- Capitalism and Alternatives -

The Venality of the Possible

Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist Party, UK ) on July 19, 1999 at 13:57:36:

Some might consider my 'No Reforms' approach to be secxtarian, ultra-leftist and irrational. However, I am fully convinced that fighting for reforms, what is Possible now, is both a waste of time, and deliterious to the general workers movement. Poissbleism has been tried, in many forms, for nearly a century, and it still hasn't worked.

It contains two basic strands of thought-
1:That the mass of people are not revolutionary at the moment, and a revolution is a long way off/ impossible or improbable. We must work to improve the lot of people *now*.
2:To lead the workers we must be with the ass of workers, and should use reforms to gain this lead.

Now, people either believe the reforms are good in themselves (teh first strand), or pointless (second strand), but help to show how the system doesn't work, or p[romt the workers to want more.

Effectively, reformism is politicians logic:

1:Capitalism is terrible.
2:We must do something.
3:Reforms are something.
4:Therefore we must enact reforms.

Now, for a large part, possiblism is a self fulfilling prophecy- if you say the revolution is a long way off, and that we should work for reforms instead, then of coruse, all you'll get is a never ending list of reforms to work for, because the revolution is tomorrow, and tomorrow never comes.

On top of that is the problem of a constitution, which has presuppositions that effectively give power to the ruling class, so that any reform minded movement has to water down any radical proposals it has, to get anywhere near power.

And on top of that, once in charge, reofrmists tend to find that the needs of the market (capital strikes, or inflation, etc.) can undermine their elective power.

On top of all that, reforms don't work- a pittnce doubled is a pittance, minimum wages don't work, union legislation just helps the bureaucrats.

As with Leninists, reformists find themselves confronted by the first necessity of a ruling group- staying in power, and principle usually have to be sacrificed to teh simple logic that to achieve anything, you need to stay in power to do it.

Capitalism cannot be made to work, cannot be reformed, so, why not try and say 'the revolution is today', or, in those fine situationist words 'be reasonable, demand the impossible!'

Why reform a Rotten System

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