We are ‘by the book’ on the question of ‘revolution’: the early modern shows that ‘revolution’ produced democracy, that the first democracies were corrupted by capitalism, and that the first socialists, taken up by Marx, proposed a new revolution to create democracy in a challenge to capitalism. The logic there is simple, yet beset with complications, many of them in the minds of activists frozen into various confusions.
The idea of revolution has many critics and the problems are many but history shows that compromises are deleterious in the end. It also shows, obviously, the dangers of revolutionary transitions. The latter never seem to succeed, and yet in their wake the effect is often achieved, e.g. democracy, albeit fake, finally triumphed in the wake of revolutions that seemed to fail.
We need therefore to take the idea of ‘revolution’ very carefully and define a method of transition that learns from the past, and which is strategic, organized, failsafed, focused on preventing totalitarian outcomes, and with a means to proceed beyond the increasingly dysfunctional capitalist globalization we see now and which is exploiting the vacuum of the lefts to produce a totalitarian outcome. We hardly have a choice: revolution from the right is proceeding apace.
The issue of climate change is the tie-breaker, but even so the crisis may still not be enough to generate revolutionary solutions. We can muddle through, or can we? I think at least we should proceed ‘as if’ revolution were our final option, and that means now. The moment of terminal chaos might come: a faction of carefully disciplined neo-communists could be the saviors of capitalist self-destruction.
To put it mildly, the triumph of Trump shows that in the void of activist floundering the situation simply gets worse.