Last and First Men suggests a way to create a stylized post-marxist left leaving its core intact. It is not clear why, but the ‘communist’ legacy in its various (american) groups is defunct, and where a socialist gambit via Sanders took off like a rocket, perhaps cresting even now, the further left is still in the starting chewing cuds of regurgitated oats.
It would help to break the mechanical connection with the past in the process finding how that actually connects to the past. The post-marxist left needs to decree Marx/Engels to be the Old Testament and get started on the New Testament of neo-communist activism, electoral and revolutionary. The marxist legacy is sterile now, and not in tune with the times, or, for that matter its critics. There is too much cultic dogmatism and it is paralyzing thought.
A few strategies can help: step out of the historical materialist world view and replace it with a stylized take on the economic in history. Broaden ‘materialism’ to a more general dialectic of modernity that can allow neo-comunists to communicate with monotheists, buddhist, confucians, and to a large community of modern perspectives, idealism, materialist, or whatever. Place materialism in the larger context of physics, and also move to include the whole of german classical philosophy in a dialectic of oppositions. Devise a language of consciousness, a post-darwinian evolutionism, and a world view that is less pretentious and more ‘nine-to-five’ subway talk…derivations of something better usually result in more pretentious jargon. Maybe forget it, and get into something practical.
The revolutionaries of the American Republic tolerated no theories of what they were doing, and stayed with conversational descriptions. That’s all the left needs. Historical materialism is a complex theory of history and it is impossible to prove and probably wrong. Dump it.
The ancient samkhya made spirituality materialistic, and the conclusion is that leftist materialism is fine but needs some pizazz. Even that rightwing svengali gurdjieff knew the trick and talked about weighing god…the reactionaries have stolen the material framework of samkhya from the ancient left. This situation is idiotic.
The right has created a materialist view that can trip up the innocent leftist stuck on early nineteenth century materialism…
There’s another way to go: stop thinking about and be ready to relate with newcomers who haven’t learned the jargon.
In fact, all these questions are a waste of time at this point. Leave the old timers alone, but don’t impose dogma on the newcomers…
The current climate demonstrations are the neo-communists starting point, and their ‘universal class’ to be a superset of the proletariat.
Thus nothing much needs to be done to revise neo-communism thinking: it is ordinary public language given a focus on the revolutionary transformation of capitalism. The Sanders gambit is probably going to fizzle out. The neo-communist left isn’t ready and is going to twiddle its thumbs once again as the energy dissipates.