History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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R48G: ‘revolutionary reformism’…?

January 26th, 2018 · No Comments

We have commented on this essay already, and our discussions resemble those of ‘revolutionary reformism’ in the essay, perhaps.
The article critiques social democratic legacies, but also expresses skepticism about the implied leninist outcomes of the revolutionaries beyond the social democrats. But here we diverge from the marxist framework in which the mensheviks/bolsheviks were trapped. We note in passing that the division is still a set of subsets of our universal class as per the discussion in the previous post. Revolutionaries and social democrats are in conflict yet unified elements of a universal class, etc…In our formulation they can work in parallel and/or persist in efforts at unification.

More generally we have proposed a set of versions of a ‘democratic market neo-communism’ and this is not the same as the abstraction of communism in marxism/leninism. On the contrary it is a practical set of tasks ‘effective immediately in a range of potentials, what we have called ‘virtual revolution’. The problem with the social democrats is therefore not that they were incrementalists but that they can’t multitask a revolutionary option and allow evolutionary constructs to prepare the way for a larger transformation.
This is already the case and as we examine the politics of the last generation we see that the revolutionary option is starting to resurface next to the remnant social democratic stragglers doomed to the capitalist wasteland they somehow ended up embracing. The lesson is not only to consider a larger revolutionary transformation but to attempt again experimental social democratic options, save only that now we maintain still the idea of revolution.
In a curious way Sanders’ idea of ‘Our Revolution’ stumbles into this terrain in its either unwitting or else cleverly cunning way of straddling evolutionary/revolutionary jargons…
The option of ‘revolutionary reformism’ (I am wary of using someone else’s terminology here) emerges in various ways: in our terms we confront the need to distinguish this from social democratic action by, viz. a constitutional convention establishing a set of communist actions in the creation of a Commons. That might seem unlikely but it is one of the original options of the early first and second internationals. We forget the way in which these earlier movements were concerned to establish the right to vote and the socialist and electoral/democratic paths were seen as the same. But it didn’t work out that way: electoral democracy with universal suffrage didn’t produce socialism but ended up in the ‘swamp’ of the strange concoction of a democratic veneer controlled by capital. But that is a condition suffering ideological hypnosis: we can certainly envision ‘communism’ via universal suffrage if we can envision a social consciousness beyond ideological hypnosis, so visible in the ‘base’ of Mr. Trump, voting against their own self-interest.

R48G: the dialectic of revolution
October 9th, 2017 ·


I hope it is more than someone getting older indulging in revolutionary exclamations, but if nothing else that is a function appropriate in a personal sense…And it is merely useful to remind those who will instinctively move in a more ‘practical’ vein that they could easily end up wasting their time. in the Trump era, watch what you say in public, we are ‘nemo’ here, ditto for nemini…
I don’t think they will waste a drone on me, so as the headmaster quoth in Animal House, ‘Out with it’…

We have made a number of dialectical feints back and forth between evolutionary and revolutionary perspectives but overall our task here seems to be advocating from the sidelines the discipline of truly revolutionary activism. The sidelines is not really OK, but it is still something. It could be cowardly, but maybe not.
As the Trump era approaches we are going to see intimidation in action and the result may be ambiguous jargon on the issues of activist projects. In fact we have seen that already with the Sanders theme, ‘Our Revolution’, about which we have performed rain dances and other semantic ‘propaedeutic’.
We leave open the option of solidarity with these potentially coopted perspectives, potentially the only really practical avenue.
We are stuck with a strange situation: a true neo-communist perspective must consider more than the economics of the local working class. What about all those jobs that went to an international working class?
We should proceed as before with at least the idea of virtual revolution as a gedanken experiment with the possibility open at each point of activation of this potential.
(The women’s march to come is an interesting development indeed (one might have wished a more comprehensive protest, but the platform is excellent). One might note in passing that a women’s march was one of the key triggers of the Russian Revolution!)

The point here is that we can be theoretical and potentially practical at the same time. In the first case the perspective of revolution is a way to remind ourselves that real change is very difficult in the system that we have, and that this system is in fact regressing to the right.
One of the key issues is that evolutionary politics can be stuck in a nationalistic focus on the economic gains of one sector of the system, e.g. the working class. But the working class is an international entity and the problems in any case are far larger and complex than the economic. We need at least in principle a comprehensive platform of the kind the older marxism had. We can’t we use that? We can certain use it as a backdrop but we have a more complicated situation now, and in any case the american case, being that of a fully developed capitalist system, demands what in many ways would be a first: a post-marxist set of core principles that reflect the legacy but which speak to the reality of postcapitalism. The context here is more than economic, it is an ecological crisis, and the solution is going to conflict with economic issues.

In any case the crisis we face we should be daring enough to challenge conventional activism with the almost insuperable yet somehow more logical demands of a revolutionary platform. This barely exists and strangely the marxist left has very little to say here. Perhaps like poker players they are biding their time.
I fear that strategically it is proving counterproductive to have challenged the marxist canon. Actually we have embraced it, but with a demand that it refresh itself for a new era. Look at Leninism: it simply doesn’t apply to our situation, although in a desperate moment some of its aspects might replicate themselves. Overall we must move on from a failed legacy. (The first step to moving on is to read about ten bios of Lenin, if you have the time…he is a compelling figure).
But in general it would be of great interest to think in a wholly new way, and in this case with respect to the american system…

The point here is simply that capitalism is self-destructing, more than anything else due to climate crisis, and we confront the need for a whole new system:
a new economic system
a new political system, a new form of democracy
a new foundation beyond private property
new approaches to growth/no growth sustainable economies
a nationalistic platform in an international context
exposes of the reality of the american system: the imperialistic context, the military-industrial complex, wars manufactured for profit, the covert agencies and the deep state, the corruption of politics by capital, the reckoning of criminal conspiracies and getting it straight on 9/11 and the false flag ops we can only suspect are at the core of the corrupt and criminal system of politics current, and this includes, stunningly, complicity in the international drug trade.

This is a fairly stunning set of required elements but we should at least construct the full list, create a party and a platform that can deal with them, and an aspiration to a group in motion that is a party of the main party, etc…

So there it is: a virtual solution to the above from a not yet senile old timer: a platform, two manifestos, a proto-party: the Red Forty-eight Group, a first born succession if not successor of the classic marxist Old Testament with its 1848 focus: the once and future revolution and/or a working class evolutionary party as a focus of social democratic bluffing one’s way to a revolution.
The Red Forty-eight Group needs a huge set of study projects, among them the secular future (and equivalent) of religion, the nature of economic theories, practical training systems and bootcamps, a set of communes and cooperatives, etc…

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