Our discussions of the left aren’t the standard, but the reason is very obvious: old fashioned marxism will stall any genuine revolutionary/radical-electoral effort. It will do that because its mindset is that of the 1840’s, or worse, the generation of full positivism after 1850. The contemporary mind will balk at the crucial point. Look at the second internationale: it created an immense movement as people all over the world responded with enthusiasm. Now look at the current left: they repeat the same formulas but nobody responds.
That situation can only change with a major upgrade, starting with a critique of the older marxism, and histories that don’t compromise with the truth.
Beyond that, the left MUST debrief darwinism and not force people to accept a theory that has been exposed completely. This can be especially frustrating because the current generation is completely brainwashed on the subject, yet it takes only a short study to see that the whole paradigm is a deception.
A major radical effort can’t ask people to believe in a paradigm that is the support for a social darwinism program. Check that out NOW, so we can be ready here. Find an ID critic and see if you can defend darwinism anymore. The right has outflanked the left with a double whammy: they ply social darwinism with tacit malevolence, and critique darwinism, with increasing savvy, while the left simply goes through the motions of knee-jerk faith in darwin….Everyone is so boxed in they can’t communicate with the outside world.
The question of religion is also defunct on the left. I would recommend studies of the history of religion without marxist obsessions and the older analyses which are uniquely bad.
The issue of ‘god’ is beyond reckoning. It is a scandal that Kant’s critique of metaphysics is not central here: BOTH theism and atheism are metaphysical quagmires. A neutral Kantianism might help to discuss the future with the remaining tens of millions of believers!
Historical materialism is a joke among Marx critics. Marxists need to drop it and make a more rational evaluation of the place of economics in world history, keeping the takes on ideology and class.
Marx’s theories are historical archaeology at this point. Critique begins with a shlock course in calculus, study of marginalist economics, etc, and a reckoning with the state of economy as of now…
It is possible to argue that critiques of socialist planning have left the older marxists in a funk, and left them too frustrated to function. They need to be open on the subject and find a way out of the dogmas here. They are successful ideology.
In general the old left is in the way. It is sad but true. They were finally upstaged by the OWS, but that movement was confused from the start. The basics of marxism was lost. This is a frustrating situation, because the older marxists are simple dead in the water, while we can’t do with or without the insights of Marx. But Marx’s overall stance was limited and tried too ambitiously to be science. All we need is a platform and a generalized critique of capitalism. The revolutionaries of the American revolution skipped theory. Theory would have confused them. All we need is clearheaded activists with a basic sense of what they are doing.
Look at Das Capital, and the tens of thousands of people confused by it. It is all unnecessary. The book is a doorstopper. Se it aside.
The market argument looked invincible a generation ago, but the situation has changed. Everyone can see that absolute faith in the market was a deception. The problems with planning remain, but we are dead with unrestricted markets. Period. So a new way must be found.
Here’s a quickie refutation of the socialist calculation debate: the market assumes, via Adam Smith, self-interest will resolve the functioning of markets. But we can see in practice that that is false. The fallacy is that self-interest implies selfish greed. But self-interest can imply the reverse. So the Smithian assumption fails. Period. It can be partly right, but then an economy should only be partly capitalist. We can also realize our inner potential and replace the market with acts of will, rather than greed reactivity. This would allow true rationality to come to the fore. And we can point to the limits of wealth mentality, and enjoin the rational man to a discipline that can replace the market with intelligent decisions self-generated, etc…
Before Christianity everyone assumed that man was too evil for redemption and took the slaughter in the Roman games as inevitable and right. It took a thousand years to grow out of that grostesque fallacy.
A similar situation haunts the capitalist world. And it is getting worse. The nineteenth century was bad enough. Now the whole American population is being rewired around Ayn Rand. The whole game is fated to collapse at some point.
In general being realistic about markets is important, but once the hard facts are faced, then other hard facts come to the fore. The last generation of neo-liberalism has essentially destroyed american civilization. So enough complacent chatter about markets.