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R48G: Jacobin magazine and the issue of reform/revolution

December 15th, 2017 · No Comments

http://www.marxmail.org/msg148557.html: [pen-l] New Communists? A reply to Jacobin Magazine
relevant posts from yesterday: http://darwiniana.com/2017/12/14/stalled-momentum-the-issue-was-always-simple-capitalism-in-the-context-of-the-democratic-revolution-was-flawed-and-the-resolution-was-socialist-democracy-thence-communism/

We have gone back over the reform/revolution divide a dozen times here: explicitly to make the point that the future is uncertain and that a potential of
multiple options must be considered. Being a marxist does not equate to revolutionism, as such. In the final analysis Marx/Engels
were as much the source of reformism as anyone else.
And it is possible to repent of marxism to be a new kind of revolutionary.
It is possible to reject bolshevism in order to adopt a revolutionary platform.
It is possible for reform and revolutionary options to coexist.
It is essential to have revolutionary options (virtual or not) in the background: chaos is coming and as with 1917 and the sudden window into revolution is emerging…
We have adopted also a pose of ‘virtual revolution’ in order to consider the divide here as a set of gedanken experiments.
In the final analysis reformism has failed and its failure must confront the revolutionary option. But dogmatic absolutes
are not really helpful. etc…

The idea of New Communists must be influenced by this blog, Jacobin might break out of its cliches and consider the approaches here: we have an actual manifesto
for a ‘new communism’: Two Manifestos
We have stressed the potential of revolution, the reformist option, next to the need to examine marxism critically.
As noted here many times the confusion arises in part from the theory of Marx on stages of production: the rigid progression of epochs from
feudalism to capitalism to communism is confusing everyone.
We must consider the issues in a different postmarxist way, but with some part of the marxist legacy intact.
The point is that we must construct a blueprint for a new communism and this must produce an economic resolution and a politics of democracy.
It is possible to achieve this via reform, although that seems unlikely.
We cannot possibly renounce the idea of revolution: all the great advances of democracy in modern times were revolutionary.
More important than useless debate over revolution is the need to define carefully what a revolution entails, what is must accomplish, and how it can evade the kind of failure we see in bolshevism.
The era of Lenin was a great opportunity that failed to really accomplish the real objectives of a true communism.
We need a new communism to rectify that failed experiment and lead the way out of the incompetence of most leftist positions.
Jacobin’s stance is thus a very narrow vision. At a time of climate breakdown and US political insanity, the prospects of reform/revolution are all up in the air.
The left will probably get a second chance at revolution, but will it be ready? One might well repent of dogmatic marxism to be a revolutionary of the future.

In the latest issue of Jacobin devoted to commentary on the 100th
anniversary of the Russian Revolution, there’s an article co-written by
Adaner Usmani, a postdoctoral fellow at the Watson Institute of Brown
University, and Jacobin editor Conner Kilpatrick titled “The New
Communists” that basically urges the left to put that revolution stuff
behind us or, more exactly, the far left, which I most certainly belong to
as an “unrepentant Marxist”. The two young political scientists advise:
“And yet the far left today embraces the Soviet obsession like a vampire
hunter wields garlic. The problem is that garlic repels far more than just
monsters — it makes you stink.”

Although Jacobin prides itself on being stylistically polished, I am not
sure whether the words “embraces the Soviet obsession” is in keeping with
its lofty aspirations. What does it mean to embrace an obsession, which
almost sounds like obsessing over an obsession? If I were editing the
smart magazine with its even smarter graphics, I might have changed that
to “embraces the memory of the Soviet Union” or better yet to drop all the
circumlocutions about “new communism” and simply say “And yet the far left
today embraces Marxism like a vampire hunter wields garlic” because buried
beneath all the clever prose is an agenda that might have not sat well
with Jacobin subscribers. In keeping with the vampire-hunting analogy, the
true goal of Usmani and Kilpatrick is to plunge a wooden stake into the
heart of Marxism.


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