Leftists/marxists are so attached to their legacy of Marx’s theories that they fail to realize it won’t pass muster anymore. It works fine as deep background but the needs of the moment require a recasting of the issues, and more than that a caesura in the ‘chain of responsibility’ that forces, fair or not, associations with bolshevism and stalinism. The latter is actually stalling the left completely and we can see from the OWS phase the way that energy suddenly is released when the dead hand of stale marxism is bypassed. But there is no real need to abandon what is in many ways a rich resource. But the Dogma of marxism stalks all the left websites: all that is needed is a revised platform, a critique of traditional marxism, and a non-cultic stance that can liberate thinking from the leftist cliche universe. We need to break the habit of the Marx cult, be free to criticize bad theories, and the useless muddle of Capital. We have suggested a lightweight focus on the early phase of Marx/Engels displaced to the background as a new defense and outline of a neo-communist transition. It is disgraceful that after all the work of writers and thinkers on the left there exists no viable or practical movement aiming for postcapitalism. It is all talk and no action.
We have tried over and over again to suggest a renewal here. But in the end the marxists should have no monopoly on the task required. If marxists are all deadbeats they should be replaced. We need movement that can be ready as the unfolding crisis brings those who are in fact ready to move into a suddenly created vacuum. We have seen the way the US political system has foundered in its excess and we can see the developing ‘opportunity of desperation’ in the way the Congress is deadlocked and can’t even perform its function of nominating justices to the court (and technical knockout for this system of depravity).
The issue is fairly simple: democracy must be the core of a revolutionary package. A revolution can lead from authority, but in the end the result must hybridize democracy with postcapitalism in a viable economic system. Students of Marx’s classic but tired theories are not able to do that and can’t think clearly about economic issues. Not surprising: the arcana of neo-classical economics must have been designed to keep people in a muddle. The left has to talk openly about such things as the economic calculation debate without getting bamboozled by Miseans. The latter is another of the blocks to leftist activism. The left has been convinced that socialism doesn’t work. But it can work but muddling over Marx’s confusions isn’t going to do the trick.
We have proposed a hybrid of democratic market neo-communism as a vehicle that can simply say goodbye to marxist boilerplate and start over, using the saga, rather than theory, of the 1840’s and the Marx/Engels pioneering passage through the 1848 period. It is possible to leave this open to a pure communist platform, but the need for an experimental transition is important.
Over and over marxists repeat the stale shibboleths of the failed movement, and it is important as history and useless for ‘current change’.
In a way the world has had to wait a generation for the dogmatists, dictators/stalinists/leninists to fade into the past so a new start can be made.
One of the misfortunes of the legacy of Marx was the way his thinking found a venue in Russia, with disastrous results. We need to pass beyond all that and bring a related formulation to the ‘later capitalism’ we see now. It cannot echo frozen marxism, although suitable themes can surely make the passage to something new. We owe nothing to marxism or marxists: let them stew in their Marx fantasy world.
We need a new economic theory for neo-communism. We need a communist foundation, but one that is democratic or else very specific about transitional authority to a postcapitalist system. We cannot handle such a complex task all at once and the transitional form of market communism is one suggestion.
But the traditional marxists are stewing in their dogmas and are unable to function as a viable activism.