R48G: from universal class back to the working class…
February 3rd, 2018
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/how-democratic-socialists-are-building-on-bernies-momentum-w465452 : Democratic Socialists for America.
The DSA is grist for our mill, and yet we should also from a distance attempt to ply our slightly different version of socialist platforming: we have two manifestos, a comprehensive social plan for a neo-communism, a clear multitasking of revolutionary/evolutionary paths, and an emphasis of the current crisis of climate change with a slightly different version of the working class issue. The DSA shows a flexibility often absent in dogmatic socialist groups so we should try to inject our thinking into their mix in an open and intelligently dialectical fashion. The question of the working class confronts the stark future of automation, universal basic income hopes, and economies that no longer need a working class.
Let’s note one start fact: the working class concept is probably dead, in the US, and with Trumps’ gang of rustbelt idiots and the UAW in stealth Trump mode (slander?) the concept needs a reworking. First, what is more important: wages for the working class, or the fate of the planet? or of the working classes of the exterior global economy? The rust belt is in crisis but not starving, while the larger working class is work or starve, they need jobs therefore, perhaps american jobs. But that perspective is over. Perhaps a new economic nationalism is temporarily relevant…whatever… We need to step out of the fixation of working class emphases to consider that a no-growth economy is coming down the pike and that we must find some new approach to the questions of economy and employment. We don’t need to get fixated on appeasing some fictitious working class, which actually includes all those not owners of capital, the 99%. Our stance on the universal class (which can in a moment change gears back to a working class emphasis) centers on the needs of a multiplicity of ‘classes and subsets’ and must of course provide a robust economic package for working class sectors. But in a comprehensive vision we are in a crisis of economics whereby the nature of growth is itself in question. We need a socialist/communist comprehensive social plan that mediates many contradictions and can create a new form of society and politics. And the large ‘red forty-eight group’ needs to be able to critique and educate (and be educated by) the ‘working class’ sectors. And that in the context of an international set of still larger confusions. A degree of economic nationalism is the just resolution of rust belt unemployment, but the global nature of jobs/infrastructure is essential. The older world of the internationales had solutions to these issues that we have lost.
In any case, it is time for a new kind of multitasking: we won’t soon produce a working class revolutionary movement, but we can have a revolutionary movement of members from all classes with a failsafe plan for employment for the various ‘working classes’ and this in the context of renewable energy, economic shutdown in the context of climate change. And the left needs the right to shout back at the ‘working class’ and stop being its mouthpiece, this group has been turned into a right wing interest group using Madison Ave brainwashing: we need to shout at the working class to make it wake up: the issue of communism, revolution, and climate action is the task of the universal class and this requires more than gravy train socialist fixation on working class potluck. That said, any serious movement must solve the problem all the other groups seem incapable of dealing with, look at Clinton. Solving the working class problem is not so hard. But it must be done in a larger context now.
A revolutionary group is needed that can act either alone as a vanguard or in concert with a parallel populist tide. The two are distinct processes often out of sync. But the point is that what is needed is a comprehensive package of balanced issues stretching between political, constitutional, ecological, economic and climatological packages of proposed action. This approach might make the ‘working class’ wake up from Trumpian pipe dreams (if there was any truth to the right’s seizure of the rust belt) and become a force on the left. But those who were dumb enough to follow Trump are of no use to anyone and I suspect the real working class is far vaster in extent and submerged and ready and waiting for a pitch that is something better than the Clintonian establishment democrats on offer.
In any case, the R48G needs to change gears routinely between initiatives from the universal class and for the working class, awaiting the mythical arousal of that group to its revolutionary potential. The point here is only that the working class is an abstraction and not a person. A real movement must operate with a membership from the universal class and its multiple sectors and this is always a question of real people, individuals, not of abstract class groups with fictitious properties. Real people are needed to lead real movements, and as members of the universal class we can expect a huge participation by multiple working classes if not the imaginary ‘Working Class’, that abstraction now stolen by the right and populist demagogues.
In any case the DSA has come a long way from the now past world of the older socialisms. Let us suggest our new and different set of perspectives as a vehicle to animate a far larger audience than the current stillborn post-bolshevik realm of reshuffled socialism. Our reshuffled versions makes a clean break even as it reanimates the true core to the original vision of postcapitalism…
We need to produce a robust new form of working class populism, but in the context of a new social politics and economy….next to an international component…