Our discussion of democratic market communism is two sided, and can be useful as no more than an abstraction: it is enforces the suggestion of what is logically needed, next to what is logistically possible. It seems that what is possible is so narrow at this point that if anything we must be ‘unrealistic’ and go for the larger issues, revolution lurking in the background as the impossible/possible.
In reality the issue is partly a question of agencies external to the US, as desirable as it might be to ‘turn’ the american juggernaut. We can see Venezuela on the brink, Brazial beset by the neoliberals, next to Chile/Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, and finally Columbia mostly ironically unable to close on its peace process. Clearly a larger movement can realize the anti-imperialist struggle in tandem with an attempt at the impossible: overcoming the odds with respect to the clever totalitarian system now in place. I think that convergent issues, not least the question of climate are going to deprive the neoliberal dictatorship of its overwhelming powers of domination. We see that already, e.g. with the american election cycle with the surprise realization a new generation can use the term ‘socialism’ without blinking.
Whatever the case we must act as if revolutionary change is possible and necessary, and this in itself will generate opportunity. Almost more to the point is that the left is not ready with a platfrom: we have suggested a heavily modified marxist, or post-marxist platform with a generic blueprint of market neo-communism.
The problems with marxism are considerable and the whole foundation is too theoretically unstable. A simpler historical matrix would work better. We don’t need a master theory of economic history to proceed. Something like the rough analysis of the macro model in WHEE would actually work better: it is a slight variant in the end of simple chronological history with the issues of values built in.
Whatever the case, the left is going to get one last chance for its options: it can’t afford to blow it with cliche marxists issuing boilerplate. The whole left needs to recreate as soon as possible an echoing yet discontinuous version of the kind of discourse created by Marx/Engels.
I often wonder how many marxists have read Main Currents of Marxism: the opposition sank marxism long ago…as a closed theory. You can plow the field of this rich resource and recast the basic points in all sorts of ways. But the tenacious hold of habit is almost as dangerous as capitalism. The cycle of mechanical thought will proceed from Marx/Engels to Lenin to Stalin with almost causal logic. We need a fresh set of ideas that hasn’t been finished off by the logical endgames of old internationales.
As much as I admire Marx his work is dated now in many ways. In addition his generation was challenged by the Kantian ethical socialists, and this parallel universe as a reserve army in the rear is all marxists have left at this point. The whole shebang of dialectical materialism, historical materialism is caput. Face it. The left needs about ten conferences with titles like ‘Recreating communist activism beyond Marx…etc. And the issue of ecological communism is just about number one the agenda notes.
Whatever the case with our question in the title the reality is that slow evolutionary change is probably going to fail. And too much of the left knows this but obsessively repeats failed formulas.