The shock of the coming of Trump has ‘left the left’ newly determined, yet paralyzed, as if numb with shock. But the sense of the times is gestating the possibility of a revolutionary response, and it is appropriate to keep repeating the point. We keep harping on this question if only because it is the one contribution someone in my position can provide: I am a bit old to lead a revolution but at this point it is the thought that counts. In fact, it is possible that a revolution is unlikely, impossible, undefined, corrupted by bolshevik legacies, or else leftists are afraid of open declarations. We can certainly explore all such objections, but it is strangely apt to consider all the signs warning that conventional politics is stuck in a problematical deadlock, even as a constellation of crises points to a coming loss of democracy, climate calamity, and further global imperialism from a rogue state. The last straw, if not climate denialism, is the shocked realization our ‘beloved republic’ allows its covert agencies to control and profit from the drug trade.
We should have known (and the evidence has been there for some time) that a government entangled in a mysterious false flag op (strangely ignored on the left) called the 9/11 conspiracy wasn’t trustworthy on any level. But it is hard to amp up ordinary indignation to the level of seeing a drug mafia in the outcome of the labors of the Founding Fathers. We become nearly paranoid: is our prolonged stay in Afghanistan related to the ongoing drug boondoogle? Does Obama, for example, even know what is going on?
The issue of climate calamity is a tie-breaker: barring some form of geo-engineering or some technology for extracting carbon from the atmosphere, we are dead. That makes an ecological revolution sound like a duty in an emergency. But the problem is the lack of a coordinated ideology that can guide such a process. The strange silence of the marxist left, beyond the usual analyses and abstractions on the subject of revolution, tells us to quietly take up its core ideas and recast them in an activated version.
In any case, short of the idea of committing to revolutionary will o’ wisp, we must ask the purely abstract question (which should be ‘what is to be done’, but that activates Leninist cliches): what overall plan of action, beside single issue activism, is needed in the situation we find ourselves in? The answer should allow the revolutionary conclusion if only because a revolution implies defining a whole system instead of the approach of piecemeal tinkering.
This is no ordinary screw up. The actuality induces shock, and that’s quite before the happenstance of Trump. The American system has never been properly founded: it was a botch from the start, and the Civil War was almost inevitable from the premises. A similar analysis still confronts the nature of this ‘republic’ two centuries plus after its start, it is about what the early socialists discovered, capital is king: a correction, refounding, real beginning, is needed so that american democracy can actually come into existence.