History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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The defeat of revolution is the defeat of social democracy

January 12th, 2018 · No Comments


The problem with this thinking is that social democracy’s few successes depended on the existence of revolutionary left. It seems unlikely that the powers that be will allow social democracy: look at the US, it is moving consistently to the right and wishes to embark on the destruction of social security…
We have suggested in our several manifestos something that straddles the evolutionary/revolutionary divide in a way that fulfills the social democratic platform, and then some, under the rubric of a form of communism, ‘democratic market neo-communism’…
Two Manifestos

Vivek Chibber’s “Our Road to Power” published recently in Jacobin—oddly enough written as a commemoration of the Russian Revolution of October 1917—codifies a strategy for what is one of the dominant tendencies in the American left today: social democracy. The principal argument of “Our Road to Power” (a title chosen by Jacobin’s editors, perhaps alluding to German Social Democrat Karl Kautsky’s The Road to Power) is that a “ruptural strategy” is off the agenda. By “ruptural strategy” Chibber means one that is predicated upon a crisis of the economic and political system leading to the breakdown or to the overthrow of the state. Chibber believes that since the power of the state is so great today—because of its legitimacy, its coercive power, and its power of surveillance—a revolutionary strategy is ruled out. It would be, he says, “hallucinatory” to think otherwise.

Since the power of the state is so great and we can expect no fundamental crisis of the capitalist system, then what we are dealing with today is not a crisis of capitalism itself, but rather a crisis of neoliberalism, says Chibber. Our task then, he suggests, is to organize to bring about social democratic reforms such as those achieved by the Nordic social democracies in the 1970s. This will be done by building strong labor unions, constructing a mass socialist party, and participating in elections. The strategy will be one of “non-reformist reforms, revolutionary reforms,” but “whatever you call it,” it will be “gradual.” The end goal of such a struggle will not be the revolutionary left’s historic objective of a democratically planned economy, but some sort of market socialism. So, Chibber writes, “precisely because a ruptural strategy isn’t on the table, we must start down the road to social democracy and then to market socialism.”

We have arrived it seems at classical social democracy. Or if we haven’t, then what does Chibber actually have in mind? What differentiates his position from social democracy? Nothing in this article would suggest that there is any difference.

full: http://newpol.org/content/vivek-chibbers-road-power-not

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