The basic center of gravity of the idea for the ‘Red Fortyeight Group’ is ask if there is a practical strategy of revolution in the current context of growing domination. It seems to be an impossible situation, but that is misleading: where thought clarifies, action will proceed in due course. The sluggishness of the left is due to a set of wrong assumptions, old formats gone stale, cliched thinking, and the inability to distinguish a ‘future communism’, neo-communism, from the legacy of Bolshevism. Noone on the left seems to see that the repetition of the fundamentals that led to Bolshevik chaos can’t be repeated. The whole question must be reanalyzed.
There are too many lame horses on the marxist left: dialectical materialism, for example. I think it is unfortunate, given the suggestion otherwise to Zizek, to see him obstinately now writing still another book on dialectical materialism. We should have been far beyond this point by now. Instead, another wasted three months this fall will go into trying to debrief Zizek here, in vain. He is such a profit machine for Verso that noone will listen. The illusion of a strong support group on the left is fed by the apparent popularity of his writings. The reality is that dialectical materialism is such crap the right doesn’t need to bother discussing it. Such an invaluable source of confusion is left untouched.
We need to proceed with something else, popular or not.
Some practical issues:
the legacy of rights, and the place of rights in a new communism: this issue goes critical because the issue of property rights is under check in a communism transition.
the definition of communist economies, and their relation to theories of economics…
the issues of tactics, Gandhian to terror ops, their history and the place of activism, beyond the current anarchist stalemate.
the issues of evolution, and the stubbornly stuck marxist take on darwinism
there are many many more.
I think that Last and First Men provides a useful thimble-sized summary of a new simplified postmarxist platform, one that can unify theists/atheists, materialists/idealists, religion/secular, etc…
Instead of committing to a particular philosophy it provides a framework or historical outline that can include mutliple philosophies and their opposites. We don’t have to do philosophy or theory to proceed. The left is permanently stuck trying to figure out theory. And the result is always a failure. Why bother with this approach? Look at history as a dramatic construct of free agents, confronted with economies, and the ‘revolution’s needed to change them.
The absurdity of Bolshevism is visible in the blatant cynicism of the revolutionaries in the ‘party’ of communism, resulting in the creation of a new form of class domination. This elementary question seems to have eluded all the leaders of the early movement whose logic was faulty from the start in field after field: the Tsarist world was dominated by the secret police. The Bolshevik solution was to make that worse. The Tsarist world was exceptional as a legacy of cruelty. The Bolshevik outcomes was to increase that cruelty to an extreme.
The legacy of liberalism was rejected, thence the multiparty system: the Bolshevik outcome was to create a single party, turn that into a new aristocracy/bourgeoisie in control of the means of production.
At every point idiot solutions emerged to the projected ideals. And there is a whole legacy of unsound positions on many issues: Che Guevara, for example. No use keeping up on the Che Guevara cult if even Salon doesn’t buy it: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2004/09/the_cult_of_che.html
We don’t need a cult of Che at this point. The reactionaries won that argument. The ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ and its transition was a bungle job: the revolution can certainly be subject to a period of transition that is not yet democratic, but the total destruction of all rights and liberties at the end of a revolution was/is the wrong idea. The power to create liberty in the result of revolution before liberty is a trick mastered by the Founding Fathers, bourgeois boobs or not. The ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ instead has to be the worst idea in this context.
But to return to our starting point: is there a viable revolutionary strategy at this point. We suffer the right’s suggestions of the impossible, and that is false.