Whether the ‘end’ is coming or not, the transition to postcapitalism is going to be on the agenda, in a real crisis sense, very soon, and all the old nonsense about social democracy will also be dead in the water. The last issue will be the state capitalism by a bolshevik style bourgeoisie. To evade that fate we need what Lenin didn’t have, when he temporarily restored free markets: a viable model of postcapitalist economy. The older versions of communism often look like scrawled models of hope given by brains suffering malnourishment: cold, sterile scientism applied to social mechanics. We need a brighter version. It’s not that hard.
I have often studied the communist idea but was as often flipped out of the conversion transient as the endless compromises trotted out in display. But in the last decade the shift has become permanent, as an at first counterintuitive idea given the strength of the American system, as a form of theoretical study for the inexorable moment when the choice will be a supertyranny of capitalist elites, or some from of transition to a new form of economic organization. That’s the point when the compromises will sound ludicrous as the choices dwindle. The left was ready in a sense in the early twentieth century: the Second Internationale produced a world level paradigm and activism. We think now we can simply repeat that, but the evidence shows that an upgrade is needed. An upgrade is a working around a given, not a start from scratch. So an upgrade here requires a neo-communism that can emerge out of the givens yet morph into a futurist version of the older canon. That work needs to be done as soon as possible so that a context is readied when the crisis of capitalism will try to create a communism of the rich.
Today was the day that relations with Cuba were resumed. It seems a significant moment. I think the point will arrive when sectors of the current American system will see the obvious: the fast route to postcapitalism could be achieved by the biggest imperialist, and save the world generations of civil war. There the issue of compromises will soon destroy the chance unless a strong neo-communist plaform is ready for that combination, with an emphasis on the neo-, but nothig neo about the basic defining axiom of the abolition of private property as capital.
The point here is that americans automatically dismiss the unrealistic daydream of leftist communism. But that mental state is just now passing into oblivion. Neo-communism under any form could soon be a preference. Under a neo-democratic form would be best, but that we must compute in advance as a model well tested.
We aren’t quite there yet: social democratic pipedreams are coming on the agenda. Since even those were banished in the neo-liberal tide, they seem radical once more. We should given them their due, but accelerate the course of study…