Whatever their views of ‘revolution’ leftists must be about the business of defining what a postcapitalism would be and how it could work. This issue is not utopia, or some indulgence in the fantastic, but a simple progression of versions remorphing what we have already. The calculation debate, along with the legacy of confused socialist economies, has discredited the whole idea but the history here is misleading. The material of the Second Internationale, and then Bolshevism, was so inferior, and vitiated by Stalinism, we can hardly judge what is possible. A close look at what we have shows a complicated planned/free market hybrid already, so all the arguments about free markets are misleading. We have suggested a transitional hybrid: market neo-communism which can be much better than social democratic confusion: it is a constitutional state of communism with an economy to be defined in that context. A partially marketized economy without private ownership, but all sorts of possible combinations of entrepreneurs, publicly owned, cooperative/communes, could easily acquire the economic reasoning to function efficiently, and efficiency isn’t our priority at this point.
A host of accessory issues haunt this simple matrix of possibilities: the need to create a new form of government beyond the control of capital: K street factored out. A simple democratic system with short electoral cycles, no bribes, no influence from capital, has eluded the US, and most other ‘bourgeois democracies’.
The national security state is a monster in the US. The covert agencies need to be controlled at the start, for they are out of control and there is a clear hidden deep state. The conspiracy of 9/11 is beyond the capacity of the current left to discuss or evaluate, a clear warning they are not at liberty to even diagnose the problem.
And the international aspect of the whole current climate of globalization is a reminder that the problem is in part nationalism itself.
All of these issues were once solved in a robust framework of the federation of socialist republics, an idea that became corrupted by the Bolsheviks. But the point is clear that we are moving via nationalism beyond nationalism.
We have suggested over and over that the idea of communism is in the family of democratic ideas, and that the context of Tsarism misled the Bolsheviks to create a despotism. We must create a strong authority, to be sure, but a populist substrate with a robust democracy armed with a communist constitution. I have advocated a lower threshold as indifference level below which a mix of possibilities is in let go. This would be a way to balance the opposites that haunt all political systems, democracy included.
I think that the US system should lead the way. The great hype about American heroic history is really a putrid history of bad karma to a cubic power: the US owes the world a true postcapitalist democracy.