Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 10 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/12/19

Why Joining The Communist Movement Is The Most Sensible Option For Those On The Left

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     (# of views)   3 comments

Karl Marx
Karl Marx
(Image by klimbims)
  Details   DMCA
- Advertisement -

[First Published by Rainer Shea at Medium]

In the capitalist era, liberals serve a crucial role for perpetuating the existing power structure. When the people start demanding change, liberals are there to placate them by offering solutions that improve the system while posing no challenge to it. At their worst, these kinds of moderates pose a threat to justice that's worse than that of the biggest reactionaries. As Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, the greatest obstacle to black liberation isn't the Ku Klux Klan, but "the white moderate who is more devoted to 'order, than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice."

Those on the left now need to come to terms with the fact that to varying extents, the biggest progressive leaders of our time perpetuate this dynamic where the more sympathetic members of the ruling class put in partial reforms to stop the system from being upended. This is true for Bernie Sanders, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, and the other American progressives who've been put in the most prominent positions.

- Advertisement -

The political role of the Sanders/Ocasio-Cortez wing of the Democratic Party, as the socialist columnist Genevieve Leigh has assessed, is to "attack the wealth of the rich without attacking the social system upon which this wealth is based." This social system is capitalism, which social democrats like Sanders do not want to get rid of. No one can honestly say that they're socialists, because they very much embrace a continuation of capitalism. They explicitly promise that their economic model is not based off of history's existing socialist states, but off of the Scandinavian capitalist welfare states.

If America were to adopt this social democratic model, the crises that America is facing would ultimately go unsolved. Because social democracy is just a reformed version of capitalism, every experiment in social democracy throughout history has resulted in a loss of worker gains and an increase in inequality. Amid the rise of neoliberalism throughout the last four decades, Sweden's social democracy has effectively turned neoliberal, with inequality rising by consequence. This has also been the case for all the other Scandinavian social democracies, and most of all for the form of social democracy that America adopted with the New Deal. Under capitalism, the reforms that the exploited class win will always be diluted or undone as the capitalist class vie for more money and power. The consistent historical failure of social democracy has demonstrated this.

Another undeniable problem with social democracy is the historical and current ties that the social democrats have to imperialism. Being capitalist nations, the Scandinavian states have very much participated in the imperialism of the U.S./NATO empire, with the Nordic countries allowing weapons and security companies which have assisted in America's wars. Bernie Sanders' foreign policy reflects this general willingness among social democrats to uphold imperialism; his lack of radical opposition to Israel's war crimes, promotion of the Venezuela intervention narratives, and support for the U.S.' economic warfare against China show that he's essentially imperialist-lite. This absence of an emphasis on opposing war and imperialism has shown to be a broader problem inside the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party; in last year's election, two-thirds of the "progressive" Democratic congressional candidates were completely silent on foreign policy. Ocasio-Cortez is among these social democrats who aren't reliably fighting empire, with her now refusing to denounce the Trump administration's illegal coup efforts in Venezuela.

- Advertisement -

Taking issue with these things is not ideological nitpicking. It's acknowledging a systemic problem with the nature of the mainstream left. When a political strain supports capitalism, even in a "reformed" version, it's not capable of eliminating the evils that capitalism creates.

Additionally, "Reforming" capitalism would fail to prevent a civilization-destroying climate change scenario. The reductions in carbon emissions that we need in order to make the climate catastrophe survivable can't be achieved under capitalism. The transition won't be adequate if corporations merely invest in "green" technologies, and the "Green New Deal" that Ocasio-Cortez has put forth is effectively an endorsement of this ineffective goal among neoliberal capitalists. Eco-socialism, where the major industries are nationalized and turned towards renewable energies, is the only way to avert apocalypse.

And communism, which Sanders has participated in the demonization of, is not the creator of misery and tyranny that capitalist indoctrination leads people to believe it is. As the scholar Michael Parenti has said about the actual history of the last century's Marxist countries:

Communism ladies and gentlemen I say it without flinching, communism in Eastern Europe, Russia, China, Mongolia, north Korea, and Cuba brought land reform and human services, a dramatic bettering of the living conditions of hundreds of millions of people on a scale never before or never since witnessed in human history"Communism transformed desperately poor countries into societies in which everyone had adequate access to food, shelter, medical care, and education. And some of us who come from poor families who carry around the injuries of class are very very impressed by these achievements and are not willing to dismiss them as "economistic." To say that socialism doesn't work is to overlook the fact that it did work for hundreds of millions of people.

I understand that millions of working class people, mainly younger ones, are investing themselves in politicians like Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez because they see them as representing an alternative to establishment politics. And I know there's value in them doing so-Bernie Sanders is what got me into politics. I'm simply urging these people to get involved in a strain that's much more radical than the reformism that's being presented as the solution to our crises. I'm urging them to get involved in the movement for communism.

The task of the American left is to let go of the reformist views of liberalism-including the liberalism that presents itself as radicalism-and join the Marxist strongholds which are now growing after decades of marginalization.

- Advertisement -

These strains may still seem like they won't leave the fringes of our discourse, but the recent increases in the relevance of Marxism are just the beginning of a societal shift towards revolutionary thought. The gargantuan inequality that's appeared in the last few decades has produced vast and growing discontent with global capitalism. And as this opposition builds, the economic populist movements will inevitably gain a bigger emphasis on socialism. With most American millennials now preferring to live in a socialist country, the ruling class is already alarmed at the potential for a systematic upheaval.

But it's not enough for people to generally view socialism favorably. Many of the people who hold this feeling towards socialism are assuming that the Bernie Sanders faction represents socialism. If we get rid of this falsehood-which can be done through educational efforts like the article I'm writing right now-we'll get the millions of people who are now putting their hopes in Bernie Sanders to mobilize towards an American Marxist revolutionary movement.

This is what my political path throughout the last few years has looked like; whereas I started out as one of the people who got excited about Bernie Sanders in 2016, I've since become informed that my most sensible option is to build a 21st century American version of Russia's Bolshevik movement.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

- Advertisement -

News 1   Interesting 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Rainer Shea Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Rainer Shea is writing articles that counter the propaganda of the capitalist/imperialist power establishment, and that help move us towards a socialist revolution.

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Why Joining The Communist Movement Is The Most Sensible Option For Those On The Left

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

3 people are discussing this page, with 3 comments


Rob Kall

Become a Fan Follow Me on Twitter

(Member since Jun 5, 2005), 304 fans, 2459 articles, 5231 quicklinks, 6051 comments, 510 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

Capitalism has to go. i have no doubt about that. But communism, or Marxism, both of which the writer advocates for, are not the answer. They failed. The level of corruption was incredible. I've been saying, for years, that there are many things that you can do that you've never done before. That includes come up with a better economic system. We have to keep on trying. The current system is toxic and getting worse. I agree with that part of this article. But we have to pull together something better, probably something bottom-up and smart, with checks and balances, with equaity, as non-hierarchical as possible. I like collectivism. But Marxism or Communism, as so labeled, will never, ever fly.

Submitted on Monday, May 13, 2019 at 4:37:43 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (2+)
Help
 

B. Ross Ashley

Become a Fan Follow Me on Twitter

(Member since Aug 29, 2008), 5 fans, 3 articles, 211 quicklinks, 304 comments, 3 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

There are many political currents which lay claim to Marxism; most of us are more at war with each other over the necessary strategy for uniting the working class than we are with the system.
The WWP you suggest is just one more of them, and not the largest.
I am not trivializing the differences, I'm a reconstructionist Trotskyist myself ... but they must be overcome in the process of rebuilding the working-class organisations that can confront capitalism directly. It is a long haul, and every "shortcut" makes it longer.

Submitted on Monday, May 13, 2019 at 6:22:27 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (3+)
Help
 

Daniel Geery

Become a Fan
Author 1198

(Member since Jul 9, 2009), 71 fans, 311 articles, 3495 quicklinks, 16006 comments, 180 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

How many "campaigns of civil disobedience" shall we have? More importantly, how many have worked in the last many years? While I can relate to most ideas here, it seems that advocating for Tulsi is the best step in the right direction for putting money in the right places. And building a platform toward changes you advocate.

Submitted on Monday, May 13, 2019 at 4:24:41 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 

 
Want to post your own comment on this Article? Post Comment