As we noted today there is a global movement to destroy democracy and the left needs to be wary of falling into a version of that trap (I note that Maduro in Venezuela is a fan of Putin, in some connection with Brics thinking perphaps) and it is essential to see that a revolutionary way must be a democratic way even if a transitional passage to a new politics might require a period of strong leadership, whatever that means. In fact we should be clear in advance what that means and create something better than a concoction of one party rule and covert agencies with powers to bypass human rights. The whole Bolshevik experiment was bogus, although it doesn’t follow we should embrace some kind of Menshevik ‘better alternative’. First, the best option may be the one that seems impossible, an attempt to work within the system along electoral paths to a constitutional regime change. The attempt could also squander opportunity as we have seen in the past generation in fact with a feckless set of projects that guarantee their own failure.
It would seem that the basic pattern is visible looking backwards from the period 1848 forward and the tension of evolutionary/revolutionary ways was explicitly embraced by Marx/Engels (and Bakunin?) but at this point a new formulation is needed, a variant and close relative of the original no doubt, but with a clear discontinuity in thinking and initialization, one that doesn’t have to answer to or justify the legacy. Over and over leftists regurgitate marxist thinking, leninist thinking, try to prove that the legacy got it right when it got it wrong, distort the history and accuse bourgeois historians of distorting the record where it is the left dogmatists who are suppressing facts: it is almost impossible to get Lenin correct, for example. So Good Bye to all that….
The solution is a from scratch platform that critiques the capitalist, is ready with an alternative, with an inspirational saga of the onset of socialism/communism in the period of the French Communists whose work we codified by Marx/Engels. The era of the revolutions of 1848 can be a starting point, with a larger framework of modernity as a background more general than positivistic materialism. We have shown how a new model of history can make philosophy irrelevant in the sense of transcending idealism/materialism, with the phase of German classical philosophy being a summation of philosophical counterpoint. The emerging historical materialism of The German Ideology can be taken as the necessity of evaluating the ideological economics and class struggle of capitalist society, taken without the elaborate theory that is clear false.
It would seem that the whole venture has come too late. Between the Stalinists, the Gandhians, Marxist diehards, and feckless OWS screamers unable to produce so much as a platform we may have lost the whole chance and it would seem that a last ditch at revolutionary change carefully envisioned and with some failsafes against past failures (how about a set of revolutionary observers empowered to expose emerging violations of a stated revolutionary procedure? Or an ascetic class of revolutionaries sworn to never own property?). It is a more dignified way to pass through a planetary endgame.
In the nonce we have considered the larger universal class rather than the ‘working class’. The working class is not currently a revolutionary force. We must simply produce a general platform of equality and economic populism and economic rights: the working class will rapidly wake up again and respond to a leftist appeal once again.
But the critical issue is a holistic blueprint for a new society, and and ecological postmarxism that can deal withe the environmental realization of socialism…