History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Capitalism’s cooptation of democracy

January 13th, 2018 · No Comments

The association of liberal freedom with the rise of democracy forgets that capitalism coopted democracy…
R48G: 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.
December 14th, 2017 ·


Gramsci’s idea of hegemony is of course apt at this point: the public is the victim of a complex paralysis that makes the right’s coup d’etat a stealth dark op.
But the resolution is both transparent and obscure.
It is transparent because the path of the left has been mapped out in rough strokes over two centuries ago. In a way, Marx/Engels are merely codifiers of that moment. It is obscure because plain meanings no longer connect to spontaneous upsurges of action. The issue was simple: capitalism in the context of the democratic revolution was flawed and the resolution was socialist democracy, thence communism.
The issue is obscure because of the way that the ‘right approach’ to a closer look is stalled in mechanized thinking and the crippled legacy created by the monstrosities of bolshevism.
So the solution handed down from the early socialists is generating cognitive dissonance, or some such.
At a time when many leftist journals are focusing on 1917 nostalgia, consider the ‘actual’ history here (the actual history is VERY hard to come by):
European Communism. This a useful book, but too expensive. There are many others, but too many are confused by their own subject. The point here is that left can’t figure out its own history, and this book makes clear that at each stage of the modern left was just as confused and ‘incompetent’. Just arriving at the facts is very difficult and the whole left tends to be operating on false information, with the subject of leninism virtually impossible to decipher. In any case it it striking how incompetent the left has been at all stages, and how difficult it was to become clear about what to do. And in many ways Marx/Engels confused the issue. We can see over and over again the way marxist assumptions are misleading all the actors. That’s not to gainsay the great accomplishment of Marx and Engels: they reified at least something like a focal point for a radical left. But the overall result deviated into confusion. That is what stalls the reiterated sloganeering in the old style. The system is as it were waiting on an upgrade. Repetition creates a shutdown effect.
So that legacy is both answer and problematical. It might help to forget it, more or less, and create something new. The basic principles are clear: some form of democratic socialism or communism needs to be the final outcome of the legacy of revolution in the early modern. Simple?
I think the left is too stuck on Marx. He created a red herring of stages of production, feudalism then capitalism then communism. You can see how this idea confused the bolsheviks: at some points they even proposed bourgeois revolution because an undeveloped Russia had to go through all the stages of …etc…: in fact, lenin saw through this and simply proceeded to ignore the stages theory…But he was still a victim of the stereotyped cliches of marxism.
We have suggested a critical opportunity was lost.
We can debate all this, but the point is that that period is not really a source of direct inspiration anymore. It is impossible for the left to get the right perspective on the facts. Perhaps do something else.

If our prime objective is a realization of the democratic revolutions as socialism or communism then we must ask how to do that, without getting stuck in the marxist morass. We have ersatzed two manifestos whose basic thrust is to remain faithful to the basic aim as stated but to recast thew hole subject in a marginally fresh way. There are other ways to do it, no doubt, but we have one version on paper. It clearly/elusively slips past the older confusions and dispenses with many of the issues that confused the older left. A classic example is the issue of planning versus markets.
A hybrid system can answer to the ‘stages of production’ monofocus on the question of abolishing markets. The point of communism is a set of social axioms, and the creation of a Commons beyond private property, etc…: Two Manifestos, etc…
This system is very close to marxist thinking yet is designed to slip past it with a sly change of basic concepts. It breaks old habits. And it is also an answer to the social democratic realm of illusion.
In any case the legacy of socialist/marxist/leninist leftism is almost beyond correct analysis at this point. Move on, and keep moving, mindful of the starting point axioms of the early socialists/communists.

It is important to see how far modernity has come. We cited Downton Abbey a few days ago. An almost grotesque portrait of class society. But that world is gone. The tide of the modern left proceeds apace with constantly halted momentum. The English Civil War said it all, but its blowout stalled momentum for a century and a half (and England couldn’t handle those Jacobins, by golly), but then was a bourgeois democracy by the end of the century, etc… Downton is a phantom memory.
So Fukuyama is right and wrong: there is tide of the left that advances/recedes and this is going to take Fukuyama upside down (or right side up, the original argument was a leftist version). Somme version of ‘real democracy’ as socialism/communism.
The grotesque reactionary movements on the right seem to be claiming the future but in fact are only degenerations.

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