On A Leftist Movement!

This process of expanding the collective consciousness toward a sane and humane social structure will not be won in the short term. This process will take a long term vision and a steady perseverance.

I have heard it suggested that to be a “True Leftist” one must completely internalize that the capitalist system cannot be reformed. With this I cannot more completely agree. This line of thought then goes on to suggest that the above reform of the capitalist system cannot be reformed through third parties, conferences with reformists, protests nor by marching. Granting the validity of the first statement it certainly follows that capitalism can’t be reformed by any of the following methods; thus, I am forced (rather willingly so in this case) to agree with the secondary premises. The argument then seems to propose that capitalism can only be reformed (I conclude a restructuring of the socioeconomic system is implied here rather than a reformation) only by drafting a completely new constitution and ushering in a new form of government. Once again as the premises seem valid to me I am forced (again quite willingly) to agree with the conclusion offered.

I do, however, have some difficulty with the proposed remedies that were presented. It was suggested that this needed change in our present socio-economic-governmental structure  could be accomplished only by revolution (I took the meaning of my friend to refer to some form of violent upheaval). Then it was suggested that the US is not ready for such a revolution; I wish I was as convinced as my friend that the US is not ready for a revolution. I fear that the US is all to close to entering a revolution. While I do agree that most citizens are not ready for such a revolution there are some very disturbing undercurrents by the more reactionary elements on the political right that obviously desire such a revolution and are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure there is one in which they surely would use whatever level of violence they deem necessary. Let us hope, pray (or whatever you do) that the reactionary elements pushing for such a revolution cannot achieve their desires for that would be very ugly and whatever remnant that still exists within the “left” would be sure to loose and be utterly crushed int he process should the reactionary forces acquire the means to enforce their will upon all.

My friend (and I do think of her as a friend even though we only know each other from FaceBook) suggests that: probably the best way to be thought of as a participant in the “new left” would be to completely reject the system, build Eco villages, go off the grid and form our own cooperative society. I submit that she is precisely wrong. To this I suggest the following:

I would have to agree with you that the US is not ready for a political revolution of the kind that you desire. That is to say that it is not ready to utterly transform the economic/political landscape in any equitable fashion. However, to completely reject the system, build (independent/reclusive) villages… and form “cooperative” societies all to escape “competitive” cultures is not exactly new: in 1519 Sir Thomas More wrote the book that has given such adventures its name ~ THE UTOPIA. Nor do I believe that doing so could in any way insulate the participants from the worst excesses of either the economic or the political fallout that would come from the withdrawal of what is left of the leftist movement(s) in our country or within the world at large. This type of action would be simply to give the most reactionary and regressive forces in our society a boon and the greatest possible assistance to them in their designs to turn the world into a mass of dictatorships. This would inevitably lead to world war. This would not be good for anyone, left, right, or anywhere in between.

While I sympathize with the sentiment of seclusion to live in peace and relative prosperity, I do not believe such a system is workable short of a total apocalypse as before mentioned. I am very much in dread of the possibility of a coming apocalypse for such a future would prove very devastating to all life on this planet.

Cells in the same body

Therefore, I feel compelled to work toward the most viable options I see in front of me which is definitely not within the duopolistic culture represented by the DemoPublicans for each wing represented by the two traditional parties works toward the same goal, i.e., imperialistic selfishness. While the Green Party is far from ideal they seem to be the most effective means to promote an expansion of the public consciousness toward a more cooperative social structure. As we need, in desperate measure, a shift from the rightward descent pressed upon us by both of the wings of the National Corporate Party since the 1970s (beginning with the Nixon Shock of 1971 followed by the financialization began under the Carter Administration’s appointment of Paul Volcker to the Chair of the FED) I believe it is vital to support any non corporate party that has viability to it. Sadly, I see only one with any viability at present and that is the Green Party. (I would love to have a viable socialist party but it is no where in sight. And there is far too little unity within the various “socialist parties” from what I have been able to discern.)

This Univers is not outside

Unfortunately, this process of shifting the collective consciousness toward a sane and humane social structure will not be won in the short term. This process will take a long term vision and a steady perseverance. However, for those who would escape this capitalistic structure to form small cooperative societies I fear the world has now entered a globalistic phase where one cannot escape the toxic effects of that capitalistic superstructure: for instance, as the global temperature continues to rise every living thing on earth will be effected. Thus, to me: it seems that we must all do everything in our individual and collective abilities to mitigate as much of the toxicity of global capitalism as possible within the confines in which we presently live.

I believe that the single most effective act that could be accomplished right now is to affect as rapid a shift from the use of fossil fuels as is feasible; otherwise, we will all be “off the grid” and there will be very little left of any society with which to “form [a] cooperative society [societies].” And the only semi-viable candidate that promotes this shift with a believable commitment that I have found is Dr. Jill Stein.

You argue, “But she stands no chance of winning.” Sadly, I must admit that; however, I recall your attention to the statement earlier made:

This process of expanding the collective consciousness toward a sane and humane social structure will not be won in the short term. This process will take a long term vision and a steady perseverance.

Change the things I cannot acept

Time is of the essence. We have none to waste hoping the Duopolistic DemoPublican/Republicratic Party will come to it’s senses.

Roger W Mills II

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9 thoughts on “On A Leftist Movement!

  1. Very thought-provoking Roger, I found myself agreeing with you and also your friend as well that promoted cooperatives. Both, and more, must be done simultaneously. “Time is of the essence” is the point, our situation and that of all life on this planet is indeed precarious.

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  2. As always you make great points and see the world and its possibilities as hopeful as any sane visionary could. Dropping out is not an answer as your friend suggested but continuing to fight the good fight indeed is you have done that and give me hope when I feel hopeless. Worthwhile change does take time but I too believe it can take place.

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  3. Roger, I have never exactly been certain of what a “true Leftist” was supposed to be. But working within the Democratic Party, a tent so broad that it had room for Strom Thurmond and George Smathers as well as labour bureaucrats like George Meany, has never struck me as particularly constructive.
    Building a labor party, an independent political voice for working people, or more precisely working to build it, is the only way forward. Three election cycles ago I and my friends thought that backing the Green candidate McKinney would help do that. Perhaps wrongly. This cycle, I doubt that Dr Stein is even as attuned to working people in the US as Cynthia McKinney was and is.

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    1. Brashly, I agree with everything you say, including the comment about Cynthia McKenny. She, I believe, was the best the Greens have had to offer yet, and if she were running this cycle I’d gladly support and promote her. Sadly, from what I have thus far seen Jill Stein is the best semi-viable candidate available; thus, I have taken my present position from this cycle. To expand on my post, my position in this post is based on the present immediate need to move US politics toward the left or at least to do all I am capable of to attempt that goal. Thanks for your comment.

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  4. A well thought out article Roger, the problem with Jill Stein is that she never comes out until the year of the election, the democrats and republicans work every day of every year on elections, by the time Jill Stein shows her face it is too late to get enough votes to win the presidency.

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    1. While I agree with your complaint about the timing problem, I have to question if it is really a problem with her or if it is more of a financial problem and/or an organizational problem. Organizational in not having sufficient funds to run a four (4) year campaign as the corporate funded DemoPublican/PubliCratic party can. Campaigns like Jill Stein which are funded by reasonably grassroots efforts simply cannot compete with corporate owned, funded and operated parties. Thus, I beg of you to have patience with her lack of presence throughout the entire election cycle.

      Also, I do know that she has been “out there” for over a year doing pretty much everything she could to draw attention to her campaign; however, I know this because I have made considerable efforts to keep up with her not because the corporate owned and managed media deigned to give any coverage to any third party except the “Libertarian/Libertine Party”. Even there the coverage has been very thin.

      Thank you, Lisa, for your consideration and your thoughtful comment. They are appreciated.

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  5. I appreciat you asking my opinion Roger. You may be surprised to find there is a great deal with which I disagree here. First of all I agree the solution is ultimate a structural one rather than a matter of reform, but the two positions are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

    The problem with reform is that it leaves the system of structural inequity in tact and leaves proponents of structural change at a profound disadvantage. Historically, the revolutionary left has seen reform as a means to the end of raising political consciousness, rather than a means of gradual political economic change. In other words, as the issues of structural change are raised, those most directly effected become educated about the the matter of structural inequity through the process of debate which ensues in pursuit of reform.

    Some have argued that economic reform can actually be beneficial to the working class majority putting them in a better position to prosecute reform, the pressures of economic inequity being mitigated. Again, from a historical perspective this has proved to be untrue. They typical line of reasoning has been with respect to wage increases. Raises in the minimum wage are typically canceld out by inflation, so any relief experienced is this regard is temporal at best.

    We could extend this position to greater types of socioeconomic reform such as living wages, or a minumum basic income guarentee, job guarentees, and free education. The former would undoubtedly have a greater impact than the previously described scenario. For example a fifteen dollar minimum wage would effectively double the minimum wage, and under the conditions of full employment, a separate issue in and of itself, would essentially eliminate poverty among employed persons. Again, this begs the question of full employment. One problem with this scenario is that many analysts have declared that we are about to undergo even worse economic devastation than in the past. A hypothetical situation to be sure, but one, if proven true would, at best put those most drastically effected by structural inequity back to square one. I’ll address the other elements of socioeconomic reform later.

    Secondly the definitions of revolution offered are problematic, and the potential outcomes historically inaccurate. At the risk quibling over semantics, and I think you’d agree with me on this, and action by the right as far as armed insurrection goes could not be described by any credible leftist as revolutionary. Such actions would be counterrevolutionary and result in civil war.

    While the right may be in a somewhat better position to carry out such an action. I can’t imagine a bunch or right wing gun nuts being able to overthrow the government however well armed. Not only do they lack the tempramemt, or the intellectual and rganizational skills to do so, the outcome of such actions would most likely be military repression.

    The left is even less equipped to bring about an armed insurrection. Not only they are not as well armed or as proficient with weapons, by and large, many on the left are more inclined toward pacifism. That said, the revolutionary left is probably more intellectually, temperamentally, and strategically. Additionally, arms are typically procured by blockade rumners, and sympathetic governments in such a scenario. That said, the greatest obstacle for the left in that regard would be organization.
    Having laid that out, there are a couple of scenarios which fly in the face that an overthrow of the government would necessarily be violent. First there is the Russian Revolution which came about with barely a shot fired because the impoverished majority was united in that effort presenting to formidable a force to be immediately dealt with. There was, however, a great deal of bloodshed which occurred in the Civil War which followed between Czarist forces and the newly formed revolutionary government.

    Another more recent example is the French student revolt of ’68, sometimes referred to as the Second French Revolution. As I recall, when the military was called in, they refused to fire on the students, and de Gaulle ended up fleeing the country. Unfortunately, the handful of revolutionaries behind the movement lost contol of it, the students themselves weren’t well organized and had very little understanding of what the were fighting for. It could have been a major game changer, but the upshot of those efforts were new elections and some never economic concessions. But my point is that while there are sociopolitical revolutions and insurrectionary revolution not all, all insurrections are violent or armed.

    Secondly, militant demonstrations and occupations are essential to systematic change, and left revolutionaries have not only been of a mind on this, but history has born this out, as well. Militancy was central to the French student movement who’s opposition boiled over into the trade unions and factories. It was the combination of these forces in conjunction with the refusal of the military to take action against them that ultimately sent de Gualle packing.

    We could look at any number of historical examples where radical refusal in the form of militant demonstrations were essential, the Suffragette movement, the occupation and encampment of the Bonus Army on the White House lawn during the Great Depression which preceded mass popular uprisings, the Civil Rights Era, Vietnam, Occupy, and the Fight for $15, just to name a few top-of-mind examples.

    Demonstrations of this type are often accompanied by agitation and propaganda agitation representing the miltant threat of revolt and radical refusal of the status quo, and propaganda, in this case, simply being informat which raising awareness on the issues among potential, and wins the sympathies of nonparticipants, as well. As in the examples of France, and the Fight for $15, mass demonstations are often accompanied by industry-wide General Strikes.

    As far as third parties go, I’m all for supporting the Greens, but what I feel we need is a directly democratic party like Spain’s Podemos. If you’re in familiar with them, they grew out of the Indignados movement, which is the movement Occupy Wall Street was based modeled after.

    I’ve spoken with some of the leaders of the New Progressive Party about this, and they were dead set against it stating that Occupy was basically a do nothing movement, and that what was needed was strong centralized leadership. They don’t understand that the purpose of Occupy was to educate. They don’t understand that not all forms of direct democracy are consensus based, and therefore do not require unanimity, nor do they understand that direct democracy does not necessarily mean voting on every single issue, nor do they understand the structural aspects of the concept. They’re basically in favor of the system that the founding partriachs conceived of, elective aristocracy, the electoral rule of the many by the few, whereas direct democracy is the rule of all by the many. They don’t understand political science or history, they’re essentially a bunch of self-anointed, middle class, left wing hacks on a power trip.

    What needs to be properly understood is the history of power relations. In the time of the hunters-gatherers power was laterally organized. It wasn’t until the time of agrarian production that hierarchical organization, headed by a monarch appeared. While the hunter-gatherers provided just what the members of the tribe needed to survive, (subsistence production), agrarian societies, through advanced techniques and tol-making skills, were able to create more than the society needed, (surplus production). With the appearance of surplus production came hierarchial social organization in which surplus wealth became disproportionately distributed from the top down. The hierarchial distribution of surplus wealth was enforced by a monopoly of armed violence subordinant to the monarch in the form of a national standing armies.

    To further understand the historical nature of power we need not only to follow the evolution of power from monarchy, to aristocracy, to democracy, the rule of the one, the few, and the many, respectively, we need to also recognize their pathological extremes, tyranny, oligarchy, and ochlarchy, aka mob rule. Furthermore the distinction must be made between hierarchially organized parliamentary democracy and laterally organized direct democracy. Parliamentarianism, in this sense, refers to the electoral rule of the many by the few, and as such, is a synthesis of aristocracy and democracy, as opposed to pure democracy. If you’ve ever heard a social conservative say, “We live in a republic not a democracy,” this is the distinction they’re making. In reality, both are republics, a republic being a constitutional government, most often accompanied by universal sufferage.

    With respect to the historical nature of power we need to understand the class-based nature of power. As pointed out earlier, the existence of economic social classes were unknown to the hunter-gathers, and were a product of agrarian hierarchy. Fast forwarding to the present, our current system of increasingly undemocratic system of elective oligarchy, it’s important to recognize that while oligarchy represents the rule of the wealthy few, pure democracy represents the rule of the working classes, particularly the poor and lower middle classes.

    Being a member of the upper classes, however, does not prohibit one from participation, given the understand that pure democracy not only operates in the interests of the working class majority, and is the rule of the working class majority in the interest of both the majority class, and society as a whole. It is labor which produces goods, services, infrastructure and wealth, adminstration produces nothing. Therefore is is the prerogative of the working classes to distribute the wealth it produces in the manner it sees fit.

    With respect to co-ops, I believe the opposite of the claim made is the case. Co-opertives, and worker-lead forms of production and distribution can serve as a models of future forms of ondustial organization, but due to the hierarchal distribution of wealth and power they, most likely, will never compete with the current system. If the reverse were true, however, which is possible, but not likely, it could lead to a system of dual power, a precursor to tipping the balance against, and ultimately overturning, the status quo system.

    Whatever we plan on doing in the short term, what we ultimately need to do, imo, is look beyond this election, form a directly democratic party which can work both within the system, and look beyond it. A party that understands the structural nature of political and economic power, the former being a reflection of the latter. One that understands not only the current popular reforms de jure, but how to go beyond them, and ultimately to the lateral distribution of wealth, in addition to directly democratic governance of both society and industry.

    A genuinely revolutionary movement must understand all the aforementioned elements of revolutionary power, all of which are necessary to ultimately prevailing against the current system. With respect to insurgent violence, the ethical use of force has typically been understood as defensive, rather than offensive, and while pacifist militancy should always be our preference, pacifism is but a means, and cannot be seen as an end in itself.

    And lastly what is perhaps needed more than a directly democratic revolutionary party is a new Socialist International, an international organization of disparate social revolutionary groups both nationally and internationally.

    I understand these concepts could certainly use some expansion, as well as references, however, I had no intention to write an essay length response, formally or otherwise, so this will have to suffice for the present. I’m currently writing a book on the topic, as well, and scan be found on Facebook. I will provide a couple links for further reading.

    Also, while this a whole other topic, conservationists do tend to be to the right of ecologists, environmentally, politically, and economically, and are conservators of the status quo, socially speaking.

    Better red than dead ;D
    RP
    renden pierce
    Tue 7/12/2016 12:27 AM

    WunderlistEvernote
    The first two were originally published as pamphlets a d are v good overviews of Marxism, both coming from somewhat different angles. The third is a series of articles which I have yet to read myself, but it’s on my list. The forth is on economic reform. And the last is multidisciplinary, a v deep.

    Socialism From Below
    http://www.anu.edu.au/polsci/marx/contemp/pamsetc/socfrombel/sfb_main.htm

    Marx’s theory of state, Ernest Mandel
    https://www.marxists.org/archive/mandel/1969/xx/state.htm

    The ABCs of Socialism, Jacobin Magazine
    https://www.jacobinmag.com/the-abcs-of-socialism/

    America Beyond Capitalism, Gar Alperovitz
    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&rct=j&q=america%20beyond%20capitalism%20pdf&ved=0ahUKEwiqiuHX44rNAhUE4SYKHfpPDmsQFggaMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.kropfpolisci.com%2Fdemocracy.capitalism.alperovitz.pdf&usg=AFQjCNGvwQIrpdcVwyN5MNUEHWMx0f08Sw&sig2=SWsJwH8cyrkBz3w9r1Pk5w

    Empire, Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt
    http://www.angelfire.com/cantina/negri/HAREMI_printable.pdf

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