Restating first principles on the left
September 4th, 2018 •
The marxist left often fails to see how they curdle thinking with associations that invoke a nightmare vision in a general public successfully brainwashed by massive doses of neoliberal hype.
The solution in principle is simple: restate the proposition in simple language without using marxist jargon or any references to Marx and make sure the project of socialism/communism is a vehicle to produce democracy, real democracy. In addition the whole question of populist economics needs to be solved at a stroke. The result can and should be highly popular and able to inspire once again a mass following. But the past needs to be dropped and the marxist left needs a new discipline: a novel speech without the classic boilerplate…
The move beyond stale marxism
April 4th, 2015 •
I think a future communist left has to completely leave behind the marxist/lenisist corpus. The prejudice and negative memory is too great. There is absolutely no reason why discourse can’t assemble the history of marxism, select certain ideas for development and restatement, and yet move into a new and fresh statement of what is relevant and active.
The overall corpus is potent yet flawed, and almost everyone will resist anything like a leninist repetition. And yet in the end, it will tend to veer towards that. We need to really answer the ‘end of history’ question, and that is not easy. And yet it is fairly clear in principle: communism emerges from democracy so that democracy can emerge from communism.
We should do what older leftists refused to do: plan in advance and create what Marx disliked: versions of ‘blueprint communism’ that we can assess in advance, and make the basis of intent in communicating to skeptical majorities.
There are many weak spots in Marx’s thinking. We need to move past the ‘holy founder’ fallacy that has come to animate the left, where any critique of Marx/marxism is buried at once in jargon rehash.
But the core of marxism is reasonable enough and could survive handily a ‘translation’ into a framework larger than historical materialism. The latter attempts to make some very extreme speculative claims about a theory applied to world history. Such theories are almost always false: instead the general drift of economic determination in history and modernity would be enough.