- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Lark . . .friend . . .COMRADE . . .

Posted by: Pete on January 20, 19100 at 14:49:25:

In Reply to: hold on there MDG posted by Lark on January 20, 19100 at 11:28:19:

: Oh, hold on there MDG, by debating actual issues that effect real life working people you are actually commiting the major sin of diverting attention away from grand plans and blue prints and the all hole commitment to 'revolutionary truth' and zealotry.

: That will entitle the ivory towered theorists to call you names, including 'petty-bourgousie', 'liberal' (read pragmatist, some peoples penchants for political prejudice is great, their actual learning must be restricted) and insinuate you are in fact a selfish capitalist.

: On subject, I've researched indepth your health system it's about the worst compared with the various European models.

Of course, Lark, that was a shot on Stoller. That's not a yellow card, but the ref just gave you a look.

Lark . . .friend . . .COMRADE . . . I realize your exaggeration is ironic, but I have a certain fondness for unyielding, steadfast points of view--especially at this stage in History which we're just beginning to get the ball rolling. Yeah, people do denigrate healthcare and other such issues, calling them "reformist." They say that liberals are begging for table scraps from the capitalist table, but I'd like to remind everyone that even the Spartacists call for maintaining the existing Affirmative Action and rights open immigration policies.

If anyone speaks out against MDG on this issue, I will say that that person needs to lock his books in a closet and chill out for a while. There IS such a thing as too much book-learning, even for people who haven't been to college.

Then again, Lark, there is something to be said for an uncompromising attitute toward revolution and all it entails. I'm guessing that you'll agree that no substantive change for the future can ever come without a revolution, a real change in social relations, a fundamental altering in the manner in which the human race conducts itself.

To put it differently, parts of me agree with people who insist that rights to healthcare and welfare that some capitalist countries enjoy--indeed even reproductive rights and free speech--are ultimately capitalist CONCESSIONS made win or maintain a slice of working class support. History shows this to be true and we'd be foolish to deny it.

Are you ready for my strident line? Here it is: There are no free gifts from above! Everything that we've achieved has been through our power in the streets and that alone! The working class must usurp the social power which capitalism wrongfully takes from them! (Add (!) and italics for emphasis as you see fit.)

I think anyone concerned with social change must adopt a cheerful inflexibility toward reformist issues. We must not see them as ends in themselves, but at best stepping stones toward our ultimate goal.

(I'd be interested in hearing your views on Michael Collins, a man who used similar language in what is, I'll admit, an entirely different context.)

Healthcare, welfare, civil rights and reproductive rights, and other "liberal issues" such as repeal of the death penalty and mandatory sentencing should be demanded and fought for constantly.In the meantime, progressives must be careful not to confuse these issues (and any victories which may come from the struggle for them) with the ultimate goal of revolution. That is, since anything that comes FROM the capitalist government can also be taken away BY the capitalist government, all our so-called rights are, in the final analysis chimerical.

Now, forget all the rudeness to which you've been subjected on these pages. This is what Marxists mean when they call rights granted by capitalist states, "petit-bourgeois rights." With all apoligies, I agree with the strident crowd on this analysis.

That doesn't mean these rights don't matter. They do. Indeed, I differ from some communists whom I've read and with whom I've come in contact on this very issue. (Yes, I've been called a "tree-hugging liberal" and it pissed me off). I've thought a lot about it, and I still believe that just because these rights are petit-bourgeois DOESN'T mean that they're useless. Anyone who says these rights are fake has too rigid a mind and lacks revolutionary imagination. Anything that stands between the working class and starvation is a good thing and should be celebrated. Our "bourgeois rights" may be be short-term concessions, but at least they give us breathing room with which we may stand a better chance of achieving our long-term goals.

Okay, I'll try an example from American television. It's like that show "McGyver" (I can't remember the spelling). The hero was always using whatever "tools" he could in the room--salt, a vacuum cleaner, a ball of string, a coat hangar, whatever--to get himself out of the jaws of death. These tools were inadvertently left there by his enemies, who never knew that these harmless items could be used for the hero's escape.

In my opinion, "petit-bourgeois" rights are sort of McGyver's household items. So, ecause we never know precisely WHAT might come in handy, we should make sure we keep everything in the room. We never know what we migbht use in the climactic scene, the one that comes right after the second to last commercial break.

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