In the wake of the Sanders movement (but it isn’t over yet) the Sandernistas should consider how they can do ‘socialism’ right. My idea of the Red Fortyeight Group and the dialectical spectrum of revolutionary communism, with ‘market communism’ as one part of that spectrum, suggests a possible type of exit line for those who adopted in Sanders a tempting illusion, and almost succeeded, most remarkably. This shows us that we had underestimated the leftist sentiment. Have we done the same for a the further left?
I think that with the right leadership and a new and better marxism a new and related audience would emerge for a truly radical politics, and this could/should be two-sided: an electoral version that isn’t just rehashed social democratic hoopla, and a failsafe revolutionary ‘home base’, so to speak, for a full global/international movement of either full communism or some related upgrade. But the full version may be premature. We are out of time, so it can’t be premature.
The idea of market communism means that we fulfill the promise of original communism, the expropriation of the bourgeoisie, etc, and yet embark on a transitional quest to solve the problem of economics in a new way. Let’s face it, although the Second Internationale had a lot of things right, they were blindsided by the Mises-style critique of socialist economics. I, for one, think that there is an clear way beyond that, the fact remains that the classical canon took a direct hit just at the key moment, 1920’s, and didn’t see it coming. Even Marx here is dated now, despite the need to be wary of shelving his perspective.
We don’t need to kowtow to Miseans to see that the first socialists weren’t ready to implement communism. But the situation is different now. The prospects for planing have revived and been clarified. And with market communism we can provide a robust transitional system that would satisfy the aims of the original communism, viz. the Communist Manifesto.
How this is to be brought about is of course hypothetical, but at this point it would seem that Sanders has tried to leverage ‘socialism’ in a form that didn’t quite make it. Is that avenue now closed? In any case, the Sandernistas appropriated the term ‘revolution’. That comes with a kind of karma: now you have to put your money where your mouth is. Or else preach an honest electoral market commuism: a majority can vote for such a system, but it would require a constitutional convention, which requires….
In any case that ‘karma’ makes it time to confront the anarchists, Chomskyans, pacifists, and the whole spectrum of OWS type activists as brilliant as they are still ‘brainwashed’ by the system. The latter however are the people of moment, now currently no doubt part of the Sanders cult. Our formulation has allowed ample space to the anarchist impulse in its threshold cutoff formulation, can hire pacifists to observe the revolution and its potential violence. We have been fooled by Gandhi, although MLK almost alone was able to use his tactics with success. But the early modern shows the obvious: all of our freedoms and rights spring from revolutionary conflicts, and this included the worst case, the religious wars of the Reformation.
This is a matter of ‘principle’ and in practice a lot can be done with non-violent tactics. The juggernaut of police, military, covert agency is not going to go away with a feeble minded revolution. But we must at least start, and not let the likes of Gandhi dominate our future. We should call the bluff of pacifists by asking if they will stop the slaughter of insects every time they walk and solve the problem right with a Jain ‘fast unto death’. Egad, how did we get this Gandhi phantom delivering us to neo-liberal domination. That to be sure is not the final word, and the place of non-violent methods remains on the table. But the decisive step to recast a foundational framework is a step that is inherently borderline violent.
Many revolutions to be sure like the French and Russian have occurred because a given system simply collapsed and the image given by history tends to focus on the Jacobin/Leninist trends to introduce violence. This must be considered, but doesn’t really change the basic possibility. We don’t want to imitate those failures. But the point is that the history of freedom is a tale told by the history long preceding the figure Gandhi.
In any case, it would be nice to see a leveraged (‘market’) communism form a movement able to fill the vacuum left by the Sandernistas after an immense expenditure of money any clear headed radical as of yore could have predicted was down the drain pipe. We have seen several hundred million squandered as the climate crisis has started to explode. It seems sad to be a radical without funds after all of that.