Friday, December 23, 2016

What should socialists do?

First of all, do what you want. If you prefer an anarchistic, Occupy-style, response to capitalist rule, do that. If you want to support progressive Democrats, fight for Bernie and his allies. Any resistance is better than no resistance, and any resistance to capitalism helps socialism.

So I will claim that, while socialists such as myself should argue for the superiority of socialism to other forms of anti-capitalist resistance, we should not claim that these other modes undermine socialism. We should treat all anti-capitalists as allies. We at least have the same goals. And if those in other modes declare hostility to socialism, our response should be "more in sorrow than in anger."

I will claim the second principle of socialism is implacable political hostility towards both the capitalists and the technocrats. The technocrats might have had a claim on the loyalty of the workers, but Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the post 1980 Democratic party have decisively and utterly abandoned the working class and made explicit their utter subservience to the capitalist class. Not only that, they have proven themselves ineffective at maintaining even their own class rule; if they cannot help themselves, they cannot do anything for the working class.

The only good reason to support a return to the technocracy is if you yourself are in the professional-managerial class and want to maintain or regain your class privilege. The technocrats will not treat the working class any better than will the capitalists: the only difference will be the capitalists' (possibly murderous) hostility to the technocrats themselves. Note that the technocrats and the capitalists share murderous hostility to socialists.

The technocrats' and capitalists' united murderous hostility towards socialism a difficult challenge. If socialists look like they are making real gains, both the capitalists and the technocrats will unite to try to imprison, murder, and torture us. Still, organization is possible even in countries more willing and able than the United States to use brutal force to suppress socialism (and other dissent). We should study those instances in detail to operate without too many of us getting killed.

Finally, I claim we socialists must actually organize workers. And we should organize the workers not to support us — we socialists are, after all, almost all technocratic class traitors — but to take power for themselves. Organizing workers for themselves, and not for us, is perhaps the most difficult challenge: by virtue of our objectively superior understanding of socialist theory, should we not have privilege to use this theoretical understanding to guide the workers? We should not: that way just lies replacing one murderous technocratic class with another. Our theory is the most flimsy barrier against repeating the brutality of capitalism, both pure and technocratic, and will evaporate at the first crisis.

Perhaps such an exercise is impossible. I myself am too old, too defeated, and too compromised, to lead a socialist resistance. The best I can do is kibbitz from the sidelines.

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