We should attempt a studied dialectical ambivalence to the Castro era and person, both with a kind reverent solidarity and a radical break with the communisms past and passing. We cannot appeal to a current generation with an implied solidarity with classic communism. We need to revinvent the term, neo-communism, for example, mutate past marxism (with a version related to its core), and be ready for the unstated questions that haunt all discussions of old-style communism.
A new platform, let’s face it has to build ‘liberalism’ into communism, and can’t be a secret police driven repressive elite-run pseudo-socialism. We can mediate this with a clear understanding that older communism generated resistance and this compelled the emergence of the stalinist aspect.
The solution is simple in principle, if we both learn from and move past marxist/leninist shibboleths: the public attracted to democratic market neo-communism will respond to a liberal/democratic system done right, even one with the strong authority to enforce the formation of the Commons: the expropriation of the bourgeoisie. We cannot have democracy without private property returned to the Commons.
It looks impossible. But what other choice do we have? Consider the absurdity developing now, even given the lengthy indictment outstanding. We have a rogue state, failed state, criminal false flagging state, an imperialist/militarist state. And now on top of that we have the strange Trump phenomenon playing low key fascist tunes in the background to a grotesquerie so putrid it seems almost like an attempt to foment a deliberate nightmare and/or sabotage ‘democracy’.
What we have isn’t democracy, is exploitative of an entire planet, is the perpetrator of an artificially created war on terror in the scheme of wars for profit. It is not a democracy internally or externally. We must take a chance with an internal communism, moving toward an external association of such.
Classic communism in Russia is a puzzle to us now. We don’t have anything to do with that. Its problem was the context of Tsarist Russia with no legacy of liberalism and no solid industrial base.
It is therefore a totally misleading example. An advanced capitalist system should in principle allow a version of communism to slip into place with far less confusion and conflict.
The pitch then is certainly not classic communism but an attempt using socialist frameworks to recreate democracy in a true sense. This system can have a transitional authority to found a new form of communism, but it must transit to something that creates democracy for the first time. The phrase ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ is a disastrous one with a wretched semantic history (cf. Hal Draper’s book) but it arose in the context of a transitional dictatorship of a vanguard and then never transcended itself. A true revolutionary vanguard for our time will learn that lesson, and realizing that since there is no democracy now a strong authority is required for a vanguard to create one, with strong tuning of the result with a populist representation. But in the void of democracy a strong authority to create democracy is not a contradiction.
It is not so easy to create democracy. We have seen how easily the capitalist process corrupts electoral democracy. Electoral democracy is a tool, no more, in a more general creation of democracy based on many elements: a set of rights, economic rights, and the placement of resources and ecological givens in a Commons. It is useful to go back and read Rousseau who struggled with this question before the Grand Democratic Cliches took hold and induced amnesia as to the fragile definitions of what democracy should be.
Neo-communism done right emerges because a system of capital control is unfair, and, more, has taken commonly shared resources from the Commons to privatize them. The abuse of property rights from the era of Lock onward has created a monstrosity that has made democracy a dead letter. So on the way to democracy we find the foundation in a new-communism.