I am constantly promoting Last and First Men because that is the only way to make a statement if you are marginalized. I was surprised by the stark frozen isolation of the left: you can take out two years plus to write a book on communism, marxism and the issue of capitalism, and the current left will not bat an eyelash. This set of groups is stuck: they can’t create popular movements anymore, where the Second Internationale (and of the course the First) spread rapidly across the planet, while the same material now fails to do that. That’s a sign of many things, but ‘habit’ is one of the most insidious. Noone reacts to marxist jargon anymore. Much of the impetus has moved to other types of groups, but these are not truly radical enough. The marxist source, however dated, still has the core necessity of communist revolution and refoundation. But the dread legacy of Stalinism has made many react into Gandhian, anarchist, and other eclectic platforms, viz. the OWS. The sheer sense of hopelessness given the rising power of the state makes many demur. And the economic propaganda against communism is decisive, although the case for a centralized economy is not that hard to make, even given the muddled versions of the bolsheviks. That history has misled us: we need a system that in principle stands beyond private property, but that can be subject to many interpretations of the economy matched with that.
The crisis is grave: the critics chose democracy over socialism/communism, and now have lost democracy, and the power to choose another system. And the moment of rightist power is the moment of destroying the humble gains of social democratic struggle withe contempt. The system means to destroy the middle class, social security, and even the right to vagrancy in a capitalist designed hell. At some point the lesson of the suicide bomber will sink in. And this system is becoming so vicious because, in part, its proponents know it is vulnerable. But the mood of the left is in a new world: much revolution was driven by sheer hunger, starving men in the streets of Paris…The right has learned to dope enough compassion to make such demonstrations a thing of the past, while a century plus of commodity fetishism and its advertising have taught the means to press psychological buttons. But the situation which seems hopeless is nothing of the kind. The powers that be are well aware of their vulnerability, and pile ever new retrenchments one on the other, obsessively aware a system can crash and the left become resurgent. But the failed solutions of the Second Internationale, running on empty, are still the rote repetition of most leftist groups of the marxist brand. Breaking old habits is the first step. That is not compromise and cooptation. You can break habits and remain with the same message, in essence. It is the habits that are the problem, the message may be basically OK. It is a sufi trick: break habits and creative energy can be released.