which is entrenched in all discussion of the communist idea. But the idea has nothing to do with marxism, necessarily, having emerged in the period after the French Revolution almost spontaneously. The attempt by Marx and Engels to amplify that strain was a great moment, for its time. But we may well have to start over and wrest the communist idea from the lethargy and ideological rigor mortis that has overtaken it. Look out at the current capitalist social nexus: it has failed to achieve its result, despite a whole series of partial successes. We endured capitalism to reach a state of development. But now the process is turning on itself, as the very idea of the middle class is being withdrawn. So what was the point?
The issue is simple: a global threat requires a global movement, one that can both fulfill and move on from the legacy of democratic revolution: a communist revolution must critique the liberal heritage, yet be its continuation, as bourgeois revolution yields to postcapitalism. Nothing in the liberal foundation demands capitalist libertarianism. The rights of private property are open to challenge in a liberal context, it is just that we call that communism, and let a Leninist-style anti-liberalism negate the rights revolutions of the early modern. The reality is as tricky as the original democratic revolution of the Americas. The question of rights has crystallized around a set of contradictions. The rights of industrial property, able to destroy a planet, are not truly rights. A new critique and study of the ‘bourgeois revolution’ is needed, to produce its first born, a true communist revolution, on a global basis. Every about the Russian revolution shows how not to do it, so the evidence there is not conclusive. The marxist analysis hasn’t worked, so we need to revise it.
It is important to consider what a revolution is: it is not something put to a vote: there is no government during a transition to vote for. As with the American revolution a faction of rebels challenge an imperialist regime, and, ten years after victory, produced a constitution, and a bill of rights, almost missing the boat on rights. So the question of revolution is not an opinion poll of the deadbeat proletarian brainwashed by television. It is revolt by a representative faction that can demand the rights of the proletariat, of the 99%, and act in their name,a nd much else. One of the confusions of marxism is the way it sidelined all the real revolutionaries in the name of an abstraction, the proletariat, which isn’t an agent of history. A faction of revolutionaries can act to empower the proletariat, but the latter will not act, it is not a person. Labor unions can act, but they don’t represent the proletariat, but the interests of a small subset. The 99% are an equal, and perhaps better group. During a transition the question of democracy doesn’t apply, especially if they project a future democracy to replace the kind of fakes we must endure now. Once a revolution is achieved the question of private property and rights, and a new form of postcapitalist constitution can then be set as the foundation. A revolutionary faction can betray the hope of communism and democracy, but that’s the risk of change. The Russian revolution was an anomaly, and ended by recycling the spirit of Tsarism. It is misleading us. A communist revolution in a country like the US would probably try to recycle the democratic idea, in a communist context. Great! Let’s try! Time to start is—immediately. The fascist retrograde coup of the American elite has a generation head start, and a real consolidation of power since Bush, and Obama, that stooge of the right. The current system is not democratic, so it’s overthrow is not anti-democratic.
The American revolutionaries were able to produce a combined populist and republican elitist system. It could have been better, but is was a first, fulfilled the hopes in some ways of the English Civil War, if not of the Peasant’s Revolt of Munzer. There is no reason for the kind of outcome, therefore, we see in the Bolshevik revolution.
But it is important to expand the context to the global system, and the imperialism at work there, in the American system. A change of American government could be a start, but it can’t be the final outcome.
We have to at least start. Without it we are dead. We may be dead anyway, but the time for flaky leftism is past.
Time to recycle this idiotic poster for a new revolution: