History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Why does the Left almost always lose? Gramscian musings…

November 29th, 2017 · No Comments


Why does the Left almost always lose? Why, despite the obvious failures of the prevailing order, do we remain weak and marginal when we should be moving from one victory to the next?

Our take on leftist legacies seems to have been little more than a snapshot of Marx/Engels in the 1840’s (starting with Engel’s book on the English working class and the Manifesto of 1848) and a from scratch framework on history, economics and neo-communism. But this interesting article on Gramsci suggests taking a look there, over time: it contains a lot of material but we will simply take the first sentence:

We have tried to answer here the question cited:
the left is stuck on a flawed marxist legacy
the legacy of bolshevism repels a majority of potential radicals
anarchist logic has overtaken revolutionary potentials…,
the prevailing order exerts more control than ever, hegemony of covert action…
that order has used mind control on the working class which has not revolutionary potential necessarily
the left has no practical blueprint but expects a complex hew system to come to replace capitalism as a law of history…
There is no simple solution to the question, however: we need to be wary of analyzing our way out of a complicated situation with endless analysis…

We have produced two manifestos after the fashion of Marx/Engels in the 1848 era:

This approach is based not necessarily on working class invocation but on a focus on the ‘universal class’ (which includes the working class, possibly as the prime pivot of action)
It rejects stages of production theory and rejects the idea that capitalism is a stage of history
It attempts to focus on democracy, and from there democracy realized and completed as communism
it does not reject as such the idea of markets but places them in relation to planning in a system based on a Commons: a constitutional neo-communism

Some of the material echoes ours (probably not vice versa):

In The H-Word, Anderson summarizes their basic argument: “rather than interests giving rise to ideologies, discourses created subject-positions, and the goal today should not be socialism but a ‘radical democracy’ of which socialism . . . would remain a dimension, not the other way round.”

The working-class movement would still play a role in the struggle for radical democracy in Laclau and Mouffe’s formulation, but it would lose the strategically central position it occupied in Marxist conceptions of socialist strategy. Instead of leading a broader political alliance for socialism, the workers’ movement would constitute one link in a “chain of equivalence” in which no particular actor or set of demands carried any disproportionate social weight or strategic importance.

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