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‘Neo-communism’ too counter-intuitive for the current crisis? At least take it as a theoretical exercise to challenge democratic fantasies

March 20th, 2016 · No Comments

The attempt to inject the ‘neo-communist’ idea into the current already confused political culture would seem a distraction. Perhaps it is, and perhaps it is unrealistic. But as distractions go, the current delusion we live in a democracy is probably worse because it makes us kneejerk rejectors of alternative views. The idea of communism had such a dreadful fate that we can’t consider it, but that is confusing us. We need to go back to the source: in the encounter with synchronous capitalism the successors to the French Revolution foresaw a ‘last revolution’ that fulfilled the democratic revolution as socialism or communism. This was taken up by Marx/Engels who gave the idea some depth, but perhaps in the process adding on things that are not helpful now. Do we need a theory of historical materialism? Do we need dialectic? or dialectical materialism? Do we need to reject human agency or ethical valuation? Is the blend with scientism obsolete? In some ways the first insights of Marx/Engels in the 1840’s are the best, especially Engels. Marx’s powerful intellect tended to take over the subject with an attempt to found a rigorous science. It is not clear it that is helpful at this point. It sets up marxism for target practice by critics.

All we need is a generalized humanism (neither theist or atheist, materialist or idealist, or perhaps all combinations) that can generalize the modernist perspective in its full diversity. The question of ‘bourgeois revolution’ and the resulting ambiguous democracies resulting is the real core of marxism, and we can drop the term ‘marxism’ and use its core insights without a lot of theories.
The key issue is not to fumble the ball on the ‘end of history’ curve ball. There is no such discourse: that’s the most confusing part. Hegel never referred to it. But the basic point stands: socialism arises to complete democracy, not to abolish it. But this makes a socialist or communist transition very difficult. And very treacherous because it is futile to ask for democratic socialism if democracy in a fake form is the starting point. The legacy here is at fault. Speaking in generalities and deferring specifics to after the revolution was a disaster. We need a complete transitional map, without Leninist dogmas, which lays down exactly what needs to happen, and which will adopt a higher degree of social control on some points, without abrogating the legacy of the rights revolution of the Enlightenment period.

In any case, it is necessary to have the issues on communism down cold whatever the outcome decided on. The communist puzzle has all the pieces that need to be considered: especially the capture of government by capitalists. A Sanders style game is not sufficient to evade the problems…

This is not easy, but we have spent the last forty years digging our own grave in the name of being scared of bolshevism. We have demanded democracy, not surprising, but the result was a planetary disaster. We must at the least review our definition of democracy. The one we have is so obviously idiotic that it is hard to see how we still use the term.
Something horrible is going to happen to the term itself, democracy: the total idiots we see now running for office are going to be taken as proof our ‘democracy’ was a lunacy.

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