- Category: Theory
- Created on Friday, 02 December 2011 10:04
- Written by Mike Ely
Can you explain our final goals in a contemporary way?
What would you say?
Write yours below -- -- in the length of a tweet.
Let's compare and contrast.
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by Mike Ely
We can now often present communism to a generation relatively disentangled from the cold war -- and even from direct, immediate reference to previous "real existing socialism." We can reclaim communism's global, visionary, communal and experimental-utopian qualities. We have that opportunity. And we have that necessity.
I was struck, listening to Eric Ribellarsi speak at the New Orleans General Assembly, that one of the questions was (paraphrasing from memory):
"Obviously you are trying to think of a communism that is not identical with how it was tried before.... what is your view, of the state, of the role of people in decision-making, in the role of communist parties in the process?"
In other words, there was an opening. There was even an eagerness to join us in re-imagining this project, and reconsidering both continuity and rupture. And, to touch on just one issue: How much do we describe communism as a future place (at which we will arrive), and how much do we describe it as a yearning and a process?
And how do we differentiate our communism from the common left language about socialism (which is often a vision of welfare state benefits, full-employment and more democracy)? And should we make that differentiation sharply, or should we too speak now of a more meat-and-potatoes socialism ("Jobs not war"), and leave shockingly radical, futuristic visions of communism for some distant point?
So how would YOU say it?
If we each imagine a capsule description, perhaps we can work a way toward a common one. We need to develop a high level, sophisticated vision of what liberation means -- and then find ways to make it popular. (A two step process? Should we start with the dense explanation first?)
And the popularization requires thinking deeply about this political moment, and this generation, its questions and language.
i.e. We need to apply both a sophisticated theoretical sweep and a creative mass line.
What do you say?
What do you think matters most in a description of communism today?