Monday, December 31, 2007

Future of Socialism

Take a look at Randhir Singh's "Future of Socialism" (MRZine, 29 December 2007). At 16,471 words, it's about ten times longer than a typical MRZine article, and it may be a little too long to read online, but there is much in it that is worthy of leftists' consideration.

The points that Singh emphasizes are the ones that are particularly important for our time: Marx's understanding of socialism as "a transition between capitalism and communism (not "as a social formation existing in its own right"), the value of difference and individualization (as opposed to the ideology of individualism), the need to put class politics in command (rather than remain a slave to the logic of capitalist development), Marx's criticism of "Russian capitalism admirers" (i.e., those who in effect make a defense of perpetual capitalist development out of some of Marx's statements).

One question that I have about Singh's article concerns this: "The 'actually existing socialism' -- which was not Marx's socialism whose possibility remains open -- has, of course, failed. But, surely, the 'actually existing capitalism' -- which is the only kind of capitalism possible -- has not been the success it is made out to be," says Singh. For "Marx's socialism" to be possible, however, it has to be attempted in the North, but, as Singh says, "Once available to capitalism for it to emerge, consolidate itself, and grow dominant, time is no longer so available to socialism," due to threats of climate change, and "as with 'underdevelopment', 'overdevelopment', too, poses its own unanticipated problems for the realisation of Marx project of socialism." That puts the possibility of "Marx's socialism" into question.

For people of the North to desire to try "Marx's socialism," they will have to value democracy and republicanism more than social wealth, for "Marx's socialism" will never make a majority of people of the North richer than they are. Will they ever?

1 comment:

CEJ said...

Most Americans wouldn't know that there is a viable CP in India and that it runs state governments.
However, that article was really rather boring and only in small parts very informative. It belongs with Socialist Register and warm milk.

To the extent that Marxism is true of social reality, no one needs to understand Marxists. If all the academically based Marxists disappeared overnight, we would still have the same potential for world socialism as we do now. I would like to think we might have MORE potential. Academically trained politicians are a class, though, I will have to think about.