Unthinking Majority wrote:Good reply, thank you. Those that propose country-wide or worldwide socialist revolution are engaging in adventurism though. I don't understand why some of these ideas can't be tried on smaller scales like cities, states, provinces etc, or smaller countries first. Or socialist reform brought in gradually...such as a creeping nationalization of industries in one country to see how things go, and adjust accordingly.
Something like the American Revolution and US Constitution didn't happen overnight. Liberal democracy in the West had been built in steps gradually since the Magna Carta. Before 1776 in the UK you had the Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, the Habeas Corpus Act 1679, and their Bill of Rights of 1689 etc. slowly taking eroding power from the Monarchy and Feudal Lords.
Why do you emphasize the US constitution and not the war of independence itself and the conditions there of?
The possibility of such a document would not have happened otherwise. Although revolutions seem to build up in the case of more direct confrontation, but reforms have occurred with the many social movements which don’t seek to overturn society as much as partially change it.
But I imagine the issue is that the conflict of different ways of life do not settle in such partial ways, if one asserts that a way of life is the ethical one, it is simply impotence that resorts to the liberal, everyone is free to partake in their own view of the good life. But this misses the essential relation in which modern life is dictated by capital and has encroached upon more and more social life such that one experiences others through the mediation of exchange more so than any voluntary association.
And it is in fact part of liberal ideology to assert the nonexistence of a common good as a means to defend the status quo based on an ethics of ones individual desires and consumption ie defense or the capitalist order while framing the open and endless choice in life. But rather you don’t get to do what ever you want and conflicts arise, its not as if the US itself is some hands off government looking at its own conflict during the cold war and anything it associated with socialism or communism.
And when one looks to say something like the amish and other communities, they are surrounded by a world dominated by capital and eventually are changed by such relations. There is increasing inequality as the Amish neeed to resort to paid work to sustain their booming population and commodify their culture for tourism.
Similarly, attempts of say workers running a company and having shares such as the example of mondragon while interesting don’t necessarily show themselves as embryonic to a future society. Perhaps you would like to engage with the points of evolutionary socialists or reformists who think socialism will gradually arrive by some necessity of the economy. But this seems to displace the role of a subject to change the world and makes them passive.
And one way that socia democrats are denounced if they believe it will lead to socialism is that they basically want a revolution without the revolution. They’re not really committed to trying to change things because they few the risks involved but there can never not be risks for such change as the class conflict is a war.
And the desire for changing the world if it comes from a critique of capitalism is that capitalism is global in nature, the socialism in one country is a kind of aberration in retreating from the struggle to focus inwardly.
And while I don’t think one can expect some sort of theoretical perfection lf the future, as this would be itopian. It does seem that many who aspire to communism haven’t made a proper study of Marxs capital and the such. The problem woth utopian socialists os that they have a dream of a new society without adequately understanding what it is about capitalism they oppose. Like they oppose exploitation, okay, so how do they explain such exploitation scientifically? This was Marxs critique of utopians and his need to write Capital.
But the problem today isn’t even utopians or those after a world revolution which if the opportunity was there they couldn’t even strike. The opposite of utopianism prevails today, the impossibility of imagining an alternative to capitalism. Let alone defining a path out of capitalism. And when i mentioned adventurism, it relates to intellectuals who wish to cause havoc independent the organized masses of workers. Such groups tend towards recklessness and terrorist acts that do not help at all to inspire and organize workers.
And this is another reason why I wouldn’t fear some revolution on the the part of leftists. There simply aren’t strong organization or groups of workers or people to press such changes. We have particularized social movements who don’t advocate changing capitalism but changing capitalist society.
This is a reflection of the suppression of leftists in a lot of the west. They’re weak theoretically, they are independent any organization of workers and many are pessimistic about real change even if they try to hope for something else. If a revolution occurs, it seems amply positioned for the right wing which is feel emboldened by right wing populism.
But this is all vague as typing things out quick on phone. More specific points would relate to debates over the nature and need for a revolution and the reasons why would oppose it as well as the theoretical revisionism of evolutionary socialists.
Although it seems to me the no alternative feeling simply has people aspire to social democracy as they know shits fucked and increasingly so with capitalism as the 20th century reforms were an anomaly of a capitalist crisis and strong working class which threatened it with welfare often being the product of unions but placed under the state.
Its simply the highest aspiration in a demoralized west.
-For Ethical Politics