We commented on a post from the Marx mailing list: http://darwiniana.com/2017/04/13/marxism-not-so-fast-lars/
It is very hard to sort out this hopeless muddle of the Russian revolution and Lenin. The study of all this, despite its compelling interest, requires a kind of detachment and frankly a resolve to move on. We can’t ‘fix the errors’ of the era of bolshevism and proceed to a second attempt. We must completely recast the issues of socialism/communism and one issue here is to get beyond the ‘two stage’ view of history. That means we must disown the whole phase of the bolsheviks. The left will get one more shot if lucky and this will require creating at step one a hybrid of liberalism and communism in a single step. Our manifestos have indicated the means to do this, and stance on private property will be the decisive step beyond the control of the bourgeoisie. But the overall result has to be a practical system and here we have suggested a three sector solution. We have even proposed thinking not in terms of the working class but of the universal class. It is entirely possible and cogent however to move in two ways here: an embrace of the universal class and an initiative inside that of the working class which at this point however is moving into a blend of the middle class and the old working class. We will complete this discussion in another post.
Our different approach simply moves on from the working class focus that so often confused the older marxist movements. In our time in the US the working class is not radical/revolutionary and is in any case moving into a hybrid with the middle class. Why not just work with all classes and address all their problems with a resolve to bring all classes into this universal class? Thus, the focus on the universal class requires an immediate renewed focus on the various elements of the working class, so we lose nothing. The universal class will consist of subgroups of ‘differential equality’ subject to the abolition of large-scale private property. The transition of the bourgeoisie to either the market sector or the planning sector of the resulting Mix (with remnant elements of all classes and differential equality is another aspect or possibility) as entrepreneurs who can license resources from the Commons. This group might well show transient elements of unequal income but the redistribution at all levels will be swift and comprehensive. Or else this group will become managers of the planned sector.
The working class sectors of the universal class must be granted a very comprehensive set of economic rights (next to full democratic liberties and rights). This kind of system, which has many variants, can resolve the false contradiction that harried the early marxists concerning two stage transitions. It is not going to work to have a bourgeois and a working class revolution. The future will grant perhaps one opportunity and this requires a single stage that deals with communism, democracy, economy as a one stage transition to a form of communism that is hybrid with liberalism, but very different because there is essentially no ‘bourgeoisie’ of the classic type.
The world system is desperate and the classic marxist formula of proletarian revolution isn’t going to work (but if spontaneous working class movements arise with revolutionary aspirations a strong solidarity should arise at once). Look at the movements we see as current: by one definition these are all ‘working class’ movement because everyone not a part of the bourgeoisie is working class, but largely these groups are a diverse mix of class members, in many cases middle class, but potentially from all such. Why should be required to serve only the working class against their own hopes and needs? These activist groups (with very important side considerations of such groups as the BLM and the issue of race) are going to be a vanguard in search of democratic majority of expanding members. We simply forget class and create a movement where members of all classes can join up. How this simple and universal logic got lost in the marxit working class obsession is unclear, but the logic of the era of 1848 and genuine working class/Manchesters, and/or the Commune shows the obvious set of answers. We must think more generally and change gears between a whole range of platforms that deal with all the subset classes of the universal class. This situation will not be hamstrung by the working class monofocus and at one and the same time will be moving aggressively to deal with whatever elements of the working class remain. Our situation is different. We confront a rising number of people who have no prospect of work in a system that has discarded them. We can’t simply dismiss such as the lumpenproletariat and forget them. And we are dealing with the crisis of climate change which will require some means to deal with the prospect of no-growth economics and ecological sane systems.
It would seem, although it is often hard to fathom the real facts in so many biased accounts, that the Russian revolution was indeed crippled by its lack of bourgeois democratic phase, but it didn’t have to be that way: a single phase transition of the type we have indicated (which is what Lenin essentially brought about) needed to create one system with a universal logic of democracy and communism. The prejudice against liberalism, not surprising given the provisional government, and the overall history there, including the Civil War, induced the fatal compromise with authoritarian government. It is almost absurd that the result left the entire system without political rights in a system controlled by secret services and an emerging bolshevik bourgeoise, a third rate mess based on all the false analyses of legacy marxism. Needless to say this formulation itself needs a lot of work but the basic issue is to bring communism to liberalism, while a form of liberalism to communism…