Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On contextual and individual concerns and promoting libertarian socialism.

I'll admit it, I'm a "revolution fetishist". I love the idea of taking part of one. The liberal, reformist and conservative consensus is clear: there will be no more revolutions! We've had enough of those, you know. It seems like such and old fashioned thing to do, like riding on a horse-and-wagon, something that made sense back when we didn't have the unquestionable virtues of representative democracy, universial suffrage, corporate capitalism and a caring nanny state to protect us. Revolutions of past, that got us where we were, are romanticized and held by the regime that it instituted as sacred objects. But of course, revolutions are way out of style now. That was THEN. This is NOW.

The fate of the U.S.S.R, PRC and other revolutionary Marxist projects, as well as the Syndicalists during the Spanish Civil War has sadly turned many people interested in radical social change away from the idea of revolution and in to the silly quagmire of reformist progressivism, or at worst, conservatism. And the revolutionaries themselves haven't been useful, mainly because they're so disconnected from what actual people want. These days, atomism prevails in political debates. Women's rights is a different debate from gay rights which is a different debate about tax-loopholes which is a different debate from war which is a different debate from labor-unions. You can't rail against "The System" or anything like that. People usually have one pet issue, that maybe indicates preference for other issues, but you can't really tell. When people are interested in Politics they are more interested in Specifics rather than the Whole Picture. This is of course, dumb, everything has a context and that context may be as important as the thing itself. But sadly, this is how people think. We could devote our time trying to get them to see the larger picture, but a lot of times, we need to give people a starting point.

They don't wanna hear about Revolution, they have a pet issue that needs a solution. And libertarian socialists don't have any answers. When the issue of austerity comes up, people like the writers for libcom.org usually get riled up against the evil capitalist state selling of public industry to profit-driven industry. But what is the libertarian socialist stance on public service? We know that state owned services isn't ideal, but what is the alternative? The LibSoc's usually answer with lines straight out of the Authoritarian Socialist textbooks, about how Free Markets are the Evilest and These Cool State Programs are going to make it all ok, just with the disclaimer that of course all of that will be gone after the revolution. This is pretty unattractive to any single issue voter looking for a different way of thinking. To be clear, you don't have propose a reform, but you could propose a form, in which these things could take.

The point I'm trying to get at is that revolutionary politics of the day have make sure they are aware of the political environment they're in, and adapt a form of propaganda which does not only dwell in systematic analysis, but also provides an attractive solution to solve the specific issues that people usually worry about. All of this should be done while avoiding reformism and top-down approaches to the issues, and hint at a revolution bringing about these things. There is no dichotomy between contextual and individual concerns, rather, a need to balance the two and integrate them more efficiently into our political analysis.

No comments:

Post a Comment