Proposing a revolutionary road (although Sanders actually did just that, apparently) generates post-stalinist resistance and fear and this is both understandable and actually fruitful as an indication the current generation is aware of what would actually be involved. The confusion arises in the ambiguity of the term ‘democracy’ and the sense that a revolution will move against democracy. It might! But the refusal to consider the revolutionary option has confronted the reality that the right is counting on this and on its ability to get away with its own ‘revolution’.
In the final analysis it is the example of the American revolution, albeit barely such, that indicates both the legitimacy and the stages of revolution, including a warning from the founding fathers about a ‘republic’ if you can keep it. And the reality that the American revolution created a republic that passes into a form of partial democracy is a signal to the future that it must complete that revolution. In some ways, although this is what figures like Marx/Engels proposed, the marxist tradition is stuck with the confusing legacy of leninism which has distorted the whole discussion.
Therefore the first step in the solution is to be sure that the goal of revolution is democracy. And this requires a version of social democracy built in, and this in turn suggests that the issue of the ownership of ‘capital’ is key to that creation of a socialist democracy: i.e. a form of communism. In the final analysis this step beyond capitalist property is the only way to create a foundation of fairness. And there are ways to do this that can be ‘fair’ to capitalists themselves. But there can be no doubt that the basis of capitalist property is mostly that of a rogue operation, a plunder of the Commons. The solution can’t be some totalitarian version of state capitalism but a rational communism that can coexist with a set of sectors: a form of market economy inside a planned economy next to lower threshold mix of semi-autonomous cultural/economic entities.
The point here is that noone has ever solved either the question of democracy, or of economy and therefore all discussions are mostly up in the air, confused from the start. The revolution must create democracy via economic equalization, without necessarily destroying the value of different modes of economic operation. The issue of private property conceals a very small percentage of people so it is always a marvel of social brainwashing that those who have plundered the commons can make their position seem a form of justice. A revolution thus has very little opposition, in theory, and can be managed, in theory, at a stroke of the pen. Of course, the reality ‘on the ground’ would not be so simple. That was the point of invoking the working class, before the idea suffered confusions of its own: it was a version of the majoritarian idea finally. The small class of the bourgeoisie can and should be expropriated and deprived of the power to manipulate both economy and politics. We have thought in terms of the ‘universal class’, but the basic issue and dynamics is roughly the same.
Strange to say, a form of what we have called democratic market neo-communism could be arrived at in theory without a revolution because its format is a refinement and right rendering of what already is spasmodically the case, save only that the basis of control through ownership of immense resources of human ecological potential would revert to the Commons and would be under the stewardship complex legal entities and guardians. And this wouldn’t be the monopoly of a one party state invoking state capitalism. The result would have a ‘communist flavor’ but in effect look a lot like what we have now with managers, a new kind of entrepreneur, etc,…Such a system must create a form of economic justice to match its control of the overall system with a set of economic populist measures that guarantee a stake in the result. The bolshevik system foundered in idiocy in the need for total control and in the end while what we propose can evade that non-outcome and be a popular system because it deals directly with democratic freedoms in a larger context.
In any case the idea that we must submit to what we have now in the name of democracy is the way of digging our own graves.
The issue of climate change alone demands a revolutionary action: the narrowest of capitalist idiots beholden to Ayn Rand cannot grasp their situation and mean to incinerate a planet. We are going to muddle through here. To say that we cannot revolt therefore is to say that we can’t have democracy and that a narrow bourgeoisie can inflict whatever they wish in perpetuity on the rest, without so much as a consideration of the of climate change calamity on its way.
The catch here is this reasoning works so well we must apply it at some point globally since the ‘voter’ in a restricted national context offers no guarantee he will honor the unrepresented in an international context. But this aspect of the problem immediately suggests its solution!