- Capitalism and Alternatives -

But is it any more important than Zappa's 'coolness'?

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Ecosocialism or Ecodisaster, USA ) on February 23, 19100 at 13:03:42:

In Reply to: Sure, I care. posted by Hank on February 22, 19100 at 15:30:13:

: Lark: Apart from Barry, does anyone really care that the murderous bolsheviks have their names cleared?

: Hank: Sure, I care. But you're question is loaded, Lark, and deep inside you know it. I don't think Stoller is trying to clear names here, rather he's explaining the material reality which faced the the people who were trying to build the first workers' state. That's something worth thinking about, don't you think?

SDF: What's worth thinking about is that this first stab at a "worker's state" (as if the state WASN'T supposed to 'wither away,' huh?) ended up producing Leninism, the fine art of industrializing peasant nations without the help of imperialists. Since the peasant nations have been industrialized already, one wonders even why it's important to vilify Lenin or to praise him or even to have an opinion about him at all. Can we avoid predicating "revolutionary sentiment" upon politically-correct opinion (of one stripe or another) about early 20th century Russian history? I hope so, for one main reason. Why should the Left bicker over doctrinal interpretations of history when it could unite against the capitalist impulse to consume the whole planet at once? Would we rather the next "revolution" be sponsored by Pat Buchanan, to spite those whose version of "socialism" we disagree with?

The coming era, as Farinata pointed out, is likely to produce two main events destabilizing global capitalism -- wars over the control of the oil supply, and natural calamities produced by a combination of the crisis of overproduction within agricultural capitalism, combined with the tendency of the greenhouse effect to produce a huge increase in extreme weather events. The latter has already ruined the economies of Nicaragua and Honduras -- they plowed over every hillside and watershed to make ends meet in the agribusiness commodities markets, and Hurricane Mitch shut them down.

What's to do? Ah yeah, let's promise the public a violent revolution, be the first one on your block to have your boy come home in a box, that'll be popular. (More popular than nonviolent resistance, with a stronger sense of solidarity? I seriously doubt it. More "honest"? Anyone can say anything and it can be a lie. Actions, OTOH, can't lie.)

Or how about if we promise the masses a revolution where nobody has to work, then when it turns out that capitalism has produced a staggering eco-mess (to be inherited by the socialist future) we won't want to do anything about it? Folks, there's going to be a "taking out the trash" multiplied by 10 to the Nth power in the future, don't you think? After what the capitalists have been doing to the oceans, to the rainforests, to the gene pools?

Or how about if we bicker about this socialist world we can't see for a few hundred more posts? Forget about these promises of the "socialist world" being one of "abundance" -- try to survive the coming chaos.

Or better yet, how about if we engage this Debate Room in a REALISTIC DISCUSSION (meaning, one dependent upon the facts of an empirically-observed world) about a POSSIBLE NON-CAPITALIST FUTURE and HOW we can realistically GET THERE. Will "we" (the vanguard, of course) have enough armaments anytime in the next who-knows-when to blow up the Pentagon and replace the US Government with a "dictatorship of the proletariat" after a short nuclear exchange if we're lucky? Uh, how so? How about if we try for peace and a nonviolent general strike?

(bickering skipped)

: The whole point of my "Crack at Morality" letter was to try to show how pinning moral blame, while maybe sociologically necessary, is nonetheless philosphically unteneble; it's really a game of musical chairs. I thought you were a fellow recovering Irish Catholic, but you don't look so recovering anymore.

SDF: Yo Lark! This thing about religion: why believe in something that just isn't really there? Why? Until you can answer me that, Lark, you'll just appear to me as someone struggling to make sense of the world.


Follow Ups:

The Debating Room Post a Followup