The constant equivocation over Marx is obviously ideology in the usual disguise. The point should be simple: the Marx cult apart, we should be taking the Marx phase as a legacy and start from scratch with a new perspective on the core issues: the status of capitalism, and a movement to postcapitalism. Marx had a brilliant strategy and thesis but it looks fragile and refuted now: historical materialism and stages of production theory don’t animate the left correctly anymore.
The issues have been made too complex, in part because of the obsession with theories and the non-starter of creating a marxist science. That distraction has cost the left much of its credibility. A simpler solution is to create a post-theoretical schema that doesn’t distract itself with debates over materialism and idealism and instead adopts version of free agents in history able to confront and meet the challenge of capitalist globalization. This is an ironic confirmation and refutation of ‘stages of production’ theory: given the crisis of climate change, for example, the capitalist stage of production is going bankrupt.
But we have to evade the now confusing morass of marxist theory, granting it the deep respect deserved by the ‘classics’ and a reworking for a new present and future.
Our formulation of ‘market neo-communism’ tried to do this by creating a hybrid of liberal and communist themes: this can make the transition to a form of ‘communism’ a part of the democratic revolution. We are in a truly stunning crisis: many would argue that a highly authoritarian system would be required to make a postcapitalist transition. But there again our formulation provides just such a hybrid. Whatever the case all the current socialist groups need to consider their positions carefully. In the crisis we face the far left will get one last chance, so the question is, how to play the hand/cards in a deft combination of communism and democracy. I think market neo-communism, a newly coined term that has never quite been used, can offer a rough matrix of one potential solution, save only that the issue of one nation state in transition must confront a global matrix of nations entangled in capitalism. We can offer a two-pronged strategy: national and international neo-communism.
Note the ‘neo-‘: we must create something that will bypass the chronic prejudice of the failed marxism/leninism, nonetheless grasping their essential gist. All the arguments over whether Marx got it right are useless: he and Engels created a foundational starting point. The rest is up to us…
Source: Public Books — The Mortal Marx